NEW YORK — A peaceful demonstration by women’s rights campaigners critical of gender ideology was attacked by antifa thugs and so-called trans activists here Nov. 14. Police arrested nine attackers after they surged against police barricades and hurled threats against the women.
The event was the last stop of a multicity “Let Women Speak” tour by Kellie-Jay Keen, a British women’s advocate and founder of Standing for Women. She was unable to get to the podium as dozens of antifa members surrounded the stage. As others spoke about women’s rights and the harmful impact of gender ideology imposed on children in many schools, an estimated 200 attackers screamed “Nazi scum,” made lewd sexual gestures and attempted to spit on the women.
In a May 27 interview with Tucker Carlson, Keen said that she decided to speak out after universities, schools, health care and judicial systems started “making ‘woman’ only OK to say when you are talking about a man. He can be a woman, I can’t, I have to be a “ciswoman” or something else. … You have no chance of having a real discussion if you can’t define who a woman is.”
She pointed to the incident last year at a spa in Los Angeles where women and children were joined by an unclothed male. When women complained, they were told that the spa had to abide by whatever a customer says they are. “Instead of denouncing the man for indecent exposure, we have to pretend he’s a brave woman who wanted to share space with a little girl,” Keen said. “We need to fight for ourselves, without rights we have nothing.”
Keen had canceled an Oct. 25 tour stop in Portland, Oregon, after threats of violence, including one by an antifa leader who organized a fundraiser to buy weapons. The police refused to offer her any protection.
The following day in Tacoma, Washington, a Let Women Speak rally of 30 was disrupted by over 200 thugs. Some wore brass knuckles and attempted to slam female speakers to the ground. “We peaceably assembled for our free speech and we were mobbed,” Amy Sousa told the press. At least one woman had her fingers deliberately broken by an attacker.
There have been a series of similar attacks, and blows to constitutional rights, against women who defend the scientific fact that there are two distinct sexes, men and women. Without this, there is no way to chart a course toward women’s emancipation.
In October, Cambridge University officials in the U.K. apologized for “distressing” students when they invited Helen Joyce, an Irish journalist and former editor at the Economist, to speak about her book, Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality. She maintains that biological sex is an immutable fact.
After the event, Professor Arif Ahmed wrote in the Telegraph about having to smuggle students into the meeting because they were afraid of ostracism for attending. “It’s hard to convey the reality and the extent of this fear, which stalks the halls of academia,” he said. “I say contentious debate on things that matter is literally the whole point of a university education. If you can’t do it here, where and when can you do it?”
On Oct. 30, Colombian writer Carolina Sanín posted comments on her website about the tension between feminism and transgenderism. After expressing support for the rights of transgender people, she said that “equating completely the identity of trans women with women who are born women erases the historical experience” of both groups.
It can reinforce gender stereotypes, she said. “Now girls feel that when they don’t adjust completely to what is expected of a girl or adolescent women, it means they are actually males.”
Five days later Almadía, a publisher that contracted the rights to publish two of Sanín’s novels in Mexico, canceled plans for publication, pointing to her “questioning of identity politics.”
“These attacks on the constitutional right to free speech and free assembly are a deadly danger to the working class,” Sara Lobman, who was the Socialist Workers Party’s 2022 candidate for U.S. Senate in New York, told the Militant. “The poisonous anti-science ‘identity politics’ and ‘cancel culture’ violence do damage to the scientific knowledge and free debate of ideas that are essential for the emancipation of women. And for building the unity that our class needs in the face of increased attacks by the bosses on our living and job conditions.”