Stonewall and PFC “not a cabal” – Official!

November 26, 2008

Facebook trans logoFurther to my numerous previous posts on the subject, I see that Roz K has received a response from Stephen Whittle over at her LJ, about the position of PFC in relation to the numerous doubts expressed by some trans people regarding Stonewall’s position on transphobia. You can read the full response over at Roz’ place, but I want to talk about Stephen’s penultimate paragraph:

I cannot answer any more for what happened in PFC about the Bindel protest; I have tried to explain the position as best I can. We did not all agree with each other, as one might expect, but we are democratic within our workings. I would hope everyone would wish us to be so. I think we were all very pleased to see the success of the protest, and if work commitments and other issues had not prevented me from attending, I would have been there, as all PFC VP’s were free to do so. Unfortunately only one of us lives in London, and 3 of us are disabled, so such events are very hard for us to attend, with health often being the final factor.

My reading of this is that there are some people within PFC (“campaigning for respect and equality for ALL trans people”) who agree with Stonewall’s nomination of a transphobe for an award. Which is cause for concern in itself, but to then apparently suggest that it’s okay because PFC is “democratic within our workings” is, in my opinion, no different from liberal feminists saying that transphobic attitudes within certain feminist groups are equally okay, because they illustrate the diversity of feminism.

Well, no, I’m sorry, but it isn’t okay; it’s not okay at all. Because it suggests that there are some people at PFC who apparently think it’s okay to give someone an award for holding transphobic views, and that there are other people at PFC – who should know better, and are in a position to tackle the transphobe supporters in their midst – who don’t seem to be doing anything about it.

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ETA, 1 December 2008: Tracy Dean, a VP of PFC, has announced that she’s leaving PFC “to concentrate on my own campaigning work“.

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5 Responses to “Stonewall and PFC “not a cabal” – Official!”

  1. HelenGB Says:

    He also commented on Zoe Imogen’s journal

  2. Helen G Says:

    Yeah, and he didn’t say anything very useful there, either, did he? I don’t know if he’s even speaking in an ‘official’ PFC capacity or if they’re just his own personal comments…

    “…those of us who maintain PFC’s website and mission at the centre so to speak…”

    I think that’s quite a telling remark: if it doesn’t demonstrate a ‘them and us’ attitude, nothing does. It shows a complete lack of understanding of the decentralised nature of the trans community. There’s no ‘centre’, no hub and no hierarchy. No leaders, no followers.

    “…democratic processes are not always that satisfactory.”

    And what’s being done to address that?

    “Sometimes mistakes are made, and I agree we did make a mistake by failing to publicly engage, but lessons have been learnt, I can assure you.”

    So he tells us that PFC screwed up – and there’s no apology for that. There’s still no public engagement (the PFC site is still silent about the whole bloody shambles) – and there’s no clarification about what’s being done practically about these lessons that have supposedly been learned.

    Assurance? What fucking assurance?

    “…it might take a little longer for some wounds to heal.”

    And bland, content-free, possibly-not-even-official comments on two blogs are going to help start that healing process, are they?

    And who’s this “we” he talks about? “It has been agreed” – between whom, exactly? Did anyone ask you for your agreement?

    I can’t believe so few people seem to be questioning either his comments or the motives behind the organisation and purpose of the Manchester event. Considering it’s not a PFC event, he seems to have a hell of a lot to say about it.

    Most of all, though, I’m tired of all this vague group-hug, let’s-just-get-along, heal-the-pain in the lesbian and trans communities BS. Nothing’s changed and nothing’s happening. The status quo remains intact. Empty words, that’s all he wrote.

    “Campaigning for respect and equality for ALL trans people”? Well, let me tell you this: There’s only one person representing my damn views – and that’s me. PFC says nothing to me about my life.

    Disenfranchised? Why yes – yes I am.

  3. HelenGB Says:

    folowing the G3 bindel thing and that anonymous Pink Paper letter (which we know PP will not allow us to rebut) I’m wondering if there isn’t a general feeling in the mainstream gay community to not-so-quietly abandon the LGBToken “all queers together” kumbayah and have a real “them and us” attitude where trans people are definitely on the outlside looking in. We are very definitley being pushed aside and they’ll tell any lie and print any distortion necessary.

    We need allies.

  4. Helen G Says:

    the G3 bindel thing and that anonymous Pink Paper letter

    I have absolutely no idea what you’re referring to, sorry.

    As for the rest of your comment, I don’t believe the “mainstream gay community” has ever considered trans people to be a part of its gang.

    We need allies.

    Given that even PFC – “campaigning for respect and equality for ALL trans people” – has shown only contempt and disdain for its core demographic, then it should be blindingly obvious that trans people have no allies anywhere.

    Quite frankly, if I can’t even trust the organisation that claims to be looking after my interests, then I’m sure as hell not going to be so naive as to think that I can trust cis people any further than I can spit either.

  5. HelenGB Says:

    Sarah explains the g3 Bindel thing here (shorter sarah : she gets 2 articles saying how right she is and how nasty we are). There was also an LTE in PinkPaper which so faithfully followed the Bindel line about the affair that it might as well have been her hiding behind anonimity.

    So two mainstream gay media papers are in the tank for bindel and won’t give us a right of reply. Kinda stacks the deck.

    whilst I sympathise with your sentiments that we cannot trust cis organisations, I think it’s important to to reach out. some feminist groups dislike bindel’s attitudes to us (tho’ god knows where they’re hiding) and I do think there are queer (as in not straight acting) student groups who are willing to be allies in that they don’t see their concerns or their more fluid sexualities represented by increasingly assimilationist groups like Stonewall.

    That’s what the idea of Reclaiming Stonewall is about. The SA mattachines disavowed the dirty fags who were in the Stonewall riots, yet 40 years later they’re in charge and trying to sanitize it by airbrushing us all out of the picture. Time for the trans and queer communities to stand up and say “you are the latecomers to the party and it’s ours, not yours, to say who’s in and who’s out”.


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