Tag Archives: Silencing

Response to the Exclusion of Max Dashu from the Modern Witches Confluence

By Chelsea Byrd

Hello,
Thank you for making the effort to create this amazing event. I understand that you have been unexpectedly caught off guard by the political state currently transpiring in the LGBTQ and feminist communities. I am writing to you as a member of the witch/pagan community, a feminist, and a member of the LGBTQ community. I have been an active participant in each of these communities for about 25 years, since I was 15 years old. I came out as a witch slightly before I came out as bisexual, which was before I came out as a lesbian. I have always thought of myself as a feminist, but what I know, think, and feel about feminism is constantly changing and evolving.

Please consider that you have jumped to conclusions by blackballing Max Dashu. The argument against feminists is not as clear-cut as it may seem when you are only listening to one sensationalistic side of the story.

There are actually a lot of reasons why various people consider themselves to be radical feminists, or allies. And there is solid reasoning why this feels threatening to some trans activists. The primary issue of safety in this community is that the law requires a black and white categorization of the definition of male and female. Currently, at a legal level, sex has been completely conflated and replaced with gender. This is a win for trans activists who want trans women to get to go to women’s prisons, and play women sports, etc. However, the other side of the story is that this means that there are no longer any external indicators of who or what a woman is.

Currently, legally, anyone is a woman who says that they are. The result of this is that males are competing in women’s sports against females, and male rapists and murderers are occupying female prisons. From the standpoint of feminism this is a threat to women’s rights and safety. It is true that radical feminists want males to be excluded from women’s sports and women’s prisons. This is a complicated topic that still has years worth of work in progress needed.

Who Is a Woman brochure

XX Amazons’ Who Is a Woman Brochure is available for download.

The perspective of feminists is that it is unsafe for men to be the ones who say what a woman is. Currently, legally, if a man gets convicted of a crime and doesn’t want to go to men’s prison, he can just say that he is a woman and he will get to go to women’s prison. There are documented examples of men being kind of bad at sports, not having the skills to compete at a men’s level, so joining women’s teams, claiming to be trans women. There are many documented cases of males in women’s prisons, and trans women committing acts of violence against women.

In an attempt to keep trans women safe, the term TERF has been codified, in order to target and attack any woman perceived as a threat to the legal replacement of the category “sex” (male/female) with the category “gender” (self-identified man/woman.) The results of this have been real world physical violence, where lesbians and feminists have been punched, pushed down, and beaten up. Lesbians and feminists have also been fired from their jobs, not for doing anything wrong, but for having the opinion that sex is still a category of oppression in America. And lesbians and feminists have been denied venues for performances and academic presentations.


The most common exclusionary act that supposed terfs commit is being lesbian. Lesbianism is considered an exclusionary sexuality. It is frequently said that having a sexual preference is thinly veiled transphobia, and sexual preferences actually do not exist.


When you removed Max from your conference, you cited that you had not done your research or realized that she is a “terf”. TERF is an acronym for “trans exclusionary radical feminist.” The most common exclusionary act that supposed terfs commit is being lesbian. Lesbianism is considered an exclusionary sexuality. It is frequently said that having a sexual preference is thinly veiled transphobia, and sexual preferences actually do not exist.

lesbian symbol

It is unfounded slander to consider somebody to be violent or hateful without any evidence to support that allegation. Lesbians and radical feminists are not performing acts of violence against trans women. Max has never done anything to harm or exclude any trans person from anything. Trans activists are commonly saying that it is the equivalent of actual violence to have the “exclusionary” sexual preference of lesbianism, or to hold the political ideology of radical feminism. Without intending to or realizing it, you have upheld this targeted attack against lesbian radical feminists. This is not ok. You’re being used as a tool to yield darkness and damage, against an extremely marginalized, extremely small community.


In very short order people are going to realize that terf is a misogynistic slur, it is the equivalent of the new McCarthyism.


I understand that you run an incredible risk if you choose to stand on Max’s side, because there are more and louder trans activists speaking up at this point in history. However, in very short order people are going to realize that terf is a misogynistic slur, it is the equivalent of the new McCarthyism. Any woman can be called a terf at any time for any reason, and if a woman is outed as a radical feminist she can lose her job, housing, and live with constant threats of actual physical violence.

Please do your research, and tread carefully as you move forward. I know you are a small organization, but please do not set the precedent of harming women by denying them a livelihood for being feminist lesbians. Please take this opportunity to support women’s basic human rights, rather than pandering to bullies who are threatening, committing, ignoring, denying, and excusing violence against women.

Thank you very much for your time,
Chelsea

By Chelsea Byrd

This entry was posted in Current Assaults on Women and tagged on by .

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Attempt to Shut Down Feminist Current

By Meghan Murphy

Hey everyone. A few weeks ago, I received the following email from the company that facilitates the ads featured on Feminist Current, SheKnowsMedia:

“Dear Ms. Murphy:

After careful review, pursuant to the SheKnows Publishing Network Agreement, attached for your reference, we are terminating your account effective immediately due to Feminist Current’s failure to comply with the Agreement’s quality guidelines regarding content that attacks a group on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Specifically, this articles https://www.feministcurrent.com/…/must-trans-activists-sme…/ and https://www.feministcurrent.com/…/trans-activism-become-ce…/ as well as others of similar tone are in violation.

Please remove all ad code from your site as soon as possible…

CHRISTY ROSENSTEEL
GENERAL COUNSEL
SheKnows Media”

We chose to have ads hosted by SheKnowsMedia (previously BlogHer) because these companies claim to aim to support and empower women AND because I was able to limit ad categories that showed up on Feminist Current, meaning that I was able to exclude ads for things like dieting, makeup, the oil industry, the meat industry, religious ads, “dating” ads, and a myriad of other categories of ads I didn’t want showing up on a feminist site. This, of course, limited the income we were able to access via ad revenue, but still allowed us a base revenue that could ensure we were guaranteed a certain level of sustainability, from month to month. We have had ads hosted on the site via BlogHer/SheKnows since 2012.

Femiinist Current

Feminist Current is Canada’s leading feminist website.
They provide a unique perspective on male violence against women, pop culture, politics, current events, sexuality, gender, and many other issues that are often underrepresented or misrepresented by mainstream, progressive, and feminist media sources.

Recently, I have had several issues with the ads popping up on Feminist Current, some of which were unsuitable (anti-ageing ads and makeup ads, for example), others which were outright racist and sexist. When I contacted SheKnows about this, which I did numerous times, the problem was not addressed and the company claimed not to be able to do anything about these ads, despite the fact they were showing up via *their* ad network. As a result, I had been planning to get rid of ads on the site entirely, but needed to make sure we were able to sustain ourselves after that loss, so had tried to do some fundraising over the past month, in order to make up for the loss. (Thank you to everyone who donated!)

Before I was able to do this, I received the above email, which referenced two posts, one of which challenges violent, misogynist threats against women and lesbians, the other that challenges the unethical and dishonest tactics trans activists use to shut down critical questions about the transitioning of children and around transgender ideology that reinforces sexist ideas about males and females more broadly.

Neither post “attacks a group on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.” Rather, one post directly opposes attacks and violent threats against a group of people based on sex and sexual orientation (women and lesbians), and the other defends journalism/journalistic ethics and good faith debate, and opposes censorship and attacks against journalism that challenges popular discourse and the status quo. Both posts, of course, support a feminist analysis that says gender is not innate, neither men nor women are stereotypes, and that women are oppressed under patriarchy on account of being born female, not on account of their feelings, clothing, or behaviour.

It is incredibly important, particularly now, that journalists are able to report on issues and trends independently and with integrity, no matter how it may upset certain groups. It is also incredibly important that women be allowed to defend their sex-based rights without being beat up, smeared, and threatened. These are fundamental ideas that *should* be supported by those who support democracy and human rights, as well as by those who oppose hate speech and fascism.

I responded to Christy Rosensteel at SheKnows Media, saying I was confused by her email, as the two posts in reference did not attack any group of people, and asked if she could please specify which aspects of the posts constituted an attack on “a group on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.” I told her that our mandate at Feminist Current is to advocate the liberation of women from patriarchy and male violence, and that I felt both posts fit this aim. I added:

“I find your claim to be quite a serious accusation, especially considering Feminist Current’s longstanding and dedicated work to opposing male violence against women and supporting the global feminist movement. If SheKnows is opposed to feminist analysis, that would be good to know, as I’d assumed your organization did not support male violence against women or sexism, in general.”

I received no response.

The good news is, we will no longer have to deal with a company that allows sexist, racist ads to pop up on the site, which I have no control over, and who refuses to be accountable for said ads, and will no longer be beholden to anti-feminist companies who revoke revenue because we publish articles opposing misogyny, male violence against women, and the shutting down of feminist debate/discourse. The bad news is that, more and more frequently, women who speak out against gender identity ideology, ask questions about the short and long term effects of transitioning children, and try to host discussions and debates about the impacts of gender identity legislation on women and girls are being systemically persecuted, slandered, silenced, threatened, fired, and rendered unemployable.

It is unacceptable to try to shut down feminist media, simply because feminist ideas offend the sensibilities of some. And this is exactly what has happened. It is clear that someone who opposes the work we do at Feminist Current, who has connections or power at SheKnows, complained, and demanded they cut ties with the site. Our content has not changed substantially in the past few weeks. We have been opposing violence against women and asking critical questions about transgender ideology for years now. We are under constant attack, as a result. This was a direct attack against us by one individual who wished to attempt to shut down the site, by rendering us unable to pay our bills and support ourselves.

Luckily, we have an enormously supportive readership around the world, are independent, and are part of a powerful, global women’s liberation movement that has more integrity and courage in its pinky finger than these self-interested, cowardly, dishonest, greedy, misogynist neoliberals.

Fuck SheKnowsMedia. Fuck these capitalist pigs, who care more about their income than their integrity. Fuck this disgusting cooptation of feminism that bends over for men while throwing women under the bus. If they think this bullying will shut down Feminist Current and the hundreds of thousands of people who support our work and contribute to the site, they underestimate the power, courage, and steadfastness of women.

Lesbian's sign attacked

Lesbians attacked at 2018 San Francisco Dyke March.

In the past year we have seen attacks on our sisters amped up, as warrior women like Max Dashu, Nina Paley, Thistle Pettersen, Kajsa Ekis Ekman, Yuly Chan, and countless more are being smeared and no-platformed because they dare stand in solidarity with women. Women are being beaten up in the streets because they wish to *speak* about gender identity legislation and an ideology that says there is no such thing as a woman or a female body. Women are being threatened at the Dyke March and at Pride because they stand up for lesbians. Women are receiving death threats for supporting women-only spaces.

These women are not wealthy, they are not powerful, they are not “privileged.” They are regular women and lesbians fighting to survive and to have a voice and to protect our and YOUR hard-fought-for rights.

We stand in solidarity with women and in defense of free speech and democracy. We oppose the misogynist, capitalist bullying that dictates the editorial content of the vast majority of publications in North America, including those publications that claim to be “feminist.” At Feminist Current, we have always been accountable only to the feminist movement, and that will never change, no matter how many try to shut us down. Solidarity with our sisters in the struggle. Until we win.

By Meghan Murphy

Republished with permission from Meghan Murphy. See her original post. Visit her Facebook page. Don’t miss Feminist Current!

This entry was posted in Current Assaults on Women and tagged , on by .

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Liars Need Silence to Support Their Lies!

By Paula Mariedaughter. New Flash from Feminist Current! On July 18 Max Dashu, feminist historian, was deplatformed (due to complaints by trans activists and allies) by the Modern Witches Confluence to be held this fall near San Francisco, CA! Many of the ancient female goddess images on our site come from Max Dashu, so you are familiar with her powerful work. Additionally, an event showcasing the work of artist Nina Paley has been cancelled after complaints about her feminist politics by trans activists.

This feminist news source, with a variety of up-to-date articles, can provide you with more details. Visit here:https://www.feministcurrent.com/

As an investigating blogger, I went to the Modern Witches website and found their description of their organization and of their event called the Confluence.
The Modern Witches Confluence is an educational gathering that honors all walks of the witch. The witch is our spirit and our soul. The witch is awakening and leading us on our healing journey. She invites you to join us…
Our circle is founded upon inclusion, and in order to foster inclusion we must be willing to share and be willing to listen to experiences that are different from our own.
Our circle is created by a diversity of voices and beliefs.
(The entire text appears below.)

Denying our Reality as Women by Deplatforming Us One by One!
Deplatforming is a political tactic favored by transgender activists and their allies on the left. Pressuring groups and venues to cancel contracts with speakers, artists and musicians who advocate for women-only space is the central strategy for silencing our dissenting voices. Women who express any trans-critical opinions are labeled terfs, a derogatory term meaning trans exclusionary radical feminists. We, who resist male intrusions into women-only space, are now labeled a “hate group”. We see ourselves as “resistance fighters” and claim the right to female centered culture that existed for thousands of years before the violent patriarchies destroyed our communities and, during the so-called Renaissance, burned 11 million women as witches.

Please note the use of both “inclusion ” and “diversity” used by the organizers of the Modern Witches Confluence event in describing their purpose. These two words are now understood to mean that any “trans critical voice”, especially from lesbians, will swiftly be excluded from any participation. It reminds me of a loyalty oath that might read, “I assert my undying loyalty to men and any harebrain idea they truly identify with. Therefore, men must be women because they say they are women!”

Paula in a pointed witch's hat with many of her political quilts behind her.

Witchy Paula during her presentation at the 2016 Fayetteville Goddess festival before she was part of the group deplatformed there in 2017 and refused entry in 2018.
The organizers declared the Goddess Festival was inclusive, but not of anyone who desires women only space!

Pelican Lee has responded to our silencing. “Demanding that we remain silent about our own bodies and our place in this world is unconscionable, especially during the backlash that we are experiencing. Women are not born with a female gender identity – we are born with female reproductive biology.” Pelican Lee wrote this strong statement in her recent article, The Emperor’s New Clothes: A Radical Feminist View of Gender and Transgender. Read the full article here: https://xxamazons.org/emperors-clothes-radical-feminist-view-gender-transgender/

Once I read that Starhawk was still invited to be the keynote speaker at the Confluence, I decided that writing Starhawk could be helpful. As a well know writer about feminist witchcraft and as an earth activist, perhaps she could work some magic, or at least accomplish some diplomacy that would enable co-existence. I’d already written to the Confluence giving my opinion. Below is my letter to Starhawk:
Here is the link, https://starhawk.org/contact/to send Starhawk a message about using her keynote address at the “confluence” this fall that just deplatformed Max Dashu.

Starhawk,
Please know that your readers are expecting that you will take the initiative as keynote speaker at the Confluence this fall to address the current attempts by witches there and at other witchy gatherings to silence women and lesbians because of our beliefs in the rights of women to hold women only gatherings.

How can this be seen as anything but a new form of woman-hating? How about brewing up some dialogue at the Confluence about this conflict between several oppressed groups? Of course if you do bring this up, you will face the same punishment–threats of being deplatformed yourself. Your silence will not protect you.

Excluding those of us with unpopular opinions, ie something as radical as “men are not women” is clearly unacceptable. This policy is a policy of appeasement–men must have whatever they want–even women’s identity!

We must look for solutions instead of bowing to the pressure of trans extremists.

Blessed be, Paula Mariedaughter

Perhaps every woman reading this account could write to one or both places to add your opinions and preferences. Please use your voices! Here is the link, https://starhawk.org/contact/to send Starhawk a message about using her keynote address at the “confluence” this fall that just deplatformed Max Dashu.

Honor the female-centered life cycle that follows the moon: birth, death, and regeneration. Blessed be.

from the Modern Witches Confluence on July 18, 2018 declaring their intent to deplatform Max Dashu
Dear Community,
We sincerely apologize for involving Max Dashu in our workshop line-up. Since your community concerns have been raised regarding Dashu’s trans-exclusionary views, we have removed Max Dashu from our teaching line-up, and she will no longer be an influence on the Modern Witches Confluence. We appreciate you voicing your concerns, and we apologize for not responding to them sooner.
We should have done our research before asking Dashu to join us for our event, and after this incident, we know to do our due-diligence. We do not support or endorse those who shame, oppress, or exclude others. The success of our gathering will be built on a shared vision of inclusion, and the collective desire to liberate ourselves from societal rigidity, hatred, and separatist categorization.
We hope that by righting this wrong, the LGBTQ community and beyond will feel safe and welcomed to join us for our event in October. Please keep letting us know how we can do better. This is a community of many diverse voices, and we will need to keep voicing concerns, and listening, in order to grow and evolve.
Contact us at: info@witchesconfluence.org
with Love,
MWCfrom the Modern Witches Confluence on July 18

Three days later, more information from The Modern Witches to their membership about this issue:
July, 21, 2018
We would like everyone to know that we are working with Starhawk and others to facilitate a community dialogue in the hopes of catalyzing healing for all involved in the Modern Witches Community and beyond.
This page is for honoring and loving the lives of witches ~ in all of their multifaceted manifestations.

This is the full Statement of Purpose from Modern Witches Convergence’s website https://witchesconfluence.org/our-story/
Statement of Purpose
The Modern Witches Confluence is an educational gathering that honors all walks of the witch. The witch is our spirit and our soul. The witch is awakening and leading us on our healing journey. She invites you to join us…
Our circle is founded upon inclusion, and in order to foster inclusion we must be willing to share and be willing to listen to experiences that are different from our own.
Our circle is created by a diversity of voices and beliefs.
Our circle welcomes those who are beginning their spiritual journey, and those with lineage and deep roots.
Our circle is radical, and acknowledges that spirituality and justice are interconnected.
Our circle is a safe space to explore our individual paths.
Our circle is complex and beautiful.
We do not support those whose lives and beliefs are grounded in hate and division.
We are an anti-racist, anti-fascist community.
We are showing up for collective liberation, peace, radical love, and personal growth.
The Modern Witches Confluence is a gathering that aims to heal the collective’s trauma around The Witch. The witch is our midwife, nurse, wise woman, bruja, grandmother, herbalist, empath, storyteller, and weaver of the worlds. Witches are here to help us work with our innate power, and through community, they guide us closer to collective healing.

Written by Paula Mariedaughter