Safe Place

★★
theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Safe Place
Published 17 Aug 2017

TERF, for those who don't know, is an acronym of Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, a label applied to advocates for gender equality who believe "real women" are defined by their biology. Actively maintaining the conventional gender binary, they deny the trans community a place in the ongoing struggle for women's rights. To be branded a TERF is a severe criticism and one which the protagonist of this play has to face.

As we're introduced to Martine, it's established that she is a fundamentally good person. A writer of renown, she's had an impassioned cry against austerity published in a newspaper and offered her comfortable home to those in need of shelter.

When Rowan, a young trans woman knocks on her door at 4am, Martine has no misgivings about taking her in. When the stray gets news of her host's recent ban from speaking at Glasgow University, inevitable tension flares between the two.

This work of Clara Glynn's seems to have been inspired by Germaine Greer's recent admonishment by the trans community and its allies, and their subsequent efforts to deny her a platform. It offers little in dramatic terms, with its main characters representing opposing sides of an unresolved argument. In asking whether one's previous good work and dedication to a righteous cause absolves them of criticism in more enlightened times, Safe Place attempts to challenge its audience, but mostly serves up something close to weak TERF apologism.