London’s Reclaim the Night march kicks off at 6.30pm from Whitehall Place this Saturday 21 November. The march itself is women only, and will be followed by a mixed rally for women and men in the Camden Centre, Kings Cross.
Each year, when advertising the march, we receive comments and emails asking whether Reclaim the Night London is open to trans women. We also received comments asking about this year’s march on our recent piece on the women-only workshop at the Feminism in London conference. Although we have been told informally that trans women are implicitly included in the ‘women only’ label, it appears that the lack of public clarity surrounding this has lead to some confusion and resulted in some women – both cis and trans – feeling unable to take part in the march.
As discussed in the Feminism in London post, the use of the term ‘women-only’ is problematic because trans women cannot be sure whether the term includes them, given that society in general and some feminists in particular refuse to accept them as ‘real’ women. For this reason, we at The F Word think it would be helpful if the London Reclaim the Night march were advertised as being explicitly open to trans women. A simple amendment to the promotional material and website would widen participation in this important and significant feminist event. Trans women experience misogynist male violence – in addition to transphobic violence – and should be able to take to the streets along with cis women to protest against it.
So we passed readers’ feedback and this suggestion on to RTN organisers at the beginning of October in the hope that the website could be amended for this year’s march and that promotional material for next year’s march will make it clear that trans women are indeed welcome. We have received no official response thus far.
Reclaim the Night is a fantastic event which F Word bloggers have attended and enjoyed in the past and we hope to be able to support a fully inclusive march in the future.