OBJECT in New York!
OBJECT have recently returned from New York City! Several members of OBJECT self-funded a trip to New York to promote and launch the Women's Declaration. The launch event (15th March) coincided with the 63rd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), so this was the perfect opportunity to network with women from across the world and gather global support for women’s sex-based rights.
Our primary OBJECTive was to spread word of the Women's Declaration and gather signatories. We also joined a protest against decriminalisation of prostitution outside New York City Hall; listened to the stories of three 'detransitioned' women (from the Pique Resilience Project) at an event in Midtown Manhattan; and witnessed the 'queer-erasure' of lesbian herstory at New York Public Library.
OBJECTing to Prostitution in New York
On Monday 11th March, we joined our state-side sisters, including members of CATW (Coalition Against Trafficking in Women), in a protest outside New York City Hall, OBJECTing to the proposed decriminilisation of prostitution.
This protest was organised to counter the actions of a group called NY Decrim, who are campaigning to introduce a bill to decriminalise prostitution in New York state.
They are supported by a number of New York state politicians, including Senator Brad Hoylman, who Tweeted:
Hoylman is simply speaking up for the status quo– upholding the right of men to buy women as sex objects maintains men's status as the ruling class. By “people who trade sex", he means “men who trade women”.
He defends the paid rape of women “no matter where they are on the spectrum of choice, circumstance, and coercion”. This opinion colludes with the findings of a 2009 study of sex buyers in London, which found that most men didn't care whether or not the women they bought were victims of force - over 50% said that they had used a woman who they knew beforehand was being forced, pimped or coerced – yet this didn't deter them (Bindel, 2017).
Decriminalisation of prostituted women is just and necessary. Decriminalisation of the men who trade women (pimps and johns) would protect such men and allow them to abuse women with impunity. The term 'decriminalisation' is used strategically by the pro sex trade lobbyists– when people hear it, many first think of the women and agree that they shouldn't be penalised for their own exploitation – but as usual the men are made invisible and unaccountable. Rather than protecting these invisible men, we endorse the Nordic Model, which decriminalises the victims of sexual exploitation (prostituted women) while criminalising the perpetrators (pimps and johns).
Our new OBJECT banner, debuted at this protest, was noticed by Gay City News. Their misleading headline suggests that we “hijacked” the protest, despite us clearly standing alongside the others (however, there were a couple of self-declared 'sex workers' who tried to hijack the event, diverting media attention). We distributed lots of flyers on the Women's Declaration and found that most of the women shared our concerns regarding 'transgender' ideology.
Gay City News also describe us as “anti-LGBTQ” – ignoring the fact that 'transgenderism' (i.e. the idea that a man can be a lesbian) is inherently lesbophobic. Young lesbians attend 'LGBT' groups in search of support, yet they are cruelly ostracised from the 'community' for setting sexual boundaries and defining their own sexuality; these women are coerced into accepting 'transwomen' as lesbians, or told that they must be 'transmen' if they do not conform to the stereotype of femininity.
Gender Hurts: Listening To 'Detransitioners'
We attended a panel discussion featuring Sheila Jeffreys and three 'detransitioned' young women. Chiara, Jesse and Helena had been submerged into the 'LGBT community' as teenagers; they all experienced Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) and identified as 'transmen' for several years. They have now all 'detransitioned'. They recently set up the Pique Resilience Project (along with a fourth 'detransitioner', Dagny) in order to spread awareness of 'detransition' and support other young people struggling with 'gender identity' issues. Their stories were enlightening, highlighting the ubiquitous nature of 'queer' culture across young peoples' lives, from school to social media. Difficult questions were raised by mothers seeking advice on how to support their 'trans'-identifying teenagers - how to maintain a positive relationship without encouraging their child along a path of self-destruction. The event was filmed live and can be viewed here, courtesy of Women's Liberation Radio News.
Lesbian Erasure at New York Public Library
It is no wonder that young lesbians are pressured into escaping their female bodies and their lesbianism by identifying as 'trans'. The so-called 'LGBT' community dismisses and erases the experiences of lesbians, as shown by an exhibition that OBJECT visited in New York Public Library. The exhibition supposedly commemorates the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, but it presents a revised version of herstory/history, excluding any mention of lesbians and describing all those involved in the riots as “queer” - a term which was primarily used as a homophobic slur at that time. The repeated use of the words “queer” and “LGBTQ”, rather than gay or lesbian, are also used by the curator of the exhibition in this video posted on the New York Public Library's website.
Promoting The Women's Declaration
We attended CSW side events on subjects ranging from menstrual health management in Africa, to the non-state torture of women, to an interactive discussion on taboo topics. Where relevant, we raised questions regarding the threat of 'transgenderism' to women's rights, particularly the issue of men attempting to infiltrate women's single-sex spaces by claiming that they have a female 'gender identity'. We spoke with women from all over the world and advertised the launch of the Women's Declaration to those interested. We collected many new signatures for the Declaration, which has now been signed by over 3300 people from at least 70 different countries!
Launch of The Women's Declaration
OBJECT's week in New York culminated in a launch event for the Women's Declaration on Friday 15th March. This was live-streamed by Women's Liberation Radio News. The discussion was chaired by Natasha Chart of WoLF (Women's Liberation Front) and featured Sheila Jeffreys, Heather Brunskell-Evans and Maureen O'Hara, all of whom were instrumental in the creation of the declaration. They explained why this affirmation of women's sex-based rights is necessary in order to counter 'trans' theory, to prevent the notion of 'gender identity' superseding that of sex class, and to protect the rights of women and children.
The Women's Declaration is rapidly gaining support across the globe. Let's keep up the momentum!