Lessons from Canada – tweets

The following compilation of the live tweets from our @ForwomenScot Twitter account gives a comprehensive account of the meeting:

We’ll be tweeting tonight on #FWSGlasgow. Spread the word!
Excited to hear what the amazing#MeghanMurphy and @wondersbec have to say!

Looking forward to tonight’s event with Meghan Murphy and @wondersbec in Glasgow. Venue tbc (because, well, you know…). Let’s use the hashtag #FWSGlasgow and tweet far and wide. See y’all soon!

For those who can’t wait for #FWSGlasgow tonight, here’s some more wise words from #MeghanMurphy! https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/meet-meghan-murphy-transphobic-feminist-booted-twitter-wont/

Exciting times! Room filling up. No shortbread this time, fearing complaints. #FWSGlasgow

Lovely to see everyone, great atmosphere so far isn’t it? #FWSGlasgow

FWS’s Susan welcoming everyone to the packed lecture hall, explaining the remit of the group, explaining that we are part-timers and unfunded. Not politically aligned, but immensely grateful to @JoanMcAlpine and @joannaccherry for being the first to speak up. #FWSGlasgow

“We believe that science and philosphy and law and history and the validity and integrity of those things matter… policy has to be sound and it has to be based on reason and analysis.” #FWSGlasgow

“We are grateful to our politicians, many of whom spoke out at the parliament meeting, and to our press.” #FWSGlasgow

“We’ve kept pushing and we think, finally, hopefully, we’re starting to push through.” #FWSGlasgow

Welcome @wondersbec! #FWSGlasgow

@wondersbec on feminist literature, about second wave publishing and building networks. “When we think about “publishing” today we may also want to consider all forms of making women’s words “public”, such as through twitter, facebook and online journalism.” #FWSGlasgow

“Similar to the origins of the women in print movement, a growing urge for information-sharing amongst women is surfacing today as a way of responding to the lack of understanding the common denominator of the feminist struggle.” @wondersbec #FWSGlasgow

Feb 2017, @wondersbec and a friend wish to share feminist literature and their project gets national coverage. #FWSGlasgow

“We opened our doors in February 2017, with a collection of around 80 books written by women from our own personal bookshelves. During the first hour of opening we were overwhelmed by the attendance of women who wanted to sign up and start borrowing books.” #FWSGlasgow

“Without warning, we were then met with fierce, persistent and violent protest by about two dozen people who did not see themselves as represented in the project. The group was loosely organized under the acronym GAG: Gays Against Gentrification.” #FWSGlasgow

“Protestors were stationed outside the entrance, preventing women from entering the library on a sub-zero winter night, and eventually made their way inside carrying signs and shouting slogans such as “NO TERFS NO SWERFS”” #FWSGlasgow

“The open letter claimed that the VWL is “complicit in the deaths of trans women” and detailed a list of demands to be followed by us, central to which was the removal of the following list of books from our original catalogue.” #FWSGlasgow <gasps from audience>

Adrienne Rich, Sheila Jeffreys, Dworkin et al are named. You can guess the sort of thing but we will publish the list for anyone who needs it. #FWSGlasgow

“It seems a non-sequitur to accuse a free, independent library with a meagre collection of 80 books, of enacting “violence against sex workers”/1 #FWSGlasgow

“when what it really does is provide literature on the empirical, front-line evidence suggesting that men who buy sex cause the demand for women to experience sexual violence on a daily basis.” <round of applause> @wondersbec shows film of protesters shouting ‘no fucking TERFS’.

“Protesters also poured red wine on books they disagreed with, smoked inside, pulled the fire alarm and stole wine from our make-shift bar.” The exterior of the building was spray painted overnight with the slogans “Class War”, “No TERFs No SWERFs” and “This Space H8s Women”.

“I think we SHOULD centre ourselves as victims of patriarchy.” <applause> #FWSGlasgow

LESSONS “Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t: far too often these protests and open-letters are not meant to achieve anything progressive, but to frame a conflict of opinion as an abuse of power, and thus shutting down any form of debate.” #FWSGlasgow

“This kind of pushback against women’s spaces is strengthened by a growing pop culture rhetoric of social justice, creating immense guilt and pressure for isolated young women who are not allowed to center their own experiences.” #FWSGlasgow

“As women, we should ask ourselves: Do I understand the responsibility of what it means to be fighting for the liberation of all women? Is it important to me, to learn as much as I can from the women who started this movement? ” <much nodding> #FWSGlasgow

“We must situate ourselves as continuing, not reinventing, the larger historical project of women’s liberation.” #FWSGlasgow

Roars of approval and loud clapping for the wondrous @wondersbec! Thanks so much! #FWSGlasgow

Needing no introduction (but could do with a twitter handle)… Meghan Murphy… #FWSGlasgow <wooooohoooooh!>

“I’m so impressed by all the women I’ve met over here in the UK, who are refusing to back down, who have been incredibly smart and creative in terms of forcing this debate into the public square, into politics, into the media, and refusing to be silenced.” #FWSGlasgow

“Right from the get-go, you guys organised. It almost feels like a lost cause in Canada right now and that’s cos nobody stood up.” #FWSGlasgow

“The Canadian media has all but ignored feminist voices on this issue. They have intentionally pretended the gender identity debate is left vs right. i.e. good vs bad. It is dishonest, and it is unconscionable.” #FWSGlasgow

“When we held the first ever event discussing the issue of gender identity and women’s rights in Canada at the Vancouver Public Library in January, the media refused to cover it, until protesters began harassing the Library to shut it down.” #FWSGlasgow

“The CBC held a radio panel about our event and the issue of free speech, and invited a local trans activist and a lawyer to discuss what I might say at the event, and whether the words they imagine I might say might constitute ‘hate speech’.” #FWSGlasgow

Recent event on trans kids with Ken Zucker and a detrans young woman was attended by 260 people and protested by somewhere between 150 and 200 trans activists.” #FWSGlasgow

Meghan defines terms, in a manner that @iainmacwhirter described as ‘a perfect encapsulation’ in parliament on Weds. #FWSGlasgow

“When I say “sex,” I’m referring to biology — whether an individual is male or female. I define a “man” as an adult male human, and a “woman” as an adult female human. This is how most of the world, for most of history, has understood the terms “man” and “woman.”” #FWSGlasgow

“When I say “gender,” what I mean is the stereotypes and social roles imposed on males and females, based on their sex. This is what I mean when I talk about ‘femininity’ and ‘masculinity’ —” #FWSGlasgow

“so the ideas we hold in our society about what women and men should be — what social norms we are expected to adhere to, how we should dress, how we should act, what we should like, what kinds of jobs we should have, what our personality traits should consist of.” #FWSGlasgow

“When I say ‘trans activist’ I’m not specifically or necessarily talking about trans identified people, I’m talking about any person who promotes and supports gender identity ideology and legislation. ” #FWSGlasgow

“When I say ‘gender identity ideology’ (or ‘transgender ideology), I am referring to the idea that it’s possible for a person to be ‘born in the wrong body’ or that it’s possible for a person to change sex.” #FWSGlasgow

“When I talk about ‘gender identity legislation’ I’m referring to legislation and policies that allow people to self identify as any sex they like/1” #FWSGlasgow

“…self identify as any sex they like, and to access facilities, spaces, political positions, shelters, jobs, grants, universities, sports competitions, etc on that basis.” #FWSGlasgow

“I do not use the term ‘cis’.” <considerable applause> #FWSGlasgow

“…which is a word created by trans activists to refer to people whose ‘gender identity matches their sex’. This is because I do not have a ‘gender identity’ and, in fact, no one does.” #FWSGlasgow

“I am also not a biological essentialist. Biological essentialism is the idea that an individual’s personality is an innate or natural ‘essence’ – and that this is attached to their sex. ” #FWSGlasgow

“I believe that females and males can have all kinds of personalities. I believe boys and girls should be allowed to play with whichever toys they like and wear whatever clothes they like, regardless of who those clothes and toys are designated for.” #FWSGlasgow <applause>

“So, one of the reasons I challenge gender identity ideology is because I think it is regressive, sexist, and nonsensical. I think it limits us, rather than allowing us a full range of options as human beings with diverse interests and personality traits.” #FWSGlasgow

“But I also think it has incredibly negative impacts on women’s rights, in particular.” #FWSGlasgow

“And I think it’s important that, when enacting legislation and making sweeping changes to policies that impact women and girls, we absolutely should be having a conversation about it, and engaging in rigorous, public debate. ” #FWSGlasgow

“Over and over again, I ask those who insist that ‘transwomen are women’ what the word ‘woman’ means. They refuse to answer. They simply say, ‘it’s a person who identifies as a woman’, which essentially means, ‘it’s nothing at all.’ ” #FWSGlasgow

“On what basis do women’s rights exist, if the word ‘woman’ is meaningless? If anyone can identify in and out of femaleness on a whim?” <murmurs of approval> #FWSGlasgow

@CCriadoPerez shame you’re missing this. Meghan Murphy talking about your research, how important it is for our safety. #FWSGlasgow

None of the differences between men and women “can be altered substantially through surgery or hormone treatments. Decreasing testosterone does not change the physical body of a male to such an extent that it becomes a female body.” #FWSGlasgow

“Your doctor cannot treat you effectively if she or he does not know what your sex is. And of course, your doctor does know your sex, despite your ‘gender identity’. All doctors are TERFs.” <appreciative laughter>

“there is absolutely no reason why we cannot protect the rights of individuals to step outside gender roles, and to express themselves as they like, and also understand that sexual dimorphism is real/1” #FWSGlasgow

“…that males and females exist, and that those differences — both in terms of the physical, as well as in terms of what this has meant socially — matters. ” <loud applause> #FWSGlasgow

“What is incredibly ironic about this debate — and the way feminists who challenge transgender ideology are positioned —/1” #FWSGlasgow

” …is that feminists have always taken an incredibly liberal, liberatory position on ‘gender’. We want people to be free to be themselves and not to feel pressured to adopt masculine or feminine stereotypes. ” #FWSGlasgow

“Countless people — mostly men — have sent violent threats to me online for saying what I am saying today. Vancouver’s very progressive mayor called me ‘despicable’ on the news, for speaking at an event about women’s rights and gender identity.” #FWSGlasgow

“We still don’t know what defines a trans person. We don’t know what makes a male actually a woman? Is it surgery? Hormones? Clothing? Makeup? A preference for long hair?” #FWSGlasgow

“There is, to date, no coherent definition of ‘transgender’. It can be literally anything or anyone. It is nothing more than a statement, and is unverifiable. To create legislation around something completely vague and undefinable seems odd to me, if not dangerous.” #FWSGlasgow

“I’m told that saying these kinds of things ‘hurts people’s feelings’, and that therefore I may not say them. But if we are going to talk about ‘feelings’, why is it that women’s ‘feelings’ are being ignored in all of this.” #FWSGlasgow

Meghan talking about the case of Kristi Hanna (look it up, but it will make you all sad). “I’m sort of wondering why transactivists don’t care about her feelings.” <round of applause> #FWSGlasgow

Meghan talking about Morgane Oger <unenthused response from otherwise enthusiastic audience> and Vancouver Women’s Shelter funding. #FWSGlasgow

“What about the feelings of the 14 female estheticians who were asked to give a male a brazilian bikini wax, then dragged to court when they declined, saying they only offered the service to women?” One woman in the audience quietly offers to do the procedure… #FWSGlasgow

“For a group who claims an interest in ‘feelings’ and ‘empathy’, they sure don’t seem to have any concern for women’s feelings, nor do they seem to have any empathy for women and girls. ” #FWSGlasgow

“None of this is about transphobia. It is about men and it is about women having the right to say no to men. To not be gaslighted and bullied for daring to consider their own safety, rights, and FEELINGS first. ” <applause> #FWSGlasgow

On Canada; “I refuse to accept or repeat lies under threat — especially lies that are clearly harmful. We can support people’s rights and dignity and provide them with the services they need without lying and without throwing women under the bus.” #FWSGlasgow

“There is no need for women’s rights if women don’t exist, and if the source of their oppression is not their sex, but their feelings about femininity. No matter how a woman ‘feels’ about gender, she will still experience this world as a female. ” <applause> #FWSGlasgow

“Those who are speaking out about and asking questions about gender identity are not doing so to be cruel, and they are not doing so because they are hateful. They are doing so because they have real, genuine concerns that deserve to be taken seriously and addressed.” #FWSGlasgow

CONCLUSION: “So thank you all for being here, thank for pushing back, in the face of extreme backlash, and thank you for making very clear that women matter — women’s voices matter, and the truth matters.” AND STANDING OVATION… <crazy applause> #FWSGlasgow

QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION Question about homophobia present in transactivism, as well as sexist. Woman has a lesbian daughter, the girl is very let down by the LGBT movement. <much clapping and nodding, regretfully> #FWSGlasgow

Panel in agreement, sadly. Noting that more and more girls are transitioning. “Young lesbians are being transitioned into heterosexual boys, and lesbians are being pushed out of their own movement.” #FWSGlasgow

A detransitioned lesbian speaks out about how she has been shut out of lesbian groups for years. Saying she was pathologised as a 16 year old girl by sexologists. #FWSGlasgow

A woman challenging ‘inclusive’ loos, because she has been told to use ‘disabled’ loos in Glasgow if she doesn’t want to use ‘gender neutral’ loo. “That’s like sitting in a disabled parking spot, I’m not going to do that.” #FWSGlasgow

A woman is worried that the transitioning of children, and the teaching of transitioning of children is grooming the younger population to accept and want it. #FWSGlasgow

Another Canadian woman commenting on the strength of feeling in Canada, that she would lose friends if she spoke out there. Why has it taken such hold there? #FWSGlasgow

“The stereotypes around polite Canadians are true – I’m making sweeping generalisations of course…” “It’s true, though,” agrees the Canadian questioner. <lolz> #FWSGlasgow

So far btw if we’re quoting someone it’s generally Meghan rather than @wondersbec as the questions are being addressed to her. #FWSGlasgow

Forensic pathologist has spent a decade seeing homicide victims can count on one hand the women she has seen killed by women. “We need to name male violence,” she says. “If we are going to make centres inclusive, women are not going to leave dangerous men.” #FWSGlasgow

PHD student looking for a career in academia frightened to speak out. “I’m part of the generation that thought this battle was won, ” she says. #FWSGlasgow

“I think we should keep telling the truth/resist talking about the female body in gender neutral terms,” says Meghan. #FWSGlasgow

@wondersbec “In 10 years there’s going to be a lot of very embarrassed academics… things move in trends. For every threat, for every lost friend, for each one of those there’s 10 women who will voice their support and thank you for it.” TL;DR BE BRAVE, EVERYONE” #FWSGlasgow

Woman asks a question on language. “We are continually reacting, on back foot. The power dynamics of this are such that we are easily framed as negative, because we are telling people they can’t have what they want to have.” Need to use our own words, she says. #FWSGlasgow

“If we weren’t reacting, but were pushing forward something positive, what would that look like?” she asks. Response from Meghan is that @wondersbec‘s Vancouver Women’s Library was one such positive project. #FWSGlasgow

@wondersbec advises caution, but to do it anyway. “Never in feminist history has a feminist done something that prompted immediate applause from the larger population.”

The lack of definition of the category makes it difficult, says Meghan. “What is this group of people and what are you suffering that’s different to everyone else?” #FWSGlasgow

Union activist speaking about the way that women stopped making submissions to conference, motions etc, and feels that the trans groups moved into that gap. There should be more motions re mat leave, VAWG etc. 61% female in the union, 32% representation at conference. #FWSGlasgow

Concerns that women, particularly those in public service, are losing their voices on this subject because of work policies. #FWSGlasgow

“All unions in Canada have totally caved.” Depressing from Meghan. #FWSGlasgow

Union organiser does feel hopeful, though, thinks voices are beginning to speak out on GRA etc. #FWSGlasgow

A MAN! Talking about sport, natch… (ho ho ironic sexism from us). “A lot of the transactivist arguments do unravel in terms of sport – as long as we hold the line and we are on hand to be there when it does, this can be unpicked.” <audience applauds> #FWSGlasgow

Local councillor speaking about the way that adults are being effectively groomed themselves to accept changes to language. <applause> #FWSGlasgow

Teacher saying people afraid to speak out, not least because of the tying together of LGB and T. “Does that mean that if a boy, for example, identifies as a girl they access all the female areas” Told, of course, yes.Impossible to argue back w/out seeming reactionary. #FWSGlasgow

<something something something about the pub TOP SECRET shurrup> AND THAT’S IT, EVERYONE! THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO’S MADE THIS A SUCCESS! #FWSGlasgow