The annual Reclaim The Night march takes place in London this weekend, on Saturday 27 November.
A number of trans activists have launched a Facebook group to promote a trans presence at the march. Since the group is currently private in order to avoid potentially outing anyone, I’ve offered to replicate the information from that group here for individuals who might not use Facebook or be able to access said group.
This group is for anyone who exists at the intersection of “TRANS” and “WOMAN” who wishes to participate in the national Reclaim The Night march in London this year.
This group is also for ALLIES who wish to support us.
We are not always welcome at women’s events, and are often excluded from women’s spaces. Reclaim The Night is meant to be open to “ALL” women, but the official literature does not make it clear that women who happen to be trans, genderqueer or otherwise gender-variant are welcome.
Rather than boycott the event, we propose taking to the streets, and peacefully marching alongside our sisters at Reclaim The Night.
We march because violence against women is endemic in our society.
We march because rape conviction rates are shockingly low.
We march because the harassment of women in the street is an everyday occurrence.
We march because intersecting oppressions mean that some women are particularly at risk (let us not forget that the majority of known trans murder victims in the west are black trans women).
We march because cuts to everything from education to legal aid will disproportionately affect women: particularly those women who have been subject to violence.
We march to oppose the closing of shelters and rape crisis centres.
We march to oppose the fact that it is legal to discriminate against women who are trans and/or genderqueer in shelters and rape crisis centres.
We march because misogyny and patriarchal transphobia are our real enemies.
We march because we should never have to feel afraid on the streets at night.
We ask that the organisers of Reclaim The Night acknowledge the continuing transphobia within women’s movements.
We ask that, in the light of this, the literature advertising Reclaim The Night makes explicit that we are welcome.
We deeply respect the arguments of those trans women and cis allies who have called for a boycott of Reclaim The Night, but wish to take to the streets and march with our sisters.
We wish to note that many women’s groups who participate in Reclaim The Night (such as the NUS Women’s Campaign) are explicitly trans-inclusive.
We ultimately wish to move beyond the “trans wars” and participate in the women’s movement without our transness having to even be an issue.
We ask trans (and trans ally) participants to respect the aims and intentions of Reclaim The Night. There is a separate protest and a mixed rally and after-party at which all are welcome, but the march is for those who identify as women. The manner and nature of this identity is, of course, your personal decision and understanding.
Reclaim The Night London exists to protest against – and raise awareness of – violence against women. Organisers explain:
“In every sphere of life we negotiate the threat or reality of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. We cannot claim equal citizenship while this threat restricts our lives as it does. We demand the right to use public space without fear. We demand this right as a civil liberty, we demand this as a human right. The Reclaim The Night march gives women a voice and a chance to reclaim the streets at night on a safe and empowering event. We aim to put the issue of our safety on the agenda for this and every night and day.”
Please share suggestions for banners and placards! Some ideas we are thinking about include:
“Women who are Trans – Marching with our Sisters”
“Women who are Trans and Genderqueer – We’re victims of the Patriarchy too”
“We Need Access To Shelters”
“We Need Access To Rape Crisis Centres”