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Trans activists shut down my lesbian speed-dating event

We need single-sex venues. So I’m building my own.

Jenny Watson

Topics Identity Politics Politics UK

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For six years, I used to organise lesbian speed-dating events. These events led to thousands of dates and hundreds of women finding love. We even had two weddings – beat that Cilla! These events also offered a vital safe haven for women who wanted to exclusively date other women.

But this all came to an end last August, when our venue, the College Arms pub in central London, refused to continue hosting us. After multiple incidents involving biological males turning up and identifying as women, we had to clarify that men were not permitted to attend. In response to this, the pub’s management announced that it no longer felt comfortable with our event. It claimed we were not ‘inclusive’ enough.

The pub chain’s owners did eventually concede that it was legitimate for lesbian events to be female-only. We were, briefly, allowed to continue excluding men from our meet-ups. This should have been an obvious decision, but it represented a real victory at the time. And yet, six months later, we have had to pull the plug on our events once again. Trans-rights activists are still systematically targeting us in an attempt to shut us down. They refuse to accept that the lesbians who attend our events do not want to date men.

We refuse to be intimidated. That’s why I and other lesbians have decided to build L Community, a truly female-only lesbian venue. It will be a dedicated – and uncancellable – physical and digital space for women who love women, free from intrusion and compromise.

This shouldn’t be controversial in the slightest. Historically, lesbian venues existed without needing to be explicitly defined as women-only. Men generally respected these boundaries. The concept of single-sex spaces was implicitly understood and accepted. However, in the past decade, our spaces have been violated by men identifying as women. This has made it necessary to reassert these boundaries.

L Community is charting new territory. Our app will be Europe’s first lesbian social-media platform and dating app that is exclusively for women. And the cornerstone of our project, L Community’s physical venue, is set to become the UK’s only lesbian bar that excludes men – a true lesbian bar. Despite the proliferation of LGBT or more modernly termed ‘queer’ venues, there are only three permanent, full-time lesbian bars in the entire country. Yet all of them welcome ‘transwomen’ with open arms. Needless to say, allowing men into lesbian venues means they are, by definition, no longer lesbian venues.

This lack of spaces designed solely for lesbians leaves us with no choice but to build our own. Trans activists love to throw around phrases like ‘genital policing’ to disparage our attempts to maintain real female-only spaces. Some have even claimed that excluding trans people from such events goes against discrimination laws. But L Community will operate as a private members’ club, meaning we will be well within our rights to only admit biological women. Admission will be based on providing accurate information during the application process, including presenting ID, showing a photograph of yourself and signing the terms and conditions to confirm that you are indeed a woman.

This isn’t about diminishing others’ rights or spaces. Men should also be free to have their own spaces, whether in the form of the now controversial Garrick Club or the many gay bars that cater specifically to men. But L Community is about re-establishing the spaces that have been taken from us lesbians. We’re creating a place for women without infringing on anyone else’s right to do the same.

It should be obvious that men have no place in the lesbian dating scene. In an ideal world, women would be allowed to simply have their own spaces in peace. But until LGBT activists catch up with reality, projects like L Community will have to hold their own against trans ideology. Hopefully, many more initiatives like this will follow.

Jenny Watson is a founder of L Community. Visit the L Community website here.

Picture by: Brooke Cagle.

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Topics Identity Politics Politics UK

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