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Archived: Lesbians United on taking back the narrative
Lesbians United was very sad to learn that Lesbian and Gay News is no longer operating. Many lesbians depended on LGN for information and as a forum for pro-lesbian content that other news sites would not platform. Lesbians United ourselves published two articles with LGN. Earlier this month, The Lesbian Post reprinted the first of those articles, in order to keep it publicly accessible. The second is reprinted below.
In light of LGN’s closure, Lesbians United invites lesbian journalists to submit stories and opinions on U.S. lesbian issues to The Lesbian Post, via firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t guarantee we’ll publish every submission, but we can at least provide one more platform for lesbian voices.
Lesbians United have today announced their 2022 Messaging Guide which lays out a strategy for combating sexism and homophobia with language. Here Lesbians United tell LGN readers more about it.
This week, Lesbians United is excited to announce our 2022 Messaging Guide: Advancing Women’s and Gay Rights with a Lesbian-Centered Narrative. The guide, which is available for download on our website, lays out a strategy for taking back the public narrative around women’s and gay rights and defeating our sexist, homophobic opponents.
Until now, our opponents’ greatest asset, and our greatest weakness, has been messaging. The anti-lesbian movement unifies quickly around simplistic, repeatable slogans (“trans women are women!”). They shamelessly vilify conscientious objectors. And they spin everything they do – from sexually harassing lesbians to mutilating children – as a positive, progressive fight to rescue the downtrodden from certain death.
Meanwhile, women’s and gay rights activists are divided, overly philosophical, and defensive. We lean in to negative monikers like “team terf” and “gender critical.” We meet nonsense halfway by answering “trans women are women” with “no, they’re not” – as if we believed there were such a thing as a “trans woman” in the first place. We compromise, and we lose.
It’s time we turned the tables.
Lesbians United’s strategy is a simple one, with three pillars: honesty, positivity, and simplicity. Honesty, to cut through the cloud of confusion our opposition has created. Positivity, to remind our audience that we are the real progressives, the ones fighting for positive change for all women and gay men. And simplicity, to ensure that our message is easy to understand, easy to repeat, and therefore unforgettable.
For instance, instead of calling ourselves “gender critical” – a complex concept that includes one nonsense word (gender) and one negative word (critical) – we call ourselves pro-lesbian, pro-gay, or pro-woman. Instead of talking constantly about what we’re against, we prioritize talking about what we’re for: safe spaces for women and girls, healthy boundaries, gay acceptance, accurate reporting. And when we must talk about what we’re against, we make it absolutely clear that what we’re against is negative. It’s not “gender”; it’s sexism. They’re not “trans women”; they’re men who don’t respect women’s boundaries. It’s not a “trans rights” movement; it’s an anti-lesbian movement.
That’s honest, clear, and – if enough of us get on board – effective messaging.
Lesbians United’s 2022 messaging guide is 14 pages of concrete messaging strategy and advice, including lesbian-centered narratives designed to help you argue for six different facets of women’s and gay rights. Each narrative comes with a takeaway – a key talking point that everyone, from political spokespeople to average Twitter users, can use to turn the conversation around.
The guide also features tips for successful arguments against anti-lesbian activists on social media (call out bigotry; ask obvious questions; keep it simple) and a table of suggested replacements for common anti-lesbian terminology coined by our opponents.
Over the course of the next week, Lesbians United will also be releasing a set of images on social media, designed to combat the favorite false narratives of anti-lesbian activists.
Anti-lesbian activists love to talk about authenticity, inclusion, and kindness – all the while peddling artificial hormones, excluding lesbians, and behaving in an exceptionally unkind manner. And their program of relentless positive spin has convinced a large chunk of the population that actual authenticity, inclusion, and kindness are homophobic.
The graphics we release this week are intended to help women’s and gay rights activists take control of the narrative. They can be copy-pasted into any online conversation, to cut through the opposition’s lies, and to head off accusations of homophobia by showing that you stand with lesbians. And perhaps most importantly, most of them bear statements so obvious that it would be hard to criticize them without looking like a fool, or a grade-A misogynist.
If women’s and gay rights activists can learn anything from the anti-lesbian movement, it’s that simple, positive, and consistent messaging is an invaluable asset. When used by anti-lesbian activists, these tactics have been powerful enough to indoctrinate a huge number of people into utter nonsense. Surely, in the right hands, this system of messaging could be used to remind people of obvious truths.
Lesbians United encourages our allies to check out the guide, adopt accurate and lesbian-inclusive language, and use our graphics wherever you can. It’s time for all women’s and gay rights activists to come together, circle the wagons around lesbians, and adopt a proactive, pro-lesbian style of messaging.
For more information on Lesbians United visit https://www.lesbians-united.org/.
You can follow Lesbians United on Twitter at https://twitter.com/UnitedLesbians.
In the News
Last weekend, Lesbians United’s founder, T., spoke with Get the L Out UK about lesbian visibility and positive, proactive, pro-lesbian messaging. Check out the full video below.