May 1, 2015
Open Letter to the Editors of Rabble.ca,
We are feminists, grassroots community groups and organizations that support intersectional feminism. We are concerned about your ongoing relationship with Meghan Murphy as one of your editors. Murphy has been publishing material that dehumanizes and disrespects women with different experiences and perspectives than hers for many years, in particular Black women, women in the sex industry and trans women. By allowing Murphy to continue as an editor at Rabble.ca you are giving a platform to her hate and we are writing to demand that you end your association with her as editor and columnist.
Recently, Murphy published a piece about Laverne Cox's decision to pose nude for a US women's magazine. In her piece, Murphy attacks for Cox for attempting to achieve a “‘perfect’ body as defined by a patriarchal/porn culture, through plastic surgery, and then presenting it as a sexualized object for public consumption” and later mocks her and other trans women for “spending thousands and thousands of dollars sculpting their bodies in order to look like some cartoonish version of 'woman,’ as defined by the porn industry and pop culture.”
Laverne Cox is not a cartoonish version of a woman. She is a woman, a Black trans woman who is changing history by defining her own beauty and loveability in the public sphere.
For years, Murphy's racism and attacks on women who trade/sell sex or are trans have been tolerated or supported and published by Rabble, including this article where she pits Black women against each other, calling another Black trans woman (Janet Mock) "selfish" for using glamour to feel powerful--and again maligning a Black trans woman’s decisions about her body.
Her anti-black racism extends to men as well as in this tweet where she calls for the death of Chris Brown https://twitter.com/aurabogado/status/376380825542987776/photo/1
She is famously antagonistic toward sex workers and has a long track record of using degrading, dehumanizing language such as “prostituted women”, being ageist and factually incorrect by suggesting older women cannot be active sex workers, mocking and misrepresenting sex work activists and employing racist terminology such as “illegal immigrants”. We were shocked when on the pages of rabble.ca, she blamed Cindy Gladue’s murder on pornography, co-opting the deaths of Indigenous women in the sex trade to denounce our calls for rights and respect.
This is not a question of free speech, it is a question of offering active support to bigots. For example, Rabble would not employ right wing christian fundamentalists for their opinions as their stance clearly undermines the dignity and humanity of communities they are not a part of. The same is the case for Murphy. She is a white, cis, non sex working person who writes with contempt about communities that she is not a member of. It is unjust of Rabble to financially support her bigotry. Rabble is stronger and more relevant when it publishes the voices of those who are directly impacted by the issues they cover. Doing otherwise has made Rabble unsafe for many members of marginalized populations who write from a place of personal experience.
Other feminists and womanists have taken notice.
We support working with people to transform their politics toward more equity and accountability. Despite endless attempts, Murphy has remained unwilling to evaluate her racism, transmisogyny and whorephobia. We've chosen to use an open letter as a medium, only after all other avenues toward accountability have been explored and have failed.
We demand a discerning voice of equality and equity that respects and values all women including trans women, women of colour and women in the sex industry. Displays of racism, whorephobia and transmisogyny have no place in a progressive publication like Rabble. It is time for Rabble to take responsibility and cease offering a platform for hate in the form of zealous bigotry from Meghan Murphy and others like her.
-on behalf of
Maggie's - Toronto Sex Workers Action Project
Black Lives Matter - Toronto
No More Silence
Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform
Southwest Ontario Sex Workers
Stella, L’Amie de Maimie
Sex Professionals of Canada
Winnipeg Working Group for Sex Workers’ Rights
Butterfly (Migrant and Asian Sex Workers)
Toronto Migrant Sex Worker Project
ASTT(e)Q : Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec