A Salisbury business owner was banned from a local social media platform for alleged "aggressive or hostile expressions".

Fiona Ryan, 38, owner of Salisbury Soaps, has also been excluded from People in the Park after engaging in a debate about self-identification and transgender rights on Nextdoor - the social media platform.

Mother-of-three Mrs Ryan paid £40 for a stall at People in the Park 2022 but later found out that she in fact paid £40 to a Facebook scammer.

Salisbury Transition City has stood by its decision to exclude Mrs Ryan, despite relentless social media harassment.

A spokesperson for the group added: "The last week has been really difficult for members in our group, our aim has always been to bring our community together to make Salisbury an even better place to live.

"Our decision was made out of love for the people in our community, and we will continue to stand by both."

On Nextdoor, Mrs Ryan commented: "‘Gender identity’ is like having a soul or believing in God. It’s a belief."

Then, Mrs Ryan unknowingly engaged in a debate with the person responsible for signing up businesses for People in the Park.

Mrs Ryan's 30-day Nextdoor ban expired on Sunday, July 31, and the original post is visible again.

Salisbury Journal: Part of the debate that unfolded on NextdoorPart of the debate that unfolded on Nextdoor

Mrs Ryan told the Journal the exclusion is "unimaginably harmful" for her business. She said: "We should be buying and selling from the people in our local area and I've been told I can't do that."

A spokesperson for Salisbury Transition City, who organises People in the Park, said: "We would never exclude anyone based on their beliefs, but there is no space at an inclusive event for aggressive or hostile expressions towards other parts of the community, which make people feel unwelcome or uncomfortable."

The organiser, which has run a successful event in Salisbury for the last three years, emphasised Mrs Ryan was banned due to her "intolerant behaviour online towards the LGBTQ+ community, not her individual beliefs".

"As organisers it is our job to make sure that our event is fun, safe and welcoming to everyone, including our LGBTQ+ friends," added the spokesperson.

Salisbury Journal: A screenshot of a post on Salisbury Soap's public Instagram account.A screenshot of a post on Salisbury Soap's public Instagram account.

Mrs Ryan told the Journal that she has "given up trying to argue with people".

She added: "When you're trying to argue with somebody who is absolutely adamant they don't know the difference between men and women, it's just a waste of your energy."

Feeling as though she had been "discriminated against because of [her] views", Mrs Ryan told the Journal she will take legal action against Salisbury Transition City.

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