May 21st, 2014
Once again, a small cadre of angry anti-feminists is resorting to threats to try and silence politically active women. Fresh from haranguing the Multnomah Friends into submission with lies about radfems promoting homicidal hate speech, they tried to convince Multnomah Library to cancel Radfems Respond for violating anti-discrimination laws.
Library staff rejected that reasoning, but some men refuse to take “no” for an answer and now they plan to show up in-person and shout menacingly over the voices of the panelists: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2014/05/427239.shtml?discuss
The accusations remain absurd, the flinging of “FASCISTS” remains trite, and the overuse of all caps is as obnoxious as ever. However, the call to “call out” and “infiltrate” the meeting with insurmountable noise in order to shut down the event is a threatening escalation. Radfems Respond is working with Multnomah Library security and our own security team to plan a coordinated response to these intimidating disruptions.
Since we’ve been here many times before, you’re welcome to re-read the radfem response to the repetitious propaganda (scroll down on this page).
I’ll end by stating how dismayed I am that prostitution got barely mentioned in one half sentence, because that is a majorly femicidal cultural practice with a workable solution which can be implemented immediately to save lives and shift resources to the most powerless, marginalized women.
Q: Why has the venue of the conference been changed?
A: We are saddened to report that the Multnomah Quaker Meeting House has caved to demands to renege on our contract to rent the space.
We are especially saddened to have to report that their stated reasons for participating in the ongoing blacklisting of gender-critical women indicate that they have bought into the blatant lies and smears of a small minority of people who use bullying, deception, and intimidation to close down open dialogue.
Their cancellation email cited “abusive language and behavior” on the part of scheduled speakers, but provided no attempt at proof that any of the organizers or women scheduled to speak (Kathleen Barry, Dawn Schiller, Lierre Keith, Heath Russell, Rachel Ivey, Samantha Berg) have ever committed abuse against anyone. Not only is this assertion provably false, it is a stunning reversal of reality since most, if not all, of the women involved have been subject to intimidation, stalking, sexual harassment, online bullying, threats of rape and violence, and in some cases, actual physical violence, BECAUSE of their courage in speaking out against the gender caste system and systems of sexual exploitation.
To add insult to injury, a subsequent note from a contact at the Meeting House to one of our organizers dismissively referred to the ongoing conflicts around gender-criticism, free speech, and the blacklisting of feminists as “bickering.”
The bottom line is that an open event centered on promoting dialogue has been blacklisted from this venue because a small minority want to suppress dissent. Voices on all sides of the conversation around gender abolition have justly demanded open, constructive, respectful dialogue around this issue, and this kind of dialogue is the purpose of Radfems Respond. Our event will be open to the public, and registrants have so far included radical feminists, trans-identified, and detransitioned individuals. In fact, some of the most recent opinions in defense of Radfems Respond have been penned by trans-identified people, who have also asked that others stop trying to silence women in their name (here, here, and here).
We have asked the Multnomah Quakers for clarification on their reasons for cancellation. Based on their stated reasons so far, we can only conclude that they believe malicious falsehoods. If you would like to inquire as well, or express your regret that they have chosen not to support this dialogue, you can email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. They also have a facebook page (found here).
Rest assured, however, that this event will go forward despite the failure of our original venue to keep their commitment. Because of the history of threats, intimidation, and silencing against radical feminist voices, we do have a backup venue in downtown Portland, and we will be announcing those specifics very soon. We hope that members of the Multnomah Quakers will join us at our new venue and participate in the respectful discussion that they were unable to support. We look forward to seeing you there and continuing this much-needed conversation.
Please spread the word about this attempt at censorship on twitter by using the tag #radfemsrespond, and on facebook by liking our page.
Q: I saw this petition page opposing this conference. What’s that about?
A: This conference exists to promote open dialogue, but some people would rather shut down the conversation. The following is a partial list of the many lies contained in that petition.
Lie #1: Radfems Respond is an exclusionary event.
Truth: Radfems Respond is open to all people of all identifications and political positions. The event itself is designed to help those who are not radical feminists (including transpeople) ask sincere questions of those who hold gender-critical stances. We welcome anyone who has a sincere desire to learn more about radical feminism. The only individuals who will be turned away are those who have shown a propensity for threats, abusive behavior, and/or violence.
Lie #2: Radical feminists have petitioned to have human rights protection removed from transpeople.
Truth: The radical feminists involved with Radfems Respond believe that human rights are universal, regardless of identity. However, inalienable human rights do not include the right to unlimited access to female-only spaces. Radical feminists seek increased protection for female-only spaces, and have been accused of being responsible for violence against trans people due to this stance. However, desire to protect one group does not mean desire to remove or infringe upon the safety of others. Radical feminists support the rights of transpeople to organize and meet in their own spaces.
Lie #3: Lierre Keith, Heath Russell, and Rachel Ivey are transphobes.
Truth: Lierre Keith, Heath Russell, and Rachel Ivey are deeply opposed to transphobia and have spoken out against the violence transpeople endure from violent men. They are being accused of transphobia because of their gender-critical stance, which sees gender not as an identity or personal choice but as a caste system designed for the perpetuation of male supremacy. Recognizing the reality of biologically female bodies and acknowledging that women face distinct oppression is not transphobia. It is not transphobia to assert that no human body is “wrong” and that surgical operations to remove healthy, functional organs is a kind of self-harm that is often assisted by the medical establishment. Arguing that a desire to abolish gender means a prejudice towards transpeople is like arguing that a desire to abolish capitalism means a prejudice towards the proletariat. Attempting to abolish a system in which certain individuals reside does not mean one is attempting to abolish those individuals.
Lie #4: (Deep Green Resistance and other) radical feminist organizations have harassed, abused, or otherwise mocked transpeople online.
Truth: Any (member of DGR or any other) radical feminist organization represented at Radfems Respond who harasses, abuses, or batters any living creature would be immediately removed from the group and the community. Radfems Respond is being held in the spirit of open dialogue and we welcome civil disagreement that is respectful of everyone’s humanity.
None of the speakers or organizers has ever violated transwomen’s privacy, threatened the lives of gender non-conforming individuals, or otherwise encouraged abuse. In fact, the internet and police records prove that some trans activists and supporters have repeatedly sent threats of rape, death, and bodily mutilation to prominent radical feminists, and the ferocity of those threats intensifies whenever radical feminists seek to assemble politically. These threats are being committed by a small group of malicious trans activist persons, and a similarly small number of trans activists condemn them publicly because many are cowed by the negative consequences such threats portend. We ask that people please be brave and speak up if you think threatening tactics that demand women’s silence are inappropriate.
Lie #5: Cathy Brennan’s Gender Identity Watch is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Truth: Gender Identity Watch is not listed as a hate group by the SPLC, nor has it ever been. Cathy Brennan and other radical feminists are on record as supporting the SPLC in the past and present. Brennan wrote to the UN asking them to consider the ramifications of specific language in recent gender identity legislation on legal protections for females that are based on sex. The text of that letter is here, and it contains no recommendations to deny human rights to anyone. SPLC does important work confronting real hate groups, and to claim radical feminists a hate group cheapens the reality of racist, anti-woman, and male-pattern violence against people who do not conform to gender stereotypes.