An article about Stonewall published by The Socialist in December 2021 made the claim that “some in the women’s and labour movement” are jointly campaigning with right-wing journalists and politicians.
As a women’s rights group made up of activists with long records in the left and labour movements, we wrote and asked the paper to publish this right of reply. At the time of posting, we were unaware of its publication on their site.
UPDATED 13th March 2022: At the time of posting, we were unaware that the Socialist Party had published our letter. We have since received an email from them alerting us to its publication on their site.
We also note their counterpost and are considering a response.
Michael Johnson’s article “Stonewall attacked by the establishment” (The Socialist 15/12/21) refers to “some in the women’s and labour movement” he asserts are jointly campaigning with right-wing journalists and politicians “to present trans and non-binary people’s rights as conflicting with women’s rights.
For those who follow this discussion, that will be understood as a reference to Woman’s Place UK (WPUK).
Anyone familiar with our organisation knows that all our main activists are longstanding feminists. Many are actively involved in their unions; others work with women and girls affected by male violence and sexual abuse and several of us are proud of the solidarity work we’ve done with the people of Palestine. This may be why MI5 have never bragged about us naming them as employer of the year, an honour awarded to them by Stonewall.
We are a grassroots activist organisation which relies entirely on the voluntary, unpaid labour of women who hold down full-time jobs on top of our family and caring commitments. We don’t get money from big business and the HR departments of major employers.
As comrade Johnson could have found out by looking at our Mythbusters, WPUK opposes all unlawful discrimination against trans people and we believe that the right to gender non-conformity including in dress codes and behavioural expectations should be upheld in law, for men and for women. We work closely with trans people who share our views and we have provided a platform for transsexual people who also believe that a woman’s biological sex is something that she is born with.
Our principal concern is that women have a say in the decisions that affect our lives. What we find shocking is how little support women who speak out get from the left. Our meetings are routinely harassed by aggressive protestors, and women like Dr Kathleen Stock are forced out of their jobs. This harassment appears to have the tacit support of a left which appears to be more troubled by women asking legitimate questions about a major, well-funded, corporate NGO than it is by the harassment of women.
We look forward to the left engaging properly with the concerns being raised by many women and request that you publish this letter as response to the article.
Woman’s Place UK
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.