Yes, What Air Transat Did To AB Silvera Was Transphobic.

Let’s clear some things up. Since it seems like people didn’t quite get the memo the first time.

If you aren’t familiar with the situation, please read my initial post on what happened on Saturday first. The tl;dr (although please do read it) is that my friend AB Silvera was denied boarding on a flight last Saturday because she is trans. The airline have not made things right.

Let’s go on to the clarification part, because some people are under the impression that what happened to her wasn’t blatant transphobia.

Transphobic Discrimination Detection Is Not Complicated.

Want to know if someone has been discriminated against? It’s actually pretty straightforward. You do not need to ask:

  1. Does this person/organisation hate trans people?
  2. Did anyone intend to do something bigoted?
  3. Is the person/organisation who did the thing a Bad Person overall, and do they feel deep within themselves that they’re not A Transphobe?
  4. Did the person or organisation deny that their actions were transphobic?

These questions are irrelevant. They don’t matter. Air Transat tweeted a bunch of times about their non-discrimination policy. However, if AB Silvera were cis, this would not have happened to her. Air Transat probably didn’t design their screening policies to specifically harm trans people- actually, I’ll bet that they didn’t think about trans people at all when they did so. It doesn’t matter. If AB were cis, this would not have happened to her.

Let’s take those points:

  1. It doesn’t matter if someone hates trans people or not. If they perform an action that harms someone because they’re trans, that action is discriminatory. The feelings of the person performing the action don’t change the reality of that action.
  2. It doesn’t matter if someone intends to do something bigoted or not. I have never once in my life intended to stub my toe on something. I still do it regularly and let me tell you, it still hurts like nobody’s business. If you aren’t looking where you’re going and you walk into someone? You’ve still knocked their coffee out of their hand. Just apologise and buy them a damn coffee already.
  3. Let’s just accept that all of us are complex mixes of positive and negative traits, k? Let’s even accept that sometimes we’re having a good day and sometimes we’re having a crap day and we take it out on people. Hardly anyone is a 100% Good Person, and hardly any of us are 100% Bad People. People do great things. They do shitty things. Give credit for the good stuff, and make up for the bad stuff. Adulting 101, right?
  4. People deny doing bad stuff all the time. Of course they do. “It wasn’t me” is almost a reflex for a lot of people, especially if you’re worried about getting in trouble or if you think the problem can go away if you can find a plausible excuse for it.

To determine if something is transphobic, there is only one question you need to ask: would this situation happen to a cis person? If the answer is no, then- ding!- you have transphobic discrimination.

Here are things that wouldn’t have happened to AB if she were cis:

She would not have had to bring a folder full of documents with her– passport, gender certificate, another form of ID to confirm that she’s the person in the gender cert (which by coincidence is also a passport) when she flew. I’m cis. I don’t have to do that.

Her passport- which has two years to go before it’s out of date- would not have been denied because she looks different to how she did back in 2008. I’m cis. Back when my last passport was coming up on 10 years old, I was in an LDR. I flew every few weeks. In the ten years I’d had that passport I changed from being a scrawny 19-year-old with a buzzcut who looked barely pubescent, to a several-stone heavier 29 year-old with curly hair almost to my shoulders. I looked different. But when we’re cis, it’s accepted that years will change us. If this wasn’t acceptable, we wouldn’t be able to get ten-year passports.

Don’t believe me? Here’s what I looked like a year or so after I got my passport (it’s the oldest pic I can find, so take a year or two off that face):

Picture of me at 19-ish: a young person with a mostly-shaved head and wonky glasses looking out of an attic window.
Aside: look at my babyface! Also I was taking selfies while most of you were in diapers. Just saying.

And here’s me in the last year that I had that passport:

A close-up picture of me at 29: chin-length curly hair, looking at the camera.
My current passport picture doesn’t look half as good as this. Given that I took it hungover after running halfway across town in the rain, I hope that it doesn’t look a thing like me at all.

Notice a difference? So do I. I look really different. But because I’m cis, it doesn’t matter. Even though my gender presentation had changed a whole lot. That’s cis privilege (specifically the AFAB kind) right there- I can even change the gendered ways I look any way I like and airline agents pay it no mind.

Of course, airline agents are used to that. Most people’s passports are relatively old. Everyone looks a bit different to their picture. It’s no big deal. As long as you’re cis.

She would not have been misgendered by airline staff. And if she had? They would have apologised and not done it again. How do I know this? Look at that top picture. That person? Got “he” all the time. A buzzcut and no boobs will do that. Especially in the winter when I was bundled up in great big coats. But the second I corrected people, they almost always apologised and then used the right pronouns. Why? Because I’m cis.

Time To Correct Some Misconceptions.

Did AB Have The Correct Documents?

Yes. She did. She was carrying a valid Italian passport in her name. She was also carrying the required document for an Italian citizen to get into Canada: a valid ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization). Those two, along with her ticket, should have been all that she needed to get on her flight.

However, she knew that she might need something to confirm her gender. This is not unique to travelling over this particular border: trans people are often questioned as to their gender, especially by officials. Knowing this- and having experienced it many times before- she brought along documents that clarify the situation.

AB has dual citizenship in Argentina and Italy. As it’s a lot easier to update your gender markers in Argentina than it is in Italy, she also had the Argentinian document confirming her updated gender- a sworn affidavit with a legalised translation. She brought Argentinian photo ID with her along with this affidavit.

The fact that the Argentinian photo ID she had with her was a passport is irrelevant. She wasn’t bringing it in order to cross a border. She was simply using it to confirm that she is the person who the affidavit refers to.

I’m not going to post you the photo of the two passports. I don’t post pre-transition photos of people. So you’re gonna have to take my word for this one: she is recognisable. Does she look different? Sure. But especially if you know (and if you’re an official: if you have valid confirmation) that she has had a bunch of estrogen since then? It’s blatantly obvious that she’s the same person.

AB had the documents she needed.

dual citizenship and Passports

If you have dual citizenship and multiple passports, who gets to choose which one you travel under?

You do. Dual citizenship, as I’ve mentioned already, gives you all of the rights and responsibilities of both of your citizenships.

Think of it this way: AB is an Italian citizen. Nothing else about her takes that citizenship away. Not the fact that she lives in the UK- she’s an Italian citizen in the UK. Not the fact that she’s trans. And not the fact that, entirely separate to her Italian citizenship, she also happens to be a citizen of another country. If that was the case, dual citizenship would be an impossibility. This isn’t theoretical: some countries don’t allow their people to have dual citizenships. Italy and Argentina aren’t in that category. Both allow multiple citizenship.

Who can take away your rights as a citizen of a country? The only way I can find to lose your Italian citizenship against your will is to go work for a country they’re at war with. And- let’s be clear- even if AB was off to go work for the government in a country that Italy had started a war with this morning, Air Transat’s staff’s authority isn’t up to the job.

AB is an Italian citizen. Her Italian citizenship gives her the right to travel to Canada with an eTA, no visa required. Her Argentinian citizenship does not affect this, regardless of how close to her person her Argentinian passport is at the time.

When you have multiple passports, the choice to travel under one or the other is at your discretion. Nobody else’s.

Why couldn’t she just update her Italian passport?

Here’s something that a lot of you cis people out there might not get: depending on where you live, changing gender markers can be complicated. Particularly if you live on the other side of the continent to the country where you need your documents changed.

In some countries it’s more than complicated: it’s impossible. In Italy it’s not impossible. It’s just, as AB has found out, a labyrinthine bureaucratic mess.

It’s not a matter of just popping down to the local office, filling out the green form and handing over fifty quid for someone to stamp the thing and send you the updated document. This is a process that can take time- especially if you live far away. AB has been working on getting her documents changed. It’s been incredibly difficult:

The expectation that AB “simply” update her gender markers on her Italian passport and get a more recent picture is not a reasonable one. It also assumes that she hasn’t been working hard to do just that, and that there aren’t massive obstacles in her way. She has. There are.

Say it again for the people in the back

What happened to AB?

She went to the airport. She had all the documents she required with her. When she went to the gate she was misgendered repeatedly and told that she should “travel as a man” in future. She was denied her right as an Italian citizen to use her Italian passport along with an eTA to travel to Canada.

Remember this: there is only one question you need to ask to ascertain if an action or experience constituted transphobic discrimination. Would this have happened if she were cis?

Of course it wouldn’t.

What happens now?

AB has still not been compensated for this abysmal, discriminatory treatment by Air Transat. She also hasn’t been able to get a flight to where she needs to go.

But it’s not- quite- too late. When this happened, AB and her girlfriend were travelling to the US via Canada to go to a wedding. (To add insult to injury, by the way? This was also to be their anniversary trip and would have been the first time AB met her girlfriend’s family in person. Yeah. Chew on that one.) That wedding hasn’t happened yet.

Air Transat can still make this right. What they need to do?

  • Get AB and her girlfriend on a flight, like, immediately.
  • Compensate her for leaving her stranded for three days (and counting) and for the upset  they caused her.
  • Train their staff in dealing with trans customers in a dignified and respectful way.
  • Apologise. Publicly. And mean it.

They won’t make this happen without pressure. Air Transat are trying to sweep this under the rug, despite days of pressure. We need to increase this. And we need to do it now, ’cause I dunno about you but I want AB and her girlfriend to get to that wedding, I want AB to get to meet her girlfriend’s family, and I want it to happen this week.

What can I do?

Contact Air Transat directly.

If you live in Scotland or Canada, contact your local MP and ask them to intervene.

If you have access to a larger media platform, or know someone who does? Tell them about this and ask them to share it or write about it.

If you are LGBTQIA? Contact your local LGBTQIA organisation(s) and ask them to publicise this and kick up a fuss. We’re a community. We fight for each other, right? This is a time to help out.

Share this post, and my earlier post on the topic. Tweet them both to Air Transat and let them know exactly how you feel about it. Share this widely and repeatedly. Make sure they know that we will not shut up about this.

Don’t. Shut. Up.


Photo by James Cridland

Creative Commons logo

Yes, What Air Transat Did To AB Silvera Was Transphobic.

Air Transat: refusing to let trans women fly. Today.

AB Silvera was planning to travel from the UK to Canada early this afternoon to attend a wedding with her girlfriend. Instead, she’s spent six hours in the airport and is going back home.


Because she’s trans.

Here, in her words:

The situation is as follows: I am a dual citizen of the Italian Republic and the Republic of Argentina. Today, Air Transat has denied me boarding a flight bound to Toronto, Canada from Glasgow, Scotland.

I am a transgender woman. My Italian documentation was made before transition and uses the first name “Ariel”, shows an older photo, and a gender marker “M”. However, I have used it consistently to travel for the last 8 years, both within Europe, to the United States, and to South America, with no issue. This is the first time I have been denied boarding a flight.

I travel with supporting documentation because I have been questioned about my passport photo before. This documentation includes my Argentinean passport with the correct gender (and a recent photo), and a notarized sworn affidavit with a legalized translation. This affidavit is a binding document of the Argentine Republic declaring my change of name from Ariel to Ari Bianca, and declaring my change of gender.

When asked for documentation, I provided all three documents (two passports and affidavit) to an Air Transat representative. They spoke to a representative of the Canadian High Commission in the United Kingdom and told me that I can only travel on my Argentinean passport, but I wouldn’t be travelling today as I didn’t have a visa. I did not apply for a visa because it was not needed with my Italian passport.

The Air Transat representative called “Emma”, refused to give me her last name but phoned the High commission representative for me. The High Commission representative kindly explained this was a decision made by the airline at their discretion. In other words Air Transat made the decision to deny my flight, today, despite my carrying two legal documents, simply because I don’t look the same way as I did 8 years ago, before I began taking hormones.

I have not managed to obtain a new Italian passport yet due to the complex nature of gender recognition procedures through Italian bureaucracy. However, this decision is probably illegal under anti-discrimination UK law; it refuses to accept my valid Italian documentation, maybe breaking Canada-Italy travel treaties; and it fails to recognise my Argentinean sworn affidavit and its connection to my Italian passport as valid.

All because of a simple photo. A photo which, when provided with supporting documents, has never caused any airlines (Ryanair, American Airlines, British Airways, EasyJet, to name a few) from ever preventing me from boarding a flight.

I have contacted Air Transat on Twitter. After a four hour wait, they responded with a different story. In their new version of events the issue wasn’t my passport photo, but rather that since I’m Argentinean, I need a visa for Canada anyway, ignoring my valid Italian passport which entitles me to visa-free travel.

I believe Air Transat have changed their sorry to cover up the discrimination issue.

Let’s be clear about what happened here:

  • AB is an Italian citizen. As such, she is entitled to travel to Canada without a visa.
  • AB holds a valid Italian passport.
  • She also has an Argentinian passport. This one has a different gender marker to her Italian documents because bureaucracy is a massive, complicated pain.
  • She has documents confirming that she is who she says she is. Three of them.
  • She doesn’t look like she did eight years ago.
  • Despite her being AN ITALIAN CITIZEN WITH A VALID PASSPORT WHO IS ENTITLED TO TRAVEL TO CANADA WITHOUT A VISA, Air Transat refused her permission to board.
  • Air Transat refused her permission to board because she doesn’t look the way she did eight years ago and has a different gender marker. Despite her having all the necessary documentation showing that she is trans and confirming her identity.

This is a clear case of transphobic discrimination against AB.

It gets worse.

Here is what, in my view, Air Transat should have done, once the company discovered what its agents had done:

  • Apologised. Profusely.
  • Made immediate arrangements to ensure AB’s comfort and well-being. Airports have paid lounges. Nice ones. Gotten her access to there, straight away.
  • Apologised again for good measure.
  • Made immediate arrangements with her to get her and her partner on the next flight or set of flights to her destination. She has an event to get to.
  • Compensated her for the considerable distress they caused her.
  • Update company policies and get all customer-facing staff trained in basic courtesy towards their trans passengers as soon as possible.
  • Issue another apology, public this time, indicating everything they’ve done to prevent this from happening again.

That was not what happened. Instead? They left her waiting in the airport for hours on end. During this time they claimed multiple times on social media that they had been communicating with her. This text was sent to multiple people:

According to AB’s partner Eilis- who was with her at the time- that “messaging”? A single DM and then silence:

This wasn’t “messaging”. This was a single message which gave no information and then leaving them to sit in the airport for hours on end with no indication about what was going on. After seven hours of this, AB and Eilis went home. Luckily for them, AB’s home was close enough that this was possible. However, this could just as easily have happened if they were taking a flight that didn’t leave from her home city.

What happened next? Lies.

Here is what Air Transat claim: that this wasn’t about AB’s transness. No- it was about her Argentinianness:

Picture of several tweets from Air Transat, all containing the text "Mrs Silveira could not board her flight because she did not possess all required paperwork to travel(visa). JC"

This is, by the way, a lie.

Either that, or Air Transat- an airline who run regular transatlantic flights- are unaware of how visas, citizenship and passports work. In their world, if someone has dual citizenship then they’re only entitled to rights if both of the countries they’re citizens of grant them. I’m not sure why they think people bother getting dual citizenship at all in that case- since if you need two countries to grant you a right, you’d lose out straight away wherever you go.

Fortunately for the world, that’s not how it works. If you’re a citizen of two countries then you get the rights, privileges and responsibilities that come with both. If you have two passports, you get to decide which to fly with.

Because this is what Air Transat are trying to do: in order to get out of admitting that they made a massive, transphobic screw-up, they’re denying AB’s Italian citizenship. They’re pretending that it doesn’t exist, and that she wasn’t there with a valid Italian passport.

They’re also, by the way, misspelling both her name and her title. Impressive, when you consider that AB Silvera has been tagged in a few dozen tweets filling up their inbox, and that as she’s travelling with her girlfriend (who she’s not married to) it’s reasonable to expect that she’s a Ms, not a Mrs. I’m not mentioning that for petty reasons, by the way. I think that it’s a very visible sign of the abject lack of seriousness and respect that they’re giving to this situation. And the abject lack of dignity that they’ve shown towards AB.

Air Transat are trying to make it seem like this isn’t about transphobia. Like this isn’t about transphobia:

So let’s be clear about this:

  • Air Transat took issue with AB’s transness. They refused to let her fly because she is trans and because her documentation made that clear.
  • They told her that she should pretend to be a man in order to get on the plane in future, explicitly denying her gender.
  • They are now trying to make people believe that this is because she didn’t have a visa that she doesn’t have to have.

And now? Let’s add some extra insults to an already-hemorrhaging injury, shall we? Because at the end of that, after leaving AB and Eilis to sit in an airport for seven hours with no information on what they were doing? Here’s what Air Transat are going to do:

AB and Eilis should have flown out on Saturday afternoon. They have a wedding to attend on the other side of that flight. Air Transat care so little about this that they’re not even bothering to phone them until Monday. Assuming they do that.

Here’s where I’m going to ask you to do something: don’t let them get away with this. Please. Please tell people about this. Tweet @AirTransat and let them know that they can’t do this and sweep it under the carpet- and please keep it firm but civil. If you have a bigger platform or know someone who does? Tell them about this. Use them. Air Transat want to make this go away. Don’t let them.

Note: I have published an update on this topic which clarifies some issues which were unclear and also has some current information on the situation. Please read it before commenting hereThank you.

Air Transat: refusing to let trans women fly. Today.

Making it Weird: what I didn’t say when you called Hillary Clinton a man.

It’s Saturday evening. I’m lounging on the sofa with my feet up. I just spent an afternoon exploring parks and forests around Olympia, and I’m beat.

My lovely hosts are in the kitchen, chatting with their housemate and her boyfriend about the latest election news. I’m half listening in between idly mucking about on Facebook and Neko Atsume. This is a Bernie house. My hosts’ housemate is always delighted to hear how much I know about the US primaries. Me? I’m torn between interest in what’s happening and a deep sense of annoyance that I have to care so much about what Americans do. I wish the US was as passing an interest as any other moderately-large country in another continent. It’s not. I have to care. And that’s not these peoples fault, so I listen and work to understand their perspectives. I even find myself agreeing with many of the things they’re saying.

Hilary Clinton photo
Does she even wear dresses, though? Photo by kakissel

Before long, the conversation turns to Hillary Clinton. They don’t name her. First she’s “her”. Then someone refers to her as “that woman”.

Housemate’s boyfriend snickers and says “that man in a dress, you mean”.

I say nothing. Continue reading “Making it Weird: what I didn’t say when you called Hillary Clinton a man.”

Making it Weird: what I didn’t say when you called Hillary Clinton a man.

Germaine Greer: transphobe. Homophobe. Misogynist.

[CN: transmisogyny, homophobia, misogyny]

Germaine Greer likes to think of herself as a feminist. There was a time when she might have been right. While I’ve never been able to stomach reading her work, I’ve heard many feminists speak highly of The Female Eunuch.

There are parts of Greer’s feminism that I even agree with. She’s talked about liberation and creating a feminism that isn’t about aping men or aspiring to be like them. Yes. A feminism that puts down women, femininity and traditionally female tasks is nothing more than patriarchy with breasts.

It’s easy to simply say that Greer is a TERF- a trans exclusionary radical feminist. After all, most of her recent controversial statements have centred around her transmisogyny. When I’ve previously criticised her, this is what I’ve focused on. However, having read more of her comments, it’s becoming clear that it’s not as simple as that. I think that Greer’s transphobia masks something else: a deep-seated homophobia and misogyny, directed almost as much at cis women as our trans sisters.

Here’s why. Continue reading “Germaine Greer: transphobe. Homophobe. Misogynist.”

Germaine Greer: transphobe. Homophobe. Misogynist.

An Incomplete List Of Gendered Injustices Against Irish Women, And The People Working To Change Them. Part Two.

CN: Transphobia, transmisogyny, homophobia, VAW.

On International Women’s Day this year, I started writing a post about the areas in which women in Ireland face marginalisation or disadvantage because of our gender, and the people who are working for inclusion and justice in these areas. The post wasn’t supposed to take very long.

Or so I thought.

Instead? My list of topics is growing. Daily. I decided to split my post into two on Tuesday. As of right now, it’s looking like a three-parter. However.. who knows? We might yet hit three. Or four. Maybe more.

If you haven’t read it, here’s part one. Give it a read and then get back here, ’cause we have a lot to get through.

8. Support for trans girls and women

This summer, Ireland passed a Gender Recognition Bill. Overall it’s a fantastic piece of legislation, allowing for everyone over 18 to self-declare their own gender identity and have their legal documents, including birth certificates, updated to reflect this.

Despite this, trans people- especially trans women and girls- continue to be marginalised in Irish society. The Gender Recognition Bill doesn’t recognise anybody under sixteen, and if you’re between sixteen and eighteen you need a court order from a Family Court as well as parental consent to apply. We’re failing our trans children when we tell them that we won’t recognise them for who they are. Children shouldn’t have to learn to navigate the risk of being outed to and by everyone in their lives. Being recognised as who they are shouldn’t depend on being lucky enough to have a supportive family.

It’s not just young trans girls (and boys) who still face marginalisation here in Ireland. Transphobic abuse and workplace discimination is rampant. Trans woman are seen as threatening in spaces where they’re most at risk of violence. Healthcare professionals are largely ignorant of trans issues, and 3/4 of trans people have had a negative experience with them as a result.

I could go on.

TENI do fantastic work to support and advocate for trans people in Ireland

9. Violence against queer and non gender-conforming women

Continue reading “An Incomplete List Of Gendered Injustices Against Irish Women, And The People Working To Change Them. Part Two.”

An Incomplete List Of Gendered Injustices Against Irish Women, And The People Working To Change Them. Part Two.

Trans Women Are Not The Enemy, They Just Gotta Pee: responding to Cork Feminista’s Ale Soares.

In one of my earliest childhood memories I’m walking into my kindergarten’s bathroom. I’m alone. I don’t know why I was allowed to go on my own- I couldn’t have been more than three or four years old. My kindergarten (technically a Montessori preschool) rented part of a public building, and the toilets were down the hall from our classroom. I found a strange man there.

I don’t know what happened next- memories are hazy at that age, and all I even remember of the man was a huge, looming presence. I remember that I was scared. I think I must have run away. I don’t think that I ever went to that bathroom alone again- not that anyone should have let me go there in the first place. I’m not even sure that I went there at all, if I could avoid it. I think I might have avoided using school bathrooms at all for years. Not easy, when you’re a small kid.

I get being scared of strange men in bathrooms.

That fear does not make transphobia acceptable. It’s not okay to conflate strange men in bathrooms with trans women needing a wee. Which is why I was shocked to read  this post by Ale Soares on Cork Feminista earlier this week: Continue reading “Trans Women Are Not The Enemy, They Just Gotta Pee: responding to Cork Feminista’s Ale Soares.”

Trans Women Are Not The Enemy, They Just Gotta Pee: responding to Cork Feminista’s Ale Soares.

Germaine Greer? The market has spoken. We don’t want the transphobia you’re selling.

Germaine Greer believes some transphobic things. This isn’t new. It’s not even the first time this year she’s been in the news saying something transmisogynistic. Back in January she told a room in Cambridge that she doesn’t believe in transphobia. She went on to say that trans women don’t know what it’s like to have a “big, hairy, smelly vagina”- implying, I guess, that the state of someone’s vag has an impact on whether they can be a woman or not. Of course, Greer has been openly spouting transmisogyny for years. Back in 2009 she described trans women as “some kind of ghastly parody” in the Guardian. As far back as 1997 she was campaigning against trans women’s inclusion in women’s colleges.

Greer is notorious, and she’s done some valuable work in her time. Her views on trans women don’t make her other critiques go away. However, the converse is also true: the fact that Greer has written interesting things about women, the family, liberal feminism and sexuality doesn’t mean that her transmisogyny deserves a platform.

Last week, a group of students petitioned for Greer to be barred from speaking at Cardiff University because of her history of transphobia. Now, it turns out that they probably won’t succeed- so far, the university is rejecting the petition. But let’s say that they did.

I’ve seen three reasons why Greer should have her university platforms. The first- that her views have merit- we can dismiss out of hand. Trans women are women, end of story. The other two, related to each other, do have merit (although I disagree with them both). These are the idea that denying Greer a platform is an attack on freedom of speech, and that even if her views are terrible, the best way to handle them is through giving them an airing- the ‘marketplace of ideas’ approach.

Both of these are wrong. Continue reading “Germaine Greer? The market has spoken. We don’t want the transphobia you’re selling.”

Germaine Greer? The market has spoken. We don’t want the transphobia you’re selling.

Germaine Greer is not a woman.

Germaine Greer isn’t a woman.

According to Germaine, you see, trans women aren’t women. Because trans women, she says, don’t “look like, sound like, or behave like” women.

Womanhood: how you look, how you speak, and how you act.

Germaine Greer isn’t a woman. She doesn’t look like a woman: I don’t know anyone who looks like her. Everyone knows that real women have side-mullets. She doesn’t sound like a woman: that Australian accent? None of the women I know speak like that. If people don’t sound like my friends they are strange and wrong. Women- proper women- have Cork accents. Bai.

She definitely doesn’t behave like a woman. A real woman would never be mean to Wee Daniel. Continue reading “Germaine Greer is not a woman.”

Germaine Greer is not a woman.

To My Fellow Cis People And AFABs, On The Free Glasgow Pride Drag Ban

I don’t know what Free Glasgow Pride should do.

What I do know is this: the situation is complicated. There are a lot of competing factors at play here. There’s complex history- as history always is, especially when you’re talking about the people at the very front line of the intersections of racial, gender, transphobic, homophobic and class oppressions. There’s a complex present, because each and all of those things intersect and conflict with each other and they’ll do so in different ways in every context. In every city and town and country, because all of us have different histories and presents and unless we’ve lived something that is so far removed from the public eye and public discussion, we haven’t got a goddamn clue.

Not even if we’re queer. Not even if we love drag shows. Not even if Some Of Our Best Friends Are Trans Women.

What I will say is this:

To the Pantis, and the Dan Savages, and every other cis person with a large platform who’re using it against a small, local group who are muddling their way through: Stop it. Stop it now. This is using your power and platform to impose a version of LGBTQ community that continues to privilege the voices of cis gay men over everyone else. This is responding to the concerns of people far more vulnerable than you in our community with contempt and dismissal.

And to the rest of us: If you’re cis, or if you’re AFAB? Doesn’t matter how queer you are, we need to stand back and stay the hell out of this conversation. We do not get the context. We do not get the nuance. We do not get the history. We need to stand back and let trans women and other AMAB trans people have some space to have this one out. Without being berated and scrutinised by cis people and AFABs at every turn.

If we want to get involved? We can do that by reading what people have to say. By finding out more about what Free Glasgow Pride’s concerns are and where they come from. By listening to what people within those communities who disagree have to say. By educating ourselves on the drag spaces that gave space to trans women who have/had nothing else, on the drag spaces that trade in racism, misogyny and homophobia, and on the spaces that are all and some and none of those things. By continuing, then, to step back and let the people whose lives are most affected by this have their conversations and make their decisions. By acknowledging that those decisions will vary, because every context and every history and every present is different. And that those decisions will change, because the present moves on.

And throughout all this, to step back. Our job here- our only job, aside from educating ourselves- is to help to open up those spaces for the people who are affected to have their conversations. So we show each other where we can go to educate ourselves. And we step back. And we get the rest of the cis people and the AFABs to step back. So that trans women and AMAB enbees can have spaces to sort this out.

So do that.

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To My Fellow Cis People And AFABs, On The Free Glasgow Pride Drag Ban

Why Trans Exclusion Has No Place In Feminism. Or Anywhere Else.

Trans women are women. No ifs, no buts, no maybes. You can tell by the cunningly placed “women” in the label.

I figure that most of my readers are more or less on board with this one. Aside from a few of you (who in all honesty rarely get past moderation-seriously, you lot, read the comment policy!) I seem to be fortunate to have a rather sensible, reasonable bunch of people showing up here for a bit of a read. Much appreciated, by the way.

I’ll bet, though, that some of you simply haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about trans issues, or the inclusion of trans women in women’s and feminist spaces. There’s s lot of issues in the world and a lot of groups getting marginalised, and only so much time for each of us to spend thinking about this stuff. But given that it’s trans visibility week and just a few days after the annual Trans Day of Remembrance, I’d like to take a few minutes to sit down with you cis folks who might not be massively aware of your trans 101.

Because, you see, even within our supposedly progressive, feminist communities, some cis people do object to trans people- particularly trans women, because misogyny and transmisogyny are things- there are people who do think, for all sorts of (spoiler: bullshit) reasons, that trans women aren’t as entitled to a space in feminist and queer-lady communities as cis women are. People who are really, really invested in making sure that trans women are seen as, at best, guests whose welcome can be revoked at any time. At worst.. let’s not even go there.

The thing about the arguments they use, though? Not only do they not stand up to even the smallest amount of scrutiny, but they are also generally based on a horribly invasive sense of entitlement to other people’s lives and bodies. To the extent, by the way, that it feels vaguely icky and invasive just to counter them- I feel like this is stuff that is nobody’s business and we shouldn’t have to discuss it, never mind argue about it.

On the other hand? Like it or not, people are bringing this shit up. Let’s take a look at some of the arguments they put forward, shall we? And I’ll explain why they’re not as valid as they appear at first glance, and see why actively including trans people- especially trans women- is very, very important. Continue reading “Why Trans Exclusion Has No Place In Feminism. Or Anywhere Else.”

Why Trans Exclusion Has No Place In Feminism. Or Anywhere Else.