On the BFC Twitter account yesterday, we posted the following tweet: “BOYCOTT RADFEM2012". In response, we received the following: “STOP BOYCOTTING feminist events! Stop the vile between feminists! Engage in positive discussions! 4fuck sake!!”
I decided not to engage with the person who sent the tweet, as I was pretty certain it would not have a positive outcome for either of us. However, I feel that perhaps we should explain why we do not support the event, because it is important to back up the statements we make.
The Brighton Feminist Collective is not a radical feminist group. We have a clear statement of intent and although each member of the group has their own personal views on a wide range of issues, we do have a lot of common ground and that is reflected in that statement. The statement makes it very clear that we are trans* inclusive. Therefore, under no circumstances can we support any event which has transphobia at its core. We will not support an event which fights for equality by promoting inequality, nor will we accept this strange formation of a hierarchy of women, particularly one where a person’s status is based on the external.
We do not accept biological essentialism and we are certainly not going to start to support events that seem to promote it.
This is not an attack on radical feminism. Radical feminists have no central headquarters, no spokesperson and no elected representatives, and we do not assume that every radical feminist agrees with the way this event has been organised. However, it is clear that the organisers of this event are promoting an extreme separatist view, which we cannot and will not get behind.
We realise that there are people out there who cannot understand why feminist groups cannot just support every single feminist event and ignore issues like this. But what those people are asking us to do is support discrimination – and we cannot do that. We would not accept it anywhere else, so why on Earth are we expected to accept and support it here?
We hope that those of you who do not understand why there has been such a negative response to this conference can at least now understand why we do not support it. We would love to be able to support the work of other feminists all the time, but we cannot do so in this instance in good faith.