In Search of Ace Representation // it’s ace awareness week!

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All this week — the 23rd to the 30th October — is Asexual Awareness Week! It’s pretty self-explanatory, but it’s a week to raise awareness about asexual, aromantic and anywhere-along-those-spectrums experiences. (Although I don’t know why all these weeks start on Sunday. MONDAY IS THE START OF THE WEEK?? But anyways haha.)

I actually missed ace awareness week last year because I didn’t even know it existed until it came around… So this time I was especially determined to write something. I mean, I still got the dates wrong but pfft, I’m writing this in advance.

If you don’t know what asexuality is — and no, it’s not just for plants — then it’s basically just a lack of sexual attraction. That’s it! There are also people who identify as aromantic, which is a lack of romantic attraction, and people who identify as demisexual/romantic (when you only experience attraction to people you’ve known for a long time) or grey-sexual (a general time for people who are somewhere in between).  But I’m not here to you to explain what asexuality is… Whilst obviously that’s extremely important, it’s also in many other places across the internet, in a much more eloquent way than I can put! I’d recommend the Ace Awareness Week site and the AVEN wiki as a starting point.

So, after that little intro bit, I decided to talk about some misconceptions people have. Although of course raising awareness is super important, my personal experience is that people know the technical definition but don’t always understand what it actually means. The diversity of ace and aro — I’m kind of using this to mean all people who identify along those spectrums; I hope that’s alright —  is SO WIDE. Yes, some ace people aren’t interested in any relationships. Some ace people are interested in relationships, or other options like queerplatonic relationships. Some ace people are also gay or bi or trans or any other identity, Some ace people want to have sex. Some ace people don’t. (But that’s not the same thing as celibate.) Some ace people can experience certain kinds of attraction, in certain situations. You can’t just say THIS IS WHAT AN ACE PERSON IS LIKE. I mean, you can’t do that for anything. But in my personal experience, asexuality = the plant one to many people.

Yet despite all this intersection with other identities, there are barely an ace characters in books and the media? It’s estimated that 1 – 4% of people are asexual, which is kind of similar to the percentage of redheaded people living in England. I can name SO many redheaded characters, yet I can count the number of asexual ones on one hand. Often there will be a character who seems like they’re ace, but the word is never actually mentioned? I mean, I feel like this is getting better for asexuality, although I’ve never seen aromanticism mentioned once. And sometimes it isn’t always needed, like perhaps in a fantasy setting where society works differently.

It’s just so frustrating to still see media where a lack of attraction is seen as something inhuman. Take Sherlock — which, I’m going to be real, is very far from the paragon of representation, but anyway. Sherlock’s just this unreachable icy guy, and it’s like his apparent lack of attraction means he’s a psychopath? *sighs* And Steven Moffat literally said asexual people weren’t interesting to write about, ugh. (This show is problematic in so many ways, I know. And yet I still watch it. Kind of.) I will headcanon Sherlock as asexual until the end of time just because of that — because all the characters keep saying how can you manage without a relationship?

I don’t want it to be that way. I just want characters who are ace and aro without being any less human; without abstaining or choosing the high moral ground or something. Characters who are just people. Because romantic love isn’t always the most important, you know?

I enjoy reading romantic stories — like, I enjoy them even more than I enjoy romance in real life. I read a book like Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun and marvel at all the love there. (Of many kinds.) It also makes me kind of sad, though… I don’t know if I’ll ever have that, or even if I want to. Currently I identify as grey-asexual, but it’s fine if that changes in the future. And it probably will, because it’s sort of a deduction game… It’s a lot more difficult to tell the absence of something. I don’t think I’ve ever had a crush, but maybe I have; maybe I just didn’t know what it felt like. I’ve spent SO LONG searching things on the internet trying to tell if I’ve felt it or not.

Quite honestly, the internet has educated me about asexuality more than anything else. Some parts of mainstream media still sneer at identities like demisexuality. (I’ve seen it with my very own eyes. I have not forgiven that newspaper.) I obviously only have my own experiences, and I’m still very much learning, so I don’t mean for this post to be anything like speaking for the whole community. I just wanted to say my little bit, and I really hope to see more great books with ace representation in the future.

do you have any ace/aro book recs for me? any headcanons? read any cool things for ace awareness week? let me know!

One Page More! E01: Politics & Government in YA

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One more book, one more page…one page more!

*punches the air in enthusiasm* I’m so excited to finally be sharing with you guys my new podcast. 😀 (Yes. Podcast. EXCITING TIMES.) One Page More! is a monthly podcast in which I  — along with various bookish and bloggerly guests — talk about YA, musicals, and social issues. Essentially, as I so eloquently put, all the things that I love. 😛 We’ll hopefully be covering all sorts from new releases to particular topics and random chatter. For the inaugural episode, I was joined by the wonderful Elly @ A Hufflepuff’s Thoughts and Victoria @ Doodles and Scraps to discuss politics & government in YA. Go forth and listen, my friends!

I do hope that you enjoy, and I also hope that this will continue to grow and develop as I work on it. I have a lot of things to learn — okay, next time I seriously do need to say ‘like’ and ‘um’ less — but I’m excited to be sharing flailings with you in a different format. (Also compose another jingle.

Also: I’m on the lookout for people to guest with me, so if you think that would be your cup of tea then do give a shout by commenting below; I’d love to hear from you! 😀

Harry Potter: Exploring the Unforgivable Curses

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Today I’m delighted to be participating in the Potterhead July blog festival, hosted by Aentee @ Read at Midnight. All through this month many other wonderful bloggers are writing about a wide variety of topics to celebrate the release of the Cursed Child script! You can check out the full schedule here.

I decided to write about something which I have a deep interest in — Wizarding law! Even though you might not think it features a lot in the books, there’s a LOT of fascinating material to look at. *nods* (If you couldn’t tell: I am nerdy when it comes to Wizarding law.) But the whole of Wizarding law is rather a broad topic, and neither you nor I would have the willpower to read and write a massive sprawling paper on it. Although I am  kind of sad not to be able to write about werewolves. But ANYWAY. In this post I’m focusing on the Unforgivable Curses! I’ll be looking at the reasoning behind them, their flaws, what they mean for morality in the Wizarding world.

As I’m sure many of you know, there are three Unforgivable Curses: the Imperius curse, the Cruciatus curse, and the Killing curse. (AKA Avada Kedavra. For ease that’s what I call it most of the time. SORRY, TECHNICALITIES.) Imperius makes the victim unquestioningly follow the will of whoever cast it — i.e. mind control — Cruciatus causes extreme pain/torture, and Avada Kedavra instant death. The penalty for casting an Unforgivable Curse is an automatic life sentence in Azkaban.

“And they are so named?”
“Because they are unforgivable. The use of any one of them will….”
“Earn you a one-way ticket to Azkaban. Correct.”

(This is from the movie of The Goblet of Fire, by the way. Not actual canon, but I though it was a rather nice explanation.)

The reasoning behind them is essentially that these spells are so evil that you can never be forgiven for using them. (The clue is in the name.) They’re some of the — if not the — worst crimes a witch or wizard can commit. It seems fairly logical; after all, in the Muggle world we usually have strong penalties for murder, torture and slavery. (There isn’t a completely direct Muggle Imperius comparison, but that seemed most fitting .) In many places people can go to prison for life for these crimes.

However, if you look into them a bit more then the concept becomes rather flawed. Firstly, the inconsistent reasoning behind the Unforgivable Curses themselves. Although many people would call them the ‘worse’ of the three Curses, Cruciatus and Avada Kedavra are both rather problematic. Like I said earlier, there isn’t a direct comparison to Imperius in the Muggle world — you can’t get the same effect in any other way. But the results of Cruciatus and Avada Kedavra can be achieved fairly easily via non-Unforgivable means, whether that’s with other curses or through Muggle means. The penalty is placed on the method rather than the result.

Avada Kedavra has the weakest argument, to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very strongly against murder! But there are many other ways to be killed in the Wizarding world and the same punishment isn’t meted out, particularly in reference to Aurors. It doesn’t figure that only people who murder using Avada Kedavra should be punished with the Unforgivable penalty. So the first problematic element to the Unforgivable Curses are their inconsistency.

The second problem is the automatic sentence to Azkaban. It’s unclear whether this includes a trial or not, but as you might now the Wizarding judicial system isn’t exactly trustworthy. *coughs* let’s hope they did some reforms Normally a judge would decide the punishment. But it seems as though with the Unforgivable Curses, the caster is given no option but to go straight to Azkaban. (Which is especially unfair if that’s without a trial.)

Following these rules, several characters we see as good — including Molly Weasley and Harry himself — should be in Azkaban. In the books they did escape this, but what of those without fame and some form of trust from the establishment on their side? It’s far more fair and logical to hold a trial, consider the situation and evidence and then punish the caster. Considering the horrific conditions of Azkaban, you don’t really want to be sending the wrong person there. (Although that seems to happen, er, fairly frequently.) (Okay, I know this post isn’t a discussion about the prison system, but we should probably consider whether Azkaban is actually a useful place for criminals to go. I mean, it wouldn’t be beneficial for the world if Harry Potter was locked up in prison, so…?)

As well as these two major problems, there are also many other terrible fates out there in the Wizarding world that aren’t branded Unforgivable, such as the Dementor’s Kiss. It just doesn’t make sense to single out these three for particular attention and then disregard others.

The strong penalties aren’t even very effective. Many wizards seem unafraid to cast Unforgivable Curses. Like I said before, this includes many characters we’d see as good, and brings into the equation the question of their own morality. Ultimately, the governing system is still very flawed and practices violence despite their laws. And, as Hermione might point out, they don’t have very good relations with non-wizard magical beings. It’s pretty unclear as to what the law is concerning Unforgivable Curses in this manner. You’d think it would be the same, because a lot of the phrases are to do with the method rather than the effect, but the Ministry of Magic seemed pretty content with killing Buckbeak so it’s difficult to say.

In summary, although I find the concept of Unforgivable Curses very interesting, I think that they’re a rather flawed concept and — like many aspects of Wizarding life — require changes. If you fancy reading up on a bit more, then it turns out there are some rather excellent legal articles out there (by actual law students) about Harry Potter! Yes, that’s an actual thing. 😛 I found this one by Aaron Schwabach extremely useful, but this is also great if you want some broader information about the Law in Harry Potter.

what do you think about the unforgivable curses? are they fair? are you participating in the potterhead july festival?

After Brexit

My emotions are in turmoil right now. I’ve been drifting between bleak emptiness, outrage, and flat-out crying. It feels like the world shouldn’t be able to keep happening — yet it does, and every time I remember that we voted Out it jars me. This all feels like one big impossible nightmare.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’m fucking disappointed right now. I am very disappointed. I cannot believe that my own country has chosen xenophobia and uncertainty for the sake of non–arguments like: ‘take our country back’, ‘make Britain great again’ etc. I despise the numbers of people who voted to Leave. I believe passionately that staying in the EU is the better choice, and I think this is catastrophic. Our country is…well we’re pretty fucked right now. We’re left with Farage in victory and potentially the idiotic Boris Johnson running for PM. You know you’ve made a bad turn when Trump and Putin approve of your decision.

It seems bad. I cried when I saw the news on Friday. I feel more sad right now than I have felt in as long as I remember. I watched my future plans slide away from me as the results came into the television. And the worst part was that I couldn’t even do anything — the people voting Leave were by and large the older generation. That was an utterly selfish vote. It’s us who will have to pick up the pieces. If anyone dares to tell me that young people don’t care about politics, I swear that I will hit something.

I fear a lot for myself and for many other young people. This is going to affect our lives in so many ways. I’m also pretty upset because Brexit is undoubtedly a bad thing for LGBTQ+ rights, and it kind of shadowed Saturday’s Pride. (Next year, I swear, I AM GOING. Instead of just sort of skulking around central London ‘by coincidence’.) (I did actually have a Guides thing, to be fair, but I ardently wish I had gone.) We’re facing the implosion of the Labour party and a probably more right-wing PM than we had before. I’m not a fan of Cameron, but quite frankly he’s the best of the Tories.

But although I am shocked and angry: we must not lose hope. This is not the end of the world. We’re going to survive. Although following the murder of the wonderful Jo Cox it may seem like we’ve gone into war, we haven’t. The vote was very, very split, and hopefully they’ll be able to take that into account. Perhaps when we go into negotiations we’ll be able to keep some elements of being an EU member. (Well, free movement will probably happen anyway, so you know.)

We haven’t left yet, guys. The fight is not over. Article 50 hasn’t been triggered and there are a ton of layers of bureaucracy to get through. No one should have the right to strip away my EU citizenship, and I’m not just going to let it go. This referendum isn’t even legally binding — I mean, they’re obviously not just going to ignore it, but it doesn’t have to be the complete final word. There are many petitions you can sign to — for instance — get a 2nd referendum with 60% majority necessary, or to require that £350 million goes to the NHS per week as promised by the Leave campaign. (Maybe London will eve become an independent city state…? Or we can all move to Scotland when it leaves the UK.)

Remaining in the EU was probably the first big political thing that I truly, passionately embraced. It’s such a shame that the xenophobia that’s sadly in many places worldwide right now had to manifest itself in something irreversible. I’m really scared for the possibility of President Trump but at least he can be voted out after his term ends. Following this result I feel even more determined to do something about the state of politics — I don’t want us to head in the direction of racism and ignorance. I want the media to properly educate people so that the don’t make bloody stupid votes for reasons with absolutely no foundations. I want the Labour party to get its fucking act together, thanks very much.

This is a sad time for us all. But there will be some positives to come out of this. Let’s remember that it’s okay, we’re okay, and we’re not giving up on Britain.

Thursday’s EU Referendum // do i stay or do i go?

The referendum that will decide whether Britain leaves the EU is coming up this Thursday. I can’t vote — and I wouldn’t be able to vote even if they did allow 16-year-olds — but I feel like this is one of the most important decisions yet in my life. I’ve seen over the last year I’ve been trying to have greater political awareness, and the more I’ve read into this issue the more passionate I’ve become in my belief that we’re better off in the EU.

This post may not change anyone’s mind. It’s pretty late know, and I’m not exactly famous. Plus, three quarters of people under 25 want to stay in anyway so perhaps I’m preaching to the choir. But I the polls are incredibly close and feel so, so strongly about this. I want to be able to look back and say: I said something. I really hope it’s not from the perspective of a Britain out of the EU.

For any readers who are a bit confused: Britain is a member of the European Union. I mean, the EU is kind of complicated and I don’t know all the ins and outs, but it’s basically a political and economic union of various states. This mainly means we can trade easily with member nations and that free movement of people in the EU is allowed. The two main issues of this debate have indeed been the economy and immigration.

I don’t think the campaigns have been the best. Both sides have gone for really negative campaigns, which I think is such a shame. Remain in particular had such a strong case to present the facts logical rather than go for crazy scaremongering. But, putting that aside: I want us to stay in. I think that the Leave campaign has really reminded me that there are people who don’t want to be inclusive. That it’s better to cut ourselves off and build a wall.

Perhaps that’s not everyone voting Leave. Obviously there are a lot of different factors. (Please do check out Em‘s post which explains the details a lot better than I can!) I’m sure there are people voting Out with a lot more legitimate reasoning. But in general I’m scared by the idea that we need to ‘take Britain back’. I’ve seen our country, inexplicably, compared to the USSR by educated people…?

I don’t want us to return to being Good Old Britons who sneer and hate foreigners. That’s not how we should be thinking. Yes, Britain is still a democracy; no, the EU is not going to remove our voting rights.(It placed sanctions on the current Polish government because they are doing some very shifty things. Like messing around with the Supreme Court. It’s not a ‘mildly conservative government’, guys.) In particular the EU does reduce the effectiveness in some areas of law, but I think that the benefits outweigh that. We can’t be all take and no give. There are lots of great EU policies! Worker’s rights. The environment. It’s not all doom, gloom and red tape.

I admit that I also believe we should stay for more selfish reasons. I want to be able to travel around Europe! I love that I could go for a day trip to France if I wanted. We can’t know the future of Britain or the economy, but most people agree that Brexit would mean higher prices for some time after, especially whilst we re-negotiate all our trade deals. I don’t particular feel like being a student during a time with both high prices and more difficult travel. Any of my current plans would basically die. Also, my parents’ jobs would be a lot worse and Boris Johnson would potentially become PM. He is a) extremely unqualified and b) not a nice person, so. I don’t love David Cameron, but he’s way better than a lot of people.

This post is not perhaps the highest political analysis you’re going to get. I realise that I’m speaking from a pretty privileged middle class perspective But I do believe, ardently, that Britain is better off in the EU. If we leave I feel the economy and security of our nation would suffer, and I don’t want us to reject all our ideas of co-operation and inclusiveness. We are not so important that countries will just make trade deals with us again. We are not so important that the EU will help us when we need it. Yes, the EU needs reforms, but you can’t change the system from the outside.

If you are able to vote this Thursday then I hope you make the right choice. And I hope that I won’t wake up on Friday to Brexit.

what’s your opinion on the eu referendum? in or out? (and does anyone else think ‘brexit’ sounds like a breakfast cereal, or is it just me?)

Why I Love LGBTQ+ Retellings

‘TIS I, actually writing something for Pride Month! *dances* I’m rather excited to write this post, because I kept writing some very angsty depressing posts about conversations I’ve had with people and it was Not Fun. (There is a time for depressing posts. But right now I just feel like being excited.) (And I HAVE SO MANY OTHER POST IDEAS THEY ALL CAME AT ONCE.)

So! Today I decided to write about something I love a lot, which is retellings with queer characters. THIS INCLUDES ALL RETELLINGS. Not just fairytales. Which sort of applies to every book if you want to get philosophical, but I guess I’m mostly talking about tropes as well…?

ANYWAY. A big reason why I love queer retellings is because I think that they give the story way more nuance than just…a straight relationship. Perhaps it’s rather self-indulgent, because in most cases I would rather about queer characters. But there are so many novels with straight romances that I don’t feel too bad.

Especially with fairy tales, the original story is usually pretty old and so is rather rooted in your typical gender and historical constraints. I feel like if you’re going to rehash a story that’s been told so many times over and over, it’s important to make it original. Also, it really sucks to never see yourself in these stories.

Loads of people are irritated because Russell T. Davies’ adapation A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the BBC apparently wasn’t’ true to the original. (He cut some lines about suicide which worked fine in the 16th century but not today and ended with same-sex relationships.) And it was really fun! QUEER SHAKESPEARE FOREVER. I saw another adaptation of it at the Globe the other week where they put in a queer relationship so I feel pretty good. Anyway, RTJ said: “I find it hilarious that people get up in arms about Titania kissing a woman, but they’re perfectly happy with her kissing a donkey.” That encapsulates a lot of my feelings.

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Titania and Hippolyta; source

Ash by Malinda Lo is one of my favourite books. It’s an f/f retelling of Cinderella with way cooler fairy lore. But when I first read it at the age of around 9 (probably) I didn’t understand the romance. I knew that Cinderella was supposed to end up with the prince and I didn’t understand why she ended up with a girl.

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I feel sad for younger me. I didn’t get the obsession I was supposed to have with boys but I didn’t know there was any other option. I really hope that in the future we don’t end up with kids growing up like that. And I think an important way to do that it is more diversity in kid lit. (Because also, let’s remember that I used to call the peach pencil the ‘skin colour’ pencil.) I find it really frustrating that people think showing kids there are options other than being straight/cisgender/allosexual is ‘pushing an agenda on impressionable minds’ or whatever. -_-

We deserve to have fairytale endings too. We deserve to go on grand adventures and spaceships and ride dragons. Retellings allow different experiences to be written into stories where before they were erased. They let us say: this belongs to everyone. I mean, I guess I’m talking more about older works of literature. In those not everything translates the same way as it would have done at the time. The audience reaction changes, you know?

I think that part of the reason I do like fanfiction (although I can’t deny that itS many flaws) is because I can read happy stories with queer characters. I guess it’s another kind of retelling, in a way. If I’m irritated at a book with no diversity — I still maintain that Keira Cass’ The Selection would have been 100% better with queer characters; SO MANY OPPURTUNITIES — then I can go and read something where the girl does end up with the girl. And they fight supercomputers together and save the world.. I can read stories about agender space pirates. I can read stories about asexual wizards. I don’t know any books with genderqueer characters that aren’t coming out/self-discovery/self-affirming kind of thing.

Those stories are important, but I wish there were more queer characters in other narratives.  I think it’s such a shame that we don’t have more queer characters in fantasy and sci-fi, because there’s such potential in a created world. Does homophobia still exist? The gender binary? Does magic or virtual reality make it way easier to change your gender presentation. *sweeps hands* SO MANY THINGS. If you’re creating with a new world there are so many opportunities to play with dynamics in society. Like in a dystopia: where there’s prejudice between, like, people of a different District, is it okay to be queer in the Capitol? I don’t understand why people can be perfectly okay reading about aliens and elves but say that being non-binary doesn’t exist. *scowls*

Overall: KEEP RETELLING ALL THE THINGS. Make it something that shows me something new about the original trope. Because I do not want to read another straight we’re-playing-Romeo-and-Juliet-in-the-school-play-and-I-have-a-crush-on-you.

do you like retellings? shakespeare fan? got any queer ya recs for me? i’d love to hear!

Generation Politically Correct? // germaine greer & freedom of speech

Apparently I am a member of Generation Z. (I have no idea what we’re going to name the generations after this, but hey.) Over the last few months I’ve been accumulating various pieces of media about how we’re all far too radical and politically correct, and this kind of culminated in me doing a whole bunch of research into attempts to no-platform speakers, most notably Germaine Greer.

Basically, there was a petition to ban Greer was banned from a Cardiff University talk for saying among other things transgender women ‘aren’t real women’. Across the issue various other people like Peter Tatchell and Mary Beard signed a petition supporting freedom of speech in unis. (Many signers later received death threats.) Although many journalists might tell you that this issue embodies how young people are destroying the concept of opinion, it’s more about the reaction of students to people being transphobic.

Okay, freedom of speech is obviously a really difficult thing to discuss: we’re supposed to be able to say what we want, but when does that become hate speech? Where do we draw the line? What’s the difference between an offensive comment and a comment born from the privileges of society? Yeah. A lot of stuff like that.

Often when people quote long words about privilege and equality and the oppression of society in comments, they’re dismissed as being ‘too Tumblr’. That attitude is sseen a bad thing, and in some ways I think it is. I am an avid Tumblr user, and I see almost daily the somewhat aggressive social justice agenda on that website. I do love it sometimes, but what frustrates me is that if you make one mistake, you are bombarded with criticisms — you’re not allowed to be ignorant. Just having no malicious intention isn’t okay: it’s are you sponsoring the discrimination of society? By using this word are you supporting that prejudice? It means that often in a discussion I will stay silent rather than risk offending anyone. Even as I write this, I’m kind of hesitant because I don’t want to offend anyone. I know that I have a lot of privilege, and I can’t speak about all kinds of discrimination. I can only talk from my own viewpoint. So if you think I’m speaking out of line then please, please say.

Anyway. I digress. I’ve realised that I’m using a lot of rhetorical questions in this post… Probably because I don’t really have any of the answers. I’m just someone trying to formulate an opinion about all these other opinions. I DON’T KNOW.

Now that we’re over my small angst introduction, it’s time for me to let out some of my current frustration at Germaine Greer. You can read some of the things she’s said, which are lots of general crude comments about how trans women aren’t real women.My immediate reaction was: well, I don’t agree with you at all, and to be honest that hasn’t really changed as I’ve researched. Obviously I’m not going to agree that being trans is a delusion…? :/ I have so, so many problems with what she’s saying, and I don’t think it’s okay.

Just because a person says one problematic thing doesn’t make all their views wrong, of course. I know of Greer, but I haven’t really read anything she’s written.  Since she’s not as much of an icon for me, I suppose I’m not really inclined to defend her. Do her views on trans people make her a less desirable speaker? Does that mean she should have been banned from speaking at universities?

I mean, going back to Tumblr I think that in particular it has a habit of shutting people down as soon as they say anything slightly wrong. Sometimes these things take a bit of time and explaining rather than righteous fury. By that logic I should probably be saying that Greer shouldn’t have been banned from speaking. I think the situation has worsened by doing that; she seems to just be defending her views as before along with a whole cohort of freedom of speech advocates. This open letter to Greer is excellent, and I’d like to hope that kind of thing would be more useful. But…to be quite honest, I feel that if a uni wants to ban her they can. There’s a difference between a casual person on the internet and an official speaker saying hateful things, you know? I personally wouldn’t have gone to a talk with someone who says things like this. Although: allowing institutions to accept this kind of transphobia isn’t cool, but perhaps it was not the decision of the institution to make the ban. I think it was the whole student union trying to ban her?  But I guess I don’t know enough about the role of unis and their relation to visiting speakers.

I am frustrated that a lot of people have spoken up saying this shows how young people always shutting down any dissent or debate. We apparently don’t want to hear any opinion to ours. It is a problem, but that’s not the whole story.  It’s not always because we don’t want to hear any different opinions. Usually it’s because we don’t think you garner respect or responsibility from misinformed views and hurtful words. We’re changing, alright? Yeah, maybe it’s not okay for you to call someone’s identity a delusion anymore. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Look at all these far too radical and politically correct students! How dare they!

Having said this, that doesn’t make it acceptable to attack people in response. Many people who signed a petition for freedom of speech in universities received death threats. I know you might be angry, but those actions are also not cool. And they’re not going to persuade people of anything, if that’s the aim. To give this a Les Mis allegory: We need to leave the Valjean eye for an eye/several limbs phase and move into a slightly more forgiving mindset, I think.

I think there’s a lot more I could talk about on this topic. Maybe I gave myself too broad a headline. Because there’s SO MUCH. This opens a whole span of issues about the words we use and how we deal with inclusivity. I’ll probably have to write something else in the future. But I’ve looked at a crazy amount of articles for the moment, so I’d like to hear what you think.

should we be able to ban speakers from universities? what do you think about germaine greer’s comments? how do we draw the line between freedom of speech and hate speech?