A Right of Reply to Roz Kaveney’s article in Red Pepper

This statement was published on our Facebook page on 8th December 2017.

We asked Red Pepper magazine to publish the following statement as a right of reply to the article by Roz Kaveney posted this week which was full of inaccuracies and slurs about Woman’s Place UK. They have declined to do so.

We are astonished that any publication, particularly one of the Left, would not want to correct falsehoods once they had been pointed out, or be willing to give us space to put our case.

We therefore post it here so you can see and share.

Once again, thanks for your support and encouragement.

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Woman’s Place UK rejects outright the litany of myths, misrepresentations and misinformation contained in Roz Kaveney’s article. To refute them one by one would make for tedious reading. Suffice to say that Woman’s Place UK is not transphobic; has not engaged in or supported any abuse; has not been responsible for posting offensive images or flyers; and is not actually running a campaign against the GRA. Neither has Venice Allan ever been a part of Woman’s Place UK (a fact she has stated publicly).

Woman’s Place UK is made up of people from a range of backgrounds who are rooted in trade unions, women’s organisations, academia, the NHS and other walks of life and who are determined to defend women’s hard won rights.

We are against all forms of discrimination. Transgender people should have the same rights as anyone else to be free from discrimination, to access the services that they need and to be treated with dignity and respect.

The demands of Woman’s Place UK, as outlined in our launch statement are quite specific and quite clear. We want:

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 for 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.

We have held one meeting to date (in Cambridge) and have another planned in Manchester. A speaker from Woman’s Place UK spoke at a Labour Party Conference fringe event ‘Debate Not Hate’ in Brighton.*

We reject Kaveney’s account of the incident at Hyde Park. In fact, it was this incident (clearly shown in this footage ) that resulted in the creation of Woman’s Place UK.

Some of our members were there and they witnessed the unprovoked attack on a woman who was trying to attend a meeting which had to be relocated because of intimidation and threats. We were horrified that women were being prevented from discussing sex and gender and resolved to make sure these discussions would take place.

Women are routinely silenced, defamed, threatened, trolled, harassed and even physically assaulted for daring to engage in a discussion about the possible consequences of a legislative change. They are ‘doxxed’ and their employers are contacted via Twitter and urged to fire them. The accusation of “transphobia” should not be used to shut down women’s voices.

We are campaigning to ensure that women’s voices are heard on a question which affects them.

We do this because the Women & Equalities Select Inquiry failed to call in any women’s groups or feminists to give evidence in person.

We do this because so many other structures are failing in their responsibility to make sure women are heard.

We do this because it is the only way we will come to a progressive position which upholds the rights of everyone and allows us to move forward.

Woman’s Place UK

8th December 2017

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* We have been asked by Venice Allan to clarify further that Woman’s Place UK were not involved in the organisation of ‘What is Gender?’ held in London on 13 September and ‘Debate Not Hate’ held in Brighton on 27 September. We are happy to do so. Both these events were organised by a small team of women, including Venice Allan, none of whom are or have ever been involved with Woman’s Place UK. We also have no association with ‘We Need to Talk about the GRA’ held in York on 8 November, or any forthcoming meetings, organised by Venice Allan.