AN event to mark LGBT History Month took place at the Working Class Movement Library at the weekend despite controversy surrounding the speaker, feminist writer Julie Bindel.
Around 10 people protested outside the library against Ms Bindel, who was accused of being “transphobic, biphobic, Islamophobic and anti-sex work.” She was also accused of being “a fake goth.”
A spokeswoman for the library, which houses material on the Spanish civil war and trade union history, said there had been sustained online targeting of the library and its financial backers by protesters attempting to prevent the meeting from taking place.
But she added that the venue had also received extensive support, including from one woman who had donated half her carer’s allowance in solidarity.
Ms Bindel talked about the bullying she had faced growing up as a working-class lesbian in Darlington, where she said young people had few opportunities and were “regarded as factory-fodder.”
“The school I attended was a recruiting ground for the National Front,” she said.
“Where I grew up, you didn’t have a ‘career,’ you had a job.”
Ms Bindel went on to describe how encountering feminism as a young woman had helped her to deal with homophobia, adding that “being subject to male violence or being afraid of male violence is the one thing that all women have in common.”
An understanding of this “is not ‘radical feminism,’ it is real feminism,” she said.
Ms Bindel also lamented the recent cuts to Sunderland‘s women’s refuges, adding that feminists “need to be braver” and “continue to talk about our material reality.”
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