by Lotty Clare
Content warning: sexual violence, corrective rape, sexual abuse, suicide.
Last Friday was the beginning of Yangon Pride celebrations in a country where human rights abuses are rife, and homosexuality is criminalised. The rising profile of LGBTQ+ rights in Myanmar provides precious hope for queer people in the country. However, the road to equality is a long one.
Yangon’s 2020 Pride festival is organised by &PROUD and runs from January 18th to February 2nd. The opening day in Thakin Mya park attracted thousands of people. The city’s pride events include a boat parade, queer dance performances, drag shows, queer film screenings and panel discussions, and of course lots of rainbows. The films that will be shown include ‘A Simple Love Story’ a short documentary film that was given a distinction in the Wathann Film Festival but was not screened due to censorship, even though there was no nudity. The film centred around a trans couple and asked the question ‘does love have any gender?’. Continue Reading
by Alex Valente
2019 is drawing to a close, but the turmoil and trauma of this turbulent year show no signs of abating. As we wrote on the cold, miserable and particularly unfortunate morning of Friday the 13th,
in the coming months and years, many in this country and elsewhere will suffer under a Tory government led by a racist liar. Social services will be dismembered. Workers’ rights will be eroded. Vulnerable people will face violence at the hands of increasingly aggressive immigration authorities and police. All of which will be sanctioned, incited, and protected by the country’s highest authorities and institutions.
The turn of a decade is an important time to review, to remember what the good fight is actually about, and what type of work is expected from us, as people, as a community, as a society.Continue Reading
by Alex Valente
This past year has seen a global increase in horrible news stories. From the victory of the extreme right-wing in Brazil with Bolsonaro, to Italy’s rising black wave of fascism, to Russia and Turkey competing in totalitarian games, to the US and UK’s attempts to dehumanise the trans* community and migrants (no, there is no crisis), and the constant influx of horror that are the Trump administration and the Brexit shambles, we’re at a dangerous, terrifying, angering moment in history – and most mainstream media is complicit or silent.
I started one of our monthly emails in a very similar vein, back in October, and I’m sad to notice that not that much has changed since. Continue Reading
by Carmina Masoliver
Recently I began to attend Spanish and salsa lessons at Battersea Spanish, where I got the opportunity to engage in their social programme, open to everyone. I particularly enjoy the film nights, which allow you to experience cuisine and movies from the country of origin. On this occasion, we ate Chilean food as the film was Una Mujer Fantástica, set in the capital, Santiago. Released in 2017, written and directed by Sebastián Lelio, the plot centres around Marina, a transgender woman who works as both a singer and a waitress. It is a tale of love and grief, underpinned by her experiences as a transgender woman and the transphobia she faces.
by Lee-Anne Lawrance
As we approach the (extended) close of the consultation to the reform of the Gender Recognition Act, one group of activists is calling for a calm and rational debate – or in their words, a ‘respectful and evidence-based discussion’.
The current debate has been dominated by a group of so-called ‘feminists’ and supporters who oppose the changes, citing ‘concerns’ for women. The concerns they raise however are based on false information. Nothing short of propaganda is used to disseminate this false information to the wider public. Continue Reading
by Zoe Harding
Content warning: article contains strong language and mentions transphobia, rape, death threats, online harassment, homophobia, biphobia and bi erasure.
So this week a friend of mine said something on Twitter about accepting transgender people as people, regardless of genitalia. One of those reasonable discussions that occasionally ensue on the internet ensued, and ended with her getting dog-piled with sufficient angry, hateful messages to nearly crash her ageing iPhone and accusations ranging from homophobia to gaslighting and advocacy of corrective rape. While the barrage of tweets from a dozen accounts was polite by online discourse standards (for ‘polite’, read ‘no swearing but massively condescending, dismissive, pompous and worryingly intense’) the death threats and abuse that followed in private messages was significantly less so.
Once more, my friend had attracted the ire of the TERFs.Continue Reading
The Norwich Radical contacted all candidates in this year’s UEA Students Union officer elections for comment on why they’re running and what they stand for. These articles are intended to offer an insight into the current and future state of the union and of the UEA more broadly.
UEA Students can vote at uea.su/ueavotes until Tuesday March 21st.
by Zoe Harding
On the same night Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best? aired (Thursday 12th), an apparently rather excellent documentary named Hospital exposed the difficult conditions under which the modern NHS works, bringing it to the attention of the nation that if you get sick and go to an NHS hospital, you’ll be treated by a doctor who’s working shifts more commonly seen in 19th-century coal mines while the Prime Minister calls them lazy. It was quite good. The subjects of Hospital (doctors) seem to have loved it. No such luck for the subjects of BBC2’s other documentary that night, however. 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.
by Zoe Harding
TW: Homophobia, transphobia.
On June 2nd, the latest in the life-simulating retail behemoth Sims franchise, The Sims 4, was patched to allow players to create non-binary and transgender characters. As IBTimes reported, the free update ‘unlocks over 700 items of clothing’ for either of the game’s binary genders, allowing ‘Female sims [to] wear suits like Ellen [DeGeneres], and male Sims [to] wear heels like Prince.’ This update has apparently been a year in the making in conjunction with GLAAD, but it was launched with little fanfare (most major gaming sites haven’t picked up the story, and there’s been comparatively little buzz online) and provided completely free of charge.
That last part was the most surprising for those versed in the gaming zeitgeist. EA, which owns The Sims’ publisher Maxis, is famous for its brutally exploitative commercial tactics and complete lack of corporate ethics, but they do have a surprisingly positive reputation for LGBT equality, at least amongst their workers. While it’s depressing that it took four massive games, sixteen years, 114 (and counting) editions and expansions and billions of gamer-hours of deleting the ladders leading into swimming pools to finally realise the dream of letting people put boy clothes on their girl Sims, it is encouraging that even a product like The Sims is finally starting to include people who aren’t just cisgender and straight.Continue Reading
by Jess Howard
When it comes to film remakes, many viewers are very protective of their original cinematic loves. In the same way that people react to novels being turned into films, many feel that film scripts should be left well alone, with the common opinion being that it was the original script, cast, and production that made their old favourites work so well. However, as with any form of art, films are constantly ageing, and so new perspectives are constantly being developed and incorporated.Continue Reading
(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.
by Cherry Somersby
NUS’ ‘No-Platform’ policy is the refusal to allow ‘racists or fascists’ to speak at NUS events or alongside NUS representatives. Bearing in mind that this policy is often conflated with attempts by individual Students’ Unions to ban certain speakers from their campuses, it has been dubbed by many as an attack on free speech, and further confirmation that the ‘intolerant student left’ have become more concerned with hiding in their progressive echo-chambers than with serious, healthy debate.
by Eve Lacroix
A report due to be released this month by the Common’s Women and Equalities Committee may prove to be a great step forward in terms of legal rights for the transgender community in the UK. Official existing acts that protect transgender people are the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, in which changing one’s gender became legally recognised, and the 2010 Equality Act which prohibits transphobic discrimination.
These two acts have proven insufficient, and to address current issues, one of the Committee’s tasks is to assess and research improvements that need to be made to achieve greater transgender equality. Conservative MP Maria Miller, who chairs the committee, has stated that “as a society and a government we should be looking at ways of trying to strip back talking about gender… We need to understand that gender stereotyping can be as damaging for men as it can be for women.”
by Alex Valente
Original Italian by Loredana Magazzeni (1957-), from Transonetti ‘XIV’
I have no one but me, I am no other,
body of mine appealing to reason,
not to the plural echo of this hour,
nor to the promise of processing.
Gender queries the tongue
and level within level it translates it
follows mixed routes in performing
its transhumanation, across the borderContinue Reading
by Robyn Banks
Caitlyn Jenner’s controversial coming out made headlines this month, and attracted hate and support in equal measure. While transphobia is always difficult to accept, the worst kind of bigotry has to be from those who veil it behind half-arsed logic and think they can justify their hate with a rational argument. It was in this vein that #givebackthegold was born.
This petition to persuade Caitlyn Jenner to give back the gold medal she earned competing in the 1976 Olympic men’s decathlon has garnered over 15,000 signatures on change.org. The accompanying text reads “Ms. Jenner (as talented as she is) claims that she has always believed herself to be truly female, and therefore, was in violation of committee rules regarding women competing in men’s sports and vice versa. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that we must ask whether or not it is proper that Ms. Jenner should retain her olympic records in light of this”.
by Jess Howard
Disclaimer: mentions sexual assault.
Caitlyn Jenner, who rose to fame as the stepfather of the elder Kardashian sisters, and father to Chris Jenner’s two youngest children Kendall and Kylie, revealed herself to the world this week in a stunning cover photo for Vanity Fair. Shot by world renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz, the July cover finalises Jenner’s transformation from former decathlete gold medal winner, to beautiful woman. Dressed in lingerie and posing in a style reminiscent of the late Marilyn Monroe, the shot is respectable yet coy, showing the world that Caitlyn has finally physically become the woman she was born to be.
The cover scored Jenner a new world record, amassing 1 million twitter followers in just 4 hours. She tweeted ‘I’m so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me’. However, whilst reactions have been predominately positive, supporting Caitlyn in her transition that was revealed in a tell-all interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer in April, the cover has caused mixed reactions in the trans community.Continue Reading
by Srishti Dutta Chowdhury
Disclaimer: Mentions female foeticide, abortion, and domestic abuse.
As part of the Vogue Empower project, that was initiated in October 2014, to commemorate the seventh year for Vogue in India, Homi Adajania’s video ‘My Choice’ features some prominent faces in the country of India. Besides Deepika Padukone, there’s Adjania’s wife, actress Nimrat Kaur, film critic Anupama Chopra, and Director Zoya Akhtar, among others.
The video went viral on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, in a matter of days — which is great news except it garnered negative criticisms everywhere. The reservation against the video by feminists and gender activists is understandable. According to a large number, while the video seeks to raise questions such as ‘If men can do what they want, why should women be deprived of the same right?’, it falls short of effectively addressing the question of women empowerment.
by Carmina Masoliver
It was my third year of attending the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival, first envisaged and implemented by Artistic Director Jude Kelly, five years ago. The programme was full of interesting performances, discussions, and workshops. I’ll be focusing on some of the arts related events.
After work on the Friday, I caught Kelly’s discussion with radio DJ Lauren Laverne. It was refreshing to hear Laverne’s honesty about the music industry; when she started a band in the early 90s, they were asked who wrote their songs, and recently when interviewing an all-female band, they told her they were still being asked the same question. She emphasised the need for women to support other women, naming Jo Wiley as an important mentor, and how she has set up a new company with Sam Baker called The Pool, wanting to give other women opportunities they would not have otherwise.
by Robyn Sands
At the end of last month Green Party parliamentary candidate Rupert Read caused widespread offence by posting a series of tweets appearing to question the validity of trans women’s gender identities and claimed to be ‘troubled’ by use of the word cisgender, in opposition to the term ‘transgender’.
He then tweeted a blog post he’d written in January 2013 in which he defended feminist writers, such as Julie Burchill, who had been accused of transphobia, and described trans status as a sort of “opt-in version of what it means to be a woman”. His tweets were a response to a controversial and transphobic poster seen in women’s toilets in Bristol University, which heavily implied that allowing trans women in to women’s toilets would lead to them assaulting cis women, and he seemed to be defending that position. He has since issued an apology, and responded to criticisms by saying that he only meant to “discuss a hypothetical philosophical position”. He further stated that “All that I have done is join many feminists in saying that it is up to women, not anyone else- and certainly not me- to decide who gets let in to women-only spaces, such as women’s toilets”.