STATEMENT ON THE ATTACK AT SPEAKERS’ CORNER, LONDON
WOMEN’S LIBERATION FRONT (WoLF)
Monday, September 18, 2017
WoLF condemns the violent attack and physical intimidation of women that occurred during an event called “What is Gender?” on Wednesday, September 13. The event was initially set up as a debate about a pending proposal to allow people to change their legal sex designation based solely on self-identification under the UK’s Gender Recognition Act. After representatives from the group Stonewall UK pulled out of the event it was redesigned as a discussion panel featuring speakers Julia Long, a radical feminist scholar, and Miranda Yardley, a male who identifies himself as transsexual.
The attacks on the event began days in advance, with local transgender activist organizations demanding that the event be cancelled and threatening to cause disruptions if it went forward. Their bullying worked, and the leaders of the original venue, New Cross Learning library, canceled citing safety concerns. The organizers found another venue and, rather than risk further disruption by announcing it in advance, decided to gather at London’s legendary Speakers Corner and take it from there. That afternoon, the group Action for Trans Health London used social media to create a well-coordinated plan to locate and disrupt the event. Trans activists piled on – one such activist, called Tara Flik Wood on Facebook, went so far as to say that that he wanted to go and “fuck up some terfs” (referring to an anti-feminist slur popular with proponents of “gender identity” ideology).
That evening, London feminist Maria MacLachlan arrived at Speakers’ Corner on her way to the event. When the transgender activists arrived, they started chanting, “kill all TERFS,” and “when TERFs attack, we fight back”—despite the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever of women attacking anyone. When Maria tried to film the protestors, three male transgender activists attempted to grab and steal the camera, which was attached to Maria’s wrist. With their attempted theft initially thwarted when Maria stood her ground, the three men battered her repeatedly until she was thrown to the ground, leaving her with bruises, cuts, and abrasions around her face and throat.
Immediately, prominent transgender activists took to social media to craft a false narrative, claiming that Maria, a 60-year old woman, had attacked three tall adult men rather than the other way around. But videos from the event show clearly that Maria was simply standing and filming when the three men attacked her. Other clear views of the attack can be found here and here.
While the details of this episode are important, we should all be deeply concerned about the fundamental attack on women’s sovereignty and women’s speech that the London Square attack represents. Women have every right to gather and discuss how a major change to the law will affect them – from their right to correctly identify men as such, to their right to gather in women-only spaces and organizations, to their right to be housed safely away from men in emergency domestic violence and homeless refuges and women’s prisons. In a patriarchal society that regularly condones or turns a blind eye to violence against women and girls, the UK’s proposed law to allow self-identification of sex is nothing less than a life-and-death issue for women and girls.
The reaction from transgender activists and their allies has been appalling. It has ranged from silence to excuse-making to lies to open calls for violence against any woman who dares to ask questions about “gender identity” self-identification laws. One prominent male transgender academic who lobbied for self-identification in the UK spent the following day “quietly working with other trans women behind scenes to stop trans orgs putting out statements of condemnation.”
Many transgender activists have gone so far as to provide a financial reward to one of the men alleged to have been involved, Tara Flik Wood, taking his GoFundMe campaign that had languished for more than five months with one £5 donation up to £515 in a matter of three days.
We must call this what it is – male violence aimed at silencing and punishing women who refuse to submit to their demands. We encourage everyone to share the following articles about the Speakers’ Corner attack wherever you see it being discussed.
‘Punch a TERF’ Rhetoric Encourages Violence Against Women
Clair Heuchan, Sister Outrider
Historic Speaker’s Corner becomes site of anti-feminist silencing and violence
Meghan Murphy, Feminist Current
The Battle Over Gender Has Turned Bloody
Janice Turner, The Sunday Times
Transgender activists assault woman at Speakers’ Corner
*Note: the photo at the top of this post shows some of the transgender activists involved in the attack, including a male assailant threatening his fellow protester after she attempted to intervene to stop him.
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WoLF works to halt male extraction of resources from female bodies and minds, by regaining reproductive sovereignty, ending male violence including the sexual exploitation industry, and ensuring that women control the material conditions of our lives. http://womensliberationfront.org/