CSULB students protest censorship of lesbian terminology

Alejandro Hernandez | Daily 49er

CSULB theatre graduates and undergraduates — of whom chose to remain unnamed — participated in a “flash mob,” demonstrating the act of “tribadism,” a word that has been labeled as offensive and inappropriate.

Stephanie Rivera, Video Director

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About 24 theatre arts majors protested in front of Brotman Hall on Wednesday by tribbing with one another, a lesbian sex act commonly known as “scissoring.”

The demonstration was in response to Cal State Long Beach refusing to advertise a play on the Seventh Street marquee because its title has “tribades” in the title. The play, called “The Night of the Tribades,” is about playwright August Strindberg’s relationship with women.

The play is part of the graduate acting program, Cal Rep, at Cal State Long Beach.

According to theatre arts major Courtney Knight, tribade is an archaic Greek term for lesbian. Knight said the school refused to advertise the play on the marquee because of the word’s similarity with tribadism.

“When you put tribade into a Google search image, apparently it comes up with the word tribadism, which is a sex act and they decided it was inappropriate,” Knight said.

In response to CSULB’s refusal to promote the play, the group of students conducted a different type of protest. According to the flyers they handed out, the protest was a “flash mob,” where a group assembles in a public place to raise awareness of something via a physical gesture or act.

For a little more than ten minutes, protesters paired up and posed in positions known as tribadism, more commonly known as “scissoring.” Some protesters wore shirts with the word “tribade” and taped their mouths with “censored” written on the tape.

Knight believes it is not fair for the school to arbitrarily pick and choose what to advertise.

“This is the same marquee that has words on it such as genocides, such as rape, and these produce far more violent graphic images than tribadism,” she said. “I feel this is our art being censored.”

Protesters plan to discuss the issue after “The Night of the Tribades” at the Queen Mary on Nov. 20.


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