Straight Pride UK update: official statement

An update on the Straight Pride UK situation – as well as changing their Twitter handle to @PrideofStraight and making their tweets protected, they’ve now responded with a statement on their Facebook page.
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Oliver Hotham censored by Straight Pride UK [repost]

This is a repost (with permission) in full of Oliver Hotham‘s blog posts ‘It’s great when you’re straight… yeah’ and ‘The sordid tale of how I was censored by Straight Pride UK’.

If you’ve had not the good fortune not to have heard of Straight Pride UK, they’re a ‘heterosexual rights’ campaign group who whine about being oppressed by the promotion of LGBT rights.

I’m reposting because I think the more people know that Straight Pride UK are a dangerous, nasty group whose bigotry extends to calling the Equal Marriage bill the “fake marriage law” and supporting the anti-LGBT laws in Russia, the better.
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‘Us lowly natural-born women’: not in my name, Burchill

Content warning: this post contains discussion of transphobia, trans-misogyny and hate speech, including direct quotations of the above. Links do not constitute endorsements.

“It’s never a good idea for those who feel oppressed to start bullying others in turn”. So ran the sub-heading for Julie Burchill’s Observer article about the supposed victimisation of Suzanne Moore by the “trans lobby” entitled ‘Transsexuals should cut it out’. It is a response to a saga which began a week or so ago with an article on female anger from Moore reprinted in the New Statesman which made a passing and ill-chosen reference to Brazilian transsexuals.
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Fact-checking the ‘Biblical view of marriage’

The most tiresome argument I hear against gay marriage is that it is incompatible with the Biblical definition of marriage.

Quite apart from being irrelevant in our largely secular society, the argument that “the Bible defines marriage as between a man and a woman” is a lazy one. It also entails a lot of problems from a Biblical perspective, because marriage as practised by the Church* today differs wildly from that of Biblical times. At various points in the Bible, women are sold or traded as property, forced to marry their rapists and remain married to abusive husbands; and they lack autonomy throughout.
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‘Is your gender identity the same as the gender you were assigned at birth?’

Because I now work late (editing transcripts of various companies’ financial reports – it’s quite thrilling, I assure you) I now keep some pretty strange hours. Since I finished a little early tonight I decided to tick a couple of things off my to-do list, and came across something I’d like to share when I was doing some uni admin.

All returning students at my university have to register before the academic year begins. Why this is I’m not sure (you’d think by now that they’d expect it), but part of the process includes answering, or amending previous answers to, various questions. Some are practical, detailing living arrangements and providing emergency contacts, and some are clearly designed to help compile stats on diversity and so forth for the University Union. It contained all the usual questions on ethnicity, religion – and one I haven’t seen before on this form:

LGBT gender transgender issues - Beckie Smith

This is such a rare question on registration forms, which usually limit themselves to the M / F options. There’s no recognition that some people don’t identify as cis-gendered men or women, or that for some people gender identity is less clear-cut than male or female.  So to find such a question alongside all the others on what is effectively a diversity survey is great progress towards recognising and celebrating real diversity.

I don’t know what prompted whichever administrative body that designed the form to insert this question – it’s possible that the Union’s Diversity Officer and LGBT Society had a hand in it. If so, it’s a good sign that they are being listened to. Whatever the reason, I’m glad that they did. The more institutions start to positively recognise the gender identity – even the existence, which has often been ignored – of trans* people, the better. Hopefully this will challenge the prejudice and ignorance which many people face on an everyday basis, and foster an attitude which does not exclude people who identify as transgender, genderqueer, intersex, or any other label which does not conform to the traditional gender binary. I look forward to the day when this does not draw comment or require any kind of commendation. That may be some way off yet – but this is an encouraging step in the right direction.