The organisers of LGBT History Month in the UK have defended a community event that involves feminist Julie Bindel – after activists attacked her controversial views on trans people.
To mark LGBT History Month next month, the Working Class Movement Library had announced a talk from lesbian writer Julie Bindel on February 4.
Listed on the official LGBT History Month website, the trade unionist library’s event cites Ms Bindel’s credentials as a “journalist, writer, broadcaster and researcher… who has been active in the global campaign to end violence towards women and children”.
However, trans activists have slammed the event taking place under the LGBT umbrella, alleging that Ms Bindel has a record as an “activist who’s been on a crusade against the trans community”, who has “argued that trans women should be excluded from women-only spaces”.
In a notorious 2004 column, Ms Bindel claimed: “I don’t have a problem with men disposing of their genitals, but it does not make them women, in the same way that shoving a bit of vacuum hose down your 501s does not make you a man.”
As recently as October last year, Ms Bindel penned a piece for the Daily Mail claiming that treating transgender children is “playing politics with children’s lives”.
A Change.org petition calling for the event to be cancelled states: “It is unacceptable to host a speaker under an acronym she actively opposes. Bindel [is] an active participant in the oppression of a huge number of LGBT people.”
Ms Bindel hit out at “vile and poisonous” activists who are attempting to shut down the event, accusing them of bombarding the organisers with “bile and nasty threats”.
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In a statement to PinkNews, Schools OUT UK – who manage the official LGBT History Month celebrations – defended listing the event on the History Month calendar.
Schools OUT CEO Tony Fenwick wrote: “We recognise that this event is on our calendar and we have the editorial power to remove it. We have chosen not to and we wish to explain why.
“We gather she will be discussing what it was like to be a working class feminist lesbian in the 1970s, about which, as a middle class gay teenager in the 70s, I for one would like to know more. Her views are valuable and need to be heard.
“She made the comments that questioned the existence of trans women in 2004 and has said she would have phrase things differently now. But when the event went up on the calendar we were bombarded with demands that it be removed and threats to ‘withdraw support’ from LGBT History Month.
“Now a protest is being organised and petitions have been presented on social media to ban her from the event and attempt to remove funding from the Working Class Museum; as if shutting down the only museum of its kind in the country would be to anyone’s benefit.
“The struggle for equality is everyone’s struggle and the working classes need more visibility; not less.”
The statement continued: “There’s no denying that Julie Bindel will say things people don’t want to hear and that she will upset people.
“I was disappointed at an article she wrote challenging medical intervention to forestall puberty in trans children; especially as the organ that published it was that enemy of equality and human rights the Daily Mail.
“She has a right to speak just as we have a right to challenge what she says. That is the nature of debate and it allows us to make change happen in society.”