Open Letter in opposition to event being hosted by A Woman’s Place
On the 25th of April, A Woman’s Place is hosting an event in Oxford entitled ‘A Woman’s Place is Ours to Define’. It is advertised as a discussion of ‘proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act’.
A Woman's Place and affiliated groups who are taking part in the talk, including Transgender Trend and Fair Play for Women, have been at the centre of violent anti-transgender rhetoric over the past year. Their meetings have been met with demonstrations and opposition from LGBTQ groups within Oxford and across the country. Contrary to what their names might suggest, these groups are dedicated to challenging the existing rights of trans people in the UK. This includes referring to transgender children as mutilated/sexual predators, disseminating 'resources' that claim transgender people are not at high risk for suicide/violence and encourage educators to treat transgender children as mentally ill, and repeatedly referring to transgender women as violent men, 'parasites', and rapists.
A Woman's Place wrongly claim that the rights won by feminism are threatened by trans people, and particularly by trans women. Presenting trans women as a threat to vital spaces such as rape crisis centres and women’s refuges is reprehensible. Organisations fighting for these services, such as Sisters Uncut, recognise that it is the slashing of funding from central government that must be challenged – rather than the ability of trans women to access these spaces.
Grassroots feminist organising involves being dynamic over time and firmly recognising that the feminist struggle for liberation is, and must be, intertwined with the struggle of other systematically oppressed communities.
There is a stark difference between the confusion and worry of those who do not understand trans people, and the coordinated campaign of harassment that groups such as A Women's Place undertake. Listening to and understanding the experiences of other women, particularly those who face intersecting systems of oppression, is a vital tool in building a strong feminist movement. To co-opt this narrative, with the express purpose of harassing and excluding trans women, is appalling.
As those engaged in feminist work, we sign this letter to recommit to building an inclusive and radical feminism which actively fights for the liberation of all women. We also commit to defining the struggle for trans rights as a feminist one and oppose those who seek to set us against each other. Trans women are welcome in our spaces, and we will work to ensure that Oxford is a safe place for all trans people to be.
Oxford SU Women’s Campaign
Bridget Brasher, Co-Chair, Oxford SU Women’s Campaign
Bethan Hughes, Co-Chair, Oxford SU Women’s Campaign
Katy Haigh, VP Women, Oxford SU
Farheen Ahmed, VP Welfare and Equal Opportunities, Oxford SU
Rebecca Harrington, Women’s Officer, Oxford Brookes SU
Diko Blackings, President Brookes Union, NUS NEC and Women’s Campaign
Rowan Davis, NUS Women’s Campaign Trans Representative
Sarah Lasoye, NUS Women’s Campaign NEC 2nd Place, NUS Women’s Officer Elect
Sydney Gagliano, Gender Equality rep, Pembroke College
Hareem Ghani, NUS UK Women’s Officer