INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY March 8, 2021

International Women’s Day marks the second anniversary of the founding of Feminists in Struggle.  We have accomplished a lot in two short years, despite living through a pandemic this past year.  We have connected with other radical feminists, grown our organization and our network, and raised awareness and educated women with our Feminist Forums on topics such as defending women’s spaces from male violence, the ERA, the Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act, reproductive rights, and women’s sports.

We face more challenges ahead, fighting to preserve female-only spaces and programs that are our lifeline, demanding that the Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act be adopted; working to get the ERA finally enshrined into the Constitution; defending abortion rights against the forces of the Religious Right and a conservative Supreme Court which is on the precipice of reversing Roe vs. Wade; fighting against pervasive male violence and the exploitation of our bodies and the glorification of prostitution and commercial surrogacy; dealing with the desperate poverty and greater burdens imposed on more and more women; and defending our right to think, speak, and organize as a sex without being threatened with violence or being fired from our jobs.

The good news is that we women, half the human race, the mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters of all of humanity, subordinated by males through many millennia, are beginning once again to awake from slumber.  And once we open our eyes and find our voices, no one can shut our eyes or silence us.

The radical feminist movement that FIST is building along with many others is still small but we are now everywhere, in every corner of the globe. We are growing, and compared to a few years ago, more and more of us, despite the threats against us, are speaking out. Today there was a protest in Washington DC against Biden’s female-erasing Executive Order and to demand our sex-based rights. FIST was there, carrying our banner.  There are weekly international seminars by the Women’s Human Rights Campaign (of which FIST is a proud member) every single week, drawing 400 women from many countries; the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights now has over 15.600 individual signatories, from 129 countries, in collaboration with 314 organizations; the ERA was ratified; the LGB Alliance was launched; Argentina legalized abortion; legislation protecting women’s sports is being introduced in legislatures; and lawsuits are beginning to be filed by de-transitioners like Keira Bell.  The tide is beginning to turn.

And while it is not surprising that many of us are feeling battle weary, overwhelmed by the seemingly endless reach of our two enemies–those who would erase us and those who would enslave us, or feeling deeply saddened and demoralized by the sight of so many young girls mutilating their bodies and denying their sex, we need only remember that we stand on the shoulders of giants, suffragists like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Christabel Pankhurst, and Alice Paul; and our sisters of the Second Wave, some we have lost like Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin, Shulamith Firestone, and the many others still marching shoulder-to-shoulder with us.  They never gave up. Neither should we!

FIST reaches our hands across generations and in solidarity with all women fighting for our liberation, so we no longer feel so alone.

Please join us! We can do this, sisters!

We Urge the U.S. Senate to Amend the Equality Act

We urge the U. S. Senate to amend the Equality Act by adopting the provisions in the Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act.  We fully support the Equality Act’s goals of ensuring that LGBT people are protected from discrimination, harassment, and violence. These protections are long overdue. However, the bill as currently written would eliminate sex as a protected category under federal law — a move that would have dire consequences for the sex-based rights of women and girls. This redefinition would also erase the basis for same-sex attraction, undermining the very protections for sexual orientation that the Equality Act claims to enshrine.

Eliminating sex as a protected class, as the Equality Act currently proposes, would mean removing the ability of the law to ‘see’ sex — including sexual orientation — and thus remove the ability of the law to address injustice, discrimination, and inequality rooted in sex and sexual orientation. By making self-declaration what determines whether someone is considered male or female, the Equality Act would radically remake US law, making gender self-identity the criteria for accessing all female facilities, being housed in female domestic violence shelters and prisons, competing in female sports, representing female people, and defining ‘same-sex’ orientation.

Sex, gender, and sexual orientation refer to different characteristics, different experiences, and refer to distinct groups with different needs. These differences matter. And the law—and our lawmakers—should not pretend otherwise. In settings where sex matters, the law needs to make it clear that how a person identifies is not conflated with nor should it override biological sex. In settings where sexual orientation matters, sex must be the basis on which same-sex attraction is defined. That’s why the language has to be clear.

For these reasons, we urge the Senate to take a closer look at the Equality Act, hold hearings and support sensible amendments to the Equality Act so sex remains a recognized and protected class under law. We support amendments that would protect sex (biological sex), sexual orientation, and sex-role nonconformity separately, as put forward in the Feminist Amendments . It is simply not necessary to redefine sex in the law in order to protect transgender and other gender non-conforming people from discrimination and harassment, as the Equality Act seeks to do. The Feminist Amendments provide a more equitable way forward that protects everyone’s rights.

We also urge you to call for an open dialogue as we navigate these complicated issues and seek to develop protections that will work for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, as well as women and girls. Unfortunately, the process so far — including previous iterations of the Equality Act introduced and passed in the House of Representatives, and the House moving directly to a floor vote without further inquiry — have not met this standard, failing to consider potential unintended consequences of erasing sex in the law and shutting out the perspectives of lesbian, gay, and bisexual advocates. The current Equality Act is not the product of democratic debate and public inquiry but of policy capture, written by lobbyists working out of the public view. This is part of a worldwide lobbying effort that tethers radical changes — the erasure of sex in the law — to popular and necessary reforms like extending protections for LGBT people. Equality for LGBT people doesn’t look like this.

We believe that we can and must amend the Equality Act to protect the human and civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to safety, dignity, and freedom from discrimination while preserving the sex-based rights of women and girls and the ability of the law to ‘see’ sex. Please help facilitate an open dialogue about how the Equality Act can best advance the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, with a full airing of how the rights of other protected classes, especially women and girls, will be affected.

For more information, see the video: Preserving Sex-Based Rights

Feminists in Struggle Launches YouTube Channel

Feminists in Struggle has launched its YouTube Channel with the video of our Preserving Sex-Based Rights event.

Actions to Take In Response to Biden’s Executive Order and Imminent Introduction of the Equality Act

Since the first day of the Biden administration, developments have come thick and fast regarding attacks on and attempts to protect single-sex programs and facilities for women and girls. FIST encourages everyone who cares about the legal rights of women and girls to contact Congress, the White House, and the federal agencies to demand the protection of our legal rights to single-sex sports teams, scholarships, prisons, shelters, and other facilities.

Reach out to the White House and social media, to your U.S. Representatives and Senators, and to the federal agencies. Letters, emails, phone calls,and demands for in-person meetings with your U.S. Representatives and Senators are all needed.

Regarding the Equality Act: Write and call your Senators and Representatives, urging them to support the Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act. Here is a sample letter.

The website The US Equality Act continues to grow and to be a valuable resource. The site includes much good explanation of how the Equality Act and Biden’s January 20 “Executive Order on Preventing & Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation” will harm women and girls and need to be amended, revised, or applied by federal agencies to preserve the Congressional intent behind Title IX.

 The US Equality Act site also has lots of guidance and sample material for sending letters to Congress and to the federal agencies tasked with applying the Executive Order. Most recently two new sample letters were added:

One for Speaker Nancy Pelosi

And one for the Bureau of Prisons

FIST Interviewed in Major News Source

One of Feminists in Struggle’s members was interviewed by RT in an article entitled, There is a major split in the LGBTQ community between the letter L and the letter T.  We are heartened to see that there are more reporters covering the effects of the trans agenda on members of the female sex.  The article covers the “alphabet soup” that now is being used to represent the ever-growing permutations of gender ‘identity,’ touches on the Spanish feminist leader Lidia Falcon O’Neill who likens the fascists of the Franco regime with the current transgender rights activists, the Christian Right’s opportunism, and trans-identified males participating in women’s sports.

Our FIST spokesperson represented us well and pointed out that:

“What males who identify as women are ‘feeling’ is they are identifying with sex stereotypes about how women are supposed to dress and behave in the world. Feminists reject these stereotypes.”

WOMEN’S SPORTS/ WOMEN’S OPPORTUNITIES : IN DEFENSE OF FEMALE-ONLY PROGRAMS

FEMINISTS IN STRUGGLE PRESENTS A FORUM ON WOMEN’S SPORTS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF FEMALE ONLY PROGRAMS FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN AND GIRLS

About this Event

Female-only sports and other programs specifically for women and girls have been under attack. How do these programs help advance the struggle for women’s equality? How can we help save women’s sports programs?

Join the discussion!

Speakers include:

Beth Stelzer, Founder of Save Women’s Sports and amateur powerlifter.

Linda Blade, Sports performance coach residing in and former champion heptathlete with a PhD in Kinesiology.

Ann Menasche, founding member of Feminists in Struggle.

Please register and join us for an interesting, interactive meeting!

FIST on Joy of Resistance, WBAI Tonight!

Feminists in Struggle’s Ann Menasche will be interviewed on WBAI Radio’s Joy of Resistance show, 99.5 fm, tonight at 9 pm EST (6 pm PST) to discuss the Biden executive order on January 20th, collapsing gender identity with women’s sex-based rights, and to discuss the Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act, the changes FIST would like to see made to the Equality Act, legislation passed by the House in 2019 (but not the Senate) that is likely to be reintroduced this year and considered high on the Biden agenda.

The write-up of the JOR show states that:

“Last week, the Women’s Liberation Front, put out a press release that was carried on the AP newswire entitled “Biden Executive Order on Gender Identity Will Eviscerate Women’s Rights”; the group Feminists in Struggle (FIST) issued a similar statement and The Women’s Human Rights Campaign started a letter-writing campaign in protest of this EO.”

The Joy of Resistance summary acknowledges that these groups are all considered left of center, with Feminists in Struggle strongly identified with the Left.  This is a refreshingly accurate characterization in view of attempts by many transactivists to smear any group that speaks out about gender ideology or the erasure of women as “right-wing” or even as “hate” groups.  FIST denounces such mischaracterizations, and has spelled out our distinction from the Right in our Principles, particularly in #12.

We greatly appreciate the Joy of Resistance show on WBAI, which features feminist content, and we recommend anyone who cares about the liberation of women listen tonight, and every Monday, at 9 pm EST (6 pm PST).  Please tune in!

There is also a demonstration in protest of this executive order planned on March 8 in front of the White House, and FIST members plan to be in attendance.  Join us!

FIST quoted in the Economist!

Ann Menasche from FIST was recently interviewed by The Economist about transgender-identified males being placed in women’s prisons. This is already the law in California. The reporter recognized that there is a conflict of rights here and that male violence is pervasive. She was sympathetic to FIST’s position that women’s sex-based rights to privacy, dignity, and safety mattered and that sex and gender identity are not the same thing.

We are slowly starting to break down the wall of silence and complicity in the media and getting our voices heard.  It is very important that the media begin to cover these issues in an unbiased manner, rather than acceding to the demands of the transgender lobby to present only that viewpoint. We recommend the media follow the WoLF Media+Style+Guide which outlines a way to report on these issues in a more balanced manner.

The Ride:  A Woman’s Rebellion

One of our FIST members, Sky, is making a coast-to-coast trip on her motorcycle, at 61 years of age, in order to be a “visible role model” for youth.  In her words, “I am one woman. One woman on a motorcycle. I am calling out to my sisters across the globe, to stand up, speak out, be seen, be heard.”

Her message:

1. Women’s rights are human rights. We have basic human rights to safety, dignity and privacy separate from males. This is a BASIC HUMAN RIGHT. We demand it.

2. Women have a right to compete with other women, without men destroying our sports.

3. Lesbians are Female Homosexuals who do not want men, even in pretty lipstick. No Men. Simple. The rape culture being forced on lesbians WITHIN our own so-called community is heinous and WILL stop.

4. Transitioning Children is the worst Homophobic Conversion Therapy ever invented. Let kids be kids. Stop the child abuse!

The Ride could use donations, help setting up rallies, hanging posters in the cities to which she will be traveling, and getting out the word.  She also welcomes any feminists or allies to join her for one leg of her journey or all of it.

 

If you wish to join the public planning group go to The Ride: A Woman’s Rebellion

 

For more information about her journey, see a video interview of Sky by Graham Linehan.

Feminists in Struggle responds to Biden’s Executive Order

Feminists in Struggle (FIST), a national feminist organization, denounces the subjugation of female rights to those of transgender rights in the executive order signed by President Biden on his first day in office.

Women’s rights are included in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act because female people have been and continue to be discriminated against on the basis of our sex.  We are disadvantaged in employment; we do not receive equal pay as compared to males for the same or comparable work; we are discriminated against in education and in sports.  Indeed, females have long been treated in patriarchal societies as lesser human beings because of our sex.  Every advance we have made has been on the basis of sex, NOT “gender identity.”

Of course, as feminists, we wholeheartedly agree that, “Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love,” and that people should not be “fired, demoted or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes.”  However, we cannot possibly achieve equal rights for everyone by taking away the rights of some, in order to enhance the rights of others. “Gender identity” should not be used as grounds for eroding the sex-based rights of those of us born female since we have not yet achieved full equality.

This executive order does just that, by erasing females as a distinct class of people who are still oppressed and discriminated against in our society based on our sex and in need of legal protection. We continue to need programs for women and girls under Title VII and Title IX to redress past wrongs and level the playing field, so that those of us born female have an equal opportunity to develop ourselves and pursue our dreams. We need female-only spaces and refuges for reasons of dignity, privacy, and safety, especially because male sexual and physical violence against women and girls remain pervasive.  Therefore it is crucial that “sex” remains a distinct category and that it is not conflated with “gender identity.”

We demand an executive order and an Equality Act that will protect everyone’s rights and not pit one group’s rights against another’s. FIST’s legal committee has drafted a model bill that incorporates Feminist Amendments into the Equality Act. Our Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act preserve 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, Such provisions will fully protect lesbians, gay men, bisexual individuals, those who identify as transgender, and all gender non-conforming people without weakening the rights of females.

In addition, President Biden can make great strides toward equality for half the population born female by instructing the archivist to publish the Equal Rights Amendment (already ratified by the requisite 38 states) into the U.S. Constitution.  We urge that he do so immediately.