Female Events now Banned from Conway Hall !

June 1, 2012

In a stunning announcement by UK’s Conway Hall, once a bastion of free speech, intellectual diversity and controversial views (hell, they even rented space to the fricken National Front for many years) Conway Hall has announced that all female-only gatherings are henceforth banned from the venue:

Statement Regarding RadFem 2012

In consultation with the organisers of RadFem 2012 and our legal advisors, Conway Hall has decided not to allow the booking in July 2012 to proceed. This is because it does not conform to our Terms and Conditions for hiring rooms at Conway Hall. In addition, we are not satisfied it conforms with the Equality Act (2010), or reflects our ethos regarding issues of discrimination.

We had sought assurances that the organisers would allow access to all, in order to enable the event to proceed at the venue. We also expressed concern that particular speakers would need to be made aware that whilst welcoming progressive thinking and debate, Conway Hall seeks to uphold inclusivity in respect of both legal obligations and as a principle. 

In the absence of the assurances we sought, the event in its proposed form could not proceed at Conway Hall.

That said, we recognise the breadth of debate to be had amongst the feminist and transgender communities and it is our sincere hope that there will be constructive and positive dialogue on these matters going forward.

In response to Sheila Jeffreys’ online Guardian article in their ‘Comment is free’ section, dated 29th May 2012, we would like it to be known that Conway Hall has in the past made clear that speakers / attendees at events for other hirers will not be permitted where we have felt that these individuals have expressed and may express (on our premises) views which conflict with our ethos, principles, and culture; the reference to David Irving was simply one of the examples given.

—————————————————————–
NOTICE: The RadFem2012 Conference has NOT been cancelled and WILL go forth at an alternate venue. 

81 Responses to “Female Events now Banned from Conway Hall !”

  1. GallusMag Says:

    NOTICE: No information on female liberation activities which could be used by anti-female activists to harass, threaten or otherwise impede the human rights of females to speak and congregate will be posted on this blog. -GM


  2. I am relieved to hear the conference itself will go ahead, but deeply saddened that Conway Hall gave in to this bullying.

  3. LJ Says:

    It is time for females to wake up and see what is happening to female-only spaces. I hope this backfires on the trans* activists. As a UK citizen and resident I can tell your our laws and public opinion mean trans* individuals are anything but oppressed or disadvantaged. They enjoy extensive legal protections and regular media coverage and support to the extent that any querying of transgender politics and what this might say about the patriarchy, for example, is nigh-on impossible and simply silenced.

    I hope Rad Fem goes ahead in an alternative venue and have decided that I will get tickets for it as soon as a new venue is confirmed.

    • fmnst Says:

      1. Thank you, LJ, for letting non-Brits know what the scene is like there. I wonder if it is more extreme than here?

      2. I think this points to a need for feminists to focus our work on trans-censoring behaviors: censoring feminists.

      Time and again, the arguments come down to conservatives, including conservative feminists, fearing the T-word (“transphoooobicccc!”) label.

      3. I think someone needs to post a CONCISE, bulleted list, with sources cited, of ways trans are trampling women’s rights, for all the world to see, and for us to send out. This blog is wonderful, but it is too lengthy for most people to read. We need a brochure-type list posted on someone’s blog. (Sorry, I don’t know how to use WordPress or any other blog software, it seems totally confusing and a massive waste of time for me to learn, unless someone is willing to coach me when I need technical help, which would be ~every 5 minutes to begin with.)

      4. Finally, we need to create a list of venues/situations for which trans are attacking feminists, so that we all flock to the appropriate web sites and send emails standing up for feminists and debunking the transactivists.

      That is how trans are being so successful. I once saw a spreadsheet online of all the places trans wanted their activists to write to or demonstrate at.

      We need to do similar, to focus our efforts and rally letter writing from those who understand and can effectively argue a feminist position deconstructing trans’ arguments.


  4. I belong to a reading group, a group of women, females at birth. This group is not political, –at all. And at times too heterosexual and “feminine” for me to want to bother with another meeting. I try to ignore all that because I do like talking about books/novels. One day the topic of trannies came up, not by me, believe it or not. I made sure I watched every last woman, EVERY LAST WOMAN, and not one of them agreed that a trannie is a REAL woman. It they were, this group of non-political women not believing for a second that trannies are female. Therefore, trannies (males who just wan to do whatever the fuck they want to do and have the world tell them they are marvelous) can shut any event they want down, and the fact remains real females do not think they are us.

    • LJ Says:

      To be honest in private company most people will, in my experience and in the absence of trans* activisits or the painfully liberal, admit that they do not see MtFs as women (or females) or FtMs as men (or males). That is not to say that they will not respect trans* rights, names and pronouns, and freedoms to do what they want with their own identities and bodies. But when asked to ignore biological reality, people, if they are honest, decline. Gender is a social construct but sex is real and every person on this planet knows it.

      Changing sex does not happen in a vacuum; it does not only impact the person who is changing but the sex they are seeking to leave and the one they seek to join.

      • LJ Says:

        PS this is especially true when a MtF elects not to have “bottom” surgery or when a FtM decides to become pregnant. A penis is male. Child gestation and childbirth are female. The vast majority of individuals just won’t stand to be told a man who has had hormones and a boob job but still has his penis is really a woman – oh and is a lesbian, even. If anything I think the backlash against this unthinking acceptance of all “trans*” identities is on its way.

    • LJ Says:

      You’re right. I should have put inverted commas on “changing”!

    • fmnst Says:

      Kitty and LJ,

      This has been my experience, too.

      I’ve especially noticed with straight women in my small feminist organization that they are much more receptive to info questioning trans than lesbians are, I think because they have been less exposed to the rhetoric and PC party line that lesbians have been.

      I think all of this shows how intimidated and bullied people are by the threat of being labeled “transphoooobic!” and why we need to start by pointing out trans’ censorship of everyone with this accusation.

  5. Ali Says:

    This has made me so angry, 30 years ago I was arguing with people that women need women only space and still some women are supporting men coming in to that space. Unfucking believable!

  6. la redactora Says:

    Any venue that would take the National Front before they took a woman-only group is disgusting and not good enough for the conference, anyway. I do hope you find an alternate location.

  7. hearthrising Says:

    It doesn’t sound like Conway Hall is even bothering to state their decision logically. I certainly hope there are reparations made for breaking the contract. I’m sure the organizers of Radfem 2012 saw this coming a mile away, but it’s still a hardship to change a venue after the event has been publicized.

    • GallusMag Says:

      They should certainly be sued. This policy bans not only this particular radical feminist event but all Lesbian events, all events for female religious groups that hold female gatherings, female survivors of sexual abuse, pregnant women, etc. It is discriminatory.
      More significantly, it points to the need for a broad coalition that supports the rights of females and lesbians to organize politically against any government act that impedes the human rights of females to congregate and speak, to organize, and to practice the religious faith of their choosing.

  8. michelle Says:

    Once again, we see that the men decide that our right to free speech and free association is not truly free and they will TRY to decide if and when we are permitted to speak. They are so fucking myopic in their viewpoint that they insist everything be made all about them, although that myopic viewpoint certainly explains WHY they miss the big picture.

    In a lot of respects, this all reminds me of the nonsense with kiddie sports leagues where the parents want every child to get some sort of a trophy so nobody feels left out. They refuse to acknowledge that differences exist and it is, instead, made to be all about making sure nobody’s widdle feelings get hurt. I don’t buy into that nonsense just as I don’t buy into the twanzwhacktivist claims that they get to enter female-only spaces just because they want to play dress-up and insist that people call them a woman.

  9. ethicalequinox Says:

    Well, now we will just let them remain in the bliss of ignorance as to where we decide to meet again. :D

    PS: Trans activists – you won’t win.

  10. Paul Elam Says:

    And whatever venue you bigots reschedule at, we are going to do everything to make sure that organization follows suit with the good decision by Conway Hall.

  11. A Man Says:

    24.84.136.224


  12. I have registered to go to this. I wasn’t looking forward to the potentially aggressive demonstration outside. So if the venue is not known by Transactivists, this could make it a much better experience for those attending.

  13. RoseVerbena Says:

    Goddess wept.

  14. fuckyou Says:

    Suck it cunts

  15. RoseVerbena Says:

    I recommend that women FLOOD them with letters, postcards, e-mails, YouTube videos, etc. expressing our concern and outrage at this turn of events. I don’t think any public venue in the free world should be able to tell women, in effect, “no, you can’t meet here with other women, we forbid women to speak with each other here, we censor you” without a MAJOR backlash.

  16. Shazmafat Says:

    This is clearly them bowing to threats of violent activism by transactivists. I call bullshit. We need to organise a petition of Conway Hall and also seek legal advice to sue Conway Hall. The Conway Hall statement is defamatory, and this shut-down is discriminatory. I can pledge money to the cause, if it helps.

  17. Hippie Redneck Says:

    75.162.184.195


  18. This is what’s called being held accountable for your actions. We Men’s Rights Activists are gentlemen, after all, and dutifully informed your host of the Radfem theology. Please understand that this disappointment and inconvenience was your fault for not being upfront about what your dogma stood for in the first place.

  19. Bev Jo Says:

    Good response, Kitty! I too keep seeing non-feminists say that men can’t be women. A new friend kept repeating about men claiming to be Lesbians: “It’s just creepy. It’s so creepy.” Only “feminist” women seem to argue for the illogic of men being women and Lesbians. It makes as much sense as arguing that men can be other animals. It’s clearly the same old fight we always have had for trying to have female-only space, but I sure never thought this obvious mind-fuck with ever take hold among “feminists” like this. I don’t really consider them feminists because it takes some self-hatred to accept and support these most male and female-hating of men as being the same as us. It’s a travesty. And so is Conway Hall. More support for fascists than Lesbians. Same old patriarchy. I’m glad the conference is still happening, but wish all of this would get women outraged enough to wake up about the trans cult.

  20. zorro Says:

    Uteran cancer for all you gashes!

    gofuckyourselfyouignorantcunt@aol.com
    129.42.208.185

  21. Hippie Redneck Says:

  22. fmnst Says:

    As a survivor of uterine cancer, that one hit a little too close to home. The hate…

    But are MRAs protesting outside male only venues?

    Noooooo.

    Are they protesting that Congress is 82?% male?

    I’d like to see that happen.


  23. [...] also actively oppose female-only sexual violence workshops, which are inline with the Equality Act. Look at one of the most hateful US-based MRAs gloat with the same name-calling and glee as Liberal Feminists [...]

  24. RoseVerbena Says:

    These misogynist cowards really love to threaten women and gloat, don’t they? They’re like bullies in the school-yard, pushing down the smaller kids to make themselves feel tough.

    Pathetic. Grow up and be a real man, dudes. Real men respect women.


  25. Here, the hypocrisy of Conway Hall – who have no problem hosting an event like this Muslim one, which is bound to be either segregated, or men-only – if anyone has any more details, please let me know.

    The Great Debate

    3 June 2012
    God v. Atheism? Islam v. Secularism?

    Join Professor Ken Gemes, Professor Richard Norman, Sharif Hafezi and S Ahmed Khan in open and intellectual debate on Islam, God, Secularism and more.

    1800 – 2200

    Organised by MCRCIA

    Here is the organisation’s website, pretty much every single photo I see has females segregated from males.


  26. [...] Elam comments at GenderTrender.  Read more here about patriarchal surveillance here and here. Share this:Like this:LikeBe the [...]


  27. [...] Elam comments at trans critical blog GenderTrender in support of transwomen.  Read more about patriarchal surveillance here and here. Share this:Like [...]

  28. dawn Says:

    -off thread-

    Gallus,

    Thank you for the work you putting in compiling and documenting these nutjobs (de-nutjobs?). Just wanted to point out the post from zorro.

    zorro Says:

    June 2, 2012 at 6:42 am

    Uteran cancer for all you gashes!
    gofuckyourselfyouignorantcunt@aol.com
    129.42.208.185

    bi-01f.bluebird.ibm.com

    is on the ibm network and since they contract with the US federal gov’t. I’m sure they will not look kindly on an employee using company equipment to wish death upon women.

    http://www.epa.gov/region2/waste/fsibmpou.htm

  29. Adrian Says:

    What’s with the Glen Campbell fetish?

  30. Bev Jo Says:

    I keep being told by certain feminists, “I’m sorry you had a bad experience with one ‘trans woman,’ but you shouldn’t assume they are all like that.”

    Still counting the ways they are not even close to being women and how many seem the same. Does it get worse than rape and death threats and wishing us to die of cancer that only women get?

    Thank you so much, again, Gallus, for all this info and for printing the threats too. All women need to know that men are not our “sisters.”

  31. Lafaye Says:

    This is really sad. I was glad to read DavinaSquirrel’s blog on the ‘ethics’ involved and really hope something good comes from all of this, but I also feel overly naïve thinking that. I guess that comes with the territory of having all this female-privilege of never having your opinion taken seriously, being talked over, etc. etc.
    I’m grateful for those who are blogging about this and other radfem issues, I bet there are heaps more like me who mostly lurk because we are too afraid to speak out, speak loud, speak more.

  32. delphyne Says:

    Uncovered by another feminist. Not only did Conway Hall hire their venue to the National Front, they also allowed the Paedophile Information Exchange in:
    http://mailpictures.newsprints.co.uk/view/19594492/elib_asscmmglpict000005132262_jpg

  33. Joan Nestle Says:

    How short sighted all of this on all parts. In one part of London, the council is shutting down the Lambeth Women’s Center to sell the building to the highest bidder and here two gendered concerned groups are going for each other’s necks–old arguments–when we need to form alliances between all communities endangered by the rising right wing and economic breakdown. Find the common ground–and gender purity arguments are not a good place to start–I have been here before–body checks at the door? and once you start deciding who is biologically pure enough to be part of any community–there will be other persona non grata–I am considering, does the “radfem” community really accept all biologically born women feminists–what if a large contingent of woman born woman sex workers wanted a voice at this conference–what a time for us to be embroiled this way. Between us failing our own histories of difference and the hatred of us by the rising dawns of the world–I am sick to heart. Think what a victory it would be if a bridge could be built between us, feminists, transpeople, queers, people of all genders sinking under the assault of nationalisms and world bank supremacies–I have been part of your, mine communities for over 50 years–let us do something new–find a way on both sides to struggle together..

    • RoseVerbena Says:

      It might sound conciliatory, Joan, but males are not females.

      It’s really not that hard. Researchers show that even a three-year-old child knows the difference between a male and a female with near-perfect accuracy.

      “Trans women” are born beneficiaries of the patriarchy: males. In fact, many (most? all?) are MORE eager to uphold the patriarchy than many other (non-”trans”) males, because they depend on misogynist sex-role stereotypes in order to complete their “transition” into the imaginary “woman” of their dreams.

      The difference between male and female, between “trans” and real women are not mere details when half of the human race is being systematically oppressed by the other half. Sex matters. Socialization matters. Being born into the raping class vs. the raped class matters. Male privilege matters.

      Pretending that sex doesn’t matter shows an incomplete understanding of what women’s oppression is and what women need to do to end it.

      False “coalitions” have been the downfall of the left for decades. The way forward is not pretending that men with gender identity disorder are our “sisters” in our fight to liberate women. They quite literally don’t have any skin in the game — in fact they benefit directly from the rigid enforcement of misogynist “gender” roles. If you eliminate “gender” you eliminate “gender identity” which obviates the very idea of “trans” because changing sex is literally impossible.

      Pretending to believe that “trans women” are really women would be insanity for the women’s liberation movement. Self-destructive insanity. If all a person has to do to become a woman is change his clothes and hairstyle, then what does “woman” even mean? “Trans” erases women and white-washes our thousands of years of REAL OPPRESSION by making womanhood into a choice, something you order off a menu, a game you play when you’re bored, a sexual fetish, a garment you can take on and off at will. I call total bullshit on the whole farce.

      Meanwhile in the real world: female infanticide, female genital mutilation, force marriage of eight and ten-year-old girls, dowry killings, honor killings, human trafficking, a volcanic eruption of hideously abusive porn, women’s suffrage still no-where near universal, the world-wide crusade against women’s right to control our own reproduction, “corrective” rape of lesbians…etc. etc. etc.

      If “trans women” (or any other male) wants to support women, he should do so on OUR terms and frankly, “trans women” should start by de-transitioning or at the very least respecting our boundaries and rights.

      • GallusMag Says:

        Thank you thank you thank you Rose for answering so articulately. Frankly, I was so shocked by the male-centrism, sexism and lesbophobia in Joan’s comment that I had to struggle to control my temper while composing a reply. So I had a nice cup of tea instead. ;)
        It’s always particularly depressing for me when I see these views expressed by another lesbian.

    • GallusMag Says:

      @Joan-

      In the activist “victory” you’ve outlined above, feminists would stop centralizing the liberation of females. That is, we would cease being feminists and become “humanists”. Radical Feminists centralize female concerns and female liberation. We are a women’s liberation movement.
      Gender purity arguments? Radical feminists do not support gender, of the “pure” (?) or “impure” variety (whatever that means). Gender oppresses females.

      “..once you start deciding who is biologically pure enough to be part of any community..” The Lesbian community is comprised of female homosexuals. Not heterosexual males. Female homosexuals have a right to Lesbian spaces and gatherings as we so choose.

      “does the “radfem” community really accept all biologically born women feminists..?” Do we accept that liberal and other branches of feminism exist? Of course. Is every feminist a Radical Feminist? Of course not. Can we ally with other feminists on certain issues? Of course. A pro-pornography “fun-fem” would NOT be a Radical Feminist.

      Your comment above, which instructs women that we should stop centralizing the liberation of females in our activism, that we should stop holding conferences and organizing events for females, that lesbians should not hold lesbian-only events, does NOTHING to support women’s liberation whatsoever.

      You would like to see us focus on, and direct our energy to male political and economic justice issues instead of female liberation. That is not going to happen. But there are a ton of women out there, (including some that call themselves feminist) who are willing to do so. What is very telling is the level of outrage (including death threats, harassment, no-platforming) directed at a fairly small number of women who choose to prioritize the emancipation of females in their politics. And the homophobia and misogyny on display by those who claim lesbians discriminate against males and need to be “corrected” is very telling as well.

      • hearthrising Says:

        Gallus Mag and Rose Verbena, you are my heroes.

      • doublevez Says:

        This site is the last remaining honest to god Women’s Studies course in NA, maybe, the U.K. and Oz too. I would only wish for one thing: a site search box. A cloud, something to help us find what we need from time to time. Ok. All the time.

      • GallusMag Says:

        Thank you hearthrising!

        @doublevez- I’ve always had a cloud: on the bottom right sidebar. I’ve added a site search box below it. Not sure how well it works tho. You can also search the site via google by entering your search terms followed by “site: gendertrender” (without the quotation marks). That might yield better results.
        Thank you for the feedback and support. :)


    • what if a large contingent of woman born woman sex workers wanted a voice at this conference

      I missed this part initially. They are not invited either. They caused a scene at the first Million Women Rise rally in London, just for the hell of it. We have plenty of formerly-prostituted women though, they are part of radical feminism.

      What the hell is up with all the acceptance of the brainwashing that women/feminists should look after everybody, or appease everybody, or put everybody’s needs before their own? As a feminist strategy, that NEVER works, it is one reason why we remain as the servant class.

      I mean, come on, do you really think the Labour Party feel the need to include the Conservatives at their meetings? I don’t think so! Get real.

  34. luckynkl Says:

    Well said, Rose and Gallus. And to Joan, no we will not be rallying around the boys to give them more specials rights and privileges than they already have while they deny us any rights or even recognize us as human. How stupid would that be?

  35. magicpoppy Says:

    One of the many problems of trying to work with trans women, Joan, is that they think they can’t address their gender-identity based discrimination without erasing the sex-based oppression of women. They want to erase female as a sex class. The current generation of transgender activists really are that extreme:

    http://magicpoppy.tumblr.com/post/24422353103/again-there-is-no-such-thing-as-cis-privilege-and

    You can’t even deal with them unless you’re willing to accept that females have cis privilege, which is ludicrous if you know what actually constitutes privilege.

    They think it’s “transmisogynist” for women to even talk about their own experiences in their bodies:

    http://magicpoppy.tumblr.com/post/24419986572/widdershins-girl-trigger-warning-cissexism-and

    For starters, they need to figure out what political classes, structural oppression, privilege, and intersectionality actually mean before we can find common ground with them. They also need to accept that we are allowed to talk about things that don’t affect them.

    Also, the pomo Julia Serano stuff is entirely incompatible with radical feminism.

    Cathy Brennan and others have tried to open up dialogue with them, but so far all we get is Raaaaaaawwwwwrrrrr!

  36. Kathrin Says:

    This was utterly inappropriate on several fronts.

    I monitor some MRA forums and other gathering forums – “A Voice For Men” had a lot to do with this. MRAs aren’t big fans of trans people either, so using them against the feminists is a nice “bonus” to them, and trans people are easy pawns.

    They can’t legislate acceptance. They can’t bully people into liking them. Trans people don’t understand that female-only space has value for reasons, and their actions destroy the very value they seek to appropriate. So, like self-entitled men, they attempt to destroy what they can’t ever have, and in the process give those who hate and would use them exactly what they want, too.

    Disgusting all around.

  37. FeistyAmazon Says:

    Thank you for helping me keep my sanity around all this! And I was surprised at Joan Nestle’s comment. But so many Butches are transitioning to male, that Lesbians like Joan are working hard to ‘accept’ them as FTM’s, and perhaps even date them, since the lines these days between Butches/Genderqueers and FTM’s have gotten so fuzzy. Well, except us Female Centered Butches who draw those lines most clearly! And WE WANT our Dyke/WBW/Womon only space SEPARATE from men, at least from time to time, and those born male, or wanna be male too!

    There are times to come together, and times to have apart. I’d sooner support a prostitute trying to empower herself and possibly get out of prostitution or at least try to understand how hard her life is and why she made those choices, which is a Feminist issue, than any born male claiming he’s a ‘Lesbian’ and has rights to OUR bodies, and denying us ANY ACCESS to Female/WBW spaces to discuss OUR issues!
    -FeistyAmazon

    Love what you all have said, especially in response to Joan Nestle, who I have respected in the past…but NO we are not all the same or one big happy ‘queer’ family! I’m a Dyke, not ‘queer’!
    Thanks RoseVerbena and Magic Poppy and of course Gallus Mag!


  38. [...] reality is also under fire, and we are not even permitted to organize and discuss [...]


  39. [...] since the declaration was written. Even this summer, as many of you know, Conway Hall in London bowed to pressure and booted the RadFem 2012 conference because it was supposed to be a specifically [...]


  40. [...] to insects deserving of extermination – and who, along with other transgender activists joined forces with Men’s Rights Activists to have Gender Identity “protections” in Great Brita… to prevent all female-only gatherings and conferences at Conway Hall- vows to stop Ashley’s show [...]


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