Justice for Ann Menasche


On May 11, 2022, Ann Menasche, a long-time civil rights attorney, lesbian, feminist, and left-wing activist, was fired from her job of 20 years without warning within a few days of sending an email to staff that abortion bans harm women as a sex, despite a strong work record advocating for her clients.

Ann Menasche comments on sex-denialismHow could that happen? 

Was her employer a far-Right Christian fundamentalist opponent of abortion rights?

Did she violate a directive to not discuss these matters at work?

NO, and NO.

Ann’s former employer, Disability Rights California (“DRC”), is a liberal, non-profit, government funded, “do good” civil rights agency that has recently adopted a set of beliefs promoted by the extremist wing of transgender activists and their supporters. DRC demanded that its staff adopt these beliefs as well.  These controversial beliefs, rejected by many in the LGBT community itself, contend that biological sex along with sexual orientation do not exist as coherent categories, or to the extent sex exists at all, it must be overridden in all instances by gender identity.   Lesbians become “same gender” rather than “same sex” attracted, with biological males included in their dating pool. Abortion is no longer about a woman’s right to control her reproductive capacity, but the right of “all genders” to have access to generic “healthcare.”  There is no word left to describe female humans and if they are to be referred to at all, it is as a collection of body parts such as “people with uteruses” or “cervix havers.”  Anyone who disagrees with any of this is to be labelled as a “hater,” “bigot” and “TERF” (“trans exclusionary radical feminist”, an epithet used against women often combined with threats of violence, and itself a myth, since feminists welcome females who identify as transgender or nonbinary and only exclude males from female-only spaces), and whose words and very existence  are perceived as  “dangers” to the lives and well-being of transgender-identified persons.   Thus, in the name of “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” those “violent” and “hateful” staff who engage in the “thought crime” of refusing to deny the existence and continued importance of biological sex, even concerning something as essential to women’s status as abortion rights, must be excluded from the workplace. In other words, firedfor telling the truth.

Neither was Ann’s email contravening any policy.  The Executive Director himself brought up the subject of the imminent reversal of Roe v. Wade himself by announcing on the All-Staff email list that DRC had issued a public statement supporting abortion rights.  He explicitly welcomed staff feedback regarding the statement. DRC’s statement provided a laundry list of who could be negatively impacted by an abortion ban, but women or females were not mentioned.

Ann responded as follows:

So glad DRC came up with a statement in defense of Roe!  Thank you!  Access to safe, legal abortion is a life and death necessity for women as a biological sex across the board, regardless of race, economic class, gender identity, sexual orientation (even lesbians can be raped) or anything else, and an absolute prerequisite for equal female participation in our society.

Of course, the most vulnerable females, especially poor women, women of color, women with disabilities, young girls, unhoused women and girls, women and girls in prison, etc. will suffer the most under draconian anti-abortion laws.  Wealthy white women have often managed to get abortions, even before Roe.

As a veteran of the feminist struggle for abortion rights that preceded Roe, I never thought it would come to this.  Yet, it is good to remember that women won this right primarily through grassroots organizing and peaceful mass protests in the streets, and that is the way we are going to protect it.

Thanks again, DRC, for taking a stand!

Immediately, all hell broke loose.  A staff member called Ann a “hate monger” and a “TERF”.  “She argues that trans people are not who we say we are. This is a dangerous, deceitful lie, and results in serious violence and stigma against trans people…Trans men and nonbinary people also need abortions.”   This staff member had been investigating Ann’s outside feminist political activities on the Internet and cited  statements made in her role as a leader of Feminists in Struggle that the member claimed were further evidence of her “anti-transgender politics.”  Ann clarified that she was talking about sex, not gender, in her email on abortion, but to no avail.

That was on a Friday.  By the following Monday, Ann’s work team had met behind her back and had issued a statement condemning her for her opinions as being against the values of her team.  Ann responded by accusing DRC of homophobia, harassment, and bullying in the manner of a witch-hunt.  Two days later, she received a text on her cell phone stating that she was fired.   Reason given?  “Ongoing performance issues.”

Ann’s case should be deeply concerning to lesbians, feminists, supporters of workers’ rights, and anyone else who believes that employers should not have the right to control the thoughts, opinions, and outside political activities of employees.  No democracy can survive if employees are terrified, on pain of losing their jobs, of participating in political activity outside of work  of which their employer may disapprove.

And it is impossible to fight to regain the right to abortion, if we cannot mention the one and only coherent group of humans that is directly affected by abortion bans, the only group capable of becoming pregnant- women and girls i.e., biological females, regardless how they identify.

What can you do to help?

Ann Menasche sports her FIST tshirt

  1.   Sign the statements expressing solidarity and demanding justice for Ann Menasche 
  2.   Watch this page for updates on how you can donate to a fund to pay for legal expenses and costs of promoting this campaign.