OK so TERF13 has now been announced and TERFs everywhere are preparing for their usual, and highly predictable so-called "Radfem 2013" conference in the backstreet, somewhat hidden-away venue of the London Irish Centre. A far cry from the gothic, marbled splendor of Conway Hall the conference will feature the usual suspects spouting their usual transphobic diatribes. You have heard them all before they don’t need repeating, we are all to be made a "human rights violation" (Jeffries) and "mandated out of existence" (Raymond), etc. Yes you've heard it many times before like a broken record. The worst and most hate-mongering offenders; Jeffries and Brennan on the same platform... yawn. How the former got to be an academic I don’t know, how the latter got to be a lawyer, I can’t imagine.
But hey-ho, I guess we will never be completely free of ignorant, bigoted people. The best tactic this time however; let them get on with it. Let the world see what they stand for, let the world see their hatred and their bigotry. The rest of the world caught a glimpse of this with Julie Burchill’s infamous transphobic article in the Observer. It is in our interests to allow the likes of Brennan and Jeffries to be heard loudly and clearly by the rest of the world without pandering to their fantasies about a trans cabal. Their hatred, their discrimination, their bigotry cannot be dressed up in any way that can make it seem palatable to everyone else. Their monolithic and ultimately coercive view of gender and indeed the world has probably been responsible for the some of reversals that feminism has suffered in recent years.
An alternative conference, which would be intersectional and feminist, is a good idea and I am glad that some people are actively pursuing this possibility. BTW just in case there are any TERFs reading this; you don’t need an MA in gender studies to understand “intersectionality”, primary school maths, level three, taught to 8-9 year oldswill suffice; Venn diagrams plus a pinch of commonsense/intelligence. OK so I know some of you struggle with both of these but persevere...
So I suggest that trans people get on with much more important stuff; there’s Leveson, there’s equal marriage and there’s #transdocfail and the brave new world of the privatised NHS as well as huge numbers of trans people still being murdered in places like Latin America. There are also young trans people unable to get jobs and being forced into survival sex, young trans people who are homeless, and trans children who are bullied out of school.
TERF13 is a sideshow. Until the 8th June it deserves to be ignored. On the 8th of June it deserves the best we can give in terms of an alternative intersectional feminist conference to show them up for what they are and deal with real issues confronting all women everywhere. Even then it still deserves to be given the cold shoulder, concentrate on our issues not theirs, fight on our home territory not theirs, link up with our allies, our supporters and our friends.