Celebrating Magdalen Berns, a Lesbian Feminist Warrior

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Update: Magdalen died this morning. We are told she died peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by family. 

Magdalen Berns is a lesbian feminist warrior. A YouTube sensation, her videos have been accessed by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Magdalen’s powerful reminder that “there’s no such thing as a lesbian with a penis” cut through the layers of pseudo-scientific mysticism that declare gender as a fixed, innate quality. With a clear and precise logic, she picked apart the argument that biological sex is mutable.

At a time when same-sex attraction is being problemized within the LGBT community and the word lesbian accused of being a ‘TERF dogwhistle’, Magdalen’s advocacy continues to be an essential part of the radical lesbian resistance. A vocal opponent of lesbian erasure and the coercion behind the cotton ceiling, her no-nonsense approach has opened up vital conversations about the harms of gender ideology.

Magdalen’s impact in raising awareness of lesbian women’s needs and interests cannot be overstated. A YouTube sensation, she has hugely influenced public conversations around sex, gender, and sexuality.

Those who have been following Magdalen will be aware that she is terminally ill. Magdalen has previously uploaded videos outlining her Glioblastoma diagnosis, with a radical honesty that is characteristic of her lesbian feminist politics.

On the 21st of August, Marion of For Women Scotland tweeted an update on Magdalen’s behalf:

“Magdalen [- much to her frustration -] isn’t able to type this herself, so she has asked us to update you on her health situation. As many will be aware, Magdalen has been fighting glioblastoma (brain cancer) for the past year.

Recent weeks have been tough: the doctors have done everything they can, but she’s now moving to palliative care. The progress of the tumour means that Magdalen is unable to see or reply to posts on social media, but if you DM or email ourselves at FWS, we will be happy to pass on any messages to her.

Currently friends and family are working with Magdalen on a video with new footage. So watch this space!”

We at AfterEllen are keeping Magdalen in our thoughts and prayers. Our Editor in Chief, Memoree Joelle, credits Magdalen as a key source of inspiration behind her decision to run AfterEllen as an independent lesbian media site.

Magdalen’s courage has encouraged women around the world – including the AfterEllen team – to live proudly as lesbians. Her conviction has inspired countless lesbians to use our voices and take political action. Magdalen Berns is and always will be a credit to our community.