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From the front page of The Seattle Times, December 10, 2019: “Library weighs decision to offer room for event criticized as anti-trans” Yes, sadly, right here in my exact neighborhood, the woke want to limit my ability to listen to a feminist speaker who doesn’t toe the line of trans dogma. I’ve sent a letter to the editor and posted a notice about the attempt of trans activists to prevent this program from happening. Many others are writing to encourage the library to no-platform this program. Will our First Amendment prevail?
Here’s the title of the planned program: “Fighting the New Misogyny: A Feminist Critique of Gender Identity.” I want to hear the speaker, Meaghan Murphy, and learn about her concerns. I don’t consider myself to be a radical feminist; neither am I a trans-phobe. But I do think trans dogma has come barreling down on us like an avalanche before folks who are not directly involved in the trans movement have had time to learn about issues or hear a variety of views.
I have the good fortune of having two friends with trans grandkids, and I’ve learned a great deal from them. I’ve met one grandkid and one trans grandson-in-law. Both seemed quite comfortable with their trans status. Had I not known their history, I’d have accepted them in their new gender without question. I have no quarrel with them and wish them well.
That said, I expect to be able to read, and listen to, many opinions from people with divergent views. To date, on trans issues, I’ve learned that some issues are more settled than others. For example, there seems to be wide acceptance of the notion that some people want to live, not in the gender of their childhood, but in the opposite gender or as androgynous individuals. As adults, the may seek out professionals who will help them medically transition. I don’t know anyone who wants to deny this right to adults.
But I do know people with serious concerns about drugs to delay puberty or offering additional elements of medical transitions to children. I know people who see what they consider to be a moral panic regarding children who claim to be transgender. On one side of this issue are people who think the rapid increase in numbers of children and teens claiming to be trans is evidence of a contagion. They have some facts to support their side. On the other side are people who are so eager to support trans rights that they view feminine boys as trans females and tomboy girls as trans males. Some lesbians and gays see this and wonder why no one is considering the possibility that these kids might be simply gays or lesbians; others wonder why they can’t be just feminine boys and tomboy girls.
Another concern I’ve read about relates to clinics that cater to transgender counseling or medicine. Presently facilities that position themselves as offering trans services are eager to be viewed as gender affirming. This would seem to be a good thing. This means that they agree with what individual patients state about their desires. Rather than help individuals gain insight into any related issues including anxiety or depression, providers may approach questions about gender from the position that helping a person become the “right” gender will relieve any other psychological problems. A few people who are de-transitioning have come to realize that changing genders did not resolve other problems, and regret that professionals did not help them consider other avenues of addressing their psychological problems.
Some feminist organizations have concerns about the effect trans rights are having on hard fought rights of women for separate space. They object to placing trans women in women’s prisons and women’s shelters, employing trans women to provide intimate care for elderly, disabled, or incarcerated women, and appointing trans women to positions reserved for women on boards, councils, or committees. They are gathering information that will be important as these issues are considered in the future.
I do not have firm opinions on all of these issues. They are new to me and confusing. What I most need now is access to individuals and organizations who are deeply involved in trans and feminist causes. I want to read their concerns, listen to them speak, and slowly figure out where I will land on these topics. It’s essential that the Seattle Public Library support me in this endeavor.
Please, Director Turner, do not bar this program from library property.
Special Statement of Marcellus Turner, Executive Director and Chief Librarian of SPL
Women’s Liberation Front
Feminist Current/Meaghan Murphy
American Library Association re: Hate Speech and Hate Crime