Toronto’s Beaver Hall Gallery at 29 McCaul Street had until recently been scheduled to host a conference called RadFem RiseUp! featuring bigoted so-called “radical feminists” who have engaged in hate campaigns against trans women, sex workers and 2-Spirit people.
The conference had planned to provide a forum to participants and presenters such as Rachel Ivey and Lierre Keith, both who espouse extreme hate toward transgender women and sex workers. As well the conference had been hosting radical feminists who have engaged in harassment, bullying, dehumanizing language, stalking, outing transgender teenagers online and blaming us for the violence we experience.
They have also used similar hate tactics against sex workers in order to purposely, viciously, attempt to ruin lives; they repeatedly and publicly deride and denigrate sex-workers. They repeatedly, publicly, misgender trans people and 2-Spirit people and in fact they say we don’t exist; they also say that trans women are merely a perverted outgrowth of “porn culture.”
They attempt to erase 2-Spirit identities because we exist in a wider culture that has tried to erase Indigenous culture, gender and identity and that enforces colonial ideas about gender and what is the ‘right way’ to be a woman. The Radfem Rise Up conference is part of that colonial legacy, it is part of trying to control us and define us as fake and worthless.
But we know that our lives are valuable. And because we know that we are beautiful, strong, brilliant and that we have so much to offer to the feminist struggle, that’s why we raised our voices to demand that the venue pull its support for this conference.
And we won.
Beaver Hall Gallery just released emails stating that it will no longer host the conference:
“Beaver Hall Gallery is a space within Beaver Hall Artists’ Housing
Co-operative, where artists and their family members both live and
work. The gallery is managed and staffed by volunteer members who live
in the housing co-op. When gallery events may affect the entire
community of the co-op, the Board of the Co-op is required to make
determinations in the best interest of the co-op members.
A final decision has been made by the Board of Directors to not host
RadFem Rise Up! at Beaver Hall Gallery this coming weekend.
While we realize this news is disappointing for some, we hope that all
parties concerned will respect and understand the decision.
The Gallery Committee of Beaver Hall Artists’ Co-op”
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has stayed alert and informed on this issue over the last few weeks, and of course we would like to thank everyone who emailed, tweeted and campaigned to compel the venue not to host hatred on their premises. You are beautiful, amazing and inspiring! And in the end, it only took a few hours of campaigning to convince the venue to cancel given the ground work we have already done over the past few weeks.
Most importantly, for us a truly radical feminism rejects colonialization and loves women enough to embrace the fact that we can each make decisions about our own bodies, our own lives and our own sexuality.
Here is some more information about the organizing behind this conference: http://www.decolonizingyoga.com/how-derrick-jensens-deep-green-resistance-supports-transphobia/