LGBTQ+ groups protest gender critical conference hosting JK Rowling as a speaker

Composite image of cabaret group's protest and author JK Rowling

LGBTQ+ groups joined forces in Glasgow on the weekend to protest outside a gender-critical conference, which hosted JK Rowling as its lead speaker.

Cabaret Against Hate, alongside Glasgow Trans Rally and other LGBTQ+ activists, protested outside the three-day FiLiA conference, which featured several gender-critical personalities including Rowling, MP Joanna Cherry, and Julie Bindel

As conference attendees arrived on Friday (13 October), a group of protesters stood outside The Platform in Glasgow holding signs reading “keep TERFs out of Glasgow”, among other messages.

“It was an honour to help support Glasgow Trans Rally this morning and protest against the transphobic speakers attending the anti-trans organisation FiLiA in Glasgow,” Cabaret Against Hate wrote on Instagram

“Trans rights are human rights and do not impact cis women’s rights whatsoever.

“We are not free and liberated until everyone is equal in our society and that includes trans people.”

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During her speech at FiLiA on Sunday (15 October), JK Rowling explained why she continues to speak out on trans issues, explaining that she can “take the hit” of online criticism due to her wealth.

“I will always be able to feed my family… I’ve looked around and realised that it has to be someone who can take the hit. And it has to be me. I can afford it,” Rowling said. 

She added: “This has never been about trans rights. This is about women’s rights and activists’ demands to dismantle those rights.

“I have nothing but profound sympathy for trans women who have experienced male violence. I want trans people to be safe. I just don’t want women and girls to be any less safe.”

As well as speaking at the conference, Rowling criticised the protesters online, calling one of them a “p***k”.

Using footage of one of Cabaret Against Hate’s members singing along to Lily Allen’s song F**k You as part of the protest, Rowling tweeted: “Inside the venue: women from 35 different countries discuss their sex-based issues and concerns, including the harassment and intimidation they face from men. 

“Outside the venue, this p***k.”

FiLiA’s conference went ahead despite its venue attempting to cancel the event 12 hours before it was due to start on Friday after criticism of the event online. Joanna Cherry thanked FiLiA’s legal team for “acting so quickly to turn this round.”

Cherry said in a statement: “I hope that this case sends a very clear message to venues all over the country that they do not have to buckle when pressurised by misguided and anonymous activists hell-bent on undermining not only women who wish to advance the ongoing problems we continue to face on a daily basis, but the rule of law itself. The law is on their side.

“I stand in solidarity with FiLiA having myself been ‘cancelled’ earlier in the year, only for me to take similar legal action and for The Stand to back down.”

Glasgow Trans Rally accused FiLiA of “transphobia” and accused it of “furthering trans marginalisation.”

PinkNews has contacted Cabaret Against Hate and FiLia for comment.