Public discussion: Why do we need feminist publics and public spaces for women and the LGBTIQ community?

Public discussion

Why do we need feminist publics and public spaces for women and the LGBTIQ community?

Moderated by Tea Hvala and Lidija Radojević

In times of general “tolerance of differences” and constant fragmentation of society to its smallest segments, groups that advocate and provide spaces for feminists, women and the LGBTIQ community, have to continually defend themselves against general public’s accusations of separatism, unwillingness to engage in dialogue, cowardice and even hostility.

Our response is often apologetic and based on ad hoc arguments even though we firmly believe that these spaces are vital for the continuity of specific practices and cultures, for introducing specific issues to the official public sphere and for building publics which allow us to address society as a whole without having to put aside our gender or sexuality, and without accepting particularism.
How to resist in ways that excede the limits of our particular privacy – the space we have been alloted by liberal tolerance – without giving in to the demands of the dominant, universalist (patriarchical) regime? How to resist from a position we have not chosen, a position which has been imposed on us: from the position of the subjugated, unheard and cheated? How to invent strategies of struggle that are going to change the dominant context by giving it a new form and content?

In Slovenia, the acceptance of difference is merely nominal and the dissaproval of specific publics is only a liberalist trick. Despite the official or formal claims about public space, the real-material public space is not equally accessible to all; not everyone is allowed to participate in it. On the contrary: since the world we live in is based on social relations of dominance, formal equality does not guarantee actual social equality – it merely disguises the existing inequality and legitimates the status quo.

Contemporary neoliberal society offers us equality between abstract legal subjects. They, in all their variety, have equal opportunities to participate on the market as long as they respect its supposedly objective rules. Since the capital could not care less for our existential conditions, lives and circumstance, that equality still has to be won. The choice between submission to dominant patriarchical patterns and identity politics is not a choice. Both are bad. In the discussion, we would like to find a common ground for building an inclusive public space for the subjugated and the exploited since we sincerely believe that domination can be overcome only by solidarity and unity.

Why did the makers of women’s, feminist and LGBTIQ publics in Slovenia decide to oppose the patriarchical, sexist, homophobic and chauvinist status quo? Who and what do they embrace and from whom or what do they refuse to be shut? Why cannot specific publics by definition be separatist? The participants (members of Red Dawns, ŠKUC-Cultural Center Q, Legebitra, Borec journal, Narobe magazine, Bring In Take Out Living Archive and other sisterly initiatives) are going to seek the answers to these and related questions with your help.

In Slovene and BSH language. No entrance fee.

Klub Tiffany (ŠKUC-Kulturni center Q), Metelkova mesto
Public discussion: Why do we need feminist publics and public spaces for women and the LGBTIQ community?