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|Part of a series on|
|Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people|
|Prejudice / Violence|
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Lesbophobia (sometimes lesbiphobia) comprises various forms of negativity toward lesbians as individuals, as couples, or as a social group. Based on the categories of sex or biological gender, sexual orientation, lesbian identity, and gender expression, this negativity encompasses prejudice, discrimination, and abuse, in addition to attitudes and feelings ranging from disdain to hostility. As such, lesbophobia is sexism against women that intersects with homophobia and vice versa. Cynthia Petersen, a professor of law at University of Ottawa, has defined lesbophobia as also including "the fear that women have of loving other women, as well as the fear that men (including gay men) have of women not loving them."
While some people use only the more general term homophobia to describe this sort of prejudice or behavior, others believe that the terms homosexual and homophobia do not adequately reflect the specific concerns of lesbians, because they experience the double discrimination of both homophobia and sexism. Similarly, bisexual women may prefer to use the term biphobia to refer to prejudice or abuse that they encounter which is based on their bisexual identity or behaviour, and people who identify as transgender often prefer to use the word transphobia.
Extent of lesbophobia
The idea that lesbians are dangerous—while heterosexual interactions are natural, normal, and spontaneous—is a common example of beliefs which are lesbophobic. Like homophobia, this belief is classed as heteronormative, as it assumes that heterosexuality is dominant, presumed, and normal, and that other sexual or relationship arrangements are abnormal and unnatural. A stereotype that has been identified as lesbophobic is that female athletes are always or predominantly lesbians. Lesbians encounter lesbophobic attitudes not only in straight men and women, but from gay men, as well as bisexual people. Lesbophobia in gay men is regarded as manifest in the perceived subordination of lesbian issues in the campaign for gay rights.
Lesbophobia is sometimes demonstrated through crimes of violence, including corrective rape and even murder. In South Africa, Sizakele Sigasa (a lesbian activist living in Soweto) and her partner Salome Masooa were raped, tortured, and murdered in July 2007 in an attack that South African lesbian-gay rights organizations, including the umbrella-group Joint Working Group, said were driven by lesbophobia. Two other rape/murders of lesbians occurred in South Africa earlier in summer 2007: Simangele Nhlapo, member of an HIV-positive support group, was raped and murdered in June, along with her two-year-old daughter; and Madoe Mafubedu, aged 16, was raped and stabbed to death.
In 2006, Zoliswa Nkonyana, aged 19, was killed for being openly lesbian by 4 men in the Cape Town township of Khayelitsha, who stabbed and stoned her to death. Banyana Banyana soccer player Eudy Simelane and LGBT activist Noxolo Nogwaza were raped and murdered in the Gauteng township of KwaThema. Zanele Muholi, community relations director of a lesbian rights group, reports having recorded 50 rape cases over the past decade involving black lesbians in townships, stating: "The problem is largely that of patriarchy. The men who perpetrate such crimes see rape as curative and as an attempt to show women their place in society."
Jane Czyzselska, the editor of British lesbian magazine Diva, launched a social media campaign called Everyday Lesbophobia in 2013. She told PinkNews.co.uk: "Like the brilliant Everyday Sexism project, our Everyday Lesbophobia campaign has been set up to document instances of prejudice from serious abuse to casual put downs that have become so commonplace that we often don't feel able to protest about them." Everyday Lesbophobia includes a blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account.
- Societal attitudes toward homosexuality
- Compulsory heterosexuality
- Violence against LGBT people
- History of lesbianism
- Lesbianism in erotica
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- Czyzselska, Jane. "Lesbophobia is homophobia with a side-order of sexism." The Guardian. Tuesday 9 July 2013.