The Battle of Macclesfield Pride

I love Macclesfield. I really do. I love her saucy undulating hills and her disarmingly eccentric markets. I love her controversially defunct football club, even if you couldn’t get a vegan black coffee at matches. If I were a neighbouring town I’d well be eyeing her up. Especially in Winter, she’s radiant in Winter. I once even applied for a job on the Macc Tourism Board, confident I’d get it because after all, no one loves Macclesfield like I do. Unfortunately my inability to competently operate Excel overshadowed my love that day, but that’s another story. Visit Macclesfield! You won’t regret it! I’ll even show you around, I know some excellent pubs.

On the whole, I’m quite sure that Macclesfield loves me back, but lately there’s been a schism in our relationship. It’s of course political in nature, as these relationship fractures often are when those in love grow up alongside one another. The agent of unrest in this story is the charity organisation ostensibly for ‘LGBTQ+’ people, Macclesfield Pride. Now, as a gobby local lesbian with boundless enthusiasm for being a gobby local lesbian, you might naively presume we’d get on. We’d have coffee mornings perhaps, or ale soaked speed dating events. It could be marvelous! Lesbians know how to party. Unfortunately, that’s not quite what’s happened. Let me talk you through a tale of doublethink, exclusionary inclusion and an acronym in which the L is silent.

After living in relative harmony with Macc Pride, attending their events, giving their Facebook content the occasional earnest ‘like’, I approached them to ask if they’d considered the needs of a demographic that I hadn’t seen them mention: detransitioned lesbians. I posted on their fb page and so began a familiar pattern of being ignored, deleted and ultimately dismissed. Hence:

Bit annoying but nothing I didn’t realistically expect. We know by now that any discussion of detransition is inflammatory. At the time the Detransition Advocacy Network was attempting to make headway. It’s not surprising how difficult that was when this is the reception the subject is getting in gay groups. I know when I’m being given short shrift so I left it to concentrate on other important pursuits, like getting really good at darts in the lockdown and marauding around Macclesfield’s green and pleasant pastures. This was in January last year.

Skip to the present and a LOT has happened in the LGBT community. Keira Bell won her case, detransition started to be talked about seriously and the LGB Alliance received charity status. One of the many talking points arising from this maelstrom of happenings has been the across the board denigration of LGBA from groups that apparently didn’t want us in the first place. Macc Pride took to Facebook to air their grievances, and as an alphabet person with a stake in the game, I decided to politely comment  to point out that Macc Pride’s portrayal of LGBA as a hate group was somewhat off the mark. Behold:

My comment garnered a few likes and was swiftly deleted. So far so irritating. I then DM’d them further my point to find I’d been pre-emptively blocked.

By this time I was feeling quite irked so took to their website to contact them. Here’s a verbatim transcript of what I wrote. Not to bitch, but their site is terribly formatted for mobile so I take no responsibility for the numerous typos because I couldn’t actually see what I was writing.

23/04/21

Good morning

I’ve been in touch with you on a few occasions regarding pertinent issues within the LGBT community both locally and nationwide, namely to do with lesbian detransitioners and more recently regarding the LGB Alliance. I’ve found that every time I’ve attempted to raise these important and relevant topics I’ve had my facebook comments deleted and have been preventes from contacting you directly on facebook messenger.

I note that you are a registered charity, and I feel that the Charity Commission might be interested in your refusal to engage with a member of the community you’re supposed to represent.

I don’t want to have to chase this any further than necessary, I just ask for open dialogue abiut these things. It’s a fact that sexual orientatiom and gender identity are different things and as such require different modes of support. I don’t understand why talking about this basic point is verboten.

If you could get back to me I’d be grateful. My contact details are above.

Thank you,

Rebekah

They of course got back to me promptly with a concise and respectful litany of responses to all my concerns.

Just kidding, they totally ignored me. So, undeterred, I wrote again.

26/4/21

Hello, me again.

I didn’t receive any response to my last email so I wondered if you’d be interested in meeting with me and my partner to talk about some of the issues potentially facing transmen in the community who wish to detransition and live as lesbians.

 My partner is one of these women and the numbers are growing. This is a topic that is affecting lots of young women, L, B and T, and as a group who exist to represent all letters of LGBT I’m surprised and disappointed that you’re reluctant to speak to us about it.

 We aren’t approaching with hostility, all we ask is for discussion of a possible outcome for lesbians who may feel unsupported in their choices if they choose to detransition. As before, my contact details are above. Can we go get a coffee and have a chat please?

Thank you,

Rebekah and Keira

The terrifying prospect of having to meet with us physically got their attention and I was finally contacted by one of the committee members, who despite her insistence on inclusivity of the whole community, had apparently called a board meeting to discuss how best to exclude me and Keira. It’s not the most candid ‘fuck off’ I’ve ever received but it’s pretty high up there.

Cheers. I was starting to worry that rather than listen to lesbians you might have had a bug on your fb messenger and website that prevented you from getting your mail. As is polite when one receives a communique, I took off my gloves and promptly wrote back.

Since then, there’s been tumbleweed.

This to me proves beyond any reasonable doubt that there is no place for a particular kind of lesbian thought in Pride. I mean, I had my suspicions when I protested the Manchester Pride parade with Get The L Out in August 2019, and this has further confirmed the dire need for an organisation that has the interests of lesbian, gay and bisexual people who do not have a nebulous gender identity as its primary focus. As the Charity Commission is bombarded with complaints about the very existence of the LGB Alliance, I wonder, would they be interested in the machinations of the various Pride charities around the country that have seemingly abandoned the same sex oriented people they purport to represent?

As I write this I’m aware of many other lesbians and bisexual women nationwide writing to their local Pride groups with similar issues. It’ll be fascinating, albeit downright predictable to see what the outcomes will be. Pride has pushed us right out of discourse in the name of inclusivity and has then had the nerve to label us a hate group when we focus on our own needs. As far as I’m concerned they can keep the rainbow. Macclesfield’s gloriously soggy weather conditions has a way better version anyway.