Letter to the Harlequin

Author’s note: I really didn’t want to have to write this. I really liked that pub. I literally shook and was stifling tears when I saw the ‘phobes. The GRA reform is a big fight over a tiny progression, and one that queer radicalism needs to get past. We are firefighting when we should be fighting.

CW: Discussions of transphobic activism, abuse and mental illness.

This post concerns The Harlequin pub, Nursery Street, Sheffield. It makes reference to this blog post and a series of twitter threads around the time it was published.

To Liz and the staff of The Harlequin,
I was horrified when I found Women’s Place UK (WPUK) hosting their event at your pub. I went for many years and always found the service to be friendly and the atmosphere to be welcoming. I appreciated the fact that you took steps to be vegan-friendly and to foster good relations with local community groups, like the one hosting the Charity Quiz on Thursday 20th September, the reason I went in the first place.
I particularly appreciated not being harassed by staff and security when I went to the toilet which is right for my gender.
I have been hassled many times in other establishments. I get dirty looks, angry words from bouncers and even got sacked as a result of my transition a few years ago. I thought the Harlequin was a safe place for all LGBTQ+ people, myself included. Then I went on Thursday and discovered you were hosting a hate group.
I was prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt, to take you at your word when you said “I am happy to meet with anyone to discuss any concerns they have about these issues.” Then I saw your Twitter chat, laughing and joking with bigots. You got retweeted by national groups and celebrities. I was stunned by your ignorance and intolerance. Baffled when you said you “were in no way transphobic.”
I am a trans woman, and therefore a woman. I am friends with many trans women. They are also women. If you do not accept that, you are a transphobe. Keep it in mind, it’ll come up again.
You may not be transphobic, but…
Women’s Place UK are a hate group. They hate me and they hate my friends. They say as much in their many propaganda videos. Have a look at this video of Thursday’s speaker Helen Steel at a WPUK event (trigger warning) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9sGJOKmoIg – notice that she never accepts that trans women are women, and lists a number of sexual abuses from cis men. She conflates trans people having a few meagre freedoms with a slew of vile and criminal acts. Much of WPUK’s rhetoric is couched in the threat that cis men pose if they were to imitate trans women. Since they never accept that trans women are not men, they are conflating the rights of trans people with the acceptance of sexual abuse. Basing your views of what trans people may do on what cis people might do is transphobia. Conflating trans women with men is transmisogyny. Assuming someone is a criminal based on their appearance is bigotry. These are hateful perspectives.
I’m not scared, but…
What you do matters. The Harlequin is a community hub. Your word and your actions carry weight. You hosted WPUK. You made them sandwiches. You got them a burly doorman to check ID. You made them welcome and you gave them a platform when other places are well aware of the lies they spread. You are friends with the organisers, and you have been following their work for some time. That gives their words and actions credibility.
You may not be transphobic, but…
WPUK do not consider trans people to be who we say we are. Sometimes they use weasel-words like ‘trans-identified male’ to further marginalise and discredit trans women. They rarely acknowledge that trans men, trans-masculine people or non-binary female-assigned people even exist. Their persistent focus on young trans people, and targeting support groups like Mermaids, just drives trans kids further into the closet and convinces them that their identities are invalid. WPUK co-opts their struggles for an ideology which treats femininity and womanhood as territory to be defended, against enemies without and within. They have the cheek to suggest that trans people are reinforcing gender stereotypes while they pillory any detractors.
I’m not scared, but…
It probably wouldn’t even occur to cis men that they could abuse the GRA if transphobic hate groups weren’t stirring up so much trouble about the phantom threat. It probably won’t anyway. Several countries now have similar policies and no ill-effects have been observed. There has never been a recorded case of a cis man posing as a trans woman to harrass women in gendered spaces. It simply doesn’t happen. It’s an invented threat. But trans people of all genders (and cis people who do not fit the bigot’s arbitrary standards) are consistently harassed and attacked whichever gender’s toilet or changing room they use. Harrassment and abuse are illegal, and no piece of paper, official or otherwise, would be an acceptable defence: the intention of the anti-GRA campaign is not to reduce harrassment, but to ensure trans women receive it.
You may not be transphobic, but…
Debating the existence, let alone the rights and freedoms of transgender people, is a transphobic act. We exist. We deal every day with a society which denies that existence. Trans women, especially trans women of colour, are murdered at a higher rate than any minority group. We are hated, judged and killed for being who we are. WPUK say they want a “debate” about the right to exclude and oppress trans women. They have the resources to travel the country opposing the GRA reforms in a consultation which is a result of their own pressure on the government. They excluded a trans woman who was willing to engage in “debate” on Thursday because she wanted, perfectly sensibly, to warn other trans people that they were being “debated” by transphobes in your pub. No cis person ever has their gender interrogated and undermined in this way. It is done to marginalise us. There is no debate to be had: we exist and our needs are real. If you debate us, you hate us. It is that simple.
I’m not scared but…
Trans people do not have a platform on anything like as strong a footing as the anti-trans lobby. We have Munroe Bergdorf, Shon Faye, Juliet Jacques and Paris Lees fighting our corner. That’s all the trans women I can think of with anything resembling platforms in the national media. The opposition, which claim to be silenced, have regular columns in the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Times, the Spectator, the Guardian, the New Statesman and the Morning Star. That’s pretty much the full political spread of the mainstream papers. We are attacked in all of them. The “silenced” opposition are paid to attack us, pretending there is any “debate”.
You may not be transphobic, but…
WPUK present transitioning as if it’s a doddle. Something a person can decide to do on a whim. Gender dysphoria is a deep and prolonged discomfort, which affects every aspect of our lives and drives our mental health into the gutter. We transition to protect ourselves, then find a whole new layer of fear and hatred from people who think we are predators. They see us as perverts and abusers disguised as freaks and clowns. They refuse to allow us to represent ourselves as they present pseudoscience and “eighth-grade textbook” genetics as acedemic research. They seek to convince everyone around us that we are not ourselves, and that our identities and bodies are fabrications. Dysphoria can make us suicidal. So can the persistent bullying and harassment we get for acting on it.
I’m not scared but…
It took me two years and nine months from the time I first asked my doctor to refer me to the Gender Identity Clinic to being started on a course of HRT. That’s the same length of time it took me to earn my degree. I am lucky enough to live in the same city as one of the few GICs in the country, and it only takes a year and a half to get an initial appointment. Northants GIC has a waiting list of about two and a half years. My friends in North Wales have to travel to central London for their treatment and, like all GIC patients, face consistent denial, interrogation and gatekeeping when they get there. Medical transition is not easy and it definitely isn’t fun. It’s difficult, dehumanising, expensive and uncertain. The GRA reform would give us one little shortcut past all the misery the medical and legal establishment puts us through before we can be officially recognised as who we were all along.
You may not be transphobic, but…
Anti-trans activists have outed, doxxed and physically attacked my friends. They spy on us and destroy careers and lives.
I’m not scared, but…
We are vulnerable, and there are few of us. When we attempt to resist in any way, we are discredited, misrepresented and shamed into silence.
You may not be transphobic, but…
You had a big old giggle at our expense when somebody was wrong on the internet.
I am not scared, but…
You just told us you were thinking that all along.
You may not be transphobic, but…
You gave a platform to the people out to ruin us.
Like your initial statement, I am lying when I say I am not scared. You may not be transphobic but I am scared to death.

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Organise! 90 cover art

CN: transphobia references.

Hey folks, here’s a picture I arted for the cover of Anarchist Federation’s Organise! journal. I was pretty keen to do the cover when I heard what the theme would be. I got ill right after I volunteered & couldn’t paint for a week and a half, which was shit. But I got better, which is not. But it meant the deadline was a lot tighter than I would have liked. So I’m not entirely happy with it, for reasons I’ll detail below.

Order or download the issue HERE.

2018-03-23 final 72px

Organise! 90 Cover (2018), acrylic ink & paint on paper, 318 x 299mm

Here’s a commentary I wrote for the journal, but don’t read it here, get the thing and read it there instead. Go on, you don’t need me to spoonfeed you my bullshit opinions:

The cover illustration for Organise! Issue 90 is a celebration of trans and queer resistance. I volunteered to create the cover art as myself and many of my friends are involved in these struggles, to show my encouragement and solidarity to my trans and queer siblings within the anarchist movement.

The imagery is based on my experiences of Pride marches, with a militancy influenced by other protests and direct action movements. Pride should be an act of resistance, continuing the tradition of the Compton cafeteria and Stonewall riots of the 1960s.

The centrepiece is a blue, pink and white trans pride flag with the black halved triangle common to anarchist movements. This style of flag appears again with the anarcha-feminist flag along the bottom edge. I made sure to include both to stress how vital it is for queer and feminist struggles to unite. The struggles are inseparable, despite what the right and the TERFs shout at us.

The image contains a number of homages. On the left, the green & yellow flag was the result of a famous transphobe apparently searching for ‘trains flag’ and embarrassing themselves, covering up transphobia with ignorance. We are reclaiming Thomas the Tank Engine. She’s one of ours now. Over on the right are nods to trans Youtuber Contrapoints’ character ‘Tabby’, a well-meaning and adorable mockery of the militant far left, and Marsha P. Johnson, the legendary Black trans activist famous for instigating the events of Stonewall. The slogan ‘Happy Birthday Marsha!’ is the title of a recent documentary. There are references to disabled queer struggles in the paired black and pink triangle flag, and anti-police resistance. The cops have hover-vans now, so there’s a lot of struggle left to go.

So from left to right, here’s a list of the flags and placards in there:

“The Cis Take the Piss But the Trans Got the Plans” – I bloody wish we had some plans beyond not getting too sloshed the night before a big event. We are, unfortunately, credited with all sorts of conspiracy bullshit. That said, some wonderful trans folk do have amazing works and make the world a better place. But the Powerful Trans Lobby is barely a fucking porch and the roof is leaking on our fuck-me shoes.

Trains Pride: This was apparently something RuPaul tweeted about how much he didn’t hate trans people. He fucked it up. Many people giggled.

“Our Streets, Our Pride” – A sensible slogan. Best shouted at ‘phobes who turn up to spoil the fun, while collectively showing them the gate. Nod: Sheffield ATH statement

“L@… R…” – That’s “Love and Rage” but it’s too shy to come out & play for real.

Anarcha-feminist flags (top & bottom) – keep fighting the good fight. Nod: Edinburgh AFB

Big Trans Anarchist flag – I bollocksed this up. Also, the Trans Pride flag is baby blue, baby pink and white. I hate those colours. Loathe them. Ugh. So I’ve used process cyan and magenta instead, which is a totally acceptable subsititute. Same on the other Tans Pride flag further right.

“No Justice, No Peace” – the Filth hate us and don’t belong in Pride. A warning for them to fuck off or have their helmets added to the trophy pole. Nod: Anti-Capitalist Queers – Pride 5 Solidarity

Pink & Black Triangles – in an anarcho-friendly split-black arrangement. Not a flag of any group I’m aware of existing but certainly one that should. Nod: Black Triangle Campaign

“Happy Birthday Marsha” – sorry I covered Marsha’s face up. I feel pretty bad about that lazy art. Reina Gossett’s documentary is out now and I hope she gets revenge for David France ripping her off. Nod: Happy Birthday, Marsha!

IWW flag and toilet roll on a stick – Nope, no idea. Nod: ‘The Toilet’ animated film

Tabby – Yeah, I know she’s a pisstake but she’s sooo fucking lovable. Stop it. Stop looking at me like that. Bow: Contrapoints’ ‘The Left’

So why am I so pissed off with myself for doing such a botched and worthless sham of a painting? Look at that flag. Just take a good look. See it? See what’s wrong? Cos I can barely look at the damn thing, it’s so awful. An anarchist flag (like the one on the best tram ever) has a diagonally bisecting division. So you get two triangles. Simple, eh? Who could cock that up? Well, if you look at that flag, the black triangle dips straight down towards the bottom, through the blue stripe, but further back is cutting across the white stripe. So it would look more like this:

Crap anarcho trans flag

I am a pillock.

But don’t let that put you off the mag. Rad it, then go steal a hover-van.

Update – new page

Hullo. I am rubbish at updating which is why it’s going on 3 years since my last post. I’ve been working on a heap of stuff so will have new updates soon. Pretty stuff exists.

I’ve added a page for my work for Industrial Workers of the World designs, so click this link if you can’t be arsed to scroll back up: IWW designs

See ya next time, assuming World War Tweet ain’t wiped us out.

The Boar of the Bullingdons

Hey all,

A few weeks ago I made a poster to commemorate the alleged sexual encounter between a certain prominent Tory politician (whom I may or may not have previously referred to as a ‘wankstain’) and the head of a dead pig. Obviously, being both vegan and Tory-hating, I was pretty horrified. Imagine having to touch a Tory’s bits! So the idea was to create a Hammer Horror-style image of the beast returned to wreak its vengeance upon the obscenely cruel villain.

Anyway, the incident is in the news again because someone’s doing a Bonfire Night celebration, so it’s still officially funny. Here’s my take:

 

BoarOTB Final 1024 Border

High-quality A4 prints of this poster are on sale here: http://remember68dfr.bigcartel.com/product/boar-of-the-bullingdons-art-print

£5 from each sale will go to Action for Trans Health (http://actionfortranshealth.org.uk/) and £5 will go to the solidarity fund for the Liverpool Love Bank 5 (http://lovebank5.noflag.org.uk/)- imprisoned as a direct result of their protest against government policies.

LibFest 2015 part 2

Ehup, here’s the second set of publicity designs for IWW Sheffield’s (or Sheffield IWW’s, it doesn’t really matter) LibFest 2015 – this time in colour! Here’s the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/406371576236926/

Here’s the full-colour poster:

2015-08-11 LibFest colour poster proof 1024

And here’s the extended information from a more detailed flyer:

LibFest 2015 – Working Together for Positive Change

Saturday 29th August, 11.00am – 10.00pm,

The Old Junior School, South View Road, Sharrow, Sheffield S7 1DB

What is Libfest?

LibFest 2015 is a brand new festival organised by IWW Sheffield. The event celebrates the positive action people in and around Sheffield are taking to improve our lives and conditions, resisting government cuts and fighting corporate greed. LibFest will feature a wide range of community groups, grassroots campaigns, workplace organisers, artists, bands and musicians, coming together to make positive changes, take control of our lives and build a future worth living in!

The event will feature a range of practical and talk-based workshops, stalls from a wide range of local community groups and guest speakers from a number of ongoing campaigns. The event will be a great opportunity to meet and get to know other people involved in community action, make links and form stronger bonds across the city.

Later on, the event will host music from Sheffield’s most radical and innovative musicians, playing a broad range of styles from Folk and Rebel Blues to Punk and Hardcore, with DJ sets to conclude the evening.

Facilities

The building is fully wheelchair-accessible. Please contact us if you have any specific access requirements and we will do our best to meet your needs.

A Safer Spaces policy will be in effect. All participants deserve to be able to express their views and experiences, within the spirit of equality and freedom. Everyone is expected to treat each other with respect and sensitivity. Oppressive and/or abusive behaviour, of any kind, will not be tolerated. Please contact us for more details of the policy.

The Old Junior School’s community cafe will provide vegetarian and vegan food throughout the day.

The event has a BYOB alcohol policy, but all participants are reminded to respect the child-friendly and safer -space ethos of the event, and act responsibly at all times.

For more information about the venue and facilities, see the Sharrow Community Forum website: http://www.SharrowCF.org.uk or call 0114 250 8384.

About the IWW

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, ‘the Wobblies’) is a different sort of union – workers from any industry can join, including unemployed people. The IWW works on a democratic, voluntary basis – the union has no bosses and we control our own activity. We organise for all types of workplace struggle, including wage-theft, discrimination, dangerous practices and bullying, taking whatever action the workers themselves feel they need to put the situation right. A Wobbly can count on the support of all their Fellow Workers: our motto is “an injury to one is an injury to all.”

To find out more, visit iwwgmbsheffield.wordpress.com or find us online at facebook.com/iwwsheffield and twitter.com/iww_sheffield now!

Download the printable black-&-white info flyer here:

2 A5 single-sided JPG:

https://remember68dfr.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/2015-08-17-2-side-flyer-bw-a5x2.jpg

2 x A5 double-sided PDF:

https://remember68dfr.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/2015-08-23-info-flyer-2-page-jpgs.pdf

I’ll post a blog with more details of the stages I went through producing this later. I’m also planning a basic design workshop for publicity material on the cheap at LibFest itself, which looks like fun! The posters were mostly done in ink & paint on paper (LibFest Tree emblem), GIMP (image editing) and Scribus (layout).

Here are larger posters & flyers for you to print & distribute:

A3 colour poster:

https://remember68dfr.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/2015-08-11-libfest-colour-poster-a3bleed.jpg

A4 colour poster:

https://remember68dfr.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/2015-08-11-libfest-colour-poster-a4bleed.jpg

A5 colour flyer:

https://remember68dfr.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/2015-08-11-libfest-colour-poster-a5bleed.jpg

2 x A5 colour flyers:

https://remember68dfr.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/2015-08-12-libfest-colour-flyer-2xa5.jpg

4 x A6 colour flyers:

https://remember68dfr.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/2015-08-12-libfest-colour-flyer-4xa6.jpg

LibFest is next Saturday – See you there!

IWW Sheffield’s LibFest 2015

Crikey, it’s been ages since I posted here. I’ve been busy!

At the end of this August, Sheffield IWW is hosting ‘LibFest 2015’ – a day celebrating and promoting the positive movements and action people have made, and continue to make, in response to the government cuts. ‘Austerity’ is a shitty thing to live through, and I’ve been at the sharp end of the cuts more than once. Despite that, lots of really amazing things have happened in and around Sheffield in the last few years, and the aim of LibFest is to bring together some of the numerous underground and public campaigns with a spirit of rebellion and a Do-it-Ourselves ethos. Here’s the Facebook Event page for LibFest 2015: Libfest: a festival of music, community and libertarian forms of resistance

I’ve been designing publicity for the event, and I’ll post a more detailed record of how I’ve put the poster designs together later on. For now, here is the black-&-white poster design for you to share and plug 😉 and a selection of sizes for you to download and distribute at your convenience. Enjoy 😀

2015-05-08 Poster Layout Proof 1024

A4 PDF:
https://remember68dfr.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/2015-05-08-poster-layout-proof.pdf

A4 JPG 300dpi:
https://remember68dfr.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/2015-05-08-poster-layout-proof.jpg

2 x A5 Flyer:
https://remember68dfr.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/2015-08-06-libfest-bw-flyer-2xa51.jpg

4 x A6 flyer
https://remember68dfr.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/2015-08-06-libfest-bw-flyer-4xa6.jpg

The A4 posters can easily be scaled to or printed at A3 with no visible loss of quality.

Colour posters & more detailed leaflets coming soon!