It is not 'offensive' to name our Community Interest Company REBEL DYKES HISTORY PROJECT
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Hi. I'm one of the directors of a the Rebel Dykes History Project a project that started in 2014 to collect and utilise the archives belonging to Rebel Dykes, the heritage of a bunch of kick-ass post punk dykes who shook up London, UK in the 1980s. As part of this project we are producing a feature length documentary called REBEL DYKES.
We are launching this QUICK FIRE petition because we are utterly shocked. When we decided to make our project official, and set up a Community Interest Company to run it, Company House sent us a letter to say that the name of our company REBEL DYKES HISTORY PROJECT "is not suitable for registration as it may be considered offensive".
This makes us very angry.
We understand it comes from a protective, PC mindset, but we believe that we should have the power to name ourselves as we choose. LGBT people have, throughout the ages reclaimed words of abuse and used them as words of power. From Faggot, Tranny, Queer and Puff, we take these words back. The word Dyke may well have been the first of these to have been reclaimed, there is archival evidence of lesbians using this word positively from the 1970s onwards. For women like the Rebel Dykes, the word Dyke is a powerful, independent statement. We believe we should be able to use the word DYKE as part of our name for a Community Interest Company that gathers the history of these strong women, and we should be able to use this word as we choose.
In the Company House database, there are 47 companies and CiC's that use the word Queer. Many Dykes also identify as Queer, but we demand the right to also use our chosen title. Dyke is a female associated word: cis or trans. However Queer is often associated with men. We demand, as women, to have the right to use the word DYKE to define ourselves.
Wikipedia describes the increasing acceptance of the word Dyke to describe lesbians. In 2005 the use of the word Dyke was accepted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a trademark of the world famous Dykes on Bikes.
Over the 5 years the REBEL DYKES HISTORY PROJECT has been in existence, it has had over 25 spin off projects, inspired by the archive we have created, including , a one woman theatre show; poetry by Roz Kavanagh and Emma McGordon and articles in Time Out London and i-D. We know this is popular and cross generational project, we have more than 4.5k followers on social media, and 1k people following our blog, and our followers are from right across the globe and generations. We have worked closely with Queer Tours of London, in fact our Rebel Dykes tour with them has been spectacularly successful.
The world loves Rebel Dykes, and it is crucial to our continued project that we are able to use the word Dyke in the title of our history project.
We Demand the Right to set up a CiC based using the word DYKES, and to be proud, and out as DYKES.
Thank you for reading this, and we are very grateful if you can sign the petition and share it widely. We are submitting our appeal to Company House on the 18th of March, so we need as many signatures as possible by that date. Thank you.
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