Sophie Lewis

Sophie Lewis is a writer and teacher in Manchester currently finishing a PhD about gestational labour at the University of Manchester. She has written for Blind Field, Mute, Jacobin, Mask, The New Inquiry, The Disorder of Things and Uneven Earth. She helped translate Communism for Kids by Bini Adamczak (forthcoming from MIT Press)

    SERF ‘n’ TERF: Notes on Some Bad Materialisms

    by Sophie Lewis

    Sylvia Rivera (with Christina Hayworth and Julia Murray) by Luis Carle

    As I sit down to write this, I am haunted by images circulating in the wake of another brutal murder. In one of them the person in question, still living, has the gloved hands of a Turkish riot cop on her arm. Hande Kader, may she rest in power, was a sex-working trans woman of colour whose life we have, once again, collectively allowed haters and the state to take away. To say ‘rest in power’ is obviously the very least we can do. Now Kader becomes another of our foremothers.

    A friend is starting out in sex-work and is isolated and scared. Another likely can’t afford the electrolysis she isn’t sure she wants (along with the other components of the medical ‘pathway’) but she’s just purchased some hormones illegally, exactly as she warned her clueless GP she would, having had her NHS wait-time for gender reassignment extended further into the future than she could bear.

    Soon, we will invoke Hande Kader on Transgender Day of Remembrance. How many corpses can one memorialise in one lifetime?