Amid Protests, Seattle Public Library Affirms Commitment to Free Speech

Comments

1

At least Seattle's sidewalks are gender neutral.

4

@3: Those orgs would be able to book space too. But not coincidentally, members of widely despised organizations generally seek to protect their own identities and wouldn't find it useful to meet in public space in the middle of a big city.

5

@1 they also double as gender neutral public bathrooms in some parts of the city as well.

7

@5 You're a sharp lad.

8

the police would never come to MY house tho

9

All I know is I bought tickets to this before all the pearl grasping from the trans community lit up.

I'm a transsexual female, and looking forward to attending this panel. It's conversation that needs to happen.

As for the trans activists who think they speak for all trans people, if you don't like it, nobody is making you show up.

10

Very good article Katie. Freedoms only happen where their allowed.

11

Although I had my misgivings, the library made the right choice. The marketplace of ideas, and all that.

12

@3 Of course there are limits on what is allowed.

“Categories of speech that are given lesser or no protection by the First Amendment (and therefore may be restricted) include obscenity, fraud, child pornography, speech integral to illegal conduct, speech that incites imminent lawless action, speech that violates intellectual property law, true threats, and commercial speech such as advertising. Along with communicative restrictions, less protection is afforded for uninhibited speech when the government acts as subsidizer or speaker, is an employer, controls education, or regulates the mail, airwaves, legal bar, military, prisons, and immigration.”

This is from a Democracy & Me teaching guide from Cincinnati public radio (of all places).

13

The American Nazi Party or the Black Hebrew Israelites or other kinds of hate speech are fully protected. Of course the editor(s) of the Slog can delete anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.

14

Fantastic balanced article. It's wonderful that the First Amendment exists. And well done Marcellus Turner.

16

oldwhiteguy dear. The administration and infrastructure of Our Dear Slog is owned by the owners of The Stranger. Don't you believe in the rights of private property owners?

17

I'm a transmasculine person and appreciating the discussion on this. For interested folks, the ContraPoints YouTube channel, particularly the "Gender Critical" video, could provide another helpful view on this issue. Particularly the author's assessment that the Women’s Liberation Front, or WoLF, are often "accused" of transphobia.

19

@16 Yes, dear. Thus the comment @13

21

They have the freedom to be disgusting TERFS and I have the freedom to show up and take all of their pictures in a public space. Can't wait! TERFS are the AIDS of feminism.

22

Why are Democrats SOOOOOOOOO fucking committed to defending the rights of people who want to kill me?

23

I will be at the library February 1 to SHUT THESE FUCKERS DOWN AND TO FUCK UP LIBRARY STAFF WHO MADE THE DECISION TO ALLOW THIS HATE GROUP ACCESS. Marcellus Turner Turner needs to be FIRED immediately as this person is clearly unqualified.

24

@23 You sound reasonable.

25

Nothing like watching men threaten to beat up women and anyone who protects them. Here come the pink baseball bats loons out to prove the rest of us right.

26

23 You ain’t going to do shit, but hopefully get a life.

21 I’m a transsexual female, looking forward to shutting your ass down when you attempt to intimidate, attack, and harass free thinkers, and free speech.

27

@23 I'm glad you found the caps lock key so everyone KNOWS THAT YOU ARE SERIOUS about being a shitty person.

28

There is no such thing as a marketplace of ideas. Calling something a "marketplace" is just a lie told to avoid talking about a power structure.

There is no such thing as free speech. Constraints on speech are the fabric of our culture and our laws, and our everyday social norms. We are so used to censorship that we hardly notice it, and nobody wants to change that.

If Osama bin Laden wanted to recruit and radicalize terrorists and their enablers at the library, we wouldn't have to sit here patiently indulging some petulant contrarian who thinks if anyone isn't free to plan mass murder at the public library then nobody is free. If somebody wanted to go on stage dressed up as Mickey Mouse without Disney's permission, nobody would bat an eye when the answer was no. Trampling so-called "freedom of speech" is as natural as breathing.

We allow speech that is not harmful or disruptive. We censor anything, arbitrarily, at will, whenever we feel like it. We censor swear words and upskirt photos and "state secrets", defined arbitrarily. We censor "private" conversations, but not "public" ones. What's the difference? Depends. Cultural quirks and habit mostly. None of this is a matter of principle. It's a contingent set of social conventions.

When you allow TERFs to validate hate and wink at violence, you're judging that to to be harmless, and not disruptive. It has nothing to do with respect for so-called "freedom of speech".

You don't get to wash your hands of the harm caused by the messages you give a platform to with some phony high-minded ideal. Not if you are a writer who expects to be paid for their work, or anyone who thinks their medical and financial data should be protected. You believe in censorship. Everyone believes in censorship, wholeheartedly.

You are helping TERFs because you think TERFs are OK. That's the only reason. If you give a platform to the KKK, you support the KKK. When I say, "If you give a platform to child pornography, you support child pornography", you'd agree, right? Then you have to agree the same applies to the KKK, terrorists, TERFs or Disney. If you allow it, you're supporting it.

Don't try to tell anybody it's because you believe in freedom of speech. No such thing.

30

@20 From wikipedia - "The word femme is taken from the French word for woman. The word butch, meaning "masculine", may have been coined by abbreviating the word butcher, as first noted in George Cassidy's nickname, Butch Cassidy." Butch originated in the 1940's and things seem to be coming back around to masculine - adding the trans is surprisingly not hard to spell :)
I would love to actually have a reasonable conversation though. Did you watch the ContraPoints "Gender Critical" video? Anyone else?

32

@26 See you there. #thoughtsandprayers for that internalized misogyny. Please cut yourself on all that edge.

33

32 I’m sure you’ll be one of those masked cowards draped in all black.

34

Glad to see this event go forward. As men continue to invade women's spaces, women need to stand up and object. Wearing a dress and being shrill and obnoxious does not make you a woman. There are plenty of shrill and obnoxious actual women already. Go ahead and say mean things (trans-phobic, etc., etc. and you bet I am), I don't give a shit.

36

I trust that the library will have sufficient numbers of police at the facility during the event so that no one has to worry about people like Our Dear Zepoi.

37

34, Are you really that stupid?! From your asinine comment, I'm guessing you are. I'm not even going to pick apart your stupid post because I want to enjoy the rest of my day.

38

@34 I don't think anyone wants to say mean things. I think mostly we are all a bunch of traumatized humans lashing out due to perceived self interest. In my lifetime, I hope for gatherings where trans and cis women can caucus together and separately. Trans women are women and trans women are trans, similarly cis women are women and cis women are cis. I can imagine some cis women attracted to WoLF's platform have some trauma to metabolize and would indeed benefit from having a bit of cis women only time and space. No need to verbally attack, misgender, or file amicus briefs in the supreme court to have that, in fact just the opposite. I hope we all enjoy the rest of our day.

39

@28: You demonstrate zero understanding of the underlying issues. In your mind this translates to expertise.

Nice Gish gallop, tho.

40

@28 - Your complete misunderstanding of simple topics — i.e., basic Constitutional rights — make you sound like you’re on drugs or just not that smart. Your feelings and opinions aren’t going to beat Constitutional rights, ever.

@26 - Feel like hugging you. I wish people like you would attend the meeting.

@18 - I wish you’d understand is that this isn’t a case of “Femanazis vs. wannabe chicks.” This isn’t a problem exclusive to trans people and radical feminists: it impacts all women, and impacts you, too: you’ve currently got a group of people saying that biological science doesn’t matter (so whatever they want, from sports to female-only spaces to resources are theirs because they say so—they define sex, not science), free speech doesn’t matter, and that women’s opinions, protections, and Constitutional rights don’t matter—any dissenting opinion is labeled “transphobic,” they threaten violence and rape (check any social media platform if you don’t believe it), and demand the jobs of those who dared disagree (see comment 23 above, or look at how many women in the UK, Canada, and Europe are losing jobs because they dared to disagree).

You may not give a shit, but try asking some women in your life what they think—most of us do give a shit, and we’re not radical feminists. Most of us don’t want to share our bathrooms and locker rooms with men, for privacy and personal safety (google the stats on how many women are attacked by men in mixed gender restrooms each year), don’t want scholarship money for women to be claimed by men, don’t want men in our sporting events, don’t want to be bullied at hospitals when we ask for a female nurse rather than a trans nurse, and we don’t want to be silenced, intimidated, prevented from meeting with other women to discuss these issues, or lose our jobs because our concerns about these issues were falsely labeled as ‘transphobic.’

The feminist group isn’t there to burn bras and screech about how much they hate men. That group has partnered with multiple conservative lobbyists in filing joint litigation to keep female and male spaces separate. Their ‘feminazi’ agenda is to keep women safe. Women - not feminists, but all women and girls - need men to support us in this, but we won’t get help from men so long as this is misunderstood & dismissed as a trans vs. feminist issue instead of waking reality for 100% of women.

No one has has demanded you be fired for doing your job, and your own rights haven’t been infringed upon—yet. It will impact men more directly with time, but it will happen, because when science and Constitutional rights don’t matter, you don't matter.

41

The unspoken assumption underlying free speech is that all speech is equal in importance and effect.

That's not the case here, when the transgender community is marginalized to begin with, and cisgender women, often white, seek to apply further marginalization while ignoring the aspects of power they have to do this in the first place.

Which is just a fancy way to point out that TERFs punching down is a much different proposition than trans people punching up.

There are power dynamics in "free" speech, even if their proponents choose to ignore them in favor of what is, ultimately, the desire of people with more power to preserve consequence-free speech.

42

@18. Mmmm. Leftie nutjob feminazis and mentally retarded rearing each other to shreds. I am already enjoying this. Don't know about you MrB, but this comment thread is already juicy enough as is, with the crazies doing some impressive mental gymnastics in an attempt to out-woke each other. Lol :) Popcorn, where are ya?

43

@18 & @42: Let me guess: You're both 40 years going on 14 months, fat, balding, goateed, exceedingly flatulent, still living in your mother's dank, dark basement, are bored to tears, and intelligent, capable women scare the shit out of you. Try not to get anything caught in a zipper. :)

44

When are trans activists not enraged? What the hell would they do with themselves. Go live life? As if..

45

@40: Sorry, I was being more than a little bit flippant. On this matter, I agree with WoLF 100%.

Just as I don't care much for climate-change deniers because they refuse to acknowledge the science, I similarly have an issue with the Trans crowd because they're trying to shove down our throats as canon a lot of stuff where the science on the issue is nowhere near all in.

I accept there may be more to Gender Identity that what's between your legs, but biological gender is pretty cut and dried. If you've got XX chromosomes, you're female; if you're XY, you're a guy, and what you choose to 'identify' as doesn't cut any ice with me.

I can 'identify' as a tall, gorgeous, hyper-talented black female singer and dancer, but that doesn't make me Beyonce no matter how I feel about it. If you have a twig and berries between your legs, but (with apologies to Shania Twain) 'Man, I feel like a woman', and you want to sashay around in a dress and call yourself Karen, that's up to you. But don't tell me you get to use the Ladies Room, and don't even DREAM of playing women's sports against my nieces: you're gonna get some serious pushback from me.

What you want to do to yourself is your business. You be you. But don't start imposing your beliefs on me in such a way that it forces me or mine to give up our rights, including the freedom to disagree with you in the public sphere.

So to the good people of WoLF, I say, 'You go, girls'!

46

Thanks, Stranger. We all need to be reminded of this right, clearly and often. It helps people like the SPL make the right decisions, to know that journalists will explain and support their decisions.

47

The 1st Amendment must be changed to the protection of hate-free speech.

And let's put some teeth into laws guaranteeing this new freedom. Already in Nigeria violators (wait for it...) of hate speech laws may soon face the death penalty, no joke.

48

47, something to keep in mind: Murphy gave similar talks in Toronto, a city which DOES have laws prohibiting hate speech, and was not prosecuted for it.

You can find the talk online. Clearly the Canadian government didn't think it fell afoul of their (actual) hate speech laws, so what makes you think it would fall afoul of "hate speech" laws we don't even have in the U.S.?

49

48, the 1st Amendment must be updated, there already is a push for this.

Are you progressive enough? I'm sure The Stranger will be on the right side of history.

50

41 says "The unspoken assumption underlying free speech is that all speech is equal in importance and effect." Not at all. The underlying assumption is that it is not government's place to decide what speech is important or worthwhile. That is for each individual listener to decide.

51

Someone mentioned buying a ticket. Can you charge money for an event you are having at a free public space?