It is always encouraging to see other feminist events organised in Sheffield, but LaDIYfest feels it is important to be aware of the wider issues and criticisms that are often overlooked – Reclaim The Night marches have a disappointing history of being transphobic through an emphasis on biological identity, unwelcoming to male carers and aggressive towards sex workers through picketing, spitting outside clubs and shouting demeaning chants. While we appreciate that every RTN march has different focuses and inclusion policies, and we’re glad that this year’s Reclaim The Night in Sheffield has responded to some of these issues, we still feel that using the name causes an unfortunate association to histories that cannot and should not be forgotten.
The RTN movement largely perpetuates the outdated and inaccurate myth of stranger danger, that nighttime and public spaces are the biggest risk to women (we note this is not exclusive to women, but also to individuals of many other genders and identities) by skirting around the fact that the majority of gender based violence against women and individuals happens in domestic situations by men and people known to them, and often completely failing to acknowledge how the risks for sex workers are vastly increased. Putting sex workers to the fore is something that has been asked of RTN across the country, year after year, and even when there has been acknowledgment that being aggressive towards sex workers or picketing strip clubs on the marches is a bad tactic, that, and slut-shaming, has still happened and been experienced by LaDIYs attending marches. By ignoring these narratives, and not being direct and clear in taking a stance against them, the movement fails to address any of the more pertinent and intersectional issues facing individuals today.
LaDIYfest will join the march with a call to end all gender based violence and discrimination and to highlight sex worker rights in a ‘red umbrella’ block. We welcome individuals of any gender or identity to join us.
More can read on the following links:
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is 25th of November.
[NB: The organisers of Reclaim The Night Sheffield have asked us to clarify that “The march is open to women and people who also experience discrimination or oppression based on their gender identity. Also open to male carers, personal assistants and dependents.”]