News in this afternoon, via a statement on their web site and an email to those that complained, is that Conway Hall have cancelled the booking for the controversial RadFem2012 conference.
The statement is quite interesting, in that it includes the line “In addition, we are not satisfied it conforms with the Equality Act (2010)” and – this is the interesting bit – “We had sought assurances that the organisers would allow access to all“. Note they don’t say “transwomen”, they say “all”: it’s as much about excluding men from a feminist conference being unlawful as it is transwomen, which is right and proper.
Basically, you can run a women-only workshop as part of a conference for rape victims. You can run a cis-only workshop for partners of trans people. These are good ideas and, as long as sensitively handled, to be encouraged.
You absoultely can not run a whole conference on the basis that you hate transwomen, men and anyone who identifies as anything other than pure female so much you’re going to exclude them.
From an activism point of view, it’s good to note that the legal advice received by venues hosting events such as this is sufficient to make them think twice and I also see that the RadFem2012 web site currently mentions simply that “the venue has been changed”. I suspect they’ll only tell paid-up attendees where it is this time, and try to keep it from everyone else.