On Saturday 24/08/2019, a group of women marched in front of Manchester Pride to stand for lesbian rights.
Like every time, this action would not have been possible without the sisterhood between women and the presence and determination of the women who marched but also the help and support of the team of invisible women working behind the scene. We thank Paula, our amazing Welfare & Entertainment manager, Jackie and Sofia for their brilliant work as part of the Twitter team, and the countless Twitter activists who have shared our action. We also thank CM, Thomasin, Charlie, Katy, Rebekah, Helen, Lou, Janice, Suzan, Hannah and all the other activists who want to remain anonymous. We are proud to have marched with you. And thank you ResistersUnited, Object!, and Make More Noise for the support and participation. Amongst us were detransitioners, cotton ceiling rape survivor, trans widow, mother of transitioning children, lifelong lesbians, late bloomers, political lesbians, lesbian allies, prostitution survivor, domestic violence survivors, rape survivors, disabled women, women with PTSD, mixed-race women, white women, women from different countries and ethnic background, working-class and middle-class women, mothers, childfree women, with ages ranging from 19 to 60+ All of us came to this fight with our background and our own experiences. We respect and honour each woman’s trajectory to feminism and lesbianism. We need each of our perspectives because it makes us stronger. As lesbians, we are united by our exclusive love and desire for women! And we are united with all women by our sisterhood! ***A gay male photographer was later expelled from Manchester Pride for documenting our action as Claire Heuchan reports in AfterEllen.
A group of lesbians from the ReSisters United did an action for lesbian visibility at Lancaster Pride (22/06/2019). They carried a suffragettes-coloured flag with the slogan « Lesbians don’t have dicks », and banners saying « Cotton ceiling = rape » and « Lesbians don’t have penises – Lesbians are female homosexuals ». A few gay men and male transactivists gathered a group of about 30 young adults and teenagers to hide the lesbians and their banners, while inciting the group to chant: « transwomen matter ». One lesbian who took part in the action writes: « I was later told by an onlooker that this crowd, of mostly teenagers/students, had been encouraged by the male organiser of the event, adult transwomen, who kept their distance, and a drag queen, who themselves did not join in, other than to walk by, pose for a picture. This drag queen, who we understand to be named Ivy Rose, was seen sticking two fingers up at us and then started a chant “Transwomen Matter!” – though nothing about transmen… Isn’t it concerning that they were whispering into the ears of the young people to run across the road, or to chant certain slogans, whilst they, for the most part, stood back? Like sending in the foot soldiers… Robert Mee, CEO of Lancaster Pride and organiser of the event stood amongst all the young people and said “fuck off you fucking dogs, you’re ruining it”, the swearing was hostile. Some of our group were spat on by the counter protesters and we were all sworn at multiple times. » Other feminist coverage: Are Lesbians Welcome at Pride? The answer at Lancaster Pride is no
A dozens of lesbians and allies showed some lesbian visibility at Edinburgh Pride (22/06/2019).
They held banners and placards saying: ‘Lesbian Visibility’, ‘Lesbian, Not Queer’, ‘Transactivism Erases Lesbians’.
In her account of the action, Jackie Mearns writes:
« There was an act of physical aggression when an angry young person grabbed a placard I was holding and tried to rip it up, shouting “TERF” in my face, but this was quickly handled by stewards and police liaison and I’ve honestly faced down worse violence from violent men than a ripped placard.
But what did chill me and did stir some actual fear for how I and the others might fare on Pride was the speeches given by MSPs from the top of the open top bus. In particular the words of Patrick Harvie, Green MSP, where he felt the need to apologise for the democratic workings of Parliament, and the decision taken this week to put the brakes on GRA reform until the full due consideration and further deliberation by a broad range of groups affected by these reforms and, importantly, the conflation of sex and gender that has infested our policy making.
I felt Patrick Harvie’s speech inflamed an already dangerous situation for Lesbians on Pride. It did make me fearful, since immediately after, some people started shouting about getting the ‘TERFs’ out – it was obvious they meant us. We had already been blocked in by some very tall people wearing ‘Trans’ and ‘Non-Binary’ flags draped over their shoulders – quite literally and intentionally making us and our ‘Lesbian Visibility’ banners invisible.
I was dismayed to find out later that my sisters who joined the march were harassed by marchers behind them, had bells rung and whistles painfully blown in their ears and even had a missile thrown at them in the shape of a juice bottle, that fortunately missed them but unfortunately hit a tourist photographing the parade.
The rally where Lesbians were intentionally blocked-in and made invisible. »
More personal accounts here.
A group of 14 lesbians from Get The L Out marched at the front of the Europride parade in Vienna (15/06/2019). 4 lesbians later joined the initial group at the front.
There was a lesbian labrys flag and banners such as « Lesbian not queer », « Transactivism erases lesbians », « Lesbians don’t have penises », « Cotton ceiling = rape », « Transgenderism harms children », « Everyone knows Black lesbian (female homosexual) Stormé started Stonewall », « Lesbians and Feminists for open borders! Stop sexism, racism, and homophobia! » (in German). We displayed the QR code for the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights.
We chanted several slogans: « Lesbians, not queer, we exist », « Stop Lesbian Erasure », « Get the L out of Pride », « LGBT doesn’t speak for me », « Women are not your fetish », « Dykes not dicks ».
Credit to Miljana Ivanovic and Anonymous Sister for the pictures
Facts about the action:
-The biggest group of lesbians nationality-wise is Serbian. The rest of the group came from Austria, UK, France, Hungary, Sweden (and Italy, Spain, Germany in the Twitter team).
-5 of us are under 26 years old
-A male board member of EuroPride claims we were removed but, as the video confirms, we left on our own accord after about 30 minutes because our goals of lesbian visibility were achieved (and we were not booed by the crowd either).
We also handed out flyers:
A group of lesbians went to York Pride (08/06/2019) with lesbian visibility signs and banners: « Lesbians don’t have penises », « Lesbian Pride – Stormé Stonewall `69 ».
A group of lesbians went to Bradford Pride (01/06/2019) to show some lesbian visibility.
They carried signs such as « Lesbians don’t have penises », Lesbian = female homosexual », and « Lesbian Pride – Stormé Stonewall `69 ».
In a statement, one of the participants says:
« We had decided to meet in a coffee shop before going into the square. Whilst sat drinking coffee we were approached by two police officers from West Yorkshire Police. They explained that someone had come to them and said that they’d seen some placards and so they wanted to make sure that there was nothing derogatory and that we were not a hate group »
During the parade, they stood with placards on the side of the parade. Young lesbians approached them for a picture and a group of gay men and a few male transactivists later came and talked loudly at the peaceful lesbians while hiding lesbian visibility signs with their bodies and trans flags.
They handed out flyers:
Two lesbians from Get The L Out did an action for lesbian visibility at Swansea Pride (04/05/2019).
After marching at the front of the parade with banners saying « Lesbians don’t have penises » and « Transactivism erases lesbians », the two lesbians were pushed (from 3min05 on this video) and one of them was dragged out from the front to the sidewalk by four police officers.