by Zoe Harding
This is the face of a man who’s entirely unsure if what he’s experiencing is real.
It started with this. Well, okay, it started with this, which itself was just the latest flex of the UK’s weirdly obsessive and powerful transphobia lobby, personified by eh-alright-but-his-work-is-aging-fast comedy writer Graham Linehan. Plenty of people were annoyed or upset by the campaign of email-writing and general loud airing of concerns that led to the National Lottery pulling £500,000 worth of funding from Mermaids, especially given that the reporting of the issue in the Great British Press was… kinda shite.Continue Reading
By Noorulann Shahid, NUS LGBT+ Officer (Open Place)
The year is 2014. A group of trans activists are standing huddled around an iPad in a small room filled with baggage at the University of Nottingham. Glances and expressions of hope, determination and anxiety shoot around the room. I can see the focus in my peers’ eyes. I hastily jot down some notes, soon after which we scatter back onto the conference floor. There is a sense of tension and seriousness in the room as delegates wait to debate a highly-anticipated motion. When the motion is finally called out, the trans rep on NUS LGBT campaign committee delivers an impassioned speech for the creation of a full-time NUS Trans officer.
(Trigger warnings: Transphobia)
by Zoe Harding
You wonder where the hell they find these people sometimes.
Two weeks ago, one of the Tennessee state lawmakers pushing an anti-transgender rights ‘Bathroom Bill’ through their state legislature was exiled from his offices and denied access to several other areas of the legislative building on the grounds that he posed ‘a continuing risk to unsuspecting women who are employed by or interact with the legislature.’ Last year, former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee told the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters that he wished he’d been able to pretend to be transgender in high school in order to shower with the girls. (Additional trigger warning: What.) Oh, the sexual assaults he could have committed if there was a legal loophole to allow it.
And these are the people pushing laws supposedly aimed at protecting American women and children from sexual assault. Americans are rallying behind real sex offenders to try to stop imaginary transgender sex offenders.
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
(The above image can be purchased here, with all profits going to Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement)
by Matilda Carter
Over the last couple of days, two important moments that demonstrate the state of play for LGBT+ rights in the United States occurred. The first and, I would argue most important, was the silencing of Jennicet Gutiérrez by Barack Obama whilst trying to draw attention to the treatment of undocumented trans women in immigration detention centres under his administration. The second was the Supreme Court’s decision to name marriage as a constitutional right, regardless of sexuality. Both were, self-evidently, shared ferociously over social media sites yet, whilst there seemed to be a general consensus that the second was a good thing, the first sparked vicious arguments and finger pointing within the LGBT+ movement. Why? Because for many trans women, including this writer, the first was an all too familiar story of being told to stand in line and not show the movement up.