Trans community to protest at high profile London awards ceremony against Stonewall “Bigotry”

Issued: 3rd November 2008
The London Transfeminist Group
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Outraged at the nomination of the notouriously transphobic Guardian writer Julie Bindel for “Journalist of the Year” award by Stonewall and the silence from established Trans campaigning groups, the transexual and queer communities have come together to stage an unprecedented protest outside the £125-a-head “champagne and canape reception” for the Stonewall awards at the V&A Museum in London on Thursday, 6th November 2008. In what will be a major embarassment for Stonewall over it’s controversial nomination, over a hundred people are expected to be attending the protest from all over England and will be waiting outside the V&A for the arrival of the guests, which is expected to include celebrities such as actor Richard Wilson, who is hosting the event and award nominee and Daily Mirror agony aunt Miriam Stoppard.

Under pressure from the community to retract the nomination, Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of Stonewall labelled any retraction of the nomination an “empty gesture” and nothing more than a “publicity stunt” when speaking to some of the many people who complained to Stonewall. However, beyond vague reassurances added quietly to their web site that the nomination does not endorse all the views of the nominees, Stonewall itself has failed to comment publicly on the issue, further calling into doubt their already shakey credentials as so-called “champions of diversity”.

Speaking out against the nomination, veteran campaigner and journalist Roz Kaveney said “[Bindel] is advocating talking therapies for trans people in a way that almost entirely parallels the advocacy of talking therapies by the Christian right as a way of extirpating all LGBT people. If she does not understand that, as a lesbian, she is a turkey advocating Christmas for turkeys in an adjacent bit of the farmyard, then she is being obtuse; what she is doing is betraying not only the trans community but the entire LGBT community, and it is wrong to honour her for her other work when there is this colossal stain on her career.”

Contact: Zoe O’Connell

Notes to editor

1. Stonewall UK, the LGB rights campaigning organisation, is holding it’s annual awards this year on 6th November 2008 at the V&A Museum. Further details on Stonewall and the awards are available at http://www.stonewall.org.uk/events/1404.asp

2. Julie Bindel became notorious within the Transexual community for her controversial 2004 article in the Guardian, “Gender Benders Beware”, which resulted in an apology from the newspaper and carefully worded apologies from Bindel herself for the “tone” of the article. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/jan/31/gender.weekend7) She further caused controversy by proposing the motion “Sex Change Surgery is Unnecessary Mutilation” for a “Hecklers” debate on BBC Radio 4 in 2007. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hecklers/pip/o29wl/)

3. As a result of her controversial views, the National Union of Students LGBT Campaign voted to “No platform” her – i.e. their officers would never share a platform with Julie Bindel. (Motion available at http://resource.nusonline.co.uk/media/resource/CD6%20Motions%20Document%20LGBT.doc)

4. Roz Kaveney is an author, co-founder of Feminists Against Censorship, ex-deputy chair of Liberty and an independant journalist who also writes reviews for the Times Literary Supplement and Time Out Magazine.

5. The London Transfeminism group meets once a month to discuss how feminism and feminist discourses can be applied to the issues that we as transpeople face in today’s world. We as transwomen and transmen, through our experiences are acutely aware of the rigidity and oppressiveness of stereotypical gender roles and we seek to challenge this and instead to promote the idea of allowing people to flourish as individuals. Members of the group have, in the last 12 months, also been involved in protests at the Queer Up North festival, who booked outspoken anti-trans performer “Bitch” and against Dr.Zucker, a doctor who believes in reparative therapy for gender variant children as young as three.

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