Gender Identity

Defending Lesbian Rights

27th November 2017, Author: Lesbian Alliance

A statement from the Lesbian Rights Alliance This briefing represents the position of a number of lesbian groups and lesbian individuals concerned about the impact of current political and legislative developments on lesbian rights, freedoms and visibility. This includes in particular the government proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act (2004) 1. Introduction 1.1 What is a Lesbian? A lesbian is a woman who is sexually attracted to and has sexual relationships with other women. Recent years have seen an increasing pressure on lesbians to use more ‘inclusive’, generic terms such as ‘queer’ or ‘gay.’ However, these terms are not specific to women and therefore render invisible the specific experience of lesbians and the specific discrimination faced by lesbians, who of course share experiences of sex discrimination with heterosexual women as well as discrimination based on sexuality. 1.2 Lesbian Rights, ‘Sex’ and ‘Gender Identity’ The normalisation of the concept of ‘gender identity’ has particularly serious implications for lesbians. It has meant that the rights of any male who claims he ‘feels like a woman’ are given precedence over those who are actually biologically female. For example, the use of the term ‘self-defined woman’ means that lesbians are under pressure to accept male-bodied individuals within their communities and indeed as sexual partners. Given that 80% of men who transition retain their male genitals1, the once absurd notion of a ‘lesbian with a penis’ is being promoted and normalised within LGBT communities, with the attendant pressure on lesbians to accept this notion […]