Sunday Funday Is Kissing Away Lesbian Stereotypes

Hello, cruelty-free feather boas! It’s another week and another link round-up of just the good stuff! I’m not going to lie to you. It’s getting rather…ehrm…challenging to find positive LGBTQ news, but goddammit, it’s worth it! We need to stay resilient. To do that, we need to take ten minutes a week to remember there’s good in the world and sometimes to look at a strangely calming video of various farm animals in the dessert drinking from a water bucket from the perspective of the bottom of the water bucket.

(Don’t worry, the swimming bees were rescued according to the YouTuber)

I’ve got you.

Go “Inside the Black Triangle” With Rachael Zimmerman

Photographer Rachael Zimmerman‘s photo project “Inside the Black Triangle” is about “exploring lesbians beyond societal stereotypes.”

Zimmerman said about the project:

I hope that the audience can see that a lesbian can look any way, be any nationality, race and believe any religion she pleases. It’s time to break away from stereotypes and start treating each other equally. We must set positive examples for society. It’s truly remarkable how far the community has come to be accepted. The fight is not over; it’s critical to be visible and proud.

Check out the 100+ photos at Zimmerman’s instagram. She’s hoping to turn the project into a coffee table book.

Bringing Mama’s Home for Mother’s Day

This past week, some incarcerated Black women were given the ultimate gift of freedom on mother’s day as part of National Mama’s Bail Out Day, an action organized by Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, The Movement for Black Lives, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Southerners On New Ground (SONG), the Dream Defenders, and others. Organizers raised nearly $500,000 and bailed out at least 50 women. The bail out called for action on behalf of all Black mothers “queer, trans, young, elder, and immigrants” and also was meant to draw attention to ending the cash bail system and fighting the mass incarceration of Black women, 80% of whom are mothers.

Mary Hooks, co-director of the Atlanta-based Southerners On New Ground (SONG), an LGBT racial justice group, helped come up with the idea for the bail out.

From putting ourselves in cardboard boxes and mailing ourselves to freedom, to using the Underground Railroad, black people didn’t wait for an Emancipation Proclamation or the end of the Civil War to act on their own behalf… Instead, they sometimes bought their own and each other’s freedom, and in doing so left a blueprint for how to directly challenge mass criminalization today, even as policy battles are in progress.
– Mary Hooks, co-director of SONG

This weekend, some organizers are holding events to celebrate Black moms and welcome home those who were formerly incarcerated. Welcome home, mamas!

Women, Roaring, Generally Being Powerful, Etc

Silvia Mauro and Analía Pasantino (via infobae

+ Analia Pasantino isthe first out trans woman to be a police chief in Latin America. Pasantino, a 20-year veteran of the force and decorated officer, was forced to resign when she came out in 2008. Pasantino, with the support of her wife, Silvia Mauro, fought for reinstatement every three months and finally was allowed to return, announced at a press conference earlier this week. Said Pasantino: “This is a milestone. I’m the first transgender police chief in Latin America. It’s an unprecedented and important step to show Latin America and the world that we are an open institution.”

+ Jess O’Connell, out lesbian and the former Executive Director of EMILY’s List, has been announced the new CEO of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Prior to working for EMILY’s List, O’Connell worked at the Center for American Progress. She lives in Maryland with her librarian wife.

Oregon Says Yes to The X

photo by Cee Webster

Oregon is on-track to become the first state in the U.S. to allow a third gender option for state-issued driver ID’s! In June 2016, a county court judge granted a request by Jamie Shupe to change the gender marker on their ID to a nongender option, the first decision allowing a third gender on a state-issued ID in the nation. Since then, the Oregon DMV has been working to figure out how to enter third gender markers into the state computer systems. The second public comment session was held this past Wednesday in Portland.

photo by Cee Webster

Our own Tech Director, Cee Webster, was among the folks who spoke in favor of a third gender marker. (No one spoke against it.) In their statement to the DMV Administrative Rule Committee, Cee said:

I’ve been out as queer for 22 years, and identify as a genderqueer/non-binary trans person. I experience gender dysphoria and cringe when people see or read me as female, yet I do not identify as male. I sometimes feel very masculine and other times feel very androgynous or almost like I lack a gender completely.

Having an F marker on my ID feels not genuine – either that I’m lying to the person I present my ID to, or that I’m lying to myself about my own identity, either way makes me feel bad. I honestly think having someone’s gender or sex on their ID card is silly if you think about it, but until that can be removed, I am strongly in favor of an “X” option for folks who don’t want F or M. If this option exists, I’ll be one of the first in line to update my ID.

According to DMV spokesman David House, the new option could be available before the end of July!

Bye-bye, Conversion Therapy Bullshit

+ Connecticut banned conversion therapy this past Wednesday, becoming the seventh U.S. state to do so. The bill passed unanimously through the state senate and was signed into law by the Governor Dannel P. Malloy almost immediately.

+ The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to California’s 2012 conversion therapy ban. This is the second time the Supreme Court has refused to accept a challenge to California’s law.

Kiss For Your Rights

Brazilian activists joined the international protest against the persecution of gay men in Chechnya by hosting a virtual kiss-in. Organized by Brazilian organizing group, Sexualidade Fora Da Caixa (SSEX BBOX), couples posted pics with the hashtag #kiss4lgbtrights.

“In Brazil, despite the enormous violence against the LGBTQIA population, we can fight for our rights,” [SSEX BBOX] told Pink News. “But our community in Russia can not and therefore needs our help.”

A foto mais linda do dia! #DiaDoSilêncio #NãoSilencieOAmor #Kiss4LGBTQRights

A post shared by INSTA DO BLOG LOVERS MALHAÇÃO (@blogloversmalhacao) on

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KaeLyn is a 40-year-old hard femme bisexual dino mom. You can typically find her binge-watching TV, standing somewhere with a mic or a sign in her hand, over-caffeinating herself, or just generally doing too many things at once. She lives in Upstate NY with her spouse, a baby T. rex, a scaredy cat, an elderly betta fish, and two rascally rabbits. You can buy her debut book, Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution if you want to, if you feel like it, if that's a thing that interests you or whatever.

KaeLyn has written 230 articles for us.


  1. I LOVE that picture of Silvia Mauro and Analia Pasantino. What a great couple, supporting each other and fighting for each other, and the looks on their faces says it all. Goals.

  2. Yay for the X option in Oregon! I agree that having gender markers on IDs is pointless in general, but I’m glad people who aren’t M or F can have another option. Does anyone know if cops/healthcareworkers/bartenders/other people who check IDs will get any training regarding this? Without training I worry about additional stigma for someone who gets pulled over for speeding, for example. Hopefully this is introduced thoughtfully.

  3. 1 yay for the x. In related personal news, about to apply for a library card and I’m so glad gender isn’t asked about. It was asked in the bad library where I volunteered and as a joke as if you can tell gender by what ppl look like they’re born as
    2 yay for less places having conversion torture, can’t believe ppl still think that’s an ok practice
    3 I love the kiss in both in itself and because it turns the notion of a ‘white saviour’ on its head by showing POC in predominantly POC liberal countries can show solidarity with ppl in historically white, currently oppressive countries like Russia

  4. Rachael Zimmerman went to my high school (we didn’t really know each other but I hardly ever forget someone’s face), and in my experience, it wasn’t awful but not necessarily a super hospitable place to be queer. It’s awesome to see her flourishing now and working on such a lovely project! <3

  5. I’ve been following the Inside the Black Triangle project on instagram for the past 2 weeks or so and it makes me so happy to see all the different faces of our community and definitely helps me with the “I don’t look gay” feels :)

  6. Thanks for sharing my project, “Inside the Black Triangle”.
    Please change the spelling of my name. My first name is spelt Rachael.

    Also it would be great to hear about you sharing my work before hand.


    • Hi, Rachael! Sorry about misspelling your name. It’s fixed.

      Also, if you would like me to take down the section about the project and/or any of the pics, please let me know. I’m happy to do so. I was news reporting on the HuffPo piece in this link & news roundup and hoping to drive more traffic to your project directly.

      I understand your request and respect your rights as an artist. So my apologies if this came across as not-cool. Just let me know if you want it taken down.

  7. I very much related to what Cee said, more about hating to see the wrong gender marker(for me it’s M and also rather see X) on my license. Like there have been a few times I just though about scratching it off, or covering it with nail-polish. Thankfully, California is also thinking about do this, so I maybe in luck.

  8. The kissing photos from Brazil made me cry. It may be one of those days, but also, it’s the supreme tenderness and sweetness of those kisses against the unthinkable cruelty of what’s being done in Chechnya… yeah.

  9. ‘Personal observations have led Rachael to the conclusion that lesbians are mimicking the gender hierarchy. Butch and androgynous women are thought to be more prestigious, while feminine women are less than. Not only do feminine women find themselves defending their sexuality to heterosexuals, but they are often forced to prove themselves to their own community. Acceptance and equality starts from within.’

    I’m really loving the apparent open season on butch/androgynous/GNC lesbians within the queer community right now. And by loving, I mean loathing from the depths of my soul.

    • Agreed. Because it’s super easy to be Butch, right? It’s not like we get any shit from nobody, right? Strange man yelling correctional rape threats is so much fun, right?

      • visibility is not a privilege. it just makes you an easier target.

        autostraddle doesn’t seem to get that.

      • So easy! Butch women/nb people are literally just men and also responsible for every bad thing in the LGBT community!

      • Yeah, but what does that have to do about a discussion about conditions/structures within the lesbian community?

    • Is that a quote from her site or from an interview at the top of your comment? Or are you paraphrasing what you get from her? Her site was down when I went to check it out. All I really have is the Huffpo interview and a few nuggets from the interwebs.

      I also have reactions to things like “It’s time to break away from stereotypes and start treating each other equally” because to many people I am the stereotype. What people authentically are may seem a lot like a stereotype to others who don’t understand it. There are so many ways to read just that sentence…from it critiquing the act of stereotyping itself to blaming butches/GNC/etc for the fact that cishets stereotype queers based on our looks. I don’t know what she means without more info.

      The issue of stereotypes where butch=queer reminds me of tv shows that say “We have lesbian characters and they’re not your stereotypical lesbians!” because the characters are femme or feminine or not butch. Because it would be what–horrible? contagious?–to have actual butches or studs or masc-of-center queers on tv? I’d love to see the broadest ranges of representation out there. Even with more representation than we’ve ever had in mainstream media there’s so much we see very little of, here’s hoping to having ever more queer-made art, media, etc. (I just started following Slay TV on Twitter. Am excited to watch them and I hope they do plenty of QWOC projects too.)

      • Oh man, that is my absolute least favourite trope (after bury your gays), alongside the ‘oh, this woman is masculine, but don’t worry, she’s not a lesbian! we’re so groundbreaking and feminist!!’ Because seriously, where are all these butch lesbians in popular culture? What butch-loving universe are these people living in and can I move there??

    • Acknowledging femme invisibility in queer women circles-an issue autostraddle has devoted several articles to-and discussing how problematic it is that our culture still equates masculinity with strength and femininity with weakness has nothing to do with “attacking” masculine-of-center women.
      Forgive me, but you sound suspiciously similar to transphobic cis women, biphobic lesbians, and racist white feminists.

      • lol what is this? would you like to address how asking that societal homophobia toward gnc women be addressed makes us “sound suspiciously similar to transphobic cis women, biphobic lesbians, and racist white feminists”? would you like to address that there exist trans and poc butch and gnc women?

        why exactly is this kind of comment allowed to stay up?

      • I mean, I’m literally a femme woman, but okay. Apparently saying that I don’t get the same violent pushback from wider society as butch non-men (butch trans women and WOC in particular!) and criticising the trend where butch women are forcibly misgendered and portrayed as basically men is all I need to be a terrible femmephobic TERF these days.

        • I think the mistake comes in thinking any discussion on Autostraddle is about “wider society” versus *within queer communities* specifically. Reframe your perspective.

          As I’ve read in this fraught discussion, you can criticize away at society as a whole and their treatment of those who don’t conform to het gender norms, but stop pushing back about any discussion of femme erasure (or similar issues) *within* the queer community as if it’s an attack on masculine of center women. It’s not.

          • PS By my last sentence I meant “It’s not usually”. I don’t want to issue a blanket statement about all such discussions, just the trend I’ve observed.

          • no, “being butch or gnc as a woman makes you a regressive stereotype and basically a man” is a misogynistic and homophobic attitude. you can reframe all you want, but you’re not getting away from that.

            furthermore, why are only some personal observations valid? in every single lgbt group i’ve been in over years of trying, i’ve been seen as basically a failed femme who just needs help to be femme correctly. (would i like to put on makeup? what about now? what about now?) there were no other women who weren’t femme. why are my choices straight people who see me as weird and regressive and gross, or lgbt people who think the exact same thing and think it makes them progressive?

          • Except that saying that:

            -masculine women have male privilege
            -they basically amount to men
            -lesbian stereotypes are their fault and they should somehow make up for that (rather than, y’know, butches being a historical bedrock of the queer female community)
            -and (not in this particular case, but it’s an argument I am seeing with increasing regularity elsewhere) that they are more likely to be abusive and inclined to sexual violence than femme women

            is not a rational discussion of issues within the queer community, it’s literally just a distorted version of the message GNC women get from the wider world. That /is/ an attack, and it’s incredibly harmful.

            Femme visibility is good! I’m all for it! But that should not come at the cost of insulting, hurting and alienating butches, who in the end are guilty of nothing more than being gender non-conforming in a society which loathes that.

      • I think the problem lies with Rachael’s original statement, where she says “…lesbians are mimicking the gender hierarchy. Butch and androgynous women are thought to be more prestigious, while feminine women are less than.” But there’s a difference between mimicking the gender hierarchy and subverting it, which is what I think female & lesbian masculinity is about. The implication is, then, that masculine women are “just like” men or somehow reinforcing patriarchy and oppression by being masculine, which is a kinda fucked up thing to say.

        And yeah, femme invisibility is a problem. Just like, as other commentors have pointed out, violence and stigma against MOC women is a problem. Our oppressions and experiences can be different without having to compete.

        • exactly. this isn’t a competition. she can showcase femmes or whatever it is she’s trying to do without all this “not ALL of us are stereotypical mannish butches, GOD” bullshit.

          • Just for the record, if you go to Zimmerman’s website and see the project, it’s not just femmes or feminine women. It includes a diversity of subjects across the gender expression spectrum from butches and studs to androgynous to femme women. The words may not have been the best way to get that across, but my reading on it by looking at the photos is that the project is to celebrate the wide diversity of expressions and experiences of lesbian identity.

          • @kaelyn, honestly, given that intro (which i read on her website), i really can’t be bothered with the rest of the project. if an artist wants my attention and analysis, they can start by not insulting me.

            i look forward to seeing a celebration of lesbian diversity that doesn’t do this.

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