Gender

1 June 2024Letter

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Rebecca Elson Watkins referred in PN 2671 (p18) to the NHS ceasing to prescribe puberty blockers to gender non-conforming children because there is insufficient evidence to prove that they are safe.

She called this ‘Bull. Shit.’ And then went on to say that they have been in use since the 1980s and that there are ‘armfuls of research showing the benefits of this treatment’.

I have to disagree. The evidence for the long-…

1 February 2024Letter

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There are social dynamics and hierarchies in anarchist and peace movement groups that often work harder to undermine what the stated aims of these groups are, than capital, the state, or whomever.

However, showing a brave commitment to fighting one of the most pernicious, socially respectable and harmful forms of oppression in society today, is certainly not one of these malignant factors.

Both-sidesing the debate around…

1 December 2023Feature

A sneak-peak of a new exhibition at The Barbican

Erica Smith writes: In the book which accompanies Re/Sisters, Anna Feigenbaum defines three categories of eco-feminist: web weavers, tree huggers and water defenders. Feigenbaum suggests that the term ‘tree hugger’ dates back to 1730 when villagers in Bishoi, Kherjarli in northern India sacrificed their lives to save trees being cut down to build a new palace for the maharaja of Jodhpur. 250 years later, in the early 1970s, women from villages in the Garhwal Himalayas, northern…

1 October 2022Letter

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In a news story (‘Clash in Manchester’) in the June – July issue of Peace News, the image of black-clad, masked trans rights activists standing in front of a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in order to block women from speaking in public graphically revealed the true nature of the trans rights movement. (PN 2660)

In cities around the UK, whenever women gather together to speak up for women’s rights, balaclava-clad trans…

1 October 2018Comment

A reader writes in as part of the trans rights debate

Image: Women’s Library, LSE

Last issue, we published a letter from Clare Bonetree explaining why she was ending her subscription to PN over our coverage of recent conflicts over trans rights. The last straw for her was our description of the conflict at the Liverpool Anarchist Bookfair (over an anti-trans leaflet) as a question of free speech. Clare’s letter prompted a response from another reader, Cath Bann, which is published below. We welcome responses to both Cath’s and Clare’s…

1 October 2018Comment

How will Brexit impact the rights of women in the UK?

Gender equality is one issue that doesn’t come up much when we’re talking Brexit. OK, fair enough, women’s equality is not nearly as important as trade deals and immigration, seeing as women are only 51 percent of the population.

OK, so how would, could, Brexit affect women? Well, for one, EU laws aim to protect maternity (and paternity) leave and seek to prevent discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace.

Also, rights for part-time, casual and agency workers (…

1 April 2018Letter

Why does Charlie Kiss say (PN 2614–2615) that PN facilitated the distribution of ‘anti-trans’ leaflets after the deplorable event at the Anarchist Bookfair? As I understand it, those leaflets were handed out by a women’s group who felt that women’s rights were being changed without most women’s informed consent. They had a logical reason to be campaigning – Jeremy Corbyn, that most inclusive of politicians and enthusiastic supporter of self-ID [the right to be recognised legally as…

1 February 2018Feature

A trans man responds to our coverage of the 2017 London Anarchist Bookfair

Pride march, Dublin, Ireland, 2013. Photo: Infomatique via WikimediaCommons

While the events at the London Anarchist Bookfair were deplorable (see PN 2612–2613), I was disappointed to see that Peace News decided to become by default the distributor of the anti-trans leaflets handed out at the Bookfair, and surprised that there was not any space provided to look at the actual issues at hand by trans people – as presented by the leaflets.

The issue of…

1 June 2017Review

Icon, 2016; 176pp; £11.99

The first recorded use of the word ‘queer’ being used in an explicitly homophobic, derogatory sense was in a letter about Oscar Wilde. It’s always meant something strange and suspicious, as in the American saying ‘queer as a three-dollar bill’, or a fleeting reference to the Diogenes Club in the Sherlock Holmes stories.
Only recently, though, has it been reclaimed and given a new, far more empowering definition. Instead of being an offensive term suggesting that a person is unnatural in…

1 April 2017Review

Verso, 2016; 320pp; £9.99

Trans is an autobiography by Juliet Jacques, a trans woman who previously wrote a series about her transition for the Guardian. Jacques cleverly interweaves trans history, and the focus on transness in various forms of entertainment, with her own experiences, creating an intelligent, honest, and powerful account of life as a trans woman, making this a wonderful resource for trans and gender-questioning people.

She opens by talking about her sex reassignment…

1 April 2017Review

Myriad Editions, 2015; 224pp; £14.99

Beautiful, disturbing and timely, Becoming Unbecoming uses the medium of the graphic novel to brilliant effect in exploring that ‘something embedded deep within [our] culture that produces eruptions of gendered violence and allows them to flourish’.

Becoming Unbecoming dovetails an account of the author’s own experiences of rape and sexual abuse during her childhood in West Yorkshire in the mid-to-late 1970s with the history of the police hunt for the so-called ‘Yorkshire…

1 April 2017Review

Spinifex Press, 2016; 192pp; £14.95

A professor of journalism at the University of Texas, Robert Jensen has a long history of activism focussing on US foreign policy, progressive journalism, climate change and pornography.

With The End of Patriarchy, he makes a strong, often deeply personal, case for radical feminism, which he believes has lost significant ground to individualistic liberal feminism and postmodern feminism in the broader culture and academia, respectively. For Jensen, the central tenet of…

13 March 2017Blog

Ian Sinclair interviews activist and author Robert Jensen about his latest book The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men (Spinifex Press, 2017)

Ian Sinclair: How does radical feminism differ from other forms of feminism?

Robert Jensen: First, by radical feminism I mean the understanding that men’s subordination of women is a product of patriarchy and that the ultimate goal of feminism is the end of patriarchy’s gender system, not merely liberal accommodation with the system. Second, radical feminism is central to the larger problem of hierarchy and the domination/subordination dynamics in other arenas of human life; while not…

1 October 2016News in Brief

On 13 September, military whistle-blower Chelsea Manning finally won the right to be given gender reassignment therapy, five days after she started a hunger strike. This will be the first time a trans prisoner in the US has received this treatment.

Chase Strangio, Chelsea’s attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, commented: ‘This medical care is absolutely vital for Chelsea. It was the government’s refusal to provide her with necessary care that led her to attempt suicide…

1 August 2016Feature

Activists need to examine the unspoken assumptions and power relations already at work in our movements, argues Julia Downes

Content note: rape, sexual assault, sexual violence



In social justice movements, we often encounter forces of the state who seek to quash radical dissent. The police, as agents of the state, are called on to contain and disperse demonstrations and protest camps, infiltrate and surveil our movements, profile activists, evict and shut down occupations.

This can take a distinctly gendered approach.

Several studies have indicated that women are at an…