Mariano Vivanco

Munroe Bergdorf’s appointment as the ‘UK Champion’ for UN Women UK is unsurprisingly being subjected to backlash from a number of gender critical campaigners. 

The new role was announced in November of last year, with Bergdorf serving as its first-ever appointee. 

However, in an open letter published more than a month later on 28 December, gender critical campaign groups such as Fair Play for Women, Transgender Trend and the Women’s Rights Network – all of which are notorious for their anti-trans stances – shared “dismay and disappointment” over Bergdorf taking up the position. 

The document, which repeatedly misgenders the activist, claims that the UN “ignored” women by appointing Bergdorf to the position.

“Your nomination for a women’s ambassador should be a female who is willing and determined to speak about the issues affecting women and girls,” the groups wrote. “Munroe Bergdorf is unsuitable in every regard.”

The letter also alleges that Bergdorf’s “well-publicised activism is not pro-women” and makes a number of claims about why the UN should be “concerned” about working with her. 

“It’s so rare that we get to see transgender people have a seat or voice at these tables”

At the time of the role’s announcement, Bergdorf vowed to advocate for “all women and girls” as she helped the organisation achieve gender equality globally.  

“It’s so rare that we get to see transgender people have a seat or voice at these tables, so it’s a responsibility that I don’t take lightly,” she said. 

“I will use this role to further advocate for the progress, safety, inclusion and empowerment of ALL women and girls, of all communities and identities. 

“I will continue to draw attention to the systemic and social impact of misogyny, transphobia and gender based inequality within the UK – in order to help provide data and insight that contributes to forming tangible methods of tracking and countering it.”

Bergdorf is a renowned human rights activist currently serving as an ambassador for trans charity Mermaids, as well as being a founding consultant for L’Oreal Paris’ UK Diversity and Inclusion Board in 2020. 

She was recently awarded a Gold Medal of Honorary Patronage from Trinity College Dublin’s Philosophical Society, joining the likes of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jeremy Corbyn and Whoopi Goldberg who are all former recipients.

“UN Women UK believes we cannot achieve gender equality without LGBTQI+ equality and rights”

In a statement shared with GAY TIMES on 8 January, a spokesperson for UN Women UK defended the organisation’s appointment of Bergdorf.

“UN Women UK has worked with over a dozen UK advocates and champions since 2019. They are supporters of the gender equality movement and they take part in our campaigns and events,” they said over email.

“UN Women UK believes we cannot achieve gender equality without LGBTQI+ equality and rights.

“Having a trans woman as one of the champions is part of our commitment to ensure that all women, no matter their identity, have a seat at the table and are actively involved in shaping policies that affect their lives.

“It is a matter of human rights and a precondition to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its aim to ‘leave no one behind’.”