The Volokh Conspiracy

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Free Speech

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

The ACLU of Washington speaks out.


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).