‘We are women, not wombs’ – women’s rights activists gather in London
Around 100 women’s rights campaigners gathered in central London to say they are ‘not afraid to be women or to be called women’ rather than ‘womb carriers’.
Sporting the purple, white and green of the Suffragettes, they launched their new movement urging politicians to prioritize protecting services and gender-segregated spaces.
Led by three main groups – Sex Matters, Women’s Rights Network and Women Uniting – activists said single-sex spaces that should exclude transgender women include sports competitions, toilets and some hospital wards.
Activists said their movement was growing “exponentially” but had been largely underground and online so far.
Activists marched from the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in Victoria Tower Gardens to a Millicent Fawcett sculpture in Parliament Square, where they chanted the campaign slogan – ‘Respect my gender if you want my X’ – which refers to the drawing of an X in the voting booth.
Maya Forstater, a tax expert who lost her job because of her tweets about transgender people, represented the group Sex Matters.
She told the PA news agency: “So many politicians, when asked what a woman is, they can’t answer that simple question. They tie themselves in knots because they put the feelings of men who identify as women before women.
“When it comes to single-sex services, sports, child protection, situations where gender really matters, they are unable to put in place policies that protect women and children, and protect people. trans, because they confused sex with the idea of gender identity.
Heather Binning also spoke out in Parliament Square, who said she wanted to ‘see gender recognised’.
She told PA: ‘We would like to see gender recognized and be able to talk about gender, and not be called ‘cervical carriers’, ‘uterus carriers’ and all the things that certain elements of society want to start introducing.
“We’re not afraid to be women, and we’re not afraid to be called women, and that’s what we want to get back to.”
Ms Binning said the group she represents, Women’s Rights Network, has 60 branches in the UK, each with around 1,000 online members.
She said: “Right now we’re a Twitter-based network. We’re about to expand into the rest of the real world, and I think it’s going to be exponential.
“Most of the women here today, except for a handful, are anonymous.
“They can’t speak publicly because they’re afraid for their job that family members might disown them.
“They’re completely silenced, and it’s miserable to feel that way.
“Maya lost her job, and it’s no joke, what’s going on, to say the sex is real.
“The women who come forward, many are still afraid to come forward, but when they see people like me coming forward, this group coming together here, showing solidarity, we say to them, ‘You can also come forward. next step because there are more of us here than you think’.”
Caroline Ffiske, a former Conservative councilor and leader of Women Uniting, an all-party women’s group, said she thought “it’s time to get this political issue out everywhere”.
She told PA: “Of the groups involved in this campaign, Women Uniting is the cross-party group – Lib Dem women, Labor women, Conservative women, Greens, SNP – and what we’re saying is that these are the foundations of our society under attack.
“Sex is real, and it matters to the foundations of our society and the way we live and orient ourselves.
“Science is real and it matters. Truth is real and free speech is real.
“We put aside our political differences to campaign on this issue.”
Ms Ffiske also shared her concerns about the children’s transition, adding: “I just want to be absolutely clear that we are all aware that we live in a free society and that we can all identify what we like and express what we like.
“But when vulnerable children end up being put on the cross-sex hormone pathway, they can be sterilized, they can have their breasts removed, they can have their sex organs altered, and there are more and more detransitioners saying: ‘I was too young to do this and now I’ve modified my body for life’.”