Nottingham City Council listens to activists, not women



They forbade me to speak in a public place

by Julie Bindel

Nottingham City Council‘s favorite flag. Credit: Getty

When a local activist asked me to come to Nottingham and give a talk on male violence against women and how to end it, I jumped at the chance. The conference would take place at the Aspley Library, a much-needed resource in a predominantly working-class area of ​​the city.

The library is under threat of closure, which organizers say is why they decided to hold a series of events in the building. This would bring people to the library and encourage those in the neighborhood to use it more.

I knew there would be some kind of protest from trans activists, mainly because there are usually feminists who dare to speak out about male violence against women in public.

I chose to travel until the day before my speech because a train strike was scheduled for Saturday. Half way through my trip I was contacted by the event organizer who told me that a decision had been made by the Leader of Nottinghamshire City Council of cancel my lecture and ban me from the library. Am I exaggerating? Nope! When the organizer said we would be having the lecture in the library itself, rather than the private room inside, she was told that we were actually not allowed into the library itself .

We decided to hold the event in the library parking lot so as not to let those who had reserved tickets down. The event sold out as soon as it was advertised, and I knew there were a number of young working-class women who were very keen to hear from a longtime feminist activist how themselves could get involved in a campaign to end rape and domestic violence.

As I spoke to the cheering crowd about how to keep campaigning as feminists in the face of the worst misogynistic backlash I have ever encountered, Nottingham City Council issued a statement in which they tried to justify my ban from a public place.

“This is because the speaker’s views on transgender rights conflict with aspects of the councils equality, diversity and inclusion strategy.”

“Nottingham is an inclusive city and as a council support our LGBT community and you have pledged to support trans rights as human rights through Stonewall.”

At our event, a group of trans activists, draped in the familiar pink, blue and white trans flag played Beyoncé out loud and laughed and screamed throughout speeches about sexual assaults and other atrocities. It was the usual tactic – trying to silence the women.

But most distressing was the fact that this library, which the organizers fought so hard to keep open, had avoided the very people who needed to be welcomed with open arms. It is nothing short of a shame that misogynists bullied organizers into taking a stand against a lesbian activist during the so-called Pride month.

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