This week has been dominated by Donald Trump, perhaps the most high-profile anti-feminist in America. The Republican presidential candidate secured enough delegates this week for the official GOP nomination, to the dismay of feminists everywhere. If the RNC nominates Trump this summer, what can we expect on the ballot box this November? Definitely not a lot of feminist attitude from the Republican candidate.
But with the rise of Trump comes the rise of voices — whether in America or around the globe — refusing to give in to sexist, transphobic, or racist attitudes and policies. Below are some of the best feminist quotes from this week to keep you motivated throughout this endless election cycle.
1. LGBTQ And Feminist Leaders Appalled By Transgender Bathroom Lawsuit
One of the biggest news stories this week was the multi-state lawsuit filed against the Obama administration following the release of federal guidelines for public school bathrooms and other facilities. The lawsuit, which was filed by Texas officials and joined by 10 other states, alleged that the Obama administration was turning educational institutions and workplaces into "laboratories for a massive social experiment."
In response, many major civil rights and feminist organizations released statements condemning the lawsuit and the greater transphobic culture plaguing America. Mara Keisling, director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, called out lawmakers and government officials for making transgender students even more vulnerable under the law:
This is a direct attack on hundreds of thousands of transgender students, who are already vulnerable to bullying and harassment, and their loved ones. It’s an attempt to say that transgender people are strangers to our nation’s laws, it’s an attack on Supreme Court precedent, and it dismisses practical guidelines that were requested by educators all over the nation and that have already been successful in thousands of school districts. This politically driven lawsuit is a sad waste of taxpayer money meant to stoke needless fears.
James Esseks, director of the ACLU LGBT Project, said Wednesday in a statement:
While the Obama administration is being sued, the real targets here are vulnerable young people and adults who simply seek to live their lives free from discrimination when they go to school, work or the restroom. There have been no disruptions, increases in public safety incidents, nor invasions of privacy related to protections for transgender people. The federal agencies named in this lawsuit have not changed existing obligations under the law. Our civil rights laws, including Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, have long prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex, and federal courts and agencies have long recognized that this includes protections for transgender people.
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, had this to say:
In the past year, we’ve seen truly appalling bills and rhetoric targeting the LGBTQ community, especially transgender and gender nonconforming people. The people behind this lawsuit are going after transgender children, many of whom are already targets of bullying and discrimination. These politicians are pushing a political agenda that promotes hate and harassment, and all over a false idea of who transgender people really are. We believe everyone should be able to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity, and that transgender people, like everyone else, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
2. Northern Ireland Women Demand Abortion Rights
Although abortion is technically legal in Northern Ireland, it's still not a viable option for the majority of women in Northern Ireland facing an unwanted pregnancy. The nation's strict laws dictate that a first-trimester abortion is only allowed if the pregnancy seriously threatens the physical or mental health of the patient (and the patient would need a doctor to sign off on this). Otherwise, abortion is illegal in cases of rape, incest, fetal abnormality, non-life-threatening health risks, or when a woman just can't or doesn't want to be pregnant at a certain time in her life.
On Monday, three Northern Ireland women turned themselves in at a Derry police station for allegedly delivering abortion pills to women who ordered them online. It's not unusual for women in Northern Ireland, unable to obtain a legal medication-induced abortion in a clinic, to order the pill online. However, it is a serious punishable offense under Northern Ireland abortion laws.
Diana King, Colette Devlin and Kitty O'Kane knew that, and were ready to face the consequences. King told ITV news outside the Derry police station this week:
We're feeling very angry that it is illegal, that women are placed in this situation. Women that can't afford to travel to England to have a legal abortion can only access nine-week abortion pills for £60. We're very angry about that, we're very angry that women are being criminalized.
King added in an interview with BBC News:
I think we trust women to make their own decisions and we feel that this is a health issue. We find that our government are quite happy to push people into corners, make them feel ashamed, keep the subject under wraps. We want it opened up, talked about and discussed.
3. Rashida Jones Teaches Stephen Colbert How To Be The Best Feminist He Can Be
We already know that comedian and The Late Show host Stephen Colbert is a pretty strong supporter of women's rights. "I've been informed that I'm a feminist, and I accept that identity," Colbert said. But Colbert is trying to learn how to be a better feminist, so he asked actress Rashida Jones how he could be a feminist. Jones told Colbert he must "stay educated and stay sensitive."
You gotta know what we go through. Women. ... There’s a lot of, kind of inherent sexism when you’re an actress and you’re interviewed, whether it’s on a red carpet or about a movie or whatever. Some of these questions include, 'Who are you wearing?' 'What is your beauty regimen?' and 'With three kids at home, how do you do it all?'