Julie Bindel: the man in a skirt called me a Nazi — then attacked, The Times 09.06.19
The original article is here.
On Tuesday, having given a talk at Edinburgh University about male violence towards women and girls, I was attacked on my way to the taxi that was taking me to the airport. A man, wearing a long skirt and with lots of dark stubble, started screaming and shouting at me, calling me a Nazi and Terf scum (an acronym for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist”).
I recognised the man from an earlier protest. A group of about 50 people, many young “woke” students with the requisite orange or blue fringes and a couple of trans women, had been holding signs with slogans such as “No Terfs on our turf” and chanting “Die cis scum” (a “cisgender” person is one who is not transgender).
The event, which the protesters had tried hard to get cancelled, was on women’s sex-based rights. In light of previous proposals by the government to allow a person to change their gender based on their own self-definition, some institutions and even local authorities have already put the policy in place despite it not yet being law.
As a result, male-bodied trans women have ended up in women’s prisons, hospitals and sports teams. Men self-identifying as women are now allowed into many women’s changing rooms. The ladies’ pond on Hampstead Heath, in north London, which for almost a century had provided a haven for female swimmers (there is also a men-only pond and a mixed pond nearby) now admits trans women despite the fact that most of them retain their penises.
The university event went extremely well, despite a group of trans activists attempting to set off stink bombs in the hall. The organisers had endured threats, bullying and intimidation since it was advertised, mainly because I had been invited. (In 2004 I wrote a column in which I railed against a trans activist who had tried to get a rape crisis centre in Canada closed down because it would not accept him as a volunteer.) A number of academic staff joined in with the students, claiming my presence on campus would cause “literal harm” to trans people and that I spout “hate speech”.
I was the final speaker, focusing on the amazing feminist activists I have met in countries around the world who are countering male violence such as prostitution, rape, sexual assault and forced marriage. My speech went down well and as I left the hall I received a standing ovation.
I went outside to wait for my taxi, followed by the security staff. As I was saying my goodbyes a man, who had clearly been waiting around the corner for me to emerge, ran up and began screaming in my face, calling me “scum”, “Terf” and “bigot”. He lunged at me and was a split-second away from thumping me full in the face when three security guards pulled him away. I took out my phone to try to record the attack. As I did this, the attacker lunged at me again and had to be restrained.
How have we arrived at this shocking state of affairs, where feminist campaigners are called “Nazi scum” and are no-platformed — denied a forum — for speaking out on behalf of marginalised and abused women?
I have been labelled a bigot, a Nazi and a transphobe since I wrote that column in 2004. It matters not that I have since apologised for some of the language I had used, because unless feminists totally capitulate and adopt the Stonewall mantra of “trans women are women”, we are labelled “transphobic bigots”. My view on transsexuality is that trans women are trans women, as distinct from natal females. It is impossible to change sex, it is only possible to live as the opposite sex.
I have experienced abuse for my views these past 15 years for the simple reason that I refuse to accept the Orwellian concept that it is possible for a man simply to declare he is now “a woman” because he “feels like a woman”. The attack has left me feeling anxious and depressed. By coincidence, I had ended my speech by railing against the way women, rather than the perpetrators, are often blamed when we are raped or suffer domestic violence.
I have been beaten up, but not for a long time. Being a lesbian and a radical feminist brings with it certain dangers because there are some serious misogynists out there. But the transgender activists and their allies, a mix of woke bearded blokes and queer-identified female students, argue that they are on the “right side of history” because they are “calling out” transphobic feminists and are defending trans people.
The men who join in the abuse and vilification of feminists are little more than misogynists but now have permission to scream insults in our faces and still be seen as progressive. Until the liberals who defend this behaviour see it for what it really is, feminists will continue to be silenced and abused.
The vast majority of transsexual people, many of whom I count as allies and friends, detest this behaviour. We all should.