As Cardiff was host to the wonderful Filia 2022 conference only weeks ago, it seemed fitting to be returning to Cardiff for Standing for Women’s ‘Let Women Speak’ free speech event on 20/11/22. Unfortunately, both rugby and football were at home in Cardiff so numbers were possibly a little muted. And the less said about the two hours our intrepid South Somerset bunch spent in traffic in the city, trying to find a parking space, the better!
Two hours sitting in traffic. Two hours. We needed coffee!
After a quick Costa stop, we raced to the event, held outside Cardiff’s Central Library. It was great to see Kellie-Jay Keen back in the UK, after her US tour. She pointed out that after facing down antifa in the US, the crowd assembled to stop women speaking in Cardiff must have inevitably looked a bit unimpressive!
The first speaker was Sarah Phillimore, asking for support for her campaign against Eventbrite. (KJK herself had Eventbrite cancel her bookings in the US at the last minute!) “This is a direct threat to our democracy,” Phillimore said. We are all vulnerable. It’s essential that we speak up.
Kellie-Jay and other speakers talked about the issues in Wales with PSHE education. It is vital for parents to ask to see the material being presented to children. Bristol Council, not far away, was also named for its policies forcing teachers to abandon safeguarding and “enforce doublethink on its employees and the people they serve.” This is illegal, and fortunately Bad Policy Watch and South West Women’s Network are organising in opposition, as well as the Lesbian Alliance.
There was also support for the women at the US events, who faced remarkable violence. The effect of schools policy on young lesbians was addressed too – they are being told that lesbians can have penises and that young women who reject femininity must be male. They have always been a target of the trans lobby and this is supported by Stonewall. We have to keep working to protect lesbians.
The Sex Matters petition was named. It’s essential that every woman signs and gets others to sign. It will trigger a Parliamentary Debate which would provide vital legal clarification.
Jennifer Swayne, the Newport woman arrested for stickering, pointed out that trans rights are a one thing, but there are also responsibilities to respect women’s spaces and sports.
Cathy Larkman, from @WRNWales, spoke in Welsh and English, welcoming women to Cardiff. She pointed out that “the ragtag and bobtails lined up on the Hayes today” were saying, “no Terfs on our turf,” but “I’ve got news for you, boyos! We are here and we are not going away!” She warned the Welsh government that women will resist the introduction of gender self-id in Wales and queer theory in the classroom. “Women will not submit!”
Cathy: “We are still here! We will not go away!”
I spoke as well, talking about the fact that my parents had met in Cardiff. My father had not shared with my mother the fact that he was a transsexual, and their marriage was a difficult and abusive one. It felt personal, obviously, particularly as my father had not allowed my mother to teach me Welsh because he didn’t want her speaking to me in a way that he couldn’t control. I wanted to make a link between that control and the people who turned up to Cardiff City Centre, dressed in antifa gear, purely to shut women up. It’s empowering and liberating to speak out. Just to tell the truth.
It was good to hear Alex Bramham (@BramhamAlex) from Manchester, a male speaker, talk about “Trans Day of Remembrance” and the branding of trans issues as gay issues. He has some interesting observations about where money is being moved through the LGBT+ organisations.
One speaker took a moment to thank the trans activists for coming. These events aim to show what the opposition looks like; who the people are who will do anything to stop women speaking about our rights, safety and sports. This group seemed to be mostly young people, but organised by two older men who kept apart from the crowd. I wondered if the ‘antifa’ types were set up as patsies should arrests need to be made.
As I was leaving, a trans-identified man said to me: “Trans women are women! You will never win!” I responded that of course we would “win.” It always seems that the subjugation of women is seen as a victory by the trans lobby. At least it’s there, in public, for everyone to see.
I’m not a vet, but I know what a dog is!
As is traditional, most of us went to a pub afterwards, where we chatted for hours and put the patriarchy to rights. Phone numbers, twitter handles, and leaflets were swapped and more meet ups planned.
Every one of these events is different, but the sense of camaraderie is the same. Meeting the same faces again, and welcoming new ones. Seeing women becoming more emboldened to speak each time. I highly recommend coming along, and perhaps accepting the offered microphone!