Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020

https://speakupforwomen.nz/massey-university-speak-up-for-women-and-feminism-2020/

The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women.

On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020.

The intention of the event is to discuss the future of feminism. What are the big issues on the horizon for the women’s liberation movement to focus on? What can women look forward to in the future?

The reaction to the announcement that a group of women were going to discuss their own liberation movement was drearily predictable: a partnership of liberal organisations took action to shut down the conversation before it had started.

Misinformation

The usual dishonest pretexts were rolled out: according to ActionStation, one of the country’s largest activist networks, discussing women’s rights would “harm the trans community”. One trans-activist organisation called us “anti-trans extremists”.

The term “hate speech” has been applied liberally.

Even Massey University itself has publicly said that it does not share any of our views. We have asked Massey University which of our views it disagrees with. We have had no response.

In a media environment hostile to feminists speaking for themselves, we’ve been told that we oppose transgender people playing in sports; that our members are responsible for trans people killing themselves; that we are funded by powerful, right-wing Christian organisations.

This Misinformation Is Dangerous

Similar fear-mongering has resulted in attacks on women’s meetings, such as the mob that attacked the meeting of A Woman’s Place UK on September 23.

So What Are The Facts?

Feminism 2020 will be a discussion of feminism led by women and open to all. All that is, barring those who wish to disrupt the event or may be a threat to the security of those attending in peace: like all “uppity women”, Speak Up For Women have received threats for openly agreeing to the group’s principles.

The phenomenon of gender identity may well be discussed, along with other issues pertinent to women’s lives.

Do You Hate Trans People?
No.

We support the rights of transgender people to live their lives free from violence and discrimination.

Do You Engage In Hate Speech?
We have published large amounts of content on our website. We encourage you to look over it for yourself: we speak openly and honestly. You’ll find nothing that meets a reasonable definition of “hate speech”.

Are You A Hate Group?
No.

We are a non-partisan organisation that exists to protect and advance the rights and interests of women and girls in New Zealand.

Speak Up For Women formed in 2018 in opposition to the government’s sex self-ID proposals in the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill. Our campaign platform – that there was inadequate public consultation and that the Bill risked unintended consequences for women’s sex-based rights – was ultimately accepted by Minister Tracey Martin after taking legal advice, and the proposal was withdrawn.

We are a diverse group of ordinary New Zealanders including teachers, academics, health professionals, care workers, activists, lawyers and students with a shared interest in the rights of women and girls.

Are You “Trans Exclusive”?
No.

We have never refused to talk with people because they are trans. We have never excluded anyone from our organisation or our meetings because they are trans. We have never kicked anyone from our facebook page because they are trans. We speak regularly with trans people, some who share our views on women’s rights, and some who oppose them.

Our meeting is open to anyone who wishes to attend without threatening people or disrupting the event.

We would like you to come along and listen to us talk.

Maybe even say hello to us personally after the talks have ended.

We don’t have to agree on everything. But we should agree on this: If you want to disagree with an idea or a belief, then you should have a good understanding of that idea or belief first.

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