Transactivists and their supporters basically protest for a ‘no boundaries’ platform – that trans have access all areas, and never mind anyone else’s needs.
Nowhere is this more obvious than recent protests and terrorist actions by transactivists – they even target organisations that are trans-friendly, GallusMag has more on the failed molotov cocktail bombing in Portland.
The transactivist platform is one of – 100% capitulation, or we protest you, terrorise you, shut you down. Targets of such actions are frequently women’s support organisations that support raped/battered women, no matter what level of trans-friendliness they have. This is a boundaries issue, and transactivists refuse to accept any boundaries set by women.
Vancouver Rape Relief (VRR) has again been the target of transactivists and their supporters, leafleting a recent fund-raising walkathon in a park. The transactivists were protesting with such slogans as “support services for all women” and “ask Rape Relief about their trans policy”.
The first slogan is ridiculous, because had offered their support services to all women, including transwomen, which is how they found themselves defending against a ten-year legal battle against a former service-user transwoman, Kimberley Nixon. VRR had been vocal to all level of governments about this support need for transwomen. See also the chronology of events and summary decision of the case. VRR were also accused by the prostestors that they were ‘anti-prostitute’, which is ridiculous, like most women’s organisations founded out of the Second Wave, they support prostituted women, but wish to criminalise the buyers of prostitution, so yet another false accusation.
The overview of the Nixon case, Nixon had Sexual/Gender Reassignment Surgery (SRS/GRS) about three years prior to becoming a service-user of VRR. Nixon had completed eight months of counselling by VRR and subsequently used the drop-in services, and soon after joined the counsellor training programme. Nixon was told by staff to take at least another year off before applying for the programme for Nixon’s own healing. This is not uncommon in the women’s support sector, many female-born volunteers are discouraged from volunteering too early in their healing process – it can take anywhere from two to five years to properly heal from male violence. Some potential candidates are never suitable due to interpersonal skills or other factors. However, there are always plenty of other areas in which to volunteer support for these organisations – like fundraising or office work. In fact, the alternative of fundraising was offered to Nixon, but Nixon refused and instead commenced legal proceedings against VRR.
At some point during this, VRR formalised a policy that deemed it inappropriate for transsexuals to counsel female-born service-users because of transsexuals’ lack of life experience of being brought up as a female, as well as any reminder of ‘maleness’ can upset female service-users, particularly late transitioners that do not pass very well as women. I am unsure if their policy still includes transsexuals as service-users; possibly.
The ten-year legal battle through the various courts financially endangered VRR, putting into jeapody the services for vulnerable women, domestic violence victims and rape victims. In short, it was an extremely selfish act by Nixon to continue to drag this out through the courts – another reason, personality-wise, that Nixon would have been unsuitable in the role of counsellor to victims.
VRR were successful in defending their case, that Nixon had been treated fairly, and that the subsequent no-transsexuals to counsel females policy was not a violation of transsexual human rights. A just decision by the courts. The needs of the service-users are paramount in all women’s support services, the victims come first. Female victims are entitled to their human rights too.
Those who work in rape/DV support areas know that boundaries, and respect for boundaries, are very important.
Transactivists have no respect for boundaries, this is clear in their targeting of even moderately trans-friendly organisations. The fact that transactivists and their supporters would rather shut down a women’s support organisation if the organisation has set a boundary, is anti-woman, anti-feminist. Trans-supporting feminists working in the sector should really think about their alliances, and how transactivists have no problem shutting down women’s services.
This is the same lack of boundary issue with transactivists protesting and threatening the forthcoming Radfem2012 conference. There are many survivors of prostitution, rape and male violence, at various stages, attending or speaking at the conference, and their needs and safety come first for us.