One of Britain’s most prominent newspapers set a lesbian up with a transgender woman on blind date, prompting criticism from some feminist activists.
As part of its Blind Date series, The Guardian arranged a meeting at a bar between Jen, 26, and Anna, 23.
In an interview with the left-leaning outlet published Tuesday, Ana, a lesbian woman, described enjoying her date with Jen, who is trans.
The pair got along swimmingly, bonding over their queerness, love of Keira Knightley and “drunken antics,” according to Jen.
They even shared a kiss outside a train station.
But some commenters expressed concern that The Guardian had arranged the meeting without informing Ana that her date would be transgender.
“That the @guardian set a young lesbian woman up on a blind date with a trans woman is nothing short of repulsive. Not because they’re trans, because of the complete disregard for her right to choose her sexual partner,” tweeted Paula Gosney, a self-described feminist and entrepreneur.
If that had been done to me at her age I'd have felt, shame, guilt, entrapment, & sexual predation. It makes me feel utterly sick and it stinks of rape culture; this is how rapists & child sex abusers justify themselves, 'she didn't know she wanted it, I knew she'd like me!' 2/2
— Paula Gosney (@PaulaKGosney) November 26, 2019
Gosney’s tweet, which garnered hundreds of comments and “likes,” prompted backlash from users on Twitter.
Gosney countered by clarifying that her “disgust” centered around the lack of transparency involved in the process.
“I was raped as a teenager, I spent most of my twenties in relationships with women. If I had been set up on a blind date as an out lesbian & discovered the date to be trans I would’ve felt entrapped and deceived,” she said in another tweet.
“The point of being lesbian is to be with women,” Gosney added.
Other feminists expressed sentiments that echoed Gosney’s.
“The Guardian arranged a blind date between a lesbian and a trans-identified male without making the lesbian aware her date was trans,” tweeted Lara Adams-Miller, a lesbian writer and feminist.
“Remember, it was a BLIND date, to be later written up in this huge publication. That’s a lot of pressure to not be tagged a transphobe,” she said in a tweet, which garnered hundreds of comments and retweets.
One commenter who replied to Adams-Miller’s tweet said The Guardian’s move was “appalling.”
Appalling. Are they going to spring trans identifying people on others? Straight men? Gay men? Straight women? While simultaneously telling us disclosing trans status is dangerous to the discloser? So irresponsible.
— The Witch Janet Fraser (@feministbirther) November 26, 2019
“Are they going to spring trans identifying people on others? Straight men? Gay men? Straight women? While simultaneously telling us disclosing trans status is dangerous to the discloser? So irresponsible,” she tweeted.
In a piece for Canadian news outlet The Post Millennial, Libby Emmons slammed The Guardian for presuming “that all people can see past gender, to the sweet and gooey insides, and find true like no matter what the external package.”
Emmons, who often writes from a gender critical perspective, suggested The Guardian was attempting “to overturn millennia of sexual and biological evolution with just a few pixels, a blind date, and a snog outside the train station.”
“Perhaps they believed that the right thing to do was to categorize a trans woman who is into women as a lesbian, for the purposes of breaking through that cotton ceiling. Maybe they figured that if Anna wasn’t into biological men who claim to be lesbians, that would be her problem,” Emmons wrote.
“It is not appropriate for a dating service to be so enthralled with the blind date idea that they are not even honest about the gender of the people being set up. If The Guardian is to be a trusted dating service, and maybe that’s not such a great idea, then they have a responsibility to respect people’s gender and sex preferences, or at least to disclose. Not everyone is into surprises,” she added.
In a since-deleted tweet, Jen revealed Ana canceled the night before their second date was set to take place and so the two would not be seeing each other again.
“I am just as upset as I imagine others are,” Jen tweeted.