No, Daily Wire, Matt Walsh Did Not “Start a Movement to Protect Women and Children from Radical Gender Ideology.”
Yes, Matt Walsh, there are leftist feminists fighting the fight against “gender identity” in the US.
April 17, 2023
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The Daily Wire claims that Matt Walsh’s 2022 documentary “What is a Woman” “started a movement to protect women and children from radical gender ideology.” In other words, The Daily Wire wants everyone to think that a man started the movement against “gender ideology.” In 2022.
In this interview with The Spectator, the interviewer notes (accurately) that in the UK, it is predominantly leftist feminists who are leading the fight against “gender identity” and asks if there are any such leftist feminists fighting the fight in the US. Walsh essentially answers that there are no leftist feminists fighting the fight in the US and that all opposition to “gender identity” in the US is coming from conservatives (it’s right around 12:00 in the video).
Whatever else one might think about Matt Walsh or The Daily Wire, and whatever good they may have done, both claims are objectively and demonstrably false, and I believe they know it.
Here is what Women’s Declaration International USA (WDI USA) has had to say about the documentary:
Matt Walsh clearly loves sex stereotypes. The first few minutes of the film consist of a practically orgasmic celebration of girls liking pink, dolls, and glitter, and boys liking blue, trucks, and guns. It ends with his wife, clad in a bathrobe and washing the dishes in the kitchen, stating that a woman is an adult human female and asking for his help in opening a jar of pickles. He goes on to open the jar, clearly quite impressed with his own virility.
The film does one thing really well: It exposes the absurdity of the fact that no one seems to be able to define what a woman is. Walsh does this with humor and insight. His on-the-street interviews with strangers are a mixed bag. Most likely, a lot of the people he encounters don’t have any idea why he is asking “What is a woman?” because they are not enmeshed in the gender wars. Many of them seem to be genuinely surprised and not to understand the point of the question. But many of them answer along the lines of “a woman is anyone who identifies as a woman,” and part of this project’s worthy aim is to expose this absurdity. Walsh does a spectacular job in his interviews with so-called “experts” on topics like sex and gender, and the moment the Congress person ends the interview and walks out is brilliant.
The film does something else well: It exposes the lies and the horrors of “child transition.” Our society, our laws, and our medical establishment are actively engaged in a eugenics project. We are mutilating and sterilizing children. We are all horrified about that, and glad that he exposed this vicious industry for what it is. No one has done more to expose the industry than the 11th Hour Blog, but nonetheless, the more light that is shed on this travesty, the better.
We understand the value of this film in exposing things that need to be exposed. We also think that the key demographic in winning this political battle are going to be mainstream liberals who are still in the dark about the dangers of “gender identity” because the media keeps them there. Most mainstream liberals quickly see through the absurdity of “gender identity” once it is pointed out to them. We also think that approximately zero of them are going to be persuaded by (or even know about) a film produced by The Daily Wire, featuring a known Christian conservative traditionalist, that omits the leftist feminist critique of “gender identity” entirely.
Many men, including Walsh, know what a woman is because they know exactly upon whose neck to place their boots. We would welcome the opportunity to talk with them, to see if they can be persuaded that they need radical feminist voices if they want to win. Until then, they aren’t helping.
While we were composing this statement, Walsh tweeted this offer to “join forces with anyone to bring down gender ideology.” WDI USA president Kara Dansky tweeted this in response. We’ll see if he makes good on his offer.
To date, he hasn’t.
I think we were quite generous in our review. The favor has not been returned.
In July 2022, Kaeley Harms published a piece in The Christian Post titled “Dear Christian conservative men: Please stop screwing up the trans issue.” Harms took aim at Christian men in general, and Walsh in particular, saying:
The truth is that fearless women wrote a lot of Walsh’s talking points and championed them for years at their own expense, but while he soars to #1 ratings and internet fame, some of these women remain silenced by every social media channel available. I could ignore this more easily if he and his buddies weren’t participants in the silencing.
Recently, Walsh and others took aim specifically at JK Rowling and, rather than applauding her moral courage, they condemned her political leanings and took pot shots at feminism as a whole. In a stunningly tone-deaf moment, author Jason Whitlock chimed in to assist in the silencing, telling Rowling to “fall back and support men. You’re not built for this conflict.”
My eyes twitched a bit while reading that. Here’s the reality I need to speak that will likely get me burned at the proverbial stake: Women are being routinely silenced by both the left and the right on this issue.
I’m a pro-life Christian conservative who voted for Donald Trump twice. I disagree vehemently with some of these feminist women on a great number of issues, but that hardly means it’s right to dismiss their legitimate contributions to our shared fight. Tucker Carlson is about as far right as it gets, but he still manages to honor the human dignity of the radical feminists in order to facilitate meaningful discussions about this issue and has platformed several of them over the years. Matt Walsh would do well to take a cue from him.
Love it or hate it, we need true feminism – the kind that seeks dignity, not revenge, the kind that insists on fairness, not just power. Someone needs to advocate on behalf of women, and when it comes to the trans agenda, few have done more in this regard than radical feminists. They should be thanked and applauded, not silenced and demeaned. While Walsh and others may be inclined to throw stones at these women, my seven years working alongside them tells me it’s a lot more fruitful to pick up those stones and try to build a few bridges with them. We may even find they have something meaningful to say, and we have something important to learn.
We know that Matt Walsh doesn’t just love sex stereotypes; he hates all of feminism; so it’s no surprise that he steadfastly ignores feminists, but one would think he might at least take a cue from a woman who is a self-described “pro-life Christian conservative who voted for Donald Trump twice.”
Let’s review the history of the movement to fight back against “gender identity.”
In 1979, radical feminist professor Janice Raymond published a book called The Transsexual Empire, where she predicted everything that was going to happen. She published a reprint in 1994, with an Introduction that addresses the dangers of the growing use of the word “transgender” throughout society. Everyone can download it in pdf form for free.
Fast forward to 2013 and the founding of the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), an unapologetically radical feminist organization that works “to restore, protect, and advance the rights of women and girls using legal argument, policy advocacy, and public education.” It has been fighting the “gender identity” industry since 2013. I joined WoLF in 2015 and served on the board from 2016 to 2020.
A year later, journalist Michelle Goldberg published a piece in The New Yorker called “What Is a Woman?: The dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism.” In that piece, she discusses the feminist objections to “trans” extensively and recounts a feminist event that took place in 1973, where radical feminist Robin Morgan is reported to have said:
I will not call a male “she”; thirty-two years of suffering in this androcentric society, and of surviving, have earned me the title “woman”; one walk down the street by a male transvestite, five minutes of his being hassled (which he may enjoy), and then he dares, he dares to think he understands our pain? No, in our mothers’ names and in our own, we must not call him sister.”
That’s right. American feminists are on record as having been complaining about this since 1973, and Matt Walsh did not invent the “what is a woman” question. That question is also the title of the first chapter of The Abolition of Sex: How the ‘Transgender’ Agenda Harms Women and Girls, published in 2021.
Also in 2014, UK radical feminist Sheila Jeffreys published a book called Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism. Here is how the book is described on Amazon:
It is only recently that transgenderism has been accepted as a disorder for which treatment is available. In the 1990s, a political movement of transgender activism coalesced to campaign for transgender rights. Considerable social, political and legal changes are occurring in response and there is increasing acceptance by governments and many other organisations and actors of the legitimacy of these rights.
This provocative and controversial book explores the consequences of these changes and offers a feminist perspective on the ideology and practice of transgenderism, which the author sees as harmful. It explores the effects of transgenderism on the lesbian and gay community, the partners of people who transgender, children who are identified as transgender and the people who transgender themselves, and argues that these are negative. In doing so the book contends that the phenomenon is based upon sex stereotyping, referred to as 'gender' – a conservative ideology that forms the foundation for women's subordination. Gender Hurts argues for the abolition of ‘gender’, which would remove the rationale for transgenderism.
This book will be of interest to scholars and students of political science, feminism and feminist theory and gender studies.
It’s hard to get any clearer than that.
In 2016, WoLF sued the Obama Administration over its “guidance” that had ordered schools to redefine sex to include “gender identity” all across the country. In 2017, I went on Tucker Carlson Tonight in my capacity as then WoLF board chair to discuss the lawsuit. I explained all of the harms that “gender identity” poses to women and girls. By my count, WoLF has filed at least eight amicus briefs before the U.S. federal judiciary arguing, essentially, that women are female and ought to be legally protected on that basis. It has probably filed more. We think these briefs are making a difference in persuading the federal judiciary to drop its devotion to “gender identity.”
Feminists in the UK have been advocating against “gender identity” at least since 2017, when the government announced plans to “reform” the Gender Recognition Act to eliminate any limitations on anyone’s ability to be legally recognized as the opposite sex. Many were yelling about it starting long before then. And it was Kellie-Jay Keen, a women’s rights activist, who put up the billboard proclaiming the definition of woman (adult human female) in the UK in 2018.
In early 2019, several WoLF members appeared on a panel called “The Inequality of the Equality Act: Concerns from the Left” at the Heritage Foundation. The panelists weren’t particularly thrilled to be at the Heritage Foundation, but no single liberal or libertarian venue would host the panel. The panel presented a leftist feminist critique of “gender identity.”
Later in 2019, what was then called the Women’s Human Rights Campaign (WHRC) launched the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights (the Declaration). This document is grounded in a radical feminist critique of “gender identity.” The group has country chapters all over the world. In January 2022, the organization changed its name to Women’s Declaration International (WDI). Ever since, WDI has been the leading global feminist organization that fights to protect women’s sex-based rights from the threats posed to them by “gender identity.” I serve as the president of the US chapter.
In the summer of 2019, lesbian radical feminist Julia Beck testified before the House Judiciary Committee against the so-called Equality Act, which would redefine sex to include “gender identity” throughout federal civil rights law. In her testimony, she said:
The Equality Act is a human rights violation. Every person in this country will lose our right to single sex sports, shelters, grants, and loans. We will be unable to provide or deny intimate services to people of the opposite sex. We will no longer be able to distinguish between women and men.
The concept of gender identity suggests that there’s an essentially female personality or feeling that a person can have, but no such thing as a female body. Making gender identity the law will in fact mandate a belief in a ‘female penis’ or ‘female testes.’
I thank the Republicans who invited me here, and I urge my fellow Democrats to wake up. Please acknowledge biological reality.
Beck made similar arguments in her testimony before the same committee about the Violence Against Women Act that same year.
By December 2022, thanks at least in some part to the relentless advocacy efforts of feminist individuals and organizations (including WDI USA) to push back against the Equality Act, the Act appeared to be dead.
In February 2020, WoLF held an event called “Fighting the New Misogyny: A Feminist Critique of Gender Identity.” It was a great event, but hundreds of people stood outside, yelling and screaming that we were TERFs, and pounding on the glass windows of the library building. Earlier that day, someone had called in a bomb threat. The speakers had to be escorted out of the venue to their car by library security, and then city police. When they got into the car, protesters pounded their fists on the roof and hood of the car, screaming “FUCK TERFs.” The event got some coverage in the Washington Post, but it was totally disingenuous. It essentially painted WoLF as a bunch of right-wing bigots, knowing full well that the panelists were all leftist feminists.
Later in 2020, the US chapter of WDI launched. Since that time, we have been working to advance the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights throughout US law and policy at all levels of government, including by pushing back hard on the Equality Act. We have, for example, played a role over the past couple years in getting bills passed in 20 or so states that protect single-sex sports for women and girls. Thanks to a small team of volunteer women, we have submitted countless pieces of written testimony before state legislatures all over the country. Not only on sports, but also on protecting kids and keeping “gender identity” out of state legislation. WDI USA has also filed amicus briefs in two federal court cases arguing in favor of the sex-based rights of women and girls, one in 2020 and another in 2021. We plan to file more. Again, we think these briefs are making a difference in the federal judiciary.
In 2021, the TERF Collective entered the scene. This is a group of leftist radical feminists who provide space for women who are just starting to understand the harms of “gender identity” and help them hone their radical feminist critique of “gender identity.”
For years, there have been countless feminist activists all over Twitter who constantly try to raise awareness of the leftist feminist critique of “gender identity.” There are way too many to mention here. There is also a slew of feminist YouTube channels dedicated to raising awareness about the topic.
In November 2021, I published a book called The Abolition of Sex: How the ‘Transgender’ Agenda Harms Women and Girls. That book includes this:
Here is the truth we cannot speak: “gender identity” does not exist in any real, material sense, and “transgender” is simply a made-up concept that is used to justify all kinds of atrocities. It is, in effect, a men’s rights movement intended to objectify women’s bodies and erase us as a class. It is left-wing misogyny on steroids.
I say this is as a leftist and a Democrat.
Famed author J.K. Rowling recently said that we are living in one of the most misogynistic times in recent history. She is right. From a feminist perspective, men as a class have always dominated women and trampled on our rights, and today is no different, except that it is worse because it is being done under the ruses of “transgenderism” and “gender identity,” both of which are being enshrined in law at all levels of government and pushed by the political left. Many of us women on the political left are accustomed to having our rights trampled on by the right; we are not used to experiencing it from within our own political ranks.
It ends with a call to action to fight against the abolition of sex on behalf of women and girls.
Also in November 2021, WoLF filed a lawsuit on behalf of four incarcerated women challenging a California law that allows men to “self-identify” as women or non-binary and be housed in women’s facilities. WoLF’s complaint presents claims under the 1st, 8th, and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Spinifex Press is an Australian book publisher that has been printing feminist analyses for decades. Here are some of its critiques of “gender identity” that pre-date the airing of the “What is a Woman?” documentary:
2019 In Defence of Separatism by Susan Hawthorne
2020 Transgender Body Politics by Heather Brunskell-Evans
2020 Vortex: The Crisis of Patriarchy by Susan Hawthorne
2021 Not Dead Yet: Feminism, Passion and Women’s Liberation edited by Renate Klein and Susan Hawthorne
2021 Detransition: Beyond Before and After by Max Robinson
2021 Doublethink: A Feminist Challenge to Transgenderism by Janice Raymond
2021 The Women’s Pool edited by Lynne Spender
All of this happened before The Daily Wire aired the “What is a Woman?” documentary.
Matt Walsh and The Daily Wire have a lot of money and expensive producers (something individual women and women’s groups in the US do not have). They do not, however, have any basis for claiming to have started this movement or that there are no leftist feminists fighting the fight in the US. Matt Walsh did not start this movement. Women did. The Daily Wire should know better, and Walsh is flat out wrong to claim that there are no leftist feminists in the US fighting back against “gender identity.”
There’s a reason that Walsh and The Daily Wire do not want to acknowledge the existence of the leftist feminist critique of “gender identity” in the US. It’s because they don’t want anyone to know that feminists have solid arguments about this, because acknowledging that would get in the way of their anti-woman agenda of pink sparkles obscuring enforced dependency. Men like Walsh and his bosses know exactly what a woman is because they know upon whose neck to place their boots.
Yesterday, James O’Keefe tweeted a snippet of a video of Walsh talking about the deeply disturbing issue of men being housed in women’s prisons on the basis of their “gender identities.” Neither O’Keefe nor Wash could be bothered to mention any of the women who have been fighting back about this issue for years, including the outstanding group Woman II Woman or Twitter user Keep Prisons Single Sex USA (which is run by a leftist radical feminist who has done outstanding work using the Freedom of Information Act to uncover information related to the topic). Neither could be bothered to mention the WoLF lawsuit against CDCR either.
In response, Kellie-Jay Keen tweeted:
I hope James acknowledges that he’s rather late to this issue? Always grateful for large platforms, but would like these men to tip their god damned hats once in a while!
Indeed boys, educating you is becoming a bit tedious. Try to keep up.
UPDATE: After I posted this today, I got an email from Exulansic, who describes herself as a “former trans man turned feminist content creator and activist” (I have met her in person and know her to be a staunch advocate for women and girls and against the abolition of sex). Back in February, she had posted a video about Jazz Jennings, whose “transition” has been documented in the television series “I Am Jazz.” In that video, Exulansic talks about some statements Jazz had recently made about not feeling like himself, no matter what (despite hormones and four surgeries to make him appear to be female). That video ended up being tweeted by Seren Jones, who describes herself on Twitter as “Autistic, bisexual and unapologetically female. Sex Matters. LGB without the Queer Theory. I won’t back down.”
Jones appears not to have initially understood that it was Exulansic who made the video, but quickly credited Exulansic upon learning. The tweet got picked up by Breitbart, which ran a story about it. That story includes the Jones tweet, with a portion of Exulansic’s video and Exulansic’s own commentary about Jazz’s statement.
Walsh then did his own podcast episode about it, using the video but removing Exulansic’s commentary from her own video. I asked Exulansic to elaborate on what happened. She agreed with me that Walsh and/or his producers pretend not to know about feminists working on this issue and added that “in this case they have been caught red-handed taking their cues from a feminist and then leaving me on the cutting room floor.”
I am sharing this exchange with Exulansic with her permission.