A record of Woman’s Place UK meetings

This is a record of the meetings organised by Woman’s Place UK since our inception in September 2017, together with some details of the difficulties we have faced from people opposed to these meetings taking place.

We have also linked to any statements we made in relation to the meetings and any related news coverage of our meetings from reputable sources. We have not linked to articles which we believe to be scurrilous or written with malign intent.

For a more comprehensive overview of all the meetings being organised by women in the UK to discuss their rights see Maria MacLachlan’s website: My Peak Trans.

Read our statement on organising meetings.

Read our guidance on organising your own meeting

1. A Woman’s Place is on the Platform

Linda Bellos announcement Final draft

Cambridge

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Tickets: 104

Venue: Friends Meeting House

Speakers: Linda Bellos, Helen Steel, Anne Ruzylo, Heather Brunskell-Evans, Judith Green (Chair)

Our first meeting was in response to women’s right to speak being threatened. We platformed Linda Bellos (who had been disinvited by a student society of a Cambridge College); Helen Steel (physically threatened and surrounded at London Anarchist Bookfair for defending women distributing leaflets); Anne Ruzylo (subject to harassment in her role as Women’s Officer of her Labour Party); and Heather Brunskell-Evans (sacked from her Women’s Equality Party spokeswoman role, for expressing her views on Radio 4).

There was no protest although we had had to inform the police about this message sent to us on Facebook, “If Isis only blow up one event this Christmas…”.

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A Woman’s Place is on the platform: an account of the difficulties organising the meeting by Judith Green

Cambridge University has uninvited this feminist speaker after these comments Cambridge News

Linda Bellos barred in university row The Times

If Linda Bellos is seen as a risk then progressive politics has lost its way Claire Heuchan The Guardian

Are women born or made? The Economist

2. A Woman’s Place is Under Threat

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Manchester

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Tickets: 223

Venue: Friends Meeting House

Speakers: Bea Campbell, Kristina Jayne Harrison, Ruth Serwotka, Beth Aze (Chair).

The venue received calls calling us a hate group and asking them to cancel. There was a very small protest outside, but no trouble.

Secret location for women’s rights debate amid fears activists will disrupt it Manchester Evening News

3. A Woman’s Place is Speaking Out

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Bristol

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Tickets: 130

Venue: conference venue

Speakers: Jo Bartosch, Lynne Harne, Stephanie Davies-Arai, Judith Green, Raquel Rosario Sanchez (Chair).

There was mobilisation for a masked protest advertised on Facebook and an open letter circulated against the meeting, naming our Chair. The local organiser informed the police as a courtesy about the possible protest and our arrangements with the venue. Police then visited, following which the Church steward felt it was no longer a routine booking and had to inform more senior people. They deliberated and cancelled our booking the day before.

An alternative venue was successfully found and the meeting went ahead.

The threats and intimidation by a student against our student Chair became the subject of a university disciplinary case, still unresolved and recently reported on by The Times.

Read the organisers’ account of organising the Bristol meeting

Our statement on the slurs made against WPUK in relation to the Bristol meeting

Open Letter: Freedom of speech at the University of Bristol Feminist Current

Should trans women be banned from women’s shelters, changing rooms and toilets? Bristol debates Bristol Live

Bristol University students seek to ban ‘terf’ speakers who question transgender status of women The Telegraph

What’s wrong with closed-minded snowflakes Julie Bindel Unherd

Assaults on free speech are led by the left The Times

Statement by head of the Centre for Gender and Violence Research at the University of Bristol August 2019

WPUK statement on Bristol University & Raquel Rosario Sanchez August 2019

4. A Woman’s Place Loves Women’s Rights

Edinburgh flyer

Edinburgh

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Tickets: 108

Venue: Out of the Blue Drill Hall

Speakers: Jackie Mearns, Emma Wiles, and a mother of a detransitioned teen (speaking anonymously).

There was an intimidating protest outside with protestors banging pots and pans throughout the meeting – audible in the video of Jackie Mearns’ talk. After the meeting, the venue was relentlessly targeted on social media with negative reviews and accusations of transphobia.

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Vonny Le Clerc wrote about this meeting for the National

5. A Woman’s Place is Making a Stand

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Central London

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Tickets: 439

Venue: Bloomsbury Baptist Church.

Speakers: Steph Pike, Lucy Masoud, Pilgrim Tucker, Megan Dobney (Chair).

There was a small protest by Sisters Uncut outside the venue, interfering with Church facilities for the homeless. One woman had her glasses knocked off by a protestor.

Paula Lamont was subsequently bullied off BECTU picket line at the Picturehouse on International Women’s Day on account of being recognised as having been at the 27th February meeting.

Footage of picket line attack

Female trade union official bullied off own picket line on international women’s day

WPUK statement on picket line attack

Transgender activists and the real war on women by Judith Green for The Spectator

Why do we need a new women’s movement The Morning Star

6. A Woman’s Place is a Sanctuary

Birmingham flyer

Birmingham

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Tickets: 155

Venue: Priory Rooms (FMH)

Speakers: Rebecca Reilly-Cooper, Debbie Hayton, Aysha Iqbal and Karen Ingala Smith (Chair).

No threats against the meeting received by WPUK, but threats of disruption were made by transactivists before the meeting.

7. A Woman’s Place is Speaking Up in Wales

Wales flyer

Cardiff

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Tickets: 168

Venue: local hall

Speakers: Jeni Harvey, Raquel Rosario Sanchez, Helen Mary Jones AM and Ruth Serwotka

This meeting had to be moved at the last minute when the advertised venue cancelled our booking after pressure from transactivists who made defamatory claims about WPUK

A new meeting venue was hastily arranged, and the individual involved in arranging the new venue was then harassed about this.

Feminists hit back after Cardiff hotel cancels WPUK meeting The Morning Star

Protest by transgender community over A Women’s Place meeting BBC News

Cardiff hotel refuses to hold campaign group’s event because of ‘bigotry’ ITV News

Hotel deletes tweet after linking campaign group to ‘bigotry’ Wales Online

Conviction of trans activist for assault at Hyde Park (with comment on Cardiff meeting) April 2018

8. A Woman’s Place is Ours to Define

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Oxford

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Tickets: 117

Venue: Friends Meeting House

Speakers: Stephanie Davies-Arai, Nic Williams, Raquel Rosario Sanchez and Philipa Harvey.

This was the second attempt by Oxford women to organise a meeting. A meeting to be held at the University in January 2018 was cancelled under pressure from activists. A large protest was held outside the venue, disrupting a survivors group meeting (who had nothing to do with our meeting) and distressing staff of the venue.

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Our statement on attempts to stop the Oxford meeting

Gaby Hinsliff wrote about this meeting for the Guardian.

Video of Oxford protest

A Woman’s Place is ours to define Oxford Prospect

Quakers caught in TERF war with Oxford University protesters after hosting ‘transphobic’ feminist meeting  The Telegraph

Women have every right to discuss changes to law which could affect them The Morning Star

Free speech at Oxford: Do women have the right to meet to discuss legislation Michael Biggs

9. A Woman’s Place is to be Inquiring

basingstoke

Basingstoke

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Tickets: 72

Venue: local community centre

Speakers: Catia Frietas, Hannah Clarke, Debbie Hayton, Sarah Johnson

We held this meeting in Maria Miller’s constituency as she was the Chair of the Women & Equalities Select Committee whose recommendations were, at the time, the subject of the GRA government consultation. Maria Miller was invited but was unable to attend and sent an apology. This is the only meeting where the local authority actively supported the holding of the meeting on premises they funded. A local government official attended the meeting.

No protests or negative comments about the meeting were received by WPUK or published in the press.

10. A Woman’s Place is Standing Her Ground

newcastle flyer

Newcastle upon Tyne

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Tickets: 192

Venue: Northumbria University

Speakers: Dawn Furness, Heather Brunskell-Evans, Judith Green, Bea Campbell (Chair).

The venue had to be rearranged after original venue cancelled. Following a risk assessment, the University agreed to host us in accordance with their free speech policy with the stipulation that all speakers had to confirm in writing they would comply with the university’s equality and diversity policy, and that we should pay an extra £300 towards extra security staff.

There was a small protest outside.

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Row over decision to allow ‘anti-trans’ group to hold event at Northumbria University Chronicle Live

11. A Woman’s Place is to Encourage Debate

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Todmorden

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Tickets: 157

Venue: local hall

Speakers: Gill Smith, Ruth Serwotka, Kristina Jayne Harrison.

There was no protest against this meeting; the only one of our meetings to have open local advertising before the event.

Public Meeting: Transgender Law Changes Hebden Bridge News

12. A Woman’s Place is on the Frontline

hastings

Hastings

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Tickets: 79

Venue: local community centre

Speakers: Phillipa Harvey, Jeni Harvey, Kristina Jayne Harrison, Megan Dobney (Chair).

There was difficulty in securing a venue and a forced change of venue after a local campaign of vilification and disinformation about WPUK. A bomb threat against meeting was considered viable and investigated by local police. Police cars drove by the venue throughout the event to ensure safety of attendees.

Read an account by local organisers

Police investigating bomb threat against Hastings meeting Hastings Observer

The great gender debate Hastings Online Times

WPUK: debate or hate? Hastings Online Times

Why are women who discuss gender getting bomb threats? The Spectator

13. A Woman’s Place is Turning the Tide

Brighton flyer

Brighton

Monday, 16 July 2018

Tickets: 192

Venue: The Jury’s Inn

Speakers: Kathleen Stock, Helen Saxby, Gill Smith, Ruth Serwotka, Philipa Harvey (Chair)

A booking was made with Friends Meeting House Brighton. Local organisers met staff at the venue and discussed in detail the nature of the meeting and that previous meetings had been protested. The venue was happy to go ahead and they suggested an evening when potential disruption could be minimised.

After lobbying by individuals, FMH Brighton cancelled our booking with only 5 days’ notice giving us no opportunity to address concerns that had been raised or to meet with them, despite asking for a meeting.

We secured two other venues, both of which were fully briefed about the nature of the meeting. One of the organisers went in to the Jury’s Inn and met with staff and gave them a full briefing on our campaign and that previous meetings had been protested. They were happy to go ahead.

On the evening of the meeting, large noisy protests were set up at both entrances to the hotel. Police were in attendance. After the meeting had started, the hotel management approached us and said they wanted to cancel the meeting. They also said the hotel was being inundated with abusive phone calls which were upsetting the staff.

We were very concerned for the safety of our attendees if they had to leave and we felt aggrieved that a booking made in honesty and good faith was now under threat because of a protest. We persuaded them that the best option was to let the meeting continue. We agreed to finish early and discussed how to enable attendees at the meeting to exit the building safely through a range of different exits.

The meeting went ahead and was concluded early at 9.15 as promised to the hotel management. Many women were afraid to leave through the main exits and we had to escort several of them out through the car park and side exits. Some women went to the bar hoping the protest would disperse and they could leave later without fear.

Despite the meeting ending at 9.15pm, the protests continued until at least 10.30pm causing great, and unnecessary, inconvenience to hotel guests. Several came down to complain about the noise.

For more detail on these events see our statement after the Brighton meeting

Someone created a fake Facebook account posing as an attendee, using someone else’s photograph, and posted lies about the meeting. Our statement on that here.

Read an account by the local organisers

Our statement on the cancellation by Friends Meeting House

Our statement after the Brighton meeting

Twitter users throw their support behind Woman’s Place UK ahead of Brighton meeting Brighton Journal

Trans activists demonstrate against controversial event The Argus

Two Views: Woman’s Place meeting in Brighton Brighton & Hove Independent

14. A Woman’s Place Takes Nerves of Steel

Sheffield

Sheffield

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Tickets: 54

Venue: a city centre pub

Speakers: Michele Moore, Helen Steel, Sian Griffiths, Zlakha Ahmed

A threat was made by ticket holder on Twitter to publicise venue. The landlady of the pub came under intense pressure by transactivists and councillors to repudiate the meeting. She wrote this response to criticisms of her and WPUK. She also made an official complaint to Leeds council about allegedly libellous comments made by two councillors.

Torrential rain, flooding and road closures hampered the arrival of speakers and attendees but the meeting went ahead.

The speech Michele Moore gave that night has had over 28,000 views. She has since come under attack for speaking out, with attempts to have her removed as editor of Disability & Society which she has managed to resist.

Our letter to the Editor of Disability & Society in defence of Michele Moore

15. A Woman’s Place is a Safe Port

liverpool flyer

Labour Party Conference Fringe Event (Unofficial)

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Tickets: 165

Venue: city conference centre

Speakers: Lucy Masoud, Helen Watts, Ann Sinnott, Debbie Hayton, Ruth Serwotka, Megan Dobney (Chair)

There was no protest at this meeting, but there was condemnation of it on social media and a counter meeting was organised.

This meeting was reported on by BBC Politics Live. Watch the report here.

Trans rights defenders are ‘on the wrong side of history’, Labour activists are told Huffington Post

16. A Woman’s Place is Speaking the Truth

Leeds

Leeds

Friday, 28 September 2018

Tickets: 200 (all refunded)

Venue: a city pub

Speakers: @STILLTish, Karen Ingala Smith, Nic Williams, Stephanie Davies Arai

This meeting was cancelled by Leeds Council at around noon on the day of the meeting. Initially they cited a health and safety issue with the room booked but later conceded it was because of pressure from transactivists. A statement made by Judith Blake was challenged by WPUK and we later held a meeting with her to challenge the decision. We were supported in this by some local councillors and the event created a lot of press coverage and local debate.

The WPUK meeting went ahead at a local pub for those who were able to get there.

Leeds Spinners have since organised another meeting at the Council venue where Sarah Field gave this brilliant speech. You can read a transcript here.

A Woman’s Place is in Leeds Initial statement by WPUK October 2018

Dear Leeds Council Our letter to Cllr Judith Blake rebutting Leeds Council’s claims November 2018

Meeting with Leeds Council WPUK report on meeting with Judith Blake February 2019

Leeds feminist event cancelled at the 11th hour by council after transphobic claims Yorkshire Evening Post

Feminist group accused of transphobia want apology from Leeds City Council after event is cancelled Leeds Live

Leeds Council bars women’s group Woman’s Place UK accused of transphobia The Times

Freedom of speech in Leeds Lauren Hamstead Yorkshire Evening Post October 2018

Woman’s Place UK meeting cancelled by Leeds City Council went ahead anyway in a pub Feminist Current

Leeds City Council censor strikes again? The Culture Vulture

Welcome to Leeds women now shut up Jonny Best

Women’s groups claim ‘silencing’ on transgender concerns The Observer

17. A Woman’s Place Is to Be Heard

bath flyerBath

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Tickets: 101

Venue: arts centre

Speakers: Sarah Ditum, Clara Greed, Raquel Rosario Sanchez, Sarah Johnson, Bo Novak (Chair)

There was a small protest.

BBC TV coverage of the meeting

Read an account by local organisers.

Read the text of Raquel Rosario Sanchez’s speech

18. A Woman’s Place is at the Bar

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Reading

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Tickets: 66

Venue: a city bar

Speakers: Rosa Freedman, Julian Norman, Ruth Serwotka, Sarah Johnson (Chair)

There was a small protest outside. Rosa Freedman cited a pattern of harassment by students.

Reading professor reveals shocking abuse for views on gender identity In Your Area

Trans lobby has sent me death threats says Prof Rosa Freedman The Times

Universities struggle to deal with toxic trans rights row The Guardian

Rosa Freedman: Professor’s door ‘covered in urine’ after gender law debate BBC News

Women are abused in the name of trans rights but do MPs care? The Spectator

19. A Woman’s Place is Resolute

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London

Monday, 21 January 2019

Tickets: 59

Venue: Marx Memorial Library

Speakers: Ruth Serwotka, Lucy Masoud, Karen Ingala Smith, Kiri Tunks, Philipa Harvey

This meeting was to launch the WPUK New Year Resolutions for 2019

There was no protest at this meeting.

Feminists call for rational debate on gender and the law The Morning Star

20. A Woman’s Place is Breaking Ground

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Norwich

Monday, 25 February 2019

Tickets: 103

Venue: Friends Meeting House

Speakers: Hibo Wardere, Linda Bellos, Kiri Tunks

The meeting was protested by a small group of people who stood right by the entrance with a banner and rejected attempts at dialogue. They took photos of attendees. After the meeting had started, they set off a fire alarm.

Protest at Woman’s Place event in Norwich EDP24

21. A Woman’s Place is Made to Last

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Leicester

Monday, 15 April 2019

Tickets: 66

Venue: a local theatre

Speakers: Jo Phoenix, Nicola Williams, Judith Green, Viv Pointon (Chair)

There was no protest.

22. A Woman’s Place is Back in Town

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London

Monday, 20 May 2019

Tickets: 524

Venue: Bloomsbury Baptist Church

Speakers: Meghan Murphy, Julie Bindel, Selina Todd, Maya Forstater. Ruth Serwotka (Chair)

There was no protest.

Helen Lewis wrote about this meeting for the New Statesman.

Ros Sitwell wrote about this meeting for the Morning Star.

Inspired, motivated and ready to speak out – an account from a ticket holder

Meet Meghan Murphy: ‘transphobic’ feminist booted off twitter but who won’t be silenced The Telegraph

23. A Woman’s Place is on the Podium

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London

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Tickets: 758

Venue: QE II Centre

Speakers: Emma Hilton, Sharron Davies, Victoria Hood, Nicola Williams, Judith Green, Kiri Tunks (Chair)

A protest was organised and publicised on social media. It was later called off and there was no protest at this event.

A Woman’s Place is on the podium – an account from a ticketholder

I never learnt to swim – text of an email from a supporter which was read out at the meeting

Self-ID will stop women completing on an equal playing field The Morning Star

 Transgender athletes in women’s sport are as unfair as East German drugs cheats, says Sharron Davies The Telegraph

24. A Woman’s Place is at Conference

Brighton

Monday 23rd September

Tickets: TBC

Venue: Local community centre

Speakers: Dani Ahrens, Onjali Rauf, Kay Green, Kiri Tunks (Chair)

This meeting was subject to a co-ordinated slur campaign which led to a last minute change of venue.

The meeting was also subject to an aggressive and intimidating protest by over 100 activists. Despite a police presence, the protestors were allowed to congregate in close promixmity to the entrance, blocking the pavement, access to and exit from the venue. A splinter group of protestors went to the back of the building where they were permitted by the police to kick and bang on the windows of the meeting room for two hours.

The protest was publicised and supported by delegates to Labour Party conference and Labour Party staff members, one of whom tweeted about the protestors failure to adhere to Labour Party principles or rule.

Over 75% of the attendees were members or delegates to the Conference. Also in attendance were Labour staff members.

Woman’s Place UK has submitted a formal complaint to both the Labour Party and Sussex Police.

Our statement on events at #WPUKLab19

Women’s Meeting besieged by raging Crowd, Morning Star

Hundreds of protestors picket women’s rights meeting for hours, Brighton Argus

Activist says protest was not peaceful at WPUK meeting Brighton Argus

Our rebuttal of P*nk News report, P*nk ‘News’ allegedly in Brighton

A Woman’s Place is in the House of Lords

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London

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Tickets: 70+

Venue: House of Lords Committee Room

Speakers: Kathleen Stock, Julian Norman and Raquel Rosario Sanchez, Baroness Winterbourne (Chair)

In addition to our public meetings, we were invited to organise a panel discussion in the House of Lords hosted by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne.

Around 70 people attended this invitation-only event.

There was no protest.

Read the text of Julian Norman’s talk

Read the text of Kathleen Stock’s talk

 

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We will update this record with reports from meetings as they happen.

Films of speakers from our meetings can be found on our YouTube channel.

29fth August 2019

Thanks to Lily Maynard for the pic.