Why we Decided to Postpone our Meeting on Trans Rights

This evening, 25th October 2021, Die LINKE Berlin working groups Internationals and Queer were planning to hold a public meeting on Trans rights. This is why the meeting was postponed.

Dear community,

The trans rights panel which was due to take place on 25th October, this Monday, will not be held. There were mistakes made during the organisational process and as a result concerns were raised from within the Black trans community. We believe that going ahead with the event when important parts of the community don’t stand behind us to be counterproductive, and have therefore decided to postpone, in order to work on a panel that will be more inclusive and truly intersectional.

Our wording left the impression that the panel would speak for and about Black people when there were no Black people on the panel. The wording was originally chosen before a change in the list of participants – however, a miscommunication between the organising team and the social media team meant that this wording, specifically the term BIPOC, was kept after we knew the invited Black speakers could not participate. We know that words matter. We did not want to reproduce violent and exclusionary language and we are sorry that we did. We do not want to be part of appropriation culture, and we acknowledge that the wording we chose left this impression. Thank you for calling this out to those who did.

We are sorry that this situation has led to voices that were to be part of our panel – a non-binary voice from Eastern Europe, a trans voice from Brazil and a trans voice from South Korea – will no longer be able to use this platform to speak on their issues. There are LGBTQI+ free zones in Poland, a trans soldier in South Korea recently commited suicide because she was not allowed to serve her military service as a woman, and trans women’s lives in Brazil are under constant attack. Our participants all do important work in Berlin without being provided with the necessary safety and care, which is an issue we wanted to highlight during our panel.

We had limited funds for the event but we made sure that the three invited guests were offered speaking fees. The fourth speaker is a member of the LAG and was not due to receive a fee for her appearance.

Trans identities are facing increasingly dangerous campaigns against them led by conservative and right-wing forces. We wanted to provide a platform within the realm of a political party that should be on the forefront of trans rights discussions in parliament, and is failing to be, and put together a panel that was within our knowledge, capabilities and resources. None of the organising team gets financial compensation for their work, and we acknowlegde there are gaps in our networks and knowledge.

We believe in the importance of discussion, although we would prefer a place other than the Instagram comment section. Besides the missing nuances and detail, it creates an environment in which we are not talking with but past each other.

We planned this event to highlight trans voices, as we believe there are not enough platforms offered for them to be heard. We apologize for the mistakes made and the people who were hurt, to our speakers, and we hope that we can join forces in the future once we have reflected and reassessed this event.

In solidarity,

DIE LINKE Berlin Internationals LAG

Both the LINKE Berlin Internationals and theleftberlin website would like to continue the discussion on how the Berlin International Left can best fight for Trans rights. If you would like to contribute to the discussion please contact the LINKE Internationals on lag.internationals@die-linke-berlin.de or theleftberlin on team@theleftberlin.com