On divisive issues such as surrogacy, adoption, prostitution and the legal recognition of sex upon self-identification, the agenda being advanced by some gay rights organisations is arguably at odds with the fundamental human rights of women. Typically, calls to make each of these easier to access and free from stigma disregard the scope this provides for the exploitation and endangerment of women and their children. This has resulted in the formation of a campaign in the UK by disenchanted lesbians under the banner #GetTheLOut which has seen activists taking steps to disrupt traditional LGBTI celebrations to draw attention to their concerns, which have been marginalised within this community.
Unfortunately, women who voice opposition along these lines expose themselves to ostracism, de-platforming and worse. In remaining true to the vision of second wave feminism, these women are now being lumped together with the far right and Christian evangelists despite their pedigree of breaking down gender stereotypes, fighting for sexual and reproductive freedoms, and advocating for services and spaces that preserve the safety and autonomy of women.
With women controlling only an estimated 1% of global wealth, there is also a very real risk that our human rights agenda will continue to be dictated by men. The churches, the male gay rights lobby and men’s rights activism are all better organised and better-funded movements than feminism and each are effectively working to dismantle the gains of the women’s liberation movement. It is essential that women find a way of influencing the women’s international human rights agenda rather than allowing it to be controlled by those with funding, a voice and different priorities: namely, men.