Sisters (can’t) Speak: A response to the Wellington Zinefest organisers from the Zinefest des Refusés!

‘They provided a second reason to exclude me, too.

“We have already formed a working relationship with InsideOUT – they co-hosted Queer my Zine with us as part of Zinefest meets Matchbox this month – and it would be a conflict of interest to have you be part of Zinefest, due to the piece you wrote on your blog that attacked their organisation.

“We feel that your presence at zinefest would jeopardise the safety of our queer and trans artists, people we have worked hard this year to protect and create a safe space for.”

‘This refers to an article I published on my blog in October, which challenges InsideOUT and RainbowYOUTH. It includes a list of questions requesting more information about how both organisatons are addressing different problematic aspects of gender identity politics. For example, one thing I mention is how there are clear statistical patterns now showing who is undergoing transition and sex reassignment. One strong pattern is pre-adolescent boys – even pre-schooers – who do not conform to gender norms or exhibit typically “masculine” behaviour. They might like wearing dresses, or playing with toys marketed at girls. Transitioning, for many of these boys, means sterilisation. So one question I posed to InsideOUT and RainbowYOUTH, was, in sum – what are you doing to ensure that your work isn’t faciliatating eugenics? Considering that both organisations are involved with the medication of gender non-conforming young people, whichever way you look at it, this is a legitimate question and concern.’

writing by renee

Though I’ve never had a stall before, I love the Wellington Zinefest and look forward to it each year. I’ve got a pile of zines at home that I’ve bought, swapped, collected and enjoyed from markets over the years. Through the art supply shop I work at, I sponsored the Wellington Zinefest 2015 gladly, with free prize packs and zine-making kits. It’s a uniquely accessible and inclusive affordable, no-frills, not for profit, grassroots event. I take heart in the fact that it’s there and allows us Wellingtonians to share and exchange creative work and ideas – even challenging ones – so freely.

This year, on October 25, I finally registered and paid for my first very own stall at the Wellington Zinefest – after over a year of preparing my books. This is them: Free West Papua 101; How Freedom’s Won, and Sisters Speak.

Freedom zines. So imagine my surprise when, over a fortnight after my…

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