by Alex Powell
CW: mentions homophobia and homophobic abuse
Last week marked 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 entered into law, in the first step towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality. There’s been a great deal of coverage of this milestone in British media, including some brilliant, informative TV programming (I highly recommend the BBC’s drama ‘Against the Law’). But it is Owen Jones’s recent Guardian column ‘Hatred of LGBTQ people still infects society. It’s no time to celebrate’ that seems to have been most prominent. Jones’ arguments are certainly justified, but commentary like his risks misrepresenting the situation that now faces LGBT+ people in this country. It’s not all bad.
I fit under the trans banner, in fact have frequently used the word transgender to describe myself. That’s important to take account of, because without it what I’m about to say may get a little confusing. In many ways I adhere to a slightly older feminist tradition than many people of my age today, in that I don’t just consider gender a social construct, but an oppressive system of rules and regulations about how we all must behave. To this end, when I talk about gender, I use the terms male, female and intersex to refer to the real, actual, immutable categories of human being that exist in terms of biological sex and man, woman, and non-binary to refer to socially constructed notions of what those physical, real categories of human being mean. As a trans person, it might seem strange that I believe gender to be both socially constructed and harmful, but that’s because I do not trace my experience or identity from gender, but from biological sex. Continue Reading