On Sunday, August 16, international feminist organization Women's Human Rights Campaign (WHRC) launched their United States chapter. The launch comes during the week of the 2020 Democratic National Convention as feminists are pushing back against misogyny in the party's platform.
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 that of ‘gender identity’. The organization is gathering signatures on its public decree, the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights, which was developed to petition governments to re-affirm and reinstate sex-based protections for all women and girls, including lesbians, who are discriminated against because of their sex-based attraction.
The Declaration's purpose is to affirm the international rights of women and girls, "including women’s rights to physical and reproductive integrity, and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls that result from the replacement of the category of sex with that of ‘gender identity’, and from ‘surrogate’ motherhood and related practices." The petition currently has over 11,000 signatures from 118 countries. Over 200 organizations from across the globe have also signed on to show their support for women's sex-based rights.
The organization is especially concerned with the rise of "gender identity" in the United States and the impact of enshrining gender identity into law on women and girls. According to a press release put out by the USA chapter, "Since people have been legally permitted to “identify” as the opposite sex, many males “identifying” as females have gained access to female-only spaces and asserted themselves in predatory ways. These outcomes have caused many to challenge the notion of ‘gender identity’ and have urgent concern about its implications for females."
The safety of women and girls is the primary concern of feminists. Organizations like WHRC have noted that a push in among "progressives" in the Democratic Party to include men in women's spaces has led to men filling women's seats in politics, boys competing against girls in sports, grown men attempting to gain access to bathrooms for female children, violent men being admitted to women's prisons, and violent attacks against women who speak up against this.
In the United States, progressives in the Democratic Party have led the fight to erase the right of women and girls to female-only spaces. For example, Joe Biden's 2020 campaign websites states that he would prioritize letting men access women's homeless shelters, compete in women's sports, and be housed in women's prisons, calling men's access to women's spaces "the civil rights issue of our time.” The Biden campaign has also repeated myths about the rates of violence against "transgender women of color," which have been debunked.
This week, while Biden and other prominent Democrats take the stage, the USA chapter of WHRC will be promoting the Declaration of Women's Sex-Based Rights, reaching out to politicians, and engaging in civil actions to raise attention to the cause. Volunteers from the organization will be delivering a statement from WHRC to all Democratic Senators. The statement requests that Democrats return to their historical position of being the party that protects women's rights by amending the Equality Act before passing it to ensure it upholds existing protections for women an girls.
Dr. Katherine Acosta, Co-Chair of the Interim Steering Committee for WHRC USA, says that the chapter plans to lobby the Democratic Party for reform in the coming months.
"Our mission is to educate and to advocate law and public policy to uphold the sex-based rights of women and girls," Acosta stated, "as enumerated in the 1979 UN Convention on the Eradication of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and US law such as Title VII and Title IX. All of these cite sex, not gender identity."
Part of the problem facing the feminist activists is the myth that all who oppose gender identity are politically or socially conservative, despite the fact that the radical feminists who founded WHRC are explicitly leftists and progressives.
"Every issue is framed as our side is for this and their side against. There is no room for nuance and complexity," says Acosta. "I wrote to my then-Senator Tammy Baldwin last year during the hearings on the Equality Act to express my concerns. She wrote back that she understood that Christians were concerned, even though I never mentioned religion at all. I have not set foot in a church in decades."
WHRC USA hopes to educate Democratic leadership that many in the party are not on board with the changes happening on local, state, and national levels which enshrine gender identity into law at the expense of women.
"I don’t know all the political affiliations and positions of the 1300+ American women who have already signed the Declaration," Acosta says. "All I know is that we agree on this: Women, historically and today, have been oppressed and discriminated against based on our sex, not our gender identity, and that we must work together to protect and defend our sex-based rights."
WHRC’s Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights is publicly accessible, and any supportive individual or organization is encouraged to review and sign it at womensdeclaration.com. WHRC USA is on Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter, and is currently developing its USA-specific page on the main WHRC website.
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