As everyone will no doubt be aware by now, especially through the Independent’s front page on Tuesday, 45 schools stood accused of reintroducing the homophobic Section 28 through their sex and relationship education policies. Whether it’s through deliberate malice or lazy copy-and-pasting of outdated advice — and I’m strongly inclined to believe it’s the latter in most cases — it couldn’t come at a more opportune time, especially when eyes are on Russia for their similar (but much more enforced) law on “homosexual propaganda” and in the wake of a protracted marriage equality debate where several reactionaries were claiming, above NUT advice, that teachers were in danger of being forced to teach about homosexuality!
Something I note with some despair is the assertion that marriage equality is not a transgender issue. The argument goes that it’s primarily an LGB issue and trans people only get consequential benefits from it. Well, that’s not really accurate, as our history, and the history of others, shows.
So, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act got given Royal Assent yesterday and, while I’m happy at the general idea of people in same-gender marriages being able to marry, I’m not singing Dancing Queen and waving my pride flag just yet. Because the legislation contains a rather insidious prejudiced open secret: the spousal veto. The lovely Sarah Brown, who should be thanked for her tireless campaigning for trans marriage equality, has a brilliant blog post about it here. I don’t want to duplicate her too much, so if you haven’t read it, do so now. And while government ministers and even some opposition MPs alike are pretending it’s not a veto, the way it works means it is.
Two weeks ago, fresh from presenting at the hate rally that was RadFem 2013, Cathy “Bug” Brennan made a trip with some fellow transphobes to a bar in London to watch some gay cabaret, at which point she was ejected for being a lesbian, as she claims. This in indicative of lesbophobia in British culture run amok, with the trans cabal of heterosexual men running the LGBT show.
Except, you know, that’s the opposite of what happened.
People who have known me for a while, who have read this blog, or have followed me on twitter will know that I’ve not always been the intersectional anarcha-feminist I try to be these days. I used to be, especially a couple of years ago, an apologist for the forces of austerity. And while I could go down the route of some campaigners on the Left, pretend I never said that, pretend I was born on a mountain with a double rainbow in the sky when the angels sang my heralds, it’d be duplicitive and untrue. I’m human, and I’m flawed. And I think it would be much more honest to own my history as an activist.
With this weekend’s RadFem2013 conference, there has been sizeable controversy due to it taking place at the Camden Centre, which is a conference venue owned by the London Borough of Camden Council. Because of this, several people, including myself, have FOIed the council for documents relating to the booking. While we’re waiting for that, one of the councillors for the ward the centre is in — Sarah Hayward, Leader of the Council and one of the three councillors for Kings Cross — has been rather helpful in elaborating some of the council’s reasons over the weekend. With her permission, I am publishing the correspondence.
This is the third, and most likely the last, post in a series of recent posts about feminist circles; the first was a rather theoretical post on the roots and problems within neoradical communities, the second then followed on and talked about political acts of sexuality. This third post looks at problems within queer feminist and otherwise queer circles, and how we can fix them. Some of this is inspired by a blog post/talk called “Communities Built on Exclusion”, which has since been taken down, itself partially inspired by the Jo Freeman essay The Tyranny of Structurelessness.
I identify as queer, and more or less, I do enjoy queer spaces. However, as a trans woman, I do sometimes feel unsafe too. Queer spaces are good as a bulwark against patriarchal forces, but we must recognise that we cannot escape patriarchy and even choices to reject patriarchy may reinforce it. With this post, as I know many people who are as queer as I am, I would like to emphasise more than most that no harm is meant by this post; indeed, I would like a safer space for myself, as a trans woman, within queer spaces. Because these are issues that we, as queers, do need to recognise.
This is a shorter post compared to the earlier one this week. And in some cases, it’s a bridge between the previous and next post.
As a lesbian trans woman, like other lesbian trans women, I am often criticised by neoradical feminists for being a “pretendbian”; I am pretending to be a lesbian. Because I’m really a man, you see. And as such, by my very existence as a trans lesbian, I run the risk of appearing on the site of the same name, which is basically an excuse for transphobes to dox trans people. Because that’s what feminists do, apparently, put other women in danger.
» Read more..
I’ve written on transphobic radical feminism before, and I’ve talked about it outside this blog too. Over the past few years, there has been a renewed focus on examining the sort of radical feminism espoused these days, where criticism is often laid on it for being transphobic, whorephobic, or otherwise prejudiced, as opposed to the prima facie more exclusive intersectional feminism. And it should come to no surprise that I identify more with intersectionialism, given personal circumstances; arguably, it should follow, lived experience would lead to a similar conclusion. And while today’s radical feminists claim lineage from those of old, from the Steinems and the Dworkins and the Firestones, I would personally think that they would flock to the banner of intersectionality. » Read more..
It’s a bit late, but on Saturday I wrote a guest blog for The F-Word entitled “Her Name was Lucy Meadows”. It talks about the complicity of the entire press system in the transphobia that may have led Ms. Meadows to take her own life. It’s very much worth a read, so follow the link above.