Misgendering lesbians

Purple Sage

I mentioned in a response to Skepto that lesbians get called by neutral or male pronouns sometimes by people who take a look at their appearance and assume they don’t identify as women. He responded:

“My first reaction to this was abject horror, because misgendering people is extremely rude and disrespectful in my eyes. Then I realized this was somewhat ironic considering who I’m talking to. So… if you don’t believe that pronouns can do any harm, as you said in your previous post, why do you feel that calling people by male pronouns against their will is bad?”

What an excellent question! I think there are two distinct questions here, in fact.

(1) Why do I “misgender” trans people but not want to “misgender” lesbians?
(2) Why do I care about lesbians being “misgendered” if I don’t think pronouns can harm people?

Let’s start with an introduction to…

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Male violence is the force which polices and upholds patriarchy. All systems of oppression require violence and fear to create, cement and uphold.

As a socialist feminist, with a radical understanding of gender, and class consciousness shaped by struggle I try to actively see “race”. I see my whiteness more each day as I listen to how Black women see their blackness. I see the reality of policing “race” a social construct into oppressive systems of hierarchy which are a material reality. We have to reject colour blindness if we are embracing love and fighting hate. I see how class interacts with ethnicity and with gender, with wealth, strength, health, ability, education or lack thereof. I see how power is concentrated, how privilege replicates itself and how we are robbed of the use of the power that we, each of us, actually own.

And the spectrum of male violence, in all it’s forms and permutations, is what I will be marching against tonight.

I will march for Fatim Jawara who died aged 19 trying to cross the Mediterranean. She should be known for her goalkeeping skills, not for her death. Poverty is violence and if sisters flee poverty the back way or they flee war they are our sisters still.

I will march for Becky Godden, still being defined by things she did for money during times in her life, not as a daughter taken. Stolen by male violence from her parents and those who loved her, aged just 20. Becky, whose parents fought for justice in a way no parent should be forced to. The violence perpetuated by the criminal justice system and by the media to her and her loved ones after her death is what we march against too.

I will march for Sheila Holt found fit for work while lying in a coma, Sheila died aged just 48. Violence perpetuated by our state has killed so many women like Sheila. Our lost sisters.

I will march for Sarah Reed. Also murdered by the state. Preventable death is a vile euphemism. Lessons are never learned. When treatment is withheld, when a survivor of police brutality is sick with fear and anguish, when she is left to die, it is murder. She deserved more.

I will shout against the street harassers who police public space and treat our bodies as public property. And I will fight against those men who wait till we are in private spaces to do us harm. And I will remember all the women who can’t march because they’ve been taken from us.

All of us will march for these women and for other lost sisters, known and unknown. And for those who can’t march because they are rightfully scared of public spaces at night, those who can’t march because they’ve no spoons left after surviving each day. And for those who choose not to march but are also surviving patriarchy whether they have been given the tools to name their struggles or not.

It will be cold, and I’ll be tired and my heart will be worn, but I won’t be conflicted nor divided. Time and space, seeking and learning, it has brought clarity and purpose. I’m ready to be a part of our reclaimation. And I can’t wait to see all of the wonderful women who can be here and to celebrate all we are achieving with you.

Complaint to Glamour UK

Oosty's Offerings

Dear Madam or Sir,

Today, a woman (possibly, of course I have no idea how she identifies) named Kat, reposted Juno Dawson’s contribution to the magazine, where they disparage gender critical feminists as, ‘Terfs’ with a triumphant, “YES”.


Following that, I, and many women wrote to Kat to tell her we were disappointed that Glamour magazine would use a word which is only ever used today as a slur, and she would continue to repeat it.


Many women today told of their experiences of the word being used to silence and insult them although Glamour UK, whilst active online, did not respond in any meaningful way, other than telling us that words don’t really mean anything, the fucking idiot. See what I did there?


Your discrimination policy states that you will not permit disparaging remarks or editorial to be made to groups on the basis of their gender identity or sex.

A summary…

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