UK transgender rights row intensifies as book fair is cancelled

An annual book fair that has served for more than three decades as the most important meeting point for the British anarchist movement has become the latest casualty of widening splits over the issue of transgender rights.

The acrimony follows highly publicised splits in universities, women’s organisations and political parties over the issue. Lily Madigan, a 19-year-old who has just won a vote in Kent to become Labour’s first women’s officer from a transgender background, has been at the centre of a row within the party.

The increasingly angry disputes follow government proposals to streamline the process for how people can change their gender, under the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). A public consultation is to be held on speeding up and demedicalising the process, with the current need to be assessed and diagnosed by clinicians seen by some as intrusive.

Susan Sarandon: ‘I thought Hillary was very dangerous. If she’d won, we’d be at war’

[I}n 2001, Sarandon supported Hillary Clinton’s run for the Senate. There are photos of them posing chummily together, grinning. Then Clinton voted for the war in Iraq and it all went downhill. During the last election, Sarandon supported Bernie Sanders, then wouldn’t support Clinton after she won the nomination, and now all the moderates hate her, to the extent, she says, that she had to change her phone number because people she identifies as Hillary trolls sent her threatening messages. “I got from Hillary people ‘I hope your crotch is grabbed’, ‘I hope you’re raped’. Misogynistic attacks.

Wait, from the right?

“No, from the left! ‘How dare you! You who are responsible for this!’”

Earlier, she makes the point that Clinton’s refusal to back the $15 minimum wage, “tells you she’s not a feminist, when 50% of the households in America are headed by women.”

‘A high-grade, twisted abuser’: Don Burke a sexual harasser and bully, claims series of women

For almost two decades Don Burke was one of the most powerful men in Australia’s entertainment industry. His popular gardening program Burke’s Backyard was a ratings juggernaut for the Nine Network until it was unceremoniously axed in 2004.

But now a major Fairfax Media/ABC investigation can reveal that behind the scenes those who worked with Burke claim he was a “psychotic bully”, a “misogynist” and a “sexual predator” who indecently assaulted, sexually harassed and bullied a string of female employees.

Watch out, manspreaders: the womanspreading fightback starts now

“Cross your legs.” “Don’t sit like that.” “Be more ladylike.” Like most women, I’ve been subjected to these kinds of messages since I was a child. Everyone from my mum to primary school teachers and distant relatives has chastised me to “sit like a lady”. Translation: rest your legs together, Duchess of Cambridge-style, and take up as little space as possible.

But now #womanspreading is officially having its moment. Women all over the world are uncrossing their legs in the name of feminism. Fashion models including Bella Hadid and Chrissy Teigen and the actor Emily Ratajkowski are all starting to ignore the female-only rules about sitting “nicely”. Instead they’re spreading out as wide as they want, and sharing the results on Instagram. Hundreds of women have joined them with similar posts.

Workplaces can be safe spaces for women at risk:

Our report, Safe Spaces: A study on Paid Family/Domestic Violence Leave, is published today in the lead up to 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, starting tomorrow (Saturday 25 November).

As we recently found interviewing Jenny (not her real name) regarding her experience of domestic violence, a lack of support and understanding from a superior or boss can put women at serious risk. In Jenny’s case, when she requested to work from a refuge while waiting for an intervention order, she was told she needed to be in the office. Jenny felt no choice but to quit her job for the sake of her own safety, leaving her unemployed for over a year.

The vast majority of respondents to our online survey (84%) said paid family/domestic violence leave is important in mitigating family violence in Australia.

BRAZIL – Developments regarding Amendment No.181 banning abortion – Safe Abortion : Women’s Right

Amendment No.181, a provision to include protection of life from conception to the text of the Constitution of Brazil, was approved by the Special Commission of the Chamber of Deputies on 8 November. It would criminalize abortion under all circumstances. Since it was passed by 18 men to 1 woman, the mobilization against the measure has been intense.

[M]embers of the Congress have been overwhelmed by a stream of public statements and opinion pieces in the main news and media channels, depicting this measure as absurd.

Then a Joint Note by UN agencies – UNFPA, UN Women, Pan American Health Organization (WHO) and the OHCHR Regional Office for South America – was published on 20 November. It expressed grave concern that the measure, if passed, would create a great risk to the health and lives of women and girls.

Milo Yiannopoulos invited to speak in Parliament as a guest of honour

Responding to Fairfax’s query about the peculiar invitation, Leyohjelm’s office said “Milo was already touring Australia and I thought it was a good opportunity to give those in Parliament (MPs, staff and media) a chance to hear from him there and put their questions to him.”

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young, responded to the email with words of confusion.

“I question how this man has secured a visa to Australia, let alone access to Parliament House. After all, aren’t we building a fence around the building to keep dangerous people out?” she wrote.

“It astounds me that a member of Parliament would roll out the red carpet to a white supremacist and paedophillia apologist. A man who travels the world spreading racist and sexist drivel, who believes there is no such thing as rape culture is not welcome in our safe and respectful house of democracy.”

A new employer perk? Australia gets first dedicated egg freezing clinic opens

Announcing the new clinic today, fertility specialist Dr Devora Lieberman said that while egg freezing can’t guarantee a baby and is not an insurance policy, it can help women who want to take control of their fertility.

“Egg freezing provides many with a sense that they are doing all they can, investing in themselves and ensuring that when they are ready to have children, they are confident they considered all the options available to them at an earlier age,” she said.

Such options could see employers offering to pay for their female staff to freeze their eggs, following the lead of tech giants including Facebook, Apple and Google who already offer such options in the US.

(ed: Options? Or pressure not to take maternity leave from paid workforce?)

NT royal commission finds girls in youth detention subjected to ‘inappropriate sexualised behaviour’

Young women and girls in the Northern Territory’s youth prisons were inappropriately touched by some male guards and received less access than male detainees to education and hygiene facilities, the royal commission has found.

The report includes CCTV still photographs of a 2009 strip search of a 15-year-old girl being placed in a cell in Don Dale. The girl was held down by a guard named by the commission as Trevor Hansen while a female officer removed her clothes.

Another girl who had attempted self-harm was stripped of all her clothing, including bra and underwear, with a Hoffman knife and described feeling “real shame [being naked] with all those men in the room”.

The commission’s report also gave examples of inappropriate behaviour by some male youth justice officers, including one who sent unsolicited sexualised Facebook messages to a teenage girl who had left Don Dale.