FEMINISTS IN STRUGGLE (FIST) LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN FOR FEMINIST AMENDMENTS TO THE EQUALITY ACT

The current version of the Equality Act that passed in the House and is pending in the Senate is a double-edged sword for women. On the one hand, the bill expands civil rights protections for lesbians, gays and bisexuals, a cause for which feminists and lesbian/gay activists have struggled for many decades. The bill also adds protections against discrimination for some–transgender individuals–but not all people who do not conform to gender norms or stereotypes for their sex.  That too, is a good thing though it doesn’t go far enough since it fails to protect gender non-conforming individuals, including gays and lesbians and many feminists who do not consider themselves transgender.

On the other hand, the current legislation conflates sex with “gender identity” which effectively eliminates sex-based protections for women and girls.  It also explicitly requires that transgender identified males–any male who claims to be a woman–be admitted into women’s facilities including bathrooms, locker rooms and changing rooms.  That aspect of the current bill is equivalent to the self-ID law that was recently defeated in the UK.  It is extremely harmful to women and girls.

The harm of self-ID provisions is a result of the fact that women and girls are still oppressed and discriminated against as a sex class in our society.  We need programs for women and girls including under Title IX to redress past wrongs and equal the playing field, so that those of us born female have an equal opportunity to develop ourselves and pursue our dreams.   We also need female-only spaces and refuges for reasons of privacy and safety, especially because male sexual and physical violence against women and girls remains pervasive.

Feminists in Struggle are calling for the Equality Act to be amended rather than defeated. We demand a better bill that protects everyone’s rights and does not pit one group’s rights against another.  Our legal committee has drafted a Model Bill that incorporates Feminist Amendments into the Equality Act.  The Model Bill has been approved by the democratic body of our active FIST members, the Feminist Assembly.  Our version of the Equality Act preserves women’s sex-based rights including the right to female-only spaces and programs while adding strong prohibitions against discrimination based on sexual orientation and sex stereotyping. For example, under FIST’s bill all sex-based dress codes would become illegal.

Please join our Campaign for Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act! Let us know of your support.  And spread the word to all your contacts.  We know this is not going to be an easy struggle but neither was winning the vote. We in FIST believe that sisterhood is powerful and that together we can fight for our sex-based rights and win!

You may download a copy of the following documents: FeministAmendments.EqualityAct.final.FIST.09.19.19

Comparison of Original Equality Act and Feminist Amendments.09.02.19

TrackChanges.FeministAmendments.FIST.10.08.19-1

for more information on the FAEA (Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act)

Don’t Disappear the “L” Campaign

Feminists in Struggle is launching a national, “Don’t Disappear the L” campaign just in time for Pride.  Please join us! Our plan is to sticker the streets and public areas before the Pride parades, Women’s Marches, and/or other related events, in as many cities as we can.  The Pride parades take place annually in June. Will you help? Here’s how to participate!

Click on the links below to download your stickers:

Avery5783_FIST_dont_disappear_the_L

Avery5164_FIST_dont_disappear_the_L

Avery5784_brown_ten_up_woman_adult_human_female-1

For more information re printing the stickers, go to:

Sticker Printing Instructions

The Equality Act

A committee of FIST lawyers has agreed to analyze H.R. 5, “The Equality Act”, and consider proposing feminist amendments.  In case you haven’t been following this, H. R. 5 calls each of the following a form of sex discrimination:  discrimination on the basis of the “sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition of an individual, as well as because of sex-based stereotypes.” The Act goes on to define ‘gender identity’ to mean “the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth.”

We are supportive of extending anti-discrimination protections to lesbians and gays, and are heartened to see the intent to strengthen protections against pregnancy discrimination.  However, we are concerned that defining gender identity as a form of sex discrimination will have the effect of actually compromising some of women’s hard-won rights and harming some programs like Title IX of the Education Act which was intended to redress past discrimination.

The Congressional testimony of Julia Beck of WoLF and Doriane Lambelet Coleman, two feminists pointing out the dangers to the rights of women and girls inherent in elevating gender identity to a discriminated status can be heard beginning at about 24:00 minutes of WLRN podcast #36 “The Left, The Right, and Feminist Strategy  https://soundcloud.com/wlrn-media/edition-36-the-left-the-right-and-feminist-strategy

 

FIST on WBAI Update

To listen to a podcast of the Joy of Resistance show on WBAI, please go to Joy of Resistance on WBAI, which will take you to the archive page, then click on the down arrow, select “Joy of Resistance.”  There are many great podcasts from which to choose. From there you can either listen to the podcast or download the MP3 file.

For the interview of Ann Menasche of FIST, go to the April 25, 2019 broadcast and click on the link.  Or you can go directly to the specific link FIST on WBAI to just listen.  The interview with Ann starts at 38:13 minutes into the show.

FIST on WBAI Radio!

Ann Menasche of Feminists in Struggle (FIST) will be interviewed by Fran Luck on the Joy of Resistance show on WBAI Radio Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 7-8 pm EDT (4-5 pm PDT).

Ann is a Civil Rights lawyer and has been a radical feminist and a socialist activist for her entire adult life. She organized a lesbian feminist group and mass marches in defense of abortion rights in the 1980’s in San Francisco and led a coalition for marriage equality. Recently she became a founding member of a new national radical feminist organization: Feminists in Struggle–or FIST–which was launched on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019.  The interview will explore why a number of women across the country saw the need for a new feminist organization–including the fact that FIST, unlike other feminist organizations that are gender critical, does not believe in making alliances with the right wing and sees its positions as belonging in a revitalized Left. Its issues also include reproductive freedom, passing the ERA, and an end to men’s violence against women–as well as the abolition of gender.

You can tune in at: Joy of Resistance at WBAI. The show will also feature Taina Bian Aime of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women–CATW) on the fight against legalization of commercial surrogacy in New York State.  There may be an opportunity to call in during the show.

For more information, go to:Joy of Resistance Info

WLRN Debate Between WoLF and FIST

Ann Menasche of Feminists in Struggle (FIST) and Kara Dansky of WoLF (Women’s Liberation Front) debate strategy regarding relationship with rightwing media and organizations on Women’s Liberation Radio News.  Click here to listen: Debate between FIST and Wolf on WLRN The discussion between Ann and Kara starts at 37:06 and goes to 1:22:36 of the full podcast.

Also featured on this podcast at 24:00 minutes is Julia Beck of WoLF testifying before Congress regarding the Equality Act and how it will eliminate sex-based rights and enable the continuation of discrimination based on biology, and Doriane Lambelet Coleman who spoke mainly to the chilling effects the Equality Act would have on women’s sports if passed.  Included in the podcast is some feminist music and news as well.

FIST Adopts Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights

Feminists in Struggle is proud to adopt the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights  in its entirety.  We are in full support of the Declaration, released earlier this month, which reaffirms the rights enumerated in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which the UN adopted in 1979, and which the United States has yet to ratify, though 189 countries have done so. We wish to encourage all feminists and feminist organizations to press for the ratification of CEDAW, which has been referred to as an international bill of rights for women and to support the Declaration by going to the website and signing on.  No time like the present during March, Women’s History Month!

Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights

The preamble to the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights reads as follows:

“On the re-affirmation of women’s sex-based rights, including women’s rights to physical and reproductive integrity, and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls that result from the replacement of the category of sex with that of ‘gender identity’, and from ‘surrogate’ motherhood and related practices.”

FIST very much supports this declaration and would urge individuals and organizations to sign it at:

https://www.womensdeclaration.com/

An International Women’s Day Message from Feminists in Struggle

This International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019 marks the launch of a unique national grassroots network of radical feminists, Feminists in Struggle.  We are unique because we are member-run, member-funded, and with a vision that draws inspiration from generations of feminists that came before us.  Our foremothers a century ago won the vote and the eight hour work day. Women in the Second Wave won abortion rights and got very close to winning the Equal Rights Amendment.  Feminists succeeded in opening up higher education and many jobs and professions previously closed to women. These were long, hard struggles with many obstacles along the way.  But they persisted and they won.

It is time to do it once again.  We females are half the population.  It is time to exercise our collective muscle–the power of sisterhood–to roll back the attacks from multiple quarters that aim to reverse the gains we won during the past half century.   It is time to rebuild a movement for female liberation that will defend our right to our own spaces, programs, and organizations, fight for access to legal abortion, defend lesbian rights, preserve laws prohibiting sex discrimination,  finish the job of winning the ERA, and end violence against women.  We need a movement that will go all the way this time, and dismantle the patriarchal male-supremacist system that oppresses us.  We can’t be erased if we organize and speak out together as one voice!

If you believe like we do that the time for political organizing and collective action is NOW and you want to make herstory together fighting to defend the rights of women and girls, PLEASE JOIN US! As suffragist Christabel Pankhurst declared, “Remember the dignity of your womanhood. Do not appeal, do not beg, do not grovel. Take courage, join hands, stand beside us, fight with us.”