Hi Julie. You don’t know me, we actually have mutual friends, but I wanted to write you a public letter.. An apology. I used to read your work, I worked with grooming in Keighley when noone gave a shit and you were the only journalist who covered it. I used to look for your articles because I felt like I was working in hell, and the indifference that I know you saw ended my social work career. I know your background, I know you are a working class lesbian and I know your work has tirelessly address male violence and structural inequality even when it has harmed you to do so. I know that that has benefitted me and all women. I am writing to apologise for being a coward.
I read what you wrote about trans women and am not going to lie, I think you are dead wrong. I have friends I would love you to meet who am sure you would respect and like, and who really don’t like you and feel injured by what you wrote. But I think people have the right to be wrong, we have the right to opinions shaped by our perspective and experience, and I can see how your experience as a lesbian(a proper lezzer) and the experience of watching services women need undermined shaped that perspective. I don’t think many people fully understand what it is to walk the landscape of violence against woemen the way you have. I do.
For 14 years you have been targeted in a sustained and concerted campaign of bullying and harassment. Every place you have spoken, they have gone for. I spoke up slightly about your no platforming, but not very loud. I didn’t want to offend the women I know who are trans, and I knew how hostile young feminists were to your voice. I am sorry. I should have. I know that abuse of women is never feminism. Driving women from public spaces is never feminism. Blaming women for male violence is never feminism. Accusing people of causing suicide is always abusive.
The final straw came when the Salford Working Class Library was threatened and I realised what I had done. So today I loudly, as loud as I could through the medium of the shtty chatroom that is twitter, did so. I wanted this note here to say it should never have taken so long for me to do so. You have always stood up for the most marginalised women and you have never shied away from doing so, I pride myself on trying to follow that. I should have stood up sooner. Many of us should. You have dealt with this for 14 years and if it can at all be helped, you will from now on see the solidarity you have always shown to the most marginalised, the most vulnerable women. I apologise. This is me publicly stating that I will not treat the abuse, harassment and bullying which has threatened to end your career as feminism. You would never have done so had another woman been targeted that way.