SWERF and TERF: The Red-Brown alliance in Policing Gender

Trans communism
Transcommunist flag by NinjaDrawsDBZ

by DAPHNE LAWLESS, from Fightback magazine’s upcoming issue on Socialist Feminism. Subscribe here.

Late last year, a veteran of communist politics in Aotearoa/New Zealand decided to contribute to a march for the traditional working-class demand for reproductive rights by standing outside it with a sign bearing only the words “WOMAN = ADULT HUMAN FEMALE” – a dogwhistle for anti-trans feminists (or “trans-excluding radical feminists”, TERFs). Another veteran from the same organisation now has the same phrase at the head of her Twitter biography – displacing all mention of her record as a socialist and a union organiser. And they’re not the only ones. How has the motivation to punch down on trans people – and defend the “free speech” of fascists and others who do so – come to substitute for the fight for workers’ power and a post-capitalist world in the minds of veteran activists?

Freeze peach

Daphna Whitmore and Don Franks are veteran socialists and union organisers, who were founding authors of the blog Redline when it was set up in 20121. Whitmore’s Twitter account identifies her as part of the “Left Network for Free Speech” (LNFS). The Redline post in which this “Network” was announced says:

As partisans of the working class, we know that the working class has historically been denied democratic rights, including free speech. Even after hundreds of years of struggle, workers today face being fired for expressing, in their own time and on their own computers, views which their employers disapprove of.

Leaving the power to decide what is acceptable speech in the hands of employers and the state disempowers workers and oppressed sections of society such as women, Maori, gay people and migrant workers… Free speech is necessary to expose racism, sexism and bigotry. In contrast, ‘hate speech’ restrictions don’t challenge these ideas. ‘Hate speech’ laws in practice are an arbitrary tool that are used to impose social regulation. They can be used to silence progressives on a range of issues.2

Given their defence of free speech as a weapon in defence of the interests of workers and gay people, it is strange that almost all the articles posted by the LNFS on their Facebook page since it was founded are in defence of Israel Folau – the millionaire athlete who was released from his contract with the Australian Rugby Union after violating his contract by making religiously-based homophobic social media posts – or of “gender-critical” (i.e. transphobic) commentators and academics. The link between these and working-class activism seems thin, to say the least.

Free-speech absolutism on the Left has had a historical record of degenerating, first into tolerance for Right-wing ideas, then actual sympathy with them. The classic historical example of this is the Revolutionary Communist Party in Britain, originally a split from the Socialist Workers Party. This organisation – always somewhat of an outlier on the British far-left – began to be distinguished in the mid-1980s by opposing the consensus that fascist movements such as the British National Party should not be given platforms on campus. This clearly prefigures the LNFS’ insistence that state action against “hate speech” in fact makes things worse, as well as its concern about “academic mobbing” of professors who promote transphobia.

The subsequent transformation of the RCP into an outright Right-wing libertarian outfit is quite notorious. Opposing the liberal consensus had become for them an end in itself, detached from socialist principle. The organisation itself wound up in the 1990s, as their Living Marxism magazine was sued out of existence for denial of the horrors of attempted genocide during the Yugoslav civil wars. They cropped up later in the form of the “Institute of Ideas”, promoting climate-change denial through documentaries such as The Great Global Warming Swindle. They continue to exist as Spiked, a libertarian Right-wing website funded by American billionaires the Koch brothers, some of whose writers have recently been elected to the European Parliament for the Brexit Party.3

It is interesting to note that the place where this degeneration began – minimising the threat of fascism in favour of the supposed greater threat of liberal “thought policing” – is a very common trope on the anti-liberal Left, the kind of people whom Fightback has criticised in our previous articles on Conservative Left and Red-Brown tendencies. As we have previously stated, this kind of underestimation of the fascist threat – or even seeing fascist movements as having a positive side, in mobilising opposition to a centrist/liberal consensus – was the kind of thinking from Communists which led to the victory of Hitler in Germany.

The most shocking and disturbing thing on the LNFS Facebook page, however, is the un-ironic posting of this image4:

This is an extremely common meme in online “free speech” circles (and was recently quoted by none other than Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter). But this is not a quote from the 18th century French writer Voltaire at all. It is in fact a quote from Kevin Alfred Strom, an American neo-Nazi writing in 1993. The clue to whom he was really referring is given in the following, full version of the meme:

There is no reason to believe that Whitmore, Franks et al. were aware of the true nasty nature of this meme. But in a way, that makes it even worse. Fightback has previously characterised the spread of “Red-Brown” ideas as like a “zombie plague”, in that socialists or others on the Left who start descending into Right-populist or even fascist politics don’t even realise that they’re doing so. It is a case of losing one’s political (or even moral) compass.

“Progressive” transphobia

Unfortunately, trans-exclusive ideas are not confined to the comrades of Redline/LFNS. TERF politics are very strong on the British left, and one union activist recently arrived from Britain tried earlier this year to defend the free speech of transphobes on the “Unions NZ” Facebook group.6 Prominent veterans of the socialist movement in New Zealand – such as Unite Union stalwart Mike Treen and retired academic David Bedggood7 – have also made social media or blog posts opposing “transactivism” or defending local anti-trans activists such as Renee Gerlich. Such comrades often try to justify themselves by arguing that they are against discrimination against trans people, but that “transactivism/the transgender movement” goes too far. These are not dissimilar in form from the arguments against Gay Liberation from 1970s Communists, which are still used by fringe Stalinist groups like the “Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)”.

This is particularly ironic in an era where some of the staunchest young communists in Aotearoa/New Zealand identify as trans, non-binary or in some other way “genderqueer”.9 As we noted in “Against Conservative Leftism”, incomprehension of new ways of living which have become common among young people in the era of neoliberal globalisation is a common feature among many veteran activists.

Beyond that, many activists have pointed to an extremely strong link between anti-sex-worker (sex-worker-exclusive radical feminism, or SWERF) and anti-trans politics. English sociology professor Sally Hines put it like this on Twitter:

If someone is a trans exclusionary feminist they will almost certainly have anti-sex work and anti-porn politics – and vice versa. The constant is a denial of body autonomy and a feminism that insists it knows what is best for other women (even when told otherwise).11

It is no coincidence that, due to social exclusion from other work, trans women have been disproportionately represented among sex workers. It is rumoured that several prominent TERFs in New Zealand developed their hostility to trans people after getting a hostile response to their anti-sex worker activism.

English trans musician “DeadBitBabe” also comments:

SWERF’N’TERFS can’t acknowledge the autonomy of sex workers because to them power only comes from maintaining the integrity of their fantasy construction of a female body… Are the cries of Lesbian erasure not strangely reminiscent of the fascist’s cries of white genocide?

The “lesbian erasure” trope is an interesting one. The AfterEllen website recently published an article entitled “A Butch Eradication, Served With a Progressive Smile”, claiming that the network of lesbian spaces and business which had been built up since the 1980s had collapsed due to an increasing tendency of “butch” (masculine-appearing) lesbians to identify as trans men. The author laments:

Our lesbian spaces are already dead. Our bookstores, our dances. Everything we built is dead and taken over by the trans nightmare.

If nothing else, this is a change from the usual TERF narrative, which tends to ignore the existence of trans men and non-binary people altogether, and instead to whip up moral panic about trans women “colonizing” or even “raping” cis women’s spaces. What should really make people stop and think about both these TERF narratives is how similarly they resemble fascist narratives about “The Great Replacement”, as made notorious by the manifesto of the terrorist who murdered 51 Muslims at prayer in Christchurch earlier this year.

Following the analysis of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, Fightback has previously argued that fascist politics everywhere can be characterised as a movement led by the insecure and frightened middle-class. People who may have worked hard to build a little privilege for themselves under capitalism become terrified that an ethnic or cultural Other (classically, “the Jews”) might take it away from them. The AfterEllen article quoted above mourns for the death of a network of lesbian/woman-identified small businesses. In most cases TERFs tend to be older, whiter feminists who have had some success in academia, writing, or in the bourgeois lesbian community (the most globally prominent example being Germaine Greer).

Analysing TERF politics as a variety of fascist ideology might seem shocking or over-the-top; particularly because to do so would require us to categorize many veteran socialists in Aotearoa/New Zealand to have slipped over into the “Red-Brown” camp. But defining fascism as a movement in defence of the threatened privilege of the downwardly mobile middle class seems to make the parallel unavoidable. As does the habit of TERF ideologues of suggesting that trans people are part of some kind of conspiracy of “elites”, as in the tweet reproduced below:

TERF conspiracy theories on Twitter about "elites backing the trans movement" are not dissimilar to fascist ones.

The full antisemitic force of that term “elites” can be grasped when you read a transphobic academic explicitly name George Soros, the Jewish liberal billionaire who has become a common bad guy in fascist conspiracy theory, as a guilty party. “Deadbitbabe” on Twitter again:

Real talk: the primordially whole female body is to TERFs what the primordially whole nation and its people is to fascists… A mythological fantasy that serves to displace all sorts of anxieties.

The anarchist-communist website LibCom puts it more bluntly: “Transphobic feminists are, for all practical purposes, the women’s division of the global far-right.” Given this, the support given by the fascist and religious-fundamentalist Right for TERFs, described in other articles reprinted in this issue, begins to look less like an “enemy’s enemy” situation and more like a meeting of ideological bedfellows.

Perhaps the final word can be left to the author of the blog nothingiseverlost, in a criticism of the similar descent of the socialist-feminist academic Nina Power into TERF and other forms of right-wing politics: “you never seem to get people becoming less sympathetic to the far-right at the same time as getting into “gender critical”/trans-exclusionary versions of feminism.” It is extremely interesting that Power’s main move in defending her dabbling with transphobic and fascistic memes is an invocation of … free speech.

What is to be done?

Fightback has previously discussed what we see as another irruption of Right-wing ideology into socialist circles, here and elsewhere in the Western world – the demonization of the Syrian revolution. The repetitive argument from such people is that the Syrian people fighting against the Assad regime and its Russian allies are not “real” subjects of liberation (such as, to take a more popular example, the Palestinian people), but instead pawns of some Zionist-jihadi-US State Department conspiracy against Syria’s “national sovereignty”. The really perverse issue is that some of the TERF-adjacent leftists we have quoted– and we might name David Bedggood here – have agreed with us in staunchly rejecting this dehumanizing rhetoric when used against the Syrian people in struggle… only to use similar rhetoric against trans people in struggle.20

At the very least, what this can tell us is that “it’s difficult to be right about everything”. But it also warns us against a sectarian response to SWERF/TERF ideas on the Left – that is, refusal to deal with anyone who might hold such views at the moment. We all live under a suffocating blanket of capitalist ideology, in which it becomes “natural” for different groups of the oppressed to be suspicious or hostile towards each other. Even with the best intentions, it can be very hard to consistently hold to a materialist analysis which can clearly identify patterns of oppression, exploitation and privilege, and not be confused by the “DARVO” (“Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender”) tactics habitually used by fascist movements and domestic abusers.

Fightback believes that to effectively fight capitalism today means to fight fascism, the most dangerous form of capitalist ideology, which is currently on the rise. To fight fascism, we must have a united front of working and oppressed people. To have a united front we cannot tolerate racism, misogyny, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, state-worship or any other ideology which suggests that some oppressed people are “deserving targets” within our united front, because that is literally the thin edge of the Fascist wedge.

The Left has had far too much opportunism recently – refusal to face Right-populist or even fascist ideas within the movements for fear of alienating people, of breaking up the mass movement. We need to hold to a practice of honest, sharp criticism of SWERF and TERF ideas where-ever they are raised, even by “comrades” or “good Leftists”, as contrary to the unity of all the oppressed we need to build a better world. We also need to centre the experiences of trans people and sex workers within our movement in such debates – nothing should be “about them, without them”.

At the same time, it is crucial to build the biggest possible anti-fascist, anti-capitalist united front – which will mean sometimes linking arms with SWERFs, TERFs and even partisans of Bashar al-Assad against a common enemy. No-one said it was going to be easy.

Special thanks to Sage Anastasi, Lisandru Grigorut and Anne Russell for their help with this article.

1 The founders of Redline were former members of the Workers Party of New Zealand – the organisation from which Fightback is also descended. We are aware of the historical ironies involved.

2 For refutations from the Left of the case against hate-speech restrictions, see Max Rashbrooke at Overland (liberal) and R. Totale at LibCom (anarcho-communist).

3 See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_Marxism, https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Spiked, and https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/07/us-billionaires-hard-right-britain-spiked-magazine-charles-david-koch-foundation

4 If this image is taken down before then, it was accessed July 13, 2019.

6 This post raised strong negative feedback and has since been deleted by the group administrators.

7 Treen has republished several anti-“transactivist” articles on social media, including those from Redline. Bedggood is the author of this blog post.

9 Not to even mention the contribution to the Communist movement over decades by “transactivists” such as the late Les Feinberg.

11 Hines even suggests that SWERFs and TERFs might be brought together under the label “Genital-Obsessed Feminists”.

20 An excellent article on LibCom shows how a Red-Brown conference in Sweden brought together transphobic speakers with some of the most notorious defenders of Assad, such as Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley.

The symbolic victory of same-sex marriage

marriage rally civic square

This article by Anne Russell was originally published on Scoop

Over the past year or so, the marriage equality bill has essentially served as a filter through which New Zealand has discussed queer sexuality and gender identity. Marriage is perhaps one of the least threatening manifestations of contemporary queer identity, reassuring all but the most raving queerphobes that queerdom does not, in fact, destroy the fabric of society as we know it. Many of the speeches made in Parliament opined that there were no reasons not to support marriage equality. National MP Maurice Williamson has made international news for his speech, for which 3News has labeled him an “unlikely gay icon”.

Unlikely indeed, given his position in a historically queerphobic party, combined with his own emphasis on what a minor law change it is. The public demonstrations of gratitude to Williamson and his right-wing colleagues show how little the queer community has come to expect from politicians. It also demonstrates the extent to which marriage equality has co-opted queer struggles in the West. At this juncture, it’s far more common to hear straight allies in the public sphere proclaiming their support for marriage equality than for queer equality. [Read more…]

Interview: BOX Events (queer women of colour group)

Jac Lynch, Mr Brey kin Hearts and Bex Davis at the first BOX party. Photo credit: Jessica Savage Photography

BOX Events is a recently formed Wellington group that organises female-inclusive events, starting with the Shirts and Skirts event that raised funds for Wellington Rape Crisis. Spark writer Ian Anderson interviews BOX members Leilani and Trixie.

The Spark: First off, what is BOX and how did it form?

T: I only joined after the first event. But it’s a group of queer women of colour putting on events for other queers, focused particularly on queer women.

L: It’s evolving organically. My cousin and her friends were raising issues; as far as socialising spaces go there’s not a lot for gay people, especially for women. Initially I fluffed it off, but then I met more people saying same thing. So we decided to pull together and act on it. We’re very grassroots. We’re coming up with a manifesto soon.

T: I was in the process of organising an event, but then I found BOX. Revolution Girl Style Now [BOX event] has mostly been my idea.

L: Well Trixie’s idea matched up with our ideas. After Shirts & Skirts we were talking about what’s going on in Pasifika communities, how we needed something more cutting edge and relevant. So Trixie’s idea of Revolution Girl Style matched that. [Read more…]

Safer Spaces in Political Organising

“Safer spaces” began in forms such as consciousness-raising groups

Kassie Hartendorp is a Workers Party member, founding activist of the Queer Avengers, and works as a youth worker for a queer youth organisation. This article is adapted from a talk presented at the Workers Party annual conference.

What is a safe space?

As background, safe spaces began in forms such as consciousness-raising groups within the second wave feminist movement. These were spaces which allowed women to openly discuss the discrimination or abuse they were subjected to and strategise ways to fight against issues relating to sexism. The safety of these spaces was important as they provided an opportunity for women to come to terms with issues such as domestic violence or sexual abuse, within a supportive environment. They were also a space that addressed the issue of male domination within wider political groups and as such, often excluded men with the intention to minimise the chances of abuse or marginalization, so that those involved could move forward in their fight against oppression.

Nowadays, safe spaces are often associated with the women’s movement and the queer community. They were formed on the basis that women and queer people were often not physically safe within mainstream groups, and in these environments, people could feel confident expressing their identity or just existing without the threat of violence or verbal abuse. [Read more…]

Beyond Marriage

Originally printed on GayNZ.

The Queer Avengers have launched a new website highlighting the limitations of marriage and adoption law, and while supporting the call for marriage equality, it also underlines that it’s not the end of the line for LGBT struggles.

The site, beyondmarriage.org.nz tells stories of relationships, and family structures, excluded or oppressed by marriage law, including polyamory and whangai adoption.

It’s also underlining the continuing obstacles our community faces, including bullying, suicide and homelessness among LGBT youth, inadequate access to quality healthcare for trans people and common intimidation and violence in the streets.

Queer Avengers call for a struggle “beyond marriage”

Originally published on GayNZ.

Wellington-based activist group The Queer Avengers is calling for a struggle “beyond marriage”, saying while it supports marriage equality, it’s not the end of the line for GLBT rights.

While the group supports Louisa Wall’s Bill to introduce marriage equality, it says the community still faces a number of obstacles.

Member Sara Fraser says these include bullying, suicide and homelessness among GLBT youth; inadequate access to quality healthcare for trans people; and common intimidation and violence in the streets.

She adds that there are many family structures which marriage and adoption law does not cover, for example polyamory and whangai adoption.

“This is not the final struggle,” Fraser says. “We’re looking ahead to the struggles beyond marriage.”

However when it comes to the marriage equality battle, the Queer Avengers are critical of MPs who are against it.

“Bill English says that equality is not a priority. Instead, National would like to focus on the important things, like making deals with casinos and scapegoating beneficiaries for the financial crisis,” argues Queer Avenger Ian Anderson.

“This government is more interested in cutting back rights than extending them.”

Anderson adds that equality is a matter of principle, not personal conscience. “If parties support the principle of equality, they should treat it as such. This is a basic civil rights issue. Conscience votes are a cop-out.”

Gay Pride 2012: A brief report from New York City

This report on NY Gay Pride was irst published on the Kasama Project blog. Ish also writes at The Cahokian.

June 24, this last Sunday was the 42nd annual gay pride parade in New York City. The event commemorates the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall uprising in which lesbian, gay and transgender New Yorkers fought back against a police raid against the Stonewall gay bar.

It’s been a long time since what started out as a “march” was officially turned into a “parade.”

The parade is now shorter than it once was: In recent years the parade route was shortened by request of the city of New York, allegedly to save money. The good news is that the parade is still the occasion for queer New Yorkers to celebrate in the streets. Thousands of people marched, thousands more lined the route, and thousands more went down to the Village — no longer really the gayborhood it once was — to party on the streets and piers.

There were plenty of contingents and floats from the dread corporate sponsors, as well as from the usual spectrum of community and religious organizations. Plastic rainbow gewgaws bearing corporate logos piled up in the streets as the parade passed.

[Read more…]

Marriage: Equality, abolition, and the Mana movement

Ian Anderson

The marriage equality discussion has found increased currency in recent months with US president Barack Obama coming out in support of same-sex marriage. MPs Louisa Wall and Kevin Hague, of Labour and the Greens respectively, both have bills in the ballot box supporting same-sex marriage and adoption.

This country has a different legal situation to the US. Health insurance is less of an issue due to our primarily public health system, while Civil Unions largely provide an equivalent to marriage. However same-sex couples do not enjoy the right to adopt; in fact the Adoption Act has not been amended since 1955.

Aiming to remove the last legal distinctions, the marriage equality group “Legalise Love” focuses on two key demands; the right to marry, and the right to adopt. Legalise Love has been criticised for its lack of community engagement. At their 2012 AGM, Legalise Love passed a new set of goals, including building a stronger relationship with other community groups, and “maintaining a healthy working relationship with the state.” In practice this means acting as a Labour Party lobby group, while trying to win over the progressive sections of other parties, and ensuring state sanction for actions such as marches.

Legalise Love is looking increasingly likely to win its two key demands. However, progressives must be on guard, as conservatives will rally their troops in the lead-up to the bill.

During the 1986 Homosexual Law Reform campaign, Labour MP Fran Wilde privately warned against militant street tactics. However, the anti-gay Coalition of Concerned Citizens caught supporters by surprise, launching a nationwide petition against the bill which necessitated a more confrontational approach. Polls indicate that 60% of New Zealanders favour equal marriage, including 79% of 18-30 year olds, and progressives must be ready to fight for this reform.

Marriage reform or marriage abolition?

Some question the institution of marriage itself. Marriage is an institution designed to regulate kinship relations, which until the 1980s legalised rape within marriage in this country. An article on gay website Aaron and Andy jokingly described Legalise Love as having “a myopic obsession with hetero-assimilation.” On her Facebook page Annette Sykes also raised that Western marriage was imposed on Maori through colonisation, replacing previous kinship structures.

Members of the Queer Avengers, a Wellington activist group, have differing views on marriage. The group aims to fight queer oppression in a multi-faceted way not limited to legal reforms – dealing with street violence, youth homelessness and transphobia in the media. Some Queer Avengers have joined Legalise Love, while others call for repeal of the Marriage Act. The group has agreed that while members have different views on marriage itself, there should be no legal discrimination between same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

An article by Dougal McNeill, on the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) website noted this contradiction: “many of the best LGBT campaigners have been lukewarm about, and sometimes openly antagonistic, towards the question of equal marriage rights… It’s understandable why this is the case – why fight for a reactionary institution like marriage, when its a pillar of sexism and the nuclear family, sustaining heterosexist ideas?”

McNeill noted that this is a question of principle, and civil rights: “A campaign for equal marriage rights shouldn’t be seen as primarily about marriage, but about rights.”

Although the Workers Party does not have a determined position beyond support for marriage equality, an article in the August 2011 issue of the Spark argued: “Sections of the ruling class may support gay marriage, but they retain the right to maintain property relations by regulating consensual relationships… While the Marriage Act exists, we must support progressive reforms. Ultimately, we must aim for abolition of the Marriage Act.”

This is comparable to the question of oppressed groups participating in the imperialist military; we fight for civil rights in even the most bankrupt institutions.

Hone Harawira and Mana

Socialist groups including the Workers Party committed to helping build the Mana movement last year, as we view it as a class split from the Maori Party and it represents the demands of the oppressed. However in recent months, party leader Hone Harawira’s social conservatism has raised questions about the progressive nature of Mana.

In an interview with Bryce Edwards, Harawira explained “I’m actually politically radical but socially very conservative.” With two bills for marriage equality in the ballot box, this has now become a more pressing question. The key issue is not what Harawira personally believes, but what politics the movement supports. Mana contains many takataapui and pro-LGBT progressives, so a vote against the bill would have a divisive impact.

Mana has already passed a Rainbow Policy, which supports the extension of marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples. In a recent post on his blog Maui Street, Morgan Godfery argued:

I don’t think Hone will be able to maintain his position. Party pressure will be considerable. On the small chance Hone remains steadfast though, his former party provides a salient illustration of what happens when you ignore your members.

This coming period will test the internal democracy of the Mana movement. Progressives within Mana must seek both to reaffirm the Rainbow Policy, and ensure that this is not treated as a “conscience vote.”

Homophobia still a real issue in New Zealand

Article by Robert Read, a Workers Party supporter based in Christchurch.

James Froch will present a talk on Queer Liberation and Socialism at Socialism 2012.

On Saturday the 26th of May 2012 at around 7pm an 18 year old, Zakk Davies, was walking home after dropping some friends off at The Viaduct. He was approached by three males.

These males began to flirt with Zakk which he believes is because they had thought he was a female. Even though he was dressed like any other teen male on a Saturday night in jeans and a t-shirt, once they realized he obviously wasn’t they very quickly became aggressive towards him. They began to punch him until he fell to the ground at which point they proceeded to punch and kick him mainly in the abdomen.
He remembers, while they were kicking and punching him, they were shouting some of the most disgusting homophobic comments he had ever heard. He recalled that they were “Calling me disgusting and a burden on society”, but the worst comment he can remember was that they “wish they could do to the gays what Hitler did to the Jews”.

At some point they were kicking him in the head and he must have been knocked-out, as he awoke 3 and a half hours later in gutter. Bloody, crying and bruised he got up still not sure entirely of what happened and walked to the next place he knew would feel safe, his friend’s place.
He has posted on his facebook account a picture of his face, battered and bruised, with this statement.
“I am uploading this not for sympathy, but as a warning to the gay community. When in town at night, always stay as a group because homophobia is still around, and there are people out there that want to hurt you. Thank you to the 3 guys that decided to beat me up last night, for taking it out on my body and avoiding my face.”

His facebook profile has been flooded with messages of support and outrage that this is still happening not only around the world but in our own back yard. Zakk said his “spirit will never be broken” and that he strives to use his experience to help the gay community.

A comment from Gay Bi NZ online community personality Ricardo Edwards says “It saddens and angers me greatly that atrocities such as this continue against members of the gay community. Against members of the HUMAN RACE. This incident has further fuelled a desire that has already been burning in me for some time, and that is to rid our beautiful country of the hatred and bigotous attitude that still lingers in ugly pockets throughout our society. Our goal, our dream, and it WILL be our reality. True equality.”

Patty Boy and Zakk d’Larte performing at Out in the Square in Wellington

Queer The Night speech

Speech by James Froch, key organiser of last night’s Queer The Night march, Schools Out facilitator, Wellington Gay Welfare Group trainee co-ordinator, and Workers Party Wellington Education officer.

TV3 image from the Queer the Night march, 9/6/11. Click link above for TV3 footage.

 

I’m one of the organisers of this march, but I’m also here as an organiser for Schools Out.

Homophobia is something each of us has to live with.  We hesitate to hold our partners hand in public because we fear straight people’s reactions, their dumbfounded staring, their screams of dyke or faggot, their fists and their bottles.

Their homophobic actions aim to rein in our various identities and orientations, to keep us off the streets and in the closets. Its intent is to make queer and trans-people live in fear.

We’re here to say we’re not afraid. We’re here to say we stand as a community against homophobia and transphobia.  We’re here to fight until everyone has the right to express and explore their queerness without religious, economic, legal restrictions. [Read more…]