A Cable Round Table

A while back I participated in a round table discussion on the subject of violence against women for the local newspaper, The Bristol Cable. The results of that have finally gone online (and I understand that there is something in the print edition too, though obviously not the audio). If you would like to listen to the discussion, just read the extracted quotes, or laugh at photos of me, you can find the article here.

By the way, while all of the other ladies who participated in the discussion are awesome in their own way, I was particularly impressed with Folami Prehaye of Victims of Internet Crime (VOIC). To react to revenge porn in as courageous and positive way as she has done is truly remarkable.

Posted in Feminism, Podcasts | Leave a comment

This Is Space Opera

Jupiter Ascending
I should confess a bias here. I am, and always will be, #TeamLana. Even if she makes crappy movies, she still gets to make movies, and for girls like us that’s a jaw-dropping achievement.

Having said that, it is very clear that in Jupiter Ascending Lana and Andy Wachowski have set out to make the biggest, daftest, most spectacular piece of opera ever to grace an intergalactic stage. It has a plot with more holes than Blackburn, Lancashire; it has villains with a penchant for Victorian melodrama; it has action scenes that are way too long (and in any case designed to be viewed in 3D which would make me ill); and is has a soppy, romantic story of a girl and her puppy. Most of all, however, it has panoramas like the one above. If you want to see that in full size you can do so here.

Oh, and it has spaceships to die for. And costumes. I want whoever did the dresses for that movie working for me if I ever have to go to another award ceremony.

A few other things.

I want that flying motorbike thing.

Nikki Amuka-Bird totally steals the show as Captain Tsing.

The heroine is an illegal immigrant to the USA from Russia, and the villains are all greedy capitalists.

SEAN BEAN!!!

The Pygar moment at the end.

Jupiter Ascending is a very silly, very fun movie. I want to see it again, and next time I want Kevin with me.

Posted in Movies | 1 Comment

Wizard’s Tower Update

Last week I should have been officially launching the new US-based publishing company. This involved me committing to several hundred dollars of expenditure, which is always good for focusing the mind on what one is doing. At the same time, yet another online spat in the SF&F community was brewing. So I asked myself, seriously, what the heck was I doing?

The whole point of the US company was to allow me to use services like Kickstarter and Patreon to fund new projects. To make a success of these things, you have to be popular and respected. That’s really not me any more. I don’t even really feel part of the community these days. So if I did try to do crowdfunding, I would probably suck at it.

Now I still want to make good things happen. But the point is that it doesn’t have to be about me, about my publishing company. In fact it is probably better that it isn’t. Then, whatever messes I manage to get myself into online, at least it is only me being on the receiving end, not people that I publish as well.

So I have taken the decision not to start a US company. Instead I will be slowly winding down Wizard’s Tower. Nothing will happen immediately, because we still have books to get out and I want to make sure that every one of the books I do have out eventually goes to a very good home. (If you happen to be a publisher, and are interested in any of the books, please do get in touch.) However, I won’t be doing anything much new. I am sure that I will find other ways to fill up my time.

Posted in Personal, Wizard's Tower | Comments Off

The Powell Brothers Do Fringe

I have been very remiss about posting BristolCon Fringe podcasts over the past few months. First there was Worldcon and Eurocon, then my mum being ill, then BristolCon itself, and soon after Christmas. It was not a good time. But I do need to get caught up because we have some really good material, starting with the December event. That featured Huw and Gareth Powell. Huw read from his middle grade book, Spacejackers, which is a rip-roaring adventure about Space Pirates. Gareth read from his latest (and now available) novel, Macaque Attack. This is the final book in the Ack-Ack Macaque series, so do take this last opportunity to hear the monkey being all violent and sweary. We totally earned that Explicit tag on iTunes, thank you, Gareth.

The event is hosted by Joanne Hall. Sound quality is not as good as I would like because there was some background clicking that I had to remove and it was just irregular enough for me to not be able to use Levelator without making things much worse. Next up, when I get the time, will be Emma & Pete Newman. And of course we have the February Fringe event happening next Monday (16th). That will feature John Hawkes-Reed (hopefully with programmable steam war elephants), and the rootin’ tootin’ Wild West genius of Stark Holborn.

Here ‘s Huw:

And Gareth:

And the Q&A:

Posted in Podcasts, Science Fiction | Leave a comment

Patreon and VATMOSS

I’ve been contacted by Heather Burns, one of the people campaigning against the new EU VAT rules on digital services, about the response to the new laws from Patreon. As you may recall, crowdfunding and patronage were two of the relatively new funding sources that the EU and Treasury mandarins completely failed to consider when bringing in the new legislation. As Heather reports, Patreon has decided to ignore the whole thing.

Of course Patreon has no obligation here. They are a US-based organization and they don’t have to collect taxes on behalf of the EU if they don’t want to. Their legal justification for not complying appears to be utter hogwash, but that isn’t really important. What is important is that anyone resident in the EU that wishes to use Patreon is now obliged to register for VAT and do all of the admin themselves. This is very different from, for example, Amazon, who do all of the work for you.

My guess is that many other non-EU platforms will follow Patreon’s lead, which rather makes a mockery of HMRC telling people that it is the platform’s duty to provide the necessary accounting services.

Posted in Current Affairs | 2 Comments

I Do Trans History, With Penguins

Talk in progress - photo by Mary Milton
I spent yesterday afternoon in Bristol giving a talk on the history of trans people at the M-Shed on behalf of Out Stories Bristol. As you can see from the photo (for which thanks to Mary Milton), I actually had an audience. In fact I’m told that we sold out on Eventbrite, which was quite encouraging. Also the feedback was very pleasing.

The talk begins with the following quote which comes from the notorious appearance of the leading TERF academic, Sheila Jeffreys, on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour program last year.

“… the phenomenon of transgenderism which is a social construct of the 2nd half of the 20th century and which has become particularly common in the last couple of decades…”

The point of the talk was to prove Jeffreys not just wrong, but spectacularly and hilariously wrong. In pursuit of this objective I took a lightning tour through 2000 years of history and all five continents, producing evidence of the existence of, and social acceptance of, trans people in many different cultures and at many different times in history. The only thing different about the 20th century was a step change in the medical technology available, and a start on reversing the drastic curtailment of trans rights that took place in Western Europe in the past few hundred years. Hopefully my audience went away understanding that the negative view we have of trans people in the UK, and throughout Western “civilization”, is the exception rather than the rule.

I had a lot of fun researching the talk. I wasn’t able to find evidence of trans people in every country in the world, but I did manage quite a lot. I was relieved to finally track down something in the Inca empire, because Latin America was looking a bit thin. It turned out that English translations of a key Spanish source on Inca religion had omitted the sentence that makes it plain that members of a particular priesthood were trans people. I was also very pleased to find evidence of trans people amongst the indigenous people of Australia. Given how long they were isolated from the rest of mankind, and the slow pace of change in such cultures, it seems reasonable to assume that trans people have been with us for over 50,000 years.

I did draw a blank in a few places. There is evidence of trans people in many African countries, but Europeans seem to have done a particularly efficient job of destroying their local cultures. Things like the rinderpest epidemic of the 1890s resulted in a mindboggling death toll. (And by the way, America, measles is a direct evolutionary descendent of rinderpest.) I had no luck with the Aztecs either, but they did have a god of gay men so I forgave them.

The biggest problem was Antarctica, because there are no native people. However, I did manage to find evidence of the world’s first known trans male penguin, which is a pretty awesome thing.

I’ll be giving a repeat of the talk at Bath University on the 26th, and hopefully I’ll get to do it in some other places in the future. I think I have a recording, but I’m a bit hesitant about making it public because I had to skim so quickly over so many different cultures. I’d prefer to do some more in-depth posts on particular aspects of the talk.

Posted in Gender, History | 4 Comments

Thanks For Nothing, Florida

Given that I can’t enter the USA these days, I can’t go to ICFA anyway, but if I could a new law being put before the Florida State Legislature would give me pause for thought about going. Why? Because if the bill passes and I were to use a women’s restroom in Florida then I would be liable for up to a year in prison. Also anyone else in the restroom at the time would be able to bring a civil suit for damages against both me and the company on whose premises the restroom is located. Full details at Slate.

Somehow I doubt that this is likely to become law, and even if it did I’m pretty sure that it would get ruled unconstitutional in due course. But you never know. A very bad part of me rather hopes that it does become law, and that a whole lot of hairy, muscular trans guys descend upon Florida and start using the women’s restrooms.

Posted in Current Affairs, Gender | Leave a comment

Yeah, This

Brianna Wu made a couple of tweets yesterday that I through were particularly good, so I’m going to reproduce them here.

Not just in games, of course.

Posted in Feminism | 1 Comment

February Schedule

It is LGBT History Month, so I’ll be rather busy. On the off-chance that some of you might be daft enough to want to attend one of my talks, of just catch up, here’s where you can find me.

Saturday 7th (14:30) – “A Potted History of Gender Variance” at the M-Shed (in which I intend to show that the much-vaunted gender binary is something of an aberration in human history).

Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th – I’ll be at the National LGBT History Festival in Manchester. On Sunday at around 11:00 I’ll be giving a paper: “Their-stories: Interrogating gender identities from the past”.

Monday 16th (18:00) – The Bristol University Student’s Union Festival of Liberation is hosting “How do we make the Women’s Movement Intersectional?” I’ll be there if I get back from Manchester in time, and maybe dropping in on BristolCon Fringe (John Hawkes-Reed & Stark Holborn) if I can get away in time.

Thursday 19th (18:00) – I’m hosting a book launch at Foyles, Cabot Circus. This is for The Ship by Antonia Honeywell, which is proving a very interesting read.

Wednesday 25th (18:00) – Back at the University, the Festival of Liberation asks, “What Next for the LGBT+ Movement Following the Passing of the Same Sex Marriage Act?”. I’m on the panel, as if Daryn Carter of Bristol Pride.

Thursday 26th (19:15) – I’m reprising the history of gender variance talk at Bath University.

Friday 27th – I’m giving a lunchtime trans awareness talk at a Bristol hospital. Then in the evening I’ll be at Josie McLellan’s “Glad to be Gay Behind the Wall” – 19:00 start at Roll for the Soul.

Saturday 28th (14;00) – Out Stories Bristol will be hosting “Opening Our New Chapter”, a launch event from some new local LGBT history projects at Hamilton House in the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft.

Posted in Feminism, Gender, History | Leave a comment

Workshop on Reading Translated Fiction

A few weeks ago I wrote about a project at Bristol University that is studying reader opinions of translated fiction, and how such fiction, in particular from smaller European countries, can better be promoted. Last night I headed into Bath for a workshop being jointly run by the project team and my friends at Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights.

From my point of view the most interesting part of the evening was the panel discussion with three people heavily involved in selling translated books.

First up was Simon Winder of Penguin. He was clearly still very much in the old-fashioned cottage industry type of publishing business, not the ruthless, marketing-driven thing we are used to with mass market fiction. From that point of view, although he is from a big company, he’s much more like a small press. He can publish books just because they are interesting.

The main thing that I latched onto from his talk was a book he is publishing this month called Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange. Here’s the blurb:

A great cache of ancient, magical stories in the same tradition as The Arabian Nights, Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange is an extraordinary find. Dating from at least a millennium ago, these are the earliest-known Arabic short stories, which survived in a single, ragged manuscript in a library in Istanbul. Some found their way into The Arabian Nights, but most have never been read in English before.

These stories are believed to date from the 9th Century, a time when England was being merrily overrun by viking hordes. I’m really looking forward to this book.

Later in the year Penguin are doing a new edition of 2000 Leagues Under The Sea. Simon told me that it is a new translation, not the crappy original one that removed all of the rude comments about the English, favorable mentions of Socialism and so on.

Something else that Simon had to promote was a new range of “short classics” published to mark the 80th anniversary of the Penguin Classics range. These are chapbooks coming in at 64 pages. Some are complete stories, others self-contained extracts from longer works. They will be priced at 80p each, and Penguin doubtless hopes that lots of people will take the “gotta catch ‘em all” view of the series. I picked up a Poe story, The Tell-Tale Heart, from the pile he was giving away, and will doubtless buy a few others, including Sinbad the Sailor and Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market. It is a nice idea, though I’m disappointed to count only 10 obviously female names in the list of 80 titles (there may be more — I’m not familiar with all of the non-European writers). Penguin will doubtless say that the gender balance reflects their Classics range, but I think they could have tried harder.

The second speaker was Nic Bottomley, the owner of Mr. B’s. The most notable thing in his talk was the revelation of how well his store is able to sell translations. Of course they are a niche business, but they are trading off in-depth knowledge. People come to them for recommendations, and in the “more like this but different” stakes there’s nothing better to trigger the “wow, never heard of that!” response than a translation. Their best selling book of last year was a translation.

Finally we had Stephanie Seegmuller of Pushkin Press, a company which only publishes translations. I glowed with pride when she talked happily about the “most bonkers” book they have ever published. It is, of course, Finnish. Take a bow, Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen. Everyone else go buy The Rabbit Back Literature Society.

There was some discussion afterwards. I’m not sure if it produced anything useful. The audience was very self-selected, and many of them were translators. I suspect I was the only publisher there besides Simon and Stephanie. We did agree, however, that the Finns are awesome, and promote their writers very effectively.

I gave away a couple of copies of The Finnish Weird. Hopefully something will come of that.

Posted in Books, Finland, Translations | 1 Comment

Chocolate Festival, Anyone?

The come to Bristol this Easter.

And for further details, go here.

Posted in Food | Leave a comment

Superbowl Paganism Scandal!

I’m not a big fan of the Superbowl half time show. Ever since the embarrassment of The Who’s appearance I have cringed at the thought of it. Normally I use that time to get ready for bed. I’m not a big fan of Katy Perry’s music either, so I didn’t pay much attention this year. However, catching up with people’s tweets after the show I found something interesting. Tell me, sports fans, when you saw this:

Katy Perry as Priestess of Ishtar

did you immediately think of this?

Ishtar rides a lion

Because I did. Yep, that’s one great big piece of pagan symbolism there, right in the middle of the most watched show on American television. And not just any paganism either, feminist Iraqi paganism.

When I woke up this morning I half expected Faux News and the evangelicals to be bleating about Faith Malfunction and Lesbian Terrorist Lions, but as far as I can see there hasn’t been a peep. So congratulations, Priestess Katy. The First Church of Ishtar, Newly Revived, thoroughly approves of your actions. Go, go paganism!

Or, as we sports-loving pagans like to say,

TOUCHDOWN!!!

Posted in NFL, Pagan | 3 Comments

Farewell Borderlands

The February Locus arrived in my inbox today. Most year’s that a happy thing, because I get to see a whole bunch of authors squeeing happily about getting their books and stories into the Recommended Reading List (some of which I may have had a part in making happen). This year, however, the issue brought some very sad news: Borderlands Books in San Francisco is to close. I spent a fair amount of money in that store when I was able to visit the Bay Area. I’ve been to events there. And of course Borderlands are the usual booksellers for SF in SF. Alan and Jude are great people, and I’m very sad for them. It is, of course, galling to see yet another independent bookstore go under because they can’t compete with Amazon. There were few enough specialist science fiction bookstores left in the world. Now there is one fewer.

Posted in Science Fiction | 5 Comments

Book Review – The Galaxy Game

I have a new book review online. This one is of Karen Lord’s The Galaxy Game. It is a lovely book, but very subtle so I am sure that I have missed things about it. My apologies about that in advance. You can find the review here. It does contain mild spoilers for The Best of All Possible Worlds, but you really need to read that first anyway.

Posted in Books | Leave a comment

New Surrealist Anthology

I have email advertising the opening of submissions for, A Galaxy of Starfish, an anthology of modern surrealism. This is a new venture by Andrew Hook whom some of you may remember as running Elastic Press back in the Emerald City days. He did some very interesting anthologies then, and I’m delighted to see him publishing again.

The submission guidelines are here. I see that they are looking for poetry, prose, art and even photographs as well as fiction. The pay rate is lousy, but hey, new company. And there aren’t a lot of markets for surrealism.

Posted in Books | Comments Off

Mythago Wood at Mr. B’s

This evening was the first meeting of the year of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club run by Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. The book for this month was Mythago Wood, which has always been a favorite of mine.

First up I am pleased to report that the book has not been visited by the Suck Fairy. Despite the fact that I have read all of the books in the Mythago series, and therefore know more than it is healthy to know about Ryhope Wood, the book still worked for me. I still love the idea of Mythic Imagos, and I love Rob’s evocation of the Wildwood.

Also most of the group enjoyed the book too. That’s always a big relief where a book you really like and have enthused about is concerned.

Of course not everyone liked it. As I rather expected, some of the women in the group had difficulty with the Huxleys. It is absolutely true that they are all assholes in varying degrees, and Guiwenneth is their fantasy woman. She’s not real, she’s a Mythago. The only real woman in the book is poor Jennifer, who understandably is unable to cope with competition from an archetypal object of male lust. Horrible people, those Huxleys, but totally believable.

I’ll also accept that the ending is a bit silly. The oak leaf thing is the sort of daft tragedy that would happen in a Celtic myth. It is still daft.

What did surprise me was that a couple of people found the book slow and unengaging. Part of this is, I think, because it doesn’t have much of a plot. The thing that keeps you going through the early part of the book is the mystery of Ryhope Wood itself. If that doesn’t grab you then you have a problem. Of course I think it should grab you, but it seems that it doesn’t work for younger people in the same way it does for me.

The reason for that appears to be that many people younger than me haven’t read any theosophy, haven’t read Carlos Casteneda, haven’t had late night university conversations about ley lines, and so on. The particular mix of science and mysticism on which Mythago Wood is founded makes no sense to them. I guess that dates the book, which is sad. But an interesting discovery all the same.

The book for February is The City and The City, but sadly the group meeting is on the same night as I am doing an event at Bristol University. Hopefully someone will tell me how it goes.

Posted in Books | Comments Off

Miss Universe Does Cosplay

I’m not a huge fan of beauty pageants, especially where kids are involved, though I quite understand the sense of validation that some women, especially trans women, get from them. There just isn’t much for me in them, usually.

Sometimes, however, the clothes get interesting. Via Helen McCarthy on Twitter I found the Pinterest board of Tom & Lorenzo, which features dresses from the National Costume round of the latest Miss Universe. The way that some of the girls and their teams have interpreted “national costume” often looks more like what you would see in a convention masquerade than in a village street. It is all very Eurovision, but world-wide.

Of course, as with Eurovision, many European countries were just too embarrassed to join in. Spain did the best job of staying demure while embracing the fantasy vibe.

Miss Spain

And Albania did a good job of doing something interesting with actual national costume.

Miss Albania

Very quickly, however, things took a turn for the science-fictional. Here’s Kazakhstan.

Miss Kazakhstan

Miss Guyana even brought her pet alien.

Miss Guyana

While Miss Turks & Caicos clearly is an alien.

Miss Turks & Caicos

A lot of the girls, particularly those from the Americas, were embracing their inner bird-people. Here’s Miss Bahamas with some amazing color.

Miss Bahamas

Other girls were channeling their country’s warrior ethic. Miss Japan was not taking any prisoners.

Miss Japan

And putting the two themes together, the standout costume of the competition from Miss Argentina.

Miss Argentina

For the benefit of those of you who want to see all of the costumes (hello Kevin!), you can find them as follows:

Fair warning, however: if you are British or Irish you may die of embarrassment. Then again, at least your girl didn’t do this. Oh, Canada!

Miss Canada

Posted in Costuming | 1 Comment

The Wheels of Government Turn

This afternoon I headed into Bristol for this event, billed at “Government’s Women’s Engagement Event for Lesbian, Bisexual & Trans* Women In the South West”.

It was part of a government initiative to gauge the views of the nation’s women on a variety of subjects. In other words, it was a sort of focus group. This, dear readers, is how the UK government consults with citizens these days.

I guess I should start by noting that Bristol was somewhat honored. You see, we were the only place in the country asked for our opinions on LGBT issues. Obviously the South West must be an exceptionally queer place. As we were the only such meeting, people came from a long way away. I met a couple from South Wales, and one woman who had come all of the way from Leeds.

There were around 30 of us I think, to represent all LB & T women in the UK. (And yes, similar groups must have represented other groups — the disabled, ethnic minorities and so on — elsewhere in the country.) Gee, I hope we were representative.

Well actually we weren’t, because around a third of the attendees were trans. That has to be more you would expect. Part of it, I am sure, is because so many of us are self-employed or unemployed, so have the time to attend such things. Part of it is that we have so much more to be worried about as far as public policy goes. And part of it is that most of the lesbian and bi- women will have jobs and won’t have the time to attend a Friday afternoon event.

There was only one obvious person of color, though I think two attendees identified as such. That’s a massive under-representation.

I can think of so many better ways to sample the views of the nation, starting with SurveyMonkey, but maybe that wasn’t the point.

We had just two hours, one hour of which was spent on speeches by the invited panel, and half an hour was given over to a refreshment break. Only half an hour was allowed for us to give opinions.

Baroness Jolly (LibDem, Health, House of Lords) chaired the session. For her speech she mostly read from something prepared by her staff. There was a lot of spin in it. In particular it glossed over the Spousal Veto, and the fact that the Governments trans equalities program ground to a shuddering halt when Lynne Featherstone was removed from responsibility for it. I may have had a few things to say. Baroness Jolly gracefully accepted that it is a politician’s duty to take the hit when her staff write fluff for her.

There were four other speeches. My colleague, Sarah-Louise Minter, from LGBT Bristol did a kickass job, making an impassioned plea for a proper diversity policy in schools. I was also impressed by Deborah Reed of Exeter College, who told an anecdote about a vacation to the USA and discovering that Coca Cola World really gets diversity, whereas UK institutions (including hers) are still very much white, cis and heteronormative. The other two speakers, including Carol Steel from Transfigurations, a Torbay-based trans support group, were clearly much less experienced at public speaking and lacked confidence as a result.

For out input we were divided into four groups focusing on Health, Safety, Access to Services and Education. I joined the latter. In theory we had five questions we were supposed to answer. In practice we managed two. When it came time for the groups to give feedback, what our moderator said seemed to me to bear little relation to what we had actually discussed. So here, for the record, are the two points that I made.

Firstly, I am sick to death of cis people doing training on behalf of trans people. We have got a little better over the past few years, in that “LGBT” training does now sometimes actually include T. However, the chances of it actually involving a trans person are low, particularly where education is concerned. That has two effects. Firstly it reinforces the view that trans people are unfortunates who are incapable of speaking for themselves; and second it means that what gets taught may well be ill-informed. Deborah Reed said that they had asked trans people to talk at Exeter College but it proved too expensive. Cue sound of a door being firmly shut in my face yet again.

Second, the only way we will solve any of this — sexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, etc. — is if we teach kids about gender, and how gender stereotypes screw up society. I may write something about this for next month’s Bristol 24/7 column.

There were a few other good points raised. Briefly:

– Yes, we need more women governors in schools, and in particular more LBT women.

– Yes, teachers are only human, and can’t be expected to be experts on everything (which is one of many reasons why I love the folks at TIGER).

– And yes, sometimes the trans community it is own worst enemy, with the insistence of young activists on adherence to an ever-shifting set of language rules and terminology.

That was my experience of being asked my opinion by the government. If I sound a little cynical, well I guess I am. I have run focus groups before. I remember well one I did for a government organization in California at the end of which the civil servants complained about how the invited members of the public said all of the wrong things, and they had to find some way to make sure that the next focus group gave the answers they wanted.

The net result of this one will, I suspect, be that the Government ticks a box to say that it has consulted the LBT women of Britain, and that a report will be written that reflects what the civil servants in charge of the program want said.

Posted in Current Affairs, Feminism, Gender | 3 Comments

In Which I Destroy Feminist Science Fiction

I have been boring you on Twitter for days now about the Queers Destroy Science Fiction Kickstarter, but I’m going to mention it again because I can reveal that I have a part in it.

You may remember that last year for the Women Destroy Science Fiction Kickstarter they asked various people to write personal essays to entertain visitors to the campaign website. I wrote one of those, and as the campaign hit the necessary stretch goals my essay got included in the final book.

Well, for #QDSF Wendy Wagner kindly asked me to contribute another essay. That went online today. Given the title of the book, I felt that it was only fair that I should actually destroy something, so I have trained my queer pink laser canon on a classic text of Feminist Science Fiction, The Female Man by Joanna Russ. If you want to know what I said, go here.

Of course this does mean that I have been kicking TERFs twice in one day. That was a coincidence. Or maybe it is something I do every day, but not as publicly. Anyway, enjoy.

And while you are there, please consider backing the campaign. I’m pretty sure that the stretch goal for including the essays in the final book has been met, but I have this flash fiction story that I’d really love to submit to Queers Destroy Fantasy, should that be open to submissions, and for that book to happen we have quite a way to go.

Posted in Feminism, Gender, Science Fiction | Comments Off

Dealing With A TERF Infestation

As some of you may know, Bristol University recently suffered an attack of TERFs. Some of those terribly persistent Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists decided to try to make trans students at the University feel unwelcome and unsafe there. This all blew up earlier in the week and I’ve been a bit busy, so I didn’t manage to do much other than tweet while it was happening. However, there were some great articles in various papers:

Nothing in The Guardian, you will notice, but equally nothing from the New Statesman about how important it is to keep The Menz, meaning trans women, out of female spaces.

Anyway, today I got caught up, and have done an article for Bristol 24/7 on the subject. You can find it here.

Thanks are due to Jamie Cross of LGBT+ Bristol, the student group responsible for the original poster campaign that the TERFs were attempting to parody. He’s dealt with the whole thing really well. Also thanks to Alice Phillips, the Students’ Union Equalities Officer, who has been right on the ball sorting this out.

Of course the TERFs are only concerned with trans women using the women’s toilets. They think we are going there with a view to raping them, rather than with a view to having a pee, which is a rather more likely explanation. The possibility of trans men using men’s toilets doesn’t occur to them, because they don’t think that such people exist. It is rather a shame that bathroom panic concentrates so much on trans women, because trans guys have a real issue with bathrooms. They are much more likely to get beaten up, or worse, if read because they are going into a very male space. If people were really worried about bathroom safety, that’s the first thing I would look at.

Posted in Current Affairs, Gender | 3 Comments