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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“Don’t cry my precious one, cuz I ain’t got no sympathy for you”

A short history of being told how to feel. Part 1

The man who advised me I need men like him to organise effectively. No one can affect change alone.
I don’t suck socialist dick.

The woman who advised me my truth could upset women whose truth was more important. Had I considered an edit?
I don’t kiss feminist cunt.

The woman who wanted a pet to publish, her name on my collar.
Pets bite.

The woman calling me a nazi bitch in private and maintaining a feminist front.
You need help.

The woman giving me a public dressing down because my behaviour was hostile.
Keep climbing that greasy ladder my love. I won’t be the cushion at the bottom when you fall on your arse. No hand above will hold you firm.

The many, many women perpetuating the lie that I stalk and am obsessed with posh bints.
I don’t want your pearls duckeh, if I did I’d have ripped them from your neck time ago.

The man telling me I should see people not class because we all come from the Mother Earth.
Just fuck off back your pottery class at St martins. What ever shit you’re smoking is substandard and you probably overpaid for it.

The woman privately telling me if I’d have said I was a “survivor” I would have been better understood.
I’m not Michelle you know? She has a career in gospel. Go survive with her.

Are we done yet? Because part 2 won’t take me long to write.

“Thick words of gratitude, what a price to pay…Stuck in my throat, I sell every word I say”

Utah Phillips said “The long memory is the most radical idea in this country. It is the loss of that long memory which deprives our people of that connective flow of thoughts and events that clarifies our vision, not of where we’re going, but where we want to go”. Now we can take Utah as a man of his country or a man of his class. As an American or as an anarchist. The long memory is something we are all grasping at.

We, who have a history of struggle to draw on, but nothing firm to grip for our draw. Reaching, pulling, reaching, searching. There is a pain from our void and a cry from our anguish. Oxygen to a drowning woman, rushing, filling, soothing, stinging. We must breathe in our struggle. Absorb life into each cell.

We crave life.
We crave joy.
We crave release.
Each word, each line, each song, each novel. These are our footholds. Our handles. The pencils we have carved, from the roots of our pain, through the body of our blood, to the branches of our future. We carve our own tools. With these we can draw. Draw on a long memory. Sketch in our voids. Vividly painted in love, we see.
We see.

I see back to the women and men whose words I clung to, who bled poetry for me to drink in the dark. I feel for the women and men, whose calloused hands pulled me from under. I grasp and I cling.

They pull.
They sing to me. And I swim.
I swim.
I break through. I drink in the nourishment. The power and the joy. I float in the slipstream, their sunlight it warms. It wakes and it burns. It feeds, consumes and it burns. I can scream. I scream to my sisters and to daughters unborn. I run to my brothers, my son will be forewarned.

I see to the door. And I leave it just ajar.

And when the quiet comes I remember
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation”.
What Oscar awoke was acceptance, who knew it slept here?

“You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don’t think twice, it’s all right.”
This one was the quiet nod from across the room. Not silent, Bob, but knowing and watching, singing and strumming.

“We negotiate with chaos
For some sense of satisfaction
If you won’t give it to me
At least give me a better view”
And Ani. Dear, dear Ani. Bleeding pools into shadows on a cave wall.

But she who has held me so often, without, I would just fall. A beautiful rage, her Skin shining, a beacon to that door.

“I’d like to invite you
To this pretty little thing
Where the fruits of your labors
Are eaten by the queen
Yeah I’d like to bequest you
A seat with greedy boys
But I’m sorry,
I’ma stop you, at the door”

“Who are you bitch, new lunch? Ima ruin you cunt”

We’ve reached a point in feminist discourse where the raw honesty of working class women who have been surrounded by “foul”, “vile”, “abusive” language our whole lives, as general chat, can’t speak in our own voices.

I know how to code switch. I don’t know a single working class woman who doesn’t. We have our home voice and we have our work voice. We all know how to enunciate yes sir, of course madam, let me get that for you. Is there a reason our sisters expect the same behaviour when these bitches ain’t even paying us?

Anti feminist slurs. Bitch. Twat. Even fuck off if directed at someone with a vagina. Fuck off is a special case though. It’s not abusive if a middle class woman is directing it at someone who has hurt her. She is angry, hurt and tone policing her shouldn’t even enter your head. It is only our pain that isn’t visible. Because pain from the daily grind of surviving patriarchy is only valid if you use the right words, in the right voice, to the right people.

If we’re in pain, yet furious and betrayed because we long ago learnt that working class women are only useful in feminism when we’re dead, as statistics, or more recently as dead honey traps well then our fuck off is abuse. So you know, bite your tongue. Respect your betters. Listen. Learn. Read. Read again if you haven’t understood that you’re thick yet. Know your place.

If you must say something and sound rough doing it for god sake can you make sure you’re speaking as a “survivor” or as an “exited woman” or someone “vulnerable”. You can be disabled and a victim of cruel cuts. Or a single mother who can demonstrate how government policy impoverishes women. But once you’ve been taken out of your box to prove the point get back into it without too much fuss. Remember feminist activism is for all women, and the proper feminists are working for the really vulnerable women like you so be fucking grateful would ya.

Girls must play nicely. Girls must not tell lies.

When a transgirl throws around some dangerous lies about brain sex so that everyone nods and agrees to her cry for validation about trans periods. No. Just stop your fucking noise. This. This right here is what feminists have been fighting against for CENTURIES. And now to be nice we’re supposed to nod and agree that all of us have a sexed brain in utero. No. You can call your synthetic hormonal cycle whatever you like, I have no possessive attachment to period.

Period. You know that thing inflicted on me as a girl, regular like clockwork period 4 sociology right after lunch every 4 weeks without fail. The most intense pain I’d ever experienced, fresh again every four weeks. Feeling grateful I knew it was coming so there wouldn’t be blood coming through my school uniform when I had to be excused from class, walking past all the staring girls and boys who all knew I would be leaving and not coming back to the next lesson because I had “woman troubles”. Having to miss a chunk of my education every four weeks because the pain would make me physically sick. I would get home then throw up till I had nothing left to throw up then sit all afternoon in the bath tub crying waiting for painkillers to work. Big pink coloured ibuprofen that my doctor prescribed because we were skint as fuck and we got free painkillers but not free sanitary towels. Why they were pink I never knew, it seemed like a cruel joke at the time. Having to be pretty much alone as my brother and sister would still be at school and my mums periods were even worse so she just gave me the tools she had and let me get on with it. In case the context of school wasn’t enough when I say girl here I mean an actual child. Not an adult who likes that description as part of a gender identifier.

No just fuck the fuck off back to patriarchy town and stop pretending you’re battling on a horse called feminism. You. Are. Anti. Feminist.

“About two months(9-13 weeks) into gestation the genitalia of the fetus is determined. ******The gender differentiation of the brain doesn’t occur for another five months.****** We like to think that genetics or chromosomes determine everything. But a lot of your DNA is switched on and off by environmental factors. This layer of factors above genetics is called epigenetics.”

I’ve thoughtfully put stars around the anti feminist propaganda slipped into the otherwise innocuous passage. This “gender differentition of the brain” has always been the excuse to oppress females. We couldn’t vote because of our female brains. We couldn’t own our own property because of our female brains. We couldn’t have our wages paid into a bank account in our own names because of our female brains. We couldn’t say no because of our female brains. We have had to be protected because of our female brains. Passed from father to husband as chattel because of our female brains. Raped without the ability to call it rape by these selfsame protective husbands because of our female brains. Denied access to opportunity, education and careers because of our female brains. And now those female brains are what males know more about because they have them too, inside a body with a penis. And if we question the existence of a female brain we are evil bigots who want to exterminate the female brains inside the bodies with penises.

Fuck. That. Shit.

Have your period. Buy a pink hot water bottle and use it with chocolate bars and pain killers once a month. No one gives a shit. But you don’t need to trash decades of feminist activism, which has gained so much for girls like us (and by extension girls like you) just because you want validation that transgirl periods are a thing. I have a secret for you, this thing, we feminists call it gendered socialisation, yeah that. It means you’ll get your validation without your lies. Because girls must play nicely.

Rage reference