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HUNDREDS of women braved the snow in central London last night to attend a highly charged meeting on plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act and the importance of women-only spaces.
The meeting, organised by new campaign group Woman’s Place UK, had to be held at a secret venue under tight security due to fears of disruption.
Chaired by lifelong trade unionist Megan Dobney, the meeting started with WPUK speaker Steph Pike, who said that Tory austerity policies disproportionately affect women, which means “the need for an active women’s liberation movement has never been greater.”
However, she said: “We have to be able to talk about female bodies. Sex matters because, if we cannot talk about sex, then we cannot talk about sexism.”
Ms Pike emphasised that trans people “should not be attacked, abused or discriminated against in any way.”
FBU activist Lucy Masoud described how, when she joined the London Fire Brigade in 2005, she was the only female in a squad of 16.
She was one of the first set of recruits not to have to share changing facilities, dorms and showers with men after the FBU fought a campaign called Privacy for All, which won sex-segregated facilities in London — outside London women still have to share.
Ms Masoud said: “As a Muslim Arab woman, I would not have chosen this career if we did not have women-only spaces.”
Community activist Pilgrim Tucker explained some of the law contained in the current Equalities Act and Gender Recognition Act.
“Current law states that under certain circumstances trans women can be excluded from certain services even when they are legally regarded as female,” she said.
“Current exemptions are not being used and there is increasing pressure not to apply them.”
A handful of activists protested outside the meeting with placards, chanting: “Trans rights are women’s rights.”
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