The row about Julie Burchill’s Observer article continues to rumble on in the UK media, becoming more and more meta by the day. The current situation is that everyone is up in arms about how a journalist who decided to vilify and threaten an oppressed minority because she said they were bullying her friend is now apparently being bullied in turn by that same evil minority group. Given that Burchill is such a shy and retiring individual herself, all of her friends are queuing up to defend her from awful people like me. My heart bleeds for the poor dear, it really does.
Sadly, however, I can’t fight on behalf of all oppressed minorities, so I’ll have to leave defending poor Julie to the rest of the Bolly and Lobster consuming commentariat. I have other things to do. Most of yesterday was actually spent working on the day job, but in the evening I headed off to Bristol to talk to Freedom Youth, a local LGBT Youth group. My colleague, Andy Foyle, and I were there to encourage them to get involved in the LGBT History Exhibition. It was a really fun evening, and I think I came over quite well thanks to my knowledge of superheroes, Buffy, Xena and so on.
Today I was in Bristol again for an appearance on Ujima Radio. This was for the launch of Paulette’s new Women’s Outlook show. We had a great half hour on women in literature, in which I got to talk about Tolkien, Eowyn and the forthcoming Kij Johnson lecture. That’s the first part of this podcast (and yes, the Ujima website has got the name of the show wrong). The second half hour of that podcast has women from three local feminist groups as guests. I was delighted to hear Anna Brown of the Bristol Feminist Network talking about their inclusive policy (and her colleague, Sian Norris, has been very supportive over the Burchill debacle).
Talking of Sian, there will be a Women’s Literature Festival in Bristol in March. Stella Duffy will be there, and therefore so will I.
I also got a couple of slots in the second hour of the show. It begins with a slightly silly session on public toilets, in which I argue the merits of gender-neutral bathrooms. The final half hour is devoted to discussion of Female Genital Mutilation. Paulette kindly let me get a mention in right at the end for Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death. Hopefully that will get Nnedi a few more sales.
Tomorrow night I’ll be on ShoutOut with a couple of other trans people talking about #TransDocFail, which I happen to think is far more important than Miss Stroppy Pants Burchill.
And next week on Ujima we have a whole hour devoted to LBT issues, so I’ll have lots more of me to link to after that.