A Job Well Done

What a year.

What started off as one woman heading off to her local pool to demand they accept her as a man on her say-so became a nationwide group of nearly 200 women, er, men, with national and international news coverage, smashing #nodebate into tiny, glittering unicorn sparkle pieces. Six months on and:

  • Swim England had withdrawn their Orwellian guidance telling swimming pools to ‘re-educate’ pesky women to accept men in their changing rooms, showers and closed swimming sessions;
  • various organisations, including the City of London Corporation, had taken another look at badly-thought-out policies admitting men into women’s spaces;
  • the government had responded to our petition, announcing an open public consultation on proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act that had previously been seen as a done deal; and, most importantly;
  • people were talking and the great British public knew very well that ‘I am a man’ was not a magic sex-changing spell.

Now that the public part of the government consultation has drawn to a close, we’re hanging up our flowery swimming hats and mankinis, in the devout hope that we won’t need to use them again.

The job isn’t done – the government hasn’t made up its mind about the future shape of the GRA and Bonerwall is still mis-representing the Equality Act to any wokebot who’ll listen – but we feel that our part of it has come to an end.

We’ve been privileged to work alongside many excellent groups who are carrying on the fight in their own way: Fair Play For Women, Transgender Trend, A Woman’s Place, Standing for Women, Let A Woman Speak, Get the L Out, Liverpool ReSisters, Hands Across the Aisle, and more – and we’ll be continuing to support them as individuals who are passionate about women’s rights, safety, privacy and dignity.

Our thankyou list is too long to keep anyone’s attention, but in particular we must mention:

  • Mumsnet, where this all started
  • Hannah Clarke, who was thrown into the deep end as our media officer and did a stellar job every step (sometimes thousands a day!) along the way;
  • Joani Walsh, who gave us our first media break with that Dulwich swim and continued to get the word out on our various #randomactsofmanliness;
  • Julie Bindel, who coached Amy through her first TV appearance and gave invaluable advice;
  • Dr Nicola Williams, who sat us down and talked us through the legal ins and outs;
  • James Kirkup, who wrote some ace pieces;
  • Sky News, for following us around with a camera;
  • And every woman (and man) who came out, stood up to be counted, cheered us on, bought a t-shirt, joined team Sportacus and backed us up.

To our worthy and not-so-worthy adversaries: thanks for bringing us together. Without you we wouldn’t have met so many incredible women, or become friends, howling with laughter over your utter bonkers-ness. May you one day laugh as much as we did at your own ridiculousness.

It is impossible to change sex. The end.

Posted in No to Self-ID | 3 Comments

Say NO to gender self-ID

Posted in No to Self-ID | Leave a comment

Deeds not Words: Pictures

The following pictures were taken on September 30th, when British women stood up and demanded that they were heard.

Posted in Deeds not Words, No to Self-ID, Women's Rights | 2 Comments

Deeds not Words: If we stand up; if we speak out; if You rise; if You speak out!

Gemma Griffiths – 35 Year Old Engineer, Manchester

Before I start I want to address some misconceptions that we’re all white middle class feminists, that normal women can’t do anything because they don’t know enough or they aren’t versed enough in feminist literature.

I am a working class woman, I grew up in a working class town without any feminist role models. It took me until my 30s to raise the courage to go to a local feminist group meeting, so concerned was I with these misconceptions; what I found was normal women, women like you dear reader.

I’m not a writer, I am not a public speaker, I spend half my life worried I am saying the wrong thing but I refuse to be silent, I refuse to let the hard-won rights of women and girls be eroded and erased.

Posted in Activism, Deeds not Words | 1 Comment

Deeds not Words: Women everywhere, to speak out, to rise up, and to demand they are heard!

Today I speak as a representative of Liverpool ReSisters.

I speak as a representative of the female sex.

I speak as an ordinary woman.

The purpose of today’s action is to call women everywhere, to speak out, to rise up, and to demand they are heard.

Posted in Activism, Deeds not Words | Leave a comment

Is everyone REALLY wrong?

The following article was written by Julian Norman, a barrister, who very kindly allowed us to reproduce her article in full.  The original article can be found here.

This is a response to Stephanie Hayden’s essay,  Gender Recognition Certificates: Why the Feminists and the Trans Rights Activists Have got it Wrong.  It’s not intended as a rebuttal but more as a collaborative approach to understanding the law in what is a hugely misunderstood and almost entirely unlitigated area of law, the scope of the Equality Act 2010 (“EA”) in particular the single sex exemptions and the proposed reforms of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (“GRA”).

Stephanie starts with the premise that “The “GRA” has nothing to do with who has access to facilities provided for one sex or another.”

This isn’t accurate.

Posted in No to Self-ID, Women's Rights | 1 Comment

Why Do the Ponds Matter?

Another #ManFriday, another jolly trip to the Highgate Men’s Pond on Hampstead Heath, this time wearing a rather fetching beard hand-knitted by an anonymous Mumsnetter. This time, as well as raising awareness of the peculiarities of the City of London Corporation’s policy to allow people of either sex to use the pond that matches their self-identified gender, we were looking for signs, posters, anything really, that the City of London Corporation had put up to invite bathers to participate in their online consultation about expanding gender self-ID across their services. I’ll tell you this for free: there wasn’t so much a postcard. We helpfully corrected that situation.

Posted in Activism, No to Self-ID | Leave a comment

Women’s Voices Matter

Yesterday, 22nd July, a member of the Women’s Voices Matter collective published an article on their Facebook page. This article was reported as spam overnight and taken offline.  Facebook did not notify the page admin or the author. They just removed the article which was published as a page ‘Note’.  The content was a discussion of the coordinated campaign attempting to prevent women discussing their existing legal rights and protections, face to face and online.

There was no mention of any other subject.  Find out for yourself, it’s re-published below.

On the same evening, a member of the Man Friday group was harassed on twitter and an attempt made to hack into their twitter account.

On 20th July 2018 the web address of Woman’s Place UK was mass reported as spam and taken off Facebook for six hours.

None of this content is spam.  Women are spending hours of their time writing about maintaining their existing legal rights and their subsequent experiences of being blockaded, bullied and threatened and taken offline.

Women are not reacting or retaliating.  We remain peaceful and cooperative.  We will not stoop to this level of personal and digital abuse against individuals or groups.

For women to spend hours and hours of their time writing from their heart, with love and compassion, only to wake up to discover their writing has been automatically labelled as spam.  Is this what fascism looks like? Is this what censorship feels like? Or is it same old, same old, men bullying women, telling them to shut up?

Thank you #ManFriday for providing Women’s Voices Matter with webspace.

Continue reading

Posted in Activism, Women's Rights | Leave a comment

Welcome to the Gender Games!


Welcome to the opening match of the 2018 Gender Games. It’s the first match of the tournament and team Trans Right’s Activists (TRA) are facing up against the plucky underdogs Team Mumsnet.

It was always going to be a highly contested game.

Continue reading

Posted in No to Self-ID | Leave a comment

Three Weeks of #ManFriday Awesomeness

This #ManFriday update is three weeks of scary and awesome

Week 1: Hampstead Men’s Pond

We had been saving this one for a while, as we needed a date that would work for childcare, availability and not freezing our mankinis off (we’re not THAT brave!). At the end of last year, the Ladies Pond confirmed that anyone who self-identified as a woman would be able to swim there. We duly checked with the City of London authority about the situation at the Men’s Pond and were told we, as self-identifying men, would be welcome.

Continue reading

Posted in Activism, No to Self-ID | 3 Comments