Women's Declaration International

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The logo for the US branch of WDI
It's a social construct
Icon gender.svg
Spectra and binaries

Women's Declaration International (WDI), originally named Women's Human Rights Campaign (WHRC), is a British TERF group with branches in several other countries, including the United States. It has been described as "one of the key players of anti-trans feminism at a global scale"[1] and one of the "the most important 'gender critical' groups,"[2] and is part of the broader anti-gender landscape internationally.[3] It has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as being part of an "anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience network" that engages in narrative manipulation.[4][5] WDI focuses on harassing individual trans people in social media and promoting conspiratorial thinking.[3] It is noted for its open collaboration with the far right and pro-Trump Republicans, and is described by mainstream feminists as "an extreme anti-trans group"[6] and "anti-trans bigots disguised as feminists."[7]

Anti-trans activism[edit]

WDI openly and extensively collaborates with the far right.[8][9][10] It has endorsed pro-Trump Republican anti-trans initiatives and has developed model legislation to restrict transgender rights that has been used by Republicans in state legislatures in the United States.[11] A 2023 report by Transgender Europe described WDI as one of the main anti-gender actors targeting trans people in Germany, and stated that WDI's tactics include fostering open hostility towards individual trans people, encouraging conspiracy thinking, building connections with the far right and promoting "shitstorms" against selected targets.[3] Per Koch, a historian of ideas, noted that WDI "spends almost all of its time persecuting trans women," including by "trolling trans people in social media."[12] In 2020 Sarah Clarke and Mallory Moore of the Trans Safety Network described WDI (WHRC) as "a key point of convergence" between transphobic feminism and far right activism.[13] The 2023 report Rights For Me, Not For Thee: How Anti-Trans Feminists Took Their Advocacy to the United Nations described WDI as "a goliath of anti-trans activism with nearly 50 regional chapters worldwide" with a "deep involvement with the Christian Right."[9]

Fascism scholar Simon StrickWikipedia noted that WDI’s "extremist" positions have "isolated the WDI from wider international feminism and brought them into strategic coalitions with conservative and extreme right organizations".[14] The largest U.S. feminist organization, the National Organization for WomenWikipedia (NOW), described WDI as "anti-trans bigots disguised as feminists" and said WDI has a focus on "sex fundamentalism and hostility towards trans people."[7][15]

The Association for Women's Rights in DevelopmentWikipedia (AWID) described WDI (WHRC) as a Trojan Horse in human rights spaces and said that it "engages in sensationalism and fear-mongering" to "undermine and water down the progressions of human rights standards that protect the rights of trans and gender non-conforming persons,"[16] and that it promotes "extreme anti-trans misinformation" and is "an extreme anti-trans group."[6] WDI has been described by scholars as part of a "complex threat to democracy" that "represent[s] a reactionary populist backlash to basic human rights principles," and that seeks to "demonize the very basics of trans existence".[17]

There is a significant overlap between WDI and some other TERF groups, including Women's Liberation Front (WoLF) and FiLiA. WDI USA President Kara Dansky has also served as co-chair of WoLF, an astroturf group pretending to be feminists, but actually funded by evangelical Christian hate group Focus on the Family and to some extent by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. As President of WDI USA, Dansky has also been a regular guest on white nationalist Tucker Carlson's show. WDI's willingness to work with the far right has even been criticized by some other TERFs. Dansky has defended WDI's work with religious and far-right groups, stating that few other people are willing to work with them.[8] Both WDI and WoLF have filed amicus briefs in multiple ADF court cases.[8] In September 2023, WDI hosted an anti-trans conference in San Francisco, that also featured a panel on "working with the right." The conference was opposed by feminists and pro-LGBTQ+ demonstrators.[18]

WDI members frequently share and promote articles from Reduxx, a far-right website that has become one of the main organs of the TERF movement.

"Declaration on Women's Sex-Based Rights"[edit]

WHRC/WDI was originally created to promote a manifesto against transgender rights titled "Declaration on Women's Sex-Based Rights". In 2019 PinkNews noted that the group "primarily exist[ed] as the organisation behind the declaration".[19] The Association for Women's Rights in DevelopmentWikipedia said the declaration co-opts the "Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against WomenWikipedia (CEDAW) framework to claim that 'sex' is an immutable category and 'gender' is not a legitimate concept",[6] and that the "'sex-based' rhetoric misuses concepts of sex and gender to push a deeply discriminatory agenda".[16] Legal scholar and human rights expert Sandra Duffy described the declaration's concept of "sex-based rights" as "a fiction with the pretense of legality".[20] The declaration has been described as "a smoke and mirrors act void of any legal grounding" that relies on "a cherry-picked interpretation of CEDAW [...] ignoring decades of advancements in human rights law."[9] Leading feminist organizations in the United Kingdom united in condemnation of the event that launched the declaration, with Scottish Women's AidWikipedia describing WDI (WHRC) as a group "seeking to stigmatise and discriminate against trans women."[21]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Grinspan, Mauro Cabral; Eloit, Ilana; Paternotte, David; Verloo, Mieke (2023). "Exploring TERFnesses". Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies. 10 (2). doi:10.21825/digest.90008.
  2. Beck, Dorothee; Habed, Adriano José; Henninger, Annette. Blurring Boundaries – ‘Anti-Gender’ Ideology Meets Feminist and LGBTIQ+ Discourses. Verlag Barbara Budrich. p. 29. ISBN 9783847418573. "Among the most important 'gender critical' groups [...] are [...] the Women's Declaration International (WDI), formerly known as the Women's Human Rights Campaign (WHRC), Fair Play for Women (FPFW), Women's Place UK, Filia, Re-sisters, Sex Matters"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Landscape Analysis: What we know on anti-gender movement measures and actors targeting trans people across Europe and Central Asia (PDF). Transgender Europe. 2023. pp. 28–29.
  4. "Timeline: Building a Pseudoscience Network". Combating Anti-LGBTQ+ Pseudoscience. Southern Poverty Law Center. 2023.
  5. "Group dynamics and division of labor within the anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience network". Combating Anti-LGBTQ+ Pseudoscience.Southern Poverty Law Center. 2023. "Table 5.2: Networked Groups by Typology [...] Narrative Manipulation: [...] Women's Declaration International"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "'Gender ideology' narratives: A threat to human rights". Association for Women's Rights in DevelopmentWikipedia. 2022. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 February 2023.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Even if Bigots Insist it is, Waging a Hate Campaign Against Trans People is Not Feminist". National Organization for Women. 25 July 2023. Archived from the original on 2 August 2023.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 WDI-USA: Anti-Trans Hate Group Event in Portland (Archived). "One of the most concerning aspects of WDI-USA and WoLF’s organizing processes is their deliberate and consistent collaboration and crossover with the far-right. WDI-USA president Kara Dansky, who has appeared on white nationalist Tucker Carlson’s former Fox News talk show “something like 10 times”, claims that this strategy is both harmless and necessary to advance their cause, because (as she admits) so few non-conservatives are willing to work with them. During the time Dansky served on their board, WoLF accepted funding from the ADF—a conservative Christian legal advocacy group that is virulently homophobic and misogynist. The ADF was instrumental in overturning Roe v Wade, and has successfully litigated numerous other Supreme Court cases that have had devastating material consequences for women and the LGBTQ+ community — all in direct opposition to WoLF’s supposed values. Both WDI-USA and WoLF have filed amicus briefs in multiple ADF court cases."
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Rights For Me, Not For Thee: How Anti-Trans Feminists Took Their Advocacy to the United Nations
  10. Studnik, Joane (24 January 2023). "Was bedeutet TERF? Wie linke Transfeindlichkeit Rechtsextreme stärkt" [What does TERF mean? How left-wing transphobia strengthens the far right]. Der Freitag.
  11. Holcomb, Jamie (26 February 2023). "Bills restricting transgender rights circulate across the country". Columbia Missourian.
  12. Koch, Per (2023). "Ulver i akademiske fåreklær" [Wolves in academic sheep's clothing]. Forskningspolitikk [Research Policy].
  13. Sarah Clarke and Mallory Moore (18 February 2020). "Transphobic Feminism and Far Right Activism Rapidly Converging." Trans Safety Network.
  14. Strick, Simon (30 August 2022). "Trans Panic Comes to Germany". New Fascism Syllabus. Archived from the original on 3 December 2022.
  15. "Anti-trans group, advertising as feminists, descends on S.F. for annual convention". San Francisco Chronicle.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Trojan horses in human rights spaces: anti-rights discourses, tactics and their convergences with trans-exclusionary feminists". Association for Women's Rights in DevelopmentWikipedia. Archived from the original on 29 November 2021.
  17. Engebretsen, Elisabeth L. (2022). "Scientizing Gender? An Examination of Anti-Gender Campaigns on Social Media, Norway". In Eslen-Ziya, H.; Giorgi, A. (eds.). Populism and Science in Europe. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 185–206. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-97535-7_9. ISBN 978-3-030-97534-0.
  18. "San Francisco Hits The Streets To Oppose Far-Right Anti-Trans Conference" (Archived)
  19. Parsons, Vic. "MSPs invite academic who brands trans women 'parasites' to speak on Transgender Day of Remembrance". PinkNews.
  20. Duffy, Sandra (26 October 2021). "An International Human Rights Law Analysis of the WHRC Declaration". Archived from the original on 16 June 2022.
  21. Logan, Caitlin. "Feminists warn of blurred lines 'between free speech and hate speech' on trans people ahead of parliament event". Source. Archived from the original on 4 December 2021.