Transgender activists protested outside the Daily Mail offices in response to the newspaper’s coverage of trans people, after the Mail’s sister paper, Metro, published an advert they claim was discriminatory.
Almost 20 people holding placards and banners gathered outside the building on October 20, chanting slogans and dancing to Annie Lennox music. One person threw blue smoke bombs into the entrance forcing security to block entry to staff.
Rachel, 48, a trans woman from Surrey, said she thought the Daily Mail’s negative tone towards trans people influenced its readership. She said “I want to walk the streets without fear of violence.
“They’ve given time to the TERFS who are against us and want us kicked out of the LGBT community even though people like us, a trans woman was originally at the beginning of the trans movement, of the whole LGBT movement. They seem to forget these things.”
TERF is an acronym for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists. It’s a negative label used to describe women who are against gender self-identification – they most commonly describe themselves as radical feminists.
Activists from Sister not Cister organised the protest after the Daily Mail’s sister paper, Metro, published an advert by Fair Play For Women, a women’s rights pressure group. It wants to stop the government from changing the Gender Recognition Act legislation to make it easier for trans people to be identified by their new gender, as it believes it will be exploited by predatory men.
However some trans activists feel this is transphobic and that the Daily Mail group is perpetuating a negative narrative towards their community by allowing the advert to be published.
Earlier in the week Metro published an advert by Stonewall, backed by 108 LGBTQ+ friendly organisations, asking for transgender equality.
Fair Play For Women tweeted criticising the protesters for not allowing “dissent”. Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley Jess Phillips replied: “Dissent and debate are not just fine but healthy”.
Twitter user Mandy Thomlinson aka ‘found’ tweeted: “You do realise these people are smokebombing and protesting a paper carrying a pro-women ad a day after the same paper carried a pro-trans ad? So what you say doesn’t really compute when you are siding with those who reject all debate as hateful and transphobic.”
The consultation process for the Gender Recognition Act has now ended. Next year the government will set out how the gender recognition process should be changed.