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Some lesbians feel pressured into sex with trans women over fears of being branded ‘transphobic’


Some lesbians claim they have faced accusations of transphobia and threats of violence if they admit they are not attracted to trans women.

Lesbians have spoken out and said they have at times felt pressured to have sex with trans women or coerced into accepting them as partners.

More than half of the 80 women who responded to a survey by campaigning group Get the L Out reported being pressured or coerced to accept a trans woman as a sexual partner.

In total, 66 per cent said they felt intimidated or had received threats in their LGBT groups.

Respondents to the survey shared their experiences with one writing: ‘I thought I would be called a transphobe or that it would be wrong of me to turn down a trans woman who wanted to exchange nude pictures.

Some lesbians felt pressured into having sex with trans women over fears they will be labelled transphobic if they refuse as others say they face abuse if they express a ‘genital preference’

‘Young women feel pressured to sleep with trans women ‘to prove I am not a terf’.’

The term ‘terf’, which stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist, is often used to attack feminists calling to protect women-only spaces, and sex-based rights rather than gender-based rights, in opposition to advice from LGBT lobby group Stonewall.

The same ‘terf’ term was levelled at JK Rowling after she disagreed with an online article describing ‘people who menstruate’. 

Another added: ‘I was told that homosexuality doesn’t exist and I owed it to my trans sisters to unlearn my ‘genital confusion’ so I can enjoy letting them penetrate me.’ 

The organisation acknowledged that the sample size was not representative of the entire Lesbian community but said it was an important tool to highlight these ‘points of view and stories’. 

Activists have criticised the survey over the method used by Get the L Out to attract respondents as the survey was sent to women-only and lesbian-only groups on social media. 

Other women have since spoken out to highlight the issue they feel is almost impossible to talk publicly about. 

One woman, who spoke to MailOnline on the condition of anonymity, said gay women are held to a different standard than men.

The 31-year-old woman who says she would only have sex with someone who was biologically female, said: ‘I have been on the periphery of those conversations and faced backlash for my opinion.

‘Now I just ensure I only surround myself with people who won’t attack me for what I do and don’t want to do with my body. 

In reports highlighting the issue, gay women say they get abuse if they speak out online

In reports highlighting the issue, gay women say they get abuse if they speak out online

‘Nobody is saying this is a widespread problem that every lesbian experiences every day but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

‘What frustrates me about this debate is that men are always completely left out of the conversation.

‘Is a man transphobic if he doesn’t want to sleep with a trans woman? And is a gay man transphobic if he doesn’t want to sleep with a trans man?

‘Once again, it’s attacking women for something that also applies to men. You’re holding lesbians to a different standard than straight or gay men because the question is never asked of them.’ 

In a report highlighting the issue by the BBC, several women spoke under aliases and said they had experienced backlash after stating they would not want to have sex with a trans woman.

Jennie, a lesbian who is only attracted to women who are biologically female, says she has been described as transphobic, a genital fetishist, a pervert and a ‘terf’ – a trans exclusionary radical feminist.

She told the BBC: ‘I’ve had someone saying they would rather kill me than Hitler.

‘They said they would strangle me with a belt if they were in a room with me and Hitler. That was so bizarrely violent, just because I won’t have sex with trans women.

‘There’s a common argument that they try and use that goes ‘What if you met a woman in a bar and she’s really beautiful and you got on really well and you went home and you discovered that she has a penis? Would you just not be interested?’

‘Yes, because even if someone seems attractive at first you can go off them. I just don’t possess the capacity to be sexually attracted to people who are biologically male, regardless of how they identify.’

Lesbians have also shared their own experiences on social media including Twitter (pictured)

Lesbians have also shared their own experiences on social media including Twitter (pictured)

Another woman who used the name Chloe told the BBC she felt so pressured she ended up having penetrative sex with a trans woman at university after repeatedly explaining she was not interested. 

She added: ‘I felt very bad for hating every moment, because the idea is we are attracted to gender rather than sex, and I did not feel that, and I felt bad for feeling like that.’

Some lesbians have also spoken out about the issue on social media platforms.

One user wrote on Twitter: ‘I had no idea about what lesbians were going through until I was attacked on a dating app.

‘I matched with a woman and we started talking. I gave her my phone number. Eventually, she told me that she was trans. 

‘I didn’t reject the idea right away. It wasn’t until she told me that she had not had bottom surgery that I said I wasn’t interested. At that point the harassment began.

‘She almost convinced me that I was being transphobic. She made me feel that I was being hateful towards women. It took weeks for me to get over this encounter.

‘I had no idea that other women were being harassed like this also. I had already given this person my phone number before they disclosed.

Trans activists say 'genital preference' is a form of discrimination and liken it to racism

Trans activists say ‘genital preference’ is a form of discrimination and liken it to racism

‘They refused to accept my genital preference and harassed me because I wouldn’t accept them.

‘They mentally abused me, sexually harassed me then made me feel like I was the one in the wrong.’

Another wrote: ‘I had this experience with a pre-op trans guy who told me I owed it to him to unlearn my ‘confused genital preferences’ or else I’m transphobic for refusing.’  

People who are critical of genital preference, as it is often referred to, liken the stance to ruling out people of colour or those who are differently abled as sexual partners. 

Stonewall chief executive Nancy Kelley took this position.

She told the BBC: ‘Sexuality is personal and something which is unique to each of us. There is no ‘right’ way to be a lesbian, and only we can know who we’re attracted to.

‘Nobody should ever be pressured into dating, or pressured into dating people they aren’t attracted to.

‘But if you find that when dating, you are writing off entire groups of people, like people of colour, fat people, disabled people or trans people, then it’s worth considering how societal prejudices may have shaped your attractions.

When asked about the issue, Stonewall chief executive Nancy Kelley likened 'genital preference' to choosing not to have sex with people of colour, fat people, disabled people

When asked about the issue, Stonewall chief executive Nancy Kelley likened ‘genital preference’ to choosing not to have sex with people of colour, fat people, disabled people

‘We know that prejudice is still common in the LGBT+ community, and it’s important that we can talk about that openly and honestly.’

Journalist Ash Sarkar added: ‘Nobody should be pressured into sex with anybody, for any reason.

‘I wouldn’t want someone to feel they had to have sex with me out of social pressure, but it’d be fair to ask whether racism plays a part in announcing every 5mins that they’d never sleep with a woman of colour.’

Trans rights activist Veronica Ivy said: ‘Most people don’t date genitals, we date *people* who have genitals.

‘If a girl has a funny looking vagina, I don’t just stop dating her. I make it work. Date genders, and just learn how to have fun with their sexy fun time bits, whatever they happen to be.’

In response to criticism about their coverage, a BBC spokesperson said: ‘The article looks at a complex subject from different perspectives and acknowledges it is difficult to assess the extent of the issue.

‘It includes testimony from a range of different sources and provides appropriate context. It went through our rigorous editorial processes.

‘It is important that journalism looks at issues – even where there are strongly held positions.

‘The BBC is here to ensure debate and to make sure a wide a range of voices are heard.’



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