The center will only work with biological women, a spokesman for Beira’s Place told Edinburgh News.
Author JK Rowling has launched a new support service for female victims of sexual abuse. Organizers say that men or transgender males will be directed to “other appropriate services.”
The center, called Beira’s Place, is located in Edinburgh and will provide free over-the-phone, online, and in-person advocacy and support for women aged 16 and over, according to an announcement on the services’ Twitter account on Monday.
“I founded Beira’s Place to provide what I believe is currently an unmet need for women in the Lothians area,” Rowling said during the organization’s official launch over the weekend. “As a survivor of sexual assault myself, I know how important it is that survivors have the option of women-centred and women-delivered care at such a vulnerable time.”
Isabelle Kerr, who will head the service as chief executive, stated that Beira’s Place “recognises that effective sexual violence services must be independent, needs-led, and provide responsive, women-centred services so that they are free from the pressure of current political agendas.”
When asked by the Evening News if Beira’s Place will provide support to trans women, the organizers reiterated that the center is a “women-only” service. On its website, Beira’s Place makes a specific mention that it defines ‘women’ according to the 2010 Equality Act, which states that “‘woman’ means a female of any age,” suggesting the definition does not extend to trans-identifying biological males.
“We believe that women deserve to have certainty that, in using our services, they will not encounter anyone who is male. Where appropriate, we will refer men or individuals identifying as trans women to other appropriate services,” a spokesman for Beira’s Place told Edinburgh News.
Aside from Rowling, the center’s board of directors includes former prison governor and LGB rights campaigner Rhona Hotchkiss, former Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, GP Margaret McCartney and Susan Smith, the director of For Women Scotland.
Beira’s Place will not function as a charity, as all of its operations will be personally funded by Rowling, and it will not rely on donations. As noted by Julie Bindel of UnHerd, this means trans activists won’t be able to petition the UK’s Charities Commission to shut down the service.
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