I was there when a lesbian pride march got picketed by bigots

Content note: this post discusses transmisogyny

Over the last few years, I’ve regularly attended London’s Dyke March. It’s important to me to be with my sisters who also love women, out in the streets showing our solidarity and strength. The march organisers are brilliant, ensuring maximum turnout by pursuing an inclusive policy: all dykes are welcome.

In the light of this inclusive policy, it was only a matter of time till bigots tried to disrupt this annual dyke demonstration. I’d heard rumours of some sort of presence from bigots online, who objected to the inclusive stance of the organisers and their proactive selection of diverse dykes outside of the traditional cis white lesbian speaker selection. At this point, some women, including my girlfriend, were put off from going on the march. I don’t blame these women at all: the last thing anyone wants at a day celebrating queer women’s identity is a confrontation with bigots. I imagine this is exactly why the bigots publicly threatened to show up, to put women off from coming. There’s a full summary of what they did before the march here, if you want to see their tactics.

On the day, my friends and I arrived late, running predictably on queer time. Luckily, the march, being run by queer women, was also running on queer time, so we hadn’t missed the speeches. We grabbed a spot near the stage. I looked around, unsure as to whether the bigots would have turned up.

As the speeches started, I realised with a sinking feeling that they had. A silver-haired woman handed me a leaflet. Through the block of text, I could see that it was transmisogynistic conspiracy theorising about Sarah Brown, one of the speakers. I ripped it in half. They held up placards, revealing their obsession with genitals. They yelled misogynistic and transmisogynistic slogans over a speaker, as the rest of the crowd shuffled away and told them to shut up. In all, I think there were five or six of them, and one of them was literally wearing a fedora.

I’d seen all this before. I have seen this sort of thing outside abortion clinics, where Catholics try to harass women seeking access to abortion. I have seen it at Pride, where every year bigots show up to picket queer people gathering together and being themselves.

A lot of TERfs claim to be political lesbians, but if that’s the case, why are they picketing London’s only lesbian pride parade? Why are they attempting to disrupt a gathering of queer women? Why did they try and stop dykes from joining with their sisters in solidarity?

It was clear that they were not here as fellow lesbians, which was evidenced by the fact that they did not participate in the march itself. They just showed up to try and wreck the event. I consider their intervention an act of lesbophobic violence.

I cannot say I’m surprised that this happened. In women’s circles, transmisogyny is too often treated as a kind of abstract intellectual difference. Let it be known that it is not: it is a belief system which directly leads to attempting to disrupt lesbian pride and solidarity.


12 responses to “I was there when a lesbian pride march got picketed by bigots

  • Hannah

    “A lot of TERfs claim to be political lesbians, but if that’s the case, why are they picketing London’s only lesbian pride parade?”

    if your house was taken over by squatters, would you still be proud of your house? would you not fight to get it back?

    • stavvers

      I’m pretty sure you didn’t mean to do this as you’re clearly part of the problem, but you’ve managed to demonstrate the inherent conservatism of TERf ideology really fucking well.

      As radical feminists, we ought to stand against patriarchal constructs such as property ownership. Squatting is a method of reclaiming those spaces, and political squats and occupation have been an integral part of radical feminist tactics since the inception of our movement. Meanwhile, men have fought to get rid of squatters, because ultimately squatters are taking their spaces. They use violent tactics to protect what they think is theirs. This “fighting to get it back” that you speak of involves breaking arms and beatings. I see you’re perfectly OK with violence against women in the protection of property ownership, so I’m hardly surprised your politics are shitty in other areas, too.

    • Big Pink Box

      Who needs men to enforce the patriarchy when people like you will do it for them.

      AFAIC white, cis, able-bodied, neurotypical, economically/occupationally secure women are just one rung under their brothers on the ladder of privilege and entitlement.

      Those of us who do not fit into your bubble of privilege are not some underclass that you can grind under your heel for amusement, we’re not the fox to your beagle, to be hounded and ripped to shreds for sport.

      We live, sleep, eat, breathe, laugh and cry.

      Sorry if pointing out our shared humanity makes it a bit harder to view us as unworthy of the rights and freedoms you’d seek to deny us, but it needs to be reiterated that women are abusing and disparaging other women. Why? So you can hang onto the crumbs thrown your way by the patriarchy? I hope it’s fucking worth it.

  • LJ

    But according to your previous blog, anyone who only likes one kind of genitalia is essentially a “bigot” (seems to be your favourite word), so not sure what you were doing taking part in a dyke march.

    • stavvers

      Last I checked, lesbians fancy women, not genitals.

      As such, it was a nice day out in the company of other dykes. Without men present, it almost felt like we weren’t being constructed as merely walking body parts for their objectification and gratification. Pity you’re the sort of creep who shows up and obsesses over what I might have in my pants again.

      • Big Pink Box

        I know I always used to insist on a full-body, prison-style, strip/drop/squat/cough inspection within the first five minutes of meeting any new woman.

        Let me tell you, supermarket shopping used to be a nightmare. I was constantly replacing the batteries in my flexible “snake’ camera, and the follow-up blood tests were fixedly to administer in the pies/sausage rolls/pasties aisle at Tesc.

        Men kept encroaching on my genital examination space. If I’d earned a quid every time I heard “But I only want some mini scotch eggs off that shelf, you’re in the way”, I’d be able to afford a new AstroTERF Zapper (Pro model, detects even trace amounts of Bindelium) to rid the Internets of anyone who surfs the second wave on a MWMF souvenir surf board, or uses the terms “wombyn*” or “Womyn born womyn**” seriously.

        Thank Glob for online grocery shopping.

        *The spell check on my pad is having a complete meltdown over this comment.

        **Don’t know about any on else, but I was born a baby. My mam had enough trouble carrying me for 36 weeks, never mind until I reached whatever defines “womanhood”. Menarche? Having to pay Council Tax? First speeding ticket?

      • sarahlizzy

        I’d also make the point that everyone I saw, and I could see pretty much everyone from standing on the stage, had their clothes ON.

    • alliecat

      “It’s only the worst sort of bigot who makes up a definition of love and rigidly enforces it on others” – maybe I need to retake GCSE English or something, but I’m pretty sure “makes up a definition of love and rigidly enforces it on others” doesn’t mean “only likes one kind of genitalia”

  • Alex Grey

    It just goes to show – there are simply no real safe spaces. I wished I’d have been at the march to support Sarah, but I will make damned sure that I’ll be there next year so I can stand against the likes of terfs and their hideous genital fuelled ideologies.

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