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Leeds bans advert for ‘women only’ march that excludes trans people

Vic Parsons August 22, 2019

Pride in London on July 6, 2019. (NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)

Leeds City Council has banned an advert for a “women only” Lesbian Strength march that explicitly excludes transgender people.

The advert was removed from a council-run publication because of “the exclusive nature of the event”, Leeds Live reports.

The Lesbian Strength march is due to be held in Leeds on September 7 to “celebrate all lesbians” and protest “lesbian erasure”.

The group had taken out an advert for the march in Leeds Inspired, the Leeds City Council’s events and culture listings platform, but it was removed after Lesbian Strength said that trans women would not be welcome.

An email sent by Leeds council to the Lesbian Strength organisers said: “It has been decided that due to the exclusive nature of the event and the council’s public sector equality duty to foster good relations between those who share a relevant characteristic and those who don’t it is not appropriate for the event to be promoted by Leeds City Council on the Leeds Inspired website.”

Lesbian Strength have complained about the removal of the advert, telling Leeds council the event is “the only one of its type that does not include trans women” and they are “entitled to make the march lesbian-only” under Equality Act 2010.

A spokesperson for the council told PinkNews: “Leeds City Council continue to engage with the organisers of this event.

“We have a complaints procedure which people and organisations can use if they are unhappy about a decision we have made, and while a complaint is being processed we would not want to provide a commentary on it.”

A spokesperson for Lesbian Strength told Leeds Live: “We organised the march because we feel excluded and even unsafe at the many Pride events.”

“This is why we want it just for female homosexuals, so that we have something and somewhere to go.”

Trans-exclusionary lesbian groups.

Some feminists narrow down the definition of a woman to their birth sex – calling themselves “adult human females” or lesbians “female homosexuals”.

This can negate trans individuals’ legitimacy in their self-identification and, specifically, deny trans women access to women-only spaces.

Among some of the arguments expressed, there is belief that trans women can never be fully considered women because of the male privilege experienced from birth – an argument that actress Laverne Cox elegantly put to bed in 2017 – and that they represent a threat to cisgender women because of the male genitalia with which they were born.

More: Leeds, lesbian strength

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