Feminism must be inclusive in the fight for equality

by Cass Macgregor

TW: transphobia

Like many other women I arrived at a deeper understanding of feminism through the experience of sexism and I have come to realise that we need action rather than words to progress. To advance equality for women, political parties such as the Scottish Greens have commitments to offer a gender balanced list of candidates at election. What this meant for me in 2014 was that when not enough women put themselves forwards for the initial Westminster selection in Glasgow, I had to change from my ‘someone else better qualified than me will do this’ to carrying my anxiety and low confidence along on the journey to selection and candidacy. It turned out I was perfectly well qualified, learned a lot and realised I had unwittingly internalised a lot of the sexism I had experienced.

Feminism as an ideology has a lot to offer: advancing gender equality and difference, theorising sex and gender, taking on the patriarchy and abuse of male power. Being a left leaning Green I find it impossible to separate out patriarchy and capitalism, both systems relying on women to do unpaid domestic labour and exploit the environment. I give you the Conservative and Unionist party as a case in point.

However, with recent government consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) bringing the issue to the fore, feminism today might feel like a battleground between those who support progress for trans rights and those who don’t. Particular to feminism is recognising both trans and cis women. There is another divide in the debate, which is that only one group of people actually has the lived experience of being trans. Continue reading

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Gender recognition & human rights: an interview with Elaine Gallagher

elaine photo ruth ej booth

by Cass Macgregor

Gender, sex discrimination, sexism are generally recognised as socially constructed issues which create a power imbalance and lead to inequality. The Scottish government has proposed to improve rights for trans people in the gender recognition process and to recognise non binary gender identity, where a person isn’t either a man or a woman. Gender is increasingly seen as more complex than simply male or female (binary). The Scottish government’s consultation on review of the gender recognition act is open until 1st March 2018 (link at the end).

I am a cis woman; my gender identity corresponds with the sex I was assigned at birth. I’m keen that other cis people understand what it’s like if you don’t identify that way, so my pal Elaine Gallagher agreed to meet up for a chat about her experience of being trans, gender recognition and the debate so far. Continue reading