Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has vowed to remove anti-transgender stickers which have been plastered throughout the city.
Dozens of the pink stickers – with the words “Women don’t have penises” have been placed on Anthony Gormley’s famous cast iron sculptures.
The group behind the stunt, Liverpool ReSisters, is unhappy about the right of transgender people born as men to identify as female, which it perceives as a “hostile takeover of what it means to be a woman”.
Liverpool ReSisters claims it is not “anti-trans” but rather “pro-women and children” and insists its campaign is aimed at protecting safe spaces for women who were born female. The campaigners argue this is an “aggressive attempt to dismantle the few fundamental rights our foremothers fought and sacrificed for”.
Dr Adrian Harrop, an activist who campaigns for equality and social justice, called the stickers “disgusting” and said they were an attempt to scare and intimidate Liverpool’s LGBTQ+ community.
Dr Harrop tweeted Mayor Anderson, writing: “Are you aware of this group that are planning to plaster these stickers all over #Liverpool, in an attempt to scare and intimidate the #trans and broader #LGBTQ+ community? It’s disgusting behaviour that needs to be called out!”
I am not aware of the group, we will remove stickers and work with the Police to identify those responsible. Remember though,Liverpool takes #PRIDE in its diversity and history of fighting for equality for all, we love all our Trans residents and all our LGBT community?ﾟﾘﾍ? https://t.co/YJdsA6uXXo
— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) August 18, 2018
Anderson re-tweeted Harrop’s post and responded: “I am not aware of the group, we will remove stickers and work with the Police to identify those responsible. Remember though,Liverpool takes #PRIDE in its diversity and history of fighting for equality for all, we love all our Trans residents and all our LGBT community.”
In a press release, Liverpool ReSisters said the stickers were aimed at raising awareness of the potential threat to sex-based rights and women’s rights.
The government has said it wants to de-medicalise the process to legally change genders when it reforms the Gender Recognition Act, moving towards self-identification, which is used in other countries like the Republic of Ireland.
“Women and girls need spaces of their own for a variety of reasons, but principally because we continue to face male violence and harassment in public and in private spaces,” the release stated.
“Women don’t have penises. This is not hate speech, it is not transphobia, it is a simple statement of biological fact.”
Critics on social media have accused the group of being on a “crusade against trans people” and said the stickers were an act of vandalism.
Merseyside Police confirmed it was aware of the campaign and said an investigation was under way.