On 31 January, Sisters Uncut Edinburgh – an intersectional feminist direct action organisation – convened for a silent protest against the trans-exclusionary feminist group For Women Scot, where their first public meeting was held at the Apex Hotel.
The peaceful protest consisted of approximately 40 people, who stood in front of the hotel with banners, handing out flyers to people on the street. Protesters also pasted stickers on the windows of the Apex Hotel that supported their lines of claim, reading “Cis Scots for Trans rights” and “All bigots must fall.”
The flyers demonstrated the aim of Sisters Uncut, outlining arguments against their alarming of For Women Scot. For Women Scot stated that the purpose of the meeting was to address the concerns they had about policies regarding the inclusivity of female-only safe spaces, and the threat they think ciswomen face because of it.
However, Sisters Uncut points out in their flyer that trans inclusion in female spaces has been legal in Scotland since the 2010 Equality Act — therefore the inclusion of trans, non-binary and intersex women does not diminish the safety of these spaces. They also argue that the statement from For Women Scot is essentially transphobic because it views transwomen as men.
A member of Sisters Uncut, who wished not to be named, explained that the reason for their gathering was derived from the misinformation that would be given at the meeting.
“We’ve come here tonight to try to spread some correct information, that is on our flyers,” she told The Student.
“We’re just trying to educate people. Because I think people often hear feminism, when they hear about meetings such as with For Women Scot, and they think that must be great, so they come along.
“They don’t actually realise the details of what they support and campaign for, which is a very exclusionary thing. I believe that women’s spaces should be inclusive of all kinds of women.”
A couple of women who came for the For Women Scot meeting stopped to speak to and debate with the protesters. A trans woman, who wished not to be named, said
“I’m not here to debate. This is not a debate for me, this is my life. These sorts of events are usually more about the public face, it’s more about putting on a respectful front for transphobia. When I first came out as trans I was very accommodating; I was very humble. And then I realised that no matter how respectful I came across, these people would always dismiss me. Which is why I don’t think there is a debate.”
Earlier this week, the university’s School of History, Classics & Archaeology (HCA) sent out an email to students reporting of “stickers of a highly offensive nature (to have been) found in the toilets in the William Robertson Wing. We adhere to the university’s Dignity and Respect Policy, which enjoins all members to treat others with dignity and respect.
“In line with this policy, displaying offensive material is explicitly forbidden and can be met with disciplinary action under the code of student conduct. Under the 2010 Equality Act, there are nine ‘protected characteristics’ which include gender reassignment, alongside disability, race, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy/childbirth, religion/belief, marriage and sex/gender. We remind you that harassment of any kind is simply unacceptable in HCA, which strives to be an open and inclusive community.”
Image Credit: Deniz Yalçin