This year, I didn't feel safe going to the International Women’s Day festival in my area, because a trans-identified man was on a panel, so I didn't go. It is hard enough that men are taking limited positions on panels at women's day events, assuming the right to not only participate but to lead discussions about women's issues. It is frustrating to watch that happen, and to see other women supporting it rather than standing up against it. But this event was even worse, because this particular man had recently harassed me, via a friend and a contact of his. I had thought about going to the police, but his threats were subtle and I didn’t know if the police would take the matter seriously. He’s friends with a lot of other people I am also friends with locally, and has good standing with them. I was worried I would see him at the festival, even if I went to another event that wasn’t his panel, and then he might harass me in person. I’ve previously organized Women’s Day events, and I have worked in women’s programs and policy. It’s an important time for me. But I didn’t feel safe going. I was effectively excluded from what should be women’s space - I self-excluded, because I didn’t feel safe, knowing that this particular trans-identified man was part of it. I wonder how many other women are doing the same?
#australia #iwd #womensevents #womenleaders #events #harassment #selfexclusion