What happened before: Elles Tournent doubles down on transphobia.
Strike actions at Elles Tournent continue. The strike started last week, as a culmination of failed discussions at the cinema group – accused of transphobia – led to the firing of their web designer.
Internal discussions started in January 2019, before the film festival, when it was discovered the festival planned a screening of a movie made by notorious transphobe Nina Paley.
The team refused to cancel the movie, whereupon the matter was made public and trans activists, allies, and feminists started an email campaign. Elles Tournent still refused to cancel, instead offering dubious apologies and showing the movie for free. At that point both the web designer, and a volunteer for the festival, refused to cooperate because of the continuing transphobia. Flyers about Nina Paley and transphobia were handed out during the festival by the Collectif de Lutte Trans.
After the festival discussions continued, but the ET team refused to apologize or address the issues of trans inclusion publicly. An analysis – kept secret from the public – identified cis fragility as one of the problems plaguing the team – we will address this concept elsewhere.
The web designer initially refused to continue working for the festival, but ultimately gave in because of financial necessity. She was strung along with promises for several months – to let the activism around Elles Tournent cool off, no doubt – and was eventually fired by email (citing budgetary reasons), whereupon she went on strike.
The strike started last week Thursday and consisted among other things of digital picketing, where the web page and facebook page were decorated with messages about trans inclusion and such like. The name of the facebook page was also temporarily changed to Cis Tournent – a joke we cannot but appreciate.
The strike continues
The bosses of Elles Tournent have refused to negotiate with the worker on strike, citing “collective decision making” as a factor in this problem. This is not, however, the very first strike in history – herstory? hirstory? – and delaying is a common tactic used by bosses to break the strike or make it less effective.
Meanwhile, behind the cinema screen, there has been a flurry of activity. Some of this was used to damage the image of the web designer, painting her as an ‘angry hacker’ instead of someone on strike against transphobia and mistreatment.
Another action was to search post haste for a movie about trans identity to be shown at the next festival. This is a net win for the strike, which aimed to increase trans inclusion. It is also a transparent public relations move – rumors are the cinema group is working with a communications specialist to combat the damage done to the image of the group.
More news as we get it.