Problematic Women: The Radical Feminists Who Are Fighting the Transgender Movement
As a leader of the radical feminist organization group Women’s Liberation Front, Natasha Chart doesn’t agree with conservatives on much. But when it comes to the transgender movement and protecting children from transgender ideology, she’s standing side by side with conservatives.
Chart spoke Thursday at The Heritage Foundation’s Summit on Protecting Children From Sexualization. On this week’s edition of “Problematic Women,” we sit down with her to find out why.
Plus, we take on the issue of deepfakes—the technology that enables you to transpose one person’s face over another’s, making it seem like that person is doing or saying something they are not—and how it’s becoming a bigger problem, particularly for women.
We also address Teen Vogue’s claim that Gen Z is the most progressive and politically independent, Demi Lovato’s apology for taking a celebrity birthright trip to Israel, and the now-infamous courtroom hug between Brandt Jean and Amber Guyger, the police officer who had killed his older brother.
And we leave you with Ellen Degeneres’ special message about George W. Bush.
Lauren Evans: Virginia and I are back in studio today with Natasha Chart of the Women’s Liberation Front.
Natasha, thanks for joining us.
Natasha Chart: Hey. How’s it going, Lauren? Thanks for having me on.
Evans: So happy to have you. Natasha, can you tell our listeners a little bit about who you are and what you do at WLF?
Chart: Sure. I’m the board chair of the Women’s Liberation Front, also commonly referred to as WLF. We are an all-volunteer organization of radical feminists.
We formed up in order to challenge the Obama administration’s directive ending single-sex spaces in federally-funded educational institutions because we thought someone should challenge that in court, and no one else seemed to be stepping up to do it, so we did.
Virginia Allen: What is the type of work that WLF is now pursuing?
Chart: We’re still doing the same kind of legal advocacy. Many other suits have been brought over this issue, [so] our resources are scarce. We don’t have any paid staff at all, so we’ve been mainly filing amicus briefs, friend-of-the-court briefs in other cases to advance our ideas of how the law should be interpreted and work from a radical feminist perspective.
We’ve been de-platformed in the media. The progressive press tries to pretend that we absolutely don’t exist, to the extent that they can, although that’s becoming harder for them now.
One of our rationales was, “Well, you can’t de-platform us from the court.” You’re not going to protest the federal court and be like, “We can’t allow this brief in.” Then, they’ll say, “Oh, well, this brief is very problematic, and we will reject it on that ground.” They don’t do that. We’re like, “Well, if we can’t be heard anywhere else, we can be heard in court, like everybody else.” There you go.
Evans: That’s a great approach to take. Natasha, you brought up that women’s-only spaces is one of the motivating factors for your group. Can you explain to our listeners why women’s-only spaces are important?
Chart: In our view, one of the most important things to feminism as a practice, as a process issue, is that women are discouraged from expressing solidarity with each other, across all kinds of lines.
And as part of our work, that seams over and over again, and it’s just reinforced every time there’s some round of fighting or argument or discussion over some new factional split, to encourage women to try to relate to each other in solidarity, to stand with each other, and to say, “We may not have everything in common, but we can agree on this, and I’m going to support you.” Or, “Even if I don’t want to be part of what you’re doing, I’m not going to try to tear you down.”
That’s just the foundation of any successful political movement, where you have to bring in a lot of people, and you can’t just rely on the tiny number of people who agree with you. There’s never going to be some huge, vast majority that agrees with you. This is a nation of … roughly  million people. You’re never going to get everybody to say, “Oh, yes. We all agree on this one thing.”
You can’t even get dentists to all agree on sugared gum, as they say. You can’t get that. You have to work. Women are discouraged from having that kind of solidarity with each other, that’s common to every successful political movement. You have to cultivate that. That’s the biggest stumbling block. Encouraging women-only space, it’s not a high, complicated concept, but it has transformative properties.
Allen: Natasha, groups like the Women’s March typically end up intertwining feminism and transgender issues, but WLF takes a different stand. Why?
Chart: Because gender identity is about men saying that they’re women. To some extent now, you have more women saying, “Oh, well, I’m really not like the other girls. I am actually a man,” for a number of reasons. That strain of activism would not have had so much success if it wasn’t men insisting that they have the right to be treated, in all aspects of the law and society, as women.
This is not only impossible—if you’re someone who has a commitment to speaking the truth, and relying on the facts, it’s intellectually offensive. It’s also offensive to feminist principles, which is about women expressing solidarity with each other.
Here are these men coming in and saying, “We need to be at the center of your movement. We need to be at the center of your concern. We are the most oppressed, most vulnerable women.” It’s some white guy [who’s] a married dad, and he’s an executive at a bank. That is not the most vulnerable, oppressed woman in the world. I’m sorry. That’s just not true.
It’s not feminist, and we can’t support it. A lot of women on the left, like in the Women’s March, they will not be allowed to do the other work that they want to do at all on the left because all of the men on the left have decided to say to these other men, “Oh, well, if you want to dress like that, and if you want to call yourself that, well, I guess you’re not a real man after all.” Which is pretty sexist of them, frankly. “You go off and be with the women.” That’s not our problem. We didn’t come up with that.
If men are worried about how effeminate men are treated, men should deal with that. Apparently, everybody agrees that men’s bathrooms are some terribly scary violent place. I don’t know what those guys are doing in there. Seriously, sort yourselves out. That’s not women’s problem to deal with.
Or, they’ll bring up, “Oh, well, these feminine-presenting men are treated badly in men’s prisons.” A lot of men are treated badly in men’s prisons. Men who are gay, young men, someone who’s just not very physically as strong as the other guys. Maybe the real issue that needs to be addressed there is that men’s prisons are terribly unsafe. Deal with that problem for everybody.
That’s its own issue. It deserves its own strain of advocacy. It deserves its own people speaking up strongly who’ve been affected by it. Lumping it in by saying, “This is a women’s issue. Just put this section of men who are affected in the women’s prison.” That doesn’t address the problem. It just puts it off on women. That’s not fair.
Evans: Natasha, you have been very busy this week. You are speaking about the Harris Supreme Court case that was heard on Oct. 8, which is the case where an employee of a funeral home transitioned from a man to a woman, transitioned from identifying as a man to identifying as a woman. Because they would not wear the men’s dress code for the funeral home, the funeral director fired the employee. Now, the employee is suing him for discrimination.
Can you tell us what were you doing, what were you speaking about, and why this case is so important to you?
Chart: Part of what I was speaking about yesterday is the intimidation tactics that have been levied against women on the left, the sexual harassment, the firings.
It’s like so many of the people who were with the ACLU demonstration were like, “Well, LGBT people have the right to work.” I agree with this, that those folks have the right to fair employment and nondiscrimination, all of us.
I’m like, “Yeah, and I’m over here, as a bisexual woman, standing in solidarity with my lesbian sisters,” many of us who’ve been fired, sexually harassed, received death threats, etc., for just saying, “No, men can’t be women. That’s not a real thing.” Where’s our right to be employed, and to have our opinions?
The thing about the Harris case, is it’s been presented very dishonesty, and in some cases, by ACLU staff, as being about sex-based dress codes. That was never a question before the court. If you read through the documents, it says that. That’s not under issue.
There’s a line in the petitioner’s brief the ACLU wrote for Amy Stevens, the plaintiff, that is talking about how Stevens would have been fine following the women’s dress code. That’s at the heart of this. That sex-based dress codes weren’t the thing. It’s their insistence on presenting sex itself as a stereotype of sex, which you can’t have a stereotype of something that has no objective definition.
A stereotype has to refer, at base, a real thing in the world that has some material definition that we can all recognize and wrap our heads around. It’s about saying not that you’re discriminating against me because I’m a man, and I want to wear a dress to work, and men should be allowed to wear dresses at work. Totally different question. He’s saying, “I am a man, I have the right to be treated as a woman, under the rules for women.” That would reinterpret sex in all of federal law.
I believe that even in the oral arguments the justices teased out that if this challenge wins, suits on all of these other issues where there are sex-based distinctions would almost certainly follow, and quite rapidly.
Then, at some point, you can’t make any distinction in the law on sex. The law is forbidden basically to see sex at all and recognize it. That simply erases women’s rights.
We would still have the right to vote, I’m sure, but anything that would be there as a redress for centuries of discrimination is just wiped out. It’s no longer for women. It’s not a women’s team if there are men in it. Then, it’s a mixed-sex team. That’s what it is.
It’s not a women’s locker room if there are men in it. Then, it’s a coed locker room, and a lot of women are going to stay back from things like that, so they’re not subject to indecent exposure, voyeurism, or in the case sports, so they’re not subject to injury. They’ve made the women’s amateur rugby teams in the U.K. mixed-sex, basically on the grounds of gender identification.
There was a story just out in The Times U.K. about this last week, that the coaches are quitting because they’re worried about women getting their bones broken in rugby matches with these guys.
It’s a very aggressive, very physical sport, and they’re worried about physical injury. They’re just basically being told, “Well, it’s the equalities law. We can’t do anything about it.” … It’s not fair.
Allen: At WLF, and for you personally, how do you define who a woman is?
Chart: A woman is an adult human female—the dictionary definition that Posie Parker over in the U.K. has made infamous with her T-shirts, stickers, and billboard campaigns.
That definition has just become terribly controversial, where people are saying, “Well, this is violence and transphobic.” It’s like, “This is just what women are.” It’s a biologically determined objective fact that we observe about people. It’s not assigned, you see someone’s sex. You don’t interpret that.
[For] 99.98% of people, it’s blatantly obvious whether they are male or female at birth. It doesn’t take any kind of specialty training to find this out. That something so basic has been made offensive and unsayable has had this massive cascade of problems.
If you got to see the rally yesterday—just like in sports and employment law, all kinds of nondiscrimination law, in terms of whether or not you can say when you go to the doctor and you’re a woman, “I would like a woman to perform my exam,” or, “I would like a woman to chaperone my exam, if there’s only a male doctor available.”
Even something so basic to your bodily privacy and sense of safety as that is under question, and it’s all because there’s this one lie that has to be defended at all costs now. That lie is that people can change sex by an act of will. No matter how many laws you make saying that that’s possible, it’s just not possible.
Evans: Natasha, I want to—I guess transition is a bad word to use—but I want to switch topics. You spoke yesterday at [The Heritage Foundation], at the Summit on Protecting Children From Sexualization. What is your biggest concern when these gender identity issues not just affect adults, but they affect our children?
Chart: The most blatant problem with that is the physical impact on the children who are transitioned, which is that a lot of them are irreversibly and permanently losing all aspects of adult sexual function.
Some of these children, and pardon for the blunt language, but they will never be able to have an orgasm their entire life. They will never experience this because their sexual organs have been removed by the time they were of majority age to be able to make these kinds of decisions.
We saw the case of Jazz Jennings. The whole country saw that. You can say, “Well, it’s horrible to talk about a child like this.” I didn’t put that on television, this poor kid celebrating the physical removal of one’s healthy body parts. That’s the biggest impact.
I honestly don’t know why that wasn’t the moment where a whole bunch of people watching that show, and patting themselves on the back for being inclusive, didn’t stop and think to themselves, “Hey, wait a minute. What’s going on here? What are we celebrating here? What if that was my kid celebrating a really serious operation like that to themselves, a cosmetic procedure?”
I feel like it’s a huge lack of empathy, that again, society will see a boy who maybe acts in a way that we consider effeminate, and like, “Well, it doesn’t matter what happens to him. I guess he’s not a real boy. He’s not a real man. Whatever happens to his body, we don’t care.” I don’t understand why that didn’t stop it.
The other problem is that these kids are being presented as having the adult capacity and agency to be able to make decisions like that. That is very much in contradiction to, for instance, a lot of the advocacy groups that used to speak to me, but now will no longer do so, would talk about the school-to-prison pipeline. One of the concepts that’s really important to that is that it dehumanizes children to present them as fully capable of making moral decisions on the same level as adults.
If you have a child, and this happens very often to black and brown children in the school system, where they do some stupid kid thing. Like most people, you remember back in your life, you did some kid thing, probably a lot of us. I know for sure, I look back and I think, “Oh my God, I’m so glad nobody saw that, and I didn’t have to face consequences as an adult for that because that was really dumb, and I didn’t understand.”
Most of us had the grace from society for the adults around us to be like, “Kid, you messed up. Let me tell you about it. Let’s work on it. Let’s not do it again. … You’re still young enough to figure this out.”
These kids are having that protection entirely stripped away from them. They’re being allowed to make very serious decisions that they don’t understand, that they haven’t experienced, because they haven’t gone through puberty.
There are these girls who are being put through menopause before they’ve had puberty. … Menopause is physically awful, as many, many women can attest, although this is not a thing you talk about a lot. But putting a 14-year-old through it on purpose, she’s never gone through having all those feelings and developmental experiences that they’re unpleasant.
Nobody likes that. Nobody has a good time. Nobody looks back and thinks, “Oh, puberty. That was the best time of my life. I miss the acne. I miss the aching, and the weirdness, and the feeling awkward all the time, and not knowing where your arms and legs are because all of a sudden, they’re like 6 inches longer than they were last year.” You’re like, “Oh my God, what am I doing?”
Nobody liked that, but it’s important for your formation, as an adult person, to go through that, and to be protected from the consequences of just being that unsettled in yourself, and going through all of that with your peers.
These children are being denied that, and they’re being dehumanized by people treating them like adults too soon. My heart aches for these kids.
Allen: As Lauren mentioned, you spoke on the Summit on Protecting Children From Sexualization. That whole summit can be found on the Heritage Foundation YouTube page. I want to ask, how did WLF end up getting connected with The Heritage Foundation? Did you ever see yourself aligning so closely with conservatives?
Chart: Wow. Well, we’re part of the Hands Across the Aisle Coalition. It’s an informal discussion network of women from, like, every political perspective. There are liberal pagan goddess worshipers in there, and there are conservative Christians of almost every description. I would still consider myself politically, my personal ideas, I’m a fairly mainstream to progressive Democrat.
We’re all represented in there but there’s a woman whose child was convinced that they were the opposite sex, and has been pushing hard to take steps to transition. She tried for four years to get someone, anyone, to please talk about this issue, and to raise it in public in a venue where policymakers and the media would start to understand that behind all this happy talk about inclusion and affirmation, there are real harms being done to real people.
There are physical injuries. There is destruction of family relationships going on. People’s hearts are breaking, and they feel like they can’t speak out at all.
She tried for so long. The only people who answered her, and were willing to give her a platform to talk about this, were the folks here at Heritage.
She invited us to come because we were all getting all of this flack already for being public about opposing gender identity under our own names. She asked if we could help supply speakers because the parents of these children can’t come out and talk. They can’t say this stuff.
For one thing, they have concerns about their children’s medical privacy. … Some of the parents came to the summit, and were talking with us before that. One couple was talking about how they felt they couldn’t talk to anyone in their church. Or, how they feel ostracized, and they have to hide things from people in local political groups, where they had once felt very welcome.
This issue has made them feel entirely cut off from their communities, and they’re afraid of significant public ostracism, of being cut off from other networks. They asked us to give voice to this.
The beginning of that panel is my colleague on the board, Jennifer Chavez, reading a number of parents’ stories, parents who could not come out and do that themselves.
That was how that happened. I wouldn’t have predicted that that would have happened five years ago. I probably would have said a number of terribly unpleasant and uncollegial things about the idea of even walking in the door here, but here we are.
Evans: We’re glad that you’re here.
Chart: Thank you.
Evans: I do want to plug … a short documentary [we did] on Hands Across the Aisle, and I did get to meet a lot of your members. It was just a incredible experience. I’ll make sure to put that documentary in the show notes, if any of our listeners want to learn more about the group.
Natasha, we ask pretty much all of our guests this question: [Do] you identify as a feminist? … I imagine you would, so I’m going to change the question a little bit, why is identifying as a feminist so important to you?
Chart: It’s because of … what I was saying at first about solidarity with other women, there are certain policy positions that I do think are at the heart of feminism in an outward way. Primarily, it’s about standing up to say, “I am a woman who puts other women first, to whatever extent that I can, wherever I can.”
I do get people asking, “How can you be a feminist and talk at The Heritage Foundation?” It’s like, “Well, I am a feminist. If I show up at The Heritage Foundation, I’m going to do whatever I can while I’m there to be putting women first in whatever way makes sense, in whatever way I can advance those interests that are common to all of us. That’s just what I’m going to do, wherever I am.”
The women in Iran are working on, “How can we be allowed to go out in public without having to wear religious headgear?”
Women in Saudi Arabia are working on, “How do we have the right just to be in public at all, on our own recognizance, as adult citizens?”
Women in the U.S., there are women alive today who remember when they could not get a line of credit in their own name, when they wouldn’t have been allowed to buy a house, when most colleges were closed to them, when most professions were closed to them entirely.
You just work on whatever makes sense at the time, with the resources you can. That goal is always women acting in solidarity with other women. There are women everywhere, so you can be a feminist everywhere that you are.
Evans: Natasha, we really appreciate your time, and that you joined us on the podcast today. Thank you so much.
Chart: Thank you so much for inviting me. It’s been a delight. Take care.