A group of online campaigners are trying to ban a prominent lesbian writer from discussing her past at an LGBT History event.
Hundreds of disgruntled users posted messages trying to pressure the venue hosting Julie Bindel – a British journalist and longtime feminist activist – to drop her.
The crowd – feminists as well – object to Bindel because she has written in the past that men who change gender should not be considered women. (“You can’t just identify yourself into being a woman”, she told Heat Street yesterday.)
Their intervention prompted the venue to issue a statement supporting Bindel, who took her accusers to task in an interview with Heat Street.
The free event takes place on February 4th, as part of a series for LGBT History Month. It is advertised as an opportunity to hear Bindel talk about her experience of coming out as a lesbian in the 1970s.
In response to the opposition, she said: “For a load of Cambridge-educated idiots to tell me I can’t speak about growing up lesbian with a working-class background… quite frankly they can go and jump off a cliff.”
“This venue isn’t something that any of them would have the slightest bit of interest in at all. They’re keyboard warriors, they wouldn’t schlep their arses to a venue that actually does real work [documenting the lives of disadvantaged people].
“They’re only interested in concepts and whether someone’s anti-polyamory.”
Events featuring Bindel have sparked controversy before. A debate on censorship she was due to hold with Milo Yiannopoulos at Manchester University last year ended up being shut down after both speakers were banned.
In response to the spat, the Working Class Movement Library issued a statement supporting Bindel to Heat Street, saying that it was “shaken” by the ferocity of the opposition, but planned to hold the event anyway.
The statement said:
We have asked Julie to talk to us about her experience as a working class young woman, growing up in the north east of England, her experiences whilst coming out in the 1970s, and a little on her campaigning work in fighting for justice for women and girls who are victims of violence.
We are a charity devoted to safeguarding and communicating the struggles and achievements of working class people. We celebrate the work of those who have gone before us. We have chosen to hear from a speaker who can give us a view of the past few decades of struggle.