Group behind Metro newspaper ad sent ‘chilling’ tweets about trans women getting ‘1,000 cancers’

A group campaigning against transgender rights reforms sent tweets laughing about transgender women being overwhelmed by a virus “like 1,000 cancers.”

Fair Play For Women has become one of the largest and best-funded campaign groups working to oppose reforms to the Gender Recognition Act. The government is currently consulting the public on changes to the law that would permit trans people to change their legal gender more easily.

Ahead of the consultation’s deadline on October 19, Fair Play gained media attention this week when it took out a full-page advert in the London edition of Wednesday’s Metro newspaper calling on people to oppose the trans reforms. At the time, Metro told PinkNews: “We believe the purpose of this ad is to raise awareness of the government consultation, not to be transphobic.”

The ad in the Metro (Nick Duffy)

However, Fair Play For Women has now come under scrutiny after tweets posted on the group’s Twitter account in November last year resurfaced. The tweets respond to a news story on scientific advances that could allow transgender women to give birth.

One tweet, sent on November 7, 2017, says: “Won’t happen. Any potential foetus would invade the host’s body & proliferate like 1,000 cancers [evil grin].”

Another said: “Hahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahah! Good luck to ’em. The foetus will invade their body like a virus. Heh .”

Campaigners say that the tweets reflect a more sinister intention behind Fair Play For Women’s recent Metro ad, which the newspaper said was not meant “to be transphobic.”

Dr Adrian Harrop, a GP registrar and LGBT+ rights campaigner, told PinkNews: “It has been clear to many of those involved in working with and advocating for the trans and non-binary community that ‘Fair Play For Women’ and other similar groups are motivated entirely by transphobia — a hatred for and a desire to erase trans people from our society.

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“These screenshots are truly chilling, and I’m sure that any trans person viewing them, would find them really quite horrifying and distressing.”

Dr Adrian Harrop

Harrop added: “The fact that any group would see any humour in, or be led to grin, or laugh over the idea of a trans person’s body being overwhelmed by cancer, is frankly reprehensible.

“Giving groups like this a platform of any size, or publishing their propaganda only makes you or your organisation complicit in the spread of hatred.

“The print and broadcast media in the United Kingdom ought to acknowledge that allowing transphobic hate groups to broadcast their messages compromises the safety and endangers the lives of trans people in their own communities. This is unacceptable and wrong, and mustn’t be allowed to continue.”

The director of Fair Play For Women, Nicola Williams, denied knowledge of the messages.

Nicola Williams of Fair Play for Women (ITV)

She told PinkNews: “I know nothing about this tweet. It pre-dates my time and that of anyone currently involved in Fair Play For Women.

“We utterly reject transphobia, homophobia, misogeny [sic], racism and bigotry of any kind.”

The Metro newspaper, which is owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust, did not immediately return PinkNews’ request for comment.

On Wednesday, the Advertising Standards Agency told PinkNews it would investigate whether the ad falls afoul of advertising standards. A spokesperson for the ASA said that adverts should not “contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence.”

“Particular care should be taken on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. Ads should also be prepared in a socially responsible way,” they said.

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