May 18, 2017 § 4 Comments
Or: the ways in which disbelief and suppression hurt trans people. And how, despite it all, we resist.
I’ve checked in and realised how long it’s been since I’ve written here. The reason being that I’ve been caught up writing and editing my first book, Trans Like Me: A Journey for All of Us – published next Thursday on May 25th.
I’ll be writing more on that – what it means to move from blogging to long-form non-fiction, what I’ve hoped to do with the book, what it means for the next year – next week.
Until then, I really hope you enjoy the first extract from the book, linked above. And thank you for all of the support over the years – more on that too, to come.
June 1, 2016 § 2 Comments
December 18, 2015 § 9 Comments
So, the reason posting here has been light of late is finally out in the open – my first book is set for publication November 2016, from Virago Books (Little, Brown).
I’m incredibly excited (and somewhat overawed) to get this chance. Thank you all for your support for my writing over the years – I hope to do you proud.
For total clarity: I’m (still!) not a woman – but Virago Books has always published a small number of works by male feminists in addition to their central aim of promoting works by all women (obv. including trans women). I’ve been bowled over by the team’s knowledge and support of trans issues and the need for real trans justice (including their very real acceptance of me as a genderqueer person). Feeling especially lucky to be working with my editor Ailah Ahmed from an intersectional feminist perspective. I’m still writing up, and I hope to have covered all the most pressing points – but if there are resources/points you want to send my way because IMPORTANT then I am very much all ears.
Official press release below, and links to my publisher’s and my agent’s websites.
Writing here will be light while the book is finished – but I think it’s going to be worth it. Thank you again.
Virago Press has acquired an agenda-setting title by CN Lester, a leading British LGBT activist specialising in transgender issues.
Commissioning Editor Ailah Ahmed acquired UK & Commonwealth rights to Trans Like Me: A Journey for All of Us by CN Lester from Laura Macdougall at Tibor Jones & Associates.
CN Lester takes the reader through the most pressing questions in the transgender debate, combined with a charged personal narrative of what it means to be a transgender person today. TRANS LIKE ME shows us how we are all defined by ideas of gender, whether we live our lives as he, she or they, and how we can strive for authenticity in a world which often seeks to limit us by way of labels. It also covers hotly contested topics such as the rise in referrals for gender variant children, feminism’s treatment of the trans community, and the mainstream media’s ‘trans moment’, among much more.
Virago nonfiction publishing has aimed to be at the forefront of discussions about gender identity and politics and so welcomes this title which expands our understanding of the new conversations around gender for a wider audience. Virago has always had a broad definition of what a feminist is and wants to ensure this book will reach a wide market.
CN Lester is an academic and activist who has acted as a consultant on trans issues to a broad range of organisations such as Channel 4, the BBC and the Huffington Post. They have written for New Statesmen, New Internationalist and the Feminist Times. Lester co-founded the first ever national UK group for young LGBT people.
TRANS LIKE ME: A JOURNEY FOR ALL OF US is scheduled for publication in November 2016.
Ailah Ahmed says, ‘This book blew me away by answering all the most topical questions about the new gender debate. Time magazine declared 2014 the year of the ‘Transgender Tipping Point’, and the experiences of those affected by these issues have now entered the mainstream. Virago is delighted to welcome CN Lester to the list with this ground-breaking new exploration of trans lives. TRANS LIKE ME has all the power of Living Dolls by Natasha Walter in really engaging with the zeitgeist. It is also a very moving account of what it means to be a trans person today. ’
CN Lester says, ‘So many of my formative feminist moments came through reading Virago titles – I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining them as an author. As a trans feminist, it was vital for me to find a publisher and editor who understand the broader implications of the current trans movement: how gender affects us all, how the fight for trans rights fits into a feminist debate, and how important it is to take an intersectional approach. I’m proud to be working with a team who have (quite rightly) already included trans women in their remit, and who support authors such as myself – genderqueer people, cis and trans men – who are working on issues of gendered oppression and justice. TRANS LIKE ME is, quite genuinely, a book for all of us – I’m so grateful to both Ailah and my agent Laura for believing in it.’
Laura Macdougall says, ‘I’m delighted that Virago will be publishing CN Lester’s ground-breaking TRANS LIKE ME. It’s a combination of author and publisher which I’m sure will make this a landmark publication in 2016. In TRANS LIKE ME, CN Lester helps us navigate a rapidly changing field of gender identity and debate, delving into the historical, biological and psychological concepts that inform our sense of what sex and gender are and in doing so provides an exciting new way of looking at the world.’
For more information about CN Lester and their work, visit their website at http://www.cnlester.com/ and follow them on Twitter
For US rights please contact Laura Macdougall (firstname.lastname@example.org) and for foreign rights please contact Charlotte Maddox (email@example.com).
September 12, 2015 § 3 Comments
If you’re a trans person in the UK, you might well be waking up to a rather unpleasant email from the Ministry of Justice, in response to a popular petition demanding that trans people of all genders be able to legally define our own status. The full text is here – I’m a little too upset to do it justice, but mealy-mouthed, lazy and inhumane is a start:
Buried at the end of the text are these choice lines:
The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination if it arises from their being perceived as either male or female. We recognise that a very small number of people consider themselves to be of neither gender. We are not aware that that results in any specific detriment, and it is not Government policy to identify such people for the purpose of issuing non-gender-specific official documents.
As a genderqueer trans person, it beggars belief that the discrimination and abuse I’ve suffered not be considered “specific detriment” – and a lot of other people outside of the binary feel the same way.
Please – if you’re able to, fill in this document and spread the word. Beyond the Binary, a UK-based organisation for all people who don’t fit the gender binary, are collecting responses.
Tweet with the hashtag #SpecificDetriment, email your local groups, stick it up on Tumblr – anyway you can spread the word is vital.
They can refuse to acknowledge us – but like fuck will they lie about what we suffer.
September 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
*Not an Aunt, not an Uncle, but something much harder to pronounce, and far more genderqueer.
I’m delighted to say that I’ve joined the team at Beyond the Binary magazine as their advice columnist, dealing with questions around gender, transitioning, discrimination, relationships..anything that intersects with the huge umbrella of trans-related things.
So far we’ve discussed with fear of change in transitioning and coming out in the workplace (while dealing with families). A new column comes out every fortnight.
Questions? Advice sought? You can email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best. I don’t claim to have all the answers – but I am here to listen, and to point anyone interested towards resources that can help.
Please do share with any groups you think would find this helpful. Thank you so much.
July 24, 2015 § Leave a comment
First – thank you all so very much for your support, and for bearing with over the past few days – it’s been hectic to say the least.
So So Gay have published our open letter to London Pride, drawn together by Jacq Applebee and myself – and signed by over 100 organisations and individuals. Do please have a read, and spread the word.
Pride in London have sent us a private response, and a request for a private meeting – similar responses from their Board have been sent to the media organisations covering this story.
I believe that, as a public community matter, this is best dealt with openly within the community. So, below the fold, is my response to their response. It’s all getting very long winded.
But before that – I just wanted to say that if you do care about Pride in London, if you have any ideas of how you want it to be – please let them know: email@example.com
They may not listen, they may not agree, they may not act – but they can’t say that they haven’t be told.
Thank you again for your support.
July 17, 2015 § 57 Comments
Jacq Applebee and I have drafted an open letter to the Board and Senior Team of Pride in London about their behaviour over UKIP’s inclusion.
If you’re interested in signing (as a group or organisation) or know of people who would be interested in signing, please let us know – leave a comment with the name you’d like to use, or message me directly through Facebook or contact form.
We’ll be gathering signatures for the next four days at least, before publishing in a forum TBA. Please help us spread the word – and thank you.
To the Board and Senior Team of Pride in London,
We, the undersigned, are writing to express our deep disappointment at Pride in London’s behaviour concerning the inclusion of UKIP in this year’s march, to wit:
- UKIP was initially included in the march, despite having failed to sign up to the Pride in London charter. The signing of this charter was a prerequisite of entry – UKIP were the only political group to refuse to sign, but were still accepted as participants.
- Pride in London failed to inform their Advisory Board of this decision. Crucially, they failed to consult with their BME representative before accepting UKIP’s application. Said representative was left to find out about UKIP’s inclusion from publicity materials and media coverage.
- Pride in London then further refused to discuss UKIP’s inclusion with their BME representative, leading to said representative’s resignation.
- After a broadly negative public response from the LGBTQI community to the announcement of UKIP’s inclusion, Pride in London publicly rescinded their acceptance of UKIP’s application. Pride in London assured other participants, and the broader community as a whole, that UKIP would not be allowed to march.
- On the day of the march, Saturday June 27th, the UKIP contingent were ushered into the march itself as it was underway. This despite failing to pay the entrance fee, sign the charter, sign the agreement on good conduct, or be included in the parade route. It is important to note here that other groups and individuals who had failed to complete these steps were removed from the march by stewards and security officials.
- The Chair of Pride in London, Michael Salter, consequently informed BBC Daily Politics that they had ‘managed to get them [UKIP] safely into the parade’ – confirming that UKIP’s inclusion was deliberate, rather than a last minute error. Mr. Salter expressed concern over the safety of UKIP supporters – but raised none of the concerns posed to him and the Board about the safety and well-being of other LGBTQI marchers threatened by UKIP’s inclusion. Mr. Salter went on to say that it was ‘great that they [UKIP] were able to participate’.
- The board of Pride in London failed to respond to questions raised by the community over this backtracking. They have, after nearly three weeks of silence, produced a report that fails to answer the questions and concerns raised to them.
In providing UKIP members with special treatment (waiving of fees, waiving of conditions of entry) whilst assuring the broader LGBTQI community of their non-involvement, Pride in London have shown themselves to be incompetent, mendacious, or both. In particular, Pride in London’s treatment of their BME members and, more broadly, London’s LGBTQI people of colour, has been profoundly disrespectful. Instances of both overt and passive racism and Islamophobia from Pride in London’s board have been previously documented. This recent behaviour has confirmed the view of many in the community that Pride in London has failed in their duty to reflect and honour the multicultural nature of London’s LGBTQI population.
In their lack of respect shown to their own advisory committee, in their lack of respect shown to the broader LGBTQI community (including all other participants in this year’s Pride march and events), in their lack of transparency and failure to communicate honestly, the current Pride in London board shows itself not fit for purpose.
To represent London’s LGBTQI population accurately, the board of Pride in London must reflect the actual diversity of our community – and behave in accordance with its legal role as a community interest company.
We demand that changes be made: within the board, to the ways in which the board communicates, and with Pride in London’s accountability processes overall.