Liverpool mayor vows to remove anti-trans ‘women don’t have penises’ stickers
UPDATED | Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has pledged to remove anti-trans “women don’t have penises” stickers, with the support of police, which have been seen in the Crosby Beach area.
Anderson vowed to take action after trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) group Liverpool ReSisters posted a photos of the penis-shaped stickers on Twitter.
In one of Liverpool ReSisters’s posts, the stickers can be seen plastered across a tourist board and on a cast iron sculpture by Antony Gormley at Crosby Beach, which is part of his “Another Place” art installation.
Following Liverpool ReSisters’s posts, LGBT+ activist Adrian Harrop tweeted the Liverpool mayor, writing: “Are you aware of this group that are planning to plaster these stickers all over #Liverpool, in an attempt to scare and intimidate the #trans and broader #LGBTQ+ community? It’s disgusting behaviour that needs to be called out!”
Anderson re-tweeted Harrop’s post and responded: “I am not aware of the group, we will remove stickers and work with the Police to identify those responsible. Remember though,Liverpool takes #PRIDE in its diversity and history of fighting for equality for all, we love all our Trans residents and all our LGBT community.”
A Merseyside Police spokesperson confirmed that the force is investigating the distribution of the anti-trans stickers, telling PinkNews: “We can confirm we are aware of this matter and enquiries are being made.”
It comes after trans campaigners recently criticised anti-trans “bigots” when a number of phallus-shaped “women don’t have penises” stickers were found across London, including on Stonewall’s office building.
Responding to the Liverpool mayor’s pledge, Owl, a non-binary trans activist and filmmaker, told PinkNews: “It is good to see that the mayor is taking a clear stance against the divisive and misguided action of a small but vocal hate group.
“People might not consider some stickers serious, but they are a part of a bigger context and a pattern of transphobia that has risen exponentially for the last year.
“Transphobic groups are taking action, and are constantly getting a platform in the media to spread misinformation and incite discrimination against a vulnerable group of people. We need our allies to stand up for us and condemn these constant attacks against the trans community.”
I am not aware of the group, we will remove stickers and work with the Police to identify those responsible. Remember though,Liverpool takes #PRIDE in its diversity and history of fighting for equality for all, we love all our Trans residents and all our LGBT community https://t.co/YJdsA6uXXo
— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) August 18, 2018
PinkNews has contacted Liverpool City Council for comment.
In response to a request for comment, a member of Liverpool ReSisters, which opposes the government’s proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004, directed PinkNews towards a press release published by the group.
The government has said it wants to de-medicalise the process to legally change genders when it reforms the Gender Recognition Act, moving towards self-identification, which is used in other countries like the Republic of Ireland.
“Our stickers are aimed at raising awareness of the potential threat to sex-based rights and women’s rights from the proposed changes,” the Liverpool ReSisters’s press release reads.
“Women and girls need spaces of their own for a variety of reasons, but principally because we continue to face male violence and harassment in public and in private spaces.”
It adds: “Women don’t have penises. This is not hate speech, it is not transphobia, it is a simple statement of biological fact.”
Talking to PinkNews about Anderson’s response to the stickers, Fox Fisher, a non-binary trans activist and filmmaker, said: “It’s more important than ever that our allies take action against such disgusting and reductive statements.
“It shows solidarity towards the trans community and I am glad the mayor is recognising that these abusive statements should not be tolerated, as they can really have serious impact on the mental health of trans people.”
A Twitter user posted images of the anti-trans stickers at various locations across London on August 5, which, as well as being shown stuck on Stonewall’s office, were also plastered to an electrical box outside the offices for The Guardian and The Observer, and on an advertisement board showing a painting of Elizabeth I for the National Portrait Gallery.
Responding to the stickers seen in London, Sarah Brown, a member of Stonewall’s Trans Advisory Group and a trans woman, told PinkNews: “These stickers are puerile and disgusting. There is a strong push to demonise trans women in the UK and I really worry where it’s going.”
A Stonewall spokesperson told PinkNews that the sticker had been removed from the office building in Clerkenwell.
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The Twitter bio for the user who posted the images, called Anne Ruzylo XX, included the hashtag #GetTheLOut, which is affiliated with controversial anti-trans group Get The L Out. The user has previously tweeted in support of the group.
However, Get The L Out told PinkNews that it was not responsible for the stickers.
In July, Get The L Out — a group of lesbians opposed to the government’s proposed reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 — hijacked the front of Pride in London’s parade, and were able to lead the march for much of the route.
In response to this, a group of pro-trans activists led Brighton Pride on Saturday (August 4).
The activists carried a banner with the hashtag #LwiththeT, which has been used by lesbians in a show of support and solidarity for trans people.