The purpose of the Texas Handmaids protests is to raise awareness of reproductive justice issues and violence against women in our immediate area. We protest legislation, legislators, and organizations that seek to restrict our access to reproductive healthcare , justice and rights to bodily autonomy. It is our intention to use the dramatic red robes and white bonnets to shine a light on forces that would keep all women from gaining full bodily autonomy, along with economic and social parity with cis white men.
Facebook Group\Internet Community behavior Norms & Respect Requirements
This is a feminist community that requires respect of all voices within the community. Members attacking other members, will be given a warning by a moderator that states the following: “This is a warning that your comments are violating the respect requirements of this group. Please cease this behaviour or risk being removed from the group.”
If the behavior continues despite the moderator warning , the warned member will be removed from the group. As a feminist community we must confront the history of ALL feminism and ensure we do not dominate or push out voices that differ from our own. We must intentionally lift up and listen to these voices in our discussions. Criticisms may make us uncomfortable but in listening we learn.
Another important part of being in a community of feminist, is recognizing the emotional work white cis women lay on minority women in asking them to explain themselves. You should never ask, “Why is that offensive? What should I do instead then?” before fully reading a thread and posting your question, as it has likely already been answered. Please DM an organizer or moderator if you still need clarification. Remember that whatever discomfort you’re feeling at having your opinion questioned, it’s a small bit of what minority women deal with everyday.
We are all concerned with ALL social justice issues such as; racist immigration policies, Islamophobia, police brutality, and LGBTQ rights just to name a few. All of these issues overlap with feminism. When we have an opportunity to show up for these issues and communities, we will come in plain clothes as allies, as the focus should not be about us as robed Handmaids. If we are asked to appear in robes at another groups function, and journalists ask for interviews , due to the robes, we should redirect all questions to the organizers of the event.
How we decide when we take action
Since the Texas Handmaids are a feminist group focused on reproductive justice issues and violence against women, in order for us to take action as a group, the answer to all questions below must be "yes".
Is this a reproductive justice issue or a violence against women issue?
If this is another group's event: a. Have we been invited by the organizer? b. Are the key stakeholders aware we’ve been invited? c. Are the key stakeholders supportive of the invitation? d. Can we confirm the group is anti-white supremacy and anti-patriarchy in their values and presentation?
If we can answer yes to these questions, we’ll post an event to the FB group. Everyone is free to weigh in with discussion, as this is a safe place to raise questions. If the event is to be robed it will be noted in the posting of the event; otherwise it will be in plain clothes.
Although the legislative session is (mercifully) over, there are plenty of opportunities for the Texas Handmaids to protest. Several ideas include attending trials of the lawsuits against the abortion restrictions that were passed, protesting fake clinics, protesting campus rape culture, Title IX offenses, the rape kit backlog and shameful mishandling, just to name a few.
While protesting as a Texas Handmaid, please remain silent to maximize the impact. We will plan out the choreography in advance and explain it to everyone before the action begins. One or two volunteers from the group will work in plain clothes to help everyone navigate the space and deliver water. These unrobed volunteers will be responsible for passing out informational push cards, press releases, and giving interviews. Anyone is welcome to perform this unrobed role, and if we do not have a volunteer, an organizer will take it on.
An exception to this behavior above, is sitting vigil in the Texas legislature galleries. Texas Handmaids who are doing this for hours should take care of their physical needs , including discrete phone time and solo bathroom trips as needed. We want the performance to be impactful, but we aren’t reenactors, we’re activists!