Freedom of speech: Allison Bailey introduces A Woman’s Place is at the lectern

Allison Bailey is a criminal defence barrister at Garden Court Chambers, London. She has nearly 20 years experience defending in cases of serious violence and complex organised crime. Allison has always supported the rights of gender-reassigned persons to live full lives, free from discrimination. However, she believes that in matters of public policy and law, including safeguarding and statistical gathering and analysis, biological reality must always come before gender identity.

Alison chaired our meeting in Oxford, A Woman’s Place is at the lectern, on Friday 25th October 2019. You can watch the film of her speaking here. This is the transcript of her speech.

Good evening everyone, my name is Allison Bailey aka BluskyeAllison [applause]. Thank you, it is fantastic to see such a great turnout on a Friday night, during half-term, so well done, and welcome, you are all very welcome.

I want to begin by offering our collective thanks to the University of Oxford, for hosting this event in this grand setting of the Examination Schools. There are, I would suggest, few universities in the English speaking world that would have had the courage to host this event [applause]. That is a shocking and sad indictment of how far the rights of women have fallen, but I hope that the courage that the University of Oxford has shown, will act as an example, and shame those other institutions around the world that are not showing nearly as much courage.

I am not a member of WPUK. They’ve asked me to chair this evening’s panel and I am happy and honoured to do so.

If I am discharging my duties appropriately, properly, you should hear relatively little from me this evening.

WPUK have asked me to say a few things about myself before introducing our distinguished panel.

The first thing I want to say is that it’s absolutely fantastic to be back in Oxford.

This is the city of my birth.

I was born about 10, maybe 15 minutes walk from here in the Duke of Edinburgh pub on St Clements. I grew up, what is it? A mile, mile and half from here, up the road, in Temple Cowley.

As a 17-year old I came out as a lesbian in this town.

It was the era of s.28 of the Local Government Act 1988, when a craven tory government sought to deprive all support and guidance to young lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

I decided that I needed to go further afield if I was going to live my authentic life. At 17 I had a sense of the dramatic. Rather than bomb up the M40 to London, I decided that I needed to go to San Francisco to be with my people, and that is where I went and lived for 5 years. It was the early 1990s. It was the height of the AIDS epidemic. I lived on the Castro. We formed lasting bonds and allyship with our gay and transexual brothers and sisters who were dealing with that dreadful epidemic.

Those two moments in history have shaped and informed my life and they have cemented my commitment to the lesbian, gay and bisexual community, and — and it’s not an add-on, it’s sincere, my allyship with transsexual and transgender people, but not those who seek to erase my lived reality as a woman.

I have practised at the criminal bar for the past nearly 20 years. I specialise in criminal defence. I routinely deal with violent men and their victims. I am in no doubt that sex matters. And women matter.

I’ve recently had the privilege of joining and helping to get off the ground the newly formed the LGB Alliance. It’s an organisation that seeks to serve the interests and protect the rights of same-sex attracted people.

Contrary to what is being said online, we are emphatically not transphobic. We are not a transphobic organisation. However, we are opposed to the rank misogyny and homophobia that has found a home in too many parts of the modern trans movement. We are also opposed to the absence of all safeguarding measures that is intrinsic to the ideology of gender self-ID.

Finally, we are opposed to what we regard as an extremist trans agenda being advanced in a climate of deliberate fear and intimidation from all quarters, but that is specifically targeted at women, viciously, and especially viciously at women of colour.

That’s all I want to say about me.


We believe that it is important to share a range of viewpoints on women’s rights and advancement from different perspectives. WPUK does not necessarily agree or endorse all the views that we share.