Women's Liberation Front

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The Women's Liberation Front (WoLF) is an American self-described radical feminist organization, known for its opposition to transgender rights and gender identity legislation.[1][2][3] It has engaged in litigation on transgender topics, working against the Obama administration's Title IX directives which defined sex discrimination to include gender identity.[4] It has been characterized by Vox, The New Republic, and La Presse as a "trans-exclusionary radical feminist" group.[5][6][7]

Structure and ideology[edit]

WoLF was founded by author and activist Lierre Keith, who currently serves as its chair.[8] As of 2020, WoLF had around 1,000 members across the United States.[9]

The Women's Liberation Front's activism finds its source in second-wave feminist tendencies, such as those of Mary Daly and Janice Raymond, which consider transgender identities invalid and say that women are defined by biology, rather than gender identity.[3] While considered a fringe group by the feminist mainstream,[3] who suggest the group conceals an essentially discriminatory right-wing ideology under the guise of feminism,[3] the organization has found influence through collaboration with conservative groups on shared legislative views.[3][10]

Though the predominant focus of WoLF has been on transgender issues, it also approves of abortion rights, and favors action to combat violence against women and the introduction of the Nordic model approach to prostitution.[11] WoLF is opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment.[12]

Litigation and legal advocacy[edit]

In August 2016, WoLF filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration for its directive on Title IX permitting students to use bathrooms based on their reported gender identity.[13] In their filing, WoLF stated that the Obama administration equated the terms "sex" with "gender identity" without evidence, and that by doing so the administration contradicted the intent of Title IX.[13][needs update]

WoLF has filed several amicus curiae briefs to the Supreme Court in opposition to transgender rights advocacy. WoLF partnered with the Family Policy Alliance (FPA) to file a joint brief in support of the plaintiff of G. G. v. Gloucester County School Board, opposing a lower court ruling in favor of Gavin Grimm, a transgender male high school student who desired to use the boys' school restroom.[2] The organization also filed a brief in R. G. & G. R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc., v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a landmark Supreme Court case involving the issue of whether the firing of transgender funeral director Aimee Stephens from Harris Funeral Homes constituted sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. WoLF's brief referred to Stephens as a man, and argued that sex should not be considered equivalent to gender identity;[14] WoLF also organized rallies in opposition to Stephens' case outside the Supreme Court in October 2020.[3][5]

On November 17, 2021, WoLF filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation over their policy of transferring prisoners from male to female prisons, including sex offenders, on the basis of gender identity.[15][16]

Alignment with conservative organizations[edit]

In May 2017, WoLF partnered with the Hands Across the Aisle Coalition, Concerned Parents and Educators, and the Family Policy Alliance to submit a petition for rule-making to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, "to protect the safety and privacy of women in need of shelter due to homelessness or violence".[17]

In 2019, three members of WoLF appeared on a panel with conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation. The panel focused on the Equality Act, legislation pending in Congress that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.[1] Progressives criticized WoLF's participation in the panel, which included Jennifer Chavez reading "from a letter that described increased transgender visibility and acceptance as 'a social contagion all over the internet'".[1][2]

In June 2022, several groups opposing trans rights, including Women's Liberation Front, Alliance Defending Freedom, WDI USA, and Family Research Council, organized an anti-trans rally in Washington, D. C. Lindsay Schubiner, an expert on right-wing extremism, said the event is part of a larger threat to democracy, and an attempt to legitimize and spread transphobia.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Ring, Trudy (January 30, 2019). "Anti-Trans Feminists Appear at Panel of Right-Wing Heritage Foundation". The Advocate. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Fitzsimons, Tim (January 29, 2019). "Conservative group hosts anti-transgender panel of feminists "from the left"". NBC News. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Samantha, Schmidt (February 7, 2020). "Conservatives find unlikely ally in fighting transgender rights: Radical feminists". Washington Post. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  4. ^ Amelia, Langas (November 14, 2017). "'Radical' feminist organization criticizes ETHS transgender locker room policy". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Burns, Katelyn (September 9, 2019). "The rise of anti-trans "radical" feminists, explained". Vox. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  6. ^ Hachey, Isabelle (June 12, 2019). "La femme qui dérange". La Presse. Retrieved October 18, 2021. Fait étonnant, celles qui luttent avec le plus de véhémence contre les droits des transgenres ne sont pas des machos frustrés, mais… des féministes de gauche. Elles ont même un nom : les TERF, acronyme anglais pour « trans-exclusionary radical feminists ». [Surprisingly, those who fight with the greatest vehemence against transgender rights are not frustrated male chauvinists, but left-wing feminists. They even have a name: TERF, an English acronym for "trans-exclusionary radical feminists". In the United States, they formed WoLF, the Women's Liberation Front, and spoke of transgender people as a "social contagion".]
  7. ^ Bauer, Sydney (February 11, 2020). "The New Anti-Trans Culture War Hiding in Plain Sight". The New Republic. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  8. ^ "Staff and Board". Women's Liberation Front. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  9. ^ https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5f232ea74d8342386a7ebc52/t/61802dee3eea9a7c7d33be5a/1635790318706/Filed.Green.v.MUSA.Amicus.Brief.WoLF.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  10. ^ Gevisser, Mark (June 27, 2020). "The front line of the new gender wars". Financial Times. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  11. ^ "Our Work". Women's Liberation Front. Retrieved 2021-10-28.
  12. ^ "The Feminist Argument Against the Equal Rights Amendment". Women's Liberation Front. March 2021. Archived from the original on 2 April 2022. Retrieved 3 April 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  13. ^ a b Haywood, Phaedra (August 12, 2016). "Radical feminists sue Obama administration in New Mexico court over bathroom directive". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  14. ^ Paul, Crystal (December 9, 2019). "Amid outcry, Seattle Public Library weighs decision to provide venue for 'radical feminist' event criticized as anti-trans". Seattle Times. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  15. ^ Blankley, Bethany (November 17, 2021). "Womens' rights group sues California over transgender prisoner transfer law". The Center Square.
  16. ^ Bernstein, Brittany (November 17, 2021). "Lawsuit Accuses California of Endangering Female Prisoners By Forcing Them to Share Housing with Biological Males". Yahoo!.
  17. ^ "Petition for Rulemaking to Protect the Safety and Privacy of Women in Need of Shelter Due to Homelessness or Violence" (PDF). May 1, 2017. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  18. ^ "Experts on white nationalism say anti-trans rally in DC part of larger threat to democracy". The American Independent. Retrieved 2 July 2022.

External links[edit]