Anti-trans activists hit out at ‘parasitic’ trans people at event in Parliament

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An event in Parliament has hit out at transgender people by saying they ‘parasitically’ invade women’s spaces and are a threat to women’s liberation.

The meeting, called ‘Transgenderism and the War on Women’, was hosted in the House of Commons by the group ‘We Need to Talk UK’ and attended by a PinkNews journalist.

The event was sponsored by Conservative MP David Davies and organised by Venice Allan, a ‘radfem’ activist who was recently left red-faced after her Twitter poll attacking trans women didn’t go exactly as she planned.

Displaying a presentation entitled ‘transgenderism and the assault on feminism’, Australian academic Sheila Jefferys opened the event by saying: “Men can’t become women, what’s so difficult about that?”

Jefferys went on to criticise the ‘trend of fashionable transgenderism’ that she claimed had been inspired by the internet and representations of trans women in media.

She blamed the apparent rise in numbers of transgender people on the internet, describing trans rights as: “[one of many] internet exploited sexual fetishes that try to make themselves a rights movement.”

Jeffreys in 2009 (Photo: Terri Strange / Youtube)

The controversial academic, who has previously said that raising transgender children was comparable to child abuse, then compared trans people to parasites.

Speaking to the group in Parliament, Jeffreys initially said that trans women “parasitically occupy” women’s bodies in order to be seen as women in a bizarre metaphor.

She said: “when men claim to be women…and parasitically occupy the bodies of the oppressed, they speak for the oppressed.

“They become to be recognised as the oppressed. There’s no space for women’s liberation.”

Jeffreys then later described trans women — referring to them as ‘men who transgender’ — as suffering from a “parasitism,” once again likening trans women to a parasite.

She was joined by Dr Julia Long and Anne Ruzylo, who resigned from her local branch of the Labour in East Sussex last year in a bullying row.

Ruzylo alleged she was subjected to months of harassment by trans rights campaigners, but also faced allegations of transphobic behaviour herself.

During the event, the speakers hit out at several prominent trans women, including Janet Mock, Lily Madigan, Caitlyn Jenner and Munroe Bergdorf.

Transgender rights advocate and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner delivers a speech during the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon on November 9, 2017. Europe's largest tech event Web Summit is being held at Parque das Nacoes in Lisbon from November 6 to November 9. / AFP PHOTO / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA (Photo credit should read PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

(Getty)

Each of the speakers referred to them — and trans women in general — as men, exclusively using traditionally masculine pronouns.

According to Jeffreys, misgendering trans women by referring to them as men is “fundamental to women’s liberation.”

The speakers then criticised the potential reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, which have been delayed after a backlash from the right-wing press.

Trans advocates have campaigned for a more streamlined and less medicalised system, similar to those already seen in Ireland and Argentina.

These systems include the right to self-identify as trans, rather than needing medical approval and other prohibitive requirements.

During her speech, Anne Ruzylo heavily criticised reform to the Gender Recognition Act, stating that it could result in the loss of women’s rights to privacy in public spaces such as showers and bathrooms.

DCU gender-neutral bathroom sign

A gender neutral bathroom (Getty Images)

Ruzylo called the changes “harmful to women and girls from a legal perspective.”

However, many of the rights of transgender people, including the right to use the bathroom of their gender, are built into the Equality Act of 2010, not the Gender Recognition Act.

The event also involved significant criticism of accepting trans children, and of the work of trans children’s charity Mermaids.

Susie Green, the CEO of the charity, has recently been targeted with threats and abuse in the wake of a string of negative press coverage of Mermaids’ work.

Susie Green

Susie Green (L) and Justine Greening (Image by Chris Jepson)

As well as the content of the event, the meeting also proved controversial as it was being organised.

The meeting was originally going to be held at Millwall football club at their south London stadium, where tickets sold out.

However, Millwall football club reportedly cancelled the event after facing a significant backlash.

The event was originally to be hosted at Millwall FC (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

When contacted for comment regarding the move to Parliament, event organiser Venice Allan said that she was unaware that PinkNews had taken an interest in the event.

“I didn’t realise we had a Prick News journo on the mail out,” she wrote.

Shortly after this message, PinkNews’ ticket to the event was then cancelled and refunded, with an email stating it was a result of the event being ‘over capacity.’

According to House of Commons policy, external events held in Parliament must be hosted by an MP and cannot be used to make a profit.

(Photo: Creative Commons)

It is not yet established whether other attendees have had their tickets refunded or transferred to another event.

The meeting was hosted by in conjunction with Conservative MP David Davies (not to be confused with Brexit secretary David Davis).

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Davies is a noted opponent of trans rights, stating last summer that he believed trans women “should be expected to use male facilities” unless they undergo a sterilising surgery, also referring to a trans woman as a “he/she”.

(Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Earlier this year it was suggested in a tweet by the LGBT+ Conservatives group that the Monmouth MP was a ‘transphobic c**t.’

Related: Anti-trans activists plan ‘mass resignation’ from Labour over trans-inclusive policy

Addressing the attendees of the event, Davies said that whilst he was a supporter of equality, he had some reservations.

“I’m totally against any kind of discrimination… until they start to impose themselves on other people,” he said.

“I have no problem if men want to become women, I’ve not quite got the language yet, but you can’t have men in prisons or women’s bathrooms or women’s changing rooms or in a refuge.

“It’s common sense, isn’t it.”

David Davies MP addresses the event (Photo: PinkNews)

The event and its location have been criticised.

Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee Maria Miller MP said that Parliament was not a place for hatred or stirring up violence against trans people.

Speaking to PinkNews prior to the event, Mrs Miller said: “Parliament is there to make sure diverse views can be heard-freedom of speech is fundamental in our democracy.

“But there is no place in Parliament for anyone who voices views that break the law, create hatred against people protected under the Equality Act or incite violence against anyone including trans people.

“As MPs we have a personal responsibility to ensure the events we sponsor add positively to debate and understanding.”

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Mrs Miller, the former equalities minister, recently criticised multiple media outlets for focusing on anti-trans viewpoints in light of proposed changes to trans women’s employment in refuges.

The equalities spokesperson for the SNP, Angela Crawley, told PinkNews that she fully supported the rights of trans and non-binary people.

Ms Crawley said: “As a lesbian woman and a feminist, I stand with trans and non-binary people against the appalling prejudice and discrimination they continue to face.

“Trans rights are human rights, and the SNP is committed to making Scotland a fairer and more equal country for everyone.”

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