To: Seattle Public Library Board of Directors and Chief Librarian
From: Feminists in Struggle (FIST)
Feminists in Struggle (FIST) https://feministstruggle.org/ urges the Seattle Public library to resist the pressure to cancel the talk entitled “Fighting the New Misogyny: A Feminist Critique of Gender Identity” scheduled for February 1st at your library. Free speech is a bedrock principle of our Constitution. Public Libraries in particular should be beacons of intellectual freedom, and the free exchange of ideas. To censor opinions on controversial issues such as whether policies related to gender identity may infringe on the rights of women and girls, violates your own library’s intellectual freedom policies and your obligation as a public entity to preserve our First Amendment rights. Please stand firm in defense of free speech and refuse to cancel this event.
I am writing in support of the featured speakers at the event referenced above. These women are not anti-trans, as so many claim; rather, they are pro-woman. I urge you to examine any and all transcripts of any event where these speakers were featured, either collectively or individually. I challenge you to find one statement of theirs that contains anything even resembling hate speech or anything that even hints at incitement of violence against any group of people. Any writings published by these speakers would yield the same result – no hate speech, no incitement of violence. These women are intelligent and articulate, they are not raving lunatics on the fringes. Their only “crime” is defending the rights of more than half of the world’s population – women’s.
Many women – like me – feel we are being erased, as it is becoming more and more politically incorrect to even use the word women anymore (two small examples: we are no longer pregnant women, but pregnant people, and we are referred to as “those with a cervix” rather than women). We are losing our right to our private spaces as gender neutral bathrooms, changing rooms, locker rooms, shelters and even prisons become the norm. We are losing our rights under the law to compete on a level playing field in sports. These are just a few of the concerns shared by thousands of women, and it is important that our voices are heard by way of these speakers. These are our concerns, they are real and there is nothing transphobic about them.
As you are certainly aware, there was similar outcry when Megan Murphy was scheduled to speak at the Toronto Public Library. Despite tremendous pressure to cancel the event, chief librarian Vickery Bowles held fast and allowed the event to move forward because, in her words, “…the Toronto Public Library has an obligation to protect free speech.” I hope you are able to protect free speech in the same way. You have much more support than you may realize.
We couldn’t agree more, Alyse. Thank you for your comment.