Seattle – An event hosted by Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), “Fighting the New Misogyny: A Feminist Critique of Gender Identity,” featuring Lierre Keith, Meghan Murphy, Saba Malik, and Kara Dansky, was held in Seattle with heavy security and police presence. Moments after Lierre Keith of WoLF began to address a sold-out crowd at Seattle Public Library (SPL) on February 1st, five male audience members began to shout, blast a horn, and play a piccolo. (Yes, a piccolo.) The men shouted, “Go back to Canada!”, presumably towards Canadian writer and speaker Meghan Murphy, and “Trans rights are human rights! Trans women are women!” The mostly female audience then began to chant “Let women speak!” Within minutes, approximately a dozen Seattle police officers moved towards the disruptive men. One officer told the men: “You’ve been asked to leave. If you refuse to comply, you’ll be arrested for trespass.” None of the men, now linking arms, budged. Two were handcuffed and forcibly removed by officers; three walked out with police holding their arms. The event continued with only minor interruptions. The question and answer period was respectful despite some disagreement between audience members and the panel.

Outside, a protest that formed hours earlier raged on. The crowd of approximately 200 protestors – many wearing masks – could be heard shouting, “TERFs go home!” during quiet moments inside the library. A video posted on Twitter shows protestors surrounding and shouting at a woman in a pink “pussy” hat. A larger male shoves the woman. Earlier in the day, the Seattle Police Department cleared the library following a bomb threat, apparently made as a last-ditch attempt to shut down the event organized by WoLF. Women should not require bodyguards and police escorts in order to speak in public.

Transgender activists unsuccessfully lobbied the library to cancel the booking earlier in the year. Head librarian Marcellus Turner refused to do so, and released a statement in support of intellectual freedom. He also explained the library’s responsibility to uphold the law and not discriminate against anyone wishing to book their public space. t (The Feminist Current – Amy Eileen Hamm at Feministcurrent.com/2020/02/03/womens-liberation-front-holds-sold-out-event-at-seattle-public-library-despite-bomb-threat-interruptions-arrests)

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