A woman who was arrested after confronting a man using the women’s restrooms in a bar in Cardiff, Wales has come forward to speak with Reduxx about her experience.
Kate, whose name has been changed at her request to protect her anonymity, had been at attendance during the day at FiLiA 2022, an annual feminist conference held to address issues related to women’s sex-based rights. In the evening after the conference, Kate visited Heidi’s Bier Bar on Mill Lane with her friend, Dr EM, a well-known feminist writer and advocate for disabled women. A few other women from the conference had also joined them.
Kate told Reduxx that, after an evening of drinking with the women, she went to the washroom and noticed what she described as a man who looked like a “drag queen” standing in queue for the women’s toilets.
Immediately, Kate confronted the trans-identified male and asked him to leave the women’s restroom.
“I said, ‘you’re a man, you shouldn’t be in here,'” Kate explained, going on to describe that the man and some female patrons began shouting abuse at her. “When I was down there, there was absolutely no one supporting me.”
Kate says bar staff were then alerted, and, while she was still in the restroom, approached her and demanded she leave.
Kate provided phone camera footage for Reduxx to review of the initial interaction she had with bar staff. In the video, a female staff member with yellow-and-pink hair accuses Kate of having threatened violence against the trans-identified male, an allegation she adamantly denies.
“The man was a lot larger than me, so I don’t know why I would do that,” Kate said, “I just said ‘a man shouldn’t be in the women’s toilets.’ I wouldn’t threaten him.”
In the video, the pink-haired staff member is joined by a male staff member who also enters the women’s restroom where the interaction is taking place, something Kate immediately objects to.
At one point, the female staff member begins berating Kate about “misgendering” the trans-identified male after Kate continues to insist a man should not have been permitted to use the women’s restroom.
While Kate is reluctant to release the footage to the public due to the possibility of her being identified, Reduxx has transcribed a portion of the conversation she had with the female bar staff member here:
Kate: You came in and asked me to leave the venue because a man was in the women’s toilets.
Bar Staff: Oh? You mean the transgender woman?
Kate: A man.
Bar Staff: A transgender woman.
Kate: A man was in the toilets.
Bar Staff: It was a transgender woman.
Kate: A man. You know it’s a man!
Bar Staff: They are a transgender woman. You need to respect their pronouns and the fact that they have decided to alter their gender. You have tried to attack a transgender woman, that is a hate crime. You have just recorded yourself admitting to a hate crime.
The interaction continued, with bar staff first insisting Kate had threatened to physically harm the trans-identified male, before changing their claim and asserting she had already “tried to throw a punch.” Kate immediately objects to the suggestion she had been violent.
“I haven’t thrown a punch! Why would I throw a punch!” She is heard saying. The pink-haired staff member begins telling Kate to stop recording her, a request Kate refuses.
Kate: I will leave the venue, but I will record you. I am telling you right now that I have lived in Cardiff for 40 years, and I have never experienced people like you harassing me in women’s toilets.
Bar Staff: So you have harassed a transgender woman?
Kate: No, it was a man.
Bar Staff: It was a transgender woman.
Kate: It was a man. A man in the women’s toilets and that makes me really uncomfortable. I am a sexual assault survivor and–
Bar Staff: So am I.
Kate: -I do not consent to men being in the women’s toilets.
Bar Staff: So, there wasn’t a male in the toilet, it was a transgender woman.
Speaking to Reduxx after reviewing the footage, Kate expressed bewilderment at the staff’s behavior.
While the interaction had occurred after Kate had consumed alcohol, there was no instance in the footage Reduxx reviewed during which Kate was abusive, violent, or otherwise aggressive in any way. She simply continued to insist a male should not have been allowed in the women’s restroom.
Kate recorded herself following bar staff out of the venue. When exiting the building, both the male and female bar staff began informing patrons sitting on the patio that Kate had been “homophobic” and “transphobic.”
Police arrived shortly after, at approximately 2 a.m. Upon arriving, they interviewed the trans-identified male and his friends, who insisted Kate had threatened them and that she was on cocaine.
“I am a 54 year old woman with two adult children. It’s Sunday night. I was not on cocaine. It’s so ludicrous,” Kate said. “They could have tested me, or given me a drug test — they didn’t. They searched me and took all of my belongings, I had no drugs. I only had a bar on soap in my pocket because I had been gifted soap.”
Kate says police began to interview bar staff, as well as the trans-identified male and his friends, at which point they decided to arrest her. She was placed in handcuffs, which she said were so large for her wrists that they were almost falling off of her.
Police were set to place Kate in a caged van, but she repeatedly insisted she was claustrophobic and did not want to be locked in such a small space. Conceding, she was placed in the back of the van. Dr. Em, Kate’s friend, came with her as an accompaniment.
“She was staying with me. I kept saying to them, ‘she’s staying with me, she’s got a brain injury. This is going to be really traumatic for her. Whatever you do you need to make sure she’s okay,'” Kate said, noting that she was still unaware of why, exactly she had been arrested.
After multiple hours, Kate was asked if she wanted to apologize to the trans-identified male, something police insisted would allow her to leave without incident.
“They said, ‘if you just apologize, then we can just leave all of this here and you can go home.’ I told them I was not going to apologize because I had not done anything wrong.”
Police reportedly consulted the trans-identified male who had been in the women’s restroom, and he declined to pursue any further investigation into the matter. Kate was told she was then “de-arrested” and was taken home.
Kate was not given any documentation related to her temporary detention, nor was she provided a reference number, charges, or anything else related to the situation.
The day of October 24, Kate says she visited the police station in search of answers. She demanded the name of the individual who had reported her to police, as she wanted to legally pursue him falsifying information about her in order to have her arrested. The police later said the reason for her arrest was on suspicion of a public order offense but that she was later de-arrested following the input of the alleged victim.
She was told she would get a call-back from the night shift with additional details, but did not hear anything further from South Wales Police.
Today, the arresting officer gave a statement to local media calling Kate and her friends “transphobic” for a vague article that was written without Kate’s input.
South Wales Inspector Grady stated: “At around 2 a.m. on Monday morning, South Wales Police received a report from a bar on Mill Lane in Cardiff city centre that a number of females were refusing to leave the premises after making transphobic comments and threats to a member of the public inside. The group were removed from the premises by door staff and a 54-year-old woman was arrested for a public order offence. She was de-arrested, as the victim did not want any further police action, and given suitable words of advice.”
Reduxx reached out to South Wales Police for comment, but has not received a response.
In the aftermath, Kate says she has been left “traumatized” by the situation, but does not want her experience to deter other women from speaking up.
“I feel really strongly that it is on all of us. We, women, need to say ‘no’ to men coming into our spaces. We need to say ‘no’ to children being given hormones. We need to say ‘no’ to all of it,” Kate says.
“If not you – who, if not now – when… men now think it’s okay to go in to women’s toilets, we have to speak up. We have got to make it uncomfortable for them.”
Kate is not the first woman in the United Kingdom to face legal consequences for speaking up in defense of women’s spaces or standing up for women’s rights.
In January of this year, a disabled woman in South Wales had her home searched and was subjected to police detention after being reported for committing a “transphobic hate crime” for putting up stickers raising awareness about domestic violence.
Earlier this month, Caroline Farrow, a mother of five who has been outspoken against gender ideology, had her house forced into by Surrey Police after her social media activity was reported as criminal. Farrow had previously been investigated by police in 2019 for misgendering a trans-identified male on Twitter in 2019.
Interview and video review conducted by Editor Anna Slatz.
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