Here is the English translation of our original statement in French with screenshots of harassment, death threat, doxxing, and verbal abuse we have been receiving since our action. Thank you to Julia Beck for the full proofreading and to all individuals who helped for this translation.
We, lesbian radical feminists, have formed a resistance group against patriarchal terrorism and against the erasure of lesbians by the queer and GBT communities. At a time when men can enter women-only spaces (sports, prisons, shelters, etc.) simply by declaring that they « feel like a woman », at a time when the pharmaceutical and surgical lobbies are making teenagers undergo mutilating operations to modify perfectly healthy bodies with a general indifference of the majority, we refuse to allow the debate between queer theorists and radical feminists remain confined to the LGBT community. We decided to march at the head of the Paris Pride March on Saturday 26 June 2021 to make our demands visible, which are no more and no less than the demand for respect of our bodies, our sexuality and our moral and physical integrity.
In a sisterly and galvanised atmosphere, we marched with our banners, our slogans and our feminist courage in a spirit of non-violence and with the sole aim of making our demands visible, which is our right in a democracy, all the more so on the day of Pride, which is supposed to represent the strength of our struggles as female homosexuals in a still hetero-patriarchal society.
We were confident that we had a space to express ourselves in this setting, but unfortunately we were physically and psychologically attacked for daring to question queer ideology. As we were stopped in front of a police cordon, two men ostensibly identifying as « trans women » came up to us, stared at us menacingly until one of them came forward and violently ripped down one of our banners. The banner read: « Lesbians need feminism, not mutilating transition ». One of them, deaf to our pleas for calm and refusing our wish not to interact with him, persisted in his violent gestures, hitting one of us on the arm to the point that the police, initially passive, had to intervene to remove him from our group. Although shocked, we remained aware of our rights and wanted to demonstrate that no amount of patriarchal terrorism would make us shut up or back down. However, the second individual continued to circle our group and challenge us, coming so close to our faces and bodies that we had to warn him to move away by stretching our arms forward. Again, despite our requests, he persisted in shouting at us with a blank, hateful look that made us feel threatened. We were no longer alone at the beginning of the march. Several lesbians had already been following us for some time and were chanting our slogans with us, but the intervention of these two individuals created an atmosphere of terror that only increased as these transactivists called on others to intervene and eject us from the march. They went to the police, asking them to remove us, claiming that we were making discriminatory comments, when we were simply claiming to be lesbians and the implications of not being attracted to penises. They also ignored the officers’ pleas for calm and started to gather many people around us who booed, insulted and made threatening gestures. It was at this point that we thought it wiser to leave, fearing for our safety. After the action, we could see that we were right, discovering with horror publications on social networks of trans-identified men expressing their regrets for not having been able to beat us up, after having « gathered » in Place de la République. [at the end of the march]
But the violence and intimidation was not over as it continued on the internet. Beyond accusations of transphobia for chanting « a non-feminine woman is not a man » and « a man in a skirt is not a woman », we faced calls for « public denunciation » as well as threats to find us and incite « transfem » networks to gather to carry out actions against us. Faced with this inversion of reality, where those who defend their rights, and in particular the right to keep the words that designate our reality as « woman », « lesbian », « homosexual » or « sexual orientation », become the aggressors and the violent ones, we wanted to re-establish the truth because, whatever the threats, whatever the intimidation, whatever the defamation, we refuse to be silent.
Moreover, although our attackers were white men, and although we were lesbian radical feminists of all colours, European and non-European, they relayed on social networks that we were only racist white « chalk faces ». As a result, several of us, Afro-descendants, North Africans and Asians, felt erased as radical lesbian feminists and deprived of our right to speak out as racialized women of immigrant background. This is further evidence of the use of anti-racism as a trophy or alibi by queer circles who instrumentalise this struggle to divide women in radical feminism.
Generations of women have fought for the right to know and live with their bodies, to affirm their sexual orientation, and to find the words to describe our oppressions and the violence that men inflict on us. We will not let men take away these rights and this political and material existence: lesbians exist and we are not afraid to speak out.
In the face of the outpouring of hatred that we have been facing since our action, and in the face of the slanderous remarks relayed by our attacker who accuses us of harassment (that we allow ourselves to doubt), we denounce today the complicit silence of the media. We also denounce the indecent support given to our attacker by the various « feminist » and LGBT organisations despite the video which clearly shows the real turn of events. We demand not only an apology but also public support.
We are not asking for support for our demands, but for an acknowledgement of the violence we have experienced and still experience as lesbians and as women. We feel that there is impunity for misogynistic attacks on radical feminists, which is unacceptable. Our attacker and the queers claim cyber-harassment by radical feminists: let them provide us with the evidence, because we have several examples on record, ranging from misogynistic slurs to death and rape threats. No journalist has contacted us to get our side of the story. An article on Mediapart’s blog denouncing the violence we suffered was even censored. However, we thought that in order to form an objective opinion on a given subject, it was important, not to mention necessary, to try to have each version of the facts before taking a position. When it comes to radical feminism, this is apparently no longer the case. How is it that no one in the queer community has come forward to reposition the terms of the debate? On the contrary, we even learned of a press release from an LGBT association smearing and fabricating news by claiming that our action was « a transphobic event perpetuated by the Collectif Abolition Porno-Prostitution ». Others, actively seeking a witch to burn, are still convinced that Marguerite Stern and Dora Moutot were present. While acknowledging the political work of each, we assert that we, Lesbian Resistance, are an autonomous collective that formed spontaneously, with our own issues and political ideas to defend. And we want to remind Madmoizelle, who probably hasn’t seen non-feminine lesbians in a long time, that we were demonstrators [feminine in French] and not « demonstrators » [masculine in French], as they have taken the liberty of writing without the « inclusive » writing they are usually so fond of. This is no coincidence, and echoes all the times we have been called « Sir » before being attacked by lesbophobes.
We hope that the LGBT and « feminist » organisations that supported our attacker are aware that they are complicit in the incitement to suicide, the lesbophobic messages and the calls for feminicide that we continue to receive.