Who’s Allowed to Be Proud? Lesbian Erasure in the Current State of “Pride” Culture

By Danielle Whitaker

1970. That was the year of the first major gay pride event in the U.S., which took place a year after the Stonewall riots.

This inaugural parade was a far cry from the oversexualized drag show that typically defines pride events today. Known then as the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, referencing the Stonewall riots and location, it kicked off a series of purpose-driven and consciousness-raising events organized by a variety of gay and lesbian rights organizations working together, including the lesbian feminist group Lavender Menace and the lesbian civil rights organization Daughters of Bilitis.

So yes, despite current attempts by queer culture to rewrite history and erase LGB individuals from our own movement, it was—if you can believe it—same-sex attracted individuals, persecuted for their same-sex attraction, who founded and built the movement to fight same-sex persecution.

Most of our parents were alive then. Many of us were, too. Scarcely one generation ago, LGB people in the U.S. bravely stood up en masse and fought for their right to reject compulsory heterosexuality and love members of the same sex, a reality that has resulted in the oppression of and violence against these individuals for millennia.

Thousands of years of oppression until a few countries finally granted us the right to marry, and “gay rights” became yesterday’s trending cause throughout much of liberal culture—as if that one ruling singlehandedly ended homophobia.

Today, a wild new men’s rights cult is working hard to unravel the triumphant gains made under the initial decades of LGB rights activism. The “why” is a bigger question, of course, ranging from sexist attitudes that fear women have achieved far too many rights for their own good over the past couple generations; to the fact that men have finally realized that no really, lesbians are not a porn category but rather a very real class of women who not only deny sex to the entire male class, but are now permitted to publicly shame men by flaunting their brazen lesbianism and marrying other women, right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

And, at the moment, the cult’s efforts are succeeding—partly, in my opinion, because men are simply used to getting what they want, because women are conditioned to support them, and because the broader, unaffected spectrum of society has been duped into believing that trans activism is simply the latest and trendiest branch of the gay rights movement.

It is not. Trans is not gay, despite cult efforts to get the public to confuse the two.

To be fair, the “gay rights movement” was never precisely a feminist or female-centered movement. Although many gay men and lesbians worked side by side in solidarity for LGB rights, we cannot deny that the movement has always been male-dominated; lesbians and female-exclusive bisexual women have always been marginalized even within what is supposedly “our own community”—always second, never prioritized—and perhaps for that, we should’ve seen this coming.

“Gay pride,” the term most of us grew up hearing and which at some point in recent years was invisibly and silently rebranded as simply “pride” to include anyone and everyone who wants a piece of the rainbow spotlight, has been brewing an increasingly hostile environment for lesbians to the point that there now exist entire movements dedicated to protecting lesbians through separatism. As the rampant popularity of “queer culture” has mainstreamed its way into heterosexual society—under the guise of “inclusivity” via the erosion of women’s sex-based rights, “progressivism” via the vilification of sexual boundaries, and “self identification” via the deification of subjective perception over reality—it has become much clearer how deeply entrenched misogyny, lesbophobia, and gender constructs truly are throughout every thread of society.

It is no surprise, then, that the group most under attack in what is now known as the queer community—lesbians—is the group that dares to enforce sexual boundaries against males; dares to say “no” to men in our beds and our hard-won private spaces. Once easily accepted as the label for homosexual women, even the word “lesbian” nowadays is widely avoided at all costs in favor of vaguer, more palatable descriptors such as “queer woman” or “LGBT woman” or “WLW (woman-loving woman),” unsurprisingly as lesbian is the only word in the “LGBTQIA+” alphabet soup that by definition does not include males—because god forbid one single man is excluded from one single square inch of the human social sphere.

So where does this leave us when it comes to celebrating and fighting for lesbians’ sexual orientation? Where do lesbians belong in the world of “pride”? Honestly, much of the evidence suggests that they don’t.

Bolstered by a mysteriously noticeable leap in corporate marketing campaigns boasting rainbow- and trans flag-emblazoned merchandise (this pedophilia propaganda from Converse featuring “drag kid” Desmond jumps to mind), this year’s “Pride Month” kicked off with such rousing incidents as this case of two young women being attacked on a London train for refusing to kiss one another for male enjoyment.

As our once celebratory month continued, it became apparent that incidents like this in New York City were not isolated events. These women in the video attempted to attend this year’s New York City Dyke March and were denied the right to march in the parade, “even though we’re dykes,” as one pointed out, simply for celebrating lesbianism and lesbian history—which, one would assume, is the entire purpose of a Dyke March. The women held one sign stating “Black Lesbian Storme Started Stonewall” and another showcasing the labrys flag, a classic lesbian symbol. Another group boasting a giant trans propaganda sign physically blocked the women and their signs, and when the camerawoman attempted to politely engage them in conversation, they ignored her and formed a barricade. They might as well have plugged their ears and chanted “la la la” as trans activists are wont to do, either silencing any argument with their cult chant (“trans women are women”) or refusing to engage in debate at all.

Until recent years, the only group objecting to signs like this were religious fundamentalists. It would seem they and the trans cult share a key commonality: homophobia.

Even before pride events like this took place, the media—including “gay” media—had already chosen their side. The perverse regression of the modern “pride” movement toward lesbophobia has been heard loud and clear.

The good news is, all over the world, we are fighting back. Hard.

This didn’t appear out of nowhere in 2019; we’ve faced similar backlash at countless pride events in recent years—for instance, the physical assault on lesbians at last year’s San Francisco Dyke March by violent trans activists, as well as the explicit exclusion of lesbians from the Vancouver Dyke March in the name of “inclusion.” The trans activist cult has been taking bigger and bolder steps for years now, having waited to secure widespread public support with the help of substantial financial backing from billionaire autogenephiles and influential gender essentialists in the medical field, before showing their true colors so shamelessly. As their resources grow, so too do their open displays of misogyny.

In short, they’re getting worse because they can get away with it.

For now.

It won’t last forever. The silver lining, I truly believe, is that the movement will eventually ensure its own downfall as more and more impacted women grow in awareness and gain the courage to speak out against those who wish to silence us—because the truth cannot be silenced for long, and neither can we.

Be on the lookout for our August 1st broadcast focusing on this year’s Pride events and Dyke Marches, where we will hear from Jen & Eli, two lesbians who attended the New York City Dyke March, and feature excerpts of an interview with Sophia Simonson by WLRN’s Sekhmet SheOwl. As always, thank you for supporting grassroots radical feminist media, and please share widely to ensure our voices are heard!

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