Historic Speaker's Corner Becomes Site of Anti-feminist Silencing and Volence
Efforts to silence feminist speech have taken a violent turn
Publisher: Feminist Current
Date Written: 15/10/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21462
The "What is gender" debate at the historic Speaker's Corner in London turned vitriolic and violent when opposing organizations accused the discussion of potentially inciting "transmisogyny."
Between 20-30 protestors who had gotten wind that women were meeting at Speaker's Corner before heading on to the talk showed up to harass attendees and follow them to the venue. Some yelled "Kill all TERFs" and held signs reading "No Debate," according to witnesses. A group called "Action for Trans Health London" had posted the location of the meeting, despite knowing some protestors were threatening violence. Miranda Yardley, one of the scheduled speakers, told me that one man who commented, "Anyone idea where/if this is happening. I wanna fuck some terfs up, they are no better than fash," on the Action for Trans Health London Facebook page, did in fact show up at Speaker's Corner and tried to steal Yardley's phone.
When I spoke with her over email, MacLachlan told me she had been trying to film the protest when some of the trans activists began to shout, "When TERFs attack, we fight back." She asked them, "Who's attacking?" At this point, MacLachlan says a young man in a hoodie tried to grab her camera. "I think he knocked it out of my hand but it was looped to my wrist. He turned back and tried to grab it again. I hung onto it." As the two struggled, MacLachlan pulled back the hood of the man holding her camera, so onlookers could photograph his face, and another man - identified by numerous witnesses as Wood - ran over and began punching MacLachlan. Wood and a third man pushed her to the ground, where she says she was kicked and punched. The police were called, but have not yet followed up on the assault.