Gender Justice: Continuing the Conversation

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Last week, as part of our month-long focus on Comic Relief’s Gender Justice pillar, we celebrated Trans Awareness Week. At Comic Relief we have always prided ourselves on funding organisations who are fearlessly standing up for people’s rights, and we wanted to highlight the brilliant work that some of our grantees and partners are doing for Trans Rights.

Throughout this month we’ve been choosing women to celebrate on ‘Women Wednesdays’ across our social media channels, and so in fitting with our theme of Trans Awareness, we celebrated Lili Elbe. Many of you have got in touch to share your appreciation of us doing so, however, we’ve also heard from a lot of people who thought this was the wrong choice, and by making this choice we were undermining our support of women’s rights.

We value and respect these contributions, which help to highlight the complexities and sensitivities of the issues we’re grappling with, and we also take seriously our commitment to be as inclusive and impactful as possible towards tackling social injustice.

Since Comic Relief started, we have funded work that is supporting those who have experienced Gender Based Violence and are continuing to do so. We have also funded and are now primarily focussed on, work which is fundamentally shifting the power structures that enable and engender this violence. This has historically focussed on violence against women and girls and this will continue to be a mainstay of our work, however we also recognise that supporting an end to Gender Based Violence includes standing with the LGBTQ community.

We will however, always support the right of organisations we work with to determine for themselves how they can best support their community, and work towards social justice in their context. We recognise that this means that sometimes we will support organisations who have contradicting views and principles.

Most importantly, however, we want to ensure that what we do and what we say is part of a continuing conversation about the major challenges of our times. However complex, however difficult. We will never knowingly be part of closing that down. As we develop our work going forward as a creative agency for social change, we will continue to listen to our friends and friendly critics who want to engage in this conversation with us.

Ruth Davison
Impact and Investment Executive Director