Radfems Respond Backlash: Getting to the Heart of the Issue

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.”

Unlike many of the previous events that have experienced this kind of suppression, this event is not for women only.  This event is open to the public, and yet it is receiving the same level of obstruction and obfuscation and intimidation as any women-only event I’ve been involved with.  This is extremely illuminating and sobering.  I’ve been told again and again that by fighting for the right of female people to organize autonomously, I’m being exclusionary, and told that this is the reason for the lies and threats.  I’ve been told again and again that radical feminists need to engage in open, public, airing of issues and answering of questions in order to bring this issue to light, and that a perceived failure of radical feminists to do so is the reason for the lies and the threats.  The people who told me these things have not been truthful – this is a free event, open to the public, aiming to open respectful dialogue, and we’re still not allowed to speak, still subject to the same tired lies and threats.  Why?

Because we disagree.  Because we are women who say no, gender is not natural.  No, gender is not inevitable, not something to be embraced or accepted or celebrated.  Gender is stereotypes.  It’s constriction of behavior.  It’s control, and not control for its own sake – it’s control for the creation and reproduction of male supremacy.  Gender hurts, and gender’s defenders assure us that it would stop hurting so much if we would just stop struggling.  We say no – and everyone knows what happens to women who say no.

Though the fashionable outcry against gender criticism tends to drown out all else, I’d also like to emphasize that gender is only one of two topics that we be discussed at this event.  The other is resistance to commercialized sex exploitation.  Often, women are prevented from speaking out against the sex industry by the industry’s powerful lobby.  Other times, like this time, those same women are both silenced and ignored by those who would rather obscure the issues at hand.  In both cases, we are not only being prevented from speaking.  We’re being prevented from organizing, strategizing, and ultimately from acting in the interest of women’s liberation from material exploitation.

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 (herehere, 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 hearthkeeper@multnomahfriends.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.

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23 thoughts on “Radfems Respond Backlash: Getting to the Heart of the Issue

  1. Henke

    This is sad news and utter insanity. Are we going back in time to medieval European times when women were not allowed to meet in groups because they were “conspiring towards men” ?. It sure feels like this when women who has a strong and clear analysis/theory regarding how our culture is made up to hurt those who were “unlucky” to be born with vaginas, are not allowed to come together and talk about this and even worse when this was an all-open event (which means me and others could have gone there to listen and engage in a good conversation) and still these people who claims to fight for trans peoples rights–even though I personally fail to see how they are even remotely bother about trans people sine they have been seen more than once to harass and intimidate actual trans people as well for not sharing 100% the same beliefs as this transgender activist mob–are engaged in things that are dangerously close to fascism in how they play out their cards.
    I fail to see how trans people and the trans community at large would ever agree that fascism is a path they want to go down on to get the rights they so truly deserve on society.
    I fail to see how scumb to this mob’s threats and outright lies is anything but anti-democratic and also a sign that you allow a minority, hiding themselves in the trans movement, to be allowed to speak rather than to listen to all voices within this community.
    I wonder if Multnomah Quaker Meeting House has even bothered to actually look into the trans movement and see the voices ,from trans women in particular, that openly disagrees with the transgender activist agenda and are saddened and angry that their movement are used to silence the voices of women and also denying everyone else, that would have an interest to go there to listen to these women, to engage in respectful dialogue.

    Reply
    1. kathy miriam

      this is an excellent response. the analogy really gets to the heart of matters–i.e. with rules or laws against women meeting in public without men. chilling.

      Reply
  2. Andrea P.

    “Gender is stereotypes.”
    Except like, not all trans women fit into gender binaries or stereotypes?

    Reply
    1. rachelivey Post author

      Hi Andrea, I agree, and I’d actually go further – I don’t think anyone, whether labelled trans or cis, fits into gender stereotypes perfectly. And if that’s true, then the next questions for me are – why do those stereotypes exist? Where do they come from? Who do they benefit? The answers I come up with to those question point away from the idea that gender can be or should be reformed, made more bearable, expanded or extended, and TOWARD the idea that the whole idea of gender is corrupt, destructive, female-hating, a caste system that hurts everyone. Gender is the idea that there are particular patterns of behavior that are associated with someone’s sex (trans and cis are different types of associations). I disagree with gender because I think that those patterns of behavior are destructive and serve to maintain male supremacy, no matter how they are applied. This is a short comment for a huge issue, and if you’d like to discuss it further, please feel free to email at rachelannivey@gmail.com. Thanks.

      Reply
  3. red

    I think you have a right to a statement from them with the reasons they cancelled given with documentation. Anything less constitutes libel.

    Reply
  4. red

    Would it help if I wrote with the newspaper clippings proving a transgender “woman” made a death threat to a radical feminist and lost his position in an LGBT org because of that?

    Reply
    1. rachelivey Post author

      I can’t see that you’ve submitted any other comments, could you maybe try sending it again?

      Reply
      1. red

        It’s all good Rachel.

        To the commenter below: A few points in regard to your misunderstandings.

        Woman = adult human female. Female is Sex, not gender, therefore woman is Sex.

        Radical feminists have not been excluded from “an event”. It’s our event, and the venue has cancelled our booking. Slight difference. And you have not been excluded from the event either, in fact, you’ve been invited. Read the invitation.

        Recently, an elderly Toronto woman documented a situation where a nude, adult trans* accosted her in a woman’s gym change room, waved his erect penis at her asking “do you come here often?” She was very frightened, because she knew he did not belong there, and because she recognized what he was doing as sexual harassment.

        Some months ago, an adult nude trans* sat in a sauna with his legs opened to display his genitals. The sauna was in the women’s change area used by a young girls swim team. He was displaying himself to these pre-teen and early teen girls who recognized what he was doing as sexual harassment.

        And many more, documented here:
        http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/men-love-the-ladies-restroom-transgender-edition/

        I’ll understand if you prefer not to let this one through Rachel.

  5. Susan B Journey

    I have written to the Friends and asked them to reconsider. I told them that they are on the wrong side of history on this issue. All attempts to censor, silence and de-platform gender-critical women – to call us “haters” and our blogs “hate sites” – will fail. We will not be silenced. We will not stand for being censored. I want to laugh in the faces of these pro-gender-myth “trans” activists and ask them: “Have you MET women?” LMAO! We will NOT be silenced. We will NOT tuck our tails and be demure little victims of the pro-gender-myth crew. Not. Gonna. Happen.

    Reply
  6. Cody Kaos Ingram

    You keeping saying gender is the issue, but you keep strongly asserting that you are women. Isn’t that inherently reinforcing the gender binary? I imagine you view this as a bunch of misogynists bringing you down, but your refusal to acknowledge trans people, is misogyny. It is dangerous and full of venom. So many times I see radical feminists hailing that they have successfully excluded men from their event, then you have the audacity to get upset when you get excluded? Can people not have trans* space without cis people coming and wrecking it? You request women only spaces, but get upset when you are excluded? Trans* people would come to your events and challenge your rigid binaries, but god forbid a trans* woman show up to actually do so, you know those trans* woman always shaking their penises in the bathroom, or what other poppycock you can dream up. Instead of blaming the even for being “silencing” maybe instead look at your philosophy and see why people would view it as distasteful.

    Reply
    1. Lucky

      Congratulations, you’ve literally missed the entire point by equating sex with gender. Stop reading Judith Butler and get your head out of your ass.

      Reply
    2. Susan B Journey

      Cody: “Woman” is the word we use in the English language for “adult female human being”. No radical feminist questions whether or not a trans* person is a human being – that would be absurd. We just disagree that males can be any kind of “women”, because males are male. We don’t believe in an innate or inborn “gender identity”. We believe that “gender” is a social construct and that “gender roles” are socially manufactured for the purpose of maintaining a patriarchal social hierarchy with men (actual biological males) in the dominant social position and women (actual biological females) in the subservient social position. The way “gender” is enacted varies across cultures and changes over time. It’s not grounded in biology, it’s a cultural artifact. We don’t care if you find our analysis of gender “distasteful”. We couldn’t care less. It’s not your place to tell us what we can think, what we are allowed to believe, what we are allowed to write or to say about “gender” or any other topic of vital importance to women and girls. We are free, female human beings and genderist lies HARM women and girls. We shall speak out about “gender” and we shall continue to speak out about it when and how we see fit. You are of course free to disagree – that’s how freedom of thought and freedom of expression works in free societies.

      Reply
      1. Mary Sunshine

        @Susan: your comment is so perfect. ❤

        i've quoted you on tumblr and facebook. i hope it goes viral. 😉

      2. Terre Spencer

        Well said, Susan B.

        What I utterly fail to understand about trans activists is that they opt to “transition” and then demand that we radical feminists agree that they have arrived at a biological impossibility.

        “Trans” is just that, between. And you trans activists might thank us for recognizing the truth instead of feeding back more dishonesty to an already conflated and confused situation.

  7. DeutschundMusik

    Thought it might be interesting to post this quote from Wikipedia about the history of women Quakers:

    “From its inception, the Quaker emphasis on family and community relations gave women spiritual power. Through the women’s meeting, women oversaw domestic and community life, including marriage.[22] From the beginning, Quaker women, most notably Margaret Fell, played an important role in defining Quakerism.[42][43] However, within the Quaker movement, some resented the power of women within the community. In the early years of Quakerism, George Fox faced resistance in developing and establishing women’s meetings. This resistance culminated in the Wilkinson-Story split, in which a portion of the Quaker community left to worship independently in protest of women’s meetings.[44] After several years, the schism became largely resolved, testifying to the resistance of some within the Quaker community, and to the radical spiritual role of women that George Fox and Margaret Fell had encouraged. Also particularly within the relatively prosperous Quaker communities of the eastern United States, the focus on the child and “holy conversation” gave women unusual community power, although they were largely excluded from the market economy. With the Hicksite-Orthodox split of 1827–1828, Orthodox women found their spiritual role decreased, while Hicksite women retained greater influence.”

    Quaker women have already been through this – the whole church split because of women’s meetings.

    How disappointing to see their current unwillingness to face those who would prevent women from meeting..

    Reply
  8. DeutschundMusik

    I would like to know – was WOLF working and communicating only with women Quakers, or did Quaker men make the decisions?

    Reply
  9. Pingback: Trans-activists don’t want discourse. They want to shut us up | FireWomon

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