Popular media has proclaimed that radical feminism has a problem with the existence of trans people. The Globe and Mail asserted, “In fact, the most bitter battle in the LGBT movement today is between radical feminists and the transgender movement.” Many other news sources have made similar fact assertions. But, are these fact claims true? Radical feminist John Stoltenberg and trans feminist Cristan Williams work to reveal the reality that exists at the intersection of radical and trans feminism through The Conversations Project.Through historical research, interviews, open dialogue, commentary and academic presentations, we hope to bring attention to a decades-old intersectional trans, intersex and genderqueer inclusive radical feminist tradition. As a conversation, this project is substantially rooted in the voice of community. The heart of our project is a discussion group comprised of students, professors, community members and numerous trans, intersex, genderqueer and radical feminist activists, authors and speakers who discuss sex and gender issues through a critical lens. Moreover, group members are encouraged to submit commentary response pieces to Conversation installments, interviews and group discourse for the Project’s journal. Commentary pieces are peer-reviewed and, if approved, are published in the Project’s quarterly journal: Intersections: a Journal of Trans and Radical Feminism.
How the Conversation Began:
The conversation between Cristan Williams and John Stoltenberg began before either of them knew it. In April 2014 John published a personal essay about Andrea Dworkin, his life partner for thirty-one years, titled “Andrea Dworkin Was Not Transphobic.” Cristan happened to read it and had a question for John, which she asked him in the comment thread. Unaware of who Cristan was, John replied. Shortly thereafter Cristan contacted John asking if he would be willing to be interviewed in The TransAdvocate, where she is managing editor. One email led to another and before long the two were writing back and forth in what became a wide-ranging, nearly book-length conversation. After several months, they realized what it was all about: “the radical inclusivity of radical feminism,” a conviction that both Cristan and John deeply share. That conversation, which is ongoing, is being published for the first time in installments on this site. As Cristan and John shared aspects of their conversation with others, numerous individuals expressed interest and a small FaceBook discussion group was formed. Within a week, the membership swelled to over 100. Opinion leaders, authors, lecturers, educators and activists alike seemed eager to have their own conversations about a radical feminist tradition that offers a critical framework that challenges pop media narratives about sex and gender while remaining intersectional and inclusive. Thus began The Conversations Project.
The Conversations Project is a program of the Houston Transgender Archive (TFA), a 501(c)3 nonprofit. The Project, through the generous support of our partnerships and community members, seeks to inspire informed critical discourse rooted in an intersectional trans and radical feminist perspective.
If you would like to learn how your group or organization can support making an inclusive and intersectional radical feminist tradition more accessible, please contact us for more information. The following groups and organizations make this project possible: