Posts by: Beth


Tim Farron has voted against LGBT rights and women’s rights

First off, yes I know Theresa May and most Tories are worse. Don’t vote for them. But because loads of people are annoyed at Labour right now for various reasons, reasonable people are considering voting Liberal Democrat, forgiving them for their coalition with the Tories where they broke all their promises and screwed over students and everyone else. So when the Lib Dem leader Tim Farron got caught out this week again for having difficulty answering (refusing to answer) the question of whether he thought homosexuality was a sin (the next day in Parliament he said ‘no’ to this question finally…), loads of people jumped to his defence to say that whatever his religious beliefs, he had a good voting record on LGBT rights. This was because in his interview he said he was all for LGBT rights and equality, and when you look on TheyWorkForYou, it says he’s ‘mostly’ voted in favour of gay rights. Also the Lib Dem LGBT person put out a Huffpost article saying how great he was with LGBT rights stuff. But dig deeper for the truth. LGB: He voted against the Equality Act on the part banning discrimination on the grounds of sexuality. He voted in favour (three times!) of allowing (homophobic) registrars to refuse to marry same sex couples on religious grounds. (See Stavvers’ blog here for the breakdown of these three various awful related amendments) When the above bill failed (went against him), he was absent from the third and final reading on same sex marriage. Yeah he’d voted in favour of the bill before this, but stepped out of play once homophobic religious registrars weren’t allowed to refuse. He voted that hate speech on the basis of sexual orientation should not be considered hate speech. Women: He voted in favour of a bill to reduce...

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My womb

For me, having a womb and ovaries has affected my life in a major way. Wombs and their functions are still a taboo subject, and our wombs are still controlled by laws designed to control women. Not all women have wombs, and not all people with wombs are women.  There are some things that people with wombs and ovaries experience that people without wombs don’t. That might be hard for some to deal with, but ignoring it is feeding the taboo around cis women and some trans men’s natural bodily functions. My biology is an important part of who I am and talking about wombs is still a much needed political feminist act. So I’m going to talk about my womb. Because I have a womb (and ovaries) I have: – bled every month since I was 16 for about four days. Bleeding starts unpredictably so I have always had to take sanitary products everywhere with me for the week before my estimated period due date, during my period and for a couple of days after to deal with it coming back unexpectedly after a bleed-free day. Bleeding unexpectedly and failed sanitary products means sometimes it ruins your knickers and you have to hand-wash the blood out but they’re often stained forever anyway. Always leading up to, during and immediately after my period I am anxious and worrying about bleeding through my clothes and people seeing. Bleeding makes me more vulnerable to anaemia which I suffer from sometimes. – been terrified of getting pregnant every time I had sex with a man until I was 33 and comfortable with the idea. This fear was a consistent backdrop in my mind during any plans to have sex with a man, during sex with a man, and most days after sex with a man until...

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Coach House, Brighton refused to accommodate my disabled mother

*****UPDATE 28 October 2016**** Great news! Coach House have bought a ramp, apologised and told staff to offer it to wheelchair using customers in future. They offered us a free meal to make up for it. Thanks everyone for signing the Care2 petition and to the Equalities Advisory Support Service, Enhance the UK and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) for advice. This shows that campaigning works and you can make a difference by speaking up! *****ORIGINAL ARTICLE 5 SEPTEMBER 2016**** I planned to go to Coach House restaurant for my birthday with my family, including my disabled mother. I saw it was listed in the ‘wheelchair accessible’ category on TripAdvisor. I telephoned in advance to double check this was the case. They confirmed it was fully wheelchair accessible and I told them my mother uses an electric wheelchair. They said, “there is one tiny 2″ step”. If true, this would have been fine. I booked the table in advance. When I arrived, the step was closer to 5″ or 6″. Totally inaccessible for an electric wheelchair even with a kerb climber. They suggested we lift my mother in her wheelchair over the step, saying “this is what we normally do”. This is not an option for my mother in her wheelchair as a jolt could kill her as she has spinal problems, and this requirement, aside from potentially breaking health and safety regulations, makes the restaurant NOT wheelchair accessible. If assistance is needed, to be lifted up a step, it is not accessible. I suggested they put a table in the empty downstairs bar area. They refused. I asked why and was told, “we might get some drinkers in later”. So, they chose not to make an effort to solve the problem. I told them they were choosing to discriminate. There...

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A trans-inclusive Marxist feminist approach to gender

Recently the Morning Star, a left-wing newspaper that I think is generally great, published an article which claimed that “Women are not oppressed based on our identities, we are oppressed on the basis of our female biology“. Rather than highlight and repeat my concerns with that article, I thought it might be useful to write my understanding of the oppression of women as a trans-inclusive Marxist feminist. I am cis, so would particularly appreciate any input in the comments from trans readers. In relation to a Materialist perspective, the material fact of a person’s assigned sex at birth will impact how they are treated and how they are oppressed in different ways and to different extents. I think it’s possible to understand trans women as women whilst at the same time understanding that there are differences in our experiences of oppression. How each person identifies, whether that identity is able to be expressed or is repressed, and whether or not it is the same as their assigned sex at birth will impact how they are oppressed. Whether the person’s gender expression conforms to capitalist patriarchal expectations of a binary gender system affects how they are oppressed – for both cis and trans people. To give an example – a cis girl will experience the worst side of sexism whilst growing up in comparison to a cis boy. A trans woman may experience certain male privilege before coming out/transitioning/being treated as a woman* [see edit at end]. If she was presenting as male, that fact will have made it easier for her to get a higher paying job, be listened to in groups, be expected to be good at engineering, than her cis female colleagues. At the same time she will have experienced psychological distress as a result of the disconnect between her female gender identity and being treated as (and expected to be) male in society. The psychological distress that this causes is a material...

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