This is a reminder that we will be doing our thing to protest rape culture, victim blaming, and slut shaming and thus promote consent and a positive attitude towards sex and sexuality next Saturday.
For those of you who do not know, Slutwalk was started in Toronto in 2011 in response to a police officer public stating that women needed to stop dressing like sluts if they wanted to avoid being raped. Since then the movement has spread throughout the world.
As a transgender woman, a parent of girls and a member of society I take this very seriously. I am also aware that transgender women are often hypersexualised by cisgender men and thus at a greater than average risk of sexual assault. Many men seem to think that women in general should be sexually available to them and some seem to think that transgender women are basically just in it for the sex and thus even more available to them: they seem to think that we are consenting to whatever they have in mind just because we are in a dress: heads up, ‘It’s a dress, not a yes!’ Transgender women run additional risks in that often sexual assaults (and even possibly consenting sexual encounters) seem to turn violent at an alarming rate. ‘Trans panic‘ is even considered a legitimate murder and assault defence in some parts of the world.
I therefore think that all people, but especially women and transgender women have a vested interest in promoting a culture of consent where unless consent is explicitly and freely given no sex can happen. Often behaviours, beliefs and societal norms are so ingrained that people are unaware of the toxic and dangerous nature of these behaviours, beliefs and norms. We need to expose people to alternative ways of thinking about things and let them realise the danger we run by allowing sexual assault to be normalised. Men have an important role to play here too. If they themselves are not the perpetrators of an assault, then they are certainly the father, the brother, the uncle, the friend or some other male relation to the perpetrator. When they fob things off as ‘locker room talk’, or manly banter they are complicit. Men also sometimes find themselves in societal situations where abuse is normalised. We need to educate and empower men to speak out.
I therefore believe Slutwalk is something we all, but perhaps especially the transgender community (in its broadest sense) should support.
After the (short) walk we are planning on going to Lucio’s Pizzeria in Blackheath for a spot of lunch. We would love it of as many of you as possible would join us. It is an opportunity to do a good thing, have a day out and about in a safe and accepting environment and then have lunch with some likeminded folks to meet new people, socialise and maybe get some support.
You can dress as you wish (just take a look at the weather forecast, it can be quite hot at this time of year, dress appropriately). It is a very safe environment in which some cisgender women feel safe enough to be topless and there are always a few transgender people around as well as cisgender men showing solidarity with woman by appearing in drag (which can be problematic, but I think we can give them a pass, because they are doing it for the right reasons, not to poke fun at anyone). So, dress as you wish, come and participate and have fun. Just make sure you have footwear that you can walk a kilometre or two in, stilettos may be a bit of a push…
25 Braeside Road
From 10 am to 1 pm
231 Beyers Naude Drive
From after we finish the walk until around 4 pm
Please note that we need some indication of numbers so, that Lucio’s can be sure that they can accommodate us, so please RSVP by no later than 4 pm on Thursday 27 September.