Advanced well-poisoning

The Seattle Times has a piece on the campaign to bully the library into canceling the feminist event scheduled for February 1. It’s a classic of the type, in treating The Trans Community as The Oppressed Group and feminist women as the oppressors – not just the oppressors but the obvious oppressors, the eternal oppressors, the everyone knows they’re oppressors oppressors. It’s as if that whole thing where people started to realize that it wasn’t somehow written into the laws of the cosmos that women had to be second-class citizens had never happened.

All the more pathetic since it’s a woman who wrote the piece. This woman:

So…the society is sexist and homophobic and transphobic so the way to deal with that is to make sure that these feminists are not allowed to speak. How does that work exactly?

So let’s look at how she poisons the well.

Community members including transgender locals and trans allies have inundated the Seattle Public Library with calls and emails, asking the library system to cancel an upcoming event hosted by the Women’s Liberation Front— a self-described “radical feminist organization” that has publicly espoused what critics call anti-trans views.

Self-described, meaning, they’re lying, plus the scare quotes, so they’re lying LYING.

And it’s only WoLF that’s given this treatment – there’s no “trans activists have espoused what critics call misogynist views.” We’re told what we must think in that first sentence.

The group’s event, titled “Fighting the New Misogyny: A Feminist Critique of Gender Identity,” is publicized as “a critical analysis of gender identity” that will “make powerful arguments for sex-based women’s rights,” according to the event page. The event, scheduled to be held Feb. 1 in the Microsoft Auditorium at the Seattle Public Library – Central Branch, has placed the library at the center of a firestorm over how it can maintain its commitment to evolving ideas of intellectual freedom, provide access to information for the entire community, and be an inclusive space where all patrons feel safe and welcome.

Because, we are meant to think, the WoLF event will make patrons feel unsafe and unwelcome. But what about women? Does this rush to cancel and silence feminists make women feel safe and welcome?

Marcellus Turner, chief librarian for the Seattle Public Library (SPL), said in a statement that the event request from the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) was initially processed because it was labeled as a women’s-rights talk.

I don’t think that is what he said*, but in any case – it is a women’s rights talk. But Crystal Post wants us to think it isn’t, and that it was “labeled” that as a ruse.

Offensive speech and hate speech are protected under the First Amendment, unless the speech is deemed targeted harassment or to be a threat. However, when the American Library Association (ALA) considered amending its policies to explicitly allow members of hate groups to rent rooms last year, many ALA members pushed back, arguing that hate speech threatens the physical safety and validity of patrons and library staff from marginalized communities.

What are we meant to think? That’s too easy. We are, of course, meant to think that the WoLF event will be all offensive and hate speech.

The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) prohibits discrimination because of “gender expression or identity,” defined as “having or being perceived as having a gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth.”

We’re meant to think that WoLF will be promoting discrimination because of gender identity.

Library administrators are consulting other libraries, transgender staff and organizations, and with the city’s legal department to determine their next steps, Turner said.

Anything missing? Oh yes, women. Well women are the oppressor, so obviously no need to consult them. Bitches.

The Gender Justice League, a Seattle nonprofit that advocates for gender and sexuality justice, said in a statement they will speak with SPL leadership to help them consider the issue’s complexities.

“The end result of a hate group using the library as a venue to ‘critique’ the existence of a minority group creates a hostile environment and is unacceptable,” they wrote.

But it’s not a hate group.

WoLF is not listed as a hate group in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s extensive documentation of such groups in the U.S. However, WoLF has frequently been referred to by others as a hate group or trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) group, including in an online editorial for Out Magazine by Chase Strangio, the deputy director for transgender justice with the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT & HIV Project.

Here, have some more poison for that well.

Then she does give WoLF and Meghan two whole paragraphs to say WoLF is not a hate group and that “TERF” is an offensive and dangerous label. Then it’s back to well-poisoning.

Tobi Hill-Meyer, co-executive director of the Gender Justice League, says the League characterizes WoLF as a hate group because “their stated purpose is to critique the existence of trans people and in this current climate that’s a serious threat.”

No their purpose is not to “critique” anyone’s existence. That’s a venomous canard meant to nudge people into thinking gender critics want trans people dead, which is not the case.

According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the dehumanization of transgender people and anti-trans stigma intertwines with racism, sexism, and marginalization to create higher risks of violence against trans people.

But, again, “dehumanization” is irrelevant. It’s not the goal. Saying men are not women is not dehumanizing. Refusing to let men speak for women is not dehumanizing. Refusing to let men pretend they can speak for women by claiming to be women is not dehumanizing.

There’s a lot more of the same; I’m tired of it.

*Updating to add: I was wrong, he did say that.

A nonprofit group called the Women’s Liberation Front made a booking last month for space at the Central Library to hold a private event labeled as a women’s rights talk and presentation.

Of course, it was labeled as that because that’s what it is, but anyway, Post did quote him accurately.

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