Liverpool City Council has "united" against the defacing of public art by Liverpool ReSisters in a row over the transgender community and gender identification, the city’s mayor, Joe Anderson, has said. After the group put up stickers saying “women don’t have penises”, the city’s council approved a motion in support of trans people, which declares unequivocally that “trans women are women”.
The cross-party “Standing With Our Trans Community” motion was unanimously passed on 19 September and stated that “there is no place in our city for hatred and bigotry". It proposed treating all trans women the same as cisgender women, and encouraged developers and businesses to have individual gender-neutral toilets in their plans for public buildings.
The motion outlined five points of action, including that the city’s street cleaners continue to any remove anti-trans stickers seen around the Liverpool and that, on a scheduled weekend, for the town hall – and, where possible, other public buildings – to be lit up in the trans colours of blue, white and pink.
This comes after a billboard, paid for by supporters of Standing For Women, was put up in the city last week. It displayed the Oxford English Dictionary definition of a “woman” as an “adult human female”. Weeks before, Liverpool ReSisters put penis-shaped stickers on a statue on Crosby Beach in Sefton saying “women don’t have penises”, an action that is being investigated by Merseyside Police as a possible hate crime.
He added he would not meet with Liverpool ReSisters until the group stopped its 'abuse of members of this community that we respect, value and love'
The Liverpool ReSisters' spokeswoman said the group was concerned about self-identification, a process by which trans men and women self-declare the gender in which they choose to live without the need for medical evidence:
"Self ID erodes vital safeguarding principles by preventing women and children from listening to their feelings of discomfort," she told the council chamber.
"I urge the council to … listen with an open mind to all sides of the issue [and to] consider the complexity of self ID and the full impact its implementation will have on Liverpool citizens."
But Anderson said that their tactics were about hate as opposed to “open debate”.
“That isn’t about equality. That isn’t about fairness,” he said of the action taken by the group. “That isn’t about having an open and deep debate. That’s about bullying, and it’s about intimidation, and it’s about proposing hate against people that are different. That’s something that every single person in this council rejects.”
Anderson also received a standing ovation as he said the campaign had resulted in a "torrent of abuse" being directed at "transgender groups... myself and other councillors". He added he would not meet with Liverpool ReSisters until the group stopped its “abuse of members of this community that we respect, value and love".