Dear Jennifer and Kate –
Hello. My name is Cathy Brennan, and I am a lesbian activist in Baltimore, Maryland. I am also – like you – a mother. I want to thank you for blazing a trail in 1983 for lesbian parenting. That took amazing courage. Your actions helped make it possible for Lesbians now to have children without raising as many eyebrows as you undoubtedly did when your son (now your daughter) Tobi was born in 1983.
I want to ask you to do something now that will also take amazing courage – please tell your daughter, Tobi Hill-Meyer, to stop terrorizing Lesbians. Tobi has every right to exist in the world as a woman; please don’t misunderstand what I am asking of you. But Tobi has taken it upon herself to tell Lesbians that we are bigots for shunning penis. Perhaps you don’t know this? She also has perpetuated the myth that Lesbians as a group secretly crave penetration by males – because some Lesbians use dildos. And Tobi, aided and abetted by would-be helpers who think they are waging a noble battle against “bigotry,” willfully violates the boundary established by Females for Female-only space.
One of the most important things a parent can do is to talk to their child when she is so clearly out of line, to rein her back in and impress upon her the values with which they’ve raised her. Surely, given your bravery and courage in parenting at the dawn of the Reagan era, surely you do not share the values Tobi is promoting – entitlement, appropriation, and disrespect.
Do you think it’s right that Females cannot have their own space? I cannot believe that you would think that, especially as I read your recounting of going into labor at a Sweet Honey in the Rock concert. Surely you both know the power, comfort and safety that comes from Female-only spaces (we don’t call them “women-only spaces” anymore, because we want to be respectful of trans* women).
Surely you agree that respect must go both ways, and that it’s ok to say to trans women – including your daughter, Tobi – that difference exists, and Females sometimes will want space away from Males. Surely you agree that Females have the right to prioritize the issues that Females care about (whatever they might be), without allowing Males to derail our efforts?
I know the love you have for your child, as I have that same love for my children. I know that such love can often blind us to the harm our children do and the pain they inflict on others. I am asking you, as parents, to put aside that great love you have for your daughter and consider the harm she is inflicting on the Lesbian community. The eyebrows she is raising are not caused by Lesbian intolerance – they are caused because Tobi is pushing the same reparative therapy tropes pushed by renowned anti-gay groups like NARTH. Tobi is causing pain by insisting that she is Female and demanding access to Female-only spaces. Unfortunately, this makes Tobi no different than any other Male demanding access to lesbians and Females. I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but it’s true.
We can all co-exist peacefully, but to do so, we must respect each other and our differences. And sometimes that requires a firm “no.” As parents, I know you are familiar with telling your child “no.” I am asking you to tell your child “no” now.
No, Tobi, you cannot go into Female-only space. No, Tobi, although we respect you as a woman, you are not Female. No, Tobi, a penis is not a Female organ. No, Tobi, a dildo is not a “substitute” for a penis. No, Tobi, some Lesbians enjoy penetration, but that does not mean we want sex with Males (or you).
Thank you for considering this request. I guarantee it is co-signed by a nation of Females.