UK Lesbians Protest Against Transgender Activism. Police Ask Them If They're a 'Hate Group'
On the very first day of Pride Month, British police accosted a group of lesbians protesting against transgender activism, asking if they were a "hate group." The lesbian group Get the L Out made a stir last year at the London Pride parade by marching with a sign reading, "Transactivism Erases Lesbians." On Saturday, the group protested transgender activism again in the northern city of Bradford, with signs reading, "Lesbian = Female HomoSEXual."
Dr. Lesley Semmens, a retired academic who once lectured at the School of Computing at Leeds Beckett University, took part in the protest and reported the "hate group" question on Twitter.
"Just had the police (including an inspector) in to Cafe Nero in Bradford to ask us if we were a 'hate group'!!" Semmens tweeted. "Someone has reported us already."
Lesbian tennis legend Martina Navratilova responded in disbelief. "You must be kidding!!!" she tweeted.
Navratilova has spoken out against men who identify as transgender women competing with biological women in sports, and the LGBT sports group Athlete Ally quickly condemned her for it. She has always supported transsexuals — indeed she has a transsexual coach and friend — but she opposes transgenderism and biological males competing in women's sports. She apologized for using the word "cheat," however.
"No I'm not!" Semmens replied. "But half a dozen ver[y] young lesbians came and asked to be photographed in front of our banners. There is hope!"
When a Twitter user asked the retired academic if identifying as a lesbian is now a "hate crime," she explained, "Someone apparently reported that we had a banner... with the dictionary definition 'Lesbian = Female Homosexual.'"
Steve Taylor, an LGBT activist with Pride in London, shared photos of the Get the L Out protest, arguing that the lesbians are neither "growing" nor "relevant." Yet his pictures did demonstrate the reality of their protest.
One woman with "Get the L Out" wrote about the experience on Medium. "We had decided to meet in a coffee shop before going into the square. Whilst we sat drinking coffee we were approached by two police officers from West Yorkshire Police. They explained that someone had come to them and said that they’d seen some placards and so they wanted to make sure that there was nothing derogatory and that we were not a hate group," she wrote.
"We assured them that we were just lesbians going to Pride. That WYP felt it necessary to question a group of lesbians sat in a public place should concern everyone. The state has no business intimidating or policing the peaceful behaviour of its citizens just in case they offend someone," the lesbian added.
"The placard in question read ‘Lesbian = Female HomoSEXual’. That this was worthy of attention from the police illustrates our point. Our belief is that lesbians have the right to chose their partners based on sex and not gender identity. This position does not conflict with the right of individuals to express themselves or to live their lives in the gender they choose- we are not anti-transgender or transphobic," the lesbian added.
Jonathan Best, an academic and openly gay man, explained the thinking behind the "hate" confusion.
"All the main LGBT organisations in the UK, taking their cue from the lobbying charity Stonewall, take the view that being a man or a woman is nothing to do with whether we have male or female bodies, but rather an internal essence of womanhood or manhood," Best wrote. "This internal essence is called ‘gender identity’ — it’s essentially a feeling. According to this doctrine, anyone claiming to be a woman, and who is sexually attracted to women, is a lesbian. So we have a situation in which male-bodied people can say ‘I identify as a woman and I am a lesbian’ — and every LGBT organisation in the UK, including Pride, will respond ‘yes, you are.’"
"The law in the UK is a mess," Semmens told PJ Media when asked why the police were investigating claims that "Get the L Out" was a "hate group." "The police seem to have been trained by transgender activists and are recording 'hate incidents' even though 'hate crimes' (which exist in law) are supposed to be ordinary crimes which are committed motivated by hate against a protected group."
"The police appear to be giving 'words of advice' to people who are accused of 'hate incidents' e.g. saying that 'nobody can change sex,'" Semmens added.
Best pointed out the police definition of a "hate incident," which can include "offensive leaflets and posters."
Best said that police warnings regarding "hate incidents" can "have devastating effects on lives. ... Media pick up these stories and reputations are trashed - because of an ideological crusade to place certain views on sex/gender beyond reasonable discourse."
According to their website, "Get the L Out is a group of lesbian and feminist individuals and organizations, opposing the increasingly anti-lesbian and misogynistic LGBT movement and the erasure of lesbians."
Yes, "Get the L Out" believes that transgenderism means erasing lesbians, and they've actually got a very good point.
"Get the L Out" opposes "trans politics" because they promote "the social transition of lesbians, encouraging them to present as straight men thus favouring the pretence of heterosexuality over lesbianism — this is nothing more than a form of conversion therapy."
In one move, this lesbian group has tied transgenderism to the most hated bugbear among the gay community — the effort to reverse same-sex attraction and destroy homosexual identity. Transgenderism encourages some lesbians to "identify" as male, and as soon as they "transition" — assuming these "ex"-women still like women — they're suddenly straight!
"Get the L Out" also argues that transgender activism "promotes the right of heterosexual males who 'identify' as women and lesbians (despite most of them still retaining their male genitals) over the rights of lesbians to choose their sexual partners."
"This is simply a new facet to rape culture and compulsory heterosexuality," the lesbians declare.
This may be the most interesting charge. Because transgender activism pushes the idea that biological males can identify as women, it follows that these "trans women" can want to have sex with biological women and consider themselves lesbian.
A biological man who still has his sex organ can identify as a woman and still be attracted to biological women, but he cannot rightly claim a lesbian identity. His heterosexuality is merely masquerading as lesbianism.
As for the idea of a "hate group," that still seems rather out of the blue. As an American reporter, I associate that term with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which frequently accuses conservative Christian organizations of being "anti-LGBT hate groups." (As an aside, the SPLC has lost all credibility after a racism and sexism scandal and the revelation that its "hate group" accusation is a fundraising scam.) The SPLC champions transgender activism, and its cultural impact likely leads many transgender activists to demonize those who disagree — even if they are lesbians.
Yet this incident occurred in Britain, outside the SPLC's sphere of influence. Indeed, the transgender movement has demonized dissent on its own. Transgender activists argue that the high rate of suicide among those who identify as transgender is due to social stigma against them. Therefore, if anyone disagrees with transgender identity, that person is contributing to the suicide epidemic.
Using this logic, anyone who disagrees with the idea that a biological man can become a woman by merely "identifying" as such can be accused of "hate speech," and those who band together to disagree with transgender identity may be considered a "hate group."
Yet this leads to a clearly perverse outcome. How could LGBT activists consider a group of lesbians a "hate group"? Steve Taylor himself presents an answer: other LGBT activists consider these lesbians traitors to the cause and irrelevant.
However, more and more feminists have started speaking out against transgender activism. The feminist group Women's Liberation Front (WoLF) has joined a coalition of pro-life and religious freedom groups to oppose the pro-transgender Equality Act. In fact, these feminist groups are showing conservatives that feminism — whatever its faults — can be a force for moral clarity in an increasingly confusing time.
Just as organizations the SPLC has falsely accused of being "hate groups" have an impact in the United States, so Get the L Out has an impact in Britain — even if it is accused of being a "hate group."
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.