Planning lesbian spaces

One of the sites I am starting to create is a womyn-born lesbian feminist social network. More than a dating site — though it could be used for that — it would be a place for lesbians to meet other actual lesbians, for friendship, for organizing, or for simple relief from our growing isolation.

There are several challenges here.

The first one is to protect it from ddos and hacking, which I know I can only do imperfectly, and so I have to make plans for resilient failure, too. This isn’t much different from the challenges online commerce sites face, and so I can secure the site as if it were processing credit cards, minus the credit cards and the processing.

The second challenge is keeping the site free of trans activists and their handmaidens, as well as free of “sex positive” fun/faux feminists. I have several ideas how I can go about this. I will probably use, in some manner or another, all of these ideas, so that someone who slips past one filter would be caught by another. One of my ideas, though, involves the participation of the broader community as gatekeeper.  For this reason I want to get input and suggestions from readers before I implement some version of it.

The idea is this:

In order to register at the site, you would need a token — a tiny bit of code, just like a password. Initially I’d personally send out tokens to known lesbian feminists.

When a woman registers for the first time, she would be given three more tokens (that number is flexible), to distribute to other women she knows to her satisfaction to be (genuine, non-male) lesbian feminists. She will be encouraged (but not required) to write down on paper who she gives her tokens to, but she should not send her records to me nor let me know that she has written anything down unless I ask for it. Nor should she put this information online anywhere (not even on Dropbox), nor keep it on any mobile device, unless she can encrypt it first with military grade encryption. Keeping a partial scattered record of women’s identities this way gives us records enough to trace problems, but does not create a reliable centralized database that can be stolen by hackers or subpoenaed by litigious trans activists.

Anyone who doesn’t have much of an online footprint, or who I miss in the initial mailings, could also contact me directly and make her case for a token.

The point of the scheme is to distribute the decision-making about who is a radical lesbian feminist, as well as to take advantage of the mathematics of exponential functions to blanket the lesbian community with tokens. I still expect some trans activists will wiggle through, and I expect an even greater number of pomo queer pro-porn lesbians to slip past community screening.

I have more ways planned to filter out the men, ways I can’t talk about on the open Internet. I hope to make such incursions rare, temporary, and perhaps painful for the intruders.

I’m less concerned about the queer-identified women. Who they are will become obvious. If they don’t invite in their faux-female friends, or try to endlessly argue that penises are female too, or use the site to solicit or promote BDSM or porn or other misogynistic things, they can stay. In fact I hope the site begins to attract apolitical and queer-influenced lesbians whose only real reason to be there is to use it as a trans-free dating site. In doing so they will be exposed to feminist ideas they probably have never heard of before, except perhaps as the grossly distorted parodies of feminism we are accused of believing by anti-feminist men. The more they are exposed to us, the less appealing the brutally misogynistic trans/queer subculture will appear to be.

I do not want to become the Supreme Forever Dictator of Internet Dykespace. To construct a social network, I must necessarily craft the site as if I were its dictator. I can’t imagine what php coding by the consensus of a political collective would look like (in fact now that I’ve generated that very bad bit of imagination, I think I’ve made myself more geek nightmare fuel). But no one whose list of doctors includes an oncologist has any business making Forever plans.  Dictatorship even under the best of circumstances does not work out well for the dictated to. Historically the survival of lesbian institutions has depended on how well they transitioned from being their founder’s baby to becoming a community resource.

I’m open to any ideas as to how to gracefully hand over ownership and control of a site to its  members. While you are brainstorming, keep in mind that it must be a non-profit private membership organization. If it were to take the form of a for-profit business, it could, and probably would, be forced to admit men.


12 thoughts on “Planning lesbian spaces

  1. Mary Sunshine says:

    You can sign me up. 🙂 I’ve been the lesbian-separatist thorn in everybody’s flesh since forever. I figure you have my email address from me following this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. storyending says:

    Most excellent idea.

    Personally, I’d avoid this bit at all costs.
    “If it were to take the form of a for-profit business, it could, and probably would, be forced to admit men.”

    The moment a women’s group starts to exchange with men, someone is going to say: “Hey, this one isn’t so bad. He should have a say in how we do things.” Death knell.

    If someone can figure a way to take their money without having to given them anything real in return, I’m all for that, haha. They sell us bottles of nothing (and worse) all the time.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. captainyourface says:

    thoughts on how to hand over control of the site…of course, not everyone can have equal control over the fate of the website, what a damn (and dangerous) mess that would be, especially if everyone had free reign over the code…nightmares, indeed. and you don’t necessarily need to appoint through election or your own choosing, one major doma. it could be a small, trusted group, even though that seems a bit worrisome, mainly because what if someone not to be trusted slips in? it’s a difficult but an important question. things to consider, just because someone wants the job doesn’t mean they are the best suited for it. it requires not only a willingness and passion to participate, but some amount of skill and knowledge, knowledge of code and web development and security in this case. not that those things can’t be taught and learned, this is just where my mind has taken me in response. while democracy is of utmost importance, some issues arise when the best-known candidate is not the most qualified for a position. these things I am unsure of how to combat, and thus requires a faith in the community, with everyone equally invested in ensuring the success of a lesbian separatist community. I do believe natural leaders will emerge.

    so, I would suggest a community vote when the time comes.or perhaps, a vote, and between the top three candidates, you choose the best suited? I think this is a very necessary conversation to have because I’ve been confused when it comes to the ideas of governance of a separatist community, how to avoid power plays and hierarchy, but at the same time, protect the community from those who seek it’s destruction. it’s interesting in regards to a cyberspace community–someone *has* to be in charge of the code and the security, that aspect can’t just be open to all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. procrastinatrix says:

    Amazing idea. I’m a het radfem, and just want to say I wish you well. I’d donate (what small amount I can) to support such a site, and would not expect, as a non-lesbian, to be allowed on the site. Lesbian spaces have been so vital to feminist awakening, thought, history, culture. Really exciting!


  5. Miep says:

    It can be a private group and exclude men without being formally organized. If you want to organize it as a nonprofit, you should look at what you gain by doing so, if anything. Generally the whole point is to make donations tax deductable.

    Considering the stealth tactics you describe here, I don’t even know how you would organize this as a nonprofit at all. Why not just make it a private club? Lots to be said for private clubs. Doesn’t mean you can’t run fundraisers to cover costs.

    I’ve managed a few nonprofits and worked for a few more. Once you get involved with the government, you have to file, you have to have financial statements available for the members. It can drag a group down.

    I haven’t been involved with any private membership nonprofits. It’s more like, get something going before you start trying to think about having a legal status, it’s much less trouble. Meanwhile, if you want to fundraise for anything, just explain what it is clearly, don’t be vague or misrepresent the group. Even individuals with “donate” buttons on their blogs have some legal obligation to explain what they’re doing with the money after a certain point. It’s dodgy territory, online fundraising, but there are some restrictions. But at least in the USA it kicks in at around ten K a year. And the tax-free annual gift limit for individuals is around 12K, per gifter, so there is a lot of leeway there.

    I completely agree with storyending that keeping men out is top priority. No exceptions. Members must be raised and socialized female and have or previously have had actual female biology, as in reproductive systems. And do you want to let in androgen insensitive people? You might want to discuss what constitutes “lesbian,” too. Obviously no actively bisexual women, but there are nuances beyond that. And do you want to let in women who take T? Lots to talk about.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. TERF pride says:

    Yes, a lot to talk about. Border conditions are always messy.

    When it comes to men, the question is in your face ridiculously easy (even if they’ve had a boob job).

    When it comes to women I favor drawing the lines a tad on the generous side, to include any (authentic) woman who is not actively in or seeking a relationship with men and who identifies as a lesbian or thinks she might be/become one, because (nearly) any woman can be a lesbian.

    As to T, I think we should welcome home with open arms any lesbian who is detransitioning or sincerely wanting to detransition back to her true self, regardless of whether she is still taking T (getting away from hormones can be difficult medically — sometimes, impossible). As to women who identify as men and who take T, they are women, and often lesbians, but they are not feminists. This is of course open for much discussion since I expect to resign as Supreme Dictator as soon as I can 🙂

    And now I am going to go crawl into bed for a couple of hours, after spending all night long playing with how to configure the site (plan A: write the thing for the Django framework. Plan B: use a familiar and well established platform (wordpress) to make it easy for someone else to pick up the pieces should I go pinin’ for the fjords (plus a ton of plugins, plus whatever mods are needed to make all of it work smoothly). Right now, I’m leaning Plan B, assuming the multi-headed monster glues together okay.)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. FeistyAmazon says:

    Would like it for ALL born female Lesbians who want Lesbian male free space, no matter their personal Lesbian sexual proclivities….and also who are there NOT just for a date but to build Sisterhood and community. The MOMENT they want to bring a born male in or want to transition to “male” is tge moment their membership gets revoked.

    As far as detransitioners, those who came to their senses and really want Lesbian and FEMALE community should be allowed in…but if they want some alliance between the trans world and Lesbian world and vacillate vetween the two..they are not ready. We had a real problem with that with Mark/Maritza Cummings a well known detransitioner who at first courted Lesbians and radical feminists who completely supported her in detransitioning while the trans community defamed and turned their backs on her…but when we set limits on her mtf making clear our boundaries on born female space, Mark/Maritza turned on us…other detransitioners who are still confused inbetween both communities are not yet ready for exclusive Lesbian born female space….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Miep says:

      You do have a point there. While I understand that people easily get dependent on chemicals they ingest, and that testosterone is no exception, it does seem to me that people who have not made a full break with the genderists are at risk of recidivism. A friend sent me numerous screenshots of the Maritza debacle and they are just appalling, full-blown MRA talking points, a real hate fest.

      I also recently noted another person, a post-op male who is popular among some feminist circles, saying he thinks we all wish them silent or dead.

      And these are those who have seemed the best of the bunch. I would be very careful.


    2. TERF pride says:

      Feisty Amazon, I just read a bit of your blog and there’s a chance we may have known each other in Colorado. I’m older, but as a community member I was sometimes a part of the Feminist Coalition/Lesbian Caucus, though I would have been leaving, or perhaps just left, around the time you came out.

      I’ve been wondering how long it would take till I ran across someone on my blog.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s