This brief explanation of the controversy that occurred after Beth Elliott performed at the West Coast Lesbian Conference is part of The Los Angeles Free Press’s coverage of Beth Elliott. Unlike Dykes and Gorgons, this article does acknowledge Beth Elliott’s own existence enough to make it clear that she did get to speak, although it performs a bizarre back-and-forth that leaves it unclear to what degree the editors recognize Beth Elliott, or transsexuality in general, as valid. They seem to place most of the onus of disparaging comments on the attendees whose comments they’re reporting, although given that they misgender Elliott in the article, they certainly weren’t wholehearted supporters.
The claims the article relays about an unnamed woman who accused Beth Elliott of trying to seduce her four years prior, as a protest for why she should be removed. Regardless of the truth of this story–a lesbian trans woman hitting on a cis woman is both not anything objectionable, and often objected to, thanks to transphobic logic–this accusation rests on common, transphobic narratives that trans women are really just men trying to deceive their partners. Usually we see this narrative refer to their partners as straight men being fooled, but in radical lesbian and Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist circles, more often refers to lesbians.
The Los Angeles Free Press was an underground newspaper, but not one specifically focused on feminism or lesbian identity, although the author seems affiliated with the feminist movement. To see more of their coverage of the conference and splits in the women’s movement, along with a picture of Beth Elliott, go here.