Socialist Resistance, feminism and trans inclusion

On March 22 the Socialist Resistance website posted a piece by Victoria Smith entitled Feminists and Transgender – why is there a debate. There was inadequate collective discussion around this.

It had originally been hoped that we would publish two pieces simultaneously around trans peoples realities and the question of feminism.

Unfortunately due to illness and work pressures, the piece from the trans activist was not available at the beginning of the week.  We will publish it as soon as it is available. In retrospect it would have been better not to publish the piece from Victoria Smith until it was. Her piece does not represent the views of Socialist Resistance.

We are conscious that Victoria Smith’s piece has caused offense and distress to some. We don’t think however given its wide circulation that it would be helpful now to remove it. We are however adding a trigger warning to alert new readers. Her piece will not appear in the printed version of Socialist Resistance.

We are also aware that we initially published some comments in response to this piece which contained transphobic comments. We did so inadvertently because the moderating settings were set in such a way that we only saw the first comment from a particular reader prior to them being published. Once this situation was brought to our attention we changed the settings and removed the offensive comments.

Socialist Resistance was founded as a feminist organisation, as well as an ecosocialist one.

At our most recent conference at the beginning of February 2015 we discussed and agreed a document in which we explored the ways in which women are among those at the sharp end of the neoliberal offensive. We also discussed some of the current debates between feminists. (This document is already available on this website here – the parts referred to are under the section headed Women’s Liberation).

Referring to the question of trans exclusion by some feminists, we state:

“There are some serious differences about inclusion of transwomen in the movement ( in Britain – ed) itself as there are groups of radical feminists that strongly advocate that only women that are “born” women should be included in certain parts of the movement. There is not the general exclusion and attacks on transwomen that are stronger in the US where transwomen have been outed to their employers, landlords and friends. This vicious hostility is less common in Britain, but there are radical feminists that have been opposing the general inclusion of transwomen at events.  This is a separate issue itself from how we incorporate this question into our existing analysis of women’s oppression.”

We hope that this makes it clear that we do not support the exclusion of transwomen from women’s spaces – something that our members have also argued strongly against inside Left Unity where we are active.

  1. I consider this very poor editorial behaviour. You commissioned the debate. You took responsibility for its content when you published it, and the fact that you framed it as a debate means it is self-evident that this is not the editorial position of Socialist Resistance. To withdraw support for a contributor at the first instance of pressure displays a calamitous lack of independence and shows up how entirely hollow the commitment to a “debate” was in the first place.

  2. So let me see if I get this right. You commissioned two writers, one of whom screwed you over by not submitting their piece on time, & you’re distancing yourselves from the one who submitted exactly what /you/ asked for, on time & as commissioned? Nice work, comrades. Must remember to count my fingers if I ever happen to shake your hand.

  3. This is in fact scary. At first when liberal feminists and trans activists told me that it was exaggerated to think that some views are being silenced I tried to see their point but in fact it is worst everyday. I believe the first article wasn’t in any way offensive. I’m even 100% sure that SR have read it and thought it was ok. But the lobby to silence ANY divergent view won once again. Let me guess, lots of blogs wrote their long pieces about how unsafe and traumatised they are that SR posted it and then SR (like many others) bought the idea that to even allow the blog to be published in the first place is almost like defend the holocaust. It’s disappointing because a debate is needed, I loved the exchange I had on the comments sessions(which in my view was quite respectful), but if we continue to be that intolerant to female voices then this will only create more resentment from both sides. But not to worry cause I know females will get screwed over as always.

  4. Oh, while your at it, you might as well be honest in your little ‘explanation’ here about who asked for the piece to be removed. I am canceling my subscription to SR! More reactive and regressive politics from the pseudo-Left! You should be embarrassed!

  5. Not all trans-critical thought is transphobic. Some of the comments removed weren’t transphobic but were trans-critical. Nice censorship, thought police.

    • Can someone explain to me the difference between “trans woman” and “transwoman”? I don’t want to cock it up and sound like a misogynist.

      I mean as a rule I just call women “women” – seems to make the most sense.

      • Basically trans is an adjective, you wouldn’t say blackwoman or whitewoman, you’d say that someone is a white woman or a black woman. “Transwoman” comes across that we are not women, but “transwomen”, when we are in fact women who happen to be trans.

    • I suppose, I can be critical of Socialist Resistance but that does not make me Socialistresistancephobic. I don’t know what gay critical means; if I am critical of gay I would need to say in what way. I also don’t know what the difference is between trans woman and transwoman other than orthography.

4 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Pissed off | Bureaucromancy
  2. Feminism and transgender: Why is there a debate?
  3. The Week In Transgenderism : Transgender Forum
  4. The feminism and transgender liberation debate of 2015 – the story so far | FEL

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