Women in 19 cities across Spain protested on Saturday, June 26, against proposed sex self-identification legislation that would allow individuals to change their declared sex on official documents without the need for a medical report. Protesters called for the resignation of Irene Montero of Unidas Podemos, who they accuse of ignoring the escalating feminist opposition to gender identity ideology. The Equality Ministry, under Montero’s leadership, drafted the so-called “Ley Trans” (Trans Law) and has been campaigning for its passage despite ongoing criticism from women’s rights organizations.
The text of the draft bill also proposes eliminating the ‘gender’ field on official documents for those who select a non-binary identity. In addition to obfuscating statistics about biological sex and erasing sex-based protections for women, it would greenlight the administration of castrating chemicals euphemistically referred to as “puberty blockers” to children possibly as young as 14 years old. In this, Spain is neglecting medical evidence which shows that halting pubertal development can lead to decreased bone density and the prevention of full brain development.
Among groups organizing protests were Contra El Barrado de las Mujeres, Confluencia Movimiento Feminista, 8-M Movimiento Feminista de Madrid, along with other local grassroots organizations. These feminist groups oppose sex self-identification laws in which the legal category 'sex' is replaced by 'gender identity'. Additionally, they oppose the proposed “Zerolo Law” which would criminalize some aspects of language, including sex-based pronouns. Referring to a male as “he” or “him” if he declares himself to be something other than male could result in steep fines should the law pass.
The spokeswoman of Confluencia Movimiento Feminista and 8-M Movimiento Feminista de Madrid, Laura de la Fuente, told El Español, “They will call us transphobes or witches, but the feminist movement has always been on the side of minorities, we have not gone crazy.”
Protesters held signs reading, “Trans law is misogyny,” “sex is not gender”, “our oppression is not our identity”, “trans law is patriarchy”, and “to be a woman is not a feeling”. Women in Madrid chanted, “¡Fuera tus cojones de mis competiciones!”, or, “Keep your testicles out of our tournaments!” referring to the surge of male athletes identifying as women and invading women’s sports.
The same day, during a Pride march in Paris, two trans-identified males aggressively approached a group of women who were shouting, “Lesbians don’t have penises”, when one of the men attacked, ripping a poster from a woman’s hand before being pulled away by police officers. The protesters were representing a newly-formed organization called “Résistance Lesbienne” who describe themselves as “radical lesbians and feminists” who seek to “tackle the problem of male domination at its root: the sexual and economic violence of men against women.”
In a statement posted to their Twitter account, Résistance Lesbienne outlines their views:
“Gender is a socially constructed hierarchy imposed on individuals on the basis of sex. Gender is neither genetic, nor a feeling, nor something ‘fun’, it is the way in which men oppress women: by imposing alienating social roles which are degrading and make us believe that one is ‘born for it’. Gender is masculinity and femininity, it is not the physical fact of being a man or a woman.”
The man responsible for the attack on women of Résistance Lesbienne bragged about the incident on Twitter, saying, “Today I tore up the signs of the far-right transphobic TERF collectives which chanted ‘mastectomy = misogyny’, ‘lesbians don’t have penises, etc. at Pride. And I'd do it again. No TERFs at Pride.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, he then went on to claim to have been the victim of the attack, despite videos circulating on social media which clearly show him inciting violence and the women responding in self-defense, even going so far as to allege that his cohort was in the emergency room, though they can be seen being escorted away unharmed in the recording.
In Canada, protesters gathered outside of Grand Valley Institution for Women, a correctional facility in Ontario, demanding a halt to the transfers of convicted male offenders into women’s prisons. One woman told of her experience in prison after a man was transferred into a woman’s cell, saying:
“When I walked in to find that there was a new policy where men were able to do time here, I was quite shocked. I lived with one of them in my unit for six months, and to witness how he — I will not call him a woman, because he was not — how he victimized women throughout the compound at over that period of time floored me, disturbed me. He sexually assaulted a woman in my house when we were there. No woman should ever have to deal with that, especially while you’re in prison. We’re already victimized enough every day. What I witnessed when I was in there is why I stand out here now, because those women need someone to stand up for them. Nobody in the government is protecting these women and it is so disgraceful.”
Heather Mason has been spearheading protests against gender identity provisions that allow violent men to be housed in women’s prisons. Mason, herself a former federal prisoner who was incarcerated at Grand Valley, has been highlighting stories from female inmates who report physical and sexual assault by trans-identified male prisoners, even as mainstream media outlets largely ignore these marginalized women.
You can support her work here.
Outside of the New Zealand Embassy in London, a group of women demonstrated against the inclusion of Laurel Hubbard, a male who identifies as transgender, in a women’s weightlifting category for the Tokyo Olympics. Passersby cheered and danced as Dr. Julia Long sang, “Hubbard has a willy, Olympics don’t be silly, he’s a man!” The protest was organized by Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull (aka Posie Parker) of Standing For Women.
Thanks to the hard work and strength of women around the world, the issue of males appropriating womanhood, intimidating lesbians, and infiltrating women’s spaces and sports is becoming a public conversation that can no longer be ignored.