Activists Confront Transphobes in Manhattan

Activists speak to Kellie-Jay Keen (also known as Posie Parker) outside the hotel.
Donna Aceto

LGBTQ activists and straight allies disrupted an anti-trans panel discussion at Affinia’s Fifty Hotels and Suites in Manhattan on March 16, prompting transphobes to fire back during a verbal exchange outside of the hotel.

The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network planned an event called “How ‘Gender Equality’ Cheats Women and Girls” featuring several panelists who have developed reputations for their transphobia — including Kellie-Jay Keen, also known as Posie Parker. Several years ago, Keen barged in on a meeting involving trans political leader Sarah McBride, who now serves as a state lawmaker in Delaware and previously worked for the Human Rights Campaign.

This time around, Keen and crew were the ones getting confronted — and they responded with a fresh dose of transphobia.

“You think a man with a penis is a woman?” one of the event attendees asked.

The organizations protesting the event included Equality New York, the Reclaim Pride Coalition, Rise and Resist, United Against Racism and Fascism, Fight Back Bay Ridge, and Gays Against Guns. Folks protesting the event held signs with messages such as “TERFs go home,” “New York for trans women,” “Middle-aged mom for trans women” and “Lesbians for trans women.” Another sign had a simple but affirming message: “Trans women are women.”

The speakers slated to participate in the discussion were filmmaker Jennifer Lahl; Save Women’s Sports founder Beth Stelzer; Chart Consulting LLC president Natasha Chart; The Post Millennial editor-in-chief Libby Emmons; and Keen.

The event planners apparently anticipated resistance. The event’s location was initially hidden “in consideration of the safety of all event participants and attendees,” according to the invitation list.

An informational page about the event said it was held to coincide with a United Nations women’s event. The event planners encouraged attendees to “join us in a conversation about true equality and the protection of women and girls.”

A spokesperson for Affinia’s Fifty Hotels and Suites did not immediately respond to a request for comment on March 18.

A vocal Emmaia Gelman stands up to transphobes.Donna Aceto
An exchange of words between protesters and the folks leading the event.Donna Aceto
Event attendees respond to the activists.Donna Aceto
The event’s attendees arrive at the hotel.Donna Aceto
Emmaia Gelman, Cathy Marino-Thomas, Elissa Stein, Jay W. Walker, Cherie Acierno, and Betsy Malcolm stand together at the protest.Donna Aceto