The Eve of Pride – A Radical, Virtual Conversation

TP, Baile Átha Cliath

The night before Pride the Connolly Youth Movement were honoured to host a panel discussion on the politics of pride. Our guest speakers were Adam Murray (member of the CPI Northern Area Committee and Community Development Manager for Cara Friend) and Katherine O’Donnell (professor of philosophy in UCD and co-founder of the Irish Queer Archive).

Adam spoke to us about his experience as an LGBTQ community organiser and the history of LGBTQ organising in the 6 counties. He gave a lot of insight into the disagreements or “faultl-ines” that present themselves between the approaches of professional LGBTQ rights groups and radical smaller groups. The contradiction between those that eat canapés in Stormont and those that protest on the steps outside. He stressed the need for both approaches, the idea that you need to have someone at the table and someone knocking down the door.

Katherine gave a short talk on why she sees anti-trans activism as a lesbian issue. She started with the history of her “favourite lesbians” Eva Goore-Booth and Esther Roper, who together with Irene Clyde (a trans woman) founded a magazine in 1915 which sought to question and reject the gender binary. Katherine then talked us through some of the theory and philosophy behind anti-trans activism and how it is harmful to other LBGTQ people, lesbians in particular.

 

 

After listening to our guests speak on their chosen topics we asked them questions about how imperialist outlooks might foster anti-trans sentiments, about the marriage equality campaign and its middle-class assimilationist tendencies, about whether or not gender abolition is a useful goal for feminism and much more.

I found the discussion to be an incredibly enriching one and hope the 40 other attendees took something from it too. The grounding of queer organising in queer history is essential.

Documents discussed and further reading available here.

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