Sex, Gender, Trans, and the Law

Two weeks ago, I offered a post about opposition to an event planned for February 1 at Seattle’s Central Library. The private event’s sponsor is WoLF, or Women’s Liberation Front, a radical feminist organization. Trans activists consider WoLF to be a hate group because it advocates for preservation of separate spaces for women where privacy concerns exist; it also does not regard trans women as the same as “females who survived girlhood.” 

My position is that the library is obligated by our First Amendment protection for free speech to allow the event to proceed. On December 19, The Seattle Times published a letter from Gina Petry representing Seattle Radical Women. She suggests that the library should allow the event to proceed, but offer a statement in support of trans rights, offer space in the library for information tables by opposing groups, and support picketing outside the library. This would set an interesting precedent. I suggest the library simply allow opposing groups to sponsor their own events on other days.

One woman I have corresponded with would rather the library not allow the event to take place because “everyone deserves to feel safe in the libraries.” She would place feelings of safety above preservation of free speech. This is no small matter. 

As it turns out this tension between trans activists and people concerned that women continue to have access to spaces where men are not allowed is an ongoing matter. I am behind the times. Once I started clicking around the internet, I found that people have been expressing concerns about trans rights overpowering women’s rights for several years. Then last week, J K Rowling entered the fray with a “reasonable” tweet referring to a recent court case in Britain, and suddenly Harry Potter fans didn’t know what to do: their hero had betrayed them. 

Rather than try to explain things I’m just beginning to grasp, I’m going to refer you to an article prompted by this kerfuffle authored by Cathy Young on ArcDigital. She knows the history of radfem vs radtrans and points in between much better than I do. Harry Potter and the Transgender Revolution is a long read, but worth it if you want a better understanding of this particular culture war.

Meanwhile, I hope the Seattle Public Library does the right thing and permits the private event sponsored by the Women’s Liberation Front to take place on without endorsing the opposition. Express your own opinions by writing to Marcellus Turner, chieflibrarian@spl.org 

Freedom of speech and freedom of conscience are foundational rights in my world, and I will stand up for these freedoms anywhere, anytime they are threatened.

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