Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stonewall and Julie Bindel

It's a good thing that UK human rights organization Stonewall's website says "Equal Rights for Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals" at the top, because equal rights for trans people of any sexuality sure does not seem to be on their agenda.

On their shortlist for Stonewall 2008 LGB Journalist of the Year is Julie Bindel, best known for her trans-bashing in The Guardian and the BBC. In the face of strenuous objections from UK trans activists, Stonewall refuses to denominate her, arguing that to do so would be to undermine the transparency of their selection process, and that anyway they don't represent transgender people.

Stonewall's Chief Executive, Ben Summerskill, asserts that the nominations were voted upon by 70 randomly-selected Stonewall members and the shortlist then passed on to the judging panel, and that to denominate someone now would make it seem that the organization was arbitrarily disregarding the wishes of the voters. He says that Stonewall does not necessarily condone or support the views of the nominees outside the realm of the work for which they are being nominated. He also says that Stonewall England has received feedback from the trans UK community that they are not wanted in trans activism work.

With support like this, who could blame UK trans folks for asking Stonewall not to participate in trans issues? It's plain that they don't consider trans people members of their community, regardless of their sexuality. When the potential hurt feelings of some Stonewall voters takes precedence over the hundreds of UK trans people whose personhood is delegitimized in favor of Bindel's bigotry by her nomination, it becomes clear that Stonewall feels no sense of responsibility towards trans people, and there's no reason to think that would change if UK trans activists welcomed them to the table. As far as Stonewall not endorsing Bindel's outside opinions, if her transphobic screeds wrongly assigned the name of lesbian feminism and published in the Guardian and aired on BBC radio do not count as part of her journalistic oeuvre it would be news to me. I fail to see how the transphobia that is part of how she has made her name in the totality of the LGBT community is irrelevant to her award by a LGB "human rights" organization for journalism. Stonewall bills itself as a human rights organization—surely trans people are human, and therefore a part of their remit whether or not they assume the T at the end of the acronym.

Should Stonewall denominate her? Not doing so is a slap in the face of LGB people who are also trans or who object to Bindel's public hatred of trans people.

There is a demonstration scheduled for the Stonewall Awards, Thursday, November 6, at 6:30 pm outside the Victoria and Albert Museum at Cromwell Road, in London.

Edit: I neglected to do this earlier. I sincerely apologize. All of this comes to my attention by way of plumsbitch and blahflowers.

1 comment:

a-renee said...

Bindel is clearly ignorant on issues of transsexualism. It reminds me of men arguing that women shouldn't be allowed to have abortions. What do men know of being pregnant? Not much. What does Bindel know of being transsexual? Not much.

Here's a lovely article showing that science is finally starting to uncover the truth... that we trans folk are indeed not psychologically damaged, but rather what we say we are, people born with mismatched brains and bodies.

Too bad, Bindel. Ignorance isn't always bliss.