Irish feminists have written an open letter to a group of British trans-exclusionary radical “feminists” (TERFs) in anticipation of an event they are holding in Dublin next month.
The main purpose of the event titled ‘We Need To Talk’ is to promote opposition to the proposed reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) in the UK. They are of the belief that this would cause the abolition of gender.
Above are some of the panellists that have spoken at events in this tour around the UK. One of those pictured Sheila Jeffreys (send to left), held a speakers corner last year entitled ‘Transgenderism is a Men’s Sexual Rights Movement’.
The proposed legislation would be similar to the Gender Recognition Act that was introduced in Ireland in 2015.
It would enable trans people to be formally recognised in their preferred gender through self-determination – removing all medical criteria from the legal recognition process. This means there would be no requirement for a medical assessment for applicants over the age of 18.
Powerful letter from Irish feminists to British transphobes: "Trans women are an inextricable part of our feminist community. There is no difference between ‘feminists’ spreading [transphobic ideas] or spreading racism or homophobia. We want no part of it" https://t.co/gU0Si6KbVu pic.twitter.com/5YRo0DNmdv
— Paris Lees (@parislees) January 23, 2018
The event currently has no guest speakers announced, however, they plan to discuss abortion, gender and other feminist issues.
Ireland is currently in the process of improving the Gender Recognition Bill with an amendment which would include the legal recognition of non-binary individuals and better inclusion for transgender young people under the age of 16.
The letter, which was published on Feminist Ire Blog, outlines the opposition to the lecture tour, and signs off with “you’re not welcome here”. The letter was initially signed by 36 women but as of this morning, nearly 1,000 further signatures have been added. It has also been signed by a number of organisations including UCD Centre of Gender, Feminisms & Sexualities and Anti-Racism Network Ireland.
This open letter from @FeministIre has over 800 signatures. It's written to the organisers of something called the "We Need To Talk Tour", who oppose the sensible and necessary proposed reforms of the U.K's Gender Recognition Act. https://t.co/iqqkeE7JyZ
— TENI (@TENI_Tweets) January 23, 2018
Here are a number of the key points outlined in the letter:
“We, the signatories of this letter, organise hand in hand with our trans sisters. Together, cis and trans, we are Irish feminism. Trans women are our sisters; their struggles are ours, our struggles theirs. They were our sisters before any state-issued certification said so and will always be no matter what any legislation says, either now or in the future.
“In the south of Ireland*, trans women have been able to declare themselves women and have the state change their documentation to reflect that declaration since 2015. The sky has not fallen. Cis women have not lost anything whatsoever from this. If anything, all of Irish feminism has gained: our struggle for bodily autonomy gains in strength and momentum through this victory for our trans sisters.
“So tell us: what is it that you know of Irish feminism that you feel entitled and authorised to come here and lecture us on? Dublin has not been part of the UK since 1921, yet you originally described ‘We Need To Talk’ as a UK tour while still including Dublin on your list of venues. This gives us some idea of how little you know about Irish realities, north or south.
“We do not need you here. We have not had your support in our fight for #repealthe8th, our fight against the historical and ongoing impact of the Magdalene Laundries, our fight for taking back control of our hospitals from religious orders, our fight for justice for women and babies tortured and entombed in Mother and Baby homes.
“Do you know, for example, that in the north of Ireland, legally part of the UK, women still cannot access safe and legal abortion? Have you campaigned on this in any way? If you have, why don’t we know about it? Did you strike in solidarity with us on March 8th last year? Did you even know we were striking and for what? Do you have any kind of concept of what a feminism in a country shaped by struggle against Empire looks like?”
If you would like to sign your name on the open letter, you can fill out this form.
The event organisers of ‘We Need To Talk’ have yet to comment.
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