LGB Alliance Letter To The ABC Board

Dear ABC Board Members, 

We are writing to you as concerned members of LGB Alliance Australia, a worldwide advocacy group for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, about a recent episode of "You Can’t Ask That" which focused on lesbians.

We were very disappointed that an episode focusing on lesbians featured a male who calls himself “Rosie”. Rosie is clearly male and talks about his penis and using his penis as a "lesbian". As lesbians, we are highly offended by the assertion that a male can be a lesbian or that lesbians should include males in our communities and our dating pools.

We were also appalled that a bisexual woman (i.e. a woman attracted to both males and females) was included in an episode about lesbians, discussing how much she “loves cock”. Lesbians are, by definition, females who are exclusively attracted to other females i.e. same-sex attracted women.

Although these interviewees would be fitting in an episode about bisexuals or transgender people, they should not have been featured in an episode about lesbians. To many lesbians, this episode was as offensive as white people dressing up in “black face” to emulate black people. This is a male dressing up as his interpretation of what he thinks it is to be “lesbian”. It makes a mockery of lesbians who have fought for decades for equal rights and a respected place in society. 

By including both a transgender male and a bisexual women in an episode about lesbians, it also does harm to lesbians by suggesting that lesbians can and do enjoy having sex or relationships with men and/or penises. This reflects the everyday homophobia many lesbians face (straight males trying to convince us to “just try dick”) as well as the horrific practice of corrective rape that targets lesbians (males raping lesbians in the belief this will “turn them straight”), and further echoes conversion practices; that lesbians can indeed date men and be happy – as long as those men identify as a woman.

As this episode provides education and exposure to lesbians for a general audience, it has done great harm to us and our community by showcasing this belief and spreading misinformation. Males who “identify” as women are not and will never be a lesbian; they are, by definition, heterosexual. A relationship between a male and a female, regardless of how either identify, is a heterosexual relationship. 

We do not have any problem with men wearing dresses, nail polish, or engaging in stereotypically feminine activities; our desire is to have a world where all people can be who they are, without prescribing to gender roles. However, we do not believe dressing a certain way, calling yourself a particular name, or doing certain activities changes your biological sex. 

Many LGB people are concerned that our movement, the movement of gay liberation, has been taken over and corrupted by people who are not same-sex attracted and hold views that are hostile to same-sex attracted people. We are being kicked out of our own communities and movement, and branded “TERFs” for protesting at having our rights eroded. 

It did not escape our notice that “TERFs” were discussed in the episode as if they were a separate entity of people, when in reality, any same-sex attracted person that acknowledges the reality of our own sexual orientation, should have the right to set boundaries around who they date, are being branded “TERFs”.We are very disappointed that the ABC decided to air this episode about lesbians, at the expense of lesbians themselves. 

We hope that in the future you can support same-sex attracted people in a meaningful way; in ways that are not offensive to us and does not erase us. We are more than happy to discuss ways you could do this or to be consulted in the future around this.

Regards, LGB Alliance Australia