Jenny Watson

Jenny has just recently come to our attention for her courageousness in organising lesbian only events after being inspired by a lesbian only Valentine’s Night speed dating event. She is now super visible. We would like to say she has burst onto the scene but it wasn’t quite like that.

Jenny came out at the age of 19. She writes with integrity and honesty on her Substack about her childhood, her family life and how “when I was a child, I wanted to be a boy myself. I didn’t conform to conventional feminine behaviours; rather, I was more inclined towards what were often labeled as ‘boyish’ activities. My demeanour earned me the moniker of a ‘tomboy’. While my sister asked for Barbie dolls for Christmas, my requests veered towards police kits or toy cars. The question of what I aspired to be when I grew up consistently led to responses like ‘a footballer’ or, on occasion, ‘a police officer’.”

She also writes about how at one stage in her adolescence she thought she might be a boy. She says, “As time progressed, I came to realise that my desire to be a boy was not rooted in actually wanting to be one, but rather in my difficulty in connecting with traditional femininity.” You’re not alone there Jenny, better toys, more freedom for boys can make the other side appear attractive. Most of us involved with Lesbian Greens can recount times when we thought we were “half boy”. Having worn her hair short most of her life and even sporting a buzz cut, much to her parents’ shock, Jenny writes, “yet, in recent years, my hair has cascaded down in lengthy strands, untouched by scissors for half a decade—a bit of a modern-day Rapunzel! As I’ve grown older I have embraced the feminine aesthetic, underscoring how one’s self-perception can evolve over time.”

Whilst this is secondary to the story of lesbian visibility we are writing about here, it has shaped her outlook, understanding and tolerance towards people in the world. Jenny also comes across as very sociable and a great networker; she was involved in many LGBT events at university, inclusive of all four letters. Gradually her focus turned to lesbian only events, organising successful lesbian speed dating events for nine years. It culminated in a residency at one of Bloomsbury’s pubs. Listening to the stories from these days is heart-warming, 40 – 50 lesbians rocking up for two hours of speed dating, somewhat anxious but leaving having sown the seeds of life long friendships; there were even two weddings, one engagement and Jenny herself must have a huge network of friends and contacts.

However (darn these howevers), it wasn’t all plain sailing and recently “following a number of incidents involving trans-identified males claiming to be lesbians and attending her events” (Julie Bindel) Jenny had to make the decision to shut down. The reason for this is the subject of one of Julie Bindel’s podcasts. The tipping point came when a trans-identified male turned up in a purple latex jumpsuit, was behaving inappropriately and also touching women in the toilets. Being 6’2″, big and bulky and showing an erection through the purple, it was an intimidating task to act as the bouncer as well as event organiser. In the past Jenny felt scared and coerced into an unwilling acceptance for fear of speaking out and being called transphobic. She is not, as her other events will give testimony to. Enough was enough, she says, “if I go to lesbian events, I want to be with lesbians” and adds “no man can be a lesbian”.

That wasn’t the end of the matter. Jenny says the number of threats she received were insane, leading to police reports. The manager of the pub was also responsible for some dreadful threatening and misogynistic language under the false assumption his behaviour was acceptable in a closed WhatsApp group. Misogynist activists also banded together, contacting her employer and calling for her to be sacked.

It wasn’t easy but she has risen above it with the support of the LGB Alliance and women like Julie Bindel who, on the erosion of lesbian spaces and the torrent of abuse, says, “I hope you feel angry on her behalf, I hope you feel angry for all lesbians.”

Jenny has found her groove as a lesbian, a club promoter, a networker and writer.


You can follow and show Jenny some love:

Listen to the interview with Julie Bindel:

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