When a Thoughtcrime Can Cost You Your Job
The “LGBTQ” has become an abusive parent with a wicked backhand. It’s a brutal force—a well-funded superpower—that’s created the illusion of unanimity… But this illusion of having respect, only comes through instilling fear.
When I received yet another letter from a scared lesbian, a few days ago, the words and sentiment expressed were all too familiar. I’ve been receiving letters like this from the lesbian community for years now. She said she was afraid to “follow” me or “like” my posts, because she was “terrified” that if her job found out, they’d fire her. The letter was anonymous, but she gave me permission to share it.
She works for a “Pride-happy” company… The kind that asks its employees to use a pronoun specific sign-out on their company emails. She’s not comfortable with it, after “years of hearing that lesbians aren’t ‘real women.'” Lesbians have made it abundantly clear that we’re not okay with the “ask my pronoun” shtick. But when lesbians are statistically the most underfunded and unrepresented group within the house of rainbow, who cares what we think? When lesbians are by far the most misrepresented and dehumanized group within the ever-expanding alphabet, it’s easy to get allies to bully, threaten and censor us, to gain our “compliance.”
The “LGBTQ,” its institutions, publications, and affiliates, not only sanction the dehumanization of lesbians, they contribute to it. They see no qualms with posting to social media, headlining articles etc., with a slur strongly affiliated with violent threats against lesbians (simply for being exclusively same-sex attracted).
Threaten to punch us, tell us to die in a grease fire, wear t-shirts stained with our metaphorical blood, carry bats wrapped with barbed wired to remind us to stay in line—It’s all copacetic, so far as the powers that be are concerned. As long as it shuts us up. Yet lesbians are regularly chastised by the dictatorship… just for being lesbians.
“I’ve never felt as shouted down, ignored, and targeted as a lesbian *within* our supposed GLBT community as I have over the past couple of years.” —Sad Lez
“LGBTQ” and co., have demonstrated such venomous retaliation toward lesbians, for crimes as simple as a “like” or a “repost,” or for being openly same-sex attracted (something we’re told we’re no longer allowed to celebrate with Pride).
The house of rainbow has become more like a carnival house of horrors… A powerful propaganda machine, fueled by big corporate bucks. Nothing is off-limits anymore. Not even toddlers. So drunk with power, so cocky in their grip, that on multiple occasions, non-lesbians, who now run Dyke Marches, have told lesbians not to attend… The Dyke March.
The male-dominated “LGBTQ” has no problem slinging slurs, revising history, or threatening those of us who dare to call out the lies. And its media redacts the word “lesbian,” as though we’re a bad dream and they wish we’d just disappear. They have no moral qualms when it comes to enforcing censorship and controlling the media on the left—Controlling what information readers on the left may and may not have access too.
“I’m actually afraid to follow either of you…or like most of your posts because I’m terrified someone will brand me [and] take it back to my Company.” —Sad Lez
Lesbians have organized and moved underground in droves—Vetting, secret passwords and all. We’re among the most vocal in our opposition. But so many, like the “terrified” lesbian behind this letter, have fallen silent out of fear.
There are a handful of vocal figures (who “identify” as “lesbians”) that back up the “LGBTQ,” even though its become dangerously anti-lesbian and pro child abuse. They’ve not only backed it up, they’ve lead virtual homophobia parades that specifically and exclusively target lesbians. It’s hard to say what motivates them… Perhaps they crave validation in the way of “likes” (and in quantities that only the non-lesbian majority can provide). Perhaps it’s greed or a desire to be seen… Maybe they’re just bad people. Perhaps they’re damaged, or maybe they’re just not playing with a full deck.
“… I follow your feeds closely. Please feel free to share this; I’ve made it anonymous enough to feel safe, I think.” —Sad Lez
When did it happen, that someone like me, a lesbian on the left, would need to actually start a new publication, on the left, just so that a young lesbian desister could tell her story and get it published (through a publication on the left)? When did it happen, that lesbians, like Sad Lez, came to fear the organizations and publications that once promised to protect us? That lesbians, like Sad Lez, felt so intimidated, so targeted, so terrified that they could lose their jobs just for clicking “follow”? When did it happen that someone like me could be seen as even remotely controversial simply for being a lesbian?
The gesture of an anonymous letter, in the current climate, is a small act of bravery. As is going a step further, giving consent to publish that letter anonymously. And if we take a moment to understand the justified fear this lesbian feels—the possibility that this letter could somehow be traced back to her, that if it is, she will quite possibly face consequences—then we understand that this small gesture, isn’t quite so small.
That said, I want to thank all of you who’ve taken the time to write. Know that this small act means something. Each of your sparks, ignited in the blackness of despair, contribute to the fire that is my fight.
Without further ado, I’d like to share this woman’s voice, this seemingly small, yet significant, act of bravery:
April 27, 2019, “Love mail from a sad lez”:
“Just want to say that I stumbled across your Twitter (and SisterOutrider) by complete chance and it’s been like finding water in a desert.
I’ve never felt as shouted down, ignored, and targeted as a lesbian *within* our supposed GLBT community as I have over the past couple of years.
I work for a very Pride-happy company, and I’m actually afraid to follow either of you on Twitter or like most of your posts because I’m terrified someone will brand me… [and] take it back to my Company.”
We’re strongly encouraged to label our preferred pronouns in the display name fields of our email addresses at my job (for ex [email protected] shows in your inbox as From: Nice Person (she/her) ) something I wasn’t comfortable with due to years of hearing that lesbians aren’t “real women.”
I felt that having to overtly label myself with gender pronouns of she-her put me back in that space though I’m completely fine with anyone who chooses to add their preferred words; I just didn’t want to do it myself — and I’m still very nervous that not having those pronouns there is going to bite me hard soon.
Long story short, even though I’m too chickenshit to interact with either of you much on Twitter, I follow your feeds closely. Please feel free to share this; I’ve made it anonymous enough to feel safe, I think.”
The relentless bullying we’ve endured as a community is exhausting. It’s meant to wear us down. To make us so tired, we have no fight left. It’s exactly how we ended up with no voice in the mainstream, and only a handful of lesbians bars remaining in the U.S. That’s why we have to fight back.
When you say, “I’ve never felt as shouted down, ignored, and targeted as a lesbian *within* our supposed GLBT community as I have over the past couple of years,” it breaks my heart… Because it’s something lesbians have been writing to tell me in astounding numbers, and I’m worried it’s causing us all heath problems (emotional and physical). So just know, lesbian leaders have organized underground. We’re all fighting to fix this.
When you describe adding “she/her” to your email as “something I wasn’t comfortable with due to years of hearing that lesbians aren’t ‘real women,’ “ know that lesbians have expressed that sentiment, time and time again. You have every right to express that without fear of backlash. It’s terrible that you have to work in an environment where that’s something you’ve been made to feel “very nervous” about.
Lesbians have a long history of refusing to ‘conform’ to sexist ‘norms,’ so, out in the real world, we’re receiving the brunt of the ‘ask my pronoun’ abuse (from both the right and the left). It’s only served to put a target on our backs, and it cements the idea that there’s a wrong way to be female. So when you say “having to overtly label myself with gender pronouns of she-her put me back in that space,” know that it’s put a great deal of lesbians in a bad place. And let’s face it, in real life it reinforces the sexist idea that ‘butch’ lesbians are “incorrectly female.” If that weren’t the take away, why isn’t anyone asking ‘femmes’ to clarify their pronouns?
When you say, “I’m so tired of being made to feel that I’m a monster,” please know, you’re anything but. People who make you feel like a monster, just for embracing your own truth and honoring your own reality, aren’t your people. A true ally would never ask you to deny who you are. An ally would never ask you to sacrifice your own needs. An ally would never ask you to give up your own happiness or demand that you compromise your own comfort, safety and health. And while we’re on the subject, anyone who thinks lesbians should just shut up and play along while lesbian youth are harmed, is the furthest thing from an ally… Steer clear of that vile brand of evil.
I’m so happy to hear that stumbling across my Twitter has “been like finding water in a desert”… Drink up! I’m so glad you found us. We’re still out here. Please do all you can to help others find us too. Since you’re feeling scared, kick it old school for now: Word of mouth is our friend. Our lack of visibility is especially dangerous for young lesbians right now and it’s causing permanent scars. Lesbians have been excluded (in the name of inclusion) from the few lesbian publications we had remaining, and non-lesbians—with their “Lesbian sex” advice headlines screaming, “Newsflash: We should be using condoms” for “PIV sex”—see no moral dilemma in doling out advice to baby dykes under the guise that they’re lesbians. It’s leading to severe trauma (emails I can’t share).
This feeling you have—that you have to hide—is everything lesbians saw coming from miles away, as our voices and our autonomy were being stripped away. When you say, “I’m actually afraid to follow either of you on Twitter or like most of your posts because I’m terrified someone will brand me…” and “take it back to my Company,” know that this Stockholm-like grip that “LGBTQ” has on lesbians, is exactly what’s led us to the point where emancipation is our only option. The irony of #droptheL is that we’ve already been dropped. While the letter L itself, is being held hostage, it’s strictly for optics at this point. As far as lesbians are concerned, the alliance is so over.
You took a step, you wrote and you gave me permission to publish your words, so when you say, “even though I’m too chickenshit to interact with either of you much on Twitter, I follow your feeds closely,” know you’re braver than you think. I’m sure that second step isn’t far behind. And keep following closely, that’s what we’re here for. The important thing is you found us, and you can low-key help others find us too. We’re even expanding our mentorship program, so The Lesbian Leadership Alliance (LLA), Sister Outrider included, can expand our work with young at-risk lesbians.
Lesbians have gone grassroots. We’re rebuilding. When you’re up to it, we could use the extra hands. And this time, we’re not letting anyone huff and puff and blow our houses down. We’re building steel-gated fortresses.
جوليا ديانا— Julia Diana Robertson, is an award-winning author, and a contributor for Huffington Post and AfterEllen—A first generation Arab-American, who grew up between worlds, and currently resides somewhere in the middle with a bird’s eye view.