What happened when radical feminists raised awareness of male transgender violence at the London Reclaim the Night, 2014:
Note: The London Reclaim the Night March claims to be women-only, whilst also stating on its website that ‘trans women’ (sic) are welcome.
A group of radical feminists, all of whom have attended RTN for many years, and several of whom have been involved in organising women’s marches, attended the London 2014 RTN to assert the right of women to organise autonomously and to raise awareness of violence perpetrated by male transgenders. They carried a banner stating ‘Reclaim the March: Reclaim the Night is for WOMEN’ and placards highlighting the need for women’s services to remain women-only. Some of the group distributed flyers giving factual information about violence perpetrated by male transgenders, and highlighting why it is vital that women’s services and women’s marches remain women-only.
While on the march:
– a radical feminist was approached by three hostile women who tried to snatch her leaflets away and the police had to intervene for her safety.
– the radical feminists were met with considerable hostility and antipathy from trans supporters
At the rally following the march:
– the compere opened the rally by emphatically distancing the organisers from the radical feminist group, stating that there was only one official RTN leaflet, and that they were not responsible for any other leaflets being given out on the march. In our recollection, this is unprecedented at any London RTN. She then proceeded to stress that ‘transwomen’ (sic) are welcome at RTN, and that any other sentiments did not reflect the policy of the organisers. This was met with hearty applause and a strong sense of disapproval of the radical feminist presence and message. The compere also then advised anyone who had experienced harassment or felt intimidated as a result of the leaflets to inform a steward or police officer: the imputation of this statement was that the radical feminists had been harassing and intimidatory. This was a gross misrepresentation of what had happened, since none of the radical feminists had harassed anybody, and in fact it was one of them who had been harassed and intimidated. The radical feminist group pointed this out but were ignored. The compere’s tone conveyed a sense of apology for and disowning of the radical feminist presence on the march: one of the radical feminists objected to this, but was ignored.
– later at the rally, one of the radical feminists vocally protested the double standards of one of the speeches, which condemned some forms of male violence while failing to acknowledge the realities of violence perpetrated by male transgenders, or to challenge the condemnation of those who had called attention to these realities on the march.
Our thoughts on what happened:
The support for transgenderism and antipathy towards radical feminists at a march that is purportedly against male violence against women is extremely disturbing. We believe this testifies to a lack of understanding amongst feminist communities of the harms of transgenderism and a reluctance to acknowledge the realities of violence perpetrated by male transgenders, even though these are well-documented. We also believe it testifies to a fear around speaking out. While there were women at the rally who were privately supportive of radical feminists taking a stance on transgenderism, these women remained silent in the public arena – no doubt due to the climate of fear around this issue, and the extreme hostility that meets any woman who is vocal about it.
Over the years, many leaflets have been handed out at RTN marches. Some of these have been supportive of the exploitation and abuse of women in prostitution. We note that our leaflet is the only one to have been singled out and publicly denounced by a representative of RTN. We find it strange that women who support prostitution and the sex industry are not met with such hostility, and are allowed to march and attend the event unhindered, when sex purchase is violence against women. We also note that there is a strong line of consistency between the pimp lobby, the porn lobby and the trans lobby.
The silencing of women speaking out against the harms of transgenderism and male transgender violence cannot continue. We need more courageous actions like those in evidence at the London 2014 RTN. And we look forward to support from our sisters.
[Read more about this action here: http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/breaking-news-reclaim-the-night-london-2014/ -GM]