Thursday, October 06, 2005

From the postbag

I have had three blog related emails from strangers this week so far. They provide interesting blog material. (Phew just when writers block strikes.)

A reader (Hi Graham!) writes…

Where do you stand on lesbians and gay men working together? I thought you were one of the few lesbians that worked with gay men in Irish queer politics in the 1990’s?

Well Graham yes that was the case, I did work with gay men often as the only lesbian in several organisations in the 1990’s. You wonder because of my posting about Sapphic Ireland if I have changed? That is some extrapolation to make! No I have not morphed into a lesbian feminist separatist yet - and there is nothing wrong with that position either. But if we keep being excluded/avoided as is the current position there is a chance yet!

There is no doubt that 12 years on if I was getting involved in activism that I would no longer be the only lesbian in any organisation I work with. Firstly there are a lot more lesbian women active and involved in moments but not in lesbian and gay organisations in Dublin. Secondly I would now refuse to let myself be placed in the situation that I was when I was 22/23.

Additionally I think I would be far more comfortable now working in women only spaces than I was in 1993/4. However I still am not comfortable working with the closet door partially open but I think that has been largely removed as an issue. By this I mean that the situation has changed and that there are more women out and a lot more skilled women involved or available to be involved in activism. However at the moment all the activism is led by men supposedly on behalf of women but with little involvement or no consultation with women.

SI is an attempt by some women to provide a virtual space for discussion, reflection and information. It spills over into some non virtual activities but primarily will remain an online resource. (We need a webmaster by the way – anyone interested?) Currently in Dublin and many other places in Ireland there are no groups, supports or resources for women. There are women from all walks of life involved in SI and some discussions held online indicate that there is a huge need for more information and support. However to do this requires financial support and structures that are not available to me or my colleagues. Those with the finances and structures should be doing this work and consulting with women on how to do it and having women lead it.

Whether I return to activism beyond what I am involved in already is a whole other issue altogether. And I also am aware that my opinions and concerns are mine, not everyone agrees with me and me them and there are other women who could take the gauntlet. But we could be waiting a while to see women actively involved in the new networks and services under development.


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