Lesbian and Gay News

If you are lesbian or gay, is “Lesbian and Gay News” for you? Well, what news does it cover? I looked at its 24 November front page- archive link.

On the original site, the header image scrolls between articles. The first article is on the chief executive of Stonewall, Nancy Kelley’s interview on Woman’s Hour, and Stonewall’s support of trans rights. You might think that lesbian and gay people at the BBC would be concerned that their employer was leaving Stonewall’s diversity champions scheme, and their union, BECTU, confirms they are. But “Lesbian and Gay News” is exultant. For the writer, Stonewall supports trans, so the BBC was right to leave Diversity Champions.

Conversion therapy is in the news, and any lesbian and gay publication would take notice. LGN does. Under the header, twelve articles are featured, and the first two are on conversion therapy. Both argue that gender transition is “conversion” of cis lesbian and gay people.

“The mother of a lesbian teenager” claims her “daughter” is being converted by his school. As they give a false, female name, I will give a male one: Luke came out to his parents as lesbian aged 12, and they were supportive, but when he came out as a trans boy shortly afterwards, his mother became vehemently opposed.

Such articles often give good news. The MP has not supported the mother, and nor has the local authority or the school. I dare to hope this is a case I heard about in 2017, and if so the boy shows phenomenal courage standing up against the onslaught of his mother’s campaigning. The GP’s comments are skewed as supportive of the mother, but the GP made the appropriate referral.

There is nothing about religious groups preaching that gay sex is wrong, only about trans. A 12 minute read and a 9 minute read- I read this rubbish so you won’t have to- are only about trans recognition. Gary Powell writes that Luke, by having his gender identity accepted, has suffered “homophobic conversion therapy”. He argues that because no-one is “the soul of one sex in the body of another”, trans people cannot suffer conversion therapy. I beg to differ.

Kat Howard writes about being assaulted by a trans woman from her university LGBT society when a student, saying the trans woman walked her home, pushed her into sex, and messaged continually for three weeks. When Howard blocked her, she told the LGBT society that Howard was a transphobe and a terf. Howard claims she raped two other lesbians.

Howard is a teacher. Arguably she should not be, as she is an anti-trans campaigner. She seeks to undermine the school’s relationships and sex education (RSE).

An allegation of three rapes is serious. It is no less credible than other #metoo allegations. However trans women generally, just like any other social group, are not defined by the actions of our worst. So the allegation is problematic if it is used to slur trans women in general.

What else? An article about turning liberal people into anti-trans campaigners, by using the lie of autogynephilia and the lie of rapid onset gender dysphoria.

Then there’s a review of a historical novel in which a woman passes as a man, for freedom, but is called lesbian. The review has a pretty large spoiler. There’s a video of a speech by anti-trans campaigner Allison Bailey, saying anti-trans campaigners should be able to attend the global conference on LGBT rights. There’s a claim that newspapers call anti-trans campaigning racist- well, the Guardian doesn’t, leave alone the Times. There’s an interview with the straight anti-trans campaigner Graham Linehan, and an article by a poor deluded trans woman exhorting “post-operative transsexuals” like herself to use men’s toilets, claiming otherwise male abusers will pretend to be trans.

Apart from the book review, might any of this site be interesting to a lesbian who was not passionately opposed to trans rights? Well, on 28 September there was an article about the lesbian relationship in the TV drama Vigil. It repeats a number of common opinions about lesbian drama- I too am ambivalent about TV and film representations- but then gets to the nonbinary character in Sex Education season 3, which it finds boring. Pink News does entertainment reviews so much better.

On 23 August, the site promoted a demonstration against Stonewall Diversity Champions. They do not want Stonewall to advise employers about discrimination against lesbian and gay people, because Stonewall also supports trans people. But this directly harms lesbian and gay people, as BECTU confirmed.

If you are lesbian and gay, would you be interested in Lesbian and Gay News? Yes, if you want attacks on Stonewall, the premier lesbian and gay charity in the UK, hatred condemnation mockery and denial of trans people’s existence, or adulation of straight anti-trans campaigners. Otherwise, probably not.

4 thoughts on “Lesbian and Gay News

  1. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times. Acceptance of “different forms” diversity stopped somewhere at the beginning of this millenium. Sexual orientation seems to have been the last “form” of diversity to become “mainstream”, but only if it’s binary.

    In my nation of Aotearoa, we are seeing a strong pushback by some sections of society against the growing influence of Māori culture, some going so far as to claim it’s a form of “reverse Apartheid”, when in fact all Māori are demanding is that their culture be recognised, valued and have a rightful place in our society – something that has been mostly denied for more than 150 years.

    In the US and the UK, the anti trans lobby seems to be gaining traction by the day and I witness misconceptions (and the concerns those misconceptions give rise to) being twisted into outright lies to “protect” society from gender diversity.

    Ther same is happening in my particular sphere of interest – autism, where autistic self-advocacy and the neurodiversity movement in general is facing a similar campaign of misinformation to the extent that a recent autistic self advocacy conference was interrupted by anti-neurodiversity protestors.

    What I see common in all three “anti-divergency” movements (against cultural diversity, gender diversity and neurodiversity) is the tactics used: claimed negative impacts on another sector of society, treating an isolated negative incident caused by a person who is divergent as being typical of such people, and undue emphasis placed on the testimonies of a few dissenting voices within each divergency.

    I don’t recall the same forms of opposition being used against the gay community in their push for equality in the 70s and 80s, but that may be because at that time letters to the editor and talk-back-radio were the most common forms of “social media”, both of which faced varying levels of moderation as they needed to cater to a very wide readership/audience.

    These days social media can be highly selective in their target audience, and it seems that in order to remain viable, mass media such as print and broadcasting are becoming much more partisan when it comes to opinion or editorial content, even within organisation that traditionally placed an emphasis on balance.

    Thinking back at the dreams and aspirations for society that I and my peers held 50 years ago, I now find myself living in quite a dystopian world.

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    • I forgot to mention that I see each of the diversity movements as being part and parcel of the civil rights movement in general. They contain the same underlying principles that propel the racial equality and women’s rights movements.

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      • I am horrified at the thought of anti-neurodiverse protestors. Have you a link to a report? I don’t think I have heard of that in the UK, and would ask autistic friends.

        On emphasis on dissenting voices, in the US you can still see “ex-gay” testimonies- Christ set me free, etc, etc. I don’t think that “ex-gays” had nearly the same traction in the UK.

        I see you call your country Aotearoa, and I hear Jacinda Ardern speaking a few words of Maori (are there not more than one Maori language?) but English seems to have the power. In Wales, children can be educated in Welsh but I understand there is no school certificate for English as a second language. I think if ever Maori could play a full part in mixed society, while not having learned English, or everyone needed to speak at least conversational Maori in order to get ahead, then there still would be a rebalancing rather than a cause for concern. I was disturbed to read of Quebec outlawing signs in English. Each country or region has its own circumstances.

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        • I attempted to re-locate the article when I made the comment regarding the anti-neurodiverse protestors, but without success. If I recall correctly, it was a WordPress blog article, and I thought I had bookmarked it for reference for an article I have contemplated writing, but apparently not. I’ll keep looking and report here if I find it.

          Even leading (non-autistic) autism researchers such as Simon Baron-Cohen have jumped onto the anti-neurodiversity bandwagon.

          I think you are correct that what’s left of the anti-gay movement is confined to religious fundamentalism, which has much more leverage in the US than in the UK or NZ.

          There is just one Māori language, but it has regional dialects, much like English has in the UK. However, language is just one aspect of Māori culture that is making inroads into the national psyche. Aspects of the Māori world view and Māori spirituality are also colouring how we relate to each other and to the environment.

          For example, A number of forests, watersheds and mountains now have legal status equivalent to human beings; an appeal against a conviction is to proceed through the courts even though the claimant has died as the conviction affects his mana even though the appeal was brought by a Pākehā (non-Māori); Māori customary law is increasingly being recognised by the courts as having a status equivalent to common law.

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