A recent study reporting that some lesbians feel pressured into having sex with transgender women, who are biological males, has divided feminists and the gay and transgender community over whether their sexual preferences amount to transphobia.
The controversial BBC article cited a report by lesbian group Get the L Out that found 56% of 80 respondents said they were “pressured or coerced to accept a trans woman as a sexual partner.” In conversation with other members of the gay and transgender community, lesbians reported receiving death threats, rape threats, and verbal abuse for “questioning the trans doctrine” and were designated as TERFs, an abbreviation for “trans-exclusionary radical feminists.” The report was met with mixed reactions, being accused of demonizing transgender women by some critics while applauded by others for sharing the women's stories.
The article garnered praise from lesbians on Twitter, many of whom have long felt that the broader movement for gay and transgender rights no longer represents their interest.
An excellent piece by the BBC about lesbians getting called transphobic if they don’t want sex with males who identify as women. Same-sex attraction is real and deserves to be respected. Anything less is homophobia. https://t.co/92fYMxetTH
— FairPlayForWomen (@fairplaywomen) October 26, 2021
Wow. Looks like the BBC have remembered what balance looks like. I'm particularly pleased so see @FrenchFem's important research on sexual violence perpetrated on lesbians finally getting some mainstream coverage. https://t.co/McOP8FKT2p
— Karen Ingala Smith (@K_IngalaSmith) October 26, 2021
Vital reporting on the sexual coercion of lesbians. Read the words of these young lesbians threatened with violence, compared to Hitler, and ostracised by their friends & lovers for saying no to sex that involves a penis. These women are not disposable. https://t.co/ZnUyOdFaa1
— Sister Outrider (@ClaireShrugged) October 26, 2021
It also received backlash from those who saw it as encouraging the discrimination of transgender people and castigating them as predators.
This article is based on a 'survey' of 80 people, conducted by an explicitly anti-trans organisation using that organisation's social media network. Shameful and disreputable misuse of data by the BBC here.https://t.co/cLHY2iwpVC
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) October 26, 2021
Thrilled to see that lesbians were trending, until I read why. I am not sharing the transphobic article, but I AM going to say that that piece of trash is not the consensus of all gay women. Next time when 'lesbians' are trending, can it just be loads of fit pictures of me?
— Rosie Jones (@josierones) October 26, 2021
Headline: "Lesbians pressured into sex with trans women!"
Evidence: a social media survey of just 80 people, only half of which actually agreed with, from a group condemned by Pride in London.
This is propaganda. pic.twitter.com/GbRzieoCqu
— Adam Smith (@adamndsmith) October 26, 2021
The article included quotes from several lesbians who received backlash or harassment from gay and transgender people, even a partner in one case, for saying they were not sexually attracted to people with male bodies.
“[They] threatened to out me as a terf and risk my job if I refused to sleep with [them],” one woman said of a trans woman she went on a date with. “I was too young to argue and had been brainwashed by queer theory so [they were] a ‘woman’ even if every fibre of my being was screaming throughout so I agree to go home with [them]. [They] used physical force when I changed my mind upon seeing [their] penis and raped me.”
Though some transgender women said physical preferences were understandable, others decried “genital preferences” as discriminatory and in the same vein as only wanting to date people of a certain race.
“If you find that when dating, you are writing off entire groups of people, like people of colour, fat people, disabled people or trans people, then it's worth considering how societal prejudices may have shaped your attractions,” Nancy Kelley, the president of Stonewall U.K., a gay and transgender rights group, told the outlet in a statement.
Celebrities have attracted similar criticism in recent weeks. Comedian Dave Chappelle, who received backlash for jokes he made about the transgender community in his new Netflix special, has refused to retract his remarks, saying he'd meet with the offended parties but only on his terms.
"To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me," Chappelle said Monday. "I am not bending to anybody's demands."
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Original Author: Virginia Aabram