Milk, Dietary Racism and the Corporate Capture of the United Nations

When the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced last October that it planned to build closer ties with CropLife International, the trade body of the pesticide industry, civil society and environmental organizations jumped into action. Eleven international organizations sponsored a letter to the Director General of the FAO that opposed the announced partnership. It was signed by 352 civil society and indigenous organizations from 63 countries, and was accompanied by a letter of support from nearly 300 academics and scientists. Seed the Commons, the organization that I co-founded and that opposes the corporate takeover of food systems, signed on.

Then the United Nations convened the UN Food Systems Summit for September 2021, and it became evident that despite last year’s outcry, the UN’s alliances with the private sector were deepening and that they would be putting forth corporate false solutions rather than the People’s solutions we urgently need. Around the world, activists decided to boycott the summit (read Here is why we are boycotting the UN Food Systems Summit by two peasant leaders). The pre-summit that took place last July was met with mass mobilizations, both online and in person. Again, Seed the Commons threw our hat into the ring.

We decided to opt out of the UN Food Systems Summit’s mechanism for input from civil society and instead to join others in organizing around our opposition and building more legitimate platforms to discuss the transformation of our food systems. In response to the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit that took place in July, we participated in the Global Virtual Rally Against the Corporate Capture of Food Systems, a day of political and artistic interventions that kicked off a week of global mobilizations. The pushback is already bearing fruit; we are seeing the crumbling of the legitimacy of the UN Food Systems Summit. The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems has notably withdrawn from the summit, stating “The world urgently needed a food systems summit, but not this Summit”.

I am happy for the small part I played in this, but the true extent of industry ties of the UN is still not sufficiently appreciated and challenged. Last year’s announced partnership between the FAO and Croplife made waves, but it was not the first time the FAO has prioritized industry ties over the health of people. The United Nations, through the FAO and other agencies, has a long history of propping up the dairy industry. Unlike with pesticides, the innocuous – haloed even – reputation of milk has meant that this has largely gone unchallenged.

The ties between the United Nations and the dairy industry go almost as far back as the founding of the United Nations itself; more specifically, to the founding of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Today UNICEF is known as the UN agency that oversees child-related programs and advocacy, but at its start, its mandate was much narrower. Originally named the United Nations Children’s Emergency Relief Fund, UNICEF was created at the first United Nations General Assembly to provide emergency relief (specifically milk, vitamins and cod-liver oil) to children in war-torn Europe. Milk distribution was so synonymous with the work of UNICEF that its first logo was a child drinking milk over the map of the world, and at the time it was nicknamed a “giant organizational udder”. Another common nickname was “milkman of the world”, and UNICEF not only distributed milk but helped rebuild – and sometimes simply build – the infrastructure that allowed local communities to have access to milk. While its initial focus was on Europe, this quickly expanded to the rest of the world, starting in Asia. Milk consumption is not traditional to most of the places targeted by this expansion, so it was no longer a question of rebuilding what had been lost through war but of bringing in something entirely new, which tied into the developmental focus that the United Nations would start to adopt.

Food assistance programs hold the appeal of wholesome, altruistic giving, but their reality is usually more complex. These programs are often donor-based, i.e., organized around the benefit of donors rather than recipients. The first way that food aid benefits donors is by creating an outlet for their products. This short-term benefit can then become long-term, as the effective dumping of foodstuffs can help dismantle local food systems and shift dietary habits, creating new markets for donors and helping to integrate local food systems into the global food regime. The case of milk is no different. Distributing milk to school children provides a direct outlet for milk producers and others involved in milk distribution. In the days of the “giant organizational udder”, skim milk purchased by UNICEF was sourced from American farmers, who were provided an immediate outlet for their surplus stock. From the standpoint of industry growth, children are the ideal recipients of food assistance programs. They are the easiest leverage point over a society’s food culture, as their tastes and habits are still to be formed. And in effect, food cultures have shifted drastically since the early days of the UN and the targeting of children has been a key strategy in making this happen.

It is common knowledge that food systems and cultures have undergone westernization and globalization over the past century, but an oft overlooked part of this has been the globalization of milk consumption. We don’t tend to think of this in the same way that we do the wholesale adoption of pizza, burgers and processed foods, but for many populations it constitutes no less an adoption of Western norms. And more so than fast-food and processed foods, dairy has benefitted from government support and subsidies. The regular marketing of dairy has been compounded by its de facto imposition in children’s daily lives.

A key driver of the globalization of milk consumption has been the creation of school milk programs, which are typically based on some sort of public-private partnership. Parties involved usually include schools, governments and producers, and often also international development agencies, NGOs and multinationals such as Nestlé, Danone and Tetra Laval. Predictably, school milk programs are beneficial to their suppliers. Today in the United States, milk must be served with school lunches for these to be eligible for reimbursement by the USDA, which forces the public school system into a primary outlet for the American dairy industry.

The beneficiaries of these programs are not only dairy farmers but all of those along the supply chain–especially the multinationals that have vertically integrated the supply chains. One of the main players in the global school milk industry is Tetra Pak, which produces packaging for milk cartons. Tetra Pak’s website proudly features the school milk programs they help start in the Global South; they get to sell their products and look like good Samaritans too.

So the short term benefits for the dairy industry are obvious, but the long term impacts are perhaps more important, especially in emerging markets. The food preferences and habits of children have yet to be formed; feeding them milk every day serves to create consumers for the future. The explosion of school milk programs of recent decades has largely taken place in countries and populations with very little prior milk consumption. Serving milk in school normalizes milk consumption, instills the notion that it is a default or even necessary part of a healthy diet, and in effect, can change a food culture in one generation.

Since its foray into milk distribution in its early days, the UN has continued to be a broker for the dairy industry. In more recent years, the FAO has played a key role in supporting what has become a veritable global school milk industry. The logistical support and legitimacy that it provides has increased the access of the dairy industry to a captive consumer base: children.

In 2000, the FAO founded World School Milk Day, which takes place every last Wednesday of September. For one day, with little cost to the dairy industry, schools around the world sing the praises of milk to children. It is celebrated in a growing number of countries every year and is basically a global public relations day. Activities vary but they all highlight the purported benefits of milk, aim to build enthusiasm among children and legitimize the notion of serving milk through schools. In sum, the FAO created a whole “World Day of” to celebrate an institution the purpose of which is to instill habits in children that line the pockets of the dairy industry. Other ways that the FAO has supported the expansion of school milk programs have included helping to organize the International School Milk Conferences and the facilitation of communication among school milk stakeholders.

The perception of milk as children’s food par excellence is becoming universal, but milk was not in fact part of the dietary habits of much of humanity until very recently. The spread of this Western dietary norm has been aided by the marketing of milk as something that is not merely healthy, but necessary to children’s growth and development. The notion of necessity carries with it the belief that a diet without milk – even if varied and calorically sufficient – can only be considered lacking. The association between milk consumption and Western, American or white people is further encouragement to feed children milk, so that their groups can grow to be as strong, tall, successful or developed as those of traditional milk drinkers.

Unlike other Western foods that have gone global, milk is uniquely perceived as key to proper development. This is why it can attract subsidies through food assistance programs rather than depending solely on regular private marketing channels. But the notion that milk is necessary for the development of healthy children should raise the question: how were children from non-milk drinking cultures managing to grow up before?

The sense of necessity that has been ascribed to milk both stems from and propagates Eurocentrism. And by instilling the notion that a diet without milk is nutritionally incomplete, children and their parents are being taught to forget and devalue the diversity of foods from the food cultures they come from–at the same time that these are being lost under the expansion of a globalized corporate food regime. If a diet without milk as lacking, then many traditional non-Western diets are inherently deficient. This is a message that is repeatedly conveyed in the marketing of milk to children.

Eurocentrism recasts not only how we read human cultures but also human bodies. People who are from non-milk drinking cultures are majority lactose intolerant, meaning that they cannot easily digest milk or most dairy products. While this is not a pathology, it is often perceived as such. Indeed, lactose intolerance is the default condition of most humans and mammals. As mammals, we produce the enzyme lactase to aid in the digestion of lactose that we get from our mother’s milk. Lactase production drops after weaning for those who are lactose intolerant, but among humans, some populations developed dairying and in those groups lactose tolerance became an important trait to pass on. Over time, these populations became majority lactose tolerant (or lactase persistent, as they continued to produce lactase past the age of weaning), but they remain the deviation from the norm at the level of our species. Lactose intolerance is normal and healthy, but it has been pathologized due to a Eurocentric view that is now being exported.

The pathologization of lactose intolerance, coupled with the marketing of milk as necessary, imply that when someone in Mexico or China or Vietnam or any of the emerging markets for dairy experiences gastrointestinal distress upon consuming milk, the problem is perceived to be the person, not the product they ingested. Painting diets without milk as deficient goes along with seeing bodies that can’t digest milk as defective. And because milk is deemed necessary, the “defect” of lactose intolerance has to be overcome or bypassed in some way–the solution can’t be to simply go without. Lactose intolerant people are commonly told that rather than ditch dairy, they should work around their impediment, for example by attempting solutions like drinking lactose-free milk, eating cheese (which has less lactose than milk), taking lactase pills, drinking smaller but more frequent portions of milk, and otherwise trying to build up their tolerance.

Let’s state some facts. Milk is not a healthy food, much less a necessary one. Its consumption is associated with higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. There is not a single nutrient in milk that cannot be easily found in other food sources. The dairy industry has been so effective in marketing milk for its calcium content that it is now commonly believed that milk is the only food source of calcium, or that dairy-free diets require supplementation or special planning to avoid being deficient. This could not be further from the truth. The website World’s Healthiest Foods, which has no vegan or anti-dairy agenda (and includes dairy in their lists of healthiest foods), lists tofu first of their top 10 “healthiest foods rich in calcium”. The diverse food cultures of this world are replete with calcium-rich foods, but they are erased or their importance downplayed by the one-size-fits-all approach to child nutrition of the school milk industry. At the same time, the biodiversity of our food systems – and by extension our diets – is being lost as they are integrated into a global corporate food regime.

In an article titled Is the FAO in the pocket of the pesticide industry?, Pesticide Action Network director Keith Tyrell wrote “This new deal would turn FAO into the marketing arm of the pesticide industry.” It is not a stretch to say that the FAO is already the marketing arm of the dairy industry.

All children are harmed by school milk programs, but children who are from majority lactose intolerant populations are harmed the most. Rather than advocate for the nutritional needs of children to be met with foods that are healthy, diverse and culturally appropriate, the FAO is backing up industry at the expense of eaters. That these eaters are amongst the world’s most vulnerable makes this reversal of priorities all the more egregious.

Last year, civil society responded swiftly to the announcement of the partnership between the FAO and CropLife because many of us immediately understand that such a partnership is a problem. The alliances with the dairy industry are more surreptitious and have gone virtually unchallenged because milk is so widely perceived as healthy, necessary and wholesome. But these perceptions are the result of Eurocentrism and industry propaganda, and it’s time they be updated. It’s also time that we demand that the UN stop propping up the dairy industry, starting with the role of the FAO in the expansion of school milk programs.

Readers might be thinking that the comparison between FAO’s involvement in school milk and its partnership with CropLife is unwarranted because in the case of the former, small farmers are being supported. But the main beneficiaries of school milk programs are multinationals, and even if they were small farmers, supporting them should not come at the expense of children’s health.

 In my video intervention at the Global Virtual Rally to Transform Corporate Food Systems last July, I spoke of how corporate capture is aided by a narrative of lack. By painting a scarcity that doesn’t truly exist, or at least not by default, corporate actors sell us false solutions – like GMOs – to the false problems they have created. The marketing of milk follows the same playbook and further entrenches the power of multinationals and aids in the dismantlement of local food systems.

I also spoke of reclaiming sovereignty and building a People’s food system by putting forth our own narrative: one of abundance. They say that we can’t feed the planet unless they save us with their GMOs? We show that there is already more than enough food to feed every human alive and that small farmers are producing most of it. In my work with Seed the Commons, we did the same with milk. The dairy industry has erased the numerous foods that contribute calcium and protein to children’s diets, and convinced us that without their product, kids can’t grow or thrive. Like capitalists always do: they create the problem, whether material or perceived, and then sell us the solution. Part of countering this is to show that the problem is bogus.

On the last Wednesday of September 2017, Seed the Commons held a counter-celebration, probably the only event to have ever been held in opposition to the widely celebrated World School Milk Day. What we celebrated instead were the diverse food cultures of the world and the plant-based, calcium-rich foods that have nourished generations of children, especially those of some of the main populations that make up our city. We also launched our Get Milk Out campaign, which aims to get the SF Board of Education to pass a resolution opposing mandatory school milk, and to inspire and inform similar activism globally.

This year, World School Milk Day will fall on Wednesday September 29, less than a week after the UN Food Systems Summit on September 23. The announcement they sent out last month with the date and registration details was unironically titled “The ‘People’s Summit’ has arrived!”. (1) But the legitimate people’s summit – the Global People’s Summit on Food Systems – is being held separately on September 21-23.

Opposition to the UN Food Systems Summit and to World School Milk Day are pieces of the same pushback against the corporate takeover of food systems. I invite more activists to take a more far-reaching approach to food system change, which for many will require a willingness to rethink the role of foods and industries towards which they might hold a positive bias. It’s time to say no to the top-down imposition of milk on the children and food systems of the world. People are organizing outside of corporate-captured UN channels to put forth legitimate pathways towards abundance and resilience; we can further defend biological and cultural diversity by bringing back and reasserting the importance of the plethora of foods other than milk that have fed generations. Let’s reclaim the abundance that has been erased by corporate narratives, including that of the dairy industry.

 

(1) Learn more about what’s wrong with the UN Food Systems Summit and with calling it a “people’s summit” at this excellent site.

 

The participation in the mobilization against the UNFSS was the last project I took on before leaving my role of director of Seed the Commons this summer. This article first appeared on seedthecommons.org/blog.

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A Beginner’s Gender Critical Reading List

Last year I wrote a post on getting dropped as an author from an animal rights anthology, and I tacked a “beginner’s gender critical reading list” at the end. Both the article and the reading list are very long and arguably might have been better posted separately. In any case, I spent an inordinate amount of time on the reading list so – a year later – I’m reposting it on its own so it remains accessible as a resource. 

Two things to note:

  1. I have not been updating the list, which means that there are no articles or videos that came out after the blog post was published. 
  2. I noticed that some of the links in my list are now dead, usually because the article/video/blog was taken down by the platform that was hosting them. I think it is worthwhile to leave the list as is, because it also serves as a historical record of the erasure and censorship of feminist ideas. 

Enjoy.

The transgender movement and society

The New Backlash. This is a long but excellent read that thoroughly describes and analyses the situation we are in. Written some years ago, still on point. I recommend you take the time to read it.

Sex and Gender. A Beginner’s Guide. Also very long but clear and thorough. If you don’t want to read the whole thing I recommend you at least jump to How Did We Get Here?

Gender Identity: What Does It Mean for Society, the Law, and Women – A talk by Meghan Murphy  A talk that was given at an event that was heavily protested and for which the speakers needed to hire bodyguards.  Transcript here.

To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Transgender Extremism

Astroturfing: a brilliant article on the corporate funders of the trans trend

Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics

The oldest hate crime: How misogyny is being used to strangle women’s debate on sex and gender

The trans ideology of less than 1% of the UK population has bullied the other 99%. Here’s why I, as a real woman, reject it.

Transwomen are women or else “Indigenous women and girls are disproportionately harmed by the laws, policies, and practices that accept gender identity as truth and biological sex as a lie due to our over-representation in transition houses for battered women and their children, rape crisis centres, and prisons in Canada. Indigenous women and girls have long and violent histories of colonization that are ongoing in our contemporary woman-hating, racist, capitalist culture. Research shows that many women and girls in prison in Canada have survived male violence, are poor, and are often imprisoned for non-violent poverty-related offenses. Men who identify as women believe that they should be placed in women’s prisons and leaders and others think so too. One of the reasons I think policy makers are allowing men who feel they are women to serve their sentences in women’s prisons and to be allowed access into women’s transition houses and rape crisis centres is because these places are disproportionately populated by Indigenous and other marginalized women.”

There is no problem with trans people in bathrooms

Gender and gender identity

Gender is not an identity, it is a tool of patriarchy: A feminist view of gender identity politics

If ‘white feminism’ is a thing, gender identity ideology epitomizes it

Toward an End to Appropriation of Indigenous “Two-Spirit” People in Trans Politics: the Relationship Between Third Gender Roles and Patriarchy

What’s healthy about gender dysphoria? Short video by Carey Callahan, a detransitioned woman who is now a therapist.

Gender Colonialism

Gender, Patriarchy and All That Jazz

I am überpoor (satire) “There’s a word for people like me: überpoor (don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it; your ignorance just means you’re a privileged bigot). Basically, it describes the state of being poor while enduring the added oppression that comes with having money and a middle-class background. The queer poverty theorist J’amie Olivier came up with it in his brilliant work Whipping Chav. If you’ve not read it, please do. It explains so much about how poor people are not oppressed due to having no money but due to “poorphobia”: a widespread antipathy towards dog racing, Lambrini and the Waitrose Essentials range. Hardest hit by this are the überpoor: people who have been wrongly assigned middle- or upper-class status but are in fact poor. For centuries, such people have simply been invisible. No one has wanted to talk about us and our needs.

Fay Blaney on gender identity and Indigenous cultures at the Vancouver Public Library

The gay people pushed to change their gender

An open letter

On law and policy

Scottish Government Faces Judicial Review for Redefining “Women” to Include Men

California SB 132 Would Allow Trans-Identified Male Inmates to be Housed with Females

Should Men Be Allowed in Women’s Prisons? (video) Posted on August 28, 2020. “At the time of this recording, the California legislature is poised to vote on SB 132, a bill that would allow incarcerated individuals to self-identify as transgender or intersex. Those individual must then “Be housed at a correctional facility designated for men or women based on the individual’s preference.”  This includes sex-specific residential programs such as the Community Prisoner Mother Program.”

Kara Dansky at WNTT – Washington DC (video) Attorney Kara Dansky speaks of legal developments around gender identity and Title IX in the United States.

Interview with Female Erasure Contributor Cathy Brennan (audio)

How do transgender policies affect International laws on women’s rights? (video)

Can women legally be compelled to handle male genitals? (video) That example I gave of the Muslim esthetician not wanting to wax a scrotum? It wasn’t a hypothetical. Look up Jessica/Jonathan Yaniv.

Anna Zobnina (International women’s rights law expert) Where did gender identity ideology come from? (video)

WAVE Handbook 2020: How Gender Neutral Policy and Practice Is Dismantling Women’s Specialist Support Services and Ways to Counteract It

The abuse of civil rights laws needs to stop

On language

An Open Letter to the Guy on Twitter who Wonders if Biological Sex is Real

Reproductive Rights: Women vs. People with Uteruses ‘“Uterus-haver” obfuscates the fact that the group of people at risk of losing abortion access are the same group of people we talk about being underrepresented in government; the same people sent to prison for “suspicious” miscarriages; the same group of people who were denied the vote for several hundred years in our republic. “Uterus-haver” conveniently fractures a cohesive picture of the female situation.’

The Women’s March and the Erasure of Women

The Colonization of Womanhood

Why has “biological reality-speak” become a thought crime?

#CanWeHaveAWord? Why Talking About Women’s Issues Has Become a Minefield

Another college student group hosts a violent, transphobic cupcake party

Vagina Monologues playright: ‘It never said a woman is someone with a vagina’

On biology

Project Nettie: scientists supporting biological sex

Sex is binary: Scientists speak up for the empirical reality of biological sex

Gender Heretics Is Offering 1 MILLION For A Third Human Gamete

Think Cancel Culture Doesn’t Exist? My Own ‘Lived Experience’ Says Otherwise In which the academic career of a biologist was ruined because he publicly insisted that male and female are not social constructs.

The fight for women’s rights

Female Erasure with Maya Dillard Smith and Mary Lou Singleton | On Contact with Chris Hedges (video) Maya Dillard Smith is a legal scholar who was pushed out of her job as the Executive Director of the Georgia ACLU because of her reservations over Obama’s directive to public schools to replace sex with gender identity.

‘How the Gender Identity Movement is Hijacking the Fight for Reproductive Sovereignty’ (video)

A letter to the woman who called me a TERF “In this brave new world that you helped to create, look around for your transactivist friends, your lefty male allies, the ones you stood beside and yelled ‘terf, transphobe, bigot’ with, with you shouting the loudest, because you wanted to show what a good ally you were, how inclusive, how progressive. Where are they now? Why, they are where they always were. Benefitting from the patriarchy. Enjoying the new, improved version of it that you helped them to build by crushing the resistance from the women who spoke up for their rights. This has all cost them nothing; it has made the world a better, easier place for men. It has cost you and your sisters who campaigned with them for virtue cookies, everything.”

Why Can’t Women Be More Nice? “The demand that women be ‘nice’ and ‘kind’ goes further than just being a matter of tone policing, it has an impact on what women are allowed to say, and how much we can expect to be listened to when we say it. Women are not just expected to be nice whilst fighting for our rights, we’re expected to be nice instead of fighting for our rights.”

What happens when women try to meet to discuss their rights in 2019

Sex Based Segregation & Fairness in Sports | The Big Picture RT (video)

Women Interrogated by Police, One Thrown in Jail, for Disbelief in Gender Identity Theory

How does transgenderism undermine our right to organize as women, in Brazil?

Supporting Women in Domestic and Sexual Violence Services. Giving a voice to silenced women: evidence from professionals and survivors.

WHRC [Women’s Human Rights Campaign] Launches USA chapter

The Feminist Amendments to the US Equality Act: a new radical feminist approach to challenging gender identity ideology

Opposing Women’s Rights: 100 Years of Violence

Save Women’s Sports

Counting men as women

Why Disabled Women Requesting Female-Only Care is Not ‘Disgusting’

Man Elected to Female Leadership Seat That was Created to Ensure Female Participation in Politics, also: NY Democrats Quietly Dismantle ‘1 Male, 1 Female’ Rule

‘Self ID will stop women playing on an equal playing field’

These Are Not Our Crimes (video)

Labour’s ‘woman’ problem

‘Gender Fluid’ Credit Suisse director named on FT list of Top 100 Women in Business Sigh…

Have some “intersectionality” with your Honey Bumbles: On Gavin Hubbard’s theft of a Samoan victory

No. You may not take our sport. “We all know the truth here and the truth is that the truth is not what matters to the people making these decisions. What matters is what has always mattered — male feelings. Male desire to conquer and conquest has been the single most deadly force throughout history so why shouldn’t they take from women our fledgling sporting competitions?”

Cancelling feminists and their allies 

The Annals of the TERF-Wars Humorous chronology of the trans v. feminist conflict, with a focus on the UK.

Why British Feminists Are Such a Bunch of Evil Witches

The Emperor’s New Penis

Censored by transpolitics: A masterpost A long list of people who have been attacked, unpublished, censored, threatened and more for questioning in some way trans people or ideology.

Women in the United States are Being Fired for Talking About Feminism “A man can not be fired for believing he is a woman, but a woman can be fired for believing he’s not.”

Rose Freedman: Professor’s door ‘covered in urine’ after gender law debate In which a Jewish professor, human rights lawyer and survivor of sexual violence finds her door covered in urine and is called a “Nazi who should be raped”.

Podcast: Indian Filmmaker Vaishnavi Sundar made a film about sexual harassment, then got cancelled by liberal feminists

Bullying and Harassment Permitted by Bristol University (crowdfund) In which a feminist from the Dominican Republic loses her PhD scholarship to study in the UK following bullying for her gender critical views.

Fired For Feminism This was written by an acquaintance who was fired for writing an article about the misogyny of identifying as “non-binary”. This was the second time she was #cancelled. The first time, she was kicked out of an animal rights group she founded.

How I became the most hated lesbian in Baltimore In which the only woman and lesbian on the Baltimore LGBTQ Commission’s Law and Policy Committee was pushed out of it.

U of A Professor says she was dismissed over views that biological sex trumps transgender identity for policy reasons

Trans people are real – but so is biology The latest casualty: Sasha White was fired for her job at a literary agency in New York for saying “Gender non-conformity is wonderful, denying biological sex not so.”

Thistle Petterson: How I Became the Most Hated Folk Singer in Madison

A Modern Witch Hunt

Cancel culture cannot erase a strong argument

Transactivism at its Finest – the Blood Root Restaurant Debacle In which the elderly lesbian owners of a vegetarian restaurant that was a decades-long community pillar and catered to all people, including trans, came under attack by transactivists.

Trans-identified male verbally attacks Rose McGowan at Barnes & Noble talk

Dehumanizing women as TERFs

‘TERF’ isn’t just a slur, it’s hate speech

TERF: a term used to stop critical thinking while demonizing homosexuals and transexuals (video) “People who use the term TERF are part of the queer and trans community. Do you know who started the queer and trans community a long time ago? Homosexual people. In LGBT, the first two letters are referring to homosexual people. It’s insane that being a homosexual now is a prosecutable offense in social [justice] circles.”

It’s Time for Progressives to Protect Women Instead of Pronouns

Terf is a Slur  (TRA Diss track) – Grace Adetoro (video) Something different–let’s support radfem artists!

Transgender Activists in Multiple Countries Call For, Launch Organized Violent Uprisings Against Women

The Invisible Women – why are so many women scared to speak out about gender politics?

What’s wrong with gender ideology “TERF graves are gender neutral bathrooms” – truly the language of the new civil rights frontier.

Why I Became An Evil TERF (video)

Social media platforms censoring feminists

The Disturbing Trend of Feminist Censorship on Medium

Reddit is Censoring Women’s Health Support Groups

WordPress shuts down several feminist blogs without warning and WordPress censors GenderTrender; Gallus Mag responds.

Reddit Purges Wrongthink From Women’s Health Support Groups

Why I’m Suing Twitter

F-Droid Bans Feminist Social Media Site Spinster, Then Bans Female Dev For Asking Questions

I’m with the Banned: Twitter in the Time of Gender Fascism

YouTube Censors Interview of Mother Who Lost Daughter to Trans Cult “Whilst Keen might have blasphemed in the eyes of the Silicon Valley gods, the video she posted did not break a single British law.  Despite the content being legal, the 37.1 million British adult users of YouTube will not have the opportunity to hear this important perspective on what is a live political issue within the UK.”

Female-only spaces

Male-bodied Rapists Are Being Imprisoned With Women. Why Do So Few People Care?

The importance of women only spaces and services for women and girls who’ve been subjected to men’s violence

Man Wins Lawsuit Demanding to Change in Locker Room Alongside High School Girls, Assisted by ACLU Girls don’t matter in the United States.

Discontinuation of grant to Vancouver Rape Relief shows trans activism is an attack on women In which a woman’s shelter is defunded for maintaining a female-only space for rape victims.

Why it’s Impossible for Women to Compromise with the Transgender Movement “Just as women and girls share sex-specific facilities while some of us wear skirts and others wear pants, and have managed on a daily basis over decades of sharing facilities to not rape or beat up one another over differences in fashion, men in pants must get comfortable urinating and changing alongside their brothers in skirts. There is no logical reason that a male person in a skirt should trigger violence in a more traditionally masculine-appearing male observer. This issue is men’s problem, and men must resolve it amongst themselves. Women are not human shields that should be placed between two warring factions of males. If the two male groups choose not to get along and share spaces civilly, then the male individuals who identify as women must fight for their own facilities – just as women once fought and won sex-specific facilities.”

Buuuut what about the transvestites? (video) In which a women is banned from a female-only dating app because she opposed the presence of a cross-dressing male, and this youtuber asks who actually counts as transgender.

Expelled from GirlGuiding because of my Gender Critical Beliefs (crowdfund) “I felt that some aspects of Girlguiding policy needed rethinking in the light of their acceptance of self-identity as proof that someone is female, which clashes with my gender critical beliefs. The issues are particularly important around safeguarding, where parents cannot know that their daughter is sharing changing or sleeping facilities with with a person who has the physical attributes of a man or boy but says they identify as a woman or girl. Adult men who say they identify as women will be allowed to share sleeping facilities with and do intimate care for young girls. This meant that the Girlguiding policy required us as adults in charge of children to deliberately withhold information from the children’s parents and guardians.”

Get your story straight on the bathroom debate

Why Women’s Spaces are Critical to Feminist Autonomy

The Left and women

How progressive misogyny works

British Labor Party pledge purge of feminists

The new misogyny targets Cindy Sheehan and Helen Steel

Woman ‘attacked in racist incident at May Day march’

The left and violent misogyny

‘Those involved in progressive movements need to commit to ensuring women’s voices are heard’ Well-known Spycops and McLibel campaigner Helen Steel is now a cancelled woman. ‘Perhaps the most shocking incident was at Manchester Anarchist Book Fair in 2018, where Steel explains she was “physically carried out while trying to persuade them that it was incompatible with anarchist principles to exclude women from participating in discussions about what the word woman means and whether males should be allowed into women-only spaces.”’

When did liberal men start thinking it was acceptable to tell feminists how to be feminist?

What is really radical in sex/gender politics?

Women’s rights in the far left – are feminists actually neo-fascists?

If feminist Linda Bellos is seen as a risk, progressive politics has lost its way

The Women’s Alliance: Confronting Sexism on the Left Is anything more tragically representative of the 2010s rise of woke culture than transactivists calling anti-war work irrelevant? The US is still slaughtering people in imperial wars, but anti-war activism has all but disappeared while bourgeois ID politics have largely supplanted solidarity and radical politics. ‘The Women’s Alliance says, “…given that Veterans for Peace made a position statement regarding transphobia and transmisogyny, we also requested copies of past position statements regarding sexism and misogyny. We have yet to receive any confirmation that they even exist.”   Note that the VFP concern seems centered on men who have transitioned to become transwomen. There is no provision for the fight against trans-misandry—something that is undoubtedly important to those female members who have transitioned and live as transmen. We find this telling as to the nature of these demands. The Women’s Alliance activists were called transphobic bigots and received the usual threats of rape and violence for disagreeing with the theory of gender being promoted by trans activists and now the VFP. Perhaps the most over-the-top attack was directed at Cindy Sheehan, who became a leader in the peace movement after her 24-year-old son was killed while serving as an Army Specialist in Iraq. When she posted a comment in support of the Women’s Alliance Statement, she was told by the trans solidarity crowd on social media that all the antiwar work that she has done has become “irrelevant,” and all her work on behalf of Private Manning is now “negated.”’

An open letter to the left regarding silence

Women’s rights, trans ideology and Gramsci’s morbid symptoms

Class, Identity Politics and Transgender Rights

Women’s meeting besieged by raging crowd “We are attacked as if being critical of gender is some aberration rather than the core principle of feminism that it is. But where women’s groups have led the way the left is lagging behind.”

#Expel Me

On the harassment of lesbians 

Stonewall has sold out lesbians and it’s time they be held to account

Meet the Gay Activists Who’ve Had Enough of Britain’s Ultra-Woke Homophobes

Shame Receipts (Content warning: graphic language)

Lezbehonest about Queer Politics Erasing Lesbian Women

Lesbianism is under attack, though not by the usual suspects

What is the Cotton Ceiling. Presentation by Angela Wild of #GetTheLOut. (video)

RE: “your dating preferences are discriminatory” (video)

Riley, You Are Not A Lesbian – Not A Feminist Either (video)

Lesbians are being excluded from the Vancouver Dyke March in the name of ‘inclusivity’

Interview: Angela C. Wild of #GetTheLOut on Pride in London and Lesbian Erasure ‘In the name of “inclusivity” and “progress,” we have reached a stage wherein same sex attraction is called “hate speech”. Reframing females who are attracted to other females as somehow “bigoted” or “hateful” functions as a vicious form of misogyny, because it denies women’s right to have sexual boundaries.’

Media Blackout on Dana Rivers “Mitchfest” Murder Trial Dana Rivers is a well-known trans-identified male who participated in a campaign to shut down a female-only music festival, Mitchfest, and who harassed lesbians who attended the event. A few months after Mitchfest was shut down, he murdered a Black lesbian couple and their son in Oakland. We do not yet know why he committed these murders, so we can not say whether they were hate crimes. With that said, think of the media coverage that would ensue if the victims had been male. Imagine if a person was known to have harassed gay men, or Jewish men, or Black men, or Muslim men, and to have organized against their freedom of assembly. Imagine that the same person then proceeded to murder members of that community. There would likely be some hypothesis on it the murders being hate crimes as well as increased media coverage of the vulnerability of the targeted community. In this case? Total silence. This family deserves to have their story told. To add insult to injury, the headline of The East Bay Times states that a “woman” was charged with the killings. This was not a woman’s crime.

Medicalizing gender non-conforming and autistic children

The Transgender Child: The Creation of an Emblem for a Political Movement (video) Presentation by Stephanie Davies-Arai for the panel Inventing the Transgender Child organized by the Women’s Human Rights Campaign.

Tavistock: Former Clinicians Call It Conversion Therapy. My Response. (video by GNC Centric, a detransitioned woman)

Bill to ban FGM passes in Wyoming despite pushback by radical trans activists

Transing a 5 year old tomboy (video)

The New Conversion Therapy: How Homophobic Quackery is Targeting Children An important read, so to quote the author: “Do not turn off your system. Do not tune out. Sit your ass down, and pay attention, because as it turns out, homophobia is definitely alive and well in the American medical establishment.”

Interview with Female Erasure Contributor Dr. Kathleen Levinstein PhD. LCSW LMSW (audio)

No Longer Silent, UK Gender Clinic Whistleblower Launches Lawsuit

Protect Gender Dysphoric Children from the Affirmation Model This is a currently active crowdfunding campaign by Keira Bell, a detransitioner. She explains: “I’m an ex patient of Gender Identity Clinics where I was prescribed dangerous, experimental drugs and received a double mastectomy procedure. I am fighting to stop this from happening to minors.”

Irreversable Damage: the trans threat to girls

Children’s Rights, Trans Realities | With Scott Newgent (video) Scott Newgent is a transman / trans-identified female who opposes the transing of children and has launched the Trans Educational Speaking Tour

In Plain Sight | All you have to do to know that something is deeply wrong with Mermaids is watch Susie Green’s Ted Talk

Listening to detransitioners

Does Sex Matter? Gender Identity vs Material Reality: Pt 2 Carey Callahan Detransitioned woman discusses the medical transition of children and the portrayal of detransitioners in the media.

Response to Julia Serano: Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation “The truth is that a lot of women don’t feel like they have options. There aren’t a whole lot of places in society for women who look like this; for women who don’t fit, who don’t comply. When you go to a gender therapist and tell them you have these kinds of feelings they don’t tell you that it’s ok to be butch, to be gender non-conforming, to not like men, to not like the way men treat you. They don’t tell you that there are other women who feel like they don’t belong, who don’t feel like they know how to be women. They don’t tell you about any of that. They tell you about testosterone, that’s about it.” 

Ariel Pereira on Queer Politics The young founder of Detransition Chile speaks of her experiences with lesbophobia, male privilege and more.

Interview: Sam, Nele, and Ellie transitioned as young women, living as ‘men’ before realizing they’d made a mistake

Magdalen Berns

Magdalen Berns was a young Scottish lesbian youtuber who died of brain cancer last year. I have already shared some of her videos above, but she merits her own category. I encourage you to take some time exploring her channel.

Choice quote: Your fucking minds are so open your brains have fallen out.

After Magdalen passed away, I shared some of her videos on my facebook page to commemorate her. In response, a vegan activist told me to throw myself in a washing machine. This person was an organizer with an “intersectional vegan” non-profit that was built on pontificating to animal rights activists to end “all oppression!!” instead of working on single issues. The contention that you can not effectively fight any oppression without ending all oppression is nonsensical and unworkable. But, when voiced with an air of intellectualism, these pronouncements allow people in the animal rights movement to gain moral clout and followship. Some years ago this organization penned an article about the “transphobia” of the animal rights movement, for naming the exploitation of “female reproductive systems” as such, for example in dairy production. The article singled out well-known second wave feminist Carol Adams who, presumably to remain in good standing with the animal rights movement, became willing to be mealy-mouthed in naming sex as an axis of oppression.

JK Rowling

The woman deserves her own category too.

JK Rowling and the transactivists: a story in screenshots

Radical Girlsss Statement in Support of JK Rowling: Migrant Perspectives

An Apology to JK Rowling “JK Rowling recently published an eminently reasonable, heartfelt treatise, outlining why it is important to preserve the category of woman. There’s only one thing wrong with it: it assumes a rational interlocutor.”

TRAs, Rape-Logic and the Economy of Entitlement

Sexism is alive and well in the transgender debate

Strategic Ignorance and JK Rowling

The genius of the “I ♥ JK Rowling” stunt

Statement from J.K. Rowling regarding the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award “I believe the time is coming when those organisations and individuals who have uncritically embraced fashionable dogma, and demonised those urging caution, will have to answer for the harm they’ve enabled.”

JK Rowling’s stance against the thought police “For some unfathomable reason, being ‘politically correct’ is often attributed exclusively to people who are ‘left-wing’. Marxism is of course normally considered to be the essential philosophy of the ‘left-wing’. But Marxist philosophy is dialectical and historical materialism, which has as one of its most fundamental tenets that ideas are true only if they are in accord with material reality, regardless of what any number of people, learned or otherwise, might believe. At one time, practically the whole of humanity believed that the world was flat, and/or that the sun revolved round the earth. But their belief did not make it true. And it follows that, however many people are bullied into believing that there is no biological difference between male and female, it will never be true.”

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When an Anti-Lesbian Extremist Murders a Lesbian Couple and Their Child, Does it Matter?

Imagine there is a person who is so homophobic that they devote their time and energy to organizing against gay people having the right to their own spaces and events. Every time there is an LGBT event, they go and protest outside the venue and harass the attendees as they come and go. Imagine that after years of this, this person suddenly murders a gay male couple. Would many in the public not immediately jump to conclusions, without waiting for the court proceedings, and decry the murders as a hate crime? Would the media not immediately talk about the possibility that the murder was motivated by the perpetrator’s well-documented hatred of gay people? Would they not use the opportunity to highlight the stories of other gay people subjected to hate and harassment, and to start a conversation on the problem of homophobia in our society? 

Or imagine a similar scenario with Jewish people. Some raging anti-semite harasses congregants going and coming from the local synagogue, until one day, he finally kills a family that attended that same synagogue. Would this not prompt some media coverage? Some broader conversation on anti-semitism? Maybe a few weeks of interviews with other Jewish people who had been the recipients of hate? Replace with Black people or Muslim people – any minority group that includes men. In each case, it seems reasonable to imagine some coverage from liberal media, some mention of the possibility of the murders being a hate crime, some heightened awareness of the vulnerability of the targeted community. But in the case of lesbians in the Bay Area, no such thing.

Dana Rivers is a well-known trans-identified male who for years participated in a campaign to shut down Michfest, a female-only music festival that was largely attended by lesbians, and who harassed the women who attended the event. A few months after Michfest was shut down, he murdered a lesbian couple and their son in Oakland. The two women had been regular attendees of Michfest. We can’t say for sure why he committed these murders, and it’s not impossible that the fact that his victims were lesbians and attendees of Michfest was a coincidence. But like…. come on. Think of the coverage if the victims had belonged to an oppressed group that is deemed to matter.

There has been extremely little noise on this case, and nothing from “LGBT” outlets. To add insult to injury, most of the coverage at the time, like this headline of The East Bay Times, stated that a “woman” was charged with the killings. This was not a woman’s crime.

To erase and forget the murders of Patricia Wright, Charlotte Reed and Benny Diambu-Wright, and to brush under the carpet what motivated their killer, are further crimes against this family.

Read about the murders and about Dana Rivers’/David Warfield’s prior participation in “Camp Trans”, an organized protest against the freedom of association of lesbians, here:

Media Blackout on Dana Rivers “Michfest” Murder Trial

Famed Transgender-Identifying Activist Accused of Violent Murders of Female Couple, Couple’s Son

Kara Dansky is a radical feminist lawyer who seems to be the only person currently following the case and updating the public. Stay updated here:

State v. Dana Rivers Updates – Kara Dansky

 

Left to right are Patricia Wright, Benny Diambu-Wright, and Charlotte Reed, who were allegedly violently slaughtered by teacher and transgender rights activist Dana Rivers.
Left to right: Patricia Wright, Benny Diambu-Wright, and Charlotte Reed. Photo credit: Michael Campbell.
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The same people who supported gay rights 10 years ago are backing an anti-gay movement now

I am heterosexual, and back in the days when gay rights were the cool progressive struggle, I was in favor of them but it was never a primary cause or passion of mine. Given this, it might appear strange that a few years ago I suddenly (1) became very interested and outspoken not only about transactivism, but specifically also about the impact it was having on lesbians.

What I do have a long-standing interest in is the ways that change happens and the ways that it doesn’t. Power masquerading as opposition, or the status quo masquerading as change, is something that has been happening a lot–it even got Obama elected. The cooptation of social movements is a mechanism by which the status quo protects itself. How amazing and distressing, for anyone like me who wants to imagine that we can effectuate change, to see that the same people who were so passionate about championing gay rights a decade ago, who were so proud of their progressive credentials, have done a 180 on the gays because they were chasing those same progressive credentials.

Well, since I published my last post a few days ago where I mentioned the ease with which revolutionary movements get coopted, some interesting things have happened:

  • Matthew Parris, an apparently well-known and respected founder of Stonewall, published an article in The Times criticizing the direction that the organization had taken. 

  • The Mess We’re In had a field day with all of this, and they also had Maya Forstater on their show, so to learn more watch their episode EXTRA MESS #5: Stonefall.
  • In the US, 60 minutes aired a segment on detransitioners. I haven’t watched it, and there is criticism from some of the people interviewed (here, here and here) that the segment was to be more focused on their experiences, including on how detransitioners are treated by the trans movement, but nonetheless just showing something of these stories on a major news channel is a departure from the status quo.
  • Some good news from Spain while we’re at it: An attempt to introduce self ID in Spain’s Congress was defeated thanks to pushback by feminists.
  • In the UK again, the International Trade Secretary defended the free speech of a law student who is facing disciplinary action for saying that a woman is someone with a vagina.

In the discussion about Stonewall, several (including the article in the Daily Mail) have explained that after gay marriage was legalized, Stonewall found itself without a purpose and instead of saying “Mission Accomplished” and the staff going off somewhere else, they needed a new focus to keep their jobs and organization going. This touches upon something that I’ve been thinking about and brought up during STC’s most recent webinar (which was on the mechanisms of social change), and that needs to be highlighted more. My dad used to say about the UN “these people are just creating work for themselves!” and the primacy of funding and careers over stated goals became glaring in my experiences in the animal rights movement. This is what happens when social movements get supplanted and absorbed by the non-profit industrial complex.

In any case, these new developments are fantastic news. Despite the incredible amount of funding backing the trans movement (2), and despite liberals turning their backs on those they so proudly supported just a decade ago, a relatively small number of people (mostly women, and mostly lesbians, i.e. those with the least funding and social capital) are succeeding in pushing back and getting through to the public.

Ultimately, our opinions and focus are inordinately shaped by the wealthy (3) and I don’t think the war is won. In fact, just yesterday was more news of Twitter purging its platform of pro-gay voices (A Stonewall veteran is silenced by Twitter). But as much as Silicon Valley tech bros try to colonize the rest of the world, there is resistance and it is powerful. This is a genuine victory for the underdog, and the result of the work and real sacrifice of so many people, and I think we can savor the moment.

Learn more: What happened to Stonewall UK?

(1) It actually wasn’t all that sudden, as my sense that there was both a lack of logic and a good dose of sexism in the discourse of the trans/queer movement had been building up for years, but it wasn’t my focus and it wasn’t my milieu so for a long time I didn’t investigate further.

(2) Read about the money behind the trans movement:
The Open Society Foundations & The Transgender Movement
Who are the Rich, White Men Funding the Trans Movement
Arcus Foundation Grants
The Billionaires Behind the LGBT Movement
Who Are the Rich, White Men Institutionalizing Transgender Ideology (Yes, it’s in the Federalist. Leftists refuse to publish pieces from gender critical feminists so some choose to use what platform they can get.)

(3) From The Open Society Foundations and the Transgender Movement:

“To sum up, more than a hundred women are murdered each year in the United Kingdom at the hands of males, but no day has been set aside to commemorate their deaths. Transgender murders are exceedingly rare—eight in the past decade (Trans Crime UK 2017; Evening Standard 2018)—and yet they have an institutionalized day of remembrance. Even if we consider the homicide rate rather than the number of homicides, Nicola Williams demonstrates that transgender people are no more likely to become victims than are women (Fairplay for Women 2017).

The prominence of transgender victims, compared to the virtual invisibility of female victims, is partly explained by the amount of resources devoted to compiling evidence and promoting commemoration. Thus funding from large American charities like OSF—along with the Arcus and Tawani Foundations—shapes the political climate in Britain and around the world.”

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When the East forces conversion therapy onto homosexuals it’s backwards, when the West does the same it’s enlightened

A friend recently emailed me an article titled Transgender woman convicted of sexually assaulting 10-year-old girl, and wrote “This will eventually happen in a public bathroom or women-only space. My guess is a lawsuit against the city or company is inevitable, in the US.” Like quite a few women I know in the animal rights movement, this friend knows of my views on gender ideology and falls somewhere on the spectrum from “finds my gender critical remarks reasonable” to “is very alarmed by the advancement of gender ideology”, but doesn’t share her views publicly.  The animal rights movement has wholeheartedly embraced woke culture which has been harmful to the movement in a number of ways, including by reinforcing the sexism in its midst. Female animal advocates have to make a choice between speaking up for animals or for women. When I started speaking openly about gender identity a few years ago, I became a safe person for others to share a “WTF” moment with, and I’ve seen that the WTF alarms are ringing for more and more people. 

Nonetheless, I can’t say I’m optimistic that things are really changing, that the small wave of WTF thought bubbles is strong enough to counter the well funded, expertly marketed tsunami of a pushback against feminism that we are experiencing. It is deeply deflating to witness the incapacity or unwillingness to engage in basic logical reasoning. The seemingly unmovable and unquestioned sexism–including in the supposedly progressive West, including among those expected to care about the oppressed. The effectiveness with which everything revolutionary gets co-opted, including the feminist movement. The incredible level of conformity from vegans of all people, the very same minuscule minority who supposedly have the courage to stick their necks out for animals. The trifecta of stupidity, misogyny and cowardice leaves little room for hope.  

I emailed my friend back that these things had already been taking place, that there were known cases of men raping women in female prisons. I attached the article, Women’s boundaries shouldn’t only matter when politically correct, written after the tragic murder of Sarah Everard, and copied this passage: 

‘Many of those taking to Twitter to tell us to #BelieveWomen and #YesAllWomen very quickly forget these principles the moment it counts. If you don’t believe me, try telling your progressive circle of friends that male sex offenders should not be housed in women’s prisons. You could add that women have allegedly been raped as a result of this policy, as any fool could have predicted. Rather than justified feminist outrage, you will likely be met with embarrassed silence at best, or some hemming and hawing about how it’s a “difficult issue;” or, at worst, ostracism and accusations of bigotry. Middle class women are allowed to be afraid to go jogging after dark, but there is no sympathy for incarcerated women — some of the most vulnerable members of society, large numbers of whom have prior trauma at the hands of males — who are now locked up with convicted rapists. Any concern raised is just hateful scaremongering masking a conservative agenda.’

Liberals have erected what seems like an impenetrable mental fort around the trans issue and it is supported by other elements beyond the stupidity, misogyny and cowardice. What is it that makes people refuse to consider that they might not be “on the right side of history”? Hubris, definitely. Racism too; it goes with the hubris. 

The unwillingness of many liberals to question the framing of “their side” or to take a peek at others’ arguments is facilitated by the fact that these others are systematically denied a platform, and those who do succeed in getting some visibility are relentlessly smeared as hateful transphobes. How many people actually read JK Rowling’s letter or Abigail Shrier’s book before accepting as fact that they are raving bigots? The go-to news outlets and influencers tell them it’s so, and they can’t all be wrong can they? Opposition to gender ideology is painted as coming exclusively from the religious right, which fits nicely into the black-and-white, us-v-them, “we’re enlightened and they’re all backwards racists” worldview common in the US. People who opposed civil rights for homosexuals were bad guys and trans is the next civil rights frontier, right? We’re going to make sure to be the good guys this time, dammit

In reality, much (perhaps most) of the resistance to gender ideology comes from lesbians and gays (many of whom built the LGBT movement), long-time feminist activists (gender as something socially-constructed and separate from sex was conceptualized by feminists) and others who have been involved in a number of progressive causes.

For a liberal who has waited this long to question the gender ID movement, it is threatening to start questioning it now. Or to question one’s own opinions – what do I really mean when I say that trans women are women? – because the whole house of cards would come down. So they hold on by looking around them and finding reassurance that their crowd still thinks like them. It’s just herd mentality. Not only will liberals simply not entertain the possibility that they might in fact be the reactionary, bigoted party, they also don’t relish considering that the causes they’ve championed were chosen not through reason but social conformity. The longer this goes on, the more you resist telling yourself, Man, I guess I’m a sheep. This vicious circle is basically a social conformist’s sunk cost fallacy. 

As ignorant as liberals might be about an issue, they still know for sure that theirs is the side of equality and greater acceptance (and most are ignorant about the beliefs and demands of the gender ideology movement, and think they are on the side of the gender non-conforming when in fact it’s the opposite). At an individual level, the conviction that one is tolerant and righteous and on the right side of history is rooted in hubris–that unshakeable notion that I’m a GOOD PERSON (TM). At a collective level, it translates to the belief that WE’RE civilized. When you explain the extent of the backlash and loss of rights suffered by women, it doesn’t land because for it to do so there would need to be an understanding that, here too, we live in a patriarchy. Libfems make vague and reprobative references to some of the ills of patriarchy, but there is still a pro-Western bias wherein it is believed that, here in the West, we are fundamentally a progressive society and that most men truly favor equality. To see the homophobia and misogyny of the gender ID movement would require seeing the homophobia and misogyny of our society at large; it would require a fundamental shift in worldview.    

A lot has been said and written about Iran’s “tolerant” attitude towards transgender people. Below is a 2014 BBC documentary that makes the case that in Iran, homosexuals often choose to medically transition due to fear, pressure and lack of information and other options. Shadi Amin, a coordinator with the Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network (6Rang), says, “A lot of people think that Iran is the paradise of transexuals, but I say it’s the hell of homosexuals”. Her quote is at 29:59, but please watch the whole video. While homosexuality is not illegal in the West, other experiences that they identify as driving some homosexuals to transition are similar to what is happening in the West. The lack of acceptance and visibility of lesbians is often echoed in the personal accounts of Western female detransitioners. The pseudoscientific nonsense underpinning these projects is the same everywhere. What does it mean for a doctor to tell an effeminate gay man that he is “98% female” and that they can change the 2% to make him fully a woman, but they can’t change the 98% to make him a man? [see Marie’s story at 30:35] Do 98% of the cells in his body have XX chromosomes? No, what it means is that to be a “real man” one can not be attracted to men and prefer the activities or mannerisms that a patriarchal society prescribes to women. Therefore, one’s male body is the “2%” of the equation, but one’s soul and personality are really those of a woman. This is in line with the official view of the Iranian state that gay people have a mismatch between body and soul: gay men have a woman’s soul in a man’s body, lesbians have a man’s soul in a women’s body. It’s also in line with the view of gender ideologues in the West. How is the Iranian therapist different from Dr. Diane Ehrensacht, a San Francisco clinical and developmental psychologist and leader in the field of pediatric transgenderism, who considers that a female toddler tearing out her barrettes is a sign that she’s really a boy? In the UK, therapists at a child gender clinic famously said “it feels like conversion therapy for gay children” and reported that “there was a dark joke among staff that there would be no gay people left”.   

Again, this narrative about Iran is not obscure. It could have invited some self-examination on the part of Westerners. But chauvinism goes hand in hand with racism, and conceptualizing the other as backwards preemptively dismantles any comparisons. They’re stuck in archaic oppressive traditions–but when we do the same thing, it’s totes progressive.

Gender ideology is being exported and pushed onto the rest of the world by the West, especially by the Anglosphere. Linda Louis is an Indian feminist with a background in international human rights law. In this presentation, she speaks of the neocolonialism of the gender identity movement. She notes that various UN agencies all agree that women need access to separate toilets, “but somehow, this is forgotten when it comes to developed countries as if the girls in developed countries are not eligible for the very same basic facilities that the United Nations recommends for developing countries”. She says that it’s like a “reversal of human dignity” because what is afforded to girls in the Global South is being refused to girls of the Global North. “Reversal”, because the usual pattern is that we afford dignity to those in the Global North and not South. But the way I read this is that men of the Global South are seen as predatory, while men of the Global North are not. Not much of a reversal. Though the corollary is that when women in the Global North (those wretched “white feminists”) speak of fear of male violence, they’re just pearl-clutching prudes and bigots.  

If you’re curious about my claim that there have been attacks on women in prisons, these cases are compiled on the website Women are Human. I’m sure that the fact of this compilation will be construed by genderists as proof of fear-mongering and victimization of trans-identified males by feminists, but the point is that the violence that we know men commit at higher rates than women doesn’t magically disappear when a man declares himself a woman.

The data we have on male violence against women is on the basis of SEX, not gender identity. And we have no reason to believe that men’s gender identities are correlated with their propensity towards violence. If transactivists want to make that case, they should provide the data. If we have reason to create spaces from which we exclude men (or males/male-bodied people/the scrotal half/prostate-havers/bepenised ones/AMAB/XY people or whatever your choice of words may be) there is no reason to make exceptions for men who have special gender identities. But that’s the crux of it, isn’t it? Liberals don’t believe or don’t care that we have reason for such spaces. We’re back at square 1, having to argue for our gains all over again.

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