LGBTQ

Why and how trans people exist, work and struggle

Review of Transgender Marxism by Jules Joanne Gleeson and Elle O’Rourke (Pluto Press, 2021). Marxism offers many tools necessary for any radical fight for trans liberation to succeed — but the theoretical basis for this is rarely fleshed out. Transgender Marxism collects several insightful articles and threads on topics of particular interest for transgender people and activists, using broadly Marxist perspectives. As a collection, it is less a coherent whole, more a sometimes contradictory canapé selection. Yet it is one of the first books attempting to approach this issue from an openly...

"No race-baiting, red-baiting or queer-baiting" - the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union

Excerpt from ‘Trans Work: Employment Trajectories, Labour Discipline and Gender Freedom’, Transgender Marxism. On the passenger ocean liners of the 1930s, male workers undertook tasks otherwise considered women’s work when done in the home: cooking and serving food to the passengers, laundry, and janitorial work. On some boats, African-American men were hired for these reproductive service tasks, much like their contemporaries working as railroad porters. On other lines, Chinese men took up this work. Under the white supremacist cultural logic of the US, Black and Chinese men were already...

Miller, Hasse, and academic freedom

In discussing the case of David Miller and Bristol University, I chose the example of Helmut Hasse, a celebrated mathematician sacked by the British occupation authorities in Germany in 1945 because of his right-wing nationalist views, as a comparison test case. Partly because I knew about it, but partly because no reader is likely to find Hasse's views other than vile. Hasse, to my mind, provides a test case for how Miller's could be considered wrong even while denouncing his political views. And likewise we can criticise Sussex University professor Kathleen Stock's noxious trans-sceptic...

In defence of "Gillick competence" on blockers

The decision in the Gillick case allowed doctors to decide when children were able to consent to medical treatment. Doctors are also generally trusted to decide which treatments would be of benefit to their patients. In the case of puberty blockers, the practice established by the NHS specifies that both the child and the parents must consent to treatment. Jack McDonough (Solidarity 608) argues that in defending the idea that children can consent to medical treatment including puberty blockers (Gillick competence), I am also proposing that under 16s should be able to consent to sexual...

"Blockers" and age of consent

The article by Angela Driver welcoming the Court of Appeal’s overturning of the Tavistock vs Bell judgement (Solidarity 607 ) is headed “A win for teenagers’ rights” and states that the decision “is good news for young trans people under 18.” In fact, the decision applies to children under the age of 16 who are struggling with their identity and considering gender reassignment. I have to say that I have serious doubts about the Court of Appeal’s decision and think the judges in the Tavistock vs Bell case made a good point when they said there would be enormous difficulties for young children...

A win for teenagers' rights

The Court of Appeal have overruled the Bell v Tavistock judgement. This is good news for young trans people under 18. It means that they are no longer legally obliged to get permission from the court to receive puberty blockers. It is also good news for other young people whose ability to make choices about medical treatments rests on “Gillick competency”. “Gillick competency” is based on a legal case in 1985 in which Victoria Gillick was defeated in her attempt to rescind NHS guidance which allowed under 18s to access contraception without parental approval. The original Bell v Tavistock...

Momentum Internationalists Labour conference briefing

Thanks to Momentum Internationalists for this briefing on Labour Party conference (25-29 September, in Brighton) Who are Momentum Internationalists? Momentum Internationalists was formed by activists from the left anti-Brexit campaign Labour for a Socialist Europe, L4SE, in early 2020 to continue the fight for left-wing and internationalist politics after the Tories finally forced through Brexit. We ran candidates in the Momentum NCG elections of 2020 and promoted motions in the Momentum policy priorities ballot of 2021. We are not just a caucus within Momentum. We have been active on the...

It's time for Georgia to choose

Two weeks ago, far-right thugs attacked the LGBTI community’s “March for Dignity” in Tblisi, Georgia. Dozens of people, mostly journalists, were badly beaten. It was a tragedy that could easily have been foreseen — and prevented. And it has triggered a historic fight led by the journalists’ union with the full support of journalists’ unions around the world. The attacks were orchestrated by supporters of the ruling party in Georgia, whose leaders bear some responsibility for what happened. Prior to the march, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said it was “not reasonable” to organise such an...

Three protests on 26 June

As the well-advertised, heavily union-backed People's Assembly (PA) march moved off on 26 June, I cycled from it to join the trans rights protest assembling at Wellington Arch. It was a good few thousand. It was smaller than the PA protest but not that much smaller. It was younger and livelier; and, as far as I could judge from literature sales and conversations, pretty much as left-wing on "average" but in a more positive, less addled, way. There were contingents (small contingents, but contingents) from a clump of National Education Union (NEU) branches (Haringey, Waltham Forest, Newham...

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