Tuesday, April 19, 2011

on melbourne's feminist future

So behind in the blogging, but just quickly, three really great posts on the crap going down around the Melbourne Feminist Futures conference:

So, Melbourne Feminist Collective is holding a 'Feminist Futures' conference in late May. Sounds good, and there are some interesting speakers on the list, and a good range of links on their site.

But Sheila Jeffreys? Really?

This is a woman who says trans people are delusional and calls trans-related surgeries mutilation. A woman who is famously anti-sex-worker. Why on earth would such a relic be invited to a conference on 'futures'?

And before anyone comments saying that it's only fair to include such viewpoints, I want you to read this excellent post by Ika Willis. It breaks down the expectation that people whose very existence is being challenged should do massive amounts of unpaid emotional, political and academic labour in such situations[.
(I really recommend reading the linked post by Ika Willis, it is excellent)

Genderqueer 2 genderqueer: Feminist pasts:
I feel, as a feminist that the moment has a lot to apologise for, white middle class feminisms have ignored and pushed out trans women, sex workers women of colour and other minorities, so I am heartened to see that the Melbourne feminist futures conference is reminding us just how far we haven’t come. But inviting speakers and programs with the most bigoted backward looking agenda I have seen in a while.
Hexpletive: Melbourne Feminist Conference demonstrates anti trans and anti sex work position:
A participants agreement has been distributed to all panelists and workshop presenters requesting, amongst other things, that they abstain from oppressive behaviour, including transphobia and whorephobia. The organising collective apparently sees no conflict between this request and allowing Sheila Jeffreys to present a workshop entitled "Why Prostitution is Violence Against Women". Considering her track record and complete lack of remorse for her hate speech against trans* people and sex workers, the Melbourne Feminist Collective has failed to provide a safe space for those groups simply by inviting her to speak. And that's not even getting into the problematic history that is the racism and anti-choice politics inherent to the "feminism" of other anti sex work speakers like Tankard Reist.