Response to the condemnation of young lesbians calling themselves queer

I wanted to express my thoughts about articles some women have been writing towards the queerfiying of lesbians and in particular, young lesbians.
I’ll be brief and say think it’s unfair to blame or shame younger lesbians for adopting a queer identity instead of proudly declaring themselves as lesbian. Especially when they played no part in the growth of queer politics and the destruction of lesbian community themselves.

You need to understand lesbian history. Yes, our lesbian foremothers during the 70s did many amazing things for the building and growth of lesbian community. And when they were united under the ethical values of lesbian feminism, it made the lesbian community a safe, powerful, and womanloving space to be, and many things had been created, yes including Michfest, and made the patriarchs tremble in their boots.
However, it didn’t remain this way for long; let’s continue with the rest of the tragic lesbian story. As documented by Sheila Jefferys, around the 80s, some lesbians began to grow ashamed or resentful towards their lesbian identity. They became influenced by patriarchal hetero/gale male values instead of lesbian feminist values. So a lot of them migrated from lesbian feminism and community, and began adopting anti-woman, anti-feminist conduct and misogynist behavior.
Eventually, instead of the terms “lesbian” having a strong feminist, anti-patriarchal inclination, suddenly, lesbians were dropping feminism and lesbian feminist politics, and adopting womanhating pornography, BDSM, butch/fem, dildos, and male sexuality, doing a complete one-eighty, no doubt brought on from gay male influence. They slowly walked away from “lesbian” and went to “queer” from the 80s and into the 90s.
This was what our lesbian foremothers did during the late 70s and into the 80s. Yes, our foremothers became ashamed of themselves first. They were the first ones to deter from feminism and lesbian pride, and those effects are still seen in ever fading lesbian community today. It’s what eventually helped to break down Michfest; trans-males were the final nail in the coffin. And the ‘lesbian community’ is just as misogynistic and pornographic as ever, from the 80s and on.

Your use of pornographic words, like “juicy” and even dangerous words like “stone” (indicating a lesbian’s sexual dysfunction), and other crude descriptions to describe lesbian sexuality is a reflection of this. I know you meant well, and you were trying to state how pleased you were to reject men and embrace lesbianism. But we can say so in a way that reflects lesbian feminist values, anti-porn values, and respect for women and lesbians. Being shameless about being a lesbian doesn’t mean sounding like we’ve come off the cover of a lesbian porn magazine. It means being proud of embracing and loving and respecting women, like you would yourself, instead of men. It means also meant being proud of your lesbian feminism ethics and womanloving values, in a patriarchy that hates and debases women and lesbians.
Just because we’re lesbians doesn’t give us the freedom to ignore how our sexuality and personal conduct in regards to sex and other lesbians plays a part in either upholding or dismantling and moving away from patriarchy. Unfortunately, some lesbians of the past didn’t understand this either, and still don’t. They were the beginnings of the queer/trans, anti-feminist migration of lesbians. And without a strong lesbian feminist foundation, you simply don’t have a lesbian community. Because lesbian community was first founded on lesbian feminism, which held strong to womanloving ethics and patriarchal resistance, not on exclaiming how many orgasms we can get, or how much we fetishize the vagina (ugh… men do that too, remember? They fetishize the female body A LOT, actually. It’s not charming or feminist to declare yourself a ‘vagina fetishish’, at all, no matter how well you meant); we really cannot forget that.
Your ‘juicy’ orgasms turn men on, it doesn’t make them scared of you. And it does’t threaten the patriarchs whatsoever.

Anyway, I say all of this to say, that we have to stop pointing the finger at younger lesbians, the girls born during the 90s and early 2000s (like I was), who adopt the queer label. The lesbian community had been thoroughly warped and tainted with anti-feminist queer/trans politics by then, just waiting to trap young lesbians, and this was the unfortunate fault of the lesbians who came before them and their actions.

There is no lesbian feminist community like there was, just waiting to embrace young lesbians under its wings. Now, the “lesbian community”, or what’s left of it, is largely no place a lesbian would want to go. I wrote about this in another post, but when I was still 18 and embracing my lesbianism, while questioning and rejecting patriarchy, I sought out lesbian community. I still believed it was as womanlovingly ethical and feminist as before. But I had no idea of lesbian history and events, or any recollection that the lesbian community had been broken down since before I was born. But as ventured to find lesbian companionship, I would find out from being in online spaces (usually so-called radfem spaces with other lesbians), the lesbians in said community were either anti-feminist, indulging in the pornography and male sexual norms that objectified and harmed me as a child, and blatant misogyny. So much misogyny.
If I wasn’t interested in feminism at the time and yearning for the lesbian community of the 70s, I’d probably had fled for the companionship of those in the queer community instead. Because for young lesbians like me, who are isolated and harmed by many forms of patriarchal abuses and usually without money or support, having a sense of community matters more than anything. And the queer/trans community is unfortunately their only bet, and it’s right their waiting for them with open arms and extended talons.

While its easy to say that young lesbians simply adopted the queer label and are ashamed of calling themselves lesbians (especially for its strong feminist roots), there’s more to it I think. While it’s a horrible ramification of lesbian community, the queer/trans community gets one things right: it presents itself in a welcoming and positive way. When first searching for lesbian community in online spaces, for the most part, I didn’t feel a sense of community, at all. This is something the queer/trans community gets right. The lesbian community, without being rooted in its ethical and womanloving feminist roots, becomes an unpleasant place to be.
And if we are just simply talking about shame, then ask yourself this: Why would these young lesbians of today be proud of calling themselves lesbian and embracing lesbian community and lesbian feminism, if their foremothers became ashamed of it first? When their foremothers first resented and retreaded from it first?

I’m a young lesbian myself, and it’s irritating when these things aren’t being taken into consideration. Stop blaming and shaming your lesbian daughters when they done nothing wrong, when being influenced by the trans/queerism wasn’t their fault, when they were simply trying follow their survival instincts (the way all lesbians do in a hostile patriarchy).

Lesbian Mothers need to take some personal responsibility and acknowledgement for themselves, okay?  Please.. The queer/trans train was started by patriarchal-influenced lesbians from the 80s-90s. And that’s just an unfortunate truth. I’m not trying to shame these older lesbians either, but we need to understand and acknowledge our mistakes and our history first, so that we don’t keep making the same mistakes or repeat history. I believe that lesbian pride, lesbian feminism, and womanloving values could be reinvested into the lesbian identity and community. And by doing so, it would make the term lesbian embraceable and give the lesbian user a sense of pride once felt. By doing this, I believe lesbian community, in turn, would be built up again and never fall.

Thanks for reading!

Please read the other post on my blog regarding my online radical feminism journey and encounter of other lesbians to know more of feelings and what I’ve observed.

P.S. Don’t worry, I do have lesbian friends both online and off line. I’m not alone!! And I know not all lesbians are like this, but enough are and the lesbian community doesn’t need anymore of those types of characters in order Her to be resurrected.

Some good lesbian feminist reads for curious lesbians:

https://bugbrennan.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/putting-the-politics-back-into-lesbianism-janice-raymond.pdf

https://radicalhubarchives.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/lesbian-bdsm-part-1-lesbian-bdsm-in-fan-fiction/

http://www.feministes-radicales.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Sheila-Jeffreys-Lesbian-Heresy.pdf

file:///home/chronos/u-7c7718aeae807bfa50751e8eae142bc1f65a3c04/Downloads/Unpacking%20Queer%20Politics%20-%20Sheila%20Jeffreys.pdf

http://www.feministes-radicales.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Sheila-Jeffreys-The-Spinster-her-Enemies.pdf

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6 thoughts on “Response to the condemnation of young lesbians calling themselves queer

  1. Thank you for responding to my article. I love that young lesbians are engaging politically and critically. Kudos. I wanted to respond to you because I too am a young lesbian, a political, radical, lesbian feminist, and I think you and I are on the same team. “Vagina fetishist” is what trans/queer activists call lesbians who are only interested in female people. It is used tongue-in-cheek. I think that there is a widespread stereotype that women don’t like sex, and this is a harmful stereotype because it is not true for all lesbians, and contributes to women not being able to embrace or celebrate our sexuality and our bodies. Many lesbians internalize self-hatred and are disgusted by our female bodies, and unpacking this, letting it go, and learning to love our bodies is critical to loving the bodies of our partners. Reference to stone women is not an endorsement of sexual dysfunction. I have loved and slept with stone women, and I honor their experience of sexuality, regardless of whether they came to express it due to trauma or something else. I hope all women think critically about how their sexual expressions are situated in the context of our society and in history. I’m not here to judge lesbians who are into BDSM, kink, or whose sexuality reflects trauma. We are all immersed in patriarchy from birth, and no woman is free of the consequences of this, not even in our personal lives, not even in our bedrooms. Tests of political purity expressed in our personal lives divides and isolates lesbians and erodes community.

    Keep writing your blog; your voice is beautiful and you are adding to lesbian culture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for responding to me. And thank you for your encouragement, it means the world.

      I never meant to come across like I’m wagging a finger at other lesbians, I swear. I know how badly growing up in patriarchy effects lesbians. I’ve encountered and have had to endure so much. But I refuse to let that define me, I instead choose to discard it, and I want to encourage other lesbians to do the same.
      Male-abuse and internalized misogyny, combined with stereotypes and assumptions about female/lesbian sexuality can seriously damage lesbians and our pride; I know this, I truly do.
      I think it’s healthy to discuss it, instead of allowing the lesbian community to become a reflection of how we’ve coped for so long or our damage. I think we need to make it a womanloving environment free from misogyny; a women-centered place to heal from all of that damage. We can’t allow the lesbian community to become a mimicry of the same pornographic, heterocentric patriarchy that’s damaged us so badly in the first place. So, I think talking about these issues is crucial and actually does sustain us. It isn’t about political purity, it’s about healing ourselves, keeping the lesbian community a safe and womanloving place, and keeping woman-hating male culture out. And keeping it out of our minds and hearts, even though it’s so hard to do.
      I think the opposite of what you said is true: by avoiding discussions about it, we’ve actually been divided from each other and isolated even more. Now lesbians are confused because one half of lesbian community accepts the same misogyny and mannerisms that exists in heteropatriarchy, while the lesbian feminist-centered community, is continuing to disappear, when it’s needed.
      Our experiences our individualized, and we forget that we’ve suffered the same oppression, based on the same reason: being women who grow up in patriarchy. There’s a major lack lesbian feminist understanding amongst ourselves, and it’s devastating. I’ve seen it on online lesbian spaces… I just know I have to talk about it.

      Does that all make sense? I really hope so, I never want to come across like I’m being ignorant of the pain we’ve suffered. Never. I never want to appear like I don’t support lesbians, or I’m judging what they do or who they are, especially to survive.
      But I don’t want us to stop talking about how we’ve been harmed, and how we’ve coped, and how forming our identities off of our pain isn’t healthy for us. It only creates further problems for us that keep us from moving forward, getting out of patriarchy (or destroying it), or coming together, or truly healing.

      Coming to lesbian community should have been a relief for me, it should for all lesbians. But it was like stepping into the same world I fought so hard to get out of. This is dangerous, dangerous for young lesbians and dangerous to lesbian prosperity. I really believe this.
      I mentioned that I’ve seen certain behavior before in online lesbian spaces. I documented my experiences of this in another post on this blog, because I thought it was that important, and I was genuinely upset. Please check it out if you get a chance. Those experiences I encountered only helped me to understand that more dialogue about this is needed.

      Reading from the, The Lesbian Heresy, and being a victim of certain things myself, I see how in the past and to this day, we and our community has been effected. I wish to be apart of the solution, not the problem. So thank you for talking to me and voicing your thoughts. Thank you very much. And thank you for defending lesbians from the trans-menace as well on Feminist Current. (I know they’re completely misogynistic and say so much lesbian-hating garbage, “vagina fetishists”) I know you were being awesome and defending us and our community. *hugs* I’m sorry, if I sounded hostile towards you, I’ve just encountered a lot of previous online drama from other lesbians (when I was new). And I’m going though some real life stuff at the moment. I’m a cool woman, I promise!
      If you get a chance, I’d love to hear back from you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    2. By the way, your relationships you mentioned sound beautiful. You’re so lucky. I unfortunately haven’t had the chance to love or have intimacy with another woman, I’m just not in the safest place to do so. It’s crippling.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sister I’m sorry this is the case for you right now. I hope you get out of the danger zone where you can’t have a relationship. Do you have older lesbian mentors? Do you have community other than online? Let me know if you want to talk in private message.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much… Your comment is so thoughtful. I’ve just begun to work and will hopefully make enough to move out soon. And I do have two or three lesbian friends in the area I’ve been trying to spend more time with for my health’s sake. I know some lesbians from online in the area too, but nothing like community or genuine friendship or connections, I’m just not able to forge those connections at the moment; and I’ve felt out of place in lesbian community too. It’s been so weird for me. Again, thank you for your concern, I will message you privately if it comes to that.
        Please take care!

        Like

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