WNPJ Board Members Take a Trans-affirming Stance

Our statement: This is a statement that we were planning to put out to explain why WNPJ would be pulling sponsorship if Thistle performed at the Pipeline Fighters Benefit concert.  We were then informed that she removed herself from the lineup out of fear for her own safety from previous threats she had gotten.  Yesterday we saw statements from Thistle saying that Z! has forced WNPJ to pull out which is untrue and an example of her furthering transphobia. The WNPJ leadership team was informed about her performance by an outside source and have gotten multiple contacts asking us to withdraw our support. As a result numerous board members have been meeting to discuss what WNPJ’s role is as well as to discuss the frustration at the tolerance of Thistle and her inflamatory statements.  Thistle will not be performing at the event and we hope the event is successful in supporting indigenous resistance at Standing Rock and in Wisconsin.

It has been brought to the attention of WNPJ's Board Chairs and Leadership Committee that Thistle was slated to perform at the Pipeline Fighter’s/Water Protectors fundraiser on Saturday February 4th put on by multiple WNPJ member groups. WNPJ is also signed on as a co-sponsor. However, the performer Thistle has made it a central part of her identity and activism to be a vocal stance against transgender people and we feel as WNPJ leaders that we will not be able to sponsor this event and keep with our mission and vision if Thistle is kept as a performer.

Thistle has most recently attended the women’s march in Madison with a sign saying “Trans Activism is Misogyny.” She identifies herself as a Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) and promotes these views publicly. She has posted public hate statements via social media directed at one of the WNPJ staff and other trans people. She has said things such as trans men are confused women doing damage to themselves, and that trans women are predatory men dressed in women’s clothes. She says that being trans or gender non conforming is not a real identity. These statements are commonplace among people such as right wing politicians working to undermine protections for trans youth and adults which lead to institutional and interpersonal violence against trans people and trans suicide. In 2014 we lost a trans youth who was involved in the WNPJ network and are working closely with his mother to fight back and educate people about trans identity and creating trans acceptance.

We do not condone any death threats or threats of violence against Thistle and we hope that she can see that her actions promote this type of violence towards trans people. We hope that she would change her actions to not further this type of violence.

When someone espouses so much intolerance and hate towards a group of people they ultimately only cause harm, regardless of the social issues they are working towards. Thistle’s trans exclusionary politics, her targeting of trans people, and her promoting of hatred towards trans people has no place in our work for justice, particularly in a time where there is so much anti-trans rhetoric we are fighting against. This kind of behavior and tactic has no place in Madison or Wisconsin progressive, environmentalist, racial justice, and social justice communities.

Individual WNPJ Board Members,

Jessica Williams, Madison - Co-Chair
Liz Bruno, Madison - Co-Chair
Irene Toro Martinez, Madison - Secretary
Myron Buchholz, Eau Claire - Board Member
Susan Tran Degrand, Madison - Board Member
Cody Fearing, Madison - Board Member
Paula Mohan - Madison - Board Member
Bonnie Urfer, Luck - Board Member