Gender

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 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 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

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…

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…

13 March 2017Blog entry

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;…

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…

1 August 2016Feature

The vigil at Philadelphia City Hall in solidarity with Orlando

Pride in London 2016: two Muslims hold placards on 25 June supporting the victims of the Orlando shootings. PHOTO: Katy Blackwood (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

On 12 June, a gunman used an assault rifle and a semiautomatic pistol to shoot dead 49 people during a Latin night at a gay nightclub, the Pulse, in Orlando, Florida, USA. It was the worst attack against LGBT people – and the worst mass shooting – in US history. Longtime gay rights activist and nonviolent revolutionary…

31 March 2015Review

Feminist Press, 2015; 248 pp; £13.99 and Zed, 2014; 256pp; £14.99

Feminism is as relevant today as it’s ever been. Recent research by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the universities of Bristol and Central Lancashire found more than 40 percent of girls between the ages of 13 and 17 in England said that they had been coerced into sex acts, while one in five said that they had suffered physical violence or intimidation from boyfriends.

The survey also found that 39% of teenage boys admitted to regularly viewing…

1 February 2015Feature

An excerpt from new book Radical Feminism explores divisions around trans inclusion

[This is a short extract from a powerful new book by a former Menwith Hill peace camper, grounded in dozens of interviews with feminist activists around the UK. Radical Feminism provides a guide to the development of the women’s liberation movement since the 1970s, deals with the challenges of queer theory, and centres itself in the history and politics of the Reclaim The Night marches against male violence against women.

We’ve chosen to print this section on trans…

1 December 2014Review

Pluto Press, 2013; 224pp; £17

Queer theory is a way of thinking that undermines traditional ways of discussing sexuality and all that it entails. It can be an amazingly liberating tool which helps us to see the arbitrariness of typical gender roles, and it's possible that you've already come across two of its most famous proponents: Judith Butler and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. But is it also often an exercise in academic, bourgeois titillation?

Penney denounces the, often over-refined, abstruse writing that, he…