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61 minutes | Jun 25, 2021
PODCAST: Jess de Wahls can’t be cancelled
On June 17, Britain’s Royal Academy of Arts published a post on Instagram, saying: “Thank you to all those for bringing an item in the RA Shop by an artist expressing transphobic views to our attention. We were unaware of the artist’s stated views, and their work will not be stocked in the future. We…
51 minutes | Jun 23, 2021
PODCAST: Trans Mission — an interview with Jennifer Lahl
The transitioning of kids is ever more common these days, despite growing concerns about physical, mental, and social impacts of encouraging youth to identify as the opposite sex. A new documentary film, Trans Mission, explores the background, messaging, and consequences of transitioning kids, through conversations with doctors, experts, parents, educators, and detransitioners. In this episode,…
28 minutes | May 3, 2021
PODCAST: Beth Stelzer is on a mission to save women’s sports
A key concern for women, in terms of the impact of gender identity legislation, has been new policies being rolled out in various countries around the world, allowing males to compete with and against girls in sport. Beth Stelzer is a housewife, a mom, and an amateur powerlifter in Minnesota. She founded Save Women’s Sports in 2019. She is currently traveling around the US, advocating for legislation that protects women and girls sports and fighting legislation allowing males who identify as female to compete with and against women and girls. I spoke with Beth about the situation in the US, in terms of legislation, and why this fight matters.
45 minutes | Apr 9, 2021
PODCAST: Donna Hughes was denounced by her university for questioning gender identity
Donna Hughes is a Professor at the University of Rhode Island (URI) in the Gender and Women’s Studies Department. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence and has long conducted research on human trafficking, particularly the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and girls. After publishing an article entitled, “Fantasy Worlds on the Political Right and Left: QAnon and Trans-Sex Beliefs” at 4W, the calls for her firing began online. Due to her criticisms of gender identity ideology, the University denounced her with zero conversation. Hughes is a founding member of the recently-launched Academic Freedom Alliance. She told Inside Higher Ed that her case demonstrates “precisely why the AFA was founded and is so necessary.” I spoke with her this week about the situation, what has happened to Women’s Studies departments over the past decade, and why we can’t talk about gender identity. You can contact the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at the University of Rhode Island here.
41 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
PODCAST: The limitations of social media feminism
Social media has become central to many of our lives — even moreso as COVID restrictions have prevented us from meeting and organizing in person. But even before the pandemic, much of feminist activism had moved online. Hashtag movements were receiving wide coverage in the media and the idea of being able to easily connect with women all around the world and share our voices and experiences widely seemed almost revolutionary. But was social media actually a gift to feminism? Or a curse? Jessica Megarry is a lecturer in Political Science at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She is also the author of The Limitations of Social Media Feminism: No space of our own. I spoke with her recently via Skype.
34 minutes | Feb 19, 2021
PODCAST: Courtney Piper on Women Picket DC
On January 20 2021, President Biden signed the “Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.” Biden’s order chooses to interpret sex broadly as “sexual orientation and gender identity” but does not make any provisions for the physical category of sex, meaning that women and girls may no longer be a legally protected class once the order is implemented. In response, American feminists are organizing. Courtney Piper, a Former Child Protective Service Specialist, Doula, mother, grassroots journalist, and spiritual activist, has planned Women Picket DC, set to take place on March 8 — international women’s day — to protest Biden’s executive order and to demand rights as women and girls to single sex spaces and sports. From the Women Picket DC website: “We believe and fight for the rights of women and girls to: Exist based on our whole humanity as female humans, ie. women and girls, and reject being reduced to a “gender identity.” Single sex spaces including bathrooms, changing rooms, locker rooms, military barracks, shelters, prisons, and rape crisis centers. Insist on bodily integrity, privacy, and safety. Anything less is a violation of our boundaries and an enforcement of rape culture. Single sex sports. Women and girls deserve the rights conferred under Title IX with fair opportunities for participation and scholarships. Men and boys have many physiological advantages over women & girls. The right to choose a health care provider of their own sex, which is simply a matter of consent. Anything less is a violation of our boundaries and an enforcement of rape culture. The right of free speech. Women and girls deserve the right to name material reality as it exists. We deserve to use accurate language when speaking about human sex and name adult human males as men.” I spoke with Courtney over the phone from her home in Portland. Follow her work at witchnbitch.org.
66 minutes | Feb 4, 2021
PODCAST: Will President Joe Biden’s executive order erase women’s rights?
Last month, on inauguration day, President Biden signed the “Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.” Women across the United States and around the world reacted with anger. This meant, they feared, the erasure of women’s sex-based rights. But the language and impacts of the order are difficult to decipher for a layperson. In order to clarify, I spoke with Lauren Adams, legal director of Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), a US-based women-only organization dedicated to the total liberation of women and girls.
78 minutes | Jan 4, 2021
PODCAST: Phyllis Chesler on Aileen Wuornos, America’s ‘first female serial killer’
Aileen Wuornos, often labelled America’s “first female serial killer,” was executed by lethal injection in Florida in 2002. Her life was one of endless trauma and abuse, beginning as a child and extending into her adult life, as a prostitute. The men she killed were said to be johns — she insisted all these murders were done in self-defence. Phyllis Chesler recently published a book about Wuornos, exploring her life, crimes, and trial. Chesler was heavily involved in Wuornos’ case back in the 90s, viewing her then as “a feminist folk hero of sorts,” responding to threats against her life, and wanted the world to understand the trauma endured by women in prostitution. Chesler saw a potential defense of Wuornos in a version of “battered women’s syndrome” — something traditionally used to defend women who kill their abusive husbands after years of torture, claiming self-defence. In November, Chesler published Requiem for a Female Serial Killer, a “psychological crime thriller.” She is a retired professor of psychology and women’s studies and the author of numerous books, including Women and Madness and A Politically Incorrect Feminist. I spoke with her on October 20, 2020, over the phone, from her home in New York.
49 minutes | Nov 30, 2020
PODCAST: Keira Bell fights the unethical prescribing of hormone blockers to minors in the UK
At 16, Keira Bell was prescribed puberty blockers by the National Health Service’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS). She went on to take testosterone, before getting a double mastectomy in pursuit of transition. Bell is now 23, has detransitioned, and is suing the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, which runs the UK’s only gender identity development service for children, challenging the idea minors can consent to hormone blockers and other medical routes towards transition. On Friday, November 27th, I spoke with Keira about her experience as a teenager, why she felt she was “transgender,” and what gender identity clinics should do differently. The High Court will rule on the case Tuesday morning. Update — Dec. 1, 2020: The High Court rules children under 16 are unlikely to be able to give informed consent to puberty-blocking drugs.
64 minutes | Nov 13, 2020
PODCAST: Helen Joyce on doing journalism in the gender identity era
Helen Joyce has been a staff journalist at The Economist since 2005 and is currently executive editor for The Economist’s events business. Previously, Helen edited the paper’s economics and finance section, and before that, the International section. Helen has a PhD in mathematics from University College London. She is currently writing a book about gender identity. I spoke with her about the experience of covering the gender identity debate, female detransitioners, “thought-stopping cliches,” and the people who buy into all of it.
70 minutes | Oct 16, 2020
PODCAST: The Transsexual Empire revisited — Janice Raymond on transgenderism, yesterday and today
In 1979, Janice Raymond published The Transsexual Empire, the first and probably most well-known book articulating a radical feminist analysis of transgenderism. Little did we know, 40 years later, trans activism would become the biggest threat to feminism in decades. She warned us all, early on, and now we are living it: watching women’s sex based right be eroded in order to accommodate gender identity legislation. So much of Raymond’s analysis could have been written today. But it wasn’t I spoke with Janice recently about the book, how it was received then vs how it is discussed today, the backlash, what we are up against now, and how we can fight back. Janice is professor emerita of women’s studies and medical ethics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the author of four books, was Co-Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) from 1994–2007, and served on CATW’s Board of Directors until recently. I spoke with her over Skype on September 15, 2020.
67 minutes | Sep 18, 2020
PODCAST: The Women’s Human Rights Campaign launches in the US, fighting to save women’s sex-based rights
On August 16, the Women’s Human Rights Campaign (WHRC) launched its United States chapter. WHRC is an international group of women dedicated to protecting the human rights of women and girls, and opposing the replacement of the category of sex with “gender identity.” The organization is gathering signatures on its Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights, the organization’s founding document. In the US, feminists are faced with fighting the Equality Act (H.R. 5), passed by a Democratic majority in the House last year. The Equality Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, sex, and gender identity, causing a conflict for the protection of women’s rights. In this episode, I speak with Dr. Katherine Acosta, recent Co-Chair of the Interim Steering Committee for WHRC USA, and Lauren Levey, a veteran women’s rights activist, and recent member of WHRC USA about the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights, the Equality Act, and how we might shape law in order to protect the rights of women, as well as the gender non-conforming or trans-identified.
72 minutes | Sep 5, 2020
PODCAST: Daphna Morell and Luba Fein on the feminist movement in Israel
The global women’s movement is a force to be reckoned with. The fight against the sex trade has been particularly successful in Israel, where feminists united to pass The Prohibition of Consumption of Prostitution Services Act, a law that imposes fines for consuming prostitution or attempting to pay for it. The law began being enforced in July, making Israel the tenth country to adopt the Nordic model. To learn more about the feminist movement in Israel, I spoke with two Israeli activists, Daphna Morell and Luba Fein. Daphna is a libertarian and feminist from Tel Aviv, currently living in Portland. Luba is an anti-sex trade activist living in Israel. She is a member of the Women’s Organization Coalition against Prostitution and Trafficking in Israel, and has worked with various NGOs to implement the Nordic model in Israel. Luba is currently working on a book analyzing the history of the Sex Buyer Law in Israel from the perspective of sex trade survivors.
45 minutes | Jul 4, 2020
PODCAST: Susan Hawthorne — In defense of separatism
Susan Hawthorne (Photo: Nick Walton-Healy) The word “separatism” may lead some to recoil. But what does it really mean, from radical feminist perspective? Susan Hawthorne is co-founder of Spinifex Press, an independent feminist press in Melbourne, Australia, and author of two novels, nine collections of poetry, four non fiction books, and numerous other publications. She first published In Defense of Separatism in 1976, as an honours thesis, and decided to revisit the subject, publishing it as a book in 2019, considering the revived debate around women’s spaces. In this episode, I speak with Susan about separatism and her analysis of women’s oppression, today and yesterday. Susan has a doctorate in Women’s Studies and Political Science from the University of Melbourne, as well as post graduate qualifications in Ancient Greek and Sanskrit and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Philosophy from La Trobe University. Susan won the 2017 Inspire Award, Penguin Random House Best Achievement in Writing for her work as an outstanding lifetime contributor to increasing people’s awareness of disability. In 2015 she received the George Robertson Award for her services to the publishing industry. In 1996 she won the Hall of Fame Award in The Rainbow Awards for contribution to the Gay and Lesbian Community. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Writing Program at James Cook University. In Defense of Separatism is published with Spinifex Press.
62 minutes | Jun 15, 2020
PODCAST: Prof Kathleen Lowrey didn’t hide her views on gender identity ideology, and was punished for it
University of Alberta associate professor Kathleen Lowrey was dismissed as associate chair of undergraduate studies in the department of anthropology in March. Kathleen Lowrey, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alberta, was recently dismissed from her role as undergraduate programs chair. She was told students had complained about her views on gender identity ideology. I spoke with her on Thursday about what happened and about the current culture in academia, in terms of free speech, open debate, and the ability of students and professors alike to discuss the issue of gender identity. Follow Kathleen on Spinster @kathleenbee.
61 minutes | May 20, 2020
PODCAST: Stella Perrett on why free speech and satire should matter to feminists
Credit: Stella Perrett Stella Perrett was a political cartoonist for the UK’s only socialist daily newspaper, The Morning Star, from 2015 to 2020. She had published cartoons criticizing capitalism, the police, Brexit, the American president, and more. It wasn’t until Stella drew a cartoon called “Endgame,” commenting on the impact of potential changes to the Gender Recognition Act on women’s rights, that she ran into trouble. After complaints from trans activists and leftists like Owen Jones online, who said the cartoon was “transphobic,” The Morning Star pulled the cartoon. I spoke with Stella on May 11th about her career, her views on censorship, the value of satire, the Charlie Hebdo massacre, why feminists and the left need to stand up for free speech and free expression, and more.
65 minutes | May 11, 2020
PODCAST: Women as ‘breeders’ — Renate Klein on the harms of surrogacy
Renate Klein, author of “Surrogacy: A Human Rights Violation” We hear about surrogacy routinely in the media, almost consistently in a celebratory way — a baby is gifted to a loving and deserving family. Celebrities announce they are “having a baby” via a surrogate and face almost no criticism. But what’s really behind the practice? Why are we so accepting of a clearly unethical and exploitative industry? In this episode, I speak with Renate Klein to learn more about the multitude of harms caused by this practice around the world. Renate is a feminist health activist, an original signatory to Stop Surrogacy Now, a founder of FINRRAGE (Feminist International Network of Resistance to Reproductive and Genetic Engineering), co-founder of Spinifex Press, and author of Surrogacy: A Human Rights Violation.
54 minutes | Apr 30, 2020
PODCAST: A global feminist perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic is needed
The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone. But imagine if you were impoverished, a migrant, or living in close quarters with no way to socially isolate. What if you were a prostituted woman? A domestic worker? What if you were trapped in an abusive relationship, with nowhere to go? How have the pandemic and the lockdowns impacted the most marginalized among us? And how have exploitative industries — like the porn industry — profited? How have women, in particular, been impacted? How could we better support these women? Can we really continue to pretend as though sex is a social construct, rather than a material reality, considering the different ways males and females are impacted by coronavirus? This week, I talk to Anna Zobnina, coordinator of the European Network of Migrant Women, a migrant-women led platform of NGOs that works, in the spirit of intersectional feminism, for the rights of migrant women in Europe; a member of the executive committee of the European Women’s Lobby; a former research analyst with the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies; and a selected expert with the European Institute for Gender Equality. Read her article, “Global Feminist Perspective on the Pandemic: What ‘normal’ do we expect when the crisis is over?” at migrantwomennetwork.org
130 minutes | Apr 13, 2020
PODCAST: Michelle Mara on the truth about the decriminalized sex trade in New Zealand
Michelle Mara is a British-born survivor of the sex trade in New Zealand. She is a single mother of four who writes and speaks about her experiences in prostitution in New Zealand, including as a madam, during prohibition as well as after the trade was fully decriminalized. Michelle has been a refugee support worker for Somali women in Wellington, a foster parent for Native American (Lakota) children in South Dakota, a mental health and disability advocate, social support advisor for young families during the aftermath of 9/11 in the U.S Military, and has voluntarily housed numerous at risk teens. She advocates for the Equality/Nordic model and co-founded Wahine Toa Rising NZ, a survivor-led organization supporting sexually exploited women and girls, currently working towards establishing exit supports and services, as well as a refuge/safe house for vulnerable women wanting to exit prostitution. I spoke with her from her home in New Zealand on March 25th, 2020.
48 minutes | Mar 24, 2020
PODCAST: Indian filmmaker Vaishnavi Sundar made a film about sexual harassment, then got cancelled by liberal feminists
Vaishnavi Sundar Last month, a scheduled screening of Vaishnavi Sundar’s film, But What Was She Wearing? was abruptly cancelled. Vaishnavi was told, a week before the screening, that the event was cancelled because of her “transphobic” views. This was in reference, she discovered, to some tweets she had posted about gender identity politics online, including questioning whether males who identify as transgender should be allowed to complete against and with women in sport, be transferred to female prisons, or use women’s change rooms. Vaishnavi had spent three years on the film, interviewing women in India about their experiences of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. She published an article about the ordeal in Spiked earlier this month, titled, “I was cancelled for my tweets on transgenderism.” In it, she writes: “I grew up in Avadi in the south of India. I have spent most of my life working with marginalised women. But I was simply not the right flavour of woke for the postmodern, queer-theory espousing desis of Manhattan. I have since confronted the editors of the publications that blacklisted me. It appears that Indian trans-rights activists googled my name and wrote to every outlet I had ever been published in, telling them about my ‘TERFy’ tweets. By being outcast, I was essentially being told that the feminism I live by — the feminism of Mary Wollstonecraft, Emmeline Pankhurst and Andrea Dworkin — was exclusionary because it rejected males in female safe spaces. My intersectionality wasn’t expansive enough to accommodate men. My feminism did not embrace the ‘choice’ of carrying water for patriarchy. Advocating for women’s safety was ‘anti-trans’, the meaning of which I am still struggling to understand. I am not ‘anti’ anything except the endless derivative forms of misogyny.” Vaishnavi Sundar is an independent filmmaker, feminist, writer, and women’s rights activist from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. She is the founder of Women Making Films and Lime Soda Films, and is currently conducting research for a new film about the effect of microfinance on women. I spoke with her over the phone this week. To watch But what was she wearing, visit: https://gumroad.com/vaishax
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