Not In Our Name: A Statement on Trans Inclusion From Lesbian Editors and Publishers

Autostraddle is proud to add our name to the list of publishers who stand in solidarity with this statement on the importance of trans inclusion in our communities. We were invited to participate in this declaration by the editor and publisher of UK’s DIVA Magazine and I participated in consulting on the letter’s content.

As I recently discussed on twitter, Autostraddle isn’t perfect, but we have been and remain committed to trans inclusion, highlighting trans voices and listening to ways we can do better. (P.S. Please pitch us! We are especially interested in pitches from LBQ trans women, particularly trans women of color!) Trans women are women, and trans people have been at the forefront of so many LGBQ activist movements over the years. Advocating for rights, freedoms and representation for trans women does not take away from the work we are committed to for all lesbian, bisexual and queer women — many of whom are also trans.


Following further vitriolic attacks on trans people in our media, the world’s leading publications for lesbians are coming together to send an unapologetic message of support and solidarity to the trans community.

DIVA, Curve, Autostraddle, LOTL, Tagg and Lez Spread The Word believe that trans women are women and that trans people belong in our community. We do not think supporting trans women erases our lesbian identities; rather we are enriched by trans friends and lovers, parents, children, colleagues and siblings.

We strongly condemn writers and editors who seek to foster division and hate within the LGBTQI community with trans misogynistic content, and who believe “lesbian” is an identity for them alone to define. We condemn male-owned media companies who profit from the traffic generated by these controversies.

We also strongly condemn the current narrative peddled by some feminists, painting trans people as bullies and aggressors – one which reinforces transphobia and which must be challenged so that feminism can move forward.

We are really concerned about the message these so-called lesbian publications are sending to trans women and to young lesbians – including trans lesbians – and we want to make in clear this is not in our name.

As the leading publications for queer women, we believe it is our responsibility to call out scaremongering conspiracy theories levelled at the trans community, and make it clear that DIVA, Curve, Autostraddle, LOTL, Tagg and Lez Spread The Word will always be safe spaces for the trans community.

Forty years ago, to be a lesbian was to be questioned and persecuted. Today things are better for cis lesbians but there are still places where to be a lesbian is difficult or impossible.

So it is for trans men and women, as well as non-binary people, many of whom identify as lesbian, bisexual, gay or queer. We know something of these struggles. And just as they and other allies have supported us, so we must support those among us who are trans, or risk ending up on the wrong side of history.

The sooner we stop focussing on what divides us and instead focus on our commonalities, the stronger we will be to confront the other injustices imposed on us.

We won’t be divided.

Signed…

Carrie Lyell
Editor, DIVA magazine

Linda Riley
Publisher, DIVA magazine

Riese Bernard
CEO and Editor-in-chief, Autostraddle

Merryn Johns,
Editor, Curve

Silke Bader
Publisher, Curve and LOTL

Eboné F. Bell
Editor-in-chief, Tagg Magazine

Florence Gagnon
Founder and publisher, Lez Spread The Word

Anita Dolce Vita
Owner & Editor-in-Chief, DapperQ


Please note that we do not have the resources today to moderate a fight or debate in the comments in a way that will ensure the emotional health of everybody involved. Any combative comments, including referring to anything at all as “trash,” regardless of content, will be removed.

Riese is a Jewish lesbian and the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2618 articles for us.

105 Comments

  1. I am proud to support Autostraddle and its mission with my A+ membership. Thank you for signing on to this important statement. I have been horrified at the transphobia from zombie AE and its followers that I have seen on twitter. I am grateful for this space.

  2. This? This is how you make me cry at work. This is how you give me hope. This is how you balance out all the shitty articles I see every day about us being rejected and attacked by the people who don’t realise that not supporting us is not supporting themselves. Thank you AS <3

  3. Thank you so much for this Riese. I cannot express just how much this means to me. You have given this trans lesbian so much support and it truly why I’ve been so willing to engage more with this site and community because its so rare to find. I’m totally ok with crying happy tears at my job right now because this makes my heart so happy. Autostraddle, you are really a class above, and I love you all.

  4. I only discovered Autostraddle a few days ago but I really wanted to reach out and try my best to express how much articles like this mean.

    I am a young transwoman that began several years ago. I lead a mostly normal life now, most people don’t realize I’m not cis. But the journey getting here has been a very lonely one; I learned the hard way rather quickly that I can’t trust the LGBT community to be any more welcoming than anywhere else. There’s still doubt and fear that people will find out I’m not cis, but there’s an added layer of shame I grew to feel for finding women attractive. People that found out I liked girls never spoke to me again. Reading into online spaces often reinforces these feelings, don’t speak and don’t even look. I’m afraid of other lesbian women because it’s so prevalent.

    So…from the bottom of my heart, thank you all of you. It means the world to people like me who are afraid to even speak up to say thank you. It helps me remember hatred universal. You’re the best and I hope that others will be inspired by your example.

  5. “The sooner we stop focussing on what divides us and instead focus on our commonalities, the stronger we will be to confront the other injustices imposed on us.”

    This feels like it should be the message of 2019. It’s good to see different sites/publications coming together in support.

  6. So, dear (some)feminists and fucking TERFs, you should be real proud, almost 50 years after the Lavander Menace and you didn’t learned shit.

    Thank you Riese and all the publishers and editors who signed this very important mesagge.

    PD: AfterEllen somebody is banging at your door…

  7. I don’t know what this statement of solidarity is in specific reference to because I stopped reading AE two years ago when they hired a TERF to lead it, but I’m glad that Autostraddle and the above cosigners are inclusive places.

  8. For several years after I transitioned, I specified that I ‘identified’ as lesbian because I was aware of hostility towards trans women from segments of the lesbian community, and didn’t want to offend the community I wanted to be a part of. I know it sounds silly, but thank you for affirming my existence.

  9. COSIGNED TO INFINITY!

    Thank you Autostraddle for your dedication to building this awesome and inclusive community. Sending virtual warm hugs, cookies and fuzzy blankets to anyone who has felt hurt and isolated by all of this AE nonsense. We stand with you.

  10. I first came to Autostraddle because of its reputation for trans-inclusive queerness and feminism, and it quickly became my online home (and sometimes in person – yay, A-Camp 😍). This site and community mean the world to me, and I’m so grateful for the work y’all do every day – including speaking up like this.

    Thank you for always making me feel safe, welcome, and loved here!

  11. In a related note, someone mentioned to me that some of the writers and their followers of a certain site who call themselves “feminists” were existed over the porn ban tumblr just instated. Must be a weird feeling to be feminists and lesbians who side with Christian conservatives and the moral right.

    Thank you autostraddle for this safe space! It has really given me a community!

  12. Things like this are one of the many reasons I’m proud to be a member of this community, and will continue supporting you all with my A+ membership as long as I am able to. Thank you for standing up for what is right.

  13. Thanks so much for this statement. Before I read Autostraddle, I was at risk of becoming trans-exclusionary, but thanks to your clear editorial line and your inclusion of rad trans women authors, I got to understand reality better and to change my views. Thanks for supporting all of us, this means the world to me.

  14. Thanks so much for this. Made my day. I know it’s been a while since I’ve written something for you–definitely want to change that!–but this is why I love Autostraddle. Inclusion has always been something I have to think about as a trans girl of colour; now that I’m dating another woman, it’s on my mind even more: each time we go to a lesbian bar or party, each time we go to a queer event that I *hope* won’t be transphobic, each time we exist, really, together in public. It sucks when so many mainstream publications, like the Guardian, routinely trot out screeds questioning our right to self-identify. But statements like this one above make everything feel better, for a bit. Thanks again for your continued support. <3

  15. Thank you for this. I’m a cisgender lesbian and trans people are welcome in my community. My life is enriched by hearing their stories and, whilst we may have different experiences, our battle against discrimination and hate is the same. We should focus on what brings us together and fight against exclusion. Anyone who doesn’t welcome trans and non-binary people is not somebody I want to know.

  16. When I started to realize I was gay, it didn’t make sense to me. There was no logical reason I could come up with for a person to be gay. Then I learned trans was a real thing and real people were trans. Although I didn’t have these words, it’s when I realized gender was a social construct. It was more diverse and so much more simple than that all-binary, all-cisgender, all-hetero world I was raised to believe in. Gay/bi/etc and trans exist for the same reason. Of course trans is part of the community! Without them, the rest of us just don’t make any sense.

    I love you, Autostraddle, and all the wonderful people here!

  17. I want to say thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    On this Tuesday I was operated for the first time, yesterday again cause I wans’t stop bleeding but that’s the things Trans*Women are going through if they decide to do the operation. And reading this made my heart smile, knowing there might be happy ending waiting for me after all these horrible years.
    So thank you from Germany. This means a lot.

  18. Thank you so much for this! Autostraddle’s commitment to trans inclusion brought me here in the first place, and made me feel safe to share my own story. The world is not as it should be, but together we can make it a safer place for us all.

  19. The success of hominids isn’t based on teeth and claw, it’s based on fucking teamwork. The smaller you make a team the more likely you are to lose to competitive exclusion and die.

    And another thing transwomen are out statistically proven the most vulnerable members of this family, that old maxim about the true measure of a society is how they treat their most vulnerable makes people 200,000 years ago that are still being debated on how human they really were look more humane than trans-exclusionists.

    Capitalist mindset from the industrial age tricks you into believing if we shelter other people we lose resources, and that’s a lie cause those people they bring resources.
    Look at every civil rights fight ever had.

    Exclusionism is a way to die, inclusionism is how to fight and survive this turbulent world we’re in right now.

  20. Want to thank you so very much for this thought..in my lifetime we’ve all seen changes in society that have gone from being abominations that should be shunned or worse…to almost acceptance..all of us…trans or not..can relate to being outcast..i’m human..so are you…and none of us asked to be born..but here we are…life is precious…so I thank you….hugs…

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.