Transphobia’s Misogyny Problem
Jess O’Thomson reporting for the excellent Trans Safety Network (TSN) has documented one of Kellie Jay “Posie Parker” Keen’s Hyde Park “Let Women Speak” events, where the hatemonger zeroed in on her usual fixation: demonising marginalised trans people, and especially trans women. O’Thomson highlights Keen’s rejection of feminism and the attendance of far-right extremists at her events.
This one included people who had been at the recent Honor Oak protest against drag queens, people with associations to the deeply misogynistic Men’s Rights Activists, ultra-reactionary traditional Catholics, Tommy Robinson’s cult of personality, the US pro-Trump MAGA movement, and various similar and odious associations. The article furthermore notes the police’s overt friendliness to Keen’s events, relative to their clear hostility to pro-trans counterdemos.
Put simply: women’s rights campaigners do not make friends with police officers. The police are institutionally misogynistic. The police are renowned for their aggression towards women’s rights protesters – for example, at the vigil for Sarah Everard following her rape and murder at the hands of police officer Wayne Couzens. I was one of the women violently pushed to the ground and threatened with unlawful arrest at this vigil. Just this weekend, the Metropolitan Police arrested community volunteers – wearing bibs with the Met Police logo on them – for being in possession of rape alarms. The fact that Keen’s supporters felt comfortable around police officers, and that the police were not aggressive towards them, is strong evidence that Keen and her attendees are far more aligned with the right wing establishment than with women’s rights.
Britain’s Transphobia Condemned by UN Expert
On Pink News, Amelia Hansford has reported on UN independent expert Victor Madrigal-Borloz’s 10-day visit to the UK, culminating in a condemnatory report on the country and its government. This has highlighted pronounced problems across civil society, with everything from the media to the political class taken to task for stoking hate against marginalised LGBTQIA+ people, resulting in rampant hate crimes and harassment.
Particularly highlighted were concerns around wait times for healthcare in the NHS and “perplexing” u-turns on banning abusive conversion therapies. The official Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which TSN’s Phoenix Andrews’s has previously exposed as being captured by the anti-trans right, came under particular rebuke for its “biological sex” letter. The EHRC has been advising the use of the term “biological sex” to alter the Equality Act and thereby remove vital protections for trans people; however, they have been unable to cite a clear definition for the term and even admitted that it only means “women who are not trans”. Speaking on this, Madrigal-Borloz said:
It then follows that the objective of the EHRC was to offer the government a formula through which it could carry out discriminatory distinctions currently unlawful under UK law, and that will remain so under international human rights law[…] The Independent Expert is of the opinion that this action of the EHRC is wholly unbecoming of an institution created to ‘stand up for those in need of protection and hold governments to account for their human rights obligations’.
Hansford furthermore noted that this appraisal of the UK government’s and broader societies’ failures to protect the dignity and rights of trans people has been substantiated by other assessments, writing, “The expert’s conclusive statement coincided with the release of an ILGA Europe report that found the UK has plummeted to 17th place in its ranking of European countries by LGBTQ+ safety.” It remains to be seen whether international judgements can restore some humanity to Britain and end a vociferous anti-queer moral panic.
Erdoğan’s Anti-Queer Scapegoating
Writing for the Guardian, a paper that has often been guilty of spreading transphobic talking points, Ruth Michaelson and Deniz Barış Narlı nonetheless perform a service by exposing the anti-queer rhetoric gripping Turkey ahead of its upcoming political election. This important democratic moment will test one of Europe’s most autocratic and far-right leaders, characteristically indulging homophobic and transphobic rhetoric to save his increasingly unpopular administration.
The wellbeing of many minorities will be decided in the vote, taking place today, including women and LGBTQIA+ people whom Erdoğan has long targeted as a part of his deeply conservative political philosophy, the particular Turkish expression of the broader global phenomenon of creeping fascism as more widely documented in a recent article by Simon Pearson for A*CR. While the opposition parties are also far from ideal in pursuing queer and women’s liberation, they offer a respite to beleaguered and marginalised communities and a chance to organise a fightback in the country.
Meanwhile, A*CR members attended a rally against Kellie Jay Keen in Birmingham and reported that 100-200 people were arrayed on each side. The transphobes were pushed into a corner but still held their rally due to police assistance. A*CR distributed a flyer (see image) supporting the trans struggle. It is vital that socialist organisations, parties, and unions show support for trans people as they face relentless attacks from reactionaries and the political elite.
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