Dear ABC Board Members, 

We are writing to you as concerned members of LGB Alliance Australia, a worldwide advocacy group for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, about a recent episode of “You Can’t Ask That” which focused on lesbians.

We were very disappointed that an episode focusing on lesbians featured a male who calls himself “Rosie”. Rosie is clearly male and talks about his penis and using his penis as a “lesbian”. As lesbians, we are highly offended by the assertion that a male can be a lesbian or that lesbians should include males in our communities and our dating pools. 

We were also appalled that a bisexual woman (i.e. a woman attracted to both males and females) was included in an episode about lesbians, discussing how much she “loves cock”. Lesbians are, by definition, females who are exclusively attracted to other females i.e. same-sex attracted women.

Although these interviewees would be fitting in an episode about bisexuals or transgender people, they should not have been featured in an episode about lesbians. To many lesbians, this episode was as offensive as white people dressing up in “black face” to emulate black people. This is a male dressing up as his interpretation of what he thinks it is to be “lesbian”. It makes a mockery of lesbians who have fought for decades for equal rights and a respected place in society. 

By including both a transgender male and a bisexual women in an episode about lesbians, it also does harm to lesbians by suggesting that lesbians can and do enjoy having sex or relationships with men and/or penises. This reflects the everyday homophobia many lesbians face (straight males trying to convince us to “just try dick”) as well as the horrific practice of corrective rape that targets lesbians (males raping lesbians in the belief this will “turn them straight”), and further echoes conversion practices; that lesbians can indeed date men and be happy – as long as those men identify as a woman.

As this episode provides education and exposure to lesbians for a general audience, it has done great harm to us and our community by showcasing this belief and spreading misinformation. Males who “identify” as women are not and will never be a lesbian; they are, by definition, heterosexual. A relationship between a male and a female, regardless of how either identify, is a heterosexual relationship. 

We do not have any problem with men wearing dresses, nail polish, or engaging in stereotypically feminine activities; our desire is to have a world where all people can be who they are, without prescribing to gender roles. However, we do not believe dressing a certain way, calling yourself a particular name, or doing certain activities changes your biological sex. 

Many LGB people are concerned that our movement, the movement of gay liberation, has been taken over and corrupted by people who are not same-sex attracted and hold views that are hostile to same-sex attracted people. We are being kicked out of our own communities and movement, and branded “TERFs” for protesting at having our rights eroded. 

It did not escape our notice that “TERFs” were discussed in the episode as if they were a separate entity of people, when in reality, any same-sex attracted person that acknowledges the reality of our own sexual orientation, should have the right to set boundaries around who they date, are being branded “TERFs”.We are very disappointed that the ABC decided to air this episode about lesbians, at the expense of lesbians themselves. 

We hope that in the future you can support same-sex attracted people in a meaningful way; in ways that are not offensive to us and does not erase us. We are more than happy to discuss ways you could do this or to be consulted in the future around this.

Regards, LGB Alliance Australia


Our major concerns with the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act in Victoria

  1. The affirmation of gender identity will lead to conversion practices of young LGB youth by “transing away the gay”

Under this act, a young gay boy who is struggling with his attraction to other boys, or non-traditionally masculine interests, may be led to believe that, as a boy who does not adhere to masculine stereotypes, he must not be a boy. If, for example, he enjoys makeup (common in gay drag culture) or has predominately female friends, it could be illegal for a health practitioner or family member to question if his desire to present as a girl is actually a result of his same-sex attraction or non-adherence to gender stereotypes. This is similar to what occurred in the case of Bell v Tavistock (2020), where Keira Bell, now a detransitioned lesbian woman, pursued treatment to live as a man, without her gender clinic exploring whether her same-sex attraction to other girls, among other factors, was influencing her desire to live as a straight man.  

Conversion practices have traditionally been attempts to make same-sex attracted individuals heterosexual: by making affirmation of gender in all circumstances mandatory, more young LGB people will be supported to transition to become “straight”. As the majority of young trans-identified youth will grow up to re-identify with their biological sex as same-sex attracted adults, provided they are not pushed down an affirmative medical pathway, this act cements the conversion of young LGB youth through transition.

  1. The Equal Opportunity Act (2010) will be amended to redefine homosexuality and bisexuality out of legal protections

The act included an amendment to change the definition of sexual orientation in the Equal Opportunity Act from “sex” to “gender”. As such, homosexuality and bisexuality have been legally eradicated in this process. Homosexuality, which we understand as exclusive same-sex attraction, will be redefined to attraction to persons of “the same gender”. Bisexuality, which we understand as attraction to either sex, will be redefined as attraction to persons of “more than one gender”.

Sex is the binary categorisation of male and female (noting that rare conditions of disorders of sexual development, otherwise called intersex, do not alter the fact humans are a sexually dimorphic species). Gender is a subjective feeling based on one’s own identity. Sexual orientation is based on biological sex i.e. lesbians are attracted to other females, and gay men are attracted to other males. “Same gender” attraction defines lesbians as having the potential to be attracted to anyone who calls themselves a woman – including males with intact penises. Lesbians have been disproportionately affected by the influx of males into lesbian spaces and social pressure for lesbians to accept males as sexual partners – provided they identify as women.

The definition of “same gender” attraction suggests that lesbians can be attracted to males, and that gay men can be attracted to females; the concept of which is deeply homophobic. It also suggests that sexual orientation is not immutable and unchangeable; the very basis for why conversion practices are so horrific, as we know this is not the case. It implies that, should a lesbian come to terms with her sexual orientation while in a heterosexual relationship and prepare to “come out” and leave her boyfriend, should her boyfriend decide he now identifies as a woman, this heterosexual relationship is instantly transformed into a lesbian relationship and the lesbian should have no reason to leave her male partner as this is no longer in conflict with her sexual orientation.

This erodes the rights of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals – as well as heterosexuals – to define their sexuality on their own grounds, and removes the rights afforded to sexual minorities on grounds of sexual orientation. Conclusions Although recent laws banning conversion therapy have been touted as a win for the LGB community, these bills have deeply disturbing negative consequences for lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals due to the inclusion of gender identity in this act, and the redefinition of “homosexuality” and “bisexuality” to no longer be based on attraction to people of the same sex.