Comment is free How a feminist debate was derailed by asking all men to leave
The above link (from my point of view, it might move after I post this) is a about the screening of this film http://www.lesbiana-film.com/en/pages/trailer about feminism in the 80’s (according to the news report).
The showing was sold out twice, and had to move to bigger locations as a result, twice, but when it came to the actual screening of it, one of the commentators that was to take part in the after film debate, asked all the men to leave. The men left, along with some women who they may have been with, and some that left out of principal (again, this is according to the news report).
The organisers have since apologised, and said it wasn’t them that asked, but one of the participants on the panel. I’m thinking, that they should have said to that panelist at the time, that all we’re welcome, it was a paid screening, and I don’t think anyone was there for entertainment purposes, it was there to watch a documentary and discuss the issues afterwards.
Let’s just assume for a moment, that the organisers we’re fine with men being there. Why didn’t they say to them “no no, stay and watch the film and take part in the discussions”. Why is it reported that only one of the panel requested the men leave, and no one else on the panel say anything against this?
If, (and this is my cynical mind at play here, but I’ve no doubt I’m not the only one to have thought this), the organisers didn’t want any men there, why did they sell tickets to those men? It would have been against the law to discriminate and say “no men allowed” in the promotional material, but not against the law to ask that men not attend, a subtle difference I know, but the situation would have probably been that most men would have respected this request, or questioned it.
While radfem groups are ranting on about women-only spaces (those same spaces exclude transsexuals either mtf or ftm), they’re still complaining about men-only spaces. Most men-only spaces, are places like golf clubs etc., and they are having to open their doors upto women as that’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s also illegal to discriminate on the grounds of sex in the UK, and has been for over 40 years.
There are certain things that men mainly do, that women don’t want to, and vice versa, but no one should be prevented from doing those things without good reason.
I race radio control cars for example. I know of 3 or 4 other women that do this 2 younger, and 2 older than me. We’re not discriminated against, and we’re as good or as bad as anyone else. Yes there’s banter, but that’s because for the most part, we’re all friends doing a hobby we love together.
I’m also a full time live in carer for an ex of mine. When he was looking for a second carer, (to take the burden off me a little), he did ask if he could have a male carer, so he could do “man stuff” with, ie go to mens-events etc. but, he can say he wants a male carer in any advert he does, but he can’t specify that you HAVE to be make, as that would not be legal. He’s taken me to the local men’s group with him as his carer, but he asked if it was alright if I was there as I’m his carer, and no one had any objections to that. I did my best to just sit there and “melt into the background”, but felt uncomfortable and like I was invading their space – they all made me feel 100% welcome none the less. On my own, I attended a local bi & lesbian women’s group a few years ago. They do allow transwomen to attend, but only post-op transwomen ie those that have had lower surgery. I have had this surgery in 2006, well before the meeting I attended, and up until the point I realised they didn’t allow pre-op transwomen, I was felt comfortable, and was beginning to feel part of the group. When I did realise, I suddenly felt very uncomfortable about it, but didn’t say anything at the time so as not to spoil the atmosphere for anyone. I took a long hard think about it later that night, and wrote the group a polite email regarding my thoughts about their membership policies, and that while they we’re the way they we’re I wouldn’t feel comfortable attending future meetings. They replied saying they we’re sorry that I felt, and understood.
A few years before that, me and a few other transpeople, started a transsexual support group in the area, that was specifically for transsexual people. Our only membership requirement was that you self identified as being transsexual, whether that was pre-op, non-op, or post-op. We felt that if you came to the group and didn’t consider yourself to be transsexual, you wouldn’t attend further meetings, we wouldn’t be the ones telling you that you couldn’t, and that worked for the entire time the group existed.
There is another group, less local to me, that I am considering attending. It is a feminist group that welcome “all self identifying women”. The only reason I haven’t attended so far is money and work commitments, but this group, has welcomed me on their yahoogroups page, they have said that I will be more than welcome, and I do want to start going when I am able to. If I later find out it’s not for me, then I will stop going.
So, the point I’m trying to make, I’m not exactly sure, except to say that equality means all people being equal, and no one is truly equal until everyone is equal.