“Censoring Julie Bindel”: a response

Beatrix Campbell has written a delightful article about Julie Bindel’s involvement in feminism’s “trans wars”. I couldn’t help but noticed that it’s riddled with inaccuracies…

“Airing the complications and troubles of transgender politics is being traduced as “transphobia”.”

No. Arguing that transsexed people shouldn’t exist, consistently belittling and propagating prejudice is being characterised as transphobia. It’s possible to air the complications and troubles of ‘transgender poltitics’ without being a bigot.

“Transgender people who used to live as men and now live as women persuaded the May 2009 NUS women’s conference to mandate its officers to share no platform with Julie Bindel.”

The motion wasn’t proposed by trans women.

Moreover, characterising trans attendees of women’s conference as ‘transgender people who used to live as men’ merely demonstrates your own ignorance.

“The NUS women’s campaign shows no solidarity with women who are offended by the presence in their safe spaces of people who used to be men.”

That’s true! Well, minus the ‘used to be men’ bit…but that’s a whole other kettle of fish which I’m sure others will address at length. We also show no solidarity with straight women who are offended by the presence of lesbian women, or white women who are offended by black women. In fact I might go so far as to argue that it is these ‘offended’ people who undermine the ideal of a safe space…

“This month, her enemies mustered a picket outside Queer Question Time in a London pub. They’re not censoring her, they say, you can read her, they say, just don’t go to hear her.”

“The transgender vigilantes should listen up, wise up and grow up, participate in, not proscribe, the debate they started.”

First off: it’s worth noting that the NUS has nothing to do with the picket outside Queer Question Time, which was organised by independent activists.

Also, you’re inaccurately depicting the arguments of those who would prefer not to see Bindel given a high-profile speaking slot at a supposedly queer-friendly venue. Unlike journalists with newspaper and magazine columns, we usually don’t have access to an audience to listen to our side of the story outside of blogs and community publications. We don’t have the opportunity to ‘participate’ on the level that Bindel does.

This doesn’t mean that we want transphobes to be entirely censored: rather, we wish it to be recognised that there are events at which it is inappropriate to invite a bigot to speak. Moreover, in what way is it fair for people to ‘debate’ our very existence? This, incidentally, is why we’re so ‘offended’ – and why we don’t give much credence to the ‘offence’ experienced by those who would discriminate against us.

One thought on ““Censoring Julie Bindel”: a response

  1. You rebuttal was much better than mine, which consisted essentially of:
    “Stop picking on Julie it’s not fair she did nothing wrong waahh”.

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