“I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.” Audre Lorde
Q. “What do Chimamanda-ngozi Adichie, Yuly Chan, Max Dashu, Martina Navratilova, Nina Paley and Thistle Pettersen have in common?”
A. They are all feminists who have been accused of transphobia and, like Thistle, many have been forced into silence.
DefendFeminists Urges Our Supporters to sign this open letter to Panteacon protesting their recent banning of Max Dashu. Max’s decades of historical research in the Suppressed Histories Archives are of immense value to everyone who has an interest in sex, gender, cultural heritages, and systems of domination. Max was banned, not because of anything she said or did at PantheaCon, but because of online attacks and baseless allegations about other events. We know that the internet is infected with false sources and bad actors, and accusations on social media cannot be trusted as a source of truth.
Chimamanda-ngozi Adichie: “I think people are frightened of saying what they think, and I think that’s a bad thing for society,” she told The Atlantic’s national correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates and editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg in Paris recently. “The problems in the left interest me more because I just think that there’s an increase in—‘intolerance’ is maybe putting it simply—but there’s a feeling that you’re supposed to conform.”
“Few have done more for LGBTQ visibility in sports over the last four decades than Martina Navratilova.”according to an article in The Nation. “During her illustrious tennis career—she has one of the great athletic résumés in any sport—Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles and a remarkable 31 major-doubles crowns. In the process, she raised eyebrows and consciousness by coming out early in her career, bringing her partner to matches and being coached for a time by the first professional trans tennis player, Renée Richards.”
Yet, she has come under attack for advocating for women in sport. When the champion made a statement that transgender women should not compete against natal women she was harrased on Twitter and expelled from LGBTQ advocacy group Athlete Ally. Here is Billie Jean King, pathbreaking female tennis players statement in defense of Martina:
Nina Paley is a cartoonist, animator, and social activist. She has been prevented from entering the public sphere for the “crime” of sharing the statement “If a person has a penis he’s a man.” Her reputation, career, and freedom of expression are threatened. See her open letter to the University of Illinois which she wrote in response to the defamation she has suffered.
Nina refused to be silenced. She spoke at a recent event at the downtown Urbana Public Library, which, despite the controversy, was a huge success. Women are following her lead by being brave in the face of opposition. Watch “Does Sex Matter? Gender Identity vs. Material Reality” linked to below.
Yuly Chan is a first-generation Chinese-Canadian, originally from Venezuela. Based in Vancouver, BC, she has worked extensively with social justice organizations for the last 10 years on health inequalities, fighting patriarchy, racism, and poverty. She began as an organizer with the Vancouver Bus Riders Union focusing public transit and environmental justice. She then co-founded the Alliance for People’s Health, a collective of health workers and students that organized around health and quality of life for working class people. Presently, she is an active member of the Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution, working to challenge the normalization of human trafficking and prostitution. Due to her abolitionist stance on prostitution she has been no- platformed, silenced, and defamed. Read the Chinatown Action Group’s open letter in defense of Yuly.