An academic was forcibly removed by police from a 'transgender visibility' event after organisers complained she made members of a panel discussion ‘feel uncomfortable'.
Dr Julia Long was carried out of the Accenture International Transgender Day of Visibility Panel Event on Thursday night after seven officers from City of London police responded to a complaint from organisers about the presence of a group of four women.
The women were asked to leave after being told they were not welcome at the ‘inclusive’ event at consultancy firm Accenture’s head office in London.
The group, which included a journalist, a Labour Party activist and a woman who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals, refused, telling organisers they had obtained tickets and had not interacted with anyone else in the room.
Tickets to the event were freely available to the public, with organisers Helena Pradip and Oliver Holmes of the Pride in Accenture diversity network sending a message to ticket holders which said: 'Please be reminded that this event is centred around inclusion, open to everyone of all ages.'
At the event, however, Ms Pradip told the women: “My panel does not feel comfortable with you here”.
The panel included Susie Green, head of transgender children's charity Mermaids. Hours before the event, Surrey Police released a statement saying they were no longer pursuing a case against Caroline Farrow, a Catholic mother of five after Miss Green had complained about tweets she claimed were abusive including the misgendering of her transgender child.
Mermaids encourages the reporting of online communication considered to be ‘malicious and nasty’ as hate incidents. There was no indication from organisers Miss Green was responsible for the complaint.
Other members of the panel included a transgender former police officer and the chief executive of Gendered Intelligence which offers support to the trans community and consultancy on inclusivity.
One of the officers who attended Accenture’s offices told the women: “Our legal framework here is to prevent a breach of the peace and that’s what you guys are going to do. We’ve been told you’re being disruptive and you need to leave the premises or we will be forced to remove you.”
Dr Long, a researcher from London, objected to the officer’s use of “guys”, saying: “Did you know that’s a hate crime nowadays to misgender someone?”
Dr Long, 54, described the police response as a “complete disgrace” adding: “We were just sitting there having a quiet chat at an open event and were asked to leave with no-one able to tell us what we’d actually done wrong.”
Dr Long was involved in a protest at last year's Pride march by lesbians claiming their rights are being eradicated by demands from trans activists. In January, she challenged a prominent transgender activist in Washington who is campaigning to increase trans rights through Congress.
She added: “Almost every meeting women have tried to hold over the past year to discuss the impact on their rights of transgender demands has been met with protest and disturbance with police offering little to no assistance to ensure women’s safety. And yet within half an hour of receiving a complaint about a trans event seven police officers were dispatched because the presence of four women was considered a threat.”
Commander Jane Gyford of the City of London Police said: “Police were called by security guards of a private property on Fenchurch Street at 18.26 on Thursday 21 March 2019. The security guards reported a group of four people who were causing antisocial behaviour and refusing to leave the property. Officers attended to assist the security guards and ensure there was no breach of the peace.”
A spokesperson for Accenture said: “Our request was based on security concerns expressed to us by participants at last night’s events. Although an unfortunate situation, we made a polite request that several individuals leave the gathering. Upon their refusal, we sought assistance.”
The women are understood to be considering legal action against the police and Accenture.