By The Norwich Radical Editorial Team
In the process of putting together our reporting on the far-right presence and pro-LGBTQIA+ counter-protest at Storytime with Auntie Titania in Norwich last Wednesday, we received a number of accounts from people who attended the counter-protest. We were not able to reproduce all of those accounts in our original article, but we believe that they offer valuable insight into the events in question, the strength of LGBTQIA+ solidarity in Norwich, and the lessons that can be taken forward from this action. This article reproduces more of the content of those accounts, with small edits in places for clarity and to maintain anonymity.
Content Warning: descriptions of fascist violence & racist ideology
Following the anti-LGBT protest outside a Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) event in North Walsham library on 2nd August, a new event, titled ‘Storytime with Auntie Titania’ and featuring local drag artist Titania Trust, was scheduled for August 17th at the Millennium Library, Norwich. A counter-protest gathered outside the library on Wednesday ahead of the event to defend the national DQSH initiative and protect attendees from the presence of far-right protestors.
Content warning: mentions transphobia in media
A friend recently described infamous podcaster Joe Rogan as “an independent broadcaster that you might not like/agree with but [who] actually has a voice to push back against corporate media”. Has the standard of anti-establishment commentary really fallen so low that we must turn to a UFC commentator for any effective criticism of the corporate status quo?
Short answer: hell no!
“You’re a socialist, how can you hate people?!”
The line is directed towards Marion, the genderqueer activist, café worker and counterpart to Robin Good.
The audience laughs goodheartedly at the oxymoron. Taken aback, I find myself laughing along. Soon after, Marion decides to run in the election to oust the Tory-coded Sheriff of Norwich, alongside Robin, and their drag queen father, Stratton Strawless.
From the first Red Scare in the US, terms like ‘communism’, ‘socialism’, and ‘anarchism’ have been subject to suspicion and scrutiny. Despite describing common views, they are considered subversive, chaotic and threatening, and cause others to be wary. Many of society’s role models, however, have been communists – especially those most associated with struggles against oppression, imperialism and bigotry. Forgetting this is no accident: when centrists and the right-wing express a shared sense of pride for achievements in activism, they place history under a rose-tinted lens, carefully side-stepping mention of their role in enforcing the barriers which required lifting in the first place.
by The Norwich Radical team
At year’s end, many of us feel the pull to try and put a positive spin on the preceding 12 month period – to celebrate its joys, while recognising its difficulties in order to put them behind us as we look to the new year with a hopeful eye. At the end of 2020, it is particularly difficult to find a positive angle from which to look back, or forward. The slow-motion explosion that is Brexit has rolled on, the UK government that came to power just over a year ago has taken every opportunity to demonstrate its incompetence and corruption, and the mainstream media has continued to side with the powerful over the marginalised. And then there’s the elephant in every room – the Covid-19 pandemic, which has pushed many of the institutions we rely on to breaking point, revealing just how little many governments care about the lives of their more vulnerable citizens.
Content warning: discussion of transphobia, genitalia
In June, the news broke that Graham Linehan, former comedy writer turned full time transphobe, was finally removed from twitter for his continued attacks on the trans* community. Whilst it is positive that twitter is finally taking the action that the trans* community have long been asking for, this should have happened years ago, when Linehan started doxing people who dared challenge him.
by Ewa Giera
As a ‘citizen of nowhere’ who spends far more time engaged with UK politics, I often get to turn a blind eye to the place I’ve left behind. But to many who follow the general flow of Polish politics, it won’t be a surprise that this year marks Poland’s drop to 42nd place out of 49 in ILGA Europe’s annual Rainbow Map ranking, making it the least LGBTQIA+ friendly country in the European Union. As we experience a rise in fascist politics across the majority of Europe, it’s worth to take a closer look at the way Poland has approached its place on the list and the way its government has enshrined its anti-LGBT sentiment in both culture and policy.Continue Reading
by Kasper Hassett
CW: mental health
Long predating the lockdown, members of the LGBTQIA+ community have reported feelings of isolation and loneliness at alarmingly high levels. This reached a point where ‘queer loneliness’ was dubbed an epidemic, and the mental health of the community overall was recognised as dire. With many now separated from their support networks during lockdown, queer people are experiencing new lows in their mental health. Additionally, much of the previously mentally healthy population is also struggling, and NHS services are suffocating from cuts, meaning that many queer people will miss out on vital mental health services as a complacent wider world focuses on going ‘back to normal’. Continue Reading
by Alex Day
cw: mentions of homophobia, violence
Belinda twerks on stage, wearing glitter and a pink wig, and the crowd erupts into whoops and whistles. To the sound of Rihanna singing ‘bitch better have my money’, she makes it rain with cash hidden under her bra. Banknotes fly over our heads. The compère for the evening, Cynthia Road, tells us this is the first time Belinda has performed drag and the crowd, equally glitter-garnished, erupts once more.