Cancel the Radfems Respond conference at Multnomah Meeting house

Cancel the Radfems Respond conference at Multnomah Meeting house

April 9, 2014
Petition to
Multnomah Meeting Clerks
Petition Closed
This petition had 212 supporters

Why this petition matters

Started by Hollis Proffitt

As Quakers and transgender activists, we are calling upon you, a community dedicated to peace and non-violence, to cancel the Radfems Respond conference. Radical Feminists are a hateful group, increasingly defining themselves by their hatred of trans people as this stance becomes less and less acceptable in mainstream feminist dialouge. By allowing this group to use Meeting space, you are choosing to alientate trans people and be complicit in the violence against them.

You, the meeting clerks have made it clear that this event is being hosted in Quaker space but is not endorsed or condoned by Quakers. However, the radfems are still using Quaker history and values to manipulate the conversation. Although the conference organizers agreed to remove a statement on their event page saying that the conference was supported by Quakers, prominent RadFem Cathy Brennan tweeted a message about how RadFems were following in the footsteps of Quaker feminist legacy by  having their conference in Quaker space. Radical Feminists have manipulated the Quaker commitment to non-violence in the language that they use for this conference, claiming that they want to "extend an olive branch" and start "peace talks," but when this dialouge is one-sided and contains rhetoric that is harmful to trans people, it becomes hate speech. 

Radical Feminists are often a bigger threat to the safety and dignity of trans women that society at large. Radical Feminist Sheila Jefferies convinced congress to cancel a plan to cover gender-related healthcare for those suffering from gender dysphoria, and Cathy Brennan, a prominent lawyer, wrote to the UN asking them not to extend human rights to transgender people. Their presence in the majority of feminist communities makes these spaces unsafe for trans women, and as their movement has become more decentralized, they have taken to cyberbullying as their main form of harrassment. Radfems scour the Internet, hunting for trans women to harrass, making the Internet unsafe for trans women who might have no other community. Cathy Brennan posts naked pictures of trans women online in order to shame them.

 The Radical Feminist organization Deep Green Resistance, from which there will be two speakers at the Radfems Respond conference, have also publicly posted naked pictures of local trans women from Eugene, and joined with Cathy Brennan in creating a false accusation against a trans woman for harassing another woman in a restroom. These two members, Rachel Ivey and Lierre Keith, have caused an incredible amount of division and suffering within the national environmental movement. Lierre Keith's presence at this year's Public Interest Law Conference caused a huge outcry, with many environmental, activist, and governing organizations and thousands of supporters denouncing her speech. Keith has stated that transgender women are “men pretending to be women” and are “absurd”, and that transgender related health care is “mutilating people’s bodies”. DGR representatives have stated that these are official organizational standpoints, however, co-founder Aric McBay found it necessary to leave DGR after a transgender inclusion policy was cancelled and the group’s other leaders refused to address in-group prejudice and bigotry targeting transgender people. Many other activists have also found it necessary to leave DGR due to harassment and discrimination on this issue. Another panelist, Heath Atom Russel, a trans-man turned lesbian who works for Lierre Keith, is slated to talk about her "detransition," with the purpose of bringing in to question the validity of all trans people. This is not a simple issue of disagreement or academic debate.

When a group that experiences privlege over another group speaks out against that group, and it has real consequences for the group that experiences oppression, that is not dialouge, that is hate speech. This is especially impactful to a population that is at exceptional risk of harassment and assault at school, at work, in activist spaces, in health care, and at the hands of police and the criminal justice system as outlined in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. The rate of suicice for trans people hovers around 50%. Many of these deaths were caused directly or indirectly by Radical Feminist attacks and rhetoric. Those who stand for non violence will agree that radfems have no place in a Quaker space.

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Decision Makers

  • Multnomah Meeting Clerks