Like many of you who have been discussing the issue on Twitter and Facebook today, I was angered to learn that a new UK conference for radical feminists, RadFem2012, is not only playing host to a well-known transphobe, but is actively excluding trans women from attending.
The conference is open only to “women born women living as women”. Now, I personally support and fully appreciate the value of women-only space, but that space has to be open to all self-defining women. Excluding trans women from an event that aims to build an “anti-oppressive movement for the liberation of all women from patriarchal oppression” is bitterly ironic.
Trans women suffer horrifying levels of violence, abuse and discrimination, fuelled not only by the fact that they are women, but by the refusal of the vast majority of the cis population to acknowledge and respect their identities. The organisers of RadFem2012 have actively chosen to align themselves with this majority, and in so doing are complicit in trans women’s oppression. Radical? Feminism? I think not.