Gloria Steinem: Feminism And Gay Rights Are “Completely The Same Thing”

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem talked to Queerty earlier this week, reaffirming the unity between women’s rights and LGBT rights.

“It’s completely the same thing,” said Steinem. “On campuses, people will say, ‘why are the same right-wing people against lesbianism and birth control?’ They find that bizarre. It’s not bizarre. It’s because the right wing is against any form of sexual expression that can’t end in conception. So we have the same adversaries and the same allies.”

Steinem continued, saying those on the right “want to control reproduction… they want to direct all sex to reproduction, and they punish women for controlling that decision and using contraception or having an abortion. The same people punish two men or two women because that stands for non-reproductive sexual activity. And it’s all a lie. And it’s a lie about human sexuality, which has always been a way we communicate, not just a way we procreate.”

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  • Red Meat


  • Watching

    @Red Meat: You betcha.

  • Kev C

    Close but no cigar.

    Cigar .. haha!

  • Robroberts

    I’ve always felt that women pioneered the way for black civil rights. Sadly it seems many blacks want to slam that door shut on gays — sadly, it seems there is only so much equality to go around.

  • Clockwork

    Feminists and GLBT rights activists – same ideology, same rhetoric, same tactics, same arguments, same political allies.
    Good or bad, no doubt about it.

  • Stephen

    @Robroberts—stop feeding into the lie that blacks are against gays. It’s a non-truth being touted by the right to cause division between two minority groups that in all honestly rarely even think of each other.

  • Kamikapse

    She’s right, but I can’t wait for all the commenters to storm in and hate on her, just because they’re conditioned to hate on everything “fem”

  • Nick


  • jason

    Gloria Steinem has never been entirely comfortable with homosexuality in my view. I think she’s trying to encourage a coalition between gays and women so as to strengthen opposition to the anti-abortion crowd. It’s pure Steinem politics, and very transparent at that.

    I would say to Steinem this: you seem so concerned about a woman’s right to an abortion but you don’t seem too concerned about the little helpless girls with beating hearts who are just a couple of months away from being born. They will be terminated because of people like you, Gloria. Talk about the war on girls, Gloria.

  • Rooney

    She’s basically right, bigots hate us because we have fun without knocking little girls up left and right to suffer and possibly die in childbirth. There are some feminists who have a problem with lgbt, but that are those weird womyn-born-womyn fringe lunatics, not the majority of feminists.

  • W.P.

    I have to say, it’s interesting to see how Steinam is for “Gay rights” and not “LGBT rights;” theory-crafting a bit, I’d say that she’s showing her transphobic, cissexist side is showing once again!

  • jason

    Trans rights are not gay rights. Both trans people and gay people might be subjected to prejudice but that does not mean that “trans” and “gay” have the same definition.

    They are two different words with two different definitions. Anyone who thinks they’re the same needs to see a shrink.

  • Stephen

    @jason—you sound like the folks that say civil rights aren’t the same as gay rights.

  • W.P.

    I’m thinking that you are commenting on my post?

    I understand that transgender rights are not gay rights; however, I was commenting on the fact how Gloria Steinam, a transphobic “feminist,” is only for gay rights and not trans* rights. I, as a transgender individual, whole-heartily support gay rights as they will impact me; as I’m also a pansexual (that’s not to say that I don’t support racial equality since I’m white- I very much support racial equality- it’s to say that trans* individuals are not *just* trans, they also have a sexuality that can encompass the entire range of sexualities).

    Instead of seeing the benefit of supporting LGBT rights as it’s more encompassing and would further equality for all; she is simply supporting “gay rights” as a means to further marginalize and demean the transgender* population.

  • Nick

    If you all are going to fight over nothing, at least make it somewhat witty.

  • tj

    She said gay rights were fem rights she did not say Trans rights were Women’s rights. I actually agree with her. I support anyone’s right to be whomever they choose to be but fem rights and trans rights are not linked. While I support someones decision to be trans it is fundamentally different than being socialized as a female and being subjected to the cultural restrictions, discouragements, and flat out hatred aimed at women. I certainly understand why someone like Gloria would role her eyes at a trans woman trying to ignore that distinction and yet still lend strong support to trans rights.

    Also Rob
    No women were not fore-runners for civil rights… at all. Like at ALL. If anything the women’s suffrage movement threw blacks under the bus. Basically arguing if a black man can vote then how dare you not allow your wife. There was no crossover.

  • W.P.

    “She said gay rights were fem rights she did not say Trans rights were Women’s rights. I actually agree with her. I support anyone’s right to be whomever they choose to be but fem rights and trans rights are not linked.”
    > But a transgender woman *is* a woman, and transgender males still (wrongly) fall into “Women’s Health” if they have to get their breasts or vaginas (if such is the case) checked up at the doctor’s office. Women’s rights including ability, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, class, etc… You can’t simply excluding one as they all impact our lives.

    “While I support someones decision to be trans it is fundamentally different than being socialized as a female and being subjected to the cultural restrictions, discouragements, and flat out hatred aimed at women.”
    > Yet a trans women is subjected to such instances! Yes, she had masculine privilege during her years as being socialized as male; but when she is seen as a female, she is treated as a female. All the negative aspects of being a female are included in her treatment. Plus you’re also implying that trans* people are simply trans women: Trans men, non-binaries, and a whole slew of other people fall into the transgender* umbrella.

    “I certainly understand why someone like Gloria would role her eyes at a trans woman trying to ignore that distinction and yet still lend strong support to trans rights.”
    > But she doesn’t support trans* rights, she is a cissexist feminist. She has supported feminists who simply state that trans women are rapists in disguise and that trans males and succumbed to the patriarchy.

  • Gauthier

    Feminist to the bone here. Is it possible she simply MEANT LGBTQ rights but just oversimplified it to gay rights without being intentionally transphobic? Just saying. Less viciousness, more patience and understanding and hope and love please. I highly doubt that an activist such as herself would advocate women’s rights and gay rights but not trans rights. Sadly a LOT of people are still transphobic, I’ll certainly not deny that, and I can’t wait till that’s all a thing of the past, but not everyone is out to get you guys or push you into a corner and ignore you.

  • Gauthier

    @W.P.: And I think it’s just stupid to make a distinction between all those different categories, it should be viewed more like a Kinsey-type scale with overlapping parts. Some fem rights relate directly to transgender women and the way they are treated post-op, or the way the will be treated as natural women once transition is complete, because they might face the same misogyny as ‘natural-born’ women, to name but one of many varied and nuanced examples. Instead of segregating categories and choosing our fights, wouldn’t it be lovely if everybody just stopped being so egocentric and joined in for the greater good in general? Women’s rights, anti-racism, LGBTQ rights, respect for each other’s religion etc…

  • Jonon


    Gloria Steinem has previously written about how transsexuals support sex stereotypes and mutilate their bodies. There’s a chapter on the issue in her popular book “Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions.” Steinem has frequently denied making these statements, despite the fact it is still being printed in her books to this day.

  • Belize

    @jason: “Trans rights are not gay rights. Both trans people and gay people might be subjected to prejudice but that does not mean that “trans” and “gay” have the same definition.”

    Of course they are not the same. They are different the same way an apple and an orange are two different kinds of fruit. Unfortunately for you, that’s the only level of difference between the two.

  • Belize

    LOL. How I wish I can just plant a virtual land mine for SAMO, who will most likely comment on this in order to espouse his cowardly distancing from the effeminate gays, transgenders and women. Go back to the funky smelling sweat pants you’d wear just to prove how superficially manly you are, you regressive queen.

  • W.P.

    Unfortunately, I doubt it. Like I said in the previous post she has applauded the work of very transphobic feminists like Janice G. Raymond, the author of “The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male.” Also she once said transsexuals “surgically mutilate their own bodies” to conform with society’s gender roles. It’d be nice, but I can’t hope for the best with people like her.

    1. Transition doesn’t end with “the surgery.” Some trans women are non-op, and those people are no less a woman than those with vaginas; the same in relation to those trans men with vaginas being no less of a man than a man with a penis. Hell, some trans* people never go on hormones nevertheless they are no less than any other person in the group that they identify with (trans women with cis women, trans men with cis men).

    2. Don’t tell me that you honestly don’t think that trans women (whatever the stage in their transition) aren’t treated the same as cisgender women; usually they’re even more discriminated against (Housing, rape statistics, employment, etc…).

    3. I’d love to live in a fantasy world where we’re all just people living in equality, or even just having one big massive group that supports equality for all; however, that’s not the world we live in. Without making distinctions we fail to properly critique feminist values: If we’re all just people in the sense of race, we fail to call out feminism for being much more for white women than for PoC; if we’re all just people in the sense of class, we fail to call out feminism for being favoured toward middle and upper class women; if we’re all just people in the sense of sexuality, we fail to call out feminism for favouring heterosexuals.

    4. Your kinsey-type scale is problematic as a linear model, as it would place a hierarchy on forms of oppression. Intersectionality is the model of oppression for third-wave feminism. It incorporates the ideas that people are not *just* oppressed because they’re women, or black, or disabled, trans*, poor, not heterosexual, etc… This allows for us to see all the angles of oppression that enters into a person’s life; and also what privileges the person has as well.

  • Gauthier

    @W.P.:My bad, I should have looked up more about her and if she did say those ridiculous things then I retract my assumptions about her.

    1. Whoa whoa, like I said, I was just stating one of the many many possibilities of a stage in a transgender person’s life, nowhere did I state the example as the norm. It’s just an oversimplified example and I know very well that it doesn’t cover the whole spectrum of possibilities for people’s situations….
    2. I won’t tell you that, because it’s the opposite of what I was trying to communicate in my (albeit clumsy) comment.
    3. And what I’m saying is, if we do not make those distinctions, we don’t need to call out any activism for being centered on any particular favored group because we would be striving for equality for ALL. I’m saying this because I’m just as against racism as I am against transphobia or any kind of exclusion or segregation or hate.
    4. It’s just another spur-of-the-moment example, I’m not saying it should be THE model or that it’s flawless, I couldn’t find a better alternative to describe the fact that all those rights and plights overlap and intersect in a much more fluid way than the boxes they are presented in. However you’d wish to visualize it is up to you.

  • I get it too

    Every time any public figure says “gay” instead of LBTQAWTF, they get attacked here for bigotry. Can we just get over it? If someone says they are for civil rights for blacks, does that make them a bigot because they didn’t also think to say Asians, native Americans, Hispanics, and San Bushmen in the same statement?

  • Jonon


    Trans women aren’t treated the same as cis women, because women are diverse and treated differently for lots of intersecting reasons. Trans women don’t (yet) experience being reproductively-viable females. Someone who is read as “male” will have different experiences than someone read as “female.”

    Both feminism and the LGBT rights movements have ignored and in some cases, continue to ignore POC unless it is politically-convenient. In my experience, intersectionality has made it more difficult for women’s groups to organize across boundaries of race, orientation, class, trans status, etc by diluting organizing against specific systems of oppression (i.e. racism, sexism, etc). I’d rather stop rapists than argue about which group is most discriminated against in the collection of statistics regarding rape…

  • I get it too

    @W.P.: “it’s interesting to see how Steinem is for “Gay rights” and not “LGBT rights””

    Interesting that you are for LGBT rights and not LGBTQA rights. I can only conclude that you are showing your queer-phobic and asexual-phobic side here. Veeeery ugly… ;)

  • cam

    So once again, somebody with a major jedia presense says something supportive about gays, and rather than some sort of happiness about this, the article becomes once again, an attack on gays and supporters from the transgender community.

    Do folks in the transgender community accept that sometimes, people can say supportive things about another minority group and just because your particular group wasn’t mentioned you don’t have to attack?

    A perfect example is….

    No. 11 · W.P.
    I have to say, it’s interesting to see how Steinam is for “Gay rights” and not “LGBT rights;” theory-crafting a bit, I’d say that she’s showing her transphobic, cissexist side is showing once again!

    So by not mentioning you, she must be bad. (Eye Roll)

    She didn’t say anything about racial mintorities, but I don’t hear her being attacked for that.


    @Robroberts: I knew someone would throw “black people” in the mixx. Some of you are going to go insane thinking about “black people” sooooooo much. Feel the love

  • BlackRockRitual

    Gloria Steinem isn’t exactly the best feminist ever. From some of the things I’ve heard. Then again, perhaps I do not know enough about her.

    It’s also not exactly the “same thing”. But LGBT issues and culture have a great deal of overlap with feminist issues and culture. The views on gender overlap great deal.

    But there are also a lot of contentions. Such as transsexual issues. Trannsexuals are busy doing things like clamoring for breast implants and how they need them in order to feel like a woman, while feminists are busy rallying against the normalization of breasts fetishism to the point that it harms women(men have foot fetishes, but women can go in sandals in public, but not topless or expose their nipples). And a lot of the (bad) justifications for not letting women expose their breasts in public, is that it’ll put them in danger of rape. Just another proof of how far we have to go in order to eliminate rape culture, and how widespread rape culture still is.

    To be honest, I agree somewhat. It may seem transphobic, but I think that some transwomen do what they and feel how they feel not because they were “born that way”, but because they’re just giving into patriarchal ideals of what it is to be a woman.

  • JayKay

    Femninism is nothing more than vile, left-wing sexism. Women have had equal rights for years. Modern day feminists are seeking female supremacy.

    It’s really quite disgusting that an allegedly gay-oriented site would compare a legitimate civil rights movement to the nonsensical, insane ideology that is feminism. They’re not the same thing, not in any sense. Feminists are some of the worst enemies gay men will ever encounter.

  • cam


    ACtually, with the help of our good friends the Mormon church that still brags about it. The ERA was never passed.

    As for Steinam up there, she wasn’t stating anything about the state of Feminism. She was saying that gay rights are the same thing in that they piss off the right wing because they flip out over any deviation from the “Sex for Pro creation Only” ideal.

    Not sure where the anger is coming from.

  • BlackRockRitual

    @JayKay: “Women have had equal rights for years.”
    So have black people. That doesn’t mean there isn’t social discrimination doesn’t still exist.

    Have you ever heard of little things called “white privilege” and “male privilege”? They’re awfully similar in concept heteronormativity.

  • jason

    I am sick and tired of GLBT. It’s a con and a trick designed to enforce a coalition of different issues. Don’t fall for it.

    Also, I don’t see why homosexual women should have a designation in the form of “lesbian”. Homosexual men don’t have a male designation – the word “gay”, for instance, is not gender-specific. It’s just another example of how women seek – and get – privileges.

    Besides, “lesbian” has been appropriated by sleazy straight guys and their female enablers.

  • liz

    I think what Steinem said about transsexuals in the past was wrong, but I’d rather not be lumped in with the LGBT and I know a lot of gay and lesbian people feel the same way. Insinuating that homosexuality and transsexualism are somehow linked is insulting to both groups.

    Transsexuals and transgender people have no right to hijack gay & lesbian activism. And transgender people have no right to demand transsexuals join their group.

    Transsexualism shouldn’t be issue #1 for feminism – transsexual women are a very small portion of women. I don’t really see how transgender political identities are important to feminists, either.

  • Charli

    You go Gloria!!! We love and respect you girl!!!
    I’m sure everyone here understands that we all do
    NOT share the same opinions just bc we are all gay, right?
    I for one don’t support abortion,but I do understand that the only
    people doing it are STR8S!! Theyve exploited women for hundreds
    of years!! When’s the last time you drove by a so called ” gentlemens” bar
    ran by LGBT? Lol my my my the list goes on,hypocrisy at its finest!

  • Terry

    It’s similar but not the same. People first notice a person’s race and gender before coming to sexual orientation. Gay men don’t know what women go through and women (white) don’t know what ethnic people go through. Sorry, I don’t buy it.

  • Rooney

    @JayKay: You’re certifiably insane, you need professional help. Otherwise, well trolled.

  • Charli

    Ever been a female?

  • JayKay


    “Have you ever heard of little things called “white privilege” and “male privilege”?”

    I’ve heard of a lot of imaginary, ridiculous, fairy tales…

  • Charli

    Uh no! But I’ve been a natural female for 47 years hunny

  • J

    This Gloria is againsnt pornography,so I’m against her! I love my porn!

  • sarah_jane


    ‘Also, I don’t see why homosexual women should have a designation in the form of “lesbian”. Homosexual men don’t have a male designation – the word “gay”, for instance, is not gender-specific. It’s just another example of how women seek – and get – privileges.’

    Jason, the truth can be found in the exact opposite of everything you claimed in those sentences. You need to read the seminal text “Man Made Language” by Dale Spender. It is such a well-researched and comprehensive examination of the value of women (“minus male”, as opposed to “plus male” [ie men]) that has been encoded, throughout history, in our language. Spender gives countless compelling examples of words that used to describe both genders (or rather, be gender neutral), but once they appeared to be more associated with the female, they became negative, or even insults. It is not a matter of privilege, or women separating themselves, it is a matter of patriarchy distancing itself from anything that is female/”feminine”. You may have even noticed how, despite the push for gender neutral terms like “firefighter”, many people feel the need to specify “lady firefighter”–you know, she’s not a *real* or *proper* one, she’s a *lady* one. (You would never feel the need to say “male firefighter”, would you?)

    Incidently, for those above who were debating about whether transgendered women suffer less or more discrimination, I would argue that the answer is *more*, at least *semantically*: as women, they are “minus male”, but according to those transphobics who refuse to accept that they *are* indeed women, then they are also viewed/labelled as effeminate males, ie negative or “minus male” again.

    You’re also wrong about “gay” being non-gender specific. You only need to look to how we label gender in most other instances in our language. We say “mankind” to mean just men, or women and men. Until recently, we would say “he” as a placeholder when we didn’t know the sex. “Guys” means a mixed-sex group or just men. It is very frustrating as a woman reader to always have to stop and think for a second about whether a written text is actually referring to you or not–and while this is not as much of a problem these days, anyone who reads widely will encounter this problem frequently in both fiction and non fiction historical texts.

    It is not women who linguistically separate themselves, it is patriarchy (*not* all men, but the misogynists, the homo-/trans-phobes & their institutions) that shuns association with the female and “feminine”. Women accept and use the language that subsumes them as part of “mankind” or the “gay” community, but there are no female terms under which men can be classified without it being seen as an insult/put-down–whether playfully or spitefully.

    As for privileges. Wow, where to start. You only need to Google stats about the percentage of women CEOs or government ministers, the percentage of property/land owned by women, wealth distribution according to gender, levels of literacy and education according to gender in many parts of the world, etc, etc. I can’t think of a single sphere in which women have greater privileges. (With the exception of maybe maternity leave, and I am a full supporter of paternity leave, as other feminists are.)

    We feminists–I speak for my fellow third wave or Gen Y feminists–are actually a pretty friendly, fair, chilled-out bunch, if you give us a chance. When you say things like “feminists seek power over men” and “feminists want special privileges”, simply because we speak up for ourselves, you are not only wrong, but you’re subscribing to that same lexicon that would delimit “female” as demure, feminine, subservient, and seen but not heard–the opposite of the so-called “masculine”. The “minus male”. :)

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