Filed under: Action, Anti-fascist, Anti-Patriarchy, Queer, Southeast, Trans
Action report on counter-protest against far-Right and TERF coalition in DC. Originally posted to FTP Distro.
We were about 25-30 people deep that day, armed only with whistles, pots and pans, tranarchy flags, protest signs and one (surprisingly loud) bullhorn. The transphobic coalition that converged on June 23rd , ostensibly for the 50th anniversary of Title IX, was a mix of far-Right wing christofascists and TERFs. The groups involved were Independent Women’s Voice, WoLF (Women’s Liberation Front), WDI USA, Concerned Women For America, Independent Women’s Network, Independent Women’s Law Center, Family Research Council, Save Women’s Sports, Alliance Defending Freedom, The Heritage Foundation, Young Women For America, and the Independent Women’s Forum.
Both WDI USA and WoLF were the TERF bloc of the coalition. The other remaining groups were far-Right christofascists. Our group met nearby early on at 10:30 AM to counter-protest as soon as they began speaking. They were set up on the western half of the plaza under a large set of canopies with their own sound system and podium. We got as close as we possibly could without being detained by the police. The park police were aggressive and they kept their distance while we sustained our noise demo against them. They told us that we would be detained if we did not move. Unfortunately while we were certainly loud enough to distract and disrupt their rally, we did not have the numbers to overtake the police and private security that day.
Our side grappled with our own apprehensions during our planning stage about the optics of physically confronting the TERFs, even though in any other circumstance we would justifiably call these people Nazis. The content of their speeches can be found on right-wing media outlets, who had their own journalists present. Their rhetoric and tone was explicitly exterminationist. This was not a rally merely about transgender people participating in sports; it was about transgender people existing in society. Their rhetoric was also explicitly right-wing, and most of the coalition had no pretense about radical feminism. Members of both blocs of the coalition tried to confront us with their phones in hand to record us. Although none of us answered their pointed questions, someone else came prepared with a printout explaining our action (this was also handed to right-wing journalists). We did the noise demo for the entire length of their hateful rally without any arrests.
Our action was planned last-minute (literally the week of the event). If we had had more time, we may have been able to reach out to larger networks of people and fully confront the event to prevent it from even happening (maybe even in bloc attire).
SCOTUS killed Roe the very next day, and fittingly, many of the groups present at this rally were major think tanks that push for anti-abortion laws.