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.