On Thursday, lesbian feminist Julia Beck testified before Congress against the gender identity provisions in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Meant to protect transgender people, these provisions actually act as a “misogynistic trojan horse,” undermining key protections for women and girls, Beck argued.
“The first piece of U.S. legislation to even acknowledge the epidemic of violence against women is now a misogynistic Trojan Horse,” Beck declared. She argued that “all women and girls are oppressed on the basis of our female sex,” not their gender identity.
Beck herself recalled facing threats of violence due to her opposition to transgender activism. “People on the Left have tried to silence me by using threats and other tactics of intimidation, a kind of hatred that most lesbians would expect to receive from people on the Right. I’ve been told to die in a fire, to get raped, and to choke on ‘lady c*ck’ by members of the GBT community,” she said.
“My so-called allies cast me out for speaking about male violence, so I spoke with the only people who were willing to listen, people on the Right, who usually never see eye to eye with lesbians or feminists,” Beck explained, referencing her appearance at the Heritage Foundation in January.
She praised the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as a critical protection for women and girls facing violence but warned that when gender identity provisions were added in 2013, that undermined the very purpose of the law.
“The distinct sex categories of female and male are mutually exclusive. Therefore women and girls benefit from female space,” Beck said. “In its earliest forms, VAWA defended female space.” In 2013, however, “one small addition to the act dissolved all of its sex-based provisions. VAWA now protects the nebulous concept of gender identity, defined in Title 18 as actual or perceived gender-related characteristics.”
Beck argued that protections based on gender identity are “illogical and completely irresponsible.”
“While sex is a vital statistic, gender and identity are not. VAWA was created for women and girls, not for those who feel like or identify as female. Woman is not a gender or a feeling,” Beck declared. She undercut the entire gender identity concept, attacking it as sexist. “No one has ever been able to explain what ‘feeling like a woman’ means without using sexist stereotypes.”
“Women don’t need to identify as female in order to be women,” the lesbian added. “Woman means adult human female. New gender identity laws allow male people to claim womanhood.”
“The Violence Against Women Act has become the Violence Against Anybody Act,” she quipped. “Its original sex-based protections are now meaningless because men with gender identities who commit violence against women are protected by federal law. When gender identity wins, women and girls always lose.”
The lesbian argued that those who think “gender identity is the next frontier of social justice … couldn’t be more wrong.”
“Gender is based on rigid sex roles and superficial stereotypes that legitimize male dominance and female subordination. This harmful hierarchy is something that women and girls can never ‘identify’ out of,” she explained.
Violence against women around the world is horrific and cannot be explained in terms of gender identity. “Female fetuses cannot identify out of sex-selective abortion. Global majority women cannot identify out of genital mutilation or forced impregnation,” Beck added, mentioning three of the worst abuses faced by women around the world.
“Women and girls are targeted by men because of our female sex, because the doctrine of gender codes females as subhuman,” the lesbian argued. Transgender identity buys into that “doctrine of gender” and throws a “misogynistic Trojan Horse” into the very law intended to defend women and girls against sex-based violence.
“One of four girls will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old and 96 percent of people who sexually abuse children are male,” Beck said. “Half the population is living in a state of emergency. Violence against women is a hate crime, but as of 2013, it is state-sanctioned, as long as perpetrators ‘feel like’ they’re women.”
The lesbian concluded her testimony with a call to action. “Everyone here, whether you’re female or not, knows what a woman is. Everyone knows that violence against women is a sex-based issue,” she said. “So for the sake of women and girls, please remove gender identity from VAWA.”
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.