Julie Bindel – Not In Our City

While LaDIYfest Sheffield generally encourages and welcomes more feminist activity in our city, we write in opposition to the event being held at the Quaker Meeting House in Sheffield with Julie Bindel speaking this weekend about the ‘No Platforming’ of radical feminism. It is not an event we want in our city, in a similar vein to Julie’s attempts to arrange book tour events in Sheffield which were cancelled twice before due to protest, once by a local organisation as a result of our intervention, and once by the Sheffield Students Union for contravening their inclusion policies .

The talk this weekend purports to address the theme of ‘No Platforming’ which has prevented her from speaking in the past. This is due to the increasing unacceptability of some of her views. The fact is, Julie Bindel has not been and can never truly be no-platformed as long as she has the ability to go on speaking tours across the country and write about her transphobic, biphobic and whorephobic opinions in the national press (see links below). To suggest that she is marginalised and silenced for these opinions is not the case.

LaDIYfest Sheffield is a small collective of people of different genders, many of us are exhausted enough from facing the daily battle of existing as women, as sex workers or trans people or bisexuals to ‘silence’ a powerful media personality such as Julie Bindel. But yet, we should fight against people who either don’t believe in those existences or don’t believe such individuals should exist. Transphobia and whorephobia and biphobia go beyond opinions and move into the territory of hate speech which is dangerous and used to justify continued violence against us as those individuals, whether this is overt and physical or takes the subtler forms of institutional and social discrimination.

We were accused by Julie Bindel’s supporters of being childish, but protecting your space is not childish, we have grown up and realised that we don’t need to accept abuse done unto us. We were accused of dividing the feminist movement and letting down the side but we don’t believe in a movement that allows the marginalisation and murder of our siblings in struggle. Where people like Julie Bindel (and now all those who signed the recent letter) are concerned, no safer spaces policy can be strong enough to make their participation in our spaces safe and inclusive for all who need protection, support and solidarity.

Julie Bindel preaches a feminism that is not inclusive, it is harmful and hostile and by consenting to a platform in our city, or not raising awareness about our concerns, we would be complicit in that abuse. Sadly, no other speakers who hold opposing beliefs have been invited to speak alongside Julie Bindel at this event to hold an equal platform and enable a whole encompassing viewpoint to be appreciated by an interested audience – There is a total lack of contrast to allow a continually evolving educational space, which is why we won’t be attending to enter into a debate.

Simply, by not supporting this event, we are making a statement that we do not believe Julie Bindel’s voice needs any further amplification, what she says should not warrant any publicity or audience in our city. Her right to speak is NOT more important than protecting the marginalised communities she speaks against.

NB – We have not called for any protest or specific boycott, but we hope this post will be widely shared. Anyone who wishes to organise any action would have our support.

 

Julie Bindel – A Brief History of why people object:
– Claiming that bisexual women do not have the autonomy to exercise their own sexual preferences or politics 
– Hugely dismissive about the validity of sex work as ‘real work’
– Critical of transgender people, feeling entitled to speak against their access to medical treatment, despite an apology for some of her earlier notorious comments, which led to her being excluded, 11 years ago, she continues to be a threat and danger to these communities, communities who need our support and solidarity as increasing numbers of trans identified individuals are reported as being killed each year for the very fact that they are trans. 
– Critical of Muslims’ right to wear the veil 

For more info about the wider significance:
https://feministchallengingtransphobia.wordpress.com/tag/julie-bindel/
http://www.newstatesman.com/juliet-jacques/2014/08/dispute-between-radical-feminism-and-trans-people
http://feministkilljoys.com/2015/02/15/you-are-oppressing-us/

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15 Responses to Julie Bindel – Not In Our City

  1. Lucinde says:

    I totally support LaDIYfest in this.

    Ultimately, JB has a louder voice and a larger personal platform than any one of her many critics. She does not “struggle to be heard” – metaphorically, she has the equivalent of a megaphone while being surrounded by people who are whispering “please stop using hate speech” to her. Requesting a “no platforming” isn’t censoring her – she’s still got a column in a national newspaper, for one thing, but it is sending a message that the organisation or individual does not support her. So, good.

  2. h says:

    Further to jemima2013’s comment on audiences, it might be pertinent to note that there were only 11 ‘attending’ the Facebook event for Julie’s talk in Sheffield. Not enough to cover the room hire for an evening at QMH, let alone a return train ticket from London as well.

  3. jemima2013 says:

    Its interesting seeing the people opposed here, they seem to think Bindel has a right to speak where ever she wants, if no one turns up to listen will they round up an audience? No platforming is simply exercising the right not to listen. Bindel can say, believe, write what ever she wants. Why do people think she has a god given right to an audience?

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is hugely concerning that a supposedly ‘feminist’ organisation is in favour of ‘no platform’. Julie Bindel has every right to freely express her views without being silenced by groups such as ladiyfest. Oh, and as a Muslim woman I take no offence on Julie’s analyses on Muslim women’s right to wear a veil.
    I feel that Julie is a being targeted by a vitriol narrow minded group. Shame on you.

  5. admin says:

    Oh this is disgusting, is it because women are easy targets that you keep bullying them until they say what YOU think is acceptable? Is Bindel here your escape goat to make an example of for any women to be intimidated to never say a thing about gender or sex work? ‘Abused people’ she never used hate speech and to say that opposing views and debate is abuse is a disrespect to actually abused victims

  6. *attempts to dominate and control the dialogue with regard to how LGBT people choose to self-identity

  7. What’s interesting is that the “No Platforming” she is doing here is decried by LaDIYfest, e.g there will be no opposing speaker. One wonders whether the hypocrisy lies with LaDIYfest or with Julie Bindel. Is her appearance here a threat to the free speech of LaDIYfest? Is it a threat to truth or does it exist to further the truth?

    Certainly there have been attempts to dominate and control the dialogue with regard to how LGBT people, and those who choose to self-identity as such regardless of their preference for a particular biological sex. Indeed, the very act of self-identifying can be a liberating act of a fascist act. One who self-indentifies for the purposes of denying another party their own identity…

  8. Why are so many commenters here desperate to defend Julie Bindel’s right to free speech and less keen on defending the rights of marginalized and abused peoples’ to be free from bigotry? I guess they feel like they’re supporting a lone woman against a horde of oppressors. Let’s be honest about what you’re really doing: you’re supporting someone who says just enough of the right things to let the wrong things slide. I mean, it’s not like people have told her multiples times what they find upsetting about her feminism or attempted to have discussions that could lead to her understanding why what she’s said is hurtful/hateful. Oh wait…
    Instead of asking why LaDIYfest Sheffield is opposed to her speaking maybe ask yourself you’re not.

  9. Colin says:

    Describing a person’s views as “unacceptable”? Really? Have you any idea how Orwellian that sounds?

  10. docconcoct says:

    I’m not sure how someone can promote the merits of free speech, expression, and identity while simultaneously demanding the shutting down of free speech with a straight face. While a person’s opinions may not be palatable it is her/his right to voice them and gives everyone else the opportunity to retort and pick them apart.

    Look at it this way. That horrid little man Nick Griffin appeared on Question Time much to the outrage of some who saw it as a platform for, and endorsing of, bigoted views. I personally saw it as a good thing. It exposed the man for the childish idiot bigot he was. His opinions did not stand up to scrutiny. With that in mind where are the BNP now? Griffin is done for and the BNP are a lame duck party. Before his appearance people gave he more credit than he deserved. Once in a debate situation, well, he had nothing.

    Just because someone spouts obnoxious opinions that offend you is not reason enough to silence them, even in your city. Go to their public appearance. Engage them and take them down in a public forum through reasoned debate. This is a chance to highlight what you see as harmful opinions and change minds on the ground.

  11. She seems lonely and angry. 😦

  12. Hi Sarah

    The title was a reflection on two previous events being pulled by other organisations in Sheffield, as in, it’s sending a fairly clear message..

    Expressing dissenting opinion in itself is not a problem (we do it all the time). But if the dissenting opinion that you’re expressing is harmful and violent towards people who are already marginalized and if, in expressing your views, you’re exacerbating the existing discrimination and erasure of these groups then this is a huge problem. It’s women and other individuals in those effected communities that need our support, which is what we’re trying to explain here. To claim ignorance to that harm and violence existing is really sad and dangerous, and can often be a result of various privileges in action. Learning to read between those privileges is what intersectional feminism is all about, trying to see how there are so many different things that can cause discrimination for women that we need to address. Attacking those marginalised communities through misunderstanding and societal bias is not support. I don’t think Julie Bindel is actually a very good example of someone who struggles to get heard. I hope that helps 🙂

  13. Sarah Ditum says:

    Are you absolutely sure that “not in our city” is the best response to a talk on no-platforming? It’s possible to have good faith disagreements on all the things you mention – the nature of gender, veiling, prostitution – and express them *as disagreement*, though debate or protest. But to suggest that the mere expression of a dissenting opinion is harmful, or even violent, is absurd. Women have enough trouble being heard without trying to obliterate each other’s voices.

  14. Anonymous says:

    For god’s sake – get your bloody facts straight

  15. Anonymous says:

    unacceptable to whom???

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