Posie Parker, a well-known British trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF), posted the live video to her Facebook page on Wednesday morning. She and lesbian author and fellow TERF Julia Long barged into a meeting where Sarah McBride, a trans woman and the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, was meeting with a colleague after a conference on the hill.
Parker and Long went on a transphobic rant for nearly two minutes, consistently mis-gendering McBride and accusing her of perpetuating violence against women.
“Why are you championing the rights of men to access women in women’s prisons? And rape and sexually assault them as recently happened in the United Kingdom?” Long asked, referring to the false notion that all trans women sexually assault cisgender women in prisons.
Parker interjected at one point, asking McBride: “Why don’t you care about lesbian girls at 14 having double mastectomies? Why don’t you care about that, Sarah?”
TERFs are an infamous and problematic group of feminists who do not believe that transgender women are women. The group consistently rejects trans women in feminist spaces and organizations, and believes they are protecting cis women in their fight.
Throughout the entire two-minute clip, McBride does not respond to Long’s and Parker’s hateful rhetoric and taunting.
Parker and Long pressed McBride on the Equality Act, a bill introduced in 1974 as an amendment to the Civil Rights Act. The amendment would add integral protections for LGBTQ people including employment, housing, education and federally funded programs, among other things. Although the bill has received widespread support in Congress, it has yet to be passed into law.
The 2004 Gender Recognition Act, a British amendment similar to the U.S.′ Equality Act, was the first piece of legislation to recognize transgender people by allowing queer and non-binary people to have their preferred gender pronoun properly reflected on government documents and identification. The legislation, however, imposes harsh rules and medically intrusive guidelines that need to be met before a person can legally change their gender.
Many British TERFs, like Parker and Long, believe that the Gender Recognition Act would put cis women in danger by allowing men to change their identities and inflict more violence on women.
As of Thursday morning, Parker’s Facebook video had been viewed more than 11,000 times and the overwhelming amount of commenters were in support of Parker’s and Long’s actions.
McBride tweeted about the incident on Wednesday afternoon, sharing an article from Gay Star News who first reported the harassment.
“This happened to me earlier today,” McBride tweeted. “We had just concluded a really powerful meeting with parents of transgender youth and members of Congress and I won’t let this incident diminish the love, pride and solidarity that filled that room just moments before.”
“The sad truth is that this kind of harassment is the reality for far too many transgender people, particularly trans women of color, across the country and around the world,” she added.
Olivia Dalton, the Human Rights Campaign senior vice president for communications and marketing, described the incident as “disturbing” in a Thursday morning statement to HuffPost.
“It is disturbing but not at all surprising that anti-transgender extremists brought to the United States at the behest of the Heritage Foundation would stoop to harassing a transgender woman and parents of transgender youth,” Dalton said.
The Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think tank, held a conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this week to discuss the “left’s embrace of the transgender agenda,” Gay Star News reports. It is unclear if Parker and Long were in Washington, D.C., to attend the conference.
“That the targeted harassment occurred following a moving meeting between parents of trans kids and members of Congress reinforces the massive gap between our message of love and their agenda of bigotry,” Dalton continued. “No one advocating for their basic human rights should face such hate and hostility, and shame on the Heritage Foundation for fostering this kind of atmosphere.”
Dozens of people on Twitter, along with organizations like GLAAD and trans activist and actress Laverne Cox, sent messages of love and support to McBride after hearing of the transphobic incident.
“So sorry this happened to you. Thank you for all you do for trans equality and acceptance,” GLAAD responded to McBride on Twitter.
Cox told McBride she was “so sorry this happened,” adding, “Thank you for foregrounding the vital, life saving work of valuing the lives of trans people especially trans children.”