What I said at the Lib Dem Autumn Conference 2015: On Agenda 2020

Hopefully, after this weekend, I’ll be more punctual in uploading these.

At the Liberal Democrat conference last September in Bournemouth, I was rather busy in the Conference Hall, moving one motion, one amendment, and one procedural motion; more on those later. But, before all that, I had the chance to make a contribution to the first of the party’s Agenda 2020 consultation sessions. I took such the option to speak on double discrimination and forging an intersectional approach.

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A longer statement regarding the “kill all men” controversy

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.

Deconstructing “male violence”

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”?

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Are you Jason? Wotever, I don’t care.

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.

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Queer elephants in the room

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.

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