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TERF Lesbian Bar to Open in London

Because apparently more segregation is what the world needs (🙄).

Queer East stands as a symbol of unity and inclusivity, celebrating the diversity that makes us who we are. We’ve dedicated ourselves to building spaces where every identity is respected and everyone can find a home. So, you can imagine how the recent announcement of a new lesbian bar in London, explicitly excluding trans women, prompted a collective eye-roll and deep concern here at the Queer East offices.

The opening of a “cis women only ” lesbian bar, hiding behind the guise of providing a "safe space " for lesbians, not only questions the progress we've made towards inclusivity and human rights but how can a space claim to be safe while discriminating against some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community? The existence of such a venue, supported by ideologies that deny the validity of trans women's identities, is a painful reminder of the work still needed to combat exclusion and division. Research highlights the heightened risk trans individuals face, being four times more likely to be victims of violent crimes than their cisgender counterparts.

TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) started in the 70s as second-wave feminism came about, with strong anti-trans feminist ideologies emerging, linking gender to biological sex, in effect debasing people down to their genetics and genitalia. Their belief is that trans women are a threat to the feminist cause and to female rights. With figures like J.K. Rowling championing their cause through to today, TERFs still show up at many women’s marches and online spaces to perpetuate this exclusionary form of feminism. Their online tactics to further the TERF agenda include launching hate campaigns on trans youths, doxxing trans activists and creating online spaces which remove any trans people.

Queer East was founded on the antithesis of this lesbian bar, recognising the prevalence of segregation within the gay community. We envision a community where everyone, regardless of their gender identity, feels welcome and valued. Our philosophy is simple: we are all humans who love humans, and there's no room for labels or ideologies that divide us here says EJ Nutbrown, founder of Queer East. “I believe the correct response to deeply troubling news like this, is to respond with peace: focus on building and supporting inclusive communities like ours. Let's not confront hate with hate but to show love and solidarity… Reach out to a trans friend with a message of love, support trans-owned businesses, contribute to a trans persons gofundme, and participate in events that celebrate inclusivity (like our upcoming event on March 1st wink wink!). Whatever you do, don’t let their hate be louder than our love.”

Queer East supports a world where our differences are not just tolerated but celebrated. Where a lesbian bar includes not only cis women but our trans sisters, non-binary siblings, and anyone else who finds solace in these identities. A truly inclusive space does not exclude; it embraces.

However, embracing inclusivity does not mean we must do away with events or gatherings that celebrate specific identities, such as lesbian nights, bi nights, and so forth. These events play an essential role in providing spaces for members of our community to explore their identities, share experiences, and connect with others who understand their unique journey.

The distinction we must make is in how we approach the idea of inclusivity within these events. For instance, excluding trans women from lesbian nights contradicts the very essence of what we are striving to achieve - a truly inclusive community. Trans women are women (did you hear that Rishi?), and their experiences and identities deserve recognition and celebration within spaces meant for women, including lesbian spaces.

As we move forward, let's commit to conversations that uplift, and to a vision that leaves no one in the shadows. We stand for love, we stand for inclusivity, and we stand with every member of our queer family. Let's build bridges, not barriers. Let's create spaces where everyone can truly be themselves, in all their glorious diversity.

Let's ensure every space we create reflects the full spectrum of who we are, and where every trans woman knows she is not only welcome but valued and essential to the fabric of our collective identity.

Written by: EJ Nutbrown, Tyff Akkouche, Ellen Fitzsimons and Bee Armstrong

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