Woman's Place UK

P*nk ‘News’ allegedly in Brighton

We have seen an article in P*nk News which purports to cover the events of Monday night when our public meeting, A Woman’s Place is at Conference,  was aggressively protested by over 100 people who intimidated and harassed our event.

We have previously raised concerns with P*nk News over their reporting on Woman’s Place UK but they have refused to give us a right of reply.

P*nk News did not contact us for comment on this piece.

We do not consider them to be a legitimate or reliable source of news.

We therefore do not link to P*nk News but we have quoted the key inaccuracies below followed by our rebuttal.

P*nk News Claims

“Activists drown out anti-trans group’s meeting at Labour Party Conference”

Woman’s Place is not anti-trans and we do not campaign against trans rights. We campaign for women’s rights as they exist under the law, and with an expectation that any proposed change to the law must take women’s rights into account.

We work with a number of trans people: trans women who support our campaign have spoken from the platform and trans people, as well as those who have detransitioned, have attended in the audience and spoken both from the platform and as part of Q&A sections of our meetings.

Woman’s Place UK did not hold a meeting at Labour Party Conference. We held a meeting at a city centre venue.

“A crowd of trans rights activists staged a demonstration outside the Labour Party Conference to protest against a ‘transphobic and whorephobic’ group meeting”.

The demonstration did not take place outside the Labour Party Conference. The meeting was at a venue near Brighton Station and that is where the protest happened.

We are not ‘transphobic’ or ‘whorephobic’.

“At previous WPUK events transgender women have been branded “horrible, hateful, misogynistic bastards” and compared to parasites.”

The first hyperlink is to a Vimeo page which does not exist.

The comments ‘horrible, hateful, misogynistic bastards’  were made in a speech by Ann Ruzylo at our Cambridge meeting in November 2017 and refer to a campaign by specific ‘transactivists’ in the Labour Party, some of whom were not themselves trans, who had harassed her out of her role and the party [1].

The second hyperlink is to a P*nk News story about a meeting organised by another group of activists.

“Parents of transgender children have been accused of “presiding over a generation of institutionalised child abuse”, and transgender children referred to as mutilated.”

This hyperlink is to a website unconnected to Woman’s Place UK.

“WPUK frequently faces backlash in the form of counter-protests and demonstrations, with several events being cancelled in response.”

The first hyperlink is to an open letter protesting our meeting in Oxford; the second hyperlink is to a story in P*nk News about the Oxford meeting.

Our statement on our Oxford meeting is here.

All our planned meetings have gone ahead; we have sometimes had to change the venue due to harassment by protestors.

A full record of all our public meetings, and the harassment and intimidation we have been subjected to, is here.

“Queer AF objected to WPUK’s presence at the political event, saying that the group was “piggy-backing off the Labour party conference to dissipate their hateful rhetoric” in an attempt to increase their influence within the party.”

Woman’s Place UK is making legitimate demands of the labour and trade union movement. Some members of WPUK are Labour Party members and activists, as were around 75% of the audience on Monday night in Brighton.

We do not engage in ‘hateful rhetoric’.

“Radical feminist Julie Bindel also attended the event. She filmed the protesters and complained that police were not intervening in their right to non-violent protest.”

Julie Bindel did not attend the event. She did not film the protestors. She posted a film on social media which was taken by someone else who was at the meeting.

“In a statement to Pink News, Queer AF accused WPUK of “promoting harmful and misleading ideas that falsely represent that women’s rights and trans rights are in opposition to each other”.

We refute this accusation but we were not given a chance to do this formally as we were not approached by P*nk News for any comment.

A Queer AF spokesperson said: “WPUK was founded to oppose proposed reforms of the Gender Recognition Act, an act which allows transgender people in England and Wales to legally change their assigned gender.”

Woman’s Place UK was formed to ensure that women’s voices were heard in the consultation about the GRA.

Our original demands relating to the GRA were:

  1. Respectful and evidence-based discussion about the impact of the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act to be allowed to take place and for women’s voices to be heard.
  2. The principle of women-only spaces to be upheld – and where necessary extended.
  3. A review of how the exemptions in the Equality Act which allow or single sex services or requirements that only a woman can apply for a job (such as in a domestic violence refuge) are being applied in practice.
  4. Government to consult with women’s organisations on how self-declaration would impact on women-only services and spaces.
  5. Government to consult on how self-declaration will impact upon data gathering – such as crime, employment, pay and health statistics – and monitoring of sex-based discrimination such as the gender pay gap.

“Their manipulative strategies particularly target young women, disguising their intentions until ticket holders are in the room, and then using hateful propaganda to try convert attendees towards their transphobic positions.”

We literally do not know what they are talking about.

The group was accused of aggression and intimidation at the event, obstructing WPUK’s right to speak. Queer AF denied any intimidation in a Facebook post the day after the protest.

Photographic, audio and visual evidence, as well as the personal testimony of members of the 100+ people who attended this meeting, provide clear evidence of both aggression and intimidation.

We are submitting a formal complaint to Sussex Police about their handling of the protest.

29th September 2019

[1] This clarification was added on 2nd October 2019. For more information on Ann Ruzylo and her harassment out of the Labour Party see The Economist and The Times.