Retransience – Looking Back

“What are these transphobes suggesting? Nazi checkpoints outside public loos?”

“They kinda did that at Pride London 2008.”

That was part of a conversation between me and a very politically aware young trans woman this week.

Me at Pride London in 2008

Trafalgar Square, 2008: the scene of “Toiletgate”

Amongst my friends, and those who were involved at the time, the Tolietgate incident at Pride London, 2008, was a seriously big deal. It, and contemporaneous events shaped much of our activism and our relations with other bodies, such as Pride and Stonewall, in the years afterwards.

It was 2008; 6 years ago, and there are politically aware trans people in the UK now who do not know it happened.

It hit me: much of our fledgling community’s history is oral transition, or scattered in old blog entries visited rarely by anything other than search engine robots. It is fragile, and yet it needs to be known, lest our community end up perpetually fighting wars of attrition by keeping old grievances on life-support, when all memory of what those grievances even were has slipped away, and when those whose grievances they actually were have moved on, or even passed on.

I wrote a transition blog, starting in 2005, which was popular at the time (go look if you like, but be aware that language and ideas that we now regard as archaic and even transphobic were not so at the time – there’s been a lot of evolution since), but that was about me, and about how I was viewing events as they happened.

With nearly a decade (in some cases) of hindsight, I think it’s perhaps time to look back and, with the benefit of that hindsight, revisit some things that happened, things that shaped our community, and write it down again.

Only this time, it’ll be written as a witness looking back, rather than as someone reporting current events, the consequences of which had yet to play out.

So keep an eye on this blog. I hope to get the first part up in a few days, and I don’t know how long I’ll stick at it, but we’ll see.

Hope to see you soon.