War of words as rival groups clash in Dundee over trans rights

A noisy ceilidh was held in Dundee city centre by pro-trans rights activists as a women’s rights group gathered for a free speech event on Saturday.

Around 60 campaigners from Women Won’t Wheesht gathered in City Square as part of the Dundee Women’s Festival.

Many wore suffragette colours of white, green and purple and carried signs with messages such as “no laddies in the ladies”, “hands off women’s rights” and “respect
my sex”.

Other placards called for “no males in women’s jails” and “protect puberty in Scotland – ban blockers”.

They were met with a counter-protest by pro-trans rights activists, who danced and played ceilidh music.

Trans-rights activists in City Square. Image: DC Thomson
Counter-protest continues. Image: DC Thomson

War of words

It sparked a war of words, with Women Won’t Wheesht accusing those at the counter-protest of “aggressive behaviour” and “provocation”.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, the group said: “Despite the aggressive trans activists, women came together in Dundee.

“We spoke, we sang and we had a great time in the pub. We won’t be wheeshting any time soon.”

Former Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont also hit out, saying: “Imagining what might happen if a group with a protected characteristic – other than women – decided to gather to highlight their experiences of discrimination/abuse.

Women Won’t Wheesht were one of the groups opposed to the SNP’s gender recognition reforms. Image: PA
Johann Lamont.

“If self styled ‘progressives’ flaunted their bullying efforts at silencing them, would it be celebrated?”

Dundee Labour activist Marc Winsland became embroiled in a social media row over the counter protest.

In a public post before making his X account private, he wrote: “The Terfs [trans exclusionary radical feminists] literally backed themselves into a shadowy corner at City Square whilst we vastly outnumbered them and had a great time in the sunshine, including a spontaneous ceilidh.

Marc Winsland. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

“This is why I love Dundee.

“Trans rights are human rights. And there’s no LGB without the T.”

Police presence

Around half a dozen officers were present at City Square but Police Scotland said no arrests were made.

Women Won’t Wheesht initially had its application to take part in Dundee Women’s Festival rejected.

An email to the group from the organisers said this was due to the organisation “not aligning with our festival values”.

But despite claiming the decision was “final”, organisers U-turned on the group’s inclusion after Women Won’t Wheesht said they were considering legal action.

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