A festival meant to showcase the experiences of women is being criticized for headlining a transgender composer, and the organizers of the festival responded by accusing their critics of transphobia.
The women-centric event, entitled "What a Woman," was organized by Poet in the City, a poetry and arts organization based in London. The event was marketed as an "an evening of poetry, storytelling, and music celebrating the unique experiences of womanhood."
That celebration was quickly marred by feminists who objected to the inclusion of Alexis Beaufoy-Salguero, a biologically male composer who identifies as a transgender woman.
"Drawing on my experience of womanhood I can categorically state that a male person, however he identifies, cannot experience womanhood, only offensively appropriate, erase and mock our existence. This person inspires me to fight this bulls*** with every fibre of my female being," read a popular tweet with 1,711 likes.
"I dunno how he's going to fill 2 whole hours with zero experiences to draw from but good luck to him. Tbh 2 hrs of a man keeping his gob shut about womanhood might be something I could be persuaded to go and see," read one tweet that garnered nearly a thousand likes.
"I see this man said the the 3 magic words, 'I'm a woman' and you just let him right in to take a woman's place. Shame on you," read another popular tweet.
"That’s a man. A male poet usurping a woman’s rightful position. You should be ashamed of going along with this given how women poets have been dismissed, disrespected by men and silenced," said another critic.
Others pointed to a Twitter exchange from Beaufoy-Salguero where he mocked and ridiculed women.
On Friday, the organization released a statement accusing their critics of transphobia.
"Following online promotion of the festival, one of the artists featuring in the festival has been subjected to transphobic abuse on social media. Poet in the City has also been criticised for including this artist's work as part of the range of perspectives that feature," read their statement in part.
They went on to say they condemned "transphobia, and all forms of hate and discrimination in the strongest possible terms," and will "work to break down barriers where they occur."
They also turned off replies to their tweet of the statement to avoid further criticism.
Here's more about transgender activism:
Trans Activism Will End Your Parental Rights | Abigail Shrier | The Glenn Beck Podcast | Ep 110 www.youtube.com