Equality champion Linda Bellos: Proud to be an African, Jewish, Lesbian-Feminist

‘I have a strong sense of being Jewish and a strong sense of being African, they are not in competition, all part of me, I also define myself as English, I know English culture. I remember people telling me to go back home, it was lawful until 1968, still people discriminate.’ 

Linda Bellos, ex-politician, equality champion and public figure, talks about the layers of identity, mixed heritage, and being an ‘angry woman’ back in the 1980 and 90s.

‘The good thing about Black History Month was the intention to be part of, not to be in the front, but as part of that history, the social history of Britain.That’s completely consistent with everything I’ve been saying about how my parents brought me up and who I am. We’re here to stay and our history cannot and should not be rewritten and obliterated. So I’ve taken a consistent view with relation to my Jewishness, even my Judaism. I seek to do it again soon in relation to my feminism. There are things I want to publish which may help the current generation of younger women who are embracing feminism. I think that some of the mess we’re in, in the LGBT community exists among the feminist lesbians who are anti trans. Seems to me, they’re not all, but some women remain disrespectful, hostile particularly to male-female trans people and I find that repugnant. There’s not a milder word I can use. I may understand the logic, it doesn’t mean I share it or like it. I think we have the duty to respect each personal choice that each of us makes about who we are and what we are. I feel passionately about it. I used to be anti-trans, in the early days of my feminism I was critical particularly of men transitioning to be women. A colleague I don’t want to name, I met a trans woman a long time ago whose personal story moved me so much that I thought “who the hell am I to tell another human being who they are? I don’t have the right and I must respect the right of every person to be all the things they are”. So I changed my position on trans a long time ago, coming up to 20 years ago.’

Read the full transcript: RJ2013LindaBellos transcript

 

 

Thank you, Alison Turner for the brilliant transcript.

 
 

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