Saturday, June 30, 2012

We hate freedom of association, except our own.

Why do so many people regard politically correct queer activism as a nest of special pleading? For one thing, it often is. "Freedom of association" has long been a snarl term among those who believe that they have the right to participate in any gathering that they choose, despite the wishes of those who organized those gatherings in the first place. Sometimes, however, the Birkenstock is on the other foot, as with a radical feminist conference whose organizers sought to exclude transgendered people. The original venue declined to provide space for reasons relating to nondiscrimination:
In consultation with the organisers of RadFem 2012 and our legal advisors, Conway Hall has decided not to allow the booking in July 2012 to proceed. This is because it does not conform to our Terms and Conditions for hiring rooms at Conway Hall. In addition, we are not satisfied it conforms with the Equality Act (2010), or reflects our ethos regarding issues of discrimination.

We had sought assurances that the organisers would allow access to all, in order to enable the event to proceed at the venue. We also expressed concern that particular speakers would need to be made aware that whilst welcoming progressive thinking and debate, Conway Hall seeks to uphold inclusivity in respect of both legal obligations and as a principle.
Radfems were outraged by the slight against their freedom of association. Sorry, but if we want it for ourselves, we have to allow it to others.

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