Posie Parker came to Dublin to let Irish Women Speak.
This is the story of my experience - I’ve made it personal.
How dare she! Why would Irish women need a Brit to encourage them to speak? And worse, not only is she from England, she brought a mob of English women with her!! The cheek!
I wasn’t going to go.
Surly Posie Parker was only wanting to cause trouble?
My stomach was in knots, I am not ashamed to admit it. I had visions of trans activists screaming at a small group of women, making anything into a weapon, wanting to bash anyone who made any claim that went against their vehement beliefs. It was going to rain all day anyway, wasn’t it? Pour down. It would be a total washout. No, I won’t go. There’d probably be violence - yes, lots of violence. The Gardai - weren’t they allowed to carry guns in the city centre now?
There was so much gleeful tweeting going on in advance by the trans activists - and worse, there were politicians on their side too, possibly organising busloads of activists to come to Dublin for the day from all around the country. Who knew what they were planning to do when they got there? They made a poster too!
I had a ticket for the GRIPT conference on Free speech - nice and dry in a lovely library with lights and seats, much more comfortable. Much safer. Yes, I would go to that and I’d still be ‘doing my bit’. But deep down I knew that was the wrong decision.
I got a text from the mother of two girls that were friends with my two girls while they were in primary school together. She told me she was going to Let Women Speak, and she was going to ‘hightail it’ over to the RDS afterwards as she had a ticket for that, too. That sounded like a great idea, but I was still doubtful.
While checking Twitter again, I saw Glinner’s YouTube video, asking people to show up on the day, saying he was coming too, summoning support for Posie’s tirade. I knew he was right, I watched it with a sinking feeling. I pushed it away.
I woke up on the morning of the day that was in it, firm in my decision not to go to either Gript or to Posie. I talked to my husband, laid out all my doubts and hesitations, and then felt better. He listened, he always listens, I’m grateful for him as he is the best sounding board that I know. Validated in my decision not to go, I ran upstairs because it was already late, quickly got dressed, and came back down to the kitchen to get my raincoat. He offered me a lift to the bus.
I was antsy.
My bus was going to Merrion Square but I got off at Camden Street. I wanted to walk - I figured if I was walking my body would be warmed up and so I could make a quick getaway if I needed to. I walked past the Stephen’s Green Centre, already packed with shoppers, totally oblivious to what was going on. Just another ordinary day for them - do they not care about anything? Are they totally asleep to what is going on in the world? In their town?
I got to Dawson Street and heard the chanting. I froze. Well okay, I didn’t freeze. Actually by now I was totally up for this, because I knew I was doing the right thing. Not the easy thing, the right thing never is. So I laughed when I saw them, because I knew they were coming and, well, here they were. And they weren’t that scary after all. Mostly a bunch of kids - young people, with faces painted, colourful clothes, purple pink and blue hair, and flags. I walked with them - it was the only way to get to where I was going.
I was quiet as I walked - what type of people are these activists? I wanted to know, to understand them better. They were in fine fettle, ready to scream their lungs out, fly their flag for something they were passionate about. That’s all well and good - and as far as I am concerned, Love does win. But I wasn’t seeing any love in their group - just militant hate. They’re confused - life is confusing at that age. I began to feel sorry for them as we all arrived together on Merrion Square South. I wondered how many of them are actually having sex, instead of just tweeting and shouting about it.
I went up to the front of the group because I needed to get inside the park, or so I thought. But no - the Gardai had created a ‘no mans land’ in between the Trans Activists and the Let Woman Speak event. I had to go all the way around the park, back the way I came. Which meant through the activists again. I took my time, sauntering rather than briskly walking with my head down. I wanted to see them, they are people too. I’m a mother of 4 children who are in the school system and have not been indoctrinated because we talk at home. (Always talk at home). It builds character and they need to understand the world that they are living in. That’s why I don’t homeschool - besides the fact I’m too busy doing what I do, I do believe they need peers, community and understanding of the world. With a good grounding of common sense from their parents they are looking at the world through open eyes. Anyway, I digress.
These were the people that had me so scared the night(s) before. I wonder if their parents just leave them to it - didn’t teach them to think for themselves. Yes, there were older women there too, Mammies just like me, and men, too. And politicians. I saw a photo of a certain politician in the fray of the activist crowd. We see you. Politics is promoting this vacuous message with no true meaning. They get all the funding from our tax money too. What does ‘Trans rights are human rights’ actually mean? They were chanting it mindlessly for hours - but nobody could answer the question. Sounds like good marketing to me. Sounds like MK Ultra to me. Again, I digress.
As I came to the tail end of the trans activist bunch I saw a Newstalk reporter standing to one side, quite hesitant. He wore a lanyard and carried a big red microphone. I approached him and asked him if he wanted to talk. He brightened up considerably - I wonder if it was because I was coming from the trans activist side of the street. Why was he on that side of the street anyway? I told him I was going to the other side of the park and he noticeably dimmed a little bit, but he realised that I was a decent person, and we ended up talking for 15 minutes or so. He became interested in what I had to say, and the whole thing was recorded. Whether he uses any of it is another story. I told him we need to listen to each other. That the media is not giving balanced reporting - we cannot have a discussion. I asked if he would be interested in providing a platform where people who disagree can talk, and listen, and perhaps learn something from each other. He shrugged his shoulders and said it wasn’t up to him. It never is.
I was ready to go to the other side.
The Gardai were calm the whole time and held very strong boundaries. I liked it - it helped me relax, especially as I knew now, that if the activists were going to go ballistic, they’d be separated from me, and I would be safe. I didn’t mind the Ban Garda doing a search in my bag for weapons, it made sense they were doing that on our ‘side’ in case someone wanted to bash the Brit who had the gall to come over here and make Irish women speak. She found a glass nail file in my handbag and told me she would have to take it off me - it wasn’t allowed. I was fond of it but I let it go - she said I could get it back from her on the way out, if I wanted to.
So I entered the fray and was met by women like me - of all ages. And men who wanted to be there and support us. We talked and listened to each other. I told the people that were beside me that I’d been in with the activists by accident, that they were all very young and really didn’t understand what they were doing. “It’s a cult”, someone said. “Yes, they seem brainwashed to me,” I replied, “They need to feel like they belong, need a purpose in life, community. They’ve not had much going on in their lives really, locked in their houses for 2 years with the lockdown, It’s a great way to meet people. Pity they’re not actually listening to what they’re saying though.”
“A new religion!” someone else said. Yes, that makes sense, doesn’t it? Humans need to feel they have a cause, something to live for. And the church has let us all down so badly, no matter which religion you are caste from. The church of trans activism is alive and kicking and looking for new members all the time. That fits for me.
Posie came on the stage - we all turned and cheered. I was cheering too - I didn’t care anymore that she came over here, that she brought us all out in the rain, on a grey day, in our hometown to meet each other. Kelly Jay Keen stood proud in her green jumpsuit and said the most controversial statements of the day. “No woman has a penis. No man has a vagina. Giving puberty blockers to children is abuse. Inclusivity means everybody.” What in this is there not to agree with?
I saw Graham Linnehan in the crowd - you couldn’t miss him - he’s about 8 ft tall! I went over to him and tapped his arm, apologising for being rude. His smile was warm and kind. “You’re not being rude at all!” I smiled and said, “Thank you so much for your video last night, I think it was what made me come today. And thank you for everything you’re doing, I follow you on Substack.” A little fan girl-ish perhaps, but it was nice to see him receive the compliments. Yes he is messy, angry, emotional, messes up - but we all do. And this is a real thing that is happening, and we have to confront it even though it feels like the horse has already bolted.
The women spoke. They cried, they read out poems. All heartfelt, none of it was hateful, just angry.
Many women spoke. My only complaint was that the box they stood up on to speak was not tall enough for us to see their heads above the crowd. It was a small crowd but it grew larger as time went on, and we could certainly roar as loud as the trans activists. Their noise was small and far away, well, not really, but it didn’t stop us. And when we roared it shut them up for several minutes that’s for sure. I don’t think they thought we had it in us.
A lesbian spoke about how she was kicked out of her lesbian group because she doesn’t like penises. “Lesbians don’t have a penis” - another controversial statement of the day. This whole thing is surreal, to have to stand in a group for courage to come together and state basic scientific facts. Oh but of course, science has been captured, and so has the media, and our governments. It’s up to the mammies now.
A 14 year old girl spoke and said she had an argument with her science teacher because he believes that you can choose your sex. It was encouraging to see there are other young people besides my own children who don’t believe everything they are told at school.
I could go on. I left my body a few times, as I checked - “Is this really 2023? Are women really needing to come together to say these things? Is this really happening?” I’m sure I wasn’t the only one doing this. And I am sure that I smelt my activist aunty’s perfume for a few moments, she was there with me in spirit. I was encouraged by that.
Yes, Graham spoke - ironically we all felt he earned his place up there. The only man to speak that day. Wow Twitter went ballistic for that one. Somehow some of the footage ended up being posted by the activists, with snide and nasty comments attached.
And then it was over!! No chance of going over time. Posie Parker said she’d come back to Ireland, on a day when it wasn’t going to rain. Two immediate thoughts arose in me - 1. Do we need to wait for an English woman to come to Ireland before we feel brave enough to speak out again? and 2. When are you coming back? I’ll be there!!
The activists were still playing punk rock music and screaming at us. We were hugging each other and laughing, telling each other how amazing each of us were for coming out, for speaking out. I went up to one of Posie’s stewards and told her I follow her on Twitter, her poetry is amazing and moving and I thought she was brilliant. She was delighted! It felt really, really good.
We moved down the road to the exit, and because it was the only way out I saw my Ban Garda with my nail file. I went over to her and asked her if she happened to still have it on her. She smiled at me, and out from her stab-proof vest she pulled out two massive scissors that she had also confiscated. As she rummaged around to find my nail file I was still stuck on the size of those scissors - I couldn’t believe it. She nodded and said ‘yes, people do bring this kind of thing to things like this.’ I wonder who brought those in. As she handed my file to me I said, “I’m so relieved you were here, stopping them. It could have been a nightmare. Thank you so much.” She could see the emotion in my face, that I meant it, and she asked me if I could write to the Gardai and say that I felt safer because of them. I said I would, then I asked her for a hug. I hugged a Ban Garda, and I liked it. I think she liked it too.
I walked back through the town, trying to ground myself, to bring myself back to myself. I was really hungry, it was 2.30pm and I hadn’t had breakfast, let alone lunch. I thought about getting a taxi to the Gript conference and I knew that I’d be too hungry, too wound up to sit in a room and listen to people talking about free speech. Heck, I’d just been outside with women who were speaking freely - we were doing free speech - not talking about it. It was wild. And I was cold!
I bought a beanie and found myself outside Eason’s on Nassau Street where I was overrun by the trans activists on their way home, or to a pub, or to the student union - wherever trans activists go after overexerting themselves. I walked with them, again, - it felt right, an opening and a closing, to end as I began. It was so interesting. They were delighted with themselves. They showed us good - those trans-hating nasty evil women who want us dead - we really showed them - out numbered them, out shouted them, they cannot hide.
We never once said anything like that. What we said was - when they realise what they are doing and they need support and help to come out of it, we will be there for them. That’s what we said. What I said to the Newstalk reporter. Nobody is listening to anyone.
Thank you Kellie Jay Keen aka Posie Parker for teaching me that we must speak. We must speak and we must listen. I hope we don’t wait for someone else to teach us how. Now that we can find our feet in it, we have to learn how to walk for ourselves. Women don’t have penises. Men don’t have vaginas. Giving puberty blockers to children is child abuse.
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