Alongside Phyliss Chesler at the 2022 WDI USA Convention sat goliaths from the Second Wave feminist movement of the 70s and 80s, including multiple speakers at the 1987 New York conference “The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism”i which lead to the formation of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW). Notable speakers at WDI USA’s convention include:
- Twiss Butler, a Mormon missionary feministii who has been active in anti-sex work activism since the 70siii and helped review the antisemitic paper Decriminalization of Prostitution: The Soros Effect.iv Butler is also a wealthy philanthropist who, along with her husband Patrick Butler, funds a number of charities and projects including but not limited to CATW,v the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, the Kennedy Center, Folger Shakespeare Library, and the anti-trans publication 4W. Butler was one of the presenters at the “The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism” conference.
- Janice Raymond, anti-trans radical feminist author of The Transsexual Empire and formative member of CATW,vi presenting via a recording. Like Butler and Chesler, Raymond also presented at “The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism”, giving their panel address.vii
- Merle Hoffman, a leader in abortion rights activism who co-founded the National Abortion Federation in 1977. She later became one of the founding members of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, which was embroiled in controversy about its possible connections to the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). Hoffman is a signatory for the “Forbidden Discourse” open statement defending Deep Green Resistance against accusations of transphobia.viii
- Kathie Sarachild, a former member of NY Radical Women who founded the 1960s radical feminist organization Redstockings’s “Archives for Action” project. Sarachild is one of the drafters of the “Forbidden Discourse” open statementix and was part of the event’s only recorded panel alongside Lierre Keith for WDI’s Feminist Question Time.x
- Jo Freeman, who is best known for her essay “Tyranny of Structurelessness” that received criticism from anarcha-feminists about its impact on small-scale grassroots organizing.xi
Some other speakers of note at the September 2022 convention include: Melissa Farley, the anti-trafficking researcher and founder of Prostitution Research and Education who has previously done panels for WDI;xii Lierre Keith, one of the founders of WoLF and DGR; Suzanne Forbes-Vierling, a regular speaker and attendee at anti-trans events who was also present at Women Picket DC and Sovereign Women Speak; and Mary Lou Singleton, previously of WoLF, DGR, and Hands Across the Aisle. Mary Lou Singleton spoke on panels with the Heritage Foundation while part of Hands Across the Aisle. Less well known is her connection to the group Stop Patriarchy, another group connected to Rise Up founders that have connections to the Revolutionary Communist Party.xiii Stop Patriarchy and their founder Sunsara Taylor have been sharply criticized for racist actions involving white women wearing chattel-slavery style chains.xiv In a past statement, Singleton stated that she was “warned” about Stop Patriarchy, their ties to the RCP, and the political destructiveness of their actions for pro-choice movements, all of which she denies.xv