I'm a Lesbian. I'm Also a Trans Ally. Here's the Word They Don't Want You to Know.

PHOTO CREDIT:  MIGUEL BRUNA

PHOTO CREDIT: MIGUEL BRUNA

“TERF.”

Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists.

Disruptively alluded to as a “slur” as a way to silence lesbians who are trans allies by gaslighting the conversation faster than I can tweet “Come cuddle, @Lavernecox.”

Never use the word TERF, unless you're prepared to fend off an army of incontestably hateful people—who just so happen to be lesbians and bullies—ascending against you. That's exactly what happened to me when I decided to speak out against the transphobia that squeezed whatever last little bit of breath out of a bygone second home for a lot of us in the LGBTQ community when we were coming up and out—AfterEllen—before it was overthrown by organized hatred. TERFs. They even went so far as to use “the rape culture lesbians are facing” (Amy Dyess has me blocked, otherwise I'd link you directly) for blatantly disregarding trans people. 

Is this what “lesbians for lesbians” looks like now?
And this?
What about this?

Celebrated LGBTQ-inclusive lesbian, iconic DIVA Magazine publisher Linda Riley, has also been targeted for standing in support of visibility not limited to lesbians, as well as various other entities falling under the umbrella term who took principled stands against some of AfterEllen's ugliest thematic attempts to further marginalize and delegitimize trans women and trans women who are lesbians (recipients of “A visit from AfterEllen and Their Goon Squad” include comedian Rhea Butcher, author and editor/founder of The Dart Elaine Atwell, and managing editor at Autostraddle Heather Hogan). 

AfterEllen cares about neither lesbians nor “preserving a herstory,” as they've proven by launching personal attack campaigns against any lesbian or woman who goes against the TERF-popular grain on this (the unpopular grain in TERFland being LGBTQ solidarity). I'm still recovering from the conversational whiplash I experienced when I attempted to express my concerns to a member of AE staff, as I was immediately slammed with conspiratory alternative facts from opinion pieces. I literally told her I wasn't discounting her personal experiences of terror as she began to provide more context but instead substituted listening for more propaganda villainizing trans people, followed by defending AfterEllen's TERF-in-chief/editor with a divisive confidentiality notice at the end. Another one of their scare tactics used in attempts to silence us, perhaps. This is also the same person who wants us to believe she actually heard a single word Hannah Gadsby has ever said

The same war that gave us misogyny and homophobia gave us trans exclusionary radical feminists, AfterEllen. “Entertaining women since 2002.” Erasing lesbians all by themselves long before I showed up. 

I'm Every Woman, Not Some Sub-Par Headlining Act

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I remember cringing the first time someone told me I was a “beautiful woman”: post-shower, naked, and completely vulnerable before her. In retrospect, it wasn’t so much being called “beautiful” as it was hearing it paired with “woman.” Not that I was ashamed of my womanhood or being seen in a full-blown feminine light, but in that moment I realized that I had previously only ever been made to feel marveled at as some kind of core aesthetic. Overlooked, pacified. A mute screen of woman. It was the first time I felt fully embraced as a valid representation of a woman and not hindered by my androgyny.

“My only purpose is to be the most authentic representation of myself I can be. If any or all of what that looks like makes you uncomfortable, I’m not sorry. For some, my message will be lost on. I won’t be for everybody and that’s okay. To those who see ME: Thank you.” 

I’ve been embracing myself more and hiding less. I feel empowered in my skin. On this journey of freedom, I feel a neutralized sense of gender expression notwithstanding the insistence to label me with little to no room for fluidity. I feel secure enough in my sexuality to intimately explore the full-spectrum of women—having only ever dated hyper-feminine women—as my attraction to more masculine-presenting women blooms. This transparency—still one-hundred percent human—invokes a heightened sense of vulnerability:

“How will I be responded to?”

I’m immediately reminded that I’m not anyone’s boxed perception of me—synonymous only with my propensity to leave room to redefine myself, and again. And again.

Polyamory & Loving in Freedom

I was recently shamed for identifying as a polyamorist and told, "The way I love isn't love." This was hurtful to hear because my love-style comes from an open, honest, and selfless place.

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For me, polyamory is about the freedom to create, explore, expand, and preserve my connections with the women I love (while also creating an empowered and supportive space for them to experience the same). Connections that are strong enough to survive together and apart and aren't contingent upon romantic and sexual exclusivity. Dynamic connections, real connections. Free from the cages most relationships confine us to when fear, insecurities, and jealousy are allowed to dictate the way we connect with others. I don't ever want to love anyone into minimizing what someone else may or may not mean to them and I never want to experience being loved that way again. I don't ever want to love anyone away from the true wild of their heart. So often we hear "I want to see you happy, even if it's not with me", but when put to the test it rarely converts from being an impulse gesture (something simply uttered in the moment) to being sincere. How many of you actually mean it? I do, and contrary to the misconceptions, being a polyamorist represents those sincere acts of selflessness for me: Selfless love. It isn't for anyone else to understand or accept. I'm just grateful for each day I get to wake up, love, and let love.