SILENCING: Trying to stop us meeting
One of the most horrifying and indefensible consequences of trans ideology is the view that women should not be allowed to meet together and air concerns about how that ideology may impact on our lives as women. We don’t matter, we should just shut up and if we won’t shut up trans activist bullies will shut us up by trying to stop us meeting or by trying to drown out our voices if we do meet.
What should be public meetings, where people have a right to speak and to be heard and challenged have – thanks to trans activists – had to be held in secret. And yet in spite of their efforts to silence us, the meetings are getting bigger and bigger each time and women in more and more parts of the country are deciding to host them. What does that tell you, trans activist bullies? Probably nothing as long as you keep your blinkers on and your fingers in your ears while shouting at the top of your voices to support male entitlement over women’s liberation.
This page has a list of all the meetings I’m aware of. The majority were targeted by trans activist bullies desperate to shut women up. Let history be the judge of you. I wager it will not be kind.
Links to relevant articles
Aggressive protests like that in Brighton mean the real causes of transphobia go unaddressed. Debbie Hayton in the Morning Star 05.10.19
Video: Rose of Dawn condemns trans activists at Brighton 01.10.19
Statement from A Woman’s Place UK 26.09.19
Women’s meeting besieged by raging crowd Morning Star 24.09.19
Open letter to Sussex Police from A Fair Cop campaign 24.09.19
Crowd of protesters picket women’s rights meeting for hours The Argus 24.09.19
I’ve just got home from the @Womans_Place_UK meeting in Brighton. Twitter thread by Helen Saxby 23.09.19
Free Speech and Transactivism Heather Brunskell-Evans 29.11.18
Protesters filmed interrupting talk on transgender issues at University of Bristol Bristol Live 22.11.18
The new McCarthyism Julie Bindel June 2018
Free speech at Oxford: Do women have the right to meet and discuss legislation (pdf) Michael Biggs 29.04.18
Trans Activists’ Threats To Execute Women Sure Don’t Look Like Social Justice Natasha Chart 24.07.18
Why are women who discuss gender getting bomb threats? James Kirkup 21.06.18
Women have every right to discuss changes to the law that could affect them Rebecca Lush 24.05.18
If We’re Transphobic, It’s Only Because the Actions of Transwomen Are Scaring Us Reluctantly Rad 25.04.18
A letter to a female trans activist La Scapigliata 28.04.18
Transgender activists and the real war on women by Judith Green of WPUK in The Spectator 10.03.18
The silencing of feminists silences survivors An anonymous sister
Brighton 23.09.19 – A Woman’s Place is at Conference.
Videos of the three speakers Dani Ahrens, Onjali Rauf and Kay Green are available but if you find the background noise unbearable here are the texts of Dani’s speech, Onjali’s speech and Kay’s speech.
A Woman’s Place UK held an ‘unofficial fringe’ meeting in Brighton where the Labour Party were holding their annual conference. The meeting was targeted by nasty, ignorant, bigoted bullies who did their best to intimidate the predominantly female attendees and drown out their voices by shouting and banging on the windows for the entire meeting while police stood by and did nothing. Graham Linehan put together some of the tweets and videos from those at the meeting on his website here.
The screencap below is of a comment I spotted on Facebook.
There is a large number of articles linked to above about what happened at Brighton.
Manchester 27.07.19 Make More Noise presents Feminism: The Elephant in The Room
So far as I know, the bullies had no ammunition against this one so resorted to pointing out Sarah Cooksley is opposed to vaccines. As the meeting wasn’t about vaccines, it’s not clear what their point was, though one did say something about why would we trust the thought process of someone who opposes vaccines? That might be a reasonable approach if it wasn’t coming from someone who thinks men can be women. Clutching at straws much?
A Plea for Help for Feminists from a Trans Widow Make More Noise 15.08.19
Check out #MakeMoreNoise on Twitter.
London 10.07.19 A Woman’s Place is on the Podium
It sounds like some saddo was trying to organise a protest but couldn’t get enough interest, so he made up a story about there being a rumoured counter-protest as an excuse to call it off.
Funny how they claim the right to bully and intimidate people wanting to attend a peaceful meeting but think any suggestion of feminists fighting back is reason enough to run like the clappers. Pathetic.
Here are the vids:
Newcastle 13.06.19 Defend Women’s Rights
It was a great pleasure to attend this meeting, which was one of the most enjoyable I’ve been to. It was, I’m told the third meeting to be held by this group, but the first to be targeted by protesters and apparently the reason was that the fantastic and passionate defender of children against transgender ideology, Michele Moore, was speaking. Michele, who is Professor of Inclusive Education at Northumbria Uni, is the victim of a disgusting campaign of vilification. Attempts to get her dismissed from her role as editor of Disability and Society journal have failed as her publishers stand by her. I’ll post the video of Michele’s talk if and when it becomes available (there is a link to a video of her speaking at Sheffield last year below). In the meantime, here are links to vids of the other wonderful speakers:
Alice Bondi – Introduction to gender critical ideas
Emma Chesworth – Transwomen in prison
Diane Jones – Nothing About Us Without Us! – the importance of consulting women on what affects us.
By the way, as I walked past the protesters on my way in, I was handed a bit of paper with the most pathetic attempt at an argument I’d seen in a while. Somebody, please teach these idiots to think!
Edinburgh 09.06.19 Women’s Sex-Based Rights: what does and should the future hold?
Speakers: Julie Bindel, Rosa Freedman, Claire Heuchan, Lucy Hunter Blackburn, Louise Moody, Sarah Pedersen, Gale Macleod (chair)
This was a brilliant meeting by all accounts. Trans activists had tried hard to get it cancelled. There was a bunch of abusive protesters greeting attendees at the start but by the time the meeting was nearing its end only one was left. Julie Bindel and Rosa Freedman had left the venue a bit early to catch a plane and Julie was physically attacked by him.
Leeds 25.05.19 Declaration of Sex-Based Rights event in the Civic Hall
A thread by Jeni Harvey, drawing attention Leeds so-called ‘”Anti-Fascist Network” inciting others to intimidate feminists leaving a meeting held specifically to discuss sex-based rights can be viewed in pdf form here: Jeni Harvey on Leeds fascists.
Women meet to discuss sex-based rights in Leeds amid accusations of transphobia Yorkshire Evening Post 06.06.19
London 20.05.19 A Woman’s Place is Back in Town
500 attendees heard speakers Meghan Murphy, Selina Todd, Maya Forstater and Julie Bindel. Here is the text of Selina’s lecture. Videos to follow. There were no protesters. Have they finally realised they’re on a hiding to nothing? Here’s one woman’s view of the meeting:
Brighton 18.05.19 Woke News: Censorship and Sensitivities.
Hosted by Julie Burchill and chaired by Posie Parker. Speakers: Meghan Murphy, Brendan O’Neill, Jo Bartosch, Olly Lambert.
One of the best events I’ve been to and not a protester in sight. This recording isn’t great so it’s worth opening the transcript.
Leicester 15.04.19 A Woman’s Place is made to last
WPUK’s 21st meeting! To date, I’ve heard of no problems in relation to this meeting. However, Jo Phoenix talked of how she hadn’t wanted to get involved in the discussion about trans rights vs women’s rights until early in 2019, when trans activist bullies managed to get a planned conference by the Open University cancelled. Hence we now have another brilliant woman raising her head above the parapet. Well done, trans activists!
Chaired by Viv Pointon the speakers were:
Norwich: 25.02.19 A Woman’s Place is breaking ground
A couple of days later, Linda posted this on Facebook.
London: Haringey ReSisters 12.02.19
Billed as a meeting for “everyone is concerned or who would like to know more about the social and medical transitioning of children and the introduction of gender identity teaching in schools”, I’m told this was an excellent meeting attended by many local parents and people with an interest in child welfare and politics.
As usual it attracted attention from the tyrants who just can’t bear the thought of people meeting and saying things they don’t like and the school where the meeting was originally scheduled to be held, gave into pressure and cancelled so the meeting was moved to a church. So glad my kids are through school and I don’t have the likes of Jason Waters teaching them.
Here’s footage of Venice Allan taking on the idiots who protested outside.
Here’s my Facebook comment on their behaviour that obviously offended some snowflake.
And here’s a report in a local paper.
Edinburgh 31 January 2019
A meeting organised by feminist campaigning group For Women Scotland got the usual treatment with bullies from the local branch of Sisters Uncut unsuccessfully trying to get the venue to cancel. They ended up standing outside in the freezing cold with banners but at least it was a silent protest. Maybe they were too cold to shout the usual inanities.
Reading 4 December 2018: A Woman’s Place is at the Bar
Julian Norman, Rosa Freedman and Ruth Serwotka were the wonderful speakers at this one. It was held at a restaurant in central Reading and it took the protestors a long time to find us. The stood outside in the cold and raid and greeted us with a chorus of boos as we left. I hate to think of the intellectual effort that must have cost them. Thanks to the presence a rather large bouncer, I felt safe enough to get a few things off my chest to them and as I departed I heard a young man shout, “Call yourself a feminist!”, which I do, of course. I really wonder what these peope think feminism is?
London 30 November 2018: Let a Woman Speak
Well thanks to an awesome line-up of speakers – Sheila Jeffreys, Julie Bindel, Nina M., Julia Long, Kate Graham and Heather Brunskell-Evans – this one sold out really quickly. By all accounts, it was a fantastic meeting and no protesters turned up but, alas, there doesn’t seem to be a video available.
Bath 1 November 2018: A Woman’s Place Is To Be Heard
I was afraid, which is what they wanted, of course – to bully, intimidate and frighten women trying to meet and talk. I have just been diagnosed with PTSD and I have joined the queue for treatment. I couldn’t handle the idea of turning up to the venue and having to run the gauntlet of protesters again, as I did in Brighton.,
I appealed on social media to anyone who wanted to meet in advance and got plenty of responses so a large group of us met in a pub where I got tanked up on an empty stomach and I wasn’t afraid any more, especially when I saw the protesters and realised that we probably outnumbered them.
I don’t remember much about them except some young, posh, white guy holding forth. I thrust the back of my phone at him to show him the sticker (see right). He thought I was filming and whined, “This is why we have to mask up”. Why are they so afraid to show their faces – to own what they say and do? What do they imagine we are are going to do to them? We’re not the ones with the history of violence and bullying!
I might have seen the funny side of these self-important middle class brats hiding their faces as if they were the hezbollah or the ku klux klan, if I hadn’t been so angry at the very sight of them. Instead, I drunkenly accused them of hiding from their Mummies, called them names and told where to go. It felt great and the meeting was one of the best I’ve been to.
We need to talk in Barnstaple 26 October 2018
I didn’t hear of any problems around this meeting. I will link to the videos are poor once they’ve been uploaded to youtube but in the meantime they can be seen viewed on the We Need to Talk Facebook page.
Meeting on the GRA in Manchester 14 October 2018
This was one of a series of meetings organised by a local feminist group. Here is a picture of the, ahem, “lesbians” who stood outside. I’m told some tried but failed to get in. I believe the two guys second and third from left were my assailants at Speakers’ Corner.
And here they are behaving like lobotomised football supporters after the women leave the venue.
Hosted by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, this was invitation only and I was pleased to be invited, though it turned out to be a somewhat frustrating experience because we only had an hour and the Baroness wasted rather a lot of it, forcing the three wonderful speakers – Kathleen Stock, Racquel Rosario Sanchez and Julian Norman – to severely curtail their speeches. The best part of the event was meeting so many fantastic people in the pub afterwards. Two of the speakers have made the texts of their speeches available: Kathleen and Julian. Not sure to what extent the TRA bullies tried to impact the meeting but obviously the ridiculous Adrian Harrop got up to his usual nonsense and caused a Twitter backlash against the diabolical Dawn Butler.
Leeds 28th September 2018, A Woman’s Place is Speaking The Truth
The venue originally booked for this meeting was at Leeds Civic Hall, and the booking was cancelled by the Labour-led Council a matter of hours before the meeting was due to take place. One councillor, Jess Lennox, told a cock-and-bull story on Twitter about how the booking had been deceptive – a claim that was easily disproven. Lennox, I am told, made some sort of apology for ‘misrepresenting’ what had happened before deleting her Twitter account. As always, another meeting place was found – this time above a pub – and the meeting went ahead. Net result: more angry, disgusted and appalled people more determined than ever to fight this unconscionable attempt to silence voices of dissent. Thank you, Leeds Council.
Here is the statement from WPUK: A woman’s place is in Leeds.
And here is the letter they wrote: Dear Leeds Council
And here’s a piece on the debacle by Jonathan Best:
Welcome to Leeds, women. Now shut up. 29.09.18
Manchester 28th September 2018 We need to talk about Women
With Posie Parker, Hannah Clarke, Jean Hatchet, Anne Ruzylo and Julia Long.
This was on the same night as the Leeds meeting and I decided to go to it. I know that the Manchester Quakers would not accept a booking for this meeting but I don’t know why. Anyway, the venue that was eventually found was perfect, seating over a hundred quite comfortably. There was no sign of any protests and the speakers were wonderful. The meeting was live-streamed and the video can be viewed here.
Liverpool: 25th September 2018, A Woman’s Place Is A Safe Port
This one was billed as an unofficial fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference and apparently went ahead without incident. Speakers were:
Ann Sinnott – Former Labour Cllr, Cambridge City
Helen Watts – Rainbow Leader, Girlguiding UK
Debbie Hayton – Science Teacher and Trade Unionist
Lucy Masoud – Fire Fighter
Ruth Serwotka – Co-founder Woman’s Place UK
If any videos become available, I’ll put them up.
Sheffield: 20 September 2018, A Woman’s Place Takes Nerves of Steel
This attempt to blackmail organisers, backfired spectacularly and led to some frantic backtracking by the bully who tweeted it. I understand it is a condition of sale that venues or not publicised. I’m not sure why Stockton’s ticket was withdrawn but, having seen this appalling tweet, I’ve no doubt it was for sound reason.
The Harlequin pub, which hosted the meeting, took lot of flack online after the meeting was over. They took it on the chin and produced this awesome blog about it. No sooner had they done so than this unutterably stupid post attacking the publican as a ‘TERF’ (of course!) started circulating on Facebook. That’s one pub that’s definitely worth visiting and for more reasons than one, judging by the website. It sounds like a great wee place but if idiots, liars and bullies want to withdraw their custom than I will defend to the death their right to do so.
Sounds like the meeting went well and hopefully there will be videos available to link to soon.
Speakers: Zlakha Ahmed, Sian Griffiths, Michele Moore, Helen Steel
Plymouth, 25 August 2018, Let a woman speak.
There was apparently a lot of mobilisation from the trans fascists against this meeting and protesters were expected but in the end they limited themselves to spraying graffiti on the outside walls of the 200-year-old Grade I listed building the night before the meeting was due to take place. What did they expect would be achieved by this apart from making local people angry with them?
Anyway, I’m told there was no sign of them when people started turning up for the meeting, which was chaired by Louise Paine. The speakers were Stephanie Davies-Arai, Dr Nic Williams, Abigail Rowland and Miranda Yardley. Here is the video.
Brighton, 16 July 2018 A Woman’s Place is turning the tide.
Great meeting, shame about the attempted disruptions. I’ve blogged my account here:
The speakers were:
Helen Saxby Feminist writer and blogger, An expanded version of Helen’s talk can be read here.
Kathleen Stock Philosophy Lecturer, University of Sussex. Kathleen published her notes here.
Gill Smith Woman who experienced life as a transman but has since desisted.
Ruth Serwotka Co-founder of Woman’s Place UK
The first venue – a Friends Meeting House – cancelled with five days notice and issued an absolutely appalling statement. which WPUK respond to here. Shame on you, Quakers of Brighton. The venue was re-located to the Jury’s Inn Hotel and large numbers of protesters stood outside the front and back entrances shouting and intimidating people.
Here is the organisers’ account of what happened.
Here are local news stories prior to the event:
‘Trans women are still males with male genitalia’ – university lecturer airs controversial views Brighton Argus piece about Kathleen Stock
The tweet from Kathleen Stock refers to a disgraceful statement put out by Sussex Uni’s Student Union after the above article was published in the Argus They have now amended it to one that says nothing more than that they disagree with her views, as if anyone cared.
Hastings, 20th June 2018, A Woman’s Place is on the Frontline
In spite of the best efforts of Natasha Scott, director of Hastings Pride, whose CV includes the honour of being Brighton’s first Miss Transgender Brighton and even in spite of a hoax bomb warning tweeted by a troll and apparently taken seriously by police, this meeting went ahead without incident and was reported to be a sell-out and great success by those attending. Here the videos of the speakers:
London, 13th June 2018, Inconvenient Women
Organiser Venice Allan wasn’t fooled by attempts by trans activists to discover the venue for this one and it went ahead without any sign of protest from them, at least.
It was a fabulous meeting – the first I’d personally attended since Birmingham in March – with speakers Sheila Jeffreys and Nicola Jones, many thoughtful contributions from the audience and one very annoying lesbian activist called Kat Pinder (a one-time tabloid headline-grabbing TV reality show contestant then known as ‘Kitten’) who apparently has a grudge against Sheila and who, instead of waiting for the Q&A to challenge her, lay on the floor shouting abuse. The meeting was live streamed.
Let a Woman Speak in Truro 9th June 2018
I understand this was organised by WPUK but they cancelled it because of controversy surrounding one of their speakers, Posie Parker, so local women have decided to go ahead with it independently.
Speakers: Posie Parker, Jean Hatchett, Hannah Clarke. Here is the video.
Todmorden 7th June 2018: A Woman’s Place is to Encourage Debate.
I’m not aware of any problems around this meeting or of any video. The speakers were Gill Smith, Ruth Serwotka, Kristina Jayne Harrison.
Newcastle 24th May 2018: A Woman’s Place is Standing Her Ground
Bullies tried to get Northumbria University to cancel but the University wouldn’t kowtow to them and was criticised for allowing it to take place. Pathetic, really.
Chaired by Judith Green
Heather has also published her talk on her website.
Basingstoke 17th May 2018: A Woman’s Place is to be Inquiring
I’m not aware of any problems around this meeting.
Oxford 25th April 2018 A Woman’s Place is ours to define
Speakers: Stephanie Davies-Arai, Nic Williams, Raquel Rosario Sachez, Philipa Harvey.
A bunch of privileged white students in Oxford tried to get the Quakers to cancel this meeting at their premises and, when they failed, stood outside trying to drown out voices inside instead. The meeting went ahead as planned and the protesters succeeded only in showing themselves to be the ignorant bigots they are and angering even more people − including participants of a separate meeting at the same venue.
Said one commenter on Facebook, “There was a sexual abuse survivors group meeting in a room in the same venue, much much closer to the protesters than the WPUK meeting. When told that they were making vulnerable women (not anything to do with WPUK) incredibly intimidated and anxious and asked to stop screaming at least for the duration of their meeting, the protesters didn’t give a shit. Even saying “We don’t care!” This behaviour is abhorrent. It really shows the utter disregard these ‘righteous protestors’ have for women.”
According to one Tweet protesters “photographed woman & child escaping domestic violence despite being asked not to”.
Trans supporters of WPUK, Debbie Hayton and Kristina Harrison, both tried to talk to the protesters to no avail.
Sounds like it was a good meeting anyway. One commenter tweeted,
“Really glad that I made the 3hr drive. The meeting is buzzing with positivity and hope. The speakers are great; really thought-provoking and passionate.”
Here is a video of Julia Hartley-Brewer’s radio interview with Nic Williams: Does holding a different opinion make someone transphobic?
A piece by Oxford University professor: Free speech at Oxford: Do women have the right to meet and discuss legislation (pdf) Michael Biggs 29.04.18
Finally, this is what stupid looks like:
Cardiff 12th April 2018 A Woman’s Place is speaking up in Wales
I was very sorry to read that the Cardiff Mercure Holland House gave in to a bunch of lying bigots and cancelled the meeting at short notice and without discussion. The bigots – members of a risibly misnamed group called Cardiff Feminist Network – celebrated on their private Facebook page.
Read the whole thread here.
As ever, a new venue was quickly found and judging by the comments tweeted from the meeting, a great time was had by all. The Cardiff Mercure Holland House apologised for a defamatory “unauthorised” tweet made in response to the bullies. Notably, the Wales Online reporter who wrote both stories was Anna Lewis, who at the time was a member of this execrable group. The ‘Elise’ who gets thanked in the celebratory post is none of other than the monstrous Elise Hendrick.
Here is a transcript of what Jeni Harvey said. Other speakers were Ruth Serwotka of WPUK, Raquel Rosario Sanchez of Feminist Current, Helen Mary Jones of Plaid Cymru.
Videos of speakers:
Bristol 19th April 2018 We need to talk about sex
For the first time in the history of these meetings, the venue of this one organised by Venice Allan was advertised publicly and, in spite of their best efforts, the bullies – again drawn from the local Sisters Uncut – group did not succeed in getting the venue to cancel. Massive kudos to the Jam Jar management for their principled stand.
Chaired by Jeni Harvey, the speakers were Heather Brunskell-Evans, Miranda Yardley, Nicole Jones and Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull. Contributions from the floor included Magdalen Berns and Sheila Jeffreys. Oh and Munroe Bergdoff who can be heard trying to interrupt the first speaker and who was told to wait until the Q&A at the end but apparently Munroe was just too fabulous to do that and left.
A recording of the meeting can be viewed here.
The screenshot right shows the bullies congratulating themselves. Mysteriously, no footage exists to support their allegations of being assaulted. However, we do have footage by Julie Bindel, who was there as a reporter. In Julie’s video we can see a bunch masked millennials blocking the stairway so that invited speaker, Heather Brunskell-Evans, and Julie herself can’t get to the meeting. In this short video shot by Magdalen Berns we see one of the bullies screaming abuse because she was called the wrong pronoun. You couldn’t make this up. And while all this was going on Miranda Yardley slipped out the back on an important mission. See footage here.
Update: The protest was shown on a Channel 4 documentary. The relevant part is 32 minutes in
Free Speech and Transactivism Heather Brunskell-Evans 29.11.18
I regret my tactics at a trans rights protest. Here’s why Esther Betts 26.11.18
The new McCarthyism Julie Bindel June 2018
Birmingham, 15th March 2018, A Woman’s Place is a Sanctuary
In contrast, the meeting in Birmingham with Karen Ingala Smith, Rebecca Reilly-Cooper, Debbie Hayton and Aysha Iqbal lived up to its title. It was wonderfully calm and peaceful. I am unaware of Misters Uncut or anyone else trying buy tickets, find out where it was happening or stop it taking place and there were no protests outside the venue, while inside about 100 women and a few men had gathered to listen to the speakers and take part in good natured discussion. The meeting saw a lot of enthusiasm for the idea of developing a West Midlands Feminist Network. Contact @Jacky Holyoake if interested.
London, 14th March 2018: Transgenderism and the War on Women
This was booked to be held at Millwall Football Club but, under pressure from the trans cult, the Millwall cissies cancelled so we got a room at House of Commons instead. Naturally the bullies of Sisters Uncut tried desperately to stop it happening and resorted to the usual fabrications.
The tweet shown right was followed by one suggesting complainants say the meeting would be in breach of the Equalities Act and would “incite violence against trans women”. These people have neither reason nor integrity. One saddo tweeted that he phoned to complain three times using different voices each time. At least one imbecile devoted an incredible amount of time on trying to make something out of the fact that the meeting was hosted by David Davies, MP, a Tory and practising Catholic who opposes abortion and gay marriage. Guilt by association I suppose. I pointed out that, unlike trans activists, Davies doesn’t promote and celebrate violence against women he disagreed with or tell us to suck his dick.
It was, in my opinion, the best meeting so far. That had a lot to do with the brilliant speakers, Sheila Jeffreys, Julia Long and Anne Ruzylo but also with being in a fabulous location. There was a huge buzz in the room and a sense of history being made.
Of course the bullies knew they wouldn’t be able to protest outside the Palace of Westminster so didn’t bother turning up and there was an amazing atmosphere in the pub afterwards.
Thanks are due to the awesome Venice Allan, Dr Radfem, for making it all happen.
From the Sunday Times 1st April 2018 but unfortunately not an April Fool prank.
The parliamentary commissioner for standards has launched an investigation into a Tory MP after he held an event with feminists who are opposed to planned transgender legislation.
David Davies, MP for Monmouth, called the inquiry “sinister” and “unbelievable” and said parliamentary rules were being “abused” by transgender activists to deny freedom of speech.
Members of the We Need To Talk group say potential legal changes allowing people born male to “self-identify” as women will threaten biological women’s spaces and rights. Their meeting took place in parliament on March 14. Davies agreed to host them when Millwall football club, the original venue, cancelled after pressure from transgender lobbyists.
“This was a meeting with women who’ve got perfectly legitimate concerns about legislation the government has said it’s bringing forward,” Davies said. “Of course they’ve got a right to discuss it in the legislature. There is an important principle of freedom of speech here.”
Update: A complaint by the execrable Zoe O’Connell against David Davies MP, alleging that the event was ticketed, which is in breach of House of Commons rules for public meetings, was not upheld. The correspondence can be viewed here.
London, 27 February 2018, A Woman’s Place is Making a Stand
Over 400 of us attended this meeting at a church on the Tottenham Court Road to hear Steph Pike, Lucy Masoud and Pilgrim Tucker, chaired by Megan Dobney. I saw no protesters when I arrived but, during the first speaker’s presentation, I started to hear the familiar mindless chants from outside. They didn’t last long, though they returned near the end and were there to greet us as we emerged from the venue. There were only a handful of them and, as they were outnumbered by about 70 to 1, didn’t seem particularly threatening. Nevertheless, things turned nasty when one of them – who I now know to be Ananya Jaidev, who was also one of the more vocal nutters at Speakers Corner – reportedly tried to grab the spectacles from the face of one woman who’d been in the audience.
The meeting itself was absolutely fantastic and it was good to see so many women say they felt so inspired by it. Videos of the speakers are available – there were also great contributions came from members of the audience including three from supportive trans folk, but these were not filmed for their own safety.
Lily Maynard blogged her impressions of the meeting here: A Woman’s Place – we’re making history.
I made Julia into a gif. Original footage here
Edinburgh, 14 February 2018: A woman’s place loves women’s rights
A very successful meeting took place in the Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Edinburgh on 14th February 20 17. Organisers were ably assisted by the local branch of Sisters Uncut who, not caring to hear the invited speakers, namely feminist activist, Jackie Mearns of Female Erasure and Emma Wilkes, who is the mother of a detransitioned teenager, much less the questions and concerns expressed by women in the audience, chose instead to stand outside and bang saucepans, thereby consolidating the anger and opposition of those inside the hall.
Here’s a poignant observation from journalist, Vonny Leclerc, who attended:
“I missed the start of the meeting, but what I saw was calm. We heard from a woman whose partner transitioned and the mother of a teenage girl who identified as a boy for years. A de-transitioned woman spoke up, as did teachers with a desire to balance the rights of girls with those of trans and non-binary teens. There were women’s service users with questions and concerns. We discussed the reality of growing up with a female body in Scotland.
One woman spoke about her childhood sexual assault. She explained that puberty confronted her with the inescapable reality of her womanhood. She began hating her body. It had become a monument to her trauma. As she cried, and some cried with her, the din of pots, pans and chants echoed through the hall. It struck me how the reality of this quiet exchange was lost to those outside. It made me wonder: what do they think we’re doing in here? How can we bridge the gap between expectation and reality?”
Finally, the Sisters Uncut group followed up their vile behaviour with the most disgusting proposition imaginable, which is that the venue should donate proceeds to a group that defended the assault on me with the declaration that, “punching terfs is the same as punching Nazis“.
Are these people for real?
Jackie Mearns’ talk in which she describes life with her abusive fetishist transgender husband while trans activist abusers outside make an appalling racket, can be seen here. There doesn’t appear to be a video of Emma available.
Bristol, 8th February 2018: A woman’s place is speaking out
In Bristol the venue cancelled with a day’s notice, though the group of protesters – apparently drawn from a group going by the name of Sisters Uncut, Bristol – weren’t directly responsible on this occasion. In fact, they didn’t even manage to find out where the meeting was due to take place or – much to the amusement of everyone attending including me – where it ended up taking place.
But because the organisers liaised with the police, who went to the venue to check it over, it seems those responsible for letting out the room got cold feet. Never mind. A different and really fantastic alternative venue was quickly found leaving the bullies from Sisters Uncut, who were hoping to find us and bully us, watching the #WPUK Twitter time line for clues. I did my best to oblige with a few false ones. I don’t know if they were taken in or not.
Early in the meeting, it seems someone in the audience tweeted a photo of the speakers and the photo quickly appeared on the Bristol Sisters Uncut Facebook page with an appeal that nobody answered leaving one disgruntled supporter – a well-known misogynist MtT called Elise Hendrick – to whinge about how fitting it was that WPUK used the same tactics as Britain First. For pity’s sake find a new playbook – and playgroup, ideally – or just ask someone to help you learn to argue like a grown-up.
The meeting was wonderful, by the way. Here are videos of the speakers:
Jo Bartosch’s presentation can also be read here: From Advocate to Adversary – Speech to Bristol Woman’s Place UK Meeting
The contributions from the floor were superb and they are never recorded for the safety of the participants. How sad it is that we have come to this.
Update: An unbelievably silly petition was organised by a student at Bristol University calling for the cancellation of the meeting, even though the University wasn’t hosting it. It now seems this student is facing disciplinary action, which seems unlikely just for a petition and I suspect there is more to this story than the writers of this shockingly dishonest letter Open letter to Hugh Brady (the Uni’s Vice Chancellor and President) is letting on. Shame on every single academic who has signed it, quite obviously without taking the trouble to verify the contents of the letter.
Manchester, 17th January 2018: A woman’s place is under threat
The harder they try to shut us up, the more people want to talk. The Quakers of Manchester hosted this packed meeting, reportedly attended by some 200 of us, to hear excellent talks by Bea Campbell, Kristina Harrison and Ruth Serwotka.
Apparently there were “protestations” in advance of the meeting but there wasn’t a demonstrator in sight anywhere near the venue. Pink News, in a disgusting and dishonest article I’m not going to link to, reports that the person in charge of the venue had responded to attempts to get the meeting cancelled saying:
“I recognise that whether the event goes ahead or not, some people will feel hurt and upset about that. My understanding is that the group are hosting a debate concerning changes to the Gender Recognition Act and is not campaigning against trans people in general. There are clearly differences in opinion as to whether they are or are not a transphobic hate group, and I appreciate that for some people whatever decision I make will be disappointing and hurtful.”
Here are videos of the speakers:
An article by Ruth Serowtka in the Morning Star: Why do we need a new women’s movement?
Glasgow, 10th January 2018: We need to talk about gender
For this occasion, the event organiser, Venice Allan aka Dr RadFem, booked a modest hotel and didn’t publicise the venue but the bullies got hold of the address anyway and bullied the venue into cancelling – again with just hours notice. Venice believes it’s because this particular hotel did not have sufficient security staff to protect the peaceful attendees against potentially violent hoodlums. In any event, she just booked a bigger hotel that did have the staff so the meeting went ahead as planned.
However, on this occasion a few of the bullies got into the meeting and, within a few seconds of the first speaker, Kate Graham, starting to speak they began shouting in unison. What was their purpose apart from making themselves feel important but look like the bigoted morons they are? I’ve no idea.
Because of a problem with the recording, we don’t get Kate’s talk in this video. We also miss the beginning of Ruth Greenberg’s talk but we hear Stuart Waite and Heather Brunskell-Evans in full.
Here’s a great article written by someone who attended the meeting:
“The meeting certainly provided plenty of food for thought. But hate? The only hate I detected came from the individuals who shouted a woman down before she had even spoken a word.”
Finally, a review left on the Facebook page.
There was no hate speech. There was no put down of trans people. There was much discussion about gender as a social construct, about the difference between biological sex and gender as a social construct and the need if we are to have laws that are going to work and be effective for us all for us to be clear what we mean by such terms, discussion of how meanings of terms change over time.
Other aspects were covered too. The room was full of intelligent, thoughtful, concerned people. I have various reasons to have a more than average interest in this legislation and I felt I came away with more to think about. All you can ask for from a public meeting really. Though I could have done without the antics of having had the venue changed at the last minute due to agitators harassing the original venue, and I could have done without, as a woman arriving on my own, having to breach the wall of protestors with bongo drums and banners lined along the entrance steps to the hotel. A meeting about gender, which affects every aspect of my life. My home city. Intimidation. Maybe the next meeting I go to should be – Let’s talk about free speech.
Cambridge, 23rd November 2017: A Woman’s Place is on the Platform
This time the bullies tried the tactic of booking all the seats but their stupidity gave them away. The organiser tells the story here: Making sure A Woman’s Place is on the Platform
And here are videos of three of the speakers. Heather Brunskell-Evans was a late addition to the panel and there doesn’t seem to be a recording of her contribution. She did, however, speak again at Glasgow – see below.
York, 8th November 2017: We need to talk about gender
It seems the bullies deceived the organiser into letting them know the meeting was to take place at the Priory Street Centre in York. The venue shamefully gave in to the bullies and cancelled with a few hours notice so we went to a hotel, which was much nicer anyway. No protestors bothered to turn up in person, there was minimal inconvenience caused and money that would have gone to a community centre – albeit one not worthy of the name – went to a hotel instead. Well done, bullies.
Brighton 27th September 2017: We need to talk about gender
This meeting took place during the week the Labour Party held its annual conference in Brighton. I understand it was a fantastic meeting – the events at Speakers’ Corner having, unsurprisingly, galvanised people into wanting to fight back harder than ever. It’s not known whether the bullies tried to get the venue to cancel the meeting. There were some protesters outside but they caused no problems and nobody took any notice of them.
Unfortunately the event wasn’t recorded but here’s a review lifted from Facebook:
London, 13th September 2017: What is Gender? The Gender Recognition Act and Beyond
I was at Speakers’ Corner on 13 September 2017 because I wanted to attend a meeting to hear about proposed changes to legislation. The meeting had originally been organised as a debate between two people from Stonewall UK on one side and Dr Julia Long and Miranda Yardley on the other, but the representatives from Stonewall pulled out. It was also supposed to take place in a venue in South East London called the New Cross Learning Centre but, after a campaign of harassment by bullies who were evidently desperate to stop people like me – someone who had never been involved in any kind of activity on trans issues – hearing from people who had, the venue cancelled the meeting the day before it was due to happen.
Another venue, this time in Central London – and therefore much more convenient for many would-be attendees – was quickly found and a meeting point at Speakers’ Corner was announced on Twitter. Some of the bullies reportedly spent the day phoning possible venues in the area but, in spite of their best efforts, the meeting went ahead albeit the start was delayed by the bullies’ activities at Speakers’ Corner. A smaller number of the bullies stood outside the building and shouted continuously throughout the meeting. On the videos below, they actually sound louder than they did to those of us in the room at the time and, although they obviously got on Julia’s nerves a bit, neither she nor Miranda were put off by them. Ruth Serwotka gives an account on Facebook here.
What about Dublin?
At the time of writing, bullies are trying to stop a meeting taking place in Dublin. Here is a message from somebody who is willing to organise it, though there are other candidates, and below is a link to a piece by Irish feminist, Miriam Kivlehan.
An Open Letter to UK Feminists: We Need to Talk! Miriam Kivlehan
“It saddened me recently to witness a collective of Irish women publish an ‘Open Letter’ to you, for the sole purpose of discrediting your current mission, silencing your voice and mobilising public hostility towards your proposed visit to Ireland. That it is based on ignorance and a heinous misrepresentation of our shared feminist history outrages me; that it implies their view is in any way representative of all Irish feminists shames me; and that it uses its object both to ostracise you and mobilise hatred and violence towards fellow Irish women, incenses every fibre of my being.”
Page last updated 12.10.19