DON’T MOURN, ORGANIZE!

With the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, we’ve lost an outspoken advocate for women who broke multiple barriers in the long fight to end discrimination on the basis of sex. Though she was no radical or revolutionary, she was in many ways both a product of decades of struggle for women’s rights as well as one of our most passionate proponents. And we have suffered this loss at a time when we are facing two enemies at the gate – one who will take advantage of this loss to swing the Court even more to the Right, putting in direct jeopardy Roe vs. Wade, lesbian/gay rights and the effort to finally enshrine the Equal Rights Amendment, already ratified by 38 states, into the U.S. Constitution in addition to disappearing sex as a protected class in language and in law in favor of “gender identity.”


Laws are passing in a number of states that will result in the most vulnerable groups of women–those escaping male partner violence, experiencing homelessness in shelters, or those who are in prison, having to share intimate congregate spaces with males. These women are poor, disproportionately women of color, and many have been victims of sexual and physical violence by men. Yet, women’s needs for privacy and a safe refuge from male violence and the ability to establish boundaries are being run roughshod over by an ideology that re-defines “women” and “men” as a set of stereotypes that a person of either sex can claim. Girls in middle and high school going through puberty are coming of age in a violently misogynist porn-soaked culture, are being taught that they are sexual objects that have no intrinsic value, that they have no right even to say “No,” as males enter their locker rooms and private spaces and take away their prizes and sports scholarships set aside for women and girls. No wonder so many girls decide that being female is not for them and ingest hormones and seek double mastectomies to ‘become men” or “nonbinary.”


And then there is the Equality Act that has already passed the U.S. House and is pending in the Senate that while providing long overdue statutory rights for lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals, would take away sex-based protections by redefining sex as “gender identity.” Even without the Equality Act, the Courts have already moved in that direction. While the U.S. Supreme Court in Bostock ruled just this past June that employment discrimination based on an undefined “transgender status” was based in part of sex, the narrowness of the ruling did not prevent two lower courts from citing to Bostock to deny the existence of sex entirely. And though Title IX regulations explicitly allow separate bathroom and changing room facilities in schools based on sex, “sex” now has been redefined to mean “gender identity, ” with the Courts ruling that two girls who identified as boys that were denied access to the boys’ facilities were discriminated against based on “sex”.

In light of these developments, the approach taken by FIST’s Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act remain essential. In order to avoid confusion and end subsuming the category of sex by “gender identity,” we need a bill with clear definitions of all the terms being used, and separate provisions protecting each class of persons, rather than merging distinct protections under the broad umbrella of “sex.” Rather than the amorphous and subjective concept of “gender identity,” people who do not conform to gender role norms should be protected from discrimination based on” sex stereotyping” whether they identify as transgender or not. Most importantly, we need a federal bill to spell out the rights of women and girls to separate spaces and programs.


FIST and the newly formed LGB Alliance USA are in the process of creating a broad coalition to advance the Feminist Amendments. Please sign on as an endorser and join the campaign!


Feminists across the globe including in the United States are starting to organize once again, asserting the primacy of our own rights and needs as a sex by demanding full civil rights protections under the law. We cannot let the courts, Congress, and state legislatures erode our sex-based rights, whether by restricting or outlawing abortion, eroding lesbian/gay rights, denying us the Equal Rights Amendment, or prohibiting female-only spaces, programs, and short-lists. The purpose of securing our rights is not to perpetrate discrimination of any kind; rather, it is to advance our status in society against continued systemic oppression based on sex.


Let’s honor the memory of RBG by committing ourselves to continuing the struggle for the sex-based rights of women and girls. DON’T MOURN, ORGANIZE!

A CENTURY AFTER WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE: THE STRUGGLE FOR THE ERA

Don’t miss this special Zoom event on Sunday, August 30th at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time.


Feminists in Struggle hosts:

A CENTURY AFTER WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE: THE STRUGGLE FOR THE ERA

This event will be a discussion and update on the struggle to enshrine the Equal Rights Amendment into the U.S. Constitution. This special centennial program celebrates the 100th anniversary of the winning of women’s suffrage with a special forum on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

Get your tickets here – only $5!

The ERA was introduced by Suffragist Alice Paul in 1920 to establish constitutionally protected sex-based rights of women against discrimination. It says simply “Equal rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex.”

100 years later, the ERA has been ratified by the 38 states required and feminists are fighting a court battle against the archivist of the U.S. Constitution seeking that the ERA be certified and officially added to the federal constitution.

Speakers:

Kamala Lopez is an award-winning filmmaker, actress and activist.  Kamala co-wrote and produced the documentary, “Equal Means Equal” that documented sex inequality in the U.S. and the need for the ERA. The film won Best U.S. Documentary and was a New York TImes Critics’ Pick. The film was the catalyst behind a national movement resulting in the ratification of the ERA. Kamala is a recipient of the Woman of Courage Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus.

Natalie White is a provocative and progressive feminist and artist and a crusader for women’s rights. In 2016 she led a 250 mile march from NYC to DC to raise awareness of the Equal Rights Amendment. The day after the march, she was arrested for painting “ERA NOW” on the U.S. Capitol steps. She is co-director of Equal Means Equal Organization with Kamala Lopez.

Ann Menasche is a civil rights lawyer. radical feminist and founding member of Feminists in Struggle. She marched in NYC on August 26, 1970 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage, an event that marked the beginnings of the Second Wave of Feminism. She is dedicated to preserving and expanding the sex-based rights of women and girls.

JOIN US FOR THIS IMPORTANT EVENT ON FINALLY WINNING CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS FOR WOMEN!!

Transgender Violence and Internet Safety

The level of Internet violence directed towards women, which has been increasing sharply in 2020, is a very dangerous trend. Women have long been targets of male violence, but it appears to be worsening.  See Transgender Activists Launch Violent Uprisings Against Women

Accordingly we wish to share a link to the Internet Safety Guide for Women, a timely document.  We must defend feminists and take steps to protect ourselves from increasing violence from transgender activists and their enablers as we continue to challenge this unscientific ideology that erases women and flies in the face of material reality.

In solidarity and sisterhood

 

International Women’s Day 2020

Today is International Women’s Day and marks Feminists in Struggle’s 1 year anniversary!  We want to thank everyone who has joined us in the struggle to reignite a strong women’s movement in  order to finish the job First Wave and Second Wave feminists began.  We are so grateful for their sacrifices and contributions and we acknowledge all the women working for the global liberation of women around the world.

We particularly want to recognize the women of the #MeToo Movement who took personal risk to come forward to hold sexual predators accountable, the women behind the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights, and the efforts of organizations like Equal Means Equal that have worked tirelessly to bring the Equal Rights Amendment to the finish line.  It was 100 years ago this year that First Wave feminists won the right to vote, and 97 years after its first introduction that the ERA reached the milestone of the 38th state for ratification!!

We look forward to many more accomplishments of present-day feminists to fight back against the enemies of women’s freedom and autonomy.  Please join us at Feminist Struggle and help us continue the struggle for the liberation of all women!

A New Way Forward for Feminism

How do feminists most effectively fight gender identity ideology as it becomes more and more enshrined into our laws, such as the female-erasing provisions of the U.S. Equality Act pending in Congress? Should we simply oppose “gender identity” as a single issue, narrowly defined?  Or should we fight to defend women’s sex-based rights while at the same time advocating for federal civil rights protection against discrimination for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and others who do not conform to stereotypes imposed on their sex?   What is the most effective strategy for fighting against the current version of the Equality Act while advancing our feminist vision for changing society? Is merging messaging with the Christian Right helpful or harmful to achieving our goals? How can we rebuild a radical feminist movement strong enough to defeat all our enemies, both the transactivists who would erase us and the Religious Right who would enslave us?

These are some of the issues that Ann Menasche, founding member of Feminists In Struggle (FIST), grapples with in her New Radical Feminist Approach to Challenging Gender Identity Ideology: The Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act” published in Redline. Menasche jumps into the debate within the burgeoning new women’s liberation movement, regarding conflicting strategies put forward by FIST and WoLF.  She argues that campaigns to defend women’s sex-based rights should be combined with a challenge to gender itself by opposing both homophobia and sex stereotyping.   She explains how the Feminist Amendments do just that, an approach precluded by WoLF’s orientation toward alliances with the organized Christian Right.

“FIST’s strategy emphasizes winning the battle of ideas within the whole society…the same strategy that won women the vote and resulted in the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States,” writes Menasche. “These victories were not gifts bestowed from on high but were won by mass struggle of millions of women. We believe that such a strategy is ultimately more decisive in achieving the changes that we currently seek as compared to a focus on lobbying politicians in the two corporate parties or playing one wing of patriarchy against the other.”

Women’s March 2020

FIST was present at Women’s Marches in Chicago and San Diego with banners proclaiming our motto, “Our Bodies, Our Spaces, Our Sex-Based Rights!” which we also chanted!  Some of us wore our new t-shirts and sweatshirts with the banner as well.

 

A Guarded Thanks to Seattle Public Library

Feminists in Struggle previously wrote the Seattle Public Library on behalf of the WoLF event, “Fighting the New Misogyny,” scheduled for February 1, urging the library to honor the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution and allow the event to go on despite attempts to shut it down by the trans community.  We have now written the library to thank them for going ahead with the event, but in view of the inordinate amount of time that it took for them to reach this decision, and their having had multiple hearings and events for this population, we thought we should remind them of the fact that women, adult human females, are still a marginalized group who need future events focused on the multiple ways in which we experience discrimination based on our sex.  See below for full text of our statement.

To:  Seattle Public Library

From:  Feminists in Struggle

 

While we’re gratified to learn that the Seattle Public Library has decided to honor free speech and allow women to speak in the “Fighting the New Misogyny” event put on by the Women’s Liberation Front scheduled for February 1, we wish to remind the library and its board that this is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution.  As such, there should have been no question whatsoever as to what the correct decision should have been, nor any delay in reaching it, particularly on behalf of a public institution such as yours.

We hope that future such events will not only be scheduled unimpeded, but that any opposition by those who think it is acceptable to deny women the right to speak will be firmly resisted by your board, your decision reached in a much more expeditious manner, and said events be allowed to go on with your unswerving public support.  Women, adult human females, are a marginalized group as well, are still second class citizens in 2020 with no standing in the federal Constitution, even though we are 52% of the population!  We deserve many more opportunities to speak not only on this topic, but many others such as #MeToo, ratification of the ERA, FGM, and male violence towards women to name a few. It is our sincere hope that you will readily give women the respect we deserve in the future.

A Message to the New York City Public Library

To:  The New York City Public Library

From:  Feminists in Struggle

 

We are a national group that fights for women’s rights, with members from across the United States.  We are appalled by your recent decision to cancel a planned event by the group Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF). By denying one group access to the Library, you have not only violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but have, in effect, become censors, in direct contradiction to the core principles of the history of your own institution!

 

The American Library Association, the oldest U.S library professional organization, has stated in its Library Bill of Rights: “VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.”

 

Even during the “communist witch-hunt period” of the 1950’s the Library Service stood its ground and refused to bow to enormous and intimidating pressure from Senator Joseph McCarthy, et al, by refusing to remove library books deemed “subversive” by his committee. Your recent decision flies in the face of this proud tradition of defending the rights of public library users to be exposed to a diversity of opinion.

 

Recently, the Seattle Public Library, when faced with a similar decision, regarding this same group (WoLF), made a decision opposite your own. Their statement reads as follows:

 

These values are easy to stand by when we agree with the viewpoints being shared, but when viewpoints challenge us in uncomfortable ways, it certainly becomes more difficult. It is in these difficult moments we must stand particularly firm in supporting the right to free speech in order to preserve that right for everyone.

 

We strongly urge you to follow their lead and look forward to your rescinding this terrible decision and replacing it with one that is more in line with both the proud history of the U.S. Library Service and the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution!

ERA JUST GOT RATIFIED IN THE 38TH STATE!!

We are thrilled to learn that on January 15th, 2020 the Virginia legislature has voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment!  It’s about time, Virginia, but thank you for finally acting on behalf of the women of the United States to end our second-class citizenship!

The Equal Rights Amendment reads as follows:

“Section 1: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Section 2: The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Equal Means Equal and other groups were there to ensure that the Virginia legislature did not forget its promise to vote to ratify the ERA nearly 50 years after it was introduced in the U. S. Congress in 1972 and almost 100 years after it was first introduced in 1923 as the Lucretia Mott Amendment.  Many of us marched for the ERA and were disheartened when it did not reach the critical 38 states in 1982, but some of us never gave up the fight.  We wish to thank our sisters for their hard work and perseverance in pursuing ERA ratification!

Though there are still a few hurdles to its being enshrined in the Constitution as the 28th Amendment, it is way past time that women’s rights be fully recognized!  We will continue to fight until that happens!!

ORDER FIST MERCHANDISE FOR WOMEN’S MARCH!

We now have FIST merchandise available just in time for the Women’s Marches on January 18th!  Order your  t-shirt, download and print the FIST BANNER, and download the FAEA brochure, which can be printed and distributed!  The brochure includes our 13 principles, links to our website and social media, and explains our Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act.