Now now, be nice! Why Julie Bindel has no place at LGBT History Month

Annette Pryce examines why Bindel speaking at an LGBT History Month event is an insult to the community.

Lesbian History Month, that’s a thing isn’t it?  Oh wait, it’s not,  but if it was then Julie Bindel would fit right in. She could tell us all about the second wave feminist movement. Oh wait, they shunned lesbians didn’t they? That’s an interesting history!

Now, if Julie Bindel wants to stand up and talk about lesbian history, her own, if she wants to talk about ending violence against women and children, or her working class roots, fine, go for it.

As a lesbian myself I say: go ahead, but don’t do it under the banner of LGBT inclusivity that defines LGBT History Month; as her divisive opinions on the rest of the community shouldn’t really be being normalised in this way. We know better,  which brings us to the ‘latest’ she’s been asked to speak at.

The Working Class Movement Library have invited her to speak at their regional LGBT History Month event. If it had been a Cis Lesbian History Month event then I guess there wouldn’t be as much controversy. Cis lesbians who wanted to hear her story would attend, and those who didn’t would stay away.

But this isn’t an innocuous event, and while people still have the choice, it’s an LGBT History Month event, and by definition should really be a space for all of those who are LGBT to celebrate. But for bi and trans people, their oppressor is sat at the top table, so of course they are going to feel angry. I feel angry for them.

If she was just a nicer person to them, then there really wouldn’t be all this. Bisexual, and trans people and gay men could quite happily sit down and listen to an academic wax lyrical about the 70’s. After all, were all in the same community, and we all support each other.

Except Julie doesn’t do that. She’s not innocuous. People say she ‘challenges’ and ‘creates debate’.  I just don’t agree that that is her intention when she talks about bisexuals and trans people as though they are lesser members of the community. She says trans adults should have support. Wow, I’m sure they are all thanking her now for those eighteen years of hell they would have had to endure to make her more comfortable with their transition.

It really is about human decency. It’s about being nice Julie, and perhaps she needed another cis lesbian to tell her that. Maybe she needs to realise she doesn’t speak for the entire community. Some people don’t want her around because just she’s not very nice. Firstly, she is outwardly biphobic:

“I believe now, that if bisexual women had an ounce of sexual politics, they would stop sleeping with men.”

Julie Bindel, 2012

I can’t imagine the bisexual community would be happy about her appearing at an LGBT History month event, because she clearly denies their existence. As do many in the gay community, quite shamefully.

I’ll be the first to call out man-splaining, straight-splaining, biphobia, transphobia, sexism by cis-men of any sexual orientation, but what I’ll not do is tar them all with the same brush. There will also be idiots on the internet who make it their job every day to spout violent words at women, and they should be blocked and reported, but there are also plenty of people ready to articulate sensibly why she’s wrong in her divisive opinions.

Julie spends her time reinforcing the (incorrect) ‘adult nature’ of gender identity. She forgot about the time when people referred to the ‘adult nature’ of sexual orientation as she defends the right of teenagers to come out as ‘gay or lesbian’. Is she really using the old arguments against the LGB community to now denigrate the trans community?

And perhaps she shouldn’t add commentary on the education system, we have enough non-teachers who do that.

If I were a teenager today, well-meaning liberal teachers and social workers would probably tell me that I was trapped in the wrong body.”

Julie Bindel, Daily Mail

 I doubt that very much, being a teacher and being related to a social worker I can say that neither would be true; most of them don’t know how to deal with it as they haven’t had the training.  I also hasten to add that the over generalising and almost catastrophising done by Julie reaches new heights as she recounts the same few anecdotes and tars an entire community with one stereotype, that blames one doctor for all bad practice everywhere, one individual for crimes against women, and two sets of parents that she disagrees with on their decisions to help their children.

There are huge gaps in the knowledge of health professionals, and this still has to be addressed. I don’t believe any parent would as Julie says: ‘bundle’ their child off to a gender clinic as soon as they wore different clothing, for example.  If she had deemed to listen to the trans community through face to face or through other documentary media she would understand that it really isn’t as simple as her generalisations make out.

And whilst she has the privileged platform of two national media outlets to bash people in her own community, because she is afraid of ‘what it might mean’, perhaps she should read a history book before she speaks at this event. To help her remember what they used to say about lesbians and gay  men, and what ‘talking about homosexuality’ in schools used to be called. Words like ‘promoting homosexuality’ have simply been replaced by people like her with ‘promoting gender diversity’, it’s come around again, only this time she is/we are helping the heterosexual community do it to us.

CL Minou wrote for the guardian that:

Bindel wouldn’t have a problem with ….. refusing someone a platform who had frequently published homophobic writings, even if they had done other good works…. .. surprise that the same thing should happen to a person with a long record of public transphobia must thus seem a bit disingenuous – unless you don’t think trans people are worthy of human dignity.

Let me be clear, the whole community: lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, trans men and women, non binary people, and all those in between, of all colours and abilities are deserving of human dignity. Before you forget, Julie, that these are human beings we are talking about, try to be nicer to your community.

Follow Annette on Twitter (@LGBTEXEC)

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