LGBT+

Gender Recognition Act: Trans rights versus feminism?

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Proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act which would allow trans people to self-declare their gender have reignited debates about trans rights and women’s oppression. Sally Campbell argues that socialists must support the right to self-identify.

In the early hours of Tuesday 22 August Kiwi Herring, a 30 year old trans woman and mother of three, was shot dead by police in St Louis, US. Police had been called after Kiwi had allegedly stabbed her neighbour. After an altercation during which one police officer received a “minor injury”, the police opened fire.

Angels in America

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Playwright Tony Kushner is having a resurgence in London, and there could not be a better time for it.

Last autumn his play, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, astounded audiences at the Hampstead Theatre. Now comes a stunning, star-studded production of his seven and a half hour magnum opus Angels in America at the National Theatre.

Woyzeck

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Georg Büchner is somewhat of an enigma. Dying at age 23, in exile in Zürich for writing a revolutionary pamphlet, he created only three major works. Unfinished, the play Woyzeck was not performed until 1913, one hundred years after his birth. Yet it is said that had he lived he would have been the equal of the great heroes of German literature, Goethe and Schiller. Although he was influenced by the revolutionary ideas of Babeuf and Saint-Simon, he was so important a figure in German cultural identity that the Nazis did not burn his works.

An attack on the right to express your gender as you wish is an attack on us all

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Transphobia and homophobia are still rife in workplaces, yet a new generation is growing up with more open attitudes to non-binary gender identities. TKS recounts their experience of challenging discrimination in a college — and how austerity threatens the gains won through solidarity.

Last April Bruce Springsteen cancelled his show in North Carolina, in an act of solidarity with trans activists who were campaigning against the state’s law banning trans people from using the public toilet of their choice. April also saw veteran feminist Germaine Greer restate her view that transgender women are a fiction, which saw further accusations of transphobia. These two responses to the issue of trans oppression illustrate how complex the debates are, making a pressing need for socialists to have a clear understanding.

Richard Linsert and the first sexual liberation movement

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The histories of socialism and sexual liberation are entwined, most clearly in revolutionary Germany a century ago, writes Noel Halifax.

The factory system tore apart the working class family. As workers were driven off the land and sucked into the new factories and cities of the industrial age, their ways of living fell apart. Many commentators from both the left and the right noticed this with varying degrees of horror and dismay, from Friedrich Engels in Manchester to the reactionary writer Robert Carlyle in London.

Over the Rainbow

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A crowdfunding campaign has allowed Nicola Field to republish her 1995 book with a new introductory chapter. The book makes a welcome reappearance.

Field, an original member of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM), decided the book deserved a new airing following the huge success of the film Pride (2014) which tells the story of the group.

The author explains in a new introduction that the account in Over the Rainbow (OTR) is the first in-print version of the story of LGSM.

The queer and unusual life of Roger Casement

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Knighted by the British crown for his work in Africa and later executed for high treason for his work in Ireland, Roger Casement was a unique figure. Noel Halifax tells the story of this pioneer of human rights, a gay man at the time of the creation of modern homophobia.

Roger Casement had an extraordinary life. He was born in Dublin from an Anglo-Irish background in 1864. Lauded by the establishment for his work in Africa and knighted in 1911, he became one of the most famous men of his age.

In 1913 he resigned from the Foreign Office. In 1916 he was hanged in Pentonville prison for high treason for his part in the Dublin Easter Rising. Though central to the Irish freedom movement he was largely overlooked by the Irish Republicans because, to their great embarrassment, he was also gay.

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