Exclusive: Anti-trans meeting sparks mass criticism and counter-protests from university groups

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 25: Demonstrators protest for transgender rights on February 25, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstrators were angry with President Donald Trumps recent decision to reverse the Obama-era policy requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Multiple university groups have criticised a meeting of a controversial anti-trans group, with a counter-protest planned for Wednesday.

A meeting by self-titled feminist group A Woman’s Place UK (WPUK), which hosts regular events to reportedly discuss potential changes to the Gender Recognition Act, is expected to happen in Oxford on Wednesday evening.

The hosting of these events is regularly criticised as A Woman’s Place UK has faced several accusations of anti-trans behaviour in recent months.

At one of their events last year, transgender women were branded “horrible, hateful, misogynistic bastards.”

A Woman’s Place UK confirmed that they were hosting a meeting in Oxford and that it would be going ahead.

(Photo: @Womans_Place_UK/Twitter )

A counter-protest to Wednesday’s Woman’s Place meeting has been planned, with protest organisers claiming that the meeting would be held at the Oxford Quaker Meeting House.

This would make this the second meeting of Woman’s Place UK to be held by a Quaker group, after a Manchester branch of the religious group hosted an event in January.

Oxford Quaker Meeting House did not return requests for comment from PinkNews.

Quakers at Pride in London (Getty)

Multiple groups in the city — including several attached to the University of Oxford — have condemned Woman’s Place UK for holding the event and allegedly advertising it on university property.

Representatives from the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University and the National Union of Students signed an open letter stating thatWoman’s Place UK directly challenge the rights of trans people.

Related: Anti-trans activists made #peaktrans to spread hate and it backfired spectacularly

The open letter states: “A Woman’s Place and groups speaking tonight, including Transgender Trend and Fair Play for Women, have been at the centre of this past year’s violent anti-transgender rhetoric and media abuse.

“This includes referring to transgender children as mutilated/sexual predators, disseminating ‘resources’ that claim transgender people are not at high risk for suicide/violence and encourage educators to treat transgender children as mentally ill, and repeatedly referring to transgender women as violent men, ‘parasites’, and rapists.

(Photo: Creative Commons)

“A Woman’s Place wrongly claim that the rights won by feminism are threatened by trans people, and particularly by trans women.

“There is a stark difference between the confusion and worry of those who do not understand trans people, and the coordinated campaign of harassment that groups such as A Women’s Place undertake.”

The LGBT campaign group Oxford University Student Union added that the event was “distinctly transphobic.”

In a statement, the LGBT campaign wrote: “This event is predominantly about curtailing transgender people’s rights, and invites exclusively cisgender people to speak on this, all of whom have displayed the distinctly transphobic and transmisogynistic attitudes which lie at the core of discourse that threatens trans people’s rights and safety.”

The specific locations of Woman’s Place UK meetings are often withheld from the public, as the controversial nature of the events draws harsh criticism of the venues.

On April 12, a Woman’s Place UK meeting was reportedly held in a Cardiff primary school, after the original venue cancelled the booking due to alleged “bigotry.”

The Cardiff event was allegedly hosted in a local Primary School (Photo: @Womans_Place_UK / Twitter)

In March, another anti-trans group had their original venue cancelled after criticism but subsequently moved the event to the House of Commons.

The description of the Woman’s Place UK event on Eventbrite advertises a range of speakers, including Stephanie Davies-Arai, the founder of Transgender Trend.

Transgender Trend is a group who describe themselves as “a group of UK parents who are concerned about the current trend to diagnose ‘gender non-conforming’ children as transgender.”

In February, the group was widely criticised after it released a guide targeted at schools about transgender children.

Multiple LGBT groups, including Gendered Intelligence and Stonewall, stated the guide perpetuates myths and could potentially harm young trans people.