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Lesbian Visibility Week (24th-30th April): Feminism & Inclusion

After my 'coming out', I focused on my gender journey, so I never considered my sexuality. After I was legally separated and subsequently divorced, I started to think about dating again, or should I say for the first time again. It had been over 30 years since I dated, and I was starting over as a woman.

It wasn't until post-surgery that I met an accepting woman, and as I drifted from Pansexual to Pan-Lesbian, I decided to stop playing with the labels and take ownership of simply being queer.

There were many reasons I chose to use the label "queer" instead of "lesbian", which is rooted in a complex understanding of sexuality and gender. I am also aware that in some Lesbian relationships with cis-gender women, each partner does not define themselves exclusively as a Lesbian. This decision was influenced by the fluidity of attraction and an awareness of the complexity of lesbian identity in relationships and the potential for offence among those with a transgender history. Despite the complexity of individual identities, the overarching goal of feminism remains the same: to achieve political, economic, and social equality for all sexes. As such, the feminist movement has been around for centuries and has evolved to address the changing needs of all women, including those who identify as queer or lesbian.

First-wave feminism was the first significant wave of feminism, and it took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. First-wave feminists fought for women's suffrage, property rights, and the right to education. However, middle-class white women largely dominated this movement, and their demands were limited to securing legal and political rights.

Second-wave feminism took place in the 1960s and lasted until the early 1980s. This wave addressed issues beyond suffrage, equal pay, reproductive rights, and ending domestic violence and sexual harassment. Second-wave feminists also sought to tackle the idea of gender roles and the patriarchy, which they believed perpetuated inequality between men and women. This wave was also primarily led by white, middle-class women but with more inclusion of women of colour. They also worked to raise awareness of women's issues and to empower women to take control of their own lives.

Third-wave feminism began in the 1990s and continued into the early 2000s. This wave aimed to broaden the scope of feminism beyond the experiences of white, middle-class women and include the perspectives and experiences of women of different races, classes, sexual orientations, and gender identities. In addition, they are concerned with issues such as body image, sexual identity, and the representation of women in the media. The third wave also addressed the intersectionality of different forms of oppression, including classism, sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia.

Fourth-wave feminism is the most recent wave of feminism, and it began in the early 2010s. Fourth-wave feminists use social media to amplify the voices of marginalized groups, including women of colour, transgender women, and non-binary individuals. They raise awareness of women's issues and organize protests and campaigns. They are also working on challenging traditional gender roles and creating a more inclusive feminist movement. This wave focuses on the continued fight for equality and dismantling systemic oppression in all forms.

As a transgender woman and a national feminist leader, I have a unique perspective on the history of feminism. I have seen firsthand how feminism has evolved and am grateful for the progress made. However, I also know there is still much work to be done. All women, including transgender women, still face discrimination and violence, and we must continue fighting for our rights.

I am proud to be a part of the feminist movement, and I believe that together we can create a world where all women are treated equally.

Here are some additional thoughts on the inclusion of transgender women in the feminist movement:

The inclusion of transgender women in the feminist movement is a complex issue.

Historically, some feminists have been exclusionary towards transgender women, arguing that their experiences and identities do not align with the experiences of cisgender women. This view has been criticized for being transphobic and failing to recognize the intersectionality of oppression.

However, many feminists have advocated for including transgender women in the movement. They argue that the fight for gender equality must include all individuals who experience discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

Additionally, many transgender women have been at the forefront of the feminist movement and have significantly contributed to the fight for equality.

I am hopeful that the future of feminism will be one where all women are treated equally, regardless of gender identity. So we can create a world where all women can live free from discrimination and violence.

I wish all my sapphic sisters a wonderful Lesbian Visibility Week.

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