Trans rights activists hold ‘peaceful protest’ outside University of Portsmouth ‘single-sex spaces’ talk including speakers Julie Bindel and Shonagh Dillon

PROTESTERS chanted ‘trans rights are human rights’ outside a University of Portsmouth building as a talk on single-sex spaces took place inside.

By Emily Jessica Turner
Friday, 17th September 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Friday, 17th September 2021, 8:45 am

Political advocacy group Woman’s Place UK hosted an event with a number of panellists at the Richmond Building on Thursday evening.

Speakers included writers Julie Bindel and Jean Hatchet, barrister Lucy Masoud, WPUK co-founder Kiri Tunks, and Shonagh Dillon, who runs Portsmouth domestic abuse charity Aurora New Dawn.

They held a panel focusing on the question ‘What's important about single-sex spaces?’

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Protesters chant 'trans rights are human rights' outside the University of Portsmouth's Richmond Building.

Outside, a group of protesters led what police said was a ‘peaceful protest’, handing out flyers to guests walking into the building.

This flyer said that Woman’s Place UK is an anti-trans ‘hate group’ run by people ‘masquerading as women’s rights activists’, and that the speakers are ‘transphobes’ or members of the trans-exclusionary feminist (Terf) or ‘gender critical movements’.

Shonagh said: ‘Everyone has the right to protest - it didn’t interrupt our meeting, we had a really successful evening and we had some good convention about women’s sex based rights.

‘The flyer is completely untrue - you only need to go to the Woman’s Place website to see that it’s not anti-trans.’

Clare Parry, the university liaison police officer, said: ‘This is a peaceful protest, I’ve got no cause for worry.

‘They’ve got the lawful right to protest.’

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None of the protesters wished to speak to The News, but several of the event attendees shared their thoughts on the topics being discussed.

Caroline Burke said: ‘I see arguments on both sides for single-sex spaces.

‘I don’t always agree with Julie Bindel but she speaks very well.

‘I think the idea of saying no to debate is worrying.’

WPUK organisers said the event would hear the views of ‘those working in organisations which seek to challenge male violence against women’ on the topic of single-sex spaces.

The flyer, produced by Portsmouth Anti-Fascists, said that WPUK is arguably ‘attempting to “separate the T from the LGB” by portraying transgender rights as being anti-feminist and hostile to minorities’.

Karen Ingala Smith said: ‘I don’t like middle-class, privileged students trying to remove support from people.

‘My business is supporting women and this is taking my energy away from my work.’

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