International Women's Day is an opportunity to address the enormous forces working against women's rights and preventing true gender equality. It is a chance to petition governments, to challenge, to campaign, to take action. It is also a time to celebrate, to reflect on the achievements that have been made.
I ask each and every one of you to take part in the campaigning in any way possible, be that by supporting the campaign for gender-neutral toilets as those attending higher education institutions such as The University of Hull, Sussex, Bath, Manchester, Staffordshire, Bradford and Oxford have done or be it simply by supporting the use of gender-neutral pronouns it makes a difference and sets a foundation from which we can build a better more progressive future, together.
There are some feminine rituals that I will never rid myself of. I believe that feminism is fluid and accepts all changes that have to be made. I live in a society that is basically founded on patriarchy and sexist oppression. Adjusting to make your own life a little easier is not selling out. Reform and re-structure is also a form of revolution.
Bowie had helped me as I struggled to understand my own gender identity and sexuality as a teen and I dearly wanted her to know his brilliance too. I hit play on the Bowie playlist that's accompanied so many of our post dinner dance parties and pulled out some face paints. With Bowie looking out at us from the ipad we painted on red stripes and quiffed our hair.
As much as self-definition of legal gender is a very welcome step, it absolutely must be done right as otherwise it will likely be another fifteen years to get it fixed. If the government does decide to drastically revamp the Gender Recognition Act, and I sincerely hope that they do, it is imperative that they do it in full, open consultation with trans and non-binary people...
I am the Specialist Speech and Language Therapist at the 'Charing Cross' Gender Identity Clinic in London and it's my job to enable trans clients to align their gender vocal and communicative expression to their gender identity. In a nutshell, I help transmen sound more masculine, transwomen sound more feminine and non-binary individuals find their individual sound...
Slowly, as scientific research has developed our understanding of the biological nature of gender dysphoria, society has become more aware and accepting of the kind of suffering, fear and loss that trans people face - every bit as much as people who develop the physical pathologies of cancer, trauma or other disease.
Much as I would be the first to point out the holes in the logic of a men's rights activist troll, I would also argue that we desperately need the average man to become involved in debating gender roles. Shouting "Mansplainer!" at them is more than just inappropriate (as we don't in fact, know their experience); it actually debilitates the development of gender equality.