Filed under: Action, Anti-fascist, Anti-Patriarchy, Pacific, Queer, Trans
On Saturday, September 16th, over 100 antifascists, feminists, and pro-LGBTQ+ demonstrators hit the streets of San Francisco outside of a Hilton Hotel to oppose a much smaller anti-trans conference organized by the Women’s Declaration International (WDI), a collection of “radical feminists” who have embraced far-Right anti-trans conspiracy theories and push for attacks on the LGBT+ community.
The leadership of the organization, including Kara Dansky and Lierre Keith, are also members of the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), itself a front for Deep Green Resistance, which has long been ejected from left-wing and anarchist spaces due to their open transphobia. These groups have moved to work directly with the far-Right; from attending right-wing conferences, engaging with neo-fascists like Tucker Carlson, to standing shoulder to shoulder with groups like the Proud Boys, the WDI has built a reactionary coalition aimed at attacking the lives and rights of trans people. The WDI conference even featured a panel on “working with the right.”
For a deeper dive, check out our podcast on this subject. As we noted last year:
These alliances are creating a growing cross-over in the streets, as we saw with the violent clashes in Los Angeles last summer, when both TERFs and far-Right activists organized protests outside of a local spa, following a flurry of anti-trans conspiracy theories. Moreover, some TERF groups such as WoLF, or Women’s Liberation Front, have also become involved in pushing for anti-trans legislation and even working to elect Republicans.
Members of DGR and by extension WoLF, have gone on to make connections with the far-Right and white nationalists. Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith have been guests and been interviewed on a variety of far-Right publications and livestreams. These include the white nationalist website, Counter-Currents, the white nationalist Keith Woods, who works directly with Richard Spencer, and both Jensen and Keith have appeared on a far-Right YouTube channel along with Keith Preston, known for speaking at white nationalist conferences.
One key link in this crossover has been Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, who also goes by “Posie Parker,” a long-time member of WoLF, and also a British anti-trans activist. Parker, along with Lierre Keith, played a leading roll in putting together the recent anti-trans ‘Let Women Speak’ rallies. Parker has also built extensive links with the far-Right, praising activists like Tommy Robinson, appearing on livestreams with white nationalists, and taking photos with Proud Boys.
As anti-trans hatred continues to be a rallying cry for the far-Right, we should be on guard for elements on the Left who are attempting to make common cause with fascists, far-Right political parties, and white supremacists.
Action against the WDI conference began with a call-in campaign to put pressure on the Hilton Hotel to call off the event. Although this campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, it helped build support for demonstrations, which mobilized over 100 people into the streets around the hotel, blocking off intersections, and leading to one arrest.
The next night, according to a communique posted to Indybay, an anti-trans art show organized by the WDI was vandalized. The communique read:
On the second night of the transphobic Women’s Declaration International convention in San Francisco, as the TERFs hid in the Hilton Hotel behind police lines, we vandalized the location of their scheduled art show down the block. When we left, the gallery windows were painted blood-red with a message for Lierre Keith, Kara Dansky, and their dusty-ass TERFlings: “NO TERFS ON OUR TURF! Ⓐ”
While journalists and liberals are fond of promulgating the notion that San Francisco’s long history of trans resistance makes the city some sort of sanctuary for trans people, we know that this resistance has been and continues to be a direct response to total assault on trans life. With the help of her cronies and benefactors, Mayor London Breed has continued the work of her political predecessors by making basic survival for poor trans people a daily gauntlet. Multi-billion-dollar grifts have attempted to conceal San Francisco’s trans-antagonism through corporate Pride campaigns and co-opted queer landmarks; a Trans Cultural District that funnels money to private condo developers while homeless trans people outside are violently harassed by Twitter fascists and police; and diversified trans police departments and legislators who order and carry out the murders of trans people.
Local trans capitalists eager to advance their individual careers on the backs and bodies of other trans people have reached deep into the tired-ass DEI tool bag to leverage representation, respectability, and visibility in their favor. Bolstered by their liberal supporters, opportunists like Honey Mahogany, Aria Sa’id, and Jackie Thornhill pedestalize themselves as model trans citizens. Their prominence is weaponized to serve the dual purposes of 1) indemnifying city leadership against blatantly accurate claims of transphobia; and 2) producing respectable, law-loving token trans people against whom to measure the specter of the poor lawless trans person and with whom to attack any three-dimensional trans people who are less compliant.
In Frisco and beyond, a rancid fermenting barf bag full of political parties, Democratic clubs, and non-profits consistently co-opt political momentum. These parasitic organizations simultaneously transform protests and counter-protests into platforms for assimilationist demands and operate as the liberal creep that infiltrates radical spaces and metabolizes potential insurgency.
This weekend’s high-profile TERF conference has mobilized people to show up to counter the transphobes—but it’s not only explicit transphobia that calls for direct antagonism; it is thinly veiled, insidious, ever-present transphobic formations as well.
To those waging war on our autonomy, and to their collaborators: watch your backs.
frisco queers for anarchy, for communism, for the attack
– BRB // Be Right Back
The next day, a group of around a dozen WDI conference attendees held a “direct action,” which amounted to them standing in front of San Francisco City Hall with banners that called for trans women not to be held in women’s prisons. The group was vastly outnumbered and shouted down again by pro-feminist and pro-LGBTQ+ counter protesters. Indybay.org reported on social media, “That’s all folks. The TERFs piled into two U-Hauls and fled. The anti-TERF resistance celebrates.”
This is the second attempt by WDI to hold a demonstration in the bay area. In December of 2022, the group held a small rally in Oakland, California, only to be disrupted and shut down by a group of antifascists.
photo collage: Indybay.org