I won my case against Nottingham City Council!
They have admitted that cancelling my talk and banning me and my hosts from the library was illegal, and have been made to apologise.
As you can see from the statement below, we won our case against Nottingham City Council. The story goes like this:
Nottingham City Council (NCC) de-platformed me from a talk I was invited to give to local women on 25 June 2022 at Apsley Library, which is under threat of closure and is in one of the city's more deprived areas.
I grew up in a working class family in the North East of England, and I know how crucial libraries are to underprivileged communities. I have been active against all forms of male violence towards women and girls my entire adult life. My talk was to be on feminist campaigning against male violence, and we hoped it would draw a good crowd to the library.
At 3.40pm on Friday 24 June, as I was on the train from London to Nottingham, the organiser phoned me with the news that the Council had cancelled my appearance. I was prevented from even entering the building.
The reason? That my views on transgender rights are 'at odds' with the Council’s policy. Without speaking to me, or bothering to discover what I actually believe, the Council decided to deny me the right to speak on their premises.
For me, to abandon the talk was unthinkable. Every ticket had sold, which meant there were dozens of women in Nottingham eager to learn how they could get involved in campaigning to end rape and domestic abuse. The event was a sell-out, and there was no way I was going to be intimidated into cancelling it.
We ended up holding the talk in the car park. An enthusiastic crowd gathered – and so did a small but disruptive mob who attempted to drown out the speeches by playing loud music and shouting and jeering.
As I wrapped up my speech, I was shown a statement, posted online for the world to see, from NCC. I have posted it in its entirety as I am certain you will understand why I feel I have to take legal action in response:
“NCC has cancelled a booking to use a space at Aspley Library for a talk by author Julie Bindel today (Saturday 25 June). This is due to the speaker’s views on trans gender rights being at odds with aspects of the council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. Nottingham City Council Deputy Leader Cllr Adele Williams and Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Safety & Inclusion Cllr Neghat Khan said:
“This was a private booking at Aspley Library by the ‘Nottingham Women for Change’ group and all ticket sales and marketing of the event had been undertaken independently with no input from the council.
“While it was known that the event was going to be from a feminist perspective, no information around the speaker’s views on transgender rights was brought to the Library Service’s attention.”
“Once we became aware of this, we took the decision to cancel the booking. Nottingham is an inclusive city and as a council we support our LGBT community and have committed to supporting trans rights as human rights through Stonewall. We did not want the use of one of our library buildings for this event, taking place during Pride month, to be seen as implicit support for views held by the speaker which fly in the face of our position on transgender rights.”
Nottingham City Council decided to ban me, not because of the subject I was going to be speaking about, but merely because I hold feminist views which are in opposition to gender ideology.
I consider it to be deeply offensive and problematic for public bodies to decide that I am too controversial and even dangerous for women to listen to when I am talking about campaigning to end rape and domestic abuse.
I am a feminist campaigner. It is particularly important that women in deprived communities have the opportunity to come together. Public spaces which enable women to do so are essential. It is nothing short of outrageous that my voice is silenced when there are women requesting to hear it.
Over the past decade and more, feminists have been rebranded as bigots and fascists and accused of discriminating against trans people for merely speaking about the experience of being women. If Nottingham City Council - or any public body - can ban me simply because they do not share my views, they can do that to any of us. This has implications for every single feminist.
I decided to take legal action against Nottingham City Council under both the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998 in order to prevent Nottingham City Council and other local authorities and public bodies from banning feminists who oppose gender ideology from public buildings.
My legal team are the very best: Karon Monaghan KC, Akua Reindorf, Beth Grossman, instructed by Elizabeth McGlone at Didlaw. Thank you to them all. And a huge thank you to everyone that supported me through CrowdJustice and all the other ways we look out for each other in what has to be one of the most misogynistic movements of our time in the UK and elsewhere.
The lesson? Women’s tradition: struggle, not submission!