I love Macclesfield. I really do. I love her saucy undulating hills and her disarmingly eccentric markets. I love her controversially defunct football club, even if you couldn’t get a vegan black coffee at matches. If I were a neighbouring town I’d well be eyeing her up. Especially in Winter, she’s radiant in Winter. I once even applied for a job on the Macc Tourism Board, confident I’d get it because after all, no one loves Macclesfield like I do. Unfortunately my inability to competently operate Excel overshadowed my love that day, but that’s another story. Visit Macclesfield! You won’t regret it! I’ll even show you around, I know some excellent pubs.
On the whole, I’m quite sure that Macclesfield loves me back, but lately there’s been a schism in our relationship. It’s of course political in nature, as these relationship fractures often are when those in love grow up alongside one another. The agent of unrest in this story is the charity organisation ostensibly for ‘LGBTQ+’ people, Macclesfield Pride. Now, as a gobby local lesbian with boundless enthusiasm for being a gobby local lesbian, you might naively presume we’d get on. We’d have coffee mornings perhaps, or ale soaked speed dating events. It could be marvelous! Lesbians know how to party. Unfortunately, that’s not quite what’s happened. Let me talk you through a tale of doublethink, exclusionary inclusion and an acronym in which the L is silent.
It’s fair to say, I’m no fan of London. I’m not in to big noisy cities at all. I hate places that are crowded and where manners are considered a rumour of an ancient past. Conflict, even the threat of it, see’s me frozen in fear. It would take something really special, nay extraordinary, to see me making that trip down south anytime soon. To be brave enough to feel the fear and do it anyway. And, so it was.
On the 21st October 2021 such a miracle occurred. I did indeed wake up in London, having stayed overnight in Wood Green. I had woken, readied myself and then taken the tube to arrive in the political heart of our country at Westminster. There was an inevitable threat of conflict, as another section of our society didn’t want the likes of me congregating with others similar to me, and wished to make their objections perfectly clear. The utter madness and insanity of the preceding 4 years I’d witnessed meant that I no longer cared about my dislikes of big cities or my fears of conflict; I had to be right there in central London, on this day, regardless.
With a quick stop at the statue of Millicent Garrett Fawcett for a selfie en route, where I was reminded that “Courage calls to Courage Everywhere”, I arrived at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre to represent the B of the LGB Alliances inaugural conference. The big scary counter demonstration at 8am consisted of one trans-identified-male lurking behind a tree, and two men dressed head to toe in black with a black mourning veil covering their faces, who believed themselves to represent the mourning of us gathering solely as the LGB, with no attached T. It was both disappointing and terribly dramatic all at once.
Joining the Northern RadFem Network during lockdown meant that we could not meet face to face, everything was over social media or zoom meetings. Although we all have similar feminist outlooks and ideas, all of the women involved have arrived at feminist activism in different ways. As a student in the late 80’s and early 90’s I was involved in feminist groups but later fell away from activism, maintaining my feminist roots by championing women from the background in my employment in the retail industry and later on within the Sure Start Agenda of New Labour.
My journey back to activism arose from the attacks on social media of JK Rowling and verbal attacks upon myself on Facebook by TRA’s when I posed seemingly innocent questions in my attempt to understand why it was so difficult to say the word woman in relation to menstruation; I soon became to understand that although we are told to educate ourselves the mantra of “acceptance without exception” simply means women have no right to question the ideology. We just have to submit and accept that what we are being told is the only truth, even if we know it is incorrect, even if we know that the reality of our biological sex matters in life, policy and law. Without the means to talk about ourselves in a meaningful way stops women from being able to stand up for our rights and freedoms.
NRFN relocated North of the border again for a few days in September for a VERY important date. Poor Marion Millar was up in the Sheriffs Court for daring to tweet a photo of ribbons.
Anyway, up we went again to familiar ground now. Packing of course all our lady essentials for the trip!!!!! Hateful haberdashery, seditious stickers and garments with POCKETS!!!
We were staying very close to the court happily so after a short walk on Tuesday morning we arrived at the Sheriffs Court.
Women had already started arriving with banners, placards, lots of leaflets and creative garb!. The handmaidens of For Women Scotland had arrived of course, looking wonderful in their flowing red cloaks and demure white headdresses!
Several NRFN members and other women’s rights groups have been taking to the streets, parks and city centres in recent months with their hateful haberdashery and seditious stickering, to raise awareness of the battle for women’s rights that we currently face due to trans organisations lobbying the government and organisations to change the definition of what it is to be a woman, reducing us to just a feeling, giving male bodied people access to women’s safe spaces like toilets, changing rooms, showers, domestic violence refuges, hospital wards and women’s shortlists and awards designed to help balance the inequalities women face in business and society.
Some of our stickers tell us that ‘Lesbians don’t have penises’, a statement that is so obvious it should go without saying, however trans rights activists have been teaching our young lesbians that not all women have a vagina and it is bigotry to reject a ‘lesbian’ with a penis. It is so important to get the message out loudly to reassure our young females that their sexual choices are not bigoted. Other stickers have simply stated that women are adult human females – we’re not birthing bodies, menstruators or bodies with vaginas. We’re women and that is what we should be called.
I travelled up to Glasgow with 2 other sisters from West Yorkshire. We had arranged a hotel where several of us could stay together for the whole shopping trip!
We had an enjoyable, and noisy evening but made sure that we were all tucked up nice and early for the big day ahead.
The hotel was a blur of green, white and purple, hateful haberdashery flowing through the corridors!
We finally managed to arrange our giddy selves and set off for Glasgow Green.
By the time we arrived, things were almost ready for the off. The very capable sisters of ForWomenScot had set up stall and transformed the Arch at the entry to this lovely park.. Women were everywhere, beaming, shining, some sweating it must be said because it was VERY hot!
The Green was indeed a sea of flags, placards and banners; and recognisable faces peeking through them.
On Saturday 3rd July 2021, The Northern Radfem Network allied with the Manchester Feminist Network, Make More Noise and Yes Matters UK, to march in demonstration against male violence in all its forms.
At least 74 women in the UK, have been killed by men, so far in 2021, including Sarah Everard who was murdered on 3rd March 2021.
On the 8th March 2021 it was International Women’s Day. Its intention is to be a day to celebrate women (adult human females) in all of their glorious wonder. Women.
I’m a woman. I wanted to celebrate that day, but I couldn’t.
Every organisation that decided to express a celebratory ‘woo hoo, its International Women’s Day’ seemed to have to centre their show of wokeness to trans identified males, rather than celebrate natal born women.
In a day to celebrate my born sex, I am expected to make room for men.
For many people here in the UK, the Tavistock & Portman Gender Identity clinic was an unknown part of their highly regarded NHS Service. They were most likely in a blissful state of unawareness that such services were now being made available to children as young as 10 years old. Transition was no longer a treatment reserved entirely for fully developed and mature adults. Keira Bell’s High Court judgement in December 2020 certainly achieved a new level of awareness, caused some conversations to happen, but it is clearly still not enough.