The AUWU has a Trans Problem

Trans people are vastly over represented in welfare statistics, even where we get work, it often isn’t enough and we’re forced to supplement our income with some kind of payment, one cruelly called JobSeeker, because if we’re not advancing, it must be a personal failing. Up until recently, the premiere representative of the unemployed, the Australian Unemployed Workers Union, or AUWU for short, had several prominent trans members. In one act, that number was decimated, and at least one member AUWU member resigned in disgust.

It’s true, I resigned. After a vicious campaign by an unaffiliated trans woman weaponising transphobic positions and conveniently timing it so no response could be made without violating a court order, if I had been paying attention at all at the time in any case. The AUWU had decided, arbitrarily, to remove my volunteer status, and deny me access to the email with which I was both in contact with the court and my legal advisor. It was a knife in the back, a body under the bus. The leadership, in full knowledge of my limitations, decided to punish me instead of stand by me – not necessarily my positions – but me. Whether I had opinions on the lives of ruling class brats would be just as relevant if I, for example, was a vanguardist Trotskyite or Marxist-Leninist with aims to violently overthrow the state. Apparently you only get opinions on such matters if you’re a cishet white boy.

Anyway, I have opinions.

First of all, as the header may suggest, there’s a Queer Caucus. Despite having a lovely Jez Heywood original logo and a discord channel, that’s about as official as it got. There was no clear list of membership, there were no meetings and no rules. Any official messaging bearing that logo up until recently was in all likelihood written largely by myself, with contributions from assorted other queer people online at the time. There was to be a mailing list or email or somesuch, but I was never given access, much like trying to set up a local branch before neoliberal court shenanigans informed me to step aside from any duties – I did so voluntarily, I was not asked to.

Now, I mentioned at the top of the article that one trans member resigned from the AUWU, a good friend who I hadn’t informed of my situation, but showed solidarity through action in light of the AUWU throwing me to the dogs. First, we should inspect the pseudo-public response that fielded such a reaction.

It’s interesting they specifically acknowledge the particular type of troll part, they had to know the attacks on me were not in good faith, I had been extremely clear about context in my posts about Sarah Alice, the CoM otherwise being well aware of both the barbarity of both the welfare system, including how it specifically harms queer people, and how I have been personally politically targeted by thinktankers. It’s actually an interesting response too, because the complaints would not have cancelled my membership, so I would still have to share a space with people who had made them – contributing to an unsafe environment for me. I know for a fact, one complainant, a cis woman who clearly had come straight from Sarah’s attacks to my profile to harangue me was likely one of them. Ironically, she apparently changed her opinion of me as time went on, because as Sarah’s posts escalated, she openly lied and then, believe it or not, blocked the trans women discussing it with her.

In any case, Mae, who was also involved in Wester’s interrogation of the facts, submitted this response to the CoM message delivered by Catherine. And it’s amazing, hits every note I wish the AUWU had thought about, which they might have if they had any trans women in a leadership position at all.

This is so perfect, I wish I could take credit, but it was all Mae. 💜


Had I not resigned, I would be forced to share a space with at least one cis person who had made a bad faith complaint, on the back of only buying a bad actor’s story, during a particularly trying time for myself where I could at a certain point not publicly respond to allegations. I could appeal however they hadn’t invited me to discuss the situation at all in the first place, they had no time for investigating context, and what would be the point, they had made their decision without me and without me it would be.

For someone repeatedly being falsely accused of being AUWU leadership by Per Capita troll and AUWU doxxing co-conspirator Nareen Young, they decided throwing me under the bus was easier than accepting my political beliefs without endorsing them and simply not recognising the bad faith campaign for what it was. There was literally no need to acknowledge it, I was not active in my volunteer duties, I had not moderated the discord in months, having stepped back. Sarah has a history of targeting trans people in precarious situations, I acknowledged my own precarity in trying to get her to see what she was doing to people, and that was interpreted as weaponising suicide. There’s no way to win.

So, to sum up, context didn’t matter, I was just a problem to be dealt with, despite my multiply-marginalised status and known personal history, and hell, the history of cis AUWU leadership who has no doubt expressed as much if not more than myself. And honestly, that sums up how trans women are often treated, just scapegoated and pushed to the margins of the greater problems of male violence and phantasms of predation.

There is no suggestion that I had failing in any of my volunteer duties, it’s just a perception problem, which continued for days after my resignation because I hadn’t made it public and neither had the AUWU – effectively voiding the reasoning for punishing me to begin with. And now they have another aggrieved ex-member who they stopped replying to pretty much immediately.

It’s okay, she’s just a damaged trans woman – she doesn’t matter.

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