Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics & Centre for Transforming Sexuality and Gender

Trans Liberation, and the Fight Against Transphobia

Jules Gleeson & Elle O’Rourke

Thursday 13th June | 4pm to 6pm | University of Brighton, Grand Parade, Room G4

Please use this link to register for the event as it is catered.

 Email cappe@brighton.ac.uk for any further questions

Over the past few years transgender people have become an important part of right-wing demonology. Echoing the campaign strategy of US Republicans, an exhausted British Tory party has moved transgender issues and the question of ‘what is a woman’ front and centre in their political rhetoric. Alongside immigration, fifteen-minute cities and fantasies of forced reduction in meat consumption by the eco-stasi, the small constituency of transgender people have become a central figure of both fear and amusement on the reactionary right.


At the same time the public mood towards transgender issues is more sharply polarised than ever before. After an intense media campaign by both the tabloid press and small, well- funded groups of self-identified ‘radical feminists,’ polling of social attitude surveys suggest a notable portion of the British public has swung from a position of either indifference or ignorance about transgender people, to one of fear, disgust and contempt. Whether that be on legal recognition, sports, transition care or the ability to participate in public life at all, there is a significant political constituency animated by opposition to transgender rights.


What are we to make of this unprecedented politicisation of transgender life and its psychic imaginaries? To what extent is this peculiar to England? And how can this assembly of reaction be resisted? Drawing connections between seemingly disparate movements in recent history, this talk will emphasise the increasingly international nature of anti-transgender organising – and underscore how our response should be as international in turn.


Jules Gleeson is a writer and communist based in Berlin. Her essays, reviews and interviews have been widely published, discussed and translated. Jules co-edited the anthology Transgender Marxism (2021, Pluto Press). She is writing a book on the history and thinking of the intersex movement, titled Hermaphrodite Logic (May 2025, Verso).

Elle O’Rourke is a political economist and gender theorist, currently researching critical theories of financialization. She is cofounder of New Socialist, a magazine of left thought and commentary, where she serves as economics co-editor. Elle is co-editor of Transgender Marxism (2021, Pluto Press) and is currently writing a novel.

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