Town Hall Celebration of International Woman’s Day Removed After Transgender Activism Pressure

TOPSHOT - Activists protest the Trump administration and rally for women's rights during a march to honor International Woman's Day on March 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

LGBT activists forced a local council in England to take down flags bearing the dictionary definition of the word ‘female’ ahead of International Woman’s Day, saying the message was transphobic.

Merseyside Council in Liverpool removed flags celebrating International Women’s Day from local town halls that read “woman, wʊmən, noun, adult female”, the definition of female according to an English dictionary, which local LGBTQ activists claimed was a “hostile” message to people in the transgender community.

Dr Adrian Harrop, a self-described “ally of the transgender community” who identifies as “he/him”, tweeted at the council, writing: “Hi @seftoncouncil the flag you’re flying at the moment is a hostile transphobic dog whistle, recognised as a symbol and brand of one of Britain’s most outspoken and visible trans-antagonists, and the leader of a transphobic hate group.”

In response to the backlash, the council removed the flags, according to the Liverpool Echo, saying: “We were asked to support International Women’s Day by flying a flag above Bootle and Southport Town Halls which we did so with effect from Monday, March 2. However, we have since been made aware of a potential issue regarding the messaging on the flag and have taken them down.”

The “woman, wʊmən, noun, adult human female” message was first put up on a billboard in Liverpool in 2018 by Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posie Parker, a woman’s rights activist and blogger.

The poster was removed, again following a complaint from Dr Harrop, who said it was a “symbol that makes transgender people feel unsafe”. Ms Keen-Minshull said that she was not transphobic, but added that the idea that trans women are women is “preposterous”.

Transgender controversy also erupted ahead of International Women’s Day in Leicester, after a students’ union at Leicester University voted to rebrand the day as International Womxn’s Day, in order to be more inclusive of transgender women.

The university said that it will not officially rename the day, but said in a newsletter to students: “We use the term ‘womxn’ as a more inclusive spelling of ‘women’ that includes any person who identifies as a womxn.”

The name change was met with backlash, including by a trans woman physics teacher, Debbie Hayton, who said: “A woman is not anybody who wants to be a woman. The day becomes meaningless if it is so inclusive it includes both sexes.”

A female student at the university, told The Times that she thought the name change was “insulting”, adding: “Of course we want to be inclusive, with women of colour, disabled women and gay women celebrated. But to change the name belittles everything women have had to fight for.”

The student union recently elected Dan Orr, a trans woman, to be the university’s women’s officer, to represent women’s issues on campus, despite the university also having a trans officer as well as an LGBT+ officer, and a non-binary officer on the board.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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