TW & CW: trans antagonism, TERF, SWERF
TERF = trans exclusionary radical feminism/feminist
SWERF = sex worker exclusionary radical feminism/feminist
we are responding to the TERF/SWERF activity that transpired over the weekend at the 2016 Victoria Anarchist Bookfair for your information.
we are at a point in time where we are seeing a resurgence of TERFs/SWERFs networking and organizing particularly here on the West Coast (victoria/vancouver – though not exclusively.) local community organizers who identify as trans/transgender/gender nonconforming have been and continue to be targeted online by TERFs/SWERFs both local and not local to the region.
four months ago, May 2016, TERF(s) hiding behind an online handle from Victoria tweeted photos of Tami, misgendering her and accusing her of not being indigenous and also posted it on tumblr. when this was brought to our attention, we discovered the person had also been posting photos of a local community organizer in Victoria, who also identifies as trans, spreading lies and inciting hate. we have identified at least one of these people to be Zoe Blunt, who spearheads Wild Coast Caravan to Unis’tot’en camp and organizes with Deep Green Resistance, a well known eco-fascist group who have been publicly boycotted by a number of local community organizers. for details: https://www.facebook.com/buivanessa/media_set?set=a.10153701530308230.1073741833.503683229&type=3
and our local call out regarding TERF/SWERF’s in victoria area: https://www.facebook.com/TheAntiONetwork/photos/a.368631213212023.86686.214262228648923/918563874885418/
recently, in the summer, another online handle emerged on twitter and facebook in response to Thirdspace (formerly known as the University of Victoria’s Women’s Centre) for their inclusion of trans and gender nonconforming people at the centre. the individuals responsible for the twitter handle have been producing pamphlets filled with anti-trans, gender essentialist, biological determinist rhetoric and distributing them throughout the campus of the University of Victoria. one of them showed up to the collective meeting of Thirdspace and live-tweeted the meeting. this person has been identified as Alexis / Rad Lexi / Ana Hesse (fake facebook name).
weeks later, during the music shows leading up to the Victoria Anarchist Bookfair they also live-tweeted at an event and posted disparaging remarks about the trans artists and organized to show up at the Anarchist Bookfair on September 10th, 2016. Alexis has admitted to being responsible for at least one of the tweets. they continue to attack the aforementioned local community organizer via facebook, posting photos of her without her consent and spewing anti-trans women rhetoric.
this is about sharing information so the community knows what’s happening and the sorted details. there are a lot of people with various levels of experience and social agency who either are on the front lines of this issue, are allies of various forms or are very complicit and silent.
– this is the Victoria Anarchist Bookfair’s response: https://www.facebook.com/TheAntiONetwork/photos/a.368631213212023.86686.214262228648923/1181719461903190/
– this is Wulfgang Zapf’s response to the events: https://www.facebook.com/beyonisbeyon/posts/1167738526619653
Reflections on the Anarchist Bookfair
I want to acknowledge and hold up every queer, trans and non-binary person who held it down at the 2016 anarchist bookfair against the violence enacted by a transphobic hate group.
When violence was happening we spoke. When people in positions of power and responsibility refused to act or offer meaningful solidarity we shared with our friends who then rose their voices to fill the space and be visible and vulnerable as Trans in a space where before we were not seen.
We did the work to show up prepared the next day and held space for one another. We waded through the words of violence littering the internet and found out who the TERFS were, prepared and shared this information to keep ourselves safe. We did the work of talking to other tablers so to be transparent about this threat of violence against ourselves and our friends, lovers, and families.
We took control of the room when TERF organizers were identified and we did not back down from confrontation. We risked our safety for the safety of each other. We physically put our bodies between those who want us dead and our friends and family. Because we know what happens to the people we love when we are silent and inactive.
And then we did the emotional labour of education cis onlookers, who sat and watched us remove the TERFs. We did this while still physically vibrating with the fear and power of confronting the ones filled with hate.
We also lovingly did the emotional labour for each other. We watched each other’s tables, we checked in, and listened and held each other and brought our friends to the trees and sunshine when they needed it. We brought one another food and tea and coffee. We gave everything we had and there is much to be proud of in the ways we protected ourselves and confronted violence. And I am grateful. And I see each an every one of us queers, trans peeps and non-binary humans who are still doing this work right now and each day you are not invisible to me.
We did all of this while everyone around us submerged themselves in silence and inaction. We weathered the sympathetic looks from cis people afraid to act or even speak or even check in. We swallowed our anger as we did the work of holding space when no organizer would even speak to us or ask if we needed anything… if we were okay. We continue to support one another in the silence and fear and guilt of the cis people who still blanket the event. Do we need support from the book fair collective? No, we held it down without a single one of them doing a damn thing.
The erasure that continues by the bookfair collective’s statement through the theft of our words that we spoke in that room with our vulnerable spontaneity is disgusting and we can banish it from our hearts with the knowledge that their stolen words fell from the lips and out of the hearts of the trans and queer and non-binary people who filled the repulsive silence and hand wringing with their vibrant powerful voices. Because we were there and active and witnesses and know how shit played out.
So let all those cis anarchists continue in their futility and relieve their guilt through saying ‘the right things’ after the fact.
It is us who are powerful and I will love and protect the queer and trans loves of my heart with my own trans non-binary ferocity until the end.
with the support and love and feedback of my fam as always
So in conclusion.
We, the anti oppression network, are working to organize with the victoria/lekwungen/wsanec territories trans/queer and general community, along with other interested community members, a “community dialogue on TERFs/SWERFs and the need for intersectionality/anti oppression and decolonization”.
This notice is an opportunity for community organizers and those doing resistance work to dismantle the oppressive status quo, dysfunction and oppressions within our own communities. This challenging and unfortunate set of circumstances are an opportunity for communities across so-called Canada and Turtle Island to grow and learn from (not just ignore because its convenient.) In a time where trans people are still facing various forms and degrees of violence and a rise in extremism, fundamentalism, and white supremacy, it is imperative that we come together to address the particular issues of TERFs and SWERFs in our organizing spaces and take on the responsibility that belongs to ALL. trans antagonism, trans misogyny, anti-sex work, and the colonial patriarchal understandings of gender, gender identity, and gender expression HAS NO PLACE IN SOCIAL JUSTICE WORK OR OUR COLLECTIVE LIBERATION.