All entries for May 2012
May 29, 2012
I’ve had some fairly unpleasant comments on my Radfem 2012 post. Until today, these messages have generally taken the form of polite disagreement: the difficulty comes in the content of that disagreement. I, like many other trans people, regard the refusal to recognise my gender (and other trans genders) as valid to be discriminatory and bigoted. Most of the radical feminist commentators who participate in this refusal draw their perspective from feminist theory, and argue that their position naturally follows from this. The conflicting truths explored in my original post were further drawn out, as both “sides” of the argument (and oh, how I wish there weren’t “sides”!) were inevitably hurt by the “other side”‘s refusal to let go and leave them alone.
My partner asks me why I’m spending so much time reading these comments and engaging in this kind of discussion. I’m just hurting myself and making myself angry, he says. It almost feels worth abandoning the whole affair, closing the thread and forgetting about it. There’s a lot of other things going on in my life, after all.
And yet we are essentially fighting it out for the heart of feminism. This matters because these arguments shape our approach to the equality battles of the present and future.
May 25, 2012
I've been invited to DJ for a third year at the Women's Aid National Conference in July. Women's Aid do wonderful work, and they're always a fun bunch who are quite prepared to put up with my perspective upon what constitutes an appropriate DJ set! I'm very much looking forward to contributing to their evening social.
May 24, 2012
It's now less than a week before our gig at Bar Wotever, in London's legendary Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
Details are as follows:
Location: The Royal Vauxhall Tavern (just across the road from Vauxhall tube station)
We're playing first, so get down early if you can!
May 23, 2012
In the midst of all the comments and thoughts and responses whirling around my previous post, I noticed that someone stumbled across my blog through the search term “uk trans friendly rape crisis“.
And you know what, I have my problems with individuals within feminism, and I certainly have my problems with Rape Crisis in the UK, but I’d really rather be talking about how we can come together and fight for a beautiful feminist future.
So it is with this in mind that I’d like to dedicate this brief post to Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC). This place offers a brilliant service to the local community – as do most rape crisis centres, women’s shelters and other related services – and as part of that I know through individuals close to me that they have done sterling work to support deeply vulnerable trans women. Because most cis feminists aren’t out to get trans people: they’re our allies and we can rely on them.
Thank you CRASAC. You are the most awesome wonderful feminist heroes.
(originally posted on Trans Activist)
May 21, 2012
How do we bridge this impossible divide?
My truth and your truth are both derived from a fierce feminism, but somehow remain diametrically opposed. How is it that we can disagree so much over the existence of a feminist conference for “women born women living as women”?
May 19, 2012
Well now! That was, as usual, a huge amount of fun. Thanks as always to everyone who came and made the event a success! A special mention should go to those involved in the spontaneous line dance during "Closer" - quite probably the most hilarious/terrifying thing I've ever seen as a DJ.
CN Lester - Tongue
Baby Dee - The Earlie King
Aimee Mann - Pavlov's Bell
Genesis - I Can't Dance (r)
ZZ Top - Sharp-Dressed Man
Weezer - Island in the Sun (r)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Nature Boy
The Levellers - Hope Street
R.E.M - What's the Frequency Kenneth?
L7 - Fuel My Fire
Zombie Girl - Creepy Crawler
Orgy - Gender
VNV Nation - Space and Time
Covenant - In the Night
Pitchshifter - Keep It Clean
The Birthday Massacre - Happy Birthday
Lesbian Bed Death - I Use My Powers For Evil
The Pretty Reckless - My Medicine
Alabama Shakes - Hold On
Republica - Drop Dead Gorgeous
Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing!
Franz Ferdinand - Michael
Placebo - For What It's Worth
Halestorm - Bad Romance
Muse - Supermassive Black Hole
Garbage - Battle in Me
The Automatic - Monster (r)
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST - Science Fiction Double Feature
Billy Idol - White Wedding
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST - Dammit Janet
Blur - Girls and Boys
Madness - The Sun and the Rain
Manic Street Preachers - The Love of Richard Nixon
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST - Over at the Frankenstein Place
Florence + The Machine - No Light, No Light
Lacuna Coil - Enjoy the Silence
Stevie Nicks - Edge of Seventeen (r)
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST - The Time Warp
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST - Sweet Transvestite
The Sweet - Ballroom Blitz (r)
Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST - I Can Make You a Man
Bobby "Boris" Picket - The Monster Mash
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST - Sword of Damocles
Meat Loaf feat. Cher - Dead Ringer For Love
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST - Hot Patootie
The Secretations - I Can Make You a Man (Reprise)
David Bowie - Oh! You Pretty Things (r)
Amanda Palmer - Guitar Hero (r)
Big D and the Kid's Table - Once in a While
The Specials - Too Much Too Young
Captain Ska - Liar Liar
The King Blues - The Future Ain't What It Used to Be
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST - Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me
Nine Inch Nails - Closer (r)
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magick
AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long
Survivor - Eye of the Tiger
The Darkness - Get Your Hands Off My Woman
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - I Love Rock N' Roll
Judas Priest - Livin' After Midnight
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST - Eddie
Talking Heads - Take Me to the River
The Runaways - Cherry Bomb (r)
Tsunami Bomb - Planet, Schmanet, Janet
Depeche Mode - Stripped
Peaches - Boys Want to Be Her
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST - The Floor Show: Rose Tint My World / Fanfare / Don't Dream It, Be It / Wild and Untamed Thing
The Migraines - I'm Going Home
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST - Super Heroes
Queen - Killer Queen
Me First & The Gimme Gimme Gimmes - Science Fiction Double Feature
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST - The Time Warp
Love Equals Death - Dammit Janet
Rocky Horror Picture Show OST - Science Fiction Double Feature (Reprise)
(r) = request
May 17, 2012
May 14, 2012
I don't think I've ever been as disgusted with Warwick SU's Union Council as I am now. And I've been a student politic hack of some stripe or another for quite some time now.
The matter at hand was the renewal of a somewhat innocuous policy calling upon the Students' Union to support pregnant students in terms of advising on options, finances etc. The original policy also called for the creation of a pregnant students' fund - the renewal asks student representatives to lobby the University for such a fund.
It's the kind of policy that normally breezes through Council. We'd already had an inevitably heated discussion over whether or not to express solidarity with Balfour Bettie workers on campus (due to the company's rather nasty habit of blacklisting employees involved in Union activities or legal action over health and safety) and over the best way to support Leamington's Community Centre (incidentally, you can petition to save Bath Place here!)
But what could possibly be problematic about supporting pregnant students?
Everything, apparently. A fierce debate erupted as various men (and yes, they were all men, and included several sabbatical officers who I thought knew better) came up with the most bizarre problems with the motion. They argued that the motion contained too many wishy-washy statements of belief rather than actual content. Then they went for the content. They claimed it might detract from the student hardship fund. They imagined it might catalyse a chain reaction in which the student hardship fund was eventually scrapped entirely.
The Union's only female sabbatical officer pointed out the gendered nature of the debate, arguing that men shouldn't necessarily be making these decisions for women. Cue a series of "hilarious" comments along the lines of "I may be a man, and know nothing about women, but I do know about finance. Don't worry, it's a joke".
Funnily enough, there may well have been as many women speaking on this issue as had spoken on anything else all night.
The travesty ended in a tightly contested vote in which the vast majority of women on Council voted for the motion and the vast majority of men voted against. The result was a tie, in part because another body of men abstained (there were more men than women in the room). In a tight re-vote, 17 councillors voted in favour of the motion, and 15 against.
I don't see how anyone can possibly claim that this wasn't a gendered issue. It predominantly affects women. It divided the room on gendered lines in a way I've rarely seen. And if the Union can so easily "find money" for supporting the national demonstration against fees and cuts later this year - as it should! - then it can surely find the resources necessary to lobby the University in support of some of the most vulnerable students.
I simply don't understand how people could regard this as a purely "financial" issue. It's not: it's about supporting vulnerable students in a society centred around the structural oppression of women: a society that moreover diminishes the cultural capital and importance of parenthood. And it clearly impacts women disproportionately because the vast amount of people who get pregnant are women.
Now, I don't mean to say pregnancy directly affects all women. I don't have a womb. I will never be able to get pregnant. And yet it was pretty damn clear to me that my vote as a councillor should be made in solidarity with my sisters. And if the men in the room who regarded the issue as relatively unimportant couldn't bring themselves to vote for the motion in solidarity with the women, they could have at least had the decency to abstain.
Following the vote, a male sabbatical officer asked why the men in the room were being discriminated against. I'm sorry, but - no wait, I'm not freakin' sorry. I don't see how it could be any more obvious that this is a gendered issue. The motion almost fell because more men get elected to democratic bodies than women. Under such circumstance, isn't it about time that most the guys present checked their male privilege and shut up for a change?
Edit: A response from a number of sabbatical officers is available in the comments section below. Minutes of the meeting are available here. There is an audio recording here. The debate begins at around 2:23:20.
May 08, 2012
We're playing a gig in Leamington later this week! We'll be playing a half-hour set, and accompanied by a full range of ridiculous props. Expect guest appearances from Rebekah Brookes and Raisa the police horse (R.I.P.)
Details are as follows:
Venue: The Exchange, (at the intersection of High Street and Tachbrook Road, Leamington Spa)
Other acts: Sacrament (thrash metal), Alas, The Dreamer (metalcore), Subject to Change (alt-rock), Mike Snowden (acoustic rock), Matt Shillito (acoustic rock).
There's a Facebook event page here.