A recurrent accusation that is made against us is that Anne Ruzylo, who spoke at our first meeting in Cambrige 2017, made offensive and abusive comments about trans women.
The accusation is that Ruzylo called trans women “horrible hateful, misogynistic bastards”.
This accusation is entirely false.
Those who make it have taken the comment entirely out of context and erased the real reference which was to specific trans activists (not all of them trans) in her local Labour CLP whom Ruzylo says had bullied and harassed her out of the party. This story was covered in the Times, the Economist and the local Bexhill Observer.
This is the quote in full:
“The support has been absolutely fantastic and when a transactivist has come after me and I use that term activist because… that’s not in my, as a trade unionist for over thirty years, they are not activists. As Helen said these are horrible hateful, misogynistic bastards, they’re not activists. An activist, to me, is someone who enhances somebodies life, who fights for something they believe in that is possible for all, y’know..So, thank you to all the women that, after these people have come after me, have defended me and defended women.”
Ruzylo is clearly referencing abuse from transactivists over social media and in her own CLP.
She talks specifically about this earlier in her speech:
“TERF I don’t accept and that is language that is used within my CLP and in fact they’ve got a branch meeting this evening, Battle branch, and the branch secretary is the main driver behind the bullying towards me. And he uses ‘cis and TERF, he’s derogatory, he’s quite offensive about feminists and women in general.”
This is a clear reference to a male activist who is not trans.
Ruzylo is also referencing the treatment of Helen Steel by transactivists, which Helen had referred to her speech at the same meeting (being surrounded by a threatening mob at the London Anarchist Bookfair for being seen to defend the rights of women handing out leaflets).
This mob included Tara Wolf, who had already assaulted another woman at Hyde Park. Wolf was later convicted of this crime.
This is the relevant section of Helen Steel’s speech:
“I was invited to speak here after being surrounded and threatened at the [Anarchist] Book Fair by a mob of around 30 people who claimed to be advocating on behalf of trans people. And this was, as has been mentioned, after I intervened to stop the bullying of two women who were distributing leaflets about the Gender Recognition Act and the proposed changes. The Government is planning to amend the Gender Recognition Act…
Some of those who threatened me and surrounded me at the Book Fair were also involved in a physical attack on a feminist at Speakers’ Corner when women met there in September after trans activists successfully bullied a venue into closing down a debate about the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act. I was lucky enough that people stepped in to defend me from attack at the Book Fair but the mob that surrounded me shouted abuse at me for over an hour and they would not leave me alone and it was an extremely intimidating experience.
And since the Book Fair, I and those who stepped in to protect me from the attack have been subjected to a sustained of lies, smears and even death threats. And all of this is for women basically holding opinions which those trans activists disagreed with. But rather than focusing on the bullying now, I’d like to talk about why I value women only spaces.”
Lying about what people say is dishonest and defamatory.
It stirs up fear and anxiety
It does nothing to move us closer to the respectful dialogue that we need if we are to find a progressive resolution which upholds everyone’s rights.
We call on people who persist in misrepresenting Anne Ruzylo’s comments and, by association WPUK, to cease in the perpetuation of these falsehoods.
8th March 2020