Women putting women centre-stage
Organiser of Lady and Trans Fest explain the politics behind the event
“More women now have the language. They can name problems, which is the first thing you have to do before you fix them. There’s a nice level of solidarity among women at the moment.”
For many young women, Lady and Trans Fest is an opportunity for networking. Entry is free, dinner is provided for a “suggested donation” and people from LGBT and pro-choice groups from around the country are travelling up and staying on couches. “Someone I know in Galway said ‘man, I don’t know anything about the queer scene in Galway, I don’t know what to do here’,” says Doe. “Well, they’ll come here and get to meet other people from Galway doing the same things.”
On Friday night a gig took place in Sweeneys. “Punk, folk punk, and punk rap,” says Doe, “with mainly female or trans performers”. The line-up included her own accordion, guitar and musical saw band, The Trainwrecked Chicken Bones.
Tonight at Outhouse there’s spoken word from a group called Petty Cash, extracts from the Vagina Monologues and music from a member of a band called Twin Headed Wolf.
Over the weekend there are workshops and discussions in Seomra Spraoi on self defence, creating DIY sex toys, drag, trans people and feminism, and gender in the Middle East. There’s even a knitting workshop called “Putting our ovaries on their rosaries.”
“They’re making knitted uteri,” says Malone. “They’re really cute. People can make them for themselves or for the Abortion Rights Campaign to sell.”
Then on Sunday at Seomra Spraoi there’s a screening of queer and feminist film as well as several musical and cabaret acts, including two performers doing a “menstrual art performance.”
“It’s exactly what it sounds like,” says Malone. “They collected their menstrual blood and use that as part of their performance,” explains Indigo.
Malone laughs and recalls watching the Hollywood comedy This is the End . “There was a whole set of jokes where someone is giving out about someone else jacking off in their house and it’s written as a funny scene.”
“Watching it I was thinking ‘They’d never have that with women.’ So I think it’s really cool for women to be doing art pieces that might be a little uncomfortable for some people.”
They discuss growing up with sexist advertising, a hypersexualised popular culture and gigs where male audience members are pushy and the stage is filled with men.
“The Lady and Trans Fest is just this awesome thing where we can create the alternative,” says Indigo. “We’re doing a positive thing to show that it doesn’t have to be like this. Look: another world is possible.”
For more details about Lady & Trans Fest go to ladyfestdublin.wordpress.com http://ladyfestdublin.wordpress.com