Decided to have this post in English, too.
Around the 8th of march a lot of feminist talks, demonstrations, parties and other events and actions took place that aimed at enriching exchange on (queer) feminist discussions and to take these (queer) feminist issues and struggles to the streets. Many of the activists involved have been working at linking several struggles and dimensions, through cooperations with different groups, taking into account topics of international feminist struggles and the situation of refugee (women*) in Germany, providing translation and trying to organize demonstrations that could be attended safely by refugees (without papers), too (for example the march organized by International Women’s Space in Berlin or the Reclaim Feminism demonstration in Cologne). The necessity of considering different structures of oppression has been made visible in many spaces – even if there is still a lot to do in many regards.
There is one barrier concerning the inclusion of diverse social positions and identifications which one encounters already in most events‘ titles or related texts: women*. More specifically: the usage of the term women*. Often, the term women* is used in reference to the notion that through the asterisk all persons who are perceived as women* and thereby face sexist/misogynist discriminations are addressed.
The radical left trans* network w.i.r. from North Rhine-Westphalia discusses its use in their critique of 2014’s call for the 8th of march in Berlin:
„Trans*men, male trans*, trans*boys are NOT women – neither with nor without an asterisk. In your definition you include persons who are or who have been fighting against the coercive categorization as such for years. Doing this, you are unfortunately being ignorant towards any kind of self-determination on identification for trans*persons. (…) Trans*women and Inter*women are women. With or without an asterisk. We understand the asterisk in women* rather as a symbol for the category woman being constructed.“
The comic strip „Not Even With *. Women’s Fight Day 2016″ by bleistiftrebellx indicates that this critique keeps being problematic.
Regarding women* a sufficient collective term results in continuously excluding persons feminist struggles want to invite, connect to and be in solidarity with – usually against the organizers‘ original intentions. Transmen and nonbinary persons are not women*. Whenever we formulate invitations, talk about experiences in sexist social structures or want to address social groups according to how they are affected by structures of oppressions for any reason, we need to be aware of the intension and objectives and related experiences:
Are we actually talking about women*? If yes, are transwomen*’s perspectives reflected, too? Have lesbians‘ experiences been considered? Do we focus on cis-gender lesbian women* only? Are we talking about WomenLesbianTransInter*? Did we interrogate the condition of children who have been categorized as intersex and become the target of non-consentual genital mutilation? Are intersex persons welcome who identify as male? Does an invitation to trans* persons explicitly include transmen, transwomen and nonbinary transpersons? How are these diverse experiences embedded? Is an event supposed to be open to all genders or for anyone but cis-gender guys? How is the door policy? …
This is a bunch of questions (and these ones only relate to the dimension of gender…), but if we want to unite in our events and struggles to fight sexist structures together and do not want to exclude (potential) allies, it is worth considering and answering them honestly. Not only for the 8th of march, but all days.