GRA reforms face delays

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 11:02

Misha Zubrowski

Crucial reforms to facilitate basic trans rights have been kicked into the long grass by the Conservatives.

Amendments to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) would have simplified the process for trans people to legally change gender. The current process is long, difficult, expensive, degrading, and excessively medicalised.

Transphobic attacks — almost half of which were physically violent — have trebled in the last half-a-decade. The amendments would not stop these, but are a necessary part of unambiguously standing up for trans rights. Trans people also face horrifically high rates of mental

Violence in Lewisham Momentum

Published on: Thu, 15/08/2019 - 14:49

Mark Osborn

A further series of unpleasant attacks on left activists aligned with Workers’ Liberty took place at the Lewisham Momentum meeting held on Wednesday 14 August.

The most serious incident at this Momentum meeting was that Bill Jefferies of Ladywell ward, Lewisham Deptford CLP, physically attacked me. He hit me on the chin and grabbed my throat, in the hall outside the meeting room as the meeting was breaking up. He is 10cm taller and 40kg heavier than me.

I’m okay, as always. But my chin still hurts and there’s a mark on my neck.

The witnesses to this incident were Tom Harris and Rob Robertson.

The LGBT+ subculture in interwar Berlin and the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft

Published on: Tue, 16/07/2019 - 15:07

Natalia Cassidy

The end of the First World War meant the end of the Kaiser’s rule. The attempted Socialist revolution in Germany in November 1918 and the accompanying wave of strikes forced Kaiser Wilhelm II, as well as all 22 monarchical princes of the German federal structure, to abdicate.

From this it was not the revolutionary socialists, but the social democrats that took power. They established the Weimar Republic, with an SPD (German Social Democratic Party) majority in the Reichstag. It was at the establishment of this republic that, with a vibrant gay and lesbian subculture, the Institut für

Stonewall and the early days

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 09:18

Ian Townson

The “Stonewall riots”, which began on 28 June 1969 in New York, marked the start of the modern lesbian and gay rights movement.

During the McCarthyite witch hunts in 1950s America it was believed that a homosexual underground existed as part of a “communist conspiracy”. It was sometimes called the Homintern (after the Comintern, the Stalinist Communist International). The fearful authorities went so far as to depict this threat to security as a contagious social disease. Despite the fact that it was completely illegal to be gay and despite rabid persecution by the FBI and other state agencies

Leicester protest at Trump’s state visit

Published on: Wed, 12/06/2019 - 13:05

Liz Yeates

Despite the rain and it being a weekday, roughly 100 people gathered at Leicester’s clock tower to protest the ridiculous state visit laid on for Donald Trump. There was a buoyant atmosphere and a diverse crowd — much like the previous Trump actions in Leicester, just a little smaller.

Leicester was an early starter on the anti-Trump circuit due to the rather odd invitation from the Director of the Richard III Centre to Trump, who predictably believes he is descended from the controversial monarch. Leicester against Trump, a coalition of Greens, regular folk, and supporters of Workers’

Ban is antisemitic

Published on: Wed, 12/06/2019 - 12:41

Chris Reynolds

On 7 June, a lesbian pride march in Washington DC, the “DC Dyke March” banned marchers who had Stars of David on their rainbow flags. The organisers said that anti-Zionist Jews were welcome, and that they banned flags with Stars of David because they wanted to exclude all “nationalist” symbols.

Lots of people are nationalists of different shades. Why should they be banned from lesbian pride marches? And Palestinian flags weren’t banned. A similar ban was imposed at a pride march in Chicago in 2017. Root-and-branch anti-Israel politics inevitably spills over into antisemitism.

Bigots attack women on bus

Published on: Wed, 12/06/2019 - 12:34

Charlotte Zalens

Two women travelling on the N31 night bus in Camden, north London, on 30 May were attacked and left injured in a homophobic and misogynist attack. Melania Geymonat and her partner Chris were harassed by a group of men who noticed they were a couple. The men demanded that they kiss for their entertainment, described sexual positions, and threw coins at them. When the couple did not go along with their demands the men beat them up, leaving Melania and Chris with facial injuries and covered in blood.

The sort of verbal abuse in this case will be far too familiar to queer women. In a press


Published on: Wed, 05/06/2019 - 11:41

Defining people's oppressions?
I’m canvassing opinions on the call for marginalised groups of people to “define their own oppression”.

The LGBT+ organising group at the National Education Union conference argued for a definition of transphobia which I agreed with. It was however defeated on the basis that there are conflicting views on what constitutes transphobia and that the amendment was anti-woman.

The arguments in favour were largely that trans members had agreed on the motion and we should, as a union, listen to them. I think this is a relatively weak line of argument. For example, if

SNP trans contradictions

Published on: Wed, 29/05/2019 - 11:45

Heather Herbert

On 17 May, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the SNP member of parliament Mhairi Black gave a fantastic speech calling for the reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). This came two days after the only trans councillor in Scotland quit the SNP accusing it of institutional transphobia, and just weeks after 15 senior members of the SNP wrote an open letter, publicly attacking the SNP’s plans to reform the GRA, the very reforms Mhairi gave an impassioned speech prompting.

The reforms to the Gender Recognition Act shouldn’t be that controversial. The current

Unofficial protest in Cuba

Published on: Wed, 29/05/2019 - 08:30

Simon Nelson

On 11 May, an unofficial Pride protest in Cuba was disrupted by the Cuban police, with some violence, and several activists were detained at the protest or in the run-up. Nevertheless, around 300 people, many of them young, joined the protest with slogans including “Viva gay marriage”, “A diverse Cuba”, and “Yes, we can.” It was the first time in many years that a civil society protest has gone ahead in Cuba without a permit.

On 8 May, the 12th annual Conga Against Homophobia and Transphobia, run by the Cuban National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX), had been cancelled because of supposed

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