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International Women's Day 2022

Published: 08 March 2022 Tags: By LGBT Foundation

International Women’s Day is a time for celebrating the achievements of women and acknowledging the systemic challenges that women continue to face. Here at LGBT Foundation’s Women’s Programme, we love creating spaces that celebrate LGBT women with our programme of events. We’re also sadly acquainted with the continuous obstacles and systemic barriers that LGBT women face.

As well as the many issues that permeate the lives of all women such as gender-based violence, harassment, unequal access to education, and barriers in the workplace, LGBT women face LGBTphobia that can lead to women being held back.

As women, we can pull together and take pride in the undefinable but joyful shared experience of womanhood, and try to make the world a better place for all women and all people. However, some choose to divert their energy into making the world unsafe for trans women. Instead of sharing spaces and opening the door, some choose to gate-keep womanhood. They invent strict and false parameters of womanhood, hurting not only trans women but other women who don’t fit into their constructed notion of what qualifies you to be a woman.

The Women’s Programme is trans-inclusive and always will be. While the challenges we face specifically within different communities of LGBT women can differ, there is always more that unites us than divides us. Being seen as ‘strange’, ‘wrong’, or ‘other’, being ostracised from spaces we should feel at home in, not seeing ourselves represented not just on TV but  anywhere, to name a few. But we also share joyful things – the liberation that comes with learning more about who you are, the comfort in realising you are not alone and there are millions are women who feel just like you, the fun to be found in your spaces and your communities.

While certain groups who claim to defend women can be incredibly loud and make it seem like there is no support for trans women, the latest YouGov data from Feb 11th 2022 finds that over half of British women agree with the statement ‘A transgender women is a woman’. This is categorical proof that gender-critical views are not representative of the average British woman. It is also proof of the need for allies for trans women to shout louder.

All people, men included, need to be more vocal about their support of trans communities. That is not an encouragement to engage in small-minded arguments about the definition of woman and the imagined dangers of trans women in single-sex spaces, but a call to uplift and platform trans people, and to speak out about the very real dangers imposed on trans people by institutions who insist on creating barrier after barrier for them.   

Our programme provides a space for all LGBT women to come together, learn new skills, and have some fun. We give women the space to revel in their womanhood, whatever that might look like or mean to them.

Our free annual festival Sugar & Spice, which takes place around International Women’s Day every year, is the perfect opportunity for all LGBT women to reconnect with themselves and others. Find out more here.