Nottingham Stands Against Transphobic Film Showing

by Jess O'Thomson

Tue Nov 29, 2022 · 710 words · 4 min
protestors gathered outside Sherwood Methodist Church

Yesterday in Nottingham, protesters gathered to demonstrate against the showing of a new transphobic film, called “Adult Human Female”. The Sherwood Methodist Church - the venue hosting the event - immediately cancelled the showing when it became apparent that they had been misled with regard to the film’s contents.

Despite under 90 minutes’ notice as to the venue, around 100 protesters attended to voice their opposition to the transphobic film showing. BBFC guidlines for the film highlight the presence of “discriminatory language” towards LGBT+ people, including “terms such as 'tranny' and 'pan-fry sexual’”. The film claims to be “the first UK documentary feature to look at the clash between women’s rights and gender ideology”, investigating whether it is “really harmless” that “gender ideology allows men to identify into the female sex”.

The screening was organised by “Nottingham Women For Change” and had been promoted by numerous “gender critical” organisations. The event was to include a phone in Q&A with prominent gender-critical figure Julie Bindel, who was not available to attend in person.

The film-showing event had already faced several hurdles due to its transphobic content. The event had been removed by Eventbrite, and was prevented from being posted on Facebook due to its violation of Community Standards. The original venue for the event - The Savoy Cinema - also cancelled after the BBFC guidelines highlighting its deeply transphobic nature were published.

The eventual venue - the Sherwood Methodist Church - state that they were misled to the nature of the film, having been told the film was about “women's rights and domestic violence”. The film's own synopsis makes no specific reference to domestic violence. As an “inclusive church", the Sherwood Methodist Church chose to cancel the screening in solidarity with the trans community.

Despite the cancellation, the attendees continued to occupy the space, apparently misunderstanding that the Church wanted them to leave, rather than simply not show the film whilst still discussing transphobic talking points. Once the staff at the Church reiterated that they wanted the attendees to leave, the group departed early.

The Church made the following statement:

“Sherwood Methodist Church, Nottingham accepted a booking from a group to hire space at the church to show a film and hold a presentation regarding women’s rights and domestic violence.

As an inclusive church, once we became aware of the nature of the film and its impact upon members of the trans community, we deemed it would not be appropriate for the showing to go ahead.”

The organisers of the protest - Nottingham Against Transphobia - emphasise in their press statement the inclusive politics of the Methodist Church, which has supported the Nottingham trans community in the past, such as by hosting a vigil for Trans Day of Remembrance:

“The Methodist Church itself has a strong tradition of inclusion of marginalised and LGBTQ+ people. The trans community in Nottingham actually has strong connections with the Methodist Church across Nottingham.”

Protesters gathered at the Church and waved positive banners and flags, breaking out into chants of “Trans Rights Are Human Rights” and “Love Not Hate”. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, gender-critical individuals who were attending the event, such as Jean Hatchet, vocalised that the protest was “intimidating”, and demanded to know why there was not greater police presence. Hatchet’s own video of her exit, supposedly evidencing this intimidation and need for a police response, shows a crowd of protesters smiling, cheering, and wishing the attendees a good day.

In their statement, Nottingham Against Transphobia highlight the vital nature of such protests in showing the continued support for the trans community within Nottingham:

“We are grateful that we see our city becoming a more inclusive and tolerant place that accepts people from all walks of life. It is our responsibility to stand up and protest when speakers come to Nottingham to share their unwanted hatred with our community. We will continue to peacefully protest if we need to in the future.”