Open Letter to Ann Link, Co-Chair of the National Women’s Caucus (NWC)
On Sept 16, 2020, I, Kerri Bruss, was welcomed into the Green Party’s National Women’s Caucus (NWC) and Thistle Pettersen was welcomed shortly thereafter. On Sept 24th each of us responded to a post entitled “Regarding expanding understanding and inclusivity in our Caucus” that was contributed to the Work List of the NWC. The post made a number of false assertions masquerading as truth as it advocated that the NWC host a workshop or panel discussion on what was termed “gender 101” that would in essence be further indoctrination into ‘gender identity’ ideology and the tenets its proponents hold dear.
One female caucus member responded (rather diplomatically I thought) along the lines that perhaps a more open discussion that included all points of view on this topic might be more beneficial to the NWC and the Party as a whole. Thistle concurred and asked if caucus members were “familiar with the efforts of WoLF, FIST and the WHRC USA to protect gender nonconformity while also protecting women's sex-based rights." I joined my sisters in their commentary and stated that “I would very much like to see an open discussion ensue re: the sex-based rights of women and girls and how they are being negatively impacted in the current political climate." Considering we were contributing to the listserv of the NWC, we assumed that the perspectives of ALL female caucus members would be valued. We assumed that the NWC’s alleged ‘respect for diversity’ would also include respect and tolerance for diverse opinions, particularly in a political party that claims feminism as one of its 10 Key Values.
We apparently assumed wrong as you, Ann, immediately asserted that the mere mention of any organization that advocates for the sex-based rights of women “goes against” the Green Party platform plank listed under the category of Social Justice / 5. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity which reads “The Green Party affirms the right of all persons to self-determination with regard to gender identity and sex." It appears that your stance, and the stance of some (though not all) NWC members is that because this particular platform plank exists, and because the NWC has issued a statement “affirming” this principle, no party or caucus member is allowed to express an alternative point of view without being met with harassment, disparagement, doxxing, threats of violence - or other foul, well-documented maneuvers intended to silence him or her - and eventual banishment from Green Party spaces, including the NWC.
This was confirmed when on Oct 11th you issued the following statement to me and a similar one to Thistle:
“This is a notice that you have been removed from the National Women’s Caucus email list for violating caucus bylaw III.2 – respect for diversity and respect for NWC members. This is because of a series of posts you sent initiating discussion on the Declaration on Women's Sex-Based Rights and similar content, which denies that people should have the right of self-determination with regard to gender identity and sex. This right is supported by our platform and a statement approved by our caucus. These posts have created a threatening environment in our caucus, which should be a safe and supportive place for all our members.
Our Caucus is not an open discussion forum. We are affiliated with the national Green party and our affiliation requires that we accept the guiding principles of the party. Our email list is hosted on the Green Party server.
Our bylaws provide the opportunity for you to continue to participate if you agree to stop posting or referring people to any content that denies that people should have the right of self-determination with regard to gender identity and sex.
Let me know if you agree to this in which case you will be reinstated on the email list, but will be immediately removed if you sent [sic] any more posts similar to those described above. If not, you will be removed from the National Women’s Caucus per bylaw III.3.
Ann Link, Co-Chair, GPUS Women’s Caucus”
Pardon us if the sort of behaviors I referred to above do not make for a ‘safe and supportive place' for those of us who assert that woman = adult human female, and hold that women are oppressed based on their sex and reproductive capacity, as opposed to whatever sex-based stereotypes (gender) they do or do not adhere to. Nor does the insistence that we recant our alleged heresy and promise to sin no more or be metaphorically burned at the stake feel particularly ‘welcoming’.
But let’s go back to the Green Party Platform for a moment. That there are conflicting planks in the GPUS platform is a fact all too often overlooked in these discussions. For example, in the Social Justice section where it references women's rights, the platform advocates passage of the ERA which is "designed to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex", not 'gender identity' (emphasis mine).
The following language is also included in the women's rights section: "The Green Party calls for U.S. passage of CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, which was adopted in 1979 by the U.N. General Assembly and ratified by 173. The U.S. is one of the very few countries, and the only industrialized nation, that have not ratified it." (By 2010, the treaty had actually been ratified by 186 countries and not ratified by only 7.) Of note, CEDAW outlines women's rights on the basis of sex, not 'gender identity'.
Most US citizens are unaware that Jimmy Carter signed CEDAW on July 17, 1980, and that despite the lack of ratification by the Senate - in actuality it has never been brought before the full Senate for a vote - that signature is significant because according to UN protocols, a country’s signature on a treaty "creates an obligation to refrain, in good faith, from acts that would defeat the object and the purpose of the treaty.”
Also of note, the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights re-affirms women and girls' sex-based rights as enumerated in CEDAW and subsequent international agreements. To be clear, the GPUS platform calls for the passage of CEDAW, which defines women's sex-based rights, and the Declaration derives from CEDAW as well as subsequent international agreements such as the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women 1993 (UNDEVW).
Additionally, an argument can be made that the GPUS platform is a living document that can and does change over time, and also that most members do not expect individual Greens to embrace every existing plank, or the Party would not currently have Howie and Angela as its candidates for President and VP, respectively, who both take stances in opposition to the platform's stated planks in support of The Nordic Model and also urges that the term 'sex work' not be used in relation to prostitution. Nor would the Party’s bylaws allow for the periodic consideration of amendments to the existing platform as a matter of routine practice as evidenced by the existence of the Platform Committee, and the bi-annual platform process it administers.
With regard to the rights of children which were also referred to in on-list discussion, I will remind you of the following passages in the platform:
"We advocate a diverse system of education that would introduce children early to the wonders of the Great School (Nature), and would cultivate the wisdom of eco-education, eco-economics, eco-politics, and eco-culture. We seek to protect our children from the corrosive effects of mass culture that trains them to regard themselves first and foremost as consumers.
We support the shift in modern medicine to include healing through complementary therapies and engagement with the Great Hospital (Nature). We seek, in short, to facilitate the healthy unfolding of the person within the unfolding story of the family, community, bioregion, state, nation, and Earth community."
In our view there is nothing 'natural' about the currently accepted practice of medically and/or surgically altering the healthy bodies of children who may not conform to sex-based stereotypes, the majority of whom would grow up to be happy and healthy lesbian or gay adults if provided the appropriate support and guidance instead of immediate 'affirmation' of their presumed ‘gender identity’. The ‘affirmation’ model of today is a new form of ‘conversion therapy’ that historically, if you recall, stems from religious people's view of homosexuality as a sign of moral depravity and evil, thus aims to ‘pray away the gay’. What this latest form of ‘conversion therapy’ does in addition to damaging children mentally and physically with its attempt to ’trans away the gay’, also turns them into consumers of Big Pharma for life. There is also evidence that social contagion (i.e. 'corrosive effects of mass culture') may be playing a role here. Please see Dr. Lisa Littman's extensively peer-reviewed study on Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD).
To summarize, party members are indeed allowed to disagree on these issues and the Green way of resolving disputes is through rational discussion and debate, not by harassing, disparaging, doxxing, silencing, threatening, or banishing those we may have a political disagreement with.
We maintain that defending the sex-based rights of women is not hate and that biology is not bigotry. We further maintain that ‘respect for diversity’ also includes respect and tolerance for diverse opinions, particularly in a party that claims feminism as one of its 10 Key Values, and most importantly in an identity caucus that exists to engage women on issues of personal and political import to them as an oppressed sex class.
In other words, Ann, we find your stated position with regard to this matter to be invalid and we request that our full participation in the Work List for the National Women’s Caucus and hence our full participation in the business of this caucus be reinstated without delay and without conditions.
Kerri Bruss, WI
Thistle Pettersen, WI