Free Speech

More on Seattle Public Library "Considering" Whether to Cancel Meeting of Trans-Skeptical Feminist Group

The ACLU of Washington speaks out.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Here's what the ACLU of Washington has said about the controversy (which I wrote about yesterday), as quoted by KIRO7 (Deedee Sun):

"If the public library canceled it based solely on the views espoused by WOLF, then yes, I think it would be problematic and in violation of the first amendment," said Lisa Nowlin, a staff attorney for the ACLU. Nowlin has worked on both first amendment cases and cases involving transgender rights.

"If the KKK wanted to hold a private event and rent a room there, they still could?" asked KIRO7's Deedee Sun.

"Yes, they could. There are caveats there based on the scenario. But they couldn't be denied based solely on their views and the fact that we disagree with their views, and the fact that their views are harmful," Nowlin said….

The Gender Justice League had written,

A hate group using the library as a venue to "critique" the existence of a minority group creates a hostile environment and is unacceptable.

Here's the Women's Liberation Front (WoLF) summary of their panel:

Fighting the New Misogyny

A Feminist Critique of Gender Identity

Over the last several years, transgender activism has made sweeping gains. From local school boards to the Democratic Party to legislatures around the world, proponents of this ideology have succeeded in positioning "gender identity" as the social justice issue of our day.

But are the claims made by these activists actually true, or even coherent? What does it mean to say that people can be "born in the wrong body"? Does the concept of "gender identity" break down stereotypes about the nature of men and women, or does it reinforce them? And what about the rights of women and girls?

Women's Liberation Front is proud to announce an event that will tackle these issues head on.

On February 1, 2020, Meghan Murphy, Saba Malik, and Kara Dansky will give a critical analysis of gender identity and make powerful arguments for sex-based women's rights. The event will take place at the beautiful Seattle Central Library in downtown Seattle, Washington.

Writer Meghan Murphy will speak on the philosophical and political problems in the claims made by proponents of gender identity. Feminist and environmentalist Saba Malik will address the way gender identity advocates compare transphobia with racism and why this is both inaccurate and offensive. Lawyer Kara Dansky will explain the significance of female erasure in the law and how feminists are fighting back. A Q and A session moderated by writer and activist Lierre Keith will follow.

Seems to me like an important and far from "unacceptable" part of the debate on gender identity matters, whether or not one ends up agreeing with this position (though I can't speak, of course, to exactly what will be said on the panel).


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  1. While the announcement seems neutral, the actual views expressed may well not be. While that is not a reason to deny the use of a public space for expression of any view, announcements are frequently less than forthright about the actual content of the event.

  2. RSteinmetz, I don’t think I understand your point. I don’t think the organizers’ announcement even purports to promise “neutral” views. The announcement says that three of the speakers will offer a “critical analysis of gender identity” and that one of them will address why arguments of “gender identify advocates” are both “inaccurate and offensive.” That’s not a promise of neutrality or an advertisement for a debate between opposing views. Like many groups, this one can have and can express a non-neutral viewpoint. “Neutrality” comes into play, not in the responsibilities, if any, of the speakers’ organization to be neutral but in the library’s obligation (or lack thereof) to be neutral with respect to the different viewpoints that various groups who want to use its facilities might want to express.

    1. While the announcement purports to offer intellectual comment on certain issues of current interest, it could also be a cover for something far different.

      That is all I’m saying.

      1. And you could be a middle school drop out living in your mothers basement, but there is no evidence of that, and absolutely no reason for anyone to even bring it up in a conversation 1st amendment rights in public spaces.

  3. It’s wrong to say that “gender identity” is an issue. Nobody claims that people don’t have a gender identity, strictly speaking. The issues are whether or not gender identity is rigid/fluid and to what extent there is a biological basis (positions range anywhere from 0 to 100%).

  4. If anyone wants to know what kind of “hate” will be spewed at this talk, Meghan Murphy has given similar talks in Vancouver and Toronto, and videos of these talks are available online.

    Ms. Murphy believes that throwing open the doors of women’s spaces to males just on their say-so will result in the erosion of women’s rights and women’s ability to keep themselves safe. For example, she did an interview recently with a woman who is advocating for reforms inside Canadian prisons. This woman was incarcerated with several “transwomen” who used their residency in the women’s unit to expose themselves to, ogle, and sexually assault female prisoners.

    In other words, Ms. Murphy says a lot of stuff that most of the American public considers common sense. She’s clearly a dangerous woman.

  5. “This woman was incarcerated with several “transwomen” who used their residency in the women’s unit to expose themselves to, ogle, and sexually assault female prisoners.”

    Why the scare quotes on “transwomen”? Female-on-female sexual violence is an unfortunate fact of life in women’s prisons, and just because some women commit sexual violence by forcibly penetrating other women with their penises doesn’t mean that they are not women. Any women who feels more violated because the woman who attacked her used her penis is a bigot.

    1. Poe’s Law strikes again.

  6. To riff on an earlier comment, while I suppose the librarians are looking for some kind of loophole, they’re probably bracing themselves for the news that the county atty will say they have to hold the event. In which case the librarians will want it widely known that they’ve been dragged into this position, kicking and screaming – it sure wasn’t something they wanted!

  7. How dare these femifascists propose to discuss whether declaring oneself a woman entitles you to a seat at the woman table.

  8. It all began with John Calhoun’s speech in Congress advocating banning use of the US mails to disseminate abolitionist literature. The idea that the First Amendment does not apply to hate speech begins right there. And the idea that opposition to slavery (and slaveholding as a basis of personal identity) could not possibly have any other rationale or motivation than hate (for the personal identity of slave holders) was just as obvious to John Calhoun and the many supporters of slavery as the idea that opposition to current personal identity claims is nothing but hate is to proponent of current forms of personal identity.

    Just as obvious. Just as objective. Just as “no rational person could possibly think otherwise” clear.

  9. At least online TERFs are zealots and generally not really a useful guide to discussion.

    Doesn’t mean you get to forbid them their time and public space, but lets not go endorsing them as honest brokers just based on their statement.

    1. At least online transgender activists are zealots and generally not really a useful guide to discussion.

      Actually, pretty much everyone online is a zealot, and not really a useful guide to discussion.

      1. And those who proclaim themselves non-zealot are the most likely to be zealots.


      2. I’m not saying they should be the ones driving conversation either. It just seems irrelevant to bring up the legitimacy of the speaker on issues like this.

  10. I’ve been arguing for some time now the situation is untenable. But my solution is to end all gender segregation period. Only way to have a situation that doesn’t interfere with someones rights and/or just let people go where they want anyway.

    The bigots still haven’t formulated a good response when asked if they really want someone like Buck Angel walking into the womens room, let alone answer the question that if someone that looks like Buck can go in, what’s to stop a cis-man? We going to do genital checks on everyone at every bathroom entrance?

  11. I can’t imagine a how much an intersectionalists head must hurt on this one. Feminists hating on trannies. Oh man. So many head explosions must be happening.

    Well ladies hope you enjoy having a big fat hairy man using your locker room for a free peep show. Go feminism!

    1. I dunno, yesterday’s mainstream progressive can become today’s hateful conservative at quite a rapid rate, and many progressives accept this change of line without much hesitation.

      Or to be fair, maybe they have some reservations but don’t think it worth their while to voice such reservations because they’ll just be called names, best to go with the flow.

      1. “I’m a fully paid-up progressive who supports all of the correct causes…well, except this one thing where I have some concerns…”

        [5 seconds later]

        “Now wait a minute, you can’t just go around calling me a fascist…”

        [5 seconds after that]

        “It’s an honor to address my good friends at the Conservative Political Action Conference.”

  12. For those that support political correctness, remember, sooner or later political correctness will sooner or later get you too.

    1. WoLF is being defamed in some news coverage. Jason Rant s has mis-stated their clear purpose in his piece yesterday. WoLF web states their clear purpose:

      1). End male violence
      2). Regain reproductive autonomy
      3). Dismantle the gender caste system.

      Members believe that women are adult human females. Women don’t have penises.
      These words ard called hate speech. Just knowing biology is called bigotry.

      Media should be covering the story of over 7,000 re-transitioned young people on Reddit discussing having been railroaded into non-FDA approved cross-sex hormones that rendered them sterile, women whose healthy breast tissues were removed without a medical reason, and these de-trans are treated like pariahs by the gender extremists. these young women are reporting no one did a differential diagnosis for their depression, and over 30% of those transitioned are girls on the autism spectrum. Medical abuse! Where’s their voice? I hope in class action malpractice cases.

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