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Anti-trans group slammed for tweets about murdered journalist Lyra McKee

Nick Duffy April 22, 2019
Lesbian journalist Lyra McKee supporting GenderJam NI

Lesbian journalist Lyra McKee supporting GenderJam NI

Anti-trans pressure group Woman’s Place UK has come under fire over posts about murdered Northern Irish journalist and LGBT+ activist Lyra McKee.

The group, which was formed in England to lobby against changes to the Gender Recognition Act, tweeted a tribute to McKee after she was shot dead in Derry on April 18.

Woman’s Place UK condemned for tweets about Lyra McKee

However, friends of McKee spoke out to point out that in addition to being a proud lesbian, McKee was a supporter of transgender equality who backed the trans youth charity GenderJam NI.

By contrast, Woman’s Place UK describes transgender women as “males” on its website and has called for a review of discrimination laws.

Anti-trans group Woman's Place UK had tweeted a Lyra McKee tribute
Anti-trans group Woman’s Place UK, which describes transgender women as “males” on its website, had tweeted a tribute to Lyra McKee

GenderJam founder Ellen Murray tweeted to Woman’s Place UK: “Lyra was a dear friend of mine, and she spoke strongly and proudly about trans rights and sex workers’ rights. She uplifted the marginalised and she fought their corner.

“She thought your regressive work was outrageous. She’s an inspiration for us all.”

Other replies accused Woman’s Place UK of “trying to claim an activist for trans people as one of their own.”

Hundreds of responses simply shared a photo of McKee posing with a sign for GenderJam NI.

In a TedX talk in 2017, McKee had said: “In the LGBT+ community, we have a saying, we tell people ‘It Gets Better.’

“But it gets better for some of us. For those of us who live long enough to see it get better.

“LGBT+ suicide rates are through the roof. [48 percent] of trans youth alone in the UK have attempted suicide.

“We see these numbers play out in Northern Ireland locally, and we know this from trans youth services who see it play out among their young people.”

Anti-trans pressure group defends tweets

Woman’s Place UK later responded to the controversy, defending its initial tweet.

The group said: “Lyra McKee features as part of our women icons series which honours the achievements of amazing women.

“Our tweet was a genuine homage to a remarkable woman. We have shared the stories of 100s of women, many unknown or unrecognised.

“We accept that Lyra held different views to ours on trans activism. That we include her in our women of the day is acknowledgment that it is possible to honour those with whom you have differences.

“Her letter to her 14-year-old-self spoke directly to the experiences of many of our lesbian followers. She was a brave investigative journalist who will be sorely missed.”

Ellen Murray replied: “Lyra McKee was a proud supporter of trans rights and sex workers’ rights, in public and in private.

“She fought for all.”

McKee, who spoke movingly about her LGBT+ identity frequently, is survived by her partner Sara Canning.

More: Northern Ireland

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