Owner of AfterEllen Website Block PinkNews For Supporting Trans Inclusive Pride
“Blocking you” AfterEllen tweeted in response to Pink News Posting a photo stating “Transphobia Has No Place in Pride.”
PinkNews endured a barrage of transphobic abuse after covering the alleged attack that Anti-Trans radical activist Julie Bindel claimed had occurred outside Edinburgh University last week where she had participated in a panel discussion. Bindel took to twitter to tell the story, back-peddling on several key details which led some to question the accuracy of the events she detailed. When PinkNews reached out to Bindel to seek clarity for the purpose of reporting the incident via their website, she responded to the inquiry by saying, “I despise your woman-hating, anti-lesbian rag, and would rather give Donald Trump a massage than speak to you.”
The individual that Bindel accused first of physically attacking her before redacting the statement and changing it to a verbal attack with a “lunge” identifies as transgender. Of course, Bindel was less concerned over having been attacked, be it verbally or physically, and more invested in amplifying the message that it had been a trans person who did it. This inevitably resulted in an onslaught of transphobic attacks across social media from her followers and fellow Trans exclusionary radical feminists, many whose common practice is harassing, bullying, threatening and degrading non cisgender people online. Bindel’s story was a dog whistle.
As Bindel’s audience unleashed a relentless barrage of insults toward the entire trans community and Pink News, Pink News responded first by explaining that their intention was not to offend Bindel, but to report factually on her attack.
After offering up the explanation to quell Bindel’s legions of angry fans, PinkNews then posted the meme in support of the trans community.
This is when the popular website, AfterEllen.com, a once powerful media ally that reported issues across the spectrum of gender and sexuality and promoted tolerance and inclusion although their core mission- undeniably one of vital importance- was to signal boost the issues effecting lesbian and bisexual women, decided to respond to PinkNew’s trans supportive tweet by blocking them.
I have followed AfterEllen.com for years, as well as it’s companion site for gay and bisexual men, AfterElton.com. The former has changed ownership multiple times in the past few years, and it appears evident their values have changed also. AfterEllen has come under fire multiple times for pushing a dangerous anti-trans agenda. LGBT Nation even dubbed the site a “Transphobic Haven.” In December of last year, a collective of women from other publications, both writers and editors alike, broke ranks with AfterEllen to condemn their transphobic stance. In February. OUT magazine ran a piece that summed up the reckless and irresponsible reporting conducted by AfterEllen.
“AfterEllen was once a behemoth in the queer media space, focusing on lesbian and bisexual women’s representation in film and television, but it has recently moved into a new sphere. These days, the site runs articles about the vagaries of “girl dick” (in other words, the genitals of some trans women), claims that young cisgender lesbians are being bullied online for not wanting to have sex with trans women, and makes calls to separate the “L” from the larger LGBTQ+ initialism out of a desire to no longer be associated with trans people. The new AfterEllen has made its stance crystal clear: Trans people are not welcome.” — OUT Magazine
Founded by Sarah Warn and Lori Grant in 2002, AfterEllen was a pioneer in media that centralized it’s focus on LGBT issues, both culturally and politically. Along with AfterElton, in a package deal, the websites were acquired by the LogoTV in 2006. In 2014, Evolve Media purchased AfterEllen from the parent company of Logo, Viacom Media Networks.
In the last change of ownership, Lesbian Nation, a multimedia company owned by Memoree Joelle and business partner Gaye Chapman, purchased AfterEllen, but not it’s companion website, on March 1, 2019.
No one expected that Joelle and Chapman would use the platform to promote divisive and damaging rhetoric, especially encouraging trans exclusion and erasure from Pride events and campaigns for equality. Unfortunately, it seems that was exactly what Joelle intended to do- cause further harm to the trans community leveraging her readership.
The backlash against AfterEllen.com and Joelle was swift as once supportive readers of the website and social media users refused to co-sign the proselytizing of intolerance and discrimination, especially today, when the climate toward the entirety of the LGBTQ community is not just hostile, but deadly.
All of this comes on the heels of AfterEllen, just last week, endorsing a film called “The Lavender Scare” which is a virtual re-imaging of the Stonewall Riots and told from a revisionist perspective that explicitly washes any Trans involvement from the historic movement that led to the first all-inclusive Pride- a campaign that was spearheaded by transgender women, including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and Miss Major, the latter who was in the Stonewall Inn meeting with a girlfriend when the bar was raided. Rivera and Johnson were also undeniably formative in the Pride events we celebrate today according to archivists, historians and testimonies from those who were directly involved in the violence on that pivotal night in Greenwich Village on June 28th, 1969. The film, advertised as a documentary, can best be described as a intentional distortion of the facts to serve the purpose of reducing trans visibility and their impact.
According to The Smithsonian:
“This first generation of Pride marches were more inclusive than any before. Participants donned big wigs and kissed their partners. Whereas transgender people were excluded from the Reminder marches, the Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (STAR), an early transgender organization launched by Stonewall protestors Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, formed a significant contingent on Christopher Street Liberation Day. A new era had begun.”
Two trans women of color were instrumental in Pride as we know it. We cannot let hate delivered from within our own community suppress the facts in an effort to justify their prejudices.
To preserve history and honor the two of the remarkable transwomen to whom we owe so much, New York City is erecting a monument to these trailblazers which will be unveiled in 2020.