Sweden's 'man-free' music festival prompts response from transgender people

Organizers behind Sweden’s Statement Festival, which bills itself as “man-free” in response to sexual assaults at previous music festivals, are facing questions over how they will enforce their policy.

Statement Festival was created by comedian Emma Knyckare, who has previously said that men should be banned from music festivals until they “learned to behave.” Her idea comes in the wake of a renewed push from activists and sexual assault victims to force music festivals to take the issue more seriously.

However, the festival has recently come under fire on Instagram from people who feel the new policy discriminates against the transgender community.

The ban on men, it turns out, only applies to what Knyckare described as “cisgender men”—which is a term for men whose gender identity corresponds to their sex assigned at birth.

One user wondered if the event’s ban would extend to transgender men, who identify as men but were assigned female at birth, while the Telegraph reports that another wrote:

“You have previously argued that transgender men know how it is to be vulnerable and oppressed, just like women, and should therefore be welcomed. What do you do with the rest of the men who are vulnerable and oppressed, then?”

The festival replied to the users saying they will discuss the issue during an upcoming meeting to see if their decision should be reconsidered.

“All men are not rapists, but almost all rapes are carried out by men," Knyckare told Swedish site TheLocal this week. "We want to create a free space, a cool festival where women can be without feeling worried.”