Transgender activist ‘ hit feminist who said men can’t become female’
A TRANSGENDER activist assaulted a radical feminist when violence erupted at a public rally, a court heard yesterday.
Tara Wolf, 26, is accused of attacking Maria MacLachlan, 61, during ugly exchanges between two rival gender campaign groups at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park.
Wolf is accused of confronting Miss MacLachlan, who blogs and tweets about gender issues, before trying to snatch her camera and knocking her over.
The defendant, who identifies as a woman, said she had been defending her girlfriend at the hot-tempered ‘hate rally’.
At the centre of the row is a dispute over whether those who change gender can truly be considered ‘women’.
Mrs MacLachlan was at a rally held by ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminists’, known as ‘terfs’, who argue you can be a woman only if you are born one. Wolf was part of a counter- demonstration described by Miss MacLachlan as ‘predominantly middle-class university types’.
Yesterday Wolf, a bicycle courier of no fixed address, appeared at Hendon Magistrates’ Court, North London, accused of one count of assault by beating. She was charged after police issued images from the rally but declined to identify the gender of any of those caught on camera.
In court, Miss MacLachlan was admonished by the judge for referring as a man. to District her alleged Judge attacker Kenneth Grant said: ‘The defendant wished to be referred to as a woman, so perhaps you could refer to her as “she” for the purpose of the proceedings.’
Miss MacLachlan, who suffers osteoporosis, replied: ‘I’m used to thinking of this person who is a male as male.’ Carly Loftus, prosecuting, said Miss McLachlan had been among a small group gathered to see speakers including controversial feminist Dr Julia Long. The prosecutor said demonstrators started chanting: ‘When terfs attack, we fight back,’ before the skirmish.
The judge was told that the fight MacLachlan the counter-demonstration. Wolf while her She camera before transgender was she broke was allegedly was others out on began snatched the when punched kicked activists’ ground filming Miss and her by as its was Miss memory a struggle MacLachlan card as taken. several said people there tried was attached to grab her to camera her arm which by a strap. She said: ‘I suddenly saw the defendant and man with the ponytail running at me and started thumping me.
‘They were closed fists. It was more of a side rather than a forward punch.’
In her defence, Wolf said her girlfriend had been thrown around ‘like a rag doll’ by Miss MacLachlan during the struggle. The court heard she had earlier threatening campaigners But she written them claimed to to at a ‘f*** fascists. the Facebook the up’ rally, post feminist comparing post had not Miss been MacLachlan ‘serious’ and and others accused of gathering to discuss ‘how to exterminate trans women’. She said: ‘It was overly bravado, I just meant I intended to turn up and go to the peaceful protest. It was not said in a serious way.’ Wolf said she was angry people linked to the rally had posted images and personal details of transgender people online. After the confrontation, Miss MacLachlan admitting posting a message online featuring a close-up of the defendant’s face. It included the words: ‘Hiya, got any hair restorer while I’m in hiding? Love Tara.’ The trial is expected to conclude today.
‘Thrown around like a rag doll’