A British lesbian activist group is claiming that LGBTQ charity Stonewall is erasing them in favor of the “trans agenda.”
The Lesbian Rights Alliance (LRA) sent a letter with 135 signatures to Stonewall calling transgender rights “absurd.” LRA claims Stonewall is neglecting lesbians when they recognize trans women, who LRA describe as “male-bodied people with penises.”
“Stonewall has rarely represented our interests,” the letter reads. “Now in your single-minded policy to promote the trans political and ideological agenda you not only fail to represent us but you actually promote lesbian invisibility and erasure.”
LRA defines lesbians as biological women who are attracted to other biological women. The letter states that when the group refuses to “accept these men as lesbians you label us transphobes and TERFs, unleashing a torrent of hate speech upon us from your supporters.” TERFs stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminists, a sect of feminism that does not see trans women as real women.
Many were quick to criticize LRA’s stance, saying that supporting transgender people does not detract from lesbian rights. Carrie Lyell, an editor for DIVA magazine, wrote an open letter saying the 135 lesbians who signed LRA’s letter “do not speak for us.”
“Trans women do not erase lesbians. I believe we are enriched by trans friends and lovers, parents, children, colleagues, and siblings,” Lyell wrote. “Groups like the LRA would have you believe that it’s ‘them versus us’. It’s not. They are us. We’re one and the same, and we can’t let divisive, hateful and misguided people drive a wedge between us.”
Stonewall released a statement saying that the division being created by this group of women detracts from the overall goal to uplift everyone in the LGBTQ community.
“We stand in solidarity with those who are calling out the hate that is trying to divide our community. There are groups in the LGBT community who have been pushed to the side-lines, particularly trans and non-binary people,” Stonewall said, according to Gay Star News. “We’ve been working hard to bring forward the voices that for too long have been silenced or shouted down. What we cannot abide is these under-represented groups being blamed for erasing another, simply because they have finally been given a platform. History has shown that extending equality to one group does not negatively impact others; it in fact strengthens everyone’s equality.”
They added: “We have a responsibility to raise each other up and to stand united. Together we are stronger.”
Last week, Pride London had to apologize after they allowed a lesbian group holding signs that said transgender women are “coercing lesbians to have sex with men” to lead the London Pride parade. The group, named Get the L Out, held banners that said “lesbian = female homosexual” and “Transactivism erases lesbians.” One of the activists reportedly shouted out: “A man who says he’s a lesbian is a rapist.”