I feel, as a feminist that the moment has a lot to apologise for, white middle class feminisms have ignored and pushed out trans women, sex workers women of colour and other minorities, so I am heartened to see that the Melbourne feminist futures conference is reminding us just how far we haven’t come. But inviting speakers and programs with the most bigoted backward looking agenda I have seen in a while.
The conference it’s self has a participants agreement, sent to speakers which I have seen it says that speakers must not engage in transphobia and whorephobia (as well as many other intersecting oppressions). They have chosen to completely ignore in their choice of speakers and abstracts. They say that people cannot be whore or trans phobic however Sheila’s proposed speech can hardly be read as anything but whore phobic.
While Sheila Jeffries is one of best known of the speakers, she is far from the only onespeaker. There is a women who worked for 12 years for the conservative senator Brian Harradine the man whose support kept RU 486 illgeal and supported the restrictions on Ausaid supporting abortion access as part of fundamental healthcare access. Melinda Tankard Reist has also worked for anti choice groups and has written a book supported by the anti-choice movement.
On the facebook page a person used the phrase male to constructed female, a blast from the past that many people hoped would stay in the past.
There are as far as I am aware no Trans speakers at the conference, and while there are sexworkers running a workshop, they have not been given an oppertuinity to counter these womens views.
On the conference home page they say
The conference seeks to reclaim the concept of “feminism” as a positive and necessary political ideal that is of direct relevance to our everyday lives.
I can only speak for myself, but having anti trans, anti whore, anti choice feminists talk at your conference, particualy when there no voices from those groups to counterbalance the oppressive shit being presented, that doesn’t help me feel like feminism is positive or necessary for me or my friends life, in fact these are exactly the kind of feminists who mean that a friend of mine who was a sex worker was stopped from volunteering for a women’s shelter because sex workers are a dangerous to “real” women, and the feminists who keep trans women out of women shelters even though they are at high risk of partner and family violence. In short they are the kinds of feminists who make me question the label for myself.
Editted to add: Melinda Tankard Reist is no longer speaking and Sheila Jeffries is no longer presenting the workshop why prostitution is violence against women.
This is going to be hard to write, because I consider the people who run questioning transphobia to be freinds of mine, I also think they in general they run a good blog, which I wouldn’t want to run, however I think they really fucked up, and I think that has to be noted.
The post Greeting from asia was anti sexworker and to me it constituted hate speech,
In the comments lisa said
I’d like people to focus on the rest of the post, but the complaints about the dehumanization of sex workers are valid.
Which sounds quite a lot like
Editors’ Note: All posts published on Bilerico Project do not reflect the opinions of nor any endorsement by the Editorial Team. Many Bilerico readers and contributors have found Ronald Gold’s op-ed offensive or needlessly coarse. The idea behind Bilerico Project is to encourage dialogue among different facets of the LGBT community that might normally never interact this intimately. We encourage all readers to continue responding to Mr. Gold in the same spirit his post was written – with positive intent while bluntly stating your own opinion and experiences.
I am really disappointed in questioning transphobia, time has pasted, their has been no apology, no edit, no “hey guys we are sorry that article went up with anti-sex worker content”, nothing.
It is not ok to deamonise sex workers, it is not ok to talk about the trans community as if trans sex workers are not part of that community, it is not ok to suggest those trans people who access hormones without the help of doctors are doing “real” trans people a disservice
hate speech is written with “positive intent” is still hate speech.
As for Yuki’s question
So how would the advancement of sex workers benefit the transgender community as a whole?
What is considered success for a sex worker that contributes to the betterment of trans communities worldwide?
I point you towards little light (who you should be reading anyway), who as far as I know has never been a sex worker said, particularly if you feel like we shouldn’t focus on sex workers rights because they only support sex workers.
The ground is unsteady under my feet, and the job, the pantry, the door that locks, I can get pulled off it just as fast as I can be locked up for soliciting for walking down the street for groceries.
Yuki, you might want a better argument than no one who could afford at cis prostitue would hire a trans protitute.
There are so many things wrong with this news piece I do not know where to start. For someone who can carry RM 400 (~150 Aus dollars/130 US )in his wallet, it seems ridiculous that this “Ping”, would choose a transsexual female for companionship, rather than a Chinese female social escort or a female prostitute, which is all over Chow Kit. It is hard to believe. [currency converstion added by me]
Oh and cigfran, the best way to reach across cultures also isn’t to ignore the anti sex worker comments and comments that seem to tatitily suggest that the murder of sex workers is less important that the murder of non sexworker trans women. Unless you also feel that trans women means non sexworker trans women.
I want questioning transphobia to be a safer space for trans people, that includes trans women trans men, genderqueers whether or not they are sex workers, that means not coming across a writer on this blog suggesting that their murder would mean less because of the work they do. I want to see a statement that questioning transphobia isn’t only a space for non sexworker trans people.)