Open Letter to the National Center for Lesbian Rights

This is an open letter to the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) demanding that the NCLR retract and correct its statement falsely accusing a small group of lesbian women of “violence,” when in fact the testimony of numerous witnesses confirms that these women were nonviolent, were physically attacked by other march attendees, and did nothing more than was reasonable for self-defense.

Lesbians have long been the target of hatred and violence for rejecting the demands of patriarchal society and being exclusively same-sex attracted. Even within LGBT communities, lesbians have been marginalized by a male-dominated culture, and that marginalization has only increased with the growing influence of “queer” ideology. Queer ideology elevates the concept of “gender identity” over the material conditions related to natal sex, and its proponents condemn and threaten lesbians who refuse to consider males as romantic partners.

On June 23 at the 2018 San Francisco Dyke March, a group of 12 lesbians, including some elders with disabilities, were accosted and assaulted. They were harassed for more than an hour while marchers surrounded them, shouting, ripping their signs and destroying them. One woman was knocked down three times and surrounded by aggressive marchers. Another woman had her heels stepped on repeatedly until she was tripped to the asphalt so violently that her purse and glasses were knocked off, and the handle of her walking stick broken. These actions meet the definition of criminal assault under California law.

The lesbian marchers continued on peacefully, carrying signs that stated: “You can’t silence us with violence; resist lesbian erasure,” “Change our society, not your body,” “Lesbian not queer,” and “Dangers of puberty blockers; transitioning children is abuse.” One of the women repeatedly stated: “we are not being violent, don’t touch us, we center women-safe spaces, we are fighting lesbian and female erasure, we care about the welfare of children who are being supported and even pushed to chemically and physically alter themselves without advocates for their future health, we are being peaceful, we belong here, this is our right and our space. We are not violent.”

The ironically-named “National Center for Lesbian Rights,” demonstrating a stunning degree of anti-lesbian bias, published a Facebook post three days later, falsely claiming that the lesbian marchers had “chanted transphobic slogans and violently harassed and threatened other marchers.” This slanderous claim is patently false. Nothing on the signs of the lesbian marchers demonstrated fear or hatred of those who self-identify as transgender. Instead they expressed love and fierce defensiveness for women and girls.

This is not an isolated incident. Woman-centered women in Baltimore were told they would be “hung by their necks” just a few days before the violence in San Francisco. Women across the country have been threatened with violence and harassed for simply affirming the right of women to reject men as sexual partners. Women in Australia, England, and Canada, have been attacked for asserting the same simple notion that women have every right to live and prosper on their own.

As an organization dedicated to the liberation of women and girls in all aspects of life, Women’s Liberation Front deplores and condemns all attempts to suppress or harm lesbians participating in any Dyke March. It has not escaped our attention that up to one-half of the NCLR’s legislative and litigation docket in recent years has been devoted to promoting an anti-homosexual, pro-“gender identity” agenda.

We call on the NCLR to retract its slanderous and factually-unsupported allegations against 12 lesbians in San Francisco. And we call on the NCLR to remember its stated purpose, of protecting and fighting for lesbian rights and lesbian liberation.