Women’s Place UK is an organisation of women committed to promoting respectful debate around issues of law and public policy which affect women’s lives.
Despite the offensive, loud and relentless chanting from the trans activists, women stood and spoke with great passion and eloquence to a brave, determined and focussed audience. Women will not be silenced when it comes to standing for our hard won rights. (Audience Member)
A woman’s place is not in Prison, October 2021
In October last year we organised a meeting of several hundred women in London to discuss the inhumane treatment of women in prisons and the risks posed to them by locking them up with male prisoners. There was a small protest outside and the venue’s staff, our supporters and people attending an event in the same building were abused by protestors using the foulest racist and misogynistic language. We refused to be intimidated.
A woman’s place is in Manchester, March 2022
Our first major event of 2022 was in Manchester on Thursday March 24th. The theme of the meeting was women’s access to single-sex spaces, services, quotas and sporting competition; and the impact on that of the Bill for Gender Recognition Reform in Scotland and the Equality and Human Rights Commission guidance on single-sex exceptions across the UK.
150 people, mostly women, attended our meeting. It was the largest gathering of feminists in Manchester for a long time. Sadly, we are used to noisy, abusive protests outside when we bring women together. We also know that the organisers of these protests routinely tell lies about us or misrepresent us. We also know that they are frequently willing to harass our supporters and audience members, many of whom are interested in our campaigns and meetings because they have their own personal histories of physical and sexual abuse and know the importance of women-only spaces.
Intimidation and aggression by trans activists
An estimated 150 trans activists marched noisily to our meeting on Thursday evening. They had been attracted there by publicity that falsely claimed we are a “transphobic hate group” and that we’d be discussing the “exclusion of trans people from public spaces”. Their message was amplified by a Manchester Evening News journalist who was strongly supportive of them and has used derogatory language in his social media feeds about women who hold our views. We had offered this journalist a complimentary press ticket so he could report from the meeting itself but received no response.
The police accompanied the protest from their assembly point to our venue.
The crowd stood immediately outside the building entrance, blocking access and exit from the building and shouting false, derogatory and threatening slogans aimed at women in the meeting. Many women inside felt threatened by this conduct.
A breach of the peace?
The venue’s management became so concerned about the virulence of the protest that they asked us to abandon the meeting. The police kept us inside to prevent a breach of the peace and waited for the hostile protest to disperse of its own accord. This can only mean that they thought women leaving the meeting would be verbally or physically assaulted.
A flavour of the hostility and aggression the women in our meeting faced is given by some of chants taken up by large numbers of the protestors: “fuck TERFs”, “TERFs get off our fucking turf”, “Woman’s Place is a place of hate”.
While it may be true that the police presence prevented the protestors from entering our meeting to destroy it, they made no attempt to disperse a crowd which they judged to be threatening us. They didn’t attempt to contain them or facilitate their right to protest at a less threatening distance as is usual at demonstrations outside buildings and corporate events.
Manchester women refuse to be intimidated into silence
Our meeting went ahead, and the videos will be online soon.
Despite the police inaction, the protest dispersed shortly before our meeting finished.
We would like to thank everyone who was in touch with us during and after the meeting sending us love and support. Maggy Moyo, Cathy Devine and Rebecca Bull, our guest speakers and Emma Hilton, our chair, were inspirational. Most of all we thank the women of Manchester who came along and defiantly refused to be intimidated into being silent.
Woman’s Place is a place of strength and solidarity.
Judith Green & Emma Wilkes
A livestream of the protest by an independent citizen journalist can be viewed here.
Videos of the speeches can be viewed here:
What happens when we talk about single-sex services and the law Sex Matters, 28 March 2022
Philosophical question for the weekend Kay Green Blog, 25 March 2022
Men to the left of us. Men to the Right of us The Critic, 25 March 2022
Protestors score an own goal Women’s Rights Network 29 March 2022
‘Protect trans lives’ Hundreds march through city centre Manchester Evening News, 25 March 2022
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.