Demand an apology from Amy Siskind to the Trans Community
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Dear Board of Directors,
This past weekend, Amy Siskind published a tweet using the term “transgenders” to refer to people in the trans community, a term commonly regarded as a slur. She was gently asked to find another term by Shakina Nayfack, a trans actress and activist. The desired outcome was that Amy would acknowledge the error and correct it. Instead, she told Shakina to “get off her timeline” and blocked her on Twitter.
Moreover, when others joined the conversation, Amy indicated that the criticism was invalid and a waste of her time, and she blocked many people who escalated the issue by responding to other tweets in her timeline. Refusing to take the criticisms in stride, she doubled down, referring to her critics sarcastically as “geniuses” and likening their behavior to that of “alt-right trolls.”
We find it troubling and shameful that this is the behavior of someone with a prominent platform in the name of an organization that claims to be “a voice for all women.” Additionally, someone who decries President Trump’s tactics of demeaning his enemies and blocking communication with them should be expected, at the very least, to choose to interact differently with her critics than the very authoritarian figure she claims to rebuke.
We believe that the true enemies of the advancement of all women are not those at the top of government making obvious policy changes affecting women’s rights, but those taking on the role of allyship who, being in a position to be trusted and depended on, make it abundantly clear that their need to be correct is worth more than continuing to develop a coalition with the very people whose voices they claim to elevate. Amy Siskind has communicated to the trans community that she is unwilling to listen; and, in fact, is willing to reproduce President Trump’s authoritarian tactics in the service of silencing her critics.
We urge you to insist on a public, sincere apology from Amy Siskind to Shakina Nayfack and the many others who have lent their emotional resources to resolve this matter. If you don't, you risk positioning The New Agenda as a trans-excluding feminist movement that will be held to account for claiming to be “a voice for all women”, which would be a travesty to all those who trust your organization to amplify their voices.
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