A young mother, Rebekah Wershbale,was wearing a black T-shirt with a message that's about as literal as it gets. A slogan across the front of her shirt simply read: "Woman – noun – adult human female."
Mum banned from pub for wearing T-shirt saying 'Woman: human female' in case it upset transgender people https://t.co/e0NeLWT836 pic.twitter.com/eymYTPIbhG
— The Sun (@TheSun) January 6, 2019
But when a gay man took offense to the dictionary definition written across her shirt, Wershable was booted from the Five Clouds Tap and Bottle pub in Macclesfield, a market town in Cheshire, England. A bar staffer told Wershbale the reason was her shirt's message,the Daily Mail
Why was it deemed offensive?
"She told me that the T-shirt I was wearing was upsetting people because it was transphobic and not inclusive so I was barred," Wershbale told the news outlet. "What she meant was that I was somehow offending men who say they are women because my T-shirt did not include them in the definition of a woman. There aren't even any transgender staff or patrons at the pub. It's crackers."
Wershbale is a supporter of the feminist group Fair Play For Women, which opposes a proposal to change the Gender Recognition Act. The change would allow people to declare the gender of their choosing, without medical verification.
Feminists and transgender campaigners in the U.K. have been feuding over the whether the change could harm "the safety and privacy of women," the Daily Mail explained.
Member of Parliament David Davies told the news outlet: "Terrifyingly, this insidious creep of open debate no longer being tolerated and freedom of speech being suppressed is now spreading from our university campuses to the streets of our historic market towns. It is a very sad day when a woman is barred from her pub for wearing a T-shirt that states the obvious because it might offend transgender people."
Wershbale, 34, a mother-of-one, said she went to the bar to meet a friend to play board games.
According to Wershbale, the confrontation began shortly after she sat down next to a gay man at the bar, Mika Johnson, and asked him how he was doing.
"He said, 'I don't want to talk to you to be honest – please leave me alone,' "So I said OK and left it," she said.
About a half-hour later, a staffer from the bar came to Wershbale's table and said she was no longer welcome there. She was informed that she was "upsetting people and Mika was crying," Wershbale told the news outlet.
"She told me that the way I talk about radical feminism was a problem and said: 'The T-shirt you're wearing is upsetting and not inclusive.' I replied that it simply said the dictionary definition of being a woman – how can it be offensive?"
'She mumbled a bit about it being transphobic and that I had been transphobic previously." Wershbale added. "She then said I was barred and that she had been nominated by the other bar staff to come to tell me that.I asked if she thought it was troubling that I was being removed from my own local because I was wearing a feminist T-shirt that had upset a gay man. But she just repeated I wasn't being inclusive."
What did the owner say?
The owner of Five Clouds Tap and Bottle Brewery, Tom Lewis, confirmed that Wershbale was told to get out following the complaint.
Lewis also said there were multiple incidents in which Wershable offended "staff and customers by challenging them about their views on men identifying as female."
Lewis told the Daily Mail he is not permanently banning Wershable, but she must talk to staff before she can come back.
Wershable, who says she is a three-year customer of the bar, denied the owner's claims. But she admitted that she previously promoted a campaign by Fair Play For Women while at the Five Clouds.
She says she is not transphobic, but opposes changing the gender act because it could place women's safety at risk by allowing men to enter areas designated specifically for women.