Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney


I will probably mostly post here about things I see at the Outsiders film festival but some things have to take priority. Just to note though - I am at News from Nowhere all week and will be working hard on the novel and some poetry -two new stanzas of the big memoir poem this morning, amazingly.

Bindel, though...This is going to run and run and I am pretty clear where I stand. If Julie Bindel were genuinely repentant, not merely about the substance of what she said, to which I will come back in a moment, but about all the snidely offensive physically grotesque slurs on trans people, she would actually expect to have those remarks bring about some consequences. If she genuinely regretted her tone, and the offense it has caused, she would be leaping at the chance to demonstrate to the trans community that she wants to make up for it - by say, asking Stonewall to withdraw her name from consideration for Journalist of the Year. After all, as Stonewall have been keen to tell us, she hasn't won, so withdrawing from the event and the nomination list would cost her nothing, while looking like the first stage of a real apology.

I am joking of course. I do not for a second think that Julie Bindel will ever do anything real to placate us, though I was mildly surprised when she agreed to talk to Christine Burns. That at least was a step, though I am sure that she thought she was playing Christine and I am not sure that she was not right.

Christine is a fine campaigner for trans rights whom I have known and respected for many years. If anyone was going to talk to Julie Bindel, it was probably most sensible that it was Christine.

However, I don;t think she got enough out of Bindel to justify the idea that we should now back off Stonewall. It is clear that Julie Bindel still assumes that she has an absolute right to demand of the trans community that we engage in a 'robust debate' about our right to exist, and whether we should pursue surgery as an option, and a number of similar questions.

As I said the other week, this is Julie Bindel demanding the uncompensated access to trans people's time and concern that has been the bedevilling feature of relationships between her sort of feminist and the trans community ever since the beginning of the 1970s.

Many of us considered the arguments Germaine Greer and others came up with back then, and some of us wasted valuable years of our lives on that consideration, and in the end we decided that we didn't agree with the points that they raised, and got on with our lives, without permission from Greer, Robin Morgan, Mary Daley, Janice Raymond or Julie Bindel. We had the robust debate; it's over; we voted with our feet, and indeed other bits of our anatomy.

What Julie Bindel is asking for is not a debate: it is a capitulation. She is not interested in being persuaded, only in our doing what she says. Linda Bellos is someone who is genuinely prepared to accept that she may not understand trans people - that what we say about our lives is contrary to some of her sense of how things are - but that, in the end, we are serious people in charge of our own destinies: that at least is the impression I got of her position last time we talked some years ago.

Linda Bellos, though, is an adult with a real political past and not an over-rated, jumped-up,
self-important journalist.

We are not accountable to Julie Bindel and she cannot make us be.

In the end, though, this is not about her; this is about Stonewall.

Stonewall have been monumentally clueless and have angered a whole generation of trans and other activists. They need to find a way forward, and cosy little chats are not that way, which is why I will only talk to Ben Summerskill if anyone suggests some demands I can usefully make.

In a sense, what is going to happen outside the V&A is theatre, but so much of the daily grind of politics is, which does not mean that it is not real.

I am as old an activist as it gets, and I sit on committees when it is time to sit on committees, and meet with the Great and Good when it is time to meet the Great and Good, and swallow my anger and nod and smile.

Sometimes though, the point is to change things and change the rules of engagement, and standing in a street with banners is one of the ways in which we do that.

Much as I like the tea and biscuits side of things, this is shout in the streets time.
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