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Chester Women’s Aid pulls out of Women’s March over woeful lack of trans inclusion

Vic Parsons July 7, 2021
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Chester Women's Aid backs trans women: 'We mean all women'

Placards at the 'Women's March for Bread and Roses' rally in Trafalgar Square, January 2019. (Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Chester Women’s Aid pulled out of the Chester Women’s March at the weekend, due to a lack of commitment by march organisers to be inclusive of trans women.

“When we call for an end to violence against women, we mean all women,” Chester Women’s Aid said in a statement posted to Twitter on 3 July.

The statement continues: “Chester Women’s Aid wishes the Chester Women’s March a safe and impactful event tonight.

“We have decided not to participate, as there will not be a specific declaration when reading out the list of women killed by men’s violence that we recognise and include transwomen in our protest.”

A list of names of women murdered by their partners was to be read out during the march – as it is in parliament each year on International Women’s Day.

The list of names is collected by a project called Counting Dead Women and is the only such data collected in the UK. It does not include the names of trans women killed, Chester Women’s Aid said on Twitter, explaining that this is why it specifically asked for the mention of trans women.

Karen Ingala-Smith, who runs Counting Dead Women, is a prominent voice in the anti-trans movement. In May 2019, she told MPs that if a women’s refuge admits trans women fleeing domestic abuse, “it is as a matter of fact admitting women and men” and was no longer a women-only space

Ingala-Smith is the chief executive of London-based domestic-violence charity Nia, which specifically excludes trans women (who are referred to as “men with gender recognition certificates”) from its services.

In its statement refusing to participate in the women’s march, Chester Women’s Aid added: “CWA is an inclusive organisation and we believe there is #NoExcuseForDomesticAbuse.

“While domestic abuse disproportionately affects straight women in heterosexual relationships, no one is immune regardless of gender, race, ability, ethnicity, sexual preference, educational background or socioeconomic status.

“We are working hard to raise awareness of domestic abuse, support survivors of every stripe, and make Chester a domestic abuse free city.”

Related topics: Chester, women's aid, women's march

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