Button 3 Session 4 Sat

SUSAN HAWTHORNE

SUSAN HAWTHORNE

UNNOTICED, UNRECORDED, UNREMEMBERED: INSCRIBING THE TORTURE OF LESBIANS

What began as an excursion into researching the evidence for the torture of lesbians internationally, turned into a multi-year research project. At first, I found mostly porn on the internet when I put in lesbian+torture. Not long after I began, I stumbled on Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes' and Lynda Birke's essay in Women's Studies International Forum. Every year or two, I updated my search and each time I found more cases of lesbians who had been tortured around the world. In 2004, I began to write a fictional version. I had no idea where I was going. It would take another 15 years before that came clear.

In my paper, I talk about the research and how it intersects with my poetic and fictional versions and why I think it is necessary to write for other audiences. I have discovered that only lesbians are interested in violence perpetrated against lesbians. I would like to find ways to change this.

HILARY MCCOLLUM

HILARY MCCOLLUM

VOICING VIOLENCE AGAINST LESBIANS

Lesbian experiences of violence are often silenced and hidden. Drawing on interviews Hilary has conducted as well as on her own history of abuse, she will use women’s own words to give voice to lesbian experiences of homophobic attacks, child sexual abuse, rape and domestic abuse. She will also talk about the invisibility of lesbian lives and lesbian history as a form of violence.

CONSUELO RIVERA FUENTES

CONSUELO RIVERA FUENTES

MY EXPERIENCES OF PAIN IN TORTURE AND IMPRISONMENT IN DICTATORIAL CHILE

Very little of feminist scholarship on the body addresses torture of women, and still less, torture of lesbians.  The deafening silence in fiction written about this topic has finally been broken with Susan Hawthorne’s novel Dark Matters but that pioneering work needs to be replicated a thousand times by other writers.

I will be retelling my experiences of bodily pain in torture and imprisonment during the 80s in dictatorial Chile and reflect on how these experiences not only transformed my silence under torture into an act of resistance and stubbornness but also reaffirmed my belief in speaking out and let the world know that Lesbians experience discrimination and torture worldwide every day, yet in feminist conferences and meetings, this is swept under the carpet of women’s issues and once more Lesbians are invisible.

ANGELA C WILD

ANGELA C WILD

LESBIANS AT GROUND ZERO: LESBIANS AND THE COTTON CEILING

A number of transactivists on social media have shared the view that they are discriminated against because some lesbians refuse to have sex with them, propagating the idea that lesbianism is “transphobic”. Get The L out Lesbian activist group investigated this phenomenon called the “cotton ceiling” and published in March 2019 a research showing that lesbians are under huge pressure, (including coercion and sexual violence) within LGBT communities to accept without question that “transwoman are women”, with implications for lesbians to be able to name themselves lesbians and lead a lesbian life.

This talk will detail the findings of the research as well as discuss the political implications of these findings for lesbians, LGBT groups, charities and organisation and women-only spaces.