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Report on the Save Our Spaces protest in Belfast

07 March 2022

Belfast City Hall - Protest at the loss of single sex spaces.

A protest in support of the rights of women and girls to female-only, single-sex spaces and services took place at Belfast City Hall on Saturday (5th March).  Organised by the feminist group Women's Rights Network NI and endorsed by a number of other groups (including Radicailín and Sex Not Gender NI), it expressed opposition to the influence of gender identity ideology over public policy.  People attending the event, who numbered around thirty, were addressed by a range of activists who highlighted the negative consequences of self-identification, in particular, the erosion of spaces and services that had previously been exclusive to women on the basis of their biological sex.

Of the speakers it was campaigner Rachel Moran who made the most critical point on how gender ideology had become so pervasive.  She related her experience in the south where self-identification came in by stealth on the back of the struggle to repeal the constitutional ban on abortion.  That such a move was in train – and its profound implications – was unknown to most women.  However, there was a small section of women, described by Rachel as the professional class or the “NGO women”, who were fully aware on what was happening and what the consequences would be.

We got sight of this in Belfast on Saturday with the official International Women’s Day rally that took place at Writers Square.  Organised under the banner of Reclaim the Agenda it had a roll call of endorsements from NGOs, public bodies and trade unions (see image below).  It presented a set of limited demands the achievement of which revolved solely around the lobbying of Stormont.  One of their demands is for access to healthcare – a disguised terminology for abortion rights.   Yet it is Stormont that has proved to be the main obstacle to these.  The recent liberalisation of the north’s abortion laws completely by-passed Stormont.  Since its restoration the Executive has refused to commission the services that would give any substance those legal changes.

The platform of Reclaim the Agenda also includes support for trans rights and the legitimisation of “sex work”.  It provides a clear illustration of how gender identity ideology has not only conquered mainstream feminism but also become institutionalised.

Sponsors of the official IWD event in Belfast.

The SaveOurSapces protest was very much a dissident event in terms of feminism.  However, it is evidence of a push back against gender identity ideology that is bringing its reactionary anti-women character to the attention of a wider public.  Socialist Democracy members were in attendance at the SOS protest on Saturday and, as an organisation, we are pleased to be associated with any activities defending women’s rights.

Below we carry the advert for the SaveOurSpaces protest.  We also include photographs from the protest, links to transcripts and audio recordings of the speeches delivered, and a report from the News Letter about the two rallies that took place in Belfast over the weekend.

Advert for the SaveOurSpaces protest in Belfast.


"Women’s and girls’ spaces are being eroded. Not only do we have the shameful closure of the only women’s only homeless shelter in Northern Ireland but also so-called inclusive polices that have effectively made our spaces unisex." Representative of the Women's Rights Network NI @WRN_NIon the erosion of female only spaces.


We’re standing here to hold the line.  Sex is real and it matters.  Women deserve our own spaces.  Lesbians deserve our own spaces. And children need protection.   And I know from personal experience that it’s not without risk to be in this fight." Ceri Black @FemmeLoves on the need to safeguard children.


"It’s never talked about, we talk about everything else, but we never talk about class and the real implications of class for in Irish women’s lives.  You have an enormous segment of the population that doesn’t know because they are not told." - Feminist campaigner and author Rachel Moran @RachelRMoranon the class divisions within the feminist movement.


"In 2022, these young women find single sex spaces have vanished. There is not a single exclusively lesbian space left on this entire island. If women want to go to a lesbian space, we have to take a plane, or make our own." Lesbian activist Lauren Black  @LaurenGNC_Butch


@BelfastBeatnik - Performance Poet: 
"S.O.S #SaveOurSpaces 
There's a prism in your eye.
Girls and Women need their spaces.
Away from Male born eyes."


Report from the News letter 07/03/22
Two feminist rallies in Belfast illustrate split in movement over transgenderism

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