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Witch Hunts and Boundaries

The Martlet refused to publish the following op-ed after publishing the libellous article accusing UVic Womyn of being a hate-group:

The Martlet article of August 4th, 2016 entitled “Summer at the Third Space: A timeline” by Sarah Lazin left the University of Victoria community with a lot of misconceptions about what Radical Feminists are all about and I would like to take a moment to set the record strait. Calling a group of women a hate-group just because they recognize the material reality of biological sex is outrageous, and an affront to journalism. We are not a hate-group and calling us such is a Witch Hunt. Witch Hunts are a long time patriarchal pass-time; Get rid of the unacceptable women, the women who don’t conform, the powerful women who won’t roll over and do everything a man says, the women who have boundaries. I want to draw a boundary between Transwomen and Women and that boundary is along the line of biological sex. But, saying “no” to men is always a dangerous proposition and transwomen have conformed to the male pattern perfectly.

Recognizing the importance of women’s biology on women’s oppression is paramount to understanding feminism. The fact of the matter is that we are denied abortions, aborted and killed because our sex is not the preferred one (male), subjected to gross genital mutilation in order to be marriageable, sex trafficked and raped at alarming rates all over the world, not to mention get paid less and, not hired at all due to the possibility that we might get pregnant and go on maternity leave. These sex specific harms happen to women because we are female, not because of our behaviour. A person with a penis cannot share the experience of female oppression with us, but the entire female half of the human race can. Not acknowledging the shared embodied reality of being female is to deny the basis for the class consciousness of women; Without class consciousness there can be no collective action; Every problem that female people experience is turned into an individual one. Women (biological females) are a class that are oppressed by men as a class. We may have different experiences of our oppression but all our oppression is for the same reason: We are biologically female.

A group of women got together and started to discuss these ideas and we thought that more women were out there who believed the same but had nowhere to go and were feeling quite alone and persecuted. So we asked to run a Radical Feminist group at the UVSS Third Space advocacy organization. Radical Feminists on campus want to gather in order to discuss these controversial but intellectual and ideological issues. Radical Feminists reject postmodernism, queer theory and identity politics and embrace instead a class based analysis of women’s oppression.

Four main points that we differ from liberal feminists:

– Gender is a hierarchy not an identity. It is socially constructed and designed to subjugate women. Transwomen are gender non-conforming men; not women. They are oppressed on the basis of homophobia which is the patriarchy’s way of keeping men in line so they remain the oppressor class due to the suppression of empathy. Stereotypical male behaviours are not natural. Boys have these behaviours brainwashed into them as children.

– Women are oppressed because of our reproductive organs, not because of our behaviours. Stereotypical feminine behaviours were brainwashed into women since we were children and are not natural.

– Prostitution is not a job like any other. It is rape and exploitation. Consent must be freely given. A capitalist exchange is not replacement for true consent. Women are coerced to participate in prostitution due to poverty.

– Porn is is when a woman gets raped and tortured on film to facilitate the orgasms of men who are the majority of porn users. Pornography facilitates the orgasms of men by treating women as objects and connecting sex directly to violence and cruelty. Sex should be about love and making a real connection with another person; It should not be a violent performance. For more information about the harms of pornography please see Dr. Gail Dines book “Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked Our Sexuality“.

We do not endorse bullying against anyone. We support the human rights of transmen and transwomen and fully agree that they should be free from violence and oppression. We simply want to be allowed to question and criticize the ideologies of queer theory, postmodernism, and identity politics. We simply prefer to focus on the material realities of actual groups of people.

However, when we expressed our views in the form of a poster, we were immediately told that our views were hateful and any criticism of the Transgender Movement would not be tolerated and that Radical feminists (ie. actual female women) would not be allowed to organize in the Third Space.

We call on the University of Victoria, the Student Union, and the Third Space to ensure that there are biological-women-only spaces where women can find community with one another and exercise our right to free speech.

We do not want to be persecuted for our views. We would much rather have the ability to have an honest discussion with the people who disagree with us. But if we must have our meeting under the cover of night… We will like witches of yore meet under the moon. We encourage women who share our views to come and find us.

Please email us if you feel as we do and together we will build new spaces for women that are truly safe: uvicwomyn@gmail.com

Attention legal eagles: Females have human rights

The Martlet editors won’t let us reply to the anti-feminist propaganda they published, but  interested parties can read about the basis of our human-rights claim here.

Our claim is based in part on the BC Human Rights Code and the case of Vancouver Rape Relief vs. Kimberly Nixon.

Follow us on Twitter for more on this and a variety of topics from our stellar Twitter team.

 

 

 

 

Third Space advocacy group allegedly misused funds, harassed feminists

UVic Womyn is calling for financial disclosure and an end to harassment of feminists at the former Womens’ Centre in the wake of a “take-over” of women’s space.

The feminist group is demanding the University re-open space for women only. In 1981, the UVic Women’s Centre was established as a women’s lounge and meeting space. In 2016, the collective re-branded it “Third Space” for gender-variant people, and adopted new policies that require members to subscribe to its theory of gender identity.

UVic Womyn is also challenging the Third Space collective’s decision to “donate” $3200 of its budget to former financial coordinator Daphne Shaed, a trans person who identifies as a Hindu woman.

In September, Nadia Hamdon, the new financial coordinator, quit her position without explanation and the centre is now unstaffed, according to an email from Erin Ewart, the executive director of the UVic Student Society.

“This raises a lot of questions,” said Tara Prema, researcher for UVic Womyn. “The space is for women. Student fees are collected for programs for women. Students did not vote to give thousands of dollars to an individual staffer who ‘identifies’ as a woman.”

“We are going to insist on holding Third Space and UVic Student Society accountable for these decisions.,” Prema said.

The Third Space website has not advertised any programs or services for students since May.

In summer 2016, a Third Space coordinator confronted a UVic student about her support for women’s space, and the student says the collective banned her from the centre for that reason.

“It’s no crime to have a different opinion,” says the student. “Students did not consent to converting the Women’s Centre to Third Space.”

“Both women and trans people deserve to be safe. But we have different issues. So why can’t each group have a place to meet and organize?”

UVic Womyn claim the atmosphere in the Student Union Building has become “openly hostile” toward feminists. The student points to an incident in early September during an event sponsored by the UVSS. Organizers for the Victoria Anarchist Bookfair distributed copies of a poster with names and photos of three women alleged to be part of UVic Womyn, which they called a “hate group.”

Students watched in shock as a group of bookfair organizers confronted and verbally abused a student who resembled one of the women on the poster. A bystander intervened and the student was able to get away from the group who tried to chase them down the hall of the SUB.

UVic Womyn tweeted that they are not connected to the women on the poster. Regardless, a bookfair presenter from Vancouver posted the women’s names and faces on Facebook. A second bookfair volunteer bragged about confronting the student and complained that organizers should have prevented feminists from attending the public event.

One of the women named on the poster is Erin Wallace, a UVic grad now living and teaching in Germany. Wallace had no connection with UVic Womyn at the time of the Anarchist Bookfair. She has filed a complaint with Saanich police, who are now investigating.

“It’s anti-feminist,” said Erin Wallace. “They’re trying to scare us into silence. To go to the extreme of harassing and threatening women who want to organize in the absence of men clearly represents a backlash against feminism.”

“The censoring and exclusion of feminists from the campus Women’s Centre by males and their supporters is an alarming symptom of this backlash,” Wallace said.

No staff, no programs at UVic’s Third Space

The latest news from the Third Space collective (formerly the University of Victoria Women’s Centre) comes from a source who received a letter from the collective’s governing body, the UVic Students Society. According to the letter, the staff have left or quit, and no one is currently running programs at the Third Space. Kay Gallivan’s term as Communications Coordinator has ended, and Nadia Hamdon has stepped down from her role as Finance Coordinator, the source said.

We can understand why people might distance themselves from the advocacy group, especially since it voted in August 2016 to “donate” thousands of dollars of university money to its own former Finance Coordinator, Daphne Shaed – the self-proclaimed “tranny cyborg Hindu goddess” who looks to us like a white man with a huge case of entitlement.

The Third Space collective has been in a state of chaos since it started making concessions to allow people who do not identify as women into the women’s centre. Soon after, the group changed its name to Third Space and began denouncing and banning feminists. Allegations of harassment have flown in every direction all summer.

This is the second time in four months that the space has been left unstaffed. In June 2016, the coordinators unexpectedly went “on leave” and the centre was closed for several weeks before it re-opened as Third Space. No events or programs for students or community members have been scheduled since May 2016.

The Centre’s budget is estimated at over $40,000, all of it collected from UVic students. We are still trying to find out where the group spends that money.

Why We Spell Womyn with a Y

People are curious about why we spell “womyn” with a “y.” Good question! It’s a kind of shorthand. Traditionally, womyn-with-a-y means “women without men.” For us, the Y is also short for “Why?” As in: “Why are women not allowed to have safe space away from males?” and “Why can’t we talk critically about gender without being harassed?”

How does UVic Third Space spend its money?

It’s a troubling question, and we’re looking for answers. So far we have not seen any accounting or financial reports.

We also do not see any advocacy on behalf of women, non-binaries, gender-fluids, or students in general.

This is the web site that greets students, a week after classes began for the fall semester.

thirdspace

The former Women’s Centre (now called Third Space, for anyone who identifies as gender-variant) started the fall semester with a blank page. There have been no updates, events, or meeting announcements since April. It seems the money is not being spent on outreach or assistance for undergrads.

The Centre’s budget is money taken from student fees. So where is the benefit for students?

When we looked further, we found meeting minutes with a very questionable budget item: A $3200 donation to former finance coordinator Daphne Shaed.

 

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Source: August 2 2016 Collective Meeting minutes

 

It is not clear from the minutes why an advocacy group is giving such a large part of its budget to a former staff person as a “donation,” or why the group would create a new position to support Daphne.

How is this consistent with the mandate of the Centre or any non-profit organization?

We are seeking answers from the University. Any info we receive will be published here.

 

Related post: Conflict on Campus as Women’s Centre becomes Third Space

“Knives Out” for feminists at UVic

This right here is why women need a SANE space on campus.

We tweeted about going to an event at the 11th Annual Victoria Anarchist Bookfair at UVic. An organizer posted a warning that “TERFs” would be kicked out. Then this happened.

jay-peg-knives-out
Yes they are talking about us. They don’t know who we are but they are asking for info so they can find us.

A response to the Martlet: what really happened at the UVic Women’s Centre

Things have been hostile in the Student Union Building lately. This summer has been marked by a battle for the Women’s Centre, as a small but vocal contingent of radical transpeople (known by some as anti-feminist trans activists, or AFTAs) have taken over and excluded feminists from a Centre founded 35 years ago as a safe space for women.

This takeover was accomplished without consulting with students.

Progress on the women’s rights front has been slow going. In the past two years alone, there have been four rapes reported by female students at UVic. Two women were murdered by men in Victoria last year, and a man murders a woman twice a week in Canada. Over a thousand indigenous women are missing or murdered in the past decade. The Women’s Centre was set up to be a safe space for women, and that provision is in the Centre’s UVSS constitution. Every day on campus, males harass objectify women students. Women are underrepresented in tenured positions in this colonized environment.

All the more reason why places like the Women’s Centre are essential for all female-bodied people who need them. Until protections are enshrined in reality and men learn not to rape and kill us based on our biological sex, these spaces are essential in providing safe and inclusive environments for traumatized women. If the community and the powers that be do not see you as a person worth protecting, there has to be somewhere you can go where you are.

There is no such place for women at UVic.

Given the everyday challenges and violence faced by women, it’s repugnant to think that AFTAs on campus have succeeded in removing women’s access to one of the few safe spaces they have, but that’s what has happened. In addition to opposing the Women’s Centre’s policies, this contingent has also admitted to forcing feminists out of the SUB and even calling campus security to keep them out. Despite the debate that exists around who belongs to the women movement and what it means to include women people in formerly women’s-only spaces, we’re sure that trans students, with a two-million-dollar endowment, can set up their own centre.

Martlet writers lack the feminist analysis needed to understand the problems at the Women’s Centre right now. But they should know that if you want to solve something, you shouldn’t kick the people out who you have a problem with.