The quotation by Judy Rebick at the start of the Wikipedia article on lesbian feminism prompted me, in part, to discuss the detrimental effect of the infiltration of feminism on the gay rights movement. “According to Judy Rebick, a leading Canadian journalist and feminist activist, lesbians were and always have been “the heart of the women’s movement,” while their issues were “invisible” in the same movement.” (Cited in Wikipedia) Rebick is an American ex-pat who lives in Toronto. I could write at great length about her impropriety, but I digress. What I remember about Rebick is what she said in an interview in 1990 regarding feminism. She said, in short, that feminism was dominated and too focused on the interests of middle-class heterosexual white women. It needed to be more inclusive, broaden its scope to include lesbians and non-white women, and take up the cause of gay rights. When I heard that, I was aghast. “Whoa there, Medusa,” I thought, “stay in your own lane! No one asked for your help. Gay men are doing just fine in standing up for their civil rights.”
Unfortunately, through the 1990s, 3rd wave feminism infiltrated the gay rights movement. 3rd wave feminism became so inclusive that no one understood what they were discussing. That and it pitted its members against one another over differences in race, ethnicity, creed, sexual orientation, and in time, gender identity. It stopped being about women’s liberation and degenerated into an ongoing quarrel over who was the more oppressed, with constantly shifting criteria determining oppression and privilege. So, as the decade progressed, gay became GLB, then LGB, then LGBT, and the ever-expanding alphabet soup of gender identities. The gay press turned away from publishing articles on gay rights issues and took on the mantle of left-wing politics in general and racial and sexual identity politics in particular.
The 2000s saw the emergence of queer theory, a facet of lesbian feminism, and its newspeak with terms like cisgender and transgender. In addition, organizations like PFLAG, Lambda Legal, Stonewall, et al. shifted to racial and gender-identity politics. These organizations formerly advocated for gay rights issues such as the repeal of sodomy laws, marriage equality, and ending the discrimination of gay men and lesbians in housing and employment based on same-sex attraction. In the process, gender ideology eclipsed “radical feminism,” overtaking the gender-critical feminists in the race to the bottom, that is, the oppression Olympics. Consequently, radical feminists found themselves hoisted on their own petard; the cancel culture 3rd wave (radical) feminists created in the 1990s was turned on them.
Rest assured, my sympathies lay with women who object to men who self-identify as women invading female-only spaces, just as I object to women live-action-role-playing as men invading male-only spaces. That said, for decades, feminists demanded the abolition of male-only spaces in clubs and sports teams. Organizations like the Boy Scouts were forced to admit girls; it became Scouts, though Girl Guides remained female-only. Thankfully, a challenge failed when an aggrieved party demanded that the Vienna Boys Choir be required to admit girls. There is nothing wrong with having single-sex spaces because of the right to freedom of association or for the comfort, privacy and safety of those involved.
As a gay man, I experience challenges regarding my sex and sexual orientation. Things have vastly improved for gay men in my lifetime. Still, it is tiresome when I am lectured about my supposed privilege and told I am selfish for maintaining that feminism and gender ideology have no bearing on gay rights advocacy. I was kicked out of various LGB Alliance groups on Facebook because I refused to surrender my agency to angry lesbian feminists who demanded that I “shut up and listen.” Mind you, I speak for myself. It is up to the individual gay man to decide if he will prioritize lesbian feminist causes over his dignity and welfare. I will say that it is a bad idea and will only undermine the gains of the gay rights movement.
Posted by Geoffrey