Guest post by Liz Waterhouse
When an article on Germaine Greer was posted by the Star Observer recently, I noticed that the comments were aggressively misogynistic. Distressed by how much this excluded and insulted women in the LGBTI community, I asked posters to stop using such hurtful and upsetting language. As a lesbian, I expected that my community would be a relatively safe place, and I expected a degree of solidarity. What resulted was hours of increased insults, ridicule and finally personal abuse. It left me wondering why the community would attack a request for basic respect and why any woman would speak out if this is how they were treated.
Most responders were male and they used crude, aggressive and dismissively sexist language to attack first Greer, and then me, in post after post, correctly assuming that their comments would be tolerated by other posters.
Eventually, the Star Observer intervened and deleted the worst of the comments, but there remained a steady stream of insulting posts, eventually escalating to personal messages of abuse and lesbophobia.
Particularly upsetting were comments like this one: