The Women’s Equality Party, the brainchild of Sandi Toksvig, officially launched to luvvie acclaim yesterday. But the cracks in the sheen were showing while the journalists were eating their canapés. Not only does their policy document not talk about trans women’ equality needs at all – a major omission given the two mainstream parties with comprehensive policy, one with developing policy, and one with a Select Committee – their policy on sex work came out with a left-field proposal nobody is seriously considering:
For the past few weeks, I and my party have been receiving complaints regarding a comment I made at NUS Women’s Conference: after voting to remove the word “men” from a motion regarding VAT-free products and the tampon tax – as all razors are VAT-free – I made a joke from the podium that we should remove men from society.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll also know that delegates to the Conference were subject to a massive amount of harassment, primarily from men. It is in this context that the joke was made.
Clearly, the reaction to the joke shows how the egregious double standard that is often engaged in. Some people will spend ages engaging in misogynist reaction when their patriarchal status quo is being challenged, yet these insecure sexists cannot take a joke that’s aimed at them.
Knowing what women go through every day, especially LBT and/or BAME women, it is frankly insulting that jokes about men are apparently as bad as the institutionalised rape, assault, and murder of our sisters, mothers, and daughters across the world. Real fights against sexism should be focused on making a world worth living in for women, not chasing misogynist flights of fancy.
Young activists are the lifeblood of any political moment and their radicalism should not be constrained, but instead welcomed. It is through radical ideas that any meaningful change can be effected.
Of course, I understand that the comments, whilst understandable given the weight of misogyny that every woman must shoulder, are possibly unwise to say on a public forum dominated by misogyny. The harassment I have received over the past few weeks are proof of this.
Ultimately, I apologise if you were offended by those comments. However, the harassment I have received can not possibly be condoned, and I shall be examining my options at a later point. I would like to give my thanks to those in the party who have conducted their investigation into this issue both fairly and promptly.
I had two opportunities to speak at the Liberal Democrats’ Autumn Conference; the first was moving the policy motion Towards Safer Sex Work on Saturday evening. I had never moved a policy before, so it was radically different to in Spring when I made a supporting speech to a third-party policy motion. Although I was given seven minutes, I was called for time after four, hopefully by error of the chair of the debate, leading me to cut out some of the speech.
We also had to see off an attempt to wreck the motion from Oxford East, which would’ve deleted all lines regarding the Nordic model and weaken the policy regarding bodily autonomy. Thankfully, in the attempt, we succeeded, incredibly annoying arch-transphobe Julie Bindel in the process.
Due to devolutionary aspects, the policy only applies to England and Wales, although several Scottish speakers spoke in favour of it, including a hilarious rant by Kirkcaldy-based Callum Leslie, which makes me rather happy that the Scottish mood is the same and I expect that the Scottish party will pass its own policy at their own Conference in Dunfermline next month.
The text of the full speech is below the cut:
I know the statistics.
I know that when a woman is attacked, it’s often at the hands of a man. The same applies for when she is raped, or killed. And that goes doubly so for trans people. Our murderers tend to be, more often than not, men.
And it has an effect on some women, including myself. Try as I might, even though I know that most men mean me no harm, I can’t be comfortable around men the way I can be comfortable around women. It’s a fear that cripples many of us.
So why, then, do I feel so much wary about the term “male violence”?
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.