Tuesday 15 December from 12:00-1:30
#TransLivesMatter.  Headline speaker: Laura Miles, trans activist and author of Transgender Resistance, Socialism and Trans Liberation (Bookmarks Publications, 2020)

During the fourth day of our strike we heard from speakers, Laura Miles, trans activist, author, and trade unionist, and Sarah Savage trustee of Trans Pride and author of She’s My Dad!: A Story for Children Who Have a Transgender Parent or Relative (Jessica Kingsley Publishers). During the teach out several questions were asked about books and media that attendees could read to improve their understanding of trans issues and trans lived experience. We also learned more about Brighton Trans Pride and considered ways that Brighton UCU could offer support to the event in the future. Furthermore we discussed, positive trans story lines and representation in television and film. Several suggestion were offered and the chair has done their best to assemble resources mentioned throughout the session in this post for both those who attended, for anyone who wishes to increase their own awareness.

Please note: where book recommendations are provided below we have deliberately not linked to Amazon. In many cases Amazon provides lower prices, however during these difficult times paying a couple of quid more to support independent and LGBTQIA+ booksellers seems like the right thing to do.

Laura Miles’ talk and book recommendations

  • Laura’s book, Transgender Resistance: Socialism and the fight for trans liberation can be ordered from Bookmarks Bookshop’s Website.
  • Laura offered a few book suggestions:
    • Champions of Equality : Trade unions and LGBT rights in Britain by Peter Purton (Lawrence & Wishart Ltd.) – available at Queer Lit booksellers.
    • Transgender History – The Roots and Today’s Revolution by Susan Stryker – available at Queer Lit booksellers.

Sarah Savage’s talk and book reading and book recommendations

  • Sarah’s book, She’s My Dad!: A Story for Children Who Have a Transgender Parent or Relative can be ordered from uk.bookshop.org.
  • Sarah mentioned co-writing Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl? with Fox Fisher. Fox is prolific creator, artist, author and trans activist. See the breadth of Fox’s work at their website.
  • During Sarah’s talk she mentioned the book, Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers by Stanley Cohen (Routledge – available at many libraries). This important book, originally published in the early 1970s takes a look at subjects which have caused moral uproar during certain eras. The book has been revised regularly up until 2011 and considers the societal power structures at play when certain groups and sub-cultures are marginalised and maligned.
  • Sarah recommended the following authors and creators:
  • For information about Trans Pride Brighton & Hove and to donate, please visit the website.

Suggestions from Attendees and Viewing Recommendations

  • Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue by Leslie Feinberg (Beacon Press)- you can login and borrow this book for free from the Internet Archive Library.
  • Disclosure (2020) – a Netflix original documentary about transgender representation in film and television. The documentary features well known trans actors and artists, including Laverne Cox, Chaz Bono, Bianca Lee, and Jen Richards, commenting on both positive and negative trans representations in popular media.
  • The Celluloid Closet (1995) – a documentary based on Vito Russo’s 1981 book, focusing on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender characters in film. Although this is a bit dated now, it is still worth a watch from a historical perspective – quite difficult to find, but worth checking library collections and it is currently available on YouTube.
  • Pose – a Netflix original show set in the late 80-early 90s focusing on the house ball scene in NYC.
  • Sense8 – a Netflix original show created by Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, J. Michael Straczynski.
  • Bit (2019) – vampire movie featuring a central transgender protagonist played by a transgender actor.
  • During the session the chair also referenced UCU’s position statement on trans inclusion, this document includes links to related UCU publications and resources.

A big thank you to all who attended and we hope that this list of resources is helpful.

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