Editor-in-chief Carrie Lyell writes from the heart on the formation of an organisation who have removed the T from LGB
BY CARRIE LYELL
I’ve been stuck in a kind of creative paralysis these last seven days. It’s a bit like writer’s block, but worse. Try as I might, I just can’t find the words to capture the rage and grief and utter exhaustion I’ve experienced reading about this new “organisation” that launched in London last week. The ones who want to do us cis folk a solid and take the T out of LGBT.
I won’t name them here because I refuse to give them the oxygen of publicity, but if you’re curious, a quick Google is your friend. Believe me though, whatever they tell you, these people are not. They might claim to have your best interests at heart, but all they are motivated by is hate.
I’ve been at DIVA six years now, and in that time, I’ve lost count of the amount of pieces I’ve written, asserting my personal and professional stance on trans inclusion and equality.
I’d much rather spend my days writing about inclusive education, LGBTQI homelessness, queer musicians, Brexit, tiny pigs. Literally anything else. But this obsession, held by a vocal minority, that trans people are erasing lesbian, gay and bisexual people is only getting more entrenched, more toxic, and more dangerous.
As their message gathers steam, it gathers allies. The BBC reports this week that more than 1.5 million transphobic posts were found online in a period of three and a half years, described as “inhumane” by anti-bullying charity Ditch The Label and analytics partner Brandwatch.
So as they get louder, so must we, and therefore – however repetitive it is and however exhausted I am saying it – it bears repeating: DIVA is, and always will be, trans inclusive. You cannot, and will not, turn back time. The LG and B belong with the T. In the pages of the magazine, on our website, and at all of our events.
This isn’t about feeding faceless trolls; coming off Twitter for a few days won’t make much difference, because this war rages in real life too. It has consequences.
I know people who have been signed off work. Who are afraid of leaving their houses. I get heartbreaking letters from trans readers on a regular basis; some who are suicidal. DM’s that move me to tears. All because of a handful of separatists hell bent on staging a civil war built on their myths and falsehoods; ones that paint trans people as aggressors and as a threat to society.
I’ve tried to be sympathetic; to understand where this fear some lesbians seem to have comes from. My inbox is always open to those who want to talk, and I have had some civil discussions with readers who, somewhat respectfully, disagree with our stance. I do think dialogue is necessary to move forward, and as a community it’s important we try to do that, for everyone’s sake.
But here’s my red line: trans women are women. If you can’t or won’t accept that, or just want to call me names on Twitter, then our conversation is over, and sadly, DIVA is not the magazine for you. If that makes me a “traitor”, “a treacherous snake”, or a “homophobe”, (all genuine insults slung my way – cute, huh?) then so be it.
DIVA is an independent publication, produced by a handful of brilliant, clever and creative lesbians and bi women who all have one thing in common; a passion to tell our stories. That’s all we’re trying to do. We’re not the enemy. We’re not “handmaidens of the patriarchy”, and we haven’t thrown anyone under the bus.
There’s no hidden agenda here. We stand beside our trans and non-binary siblings, as we have done for 25 years, because it’s the right thing to do. Because they’ve stood by us from the beginning. Because they are us. We know each other’s struggle, and we know our community is strongest together.
I know we’re not alone; the positive messages I get whenever I write a piece affirming our commitment to trans inclusion are proof. And I’m comforted to see the way our community has come together this past week – hashtags like #myLGBTfamily have trended, and Dazed reports today that a solidarity demo is to be held this weekend in London. Organised by those behind BwiththeT, they’re calling on all of us to come together in a show of love, unity and strength.
As Stonewall says, in response to rumours this group’s formation is the result of an apparent split in their ranks, “There is no equality for lesbian, gay and bi people without equality for trans people.”
So no matter how angry, how sad, or how exhausted we are by this trans exclusionary narrative that never seems to end, we’ll be there on Saturday. We’ll keep writing pieces like this, and, above all, we’ll keep fighting for trans equality. For as long as we have to.
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