Feminist speaker Julie Bindel 'attacked by transgender person' at Edinburgh University after talk
A leading British feminist, who campaigns against violence towards women, has claimed that she was attacked in Edinburgh last night by a transgender person.
Julie Bindel, the keynote speaker at an Edinburgh University event which discussed the future of women's sex-based rights, said she was verbally abused, "lunged at" and almost "punched in the face", by a transwoman as she left the building.
She thanked university security staff for protecting her and said she was still considering whether to press charges.
Today Ms Bindel said: "I have been beaten up by men in the past but not for a long time, and I knew precisely what was coming when I saw the rage on his face, and I am just so sick of this.
"We had had a very positive meeting - I was speaking about male violence against women and never even mentioned transgender people - and when I came out this person was waiting.
"There had been a protest outside earlier, but that had gone so he was obviously waiting for me.
"He was shouting and ranting and raving, 'you're a f***** c***, you're a f****** bitch, a f****** Terf" and the rest of it. We were trying to walk to the cab to take us to the airport, and then he just lunged at me and almost punched me in the face, but a security guard pulled him away.
"I got my phone out to film him to get evidence and he went for me again. It took three security guys at the stage to deal with him.
"I was with Professor Rosa Freedman and we got in the cab and left, but we were both very shaken by it. I haven't decided yet what action to take."
She added: "I think the lecturers and other staff who stoked the flames of this by calling women bigots and fascists and Nazis because we were holding an event to discuss women's rights, should take responsibility for this."
An earlier protest by transgender people and supporters outside the George Square lecture hall had resulted in security staff sweeping the lecture hall before the event, and attendees had to produce picture identification to get in the building.
The protest had dispersed when Ms Bindel and Professor Freedman exited the lecture building in George Square at 7pm yesterday.
A spokesman for Edinburgh University said: “An incident occurred after last night’s event. Our security staff acted swiftly and professionally to ensure that no one was harmed and the event concluded peacefully.”
After the attack, it was revealed on social media platform Twitter that her attacker was a transwoman called Cathy Brennan, who it has been reported has previously advocated violence against women.
Brennan tweeted last night: "Lost my shot [sh*t] at Bindel. She filmed me. I'm safe." and went on to say the "truth of the matter is that I did not raise a fist. I attempted to push past security so I could speak face to face with a person who has caused great harm to trans people across this country.
"I had been reaching my phone to try and record JB when I realised she was filming me. My one regret about the encounter is that I was unable to do so."
Today Brennan, a film critic who has written for The Skinny magazine and the British Film Institute, said that if the press wanted "to hear my side of the story they can offer me the chance to write a full opinion piece in my own words. Otherwise, I will not be discussing it personally with anyone I do not know."Brennan has previously tweeted in support of violence against women who believe that changing the Gender Recognition Act to allow people to self-identify as any gender, rather than needing a medical diagnosis, would endanger women's rights to safety, privacy and dignity by doing away with single-sex spaces. One tweet read: "Any trans allies at #PrideLondon right now need to step the f**kup and take out the terf trash. Get in their faces. Make them afraid. Debate never works so f**k them up"
In a recent article in The Skinny, Brennan defended the tweet, writing: "In 2018, transphobic group Get the L Out hijacked the front of the march at London Pride. Organisers and police (who were also part of the march) did nothing. I received much criticism for demanding violent action against these TERFs. By 'criticism' I mean that I was stalked for several months on Twitter by someone purportedly from Edinburgh. The goal of Get the L Out was to make trans people unwelcome at an event where they should have felt safe. In my opinion, their actions already constitute a form of violence with long-lasting implications."
The Skinny's film editor Jamie Dunn has said it was "a mistake to publish that part of Cathy's opinion piece."