Woman’s Place UK and Transphobia

Is Woman’s Place UK a feminist organisation, or an anti-trans campaign group? They want the law changed, so that trans rights are reduced, and trans lives made significantly more difficult, especially those of trans women. They misrepresent trans rights and try to make people afraid of trans people, particularly trans women.

The law allows trans women in women’s spaces, but WPUK want us driven out. This is the Equality Act, schedule 3. Paragraphs 26 and 27 allow single sex spaces, for various reasons. Then paragraph 28 allows trans women to be excluded from women’s spaces if that is necessary- “a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”. There would be no need for a different provision if trans women were not generally allowed in women’s spaces.

This has been the case for decades. A judge in 1970 noted that the state treated trans women like other women, apart from in marriage. I got my passport and driving licence indicating I am female in 2002.

Around 25,000 women protected by the Act, that is trans women who have decided to change their gender from male to female, use women’s toilets and changing rooms now, mostly harmlessly. You may think you have seen one. If we cannot use these facilities, our lives would be greatly restricted. I only want to pee, or to try on clothes before buying them. In both places there are cubicles with doors and partitions too high to see over, and often no gap at all.

WPUK demands “single-sex” spaces for women, which they define to mean without trans women. “The law must be strengthened”, they say, so they admit the law is against them. A cis (that is, not trans) woman must be able to use these services without “extraordinary measures”, so any trans women must have been expelled by employees or security before she goes in.

The law must be strengthened to ensure that all women who want or need single sex spaces (including toilets, health provision accommodation, prisons, sports, sexual and domestic violence services) are able to access them without resorting to extraordinary measures. Service providers should be supported in offering such services through legal and financial means and clear guidance must be issued on the exercising of such rights.

You may think you have seen a trans woman in a women’s loo, and this campaigning is resulting in cis women using women’s facilities being harassed, and policed for how “feminine” they are. In her Turner Prize winning video, Charlotte Prodger described being misgendered in loos.

WPUK started a letter-writing campaign harassing Marks and Spencer to exclude all trans women. The Daily Mail reported on it on 23 May 2020. Baroness Emma Nicholson claimed M&S had given in. Fortunately M&S have resisted, and on 8 December gave this statement:

“in line with most other retailers we will generally allow people to use the fitting room which they prefer, with our colleagues exercising discretion and common sense.”

Because of WPUK’s campaigns, harassment of trans women is increasing, and cis women are harassed if they are seen as not “feminine” enough. If the law was changed as WPUK demand, trans women’s lives would be significantly more difficult, and the harassment would increase.

See also: What’s wrong with Woman’s Place?
What is Transphobia?
How WPUK wind up an audience to oppose trans rights.
Woman’s Place manifesto.
Kiri Tunks’ speech in Norwich.

Header photo from Wikimedia Commons.

For more details, here is a debate in the House of Lords, where Baroness Elizabeth Barker responded to WPUK. WPUK had sent a document they called “Sex and the Census” to members of that House, and Baroness Barker eviscerated this “dodgy dossier”. The persecution of trans people now, she says, is exactly like the persecution of lesbians last century, and some of the same people are involved. “Today, trans people are under sustained, unwarranted attack”.

18 thoughts on “Woman’s Place UK and Transphobia

    • Well. Reality is more than biological. It is cultural. Trans people are in all cultures.

      Think of it this way. Trans people are real. The hostility is such that no-one “wakes up one morning” and declares themself a woman on a whim. I don’t have a cervix, and trans men do, but being a woman is so much more than a reproductive system.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You can’t know what being a woman is like, and that’s OK. It doesn’t make you any less a person. I’m sorry you’ll likely regard this as hate speech, but it most certainly doesn’t come from a place of hate. We fundamentally disagree that a man can be a woman and vice versa. I’m male, and welcome you with open arms into our sex.


        • Hi, Elliot. Thank you for commenting.

          Not hate speech, so much as arrogant idiocy. You refuse to accept the category of “trans woman”. What on Earth do you imagine “being a woman is like”? It’s more than one thing, Elliot, even for cis women!


          • I don’t refuse to accept the category of “trans woman”, I merely refuse to accept it as = to woman. We’ll never see eye to eye on this, but I do applaud your willingness to accept comments even from people like me.

            [Clare: Elliot also took twenty words to call me “arrogant”, and forty to call me discourteous. Then he commented again, to complain that I had cut sixty words to two, and allege that it was not, in fact, sixty words, all in the same courteous, verbose style. He ended,]

            I will make this offer before I go: you’re welcome to post on my blog, uncensored. It would be fascinating to see if two people of diametrically opposed views can chat about this. Feel free to email me if this is of interest.

            [However since he gave his email as blah[six digits]@gmail.com, I am not sure I know his email, and he has not linked to his blog. I would not email anyway: perhaps he has not heard of sealioning.

            Then he came back to deny he was verbose, in a loquacious manner, and assert that “blah” then six digits was indeed his email address.If only he’d make a point!]


            • We did get to see the whole thing.. those of us who’ve commented that is. I wonder thus if perhaps Clare wished to protect me, though l agree that idiocy is not that different to idiot and l was wrong (albeit led by anger and fears for my daughter who has experienced abuse that has really affected her mental health) in that case. You use high faluting terms l had to look up which is also somewhat excluding (why not use argument).

              Liked by 1 person

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