Dispatch from the feminist animal rights closet

Woke culture has overtaken the vegan and animal rights movements and the effects have been as harmful as elsewhere. I’ve spoken before about how, ironically, this has gone hand in hand with the sidelining of vegan radicals and the trend towards corporatization and pro-neoliberal discourse and activism. Indeed, “intersectional veganism” and the pro-corporate vegan movement are two sides of the same coin.(1)

What I’ve not yet spoken about is the specific issue of sexism and anti-feminism in the AR movement–a topic that would have already been worthy of discussion before the adoption of gender ideology by much of the movement. I don’t know if animal rights/vegan circles and organizations are particularly bad for women in relation to other social movements (it’s not like non-vegan leftist men have a good track record either, and veganism also holds appeal for those who lean right) but I do know that in absolute terms, it’s pretty bad. Now it has gotten even worse. Woke culture has veered the AR movement in an anti-feminist direction, and in some ways this movement is more susceptible than others to the unquestioning acquiescence to the edicts of SJW thought leaders.

With gender ideology, we’ve gotten to a place in the AR movement where women are branded as TERFs; driven out of their organizations; denied platforms and funding due to their feminism; in my case have their work plagiarized (so that I don’t get credit and visibility from it); blacklisted and excluded from events; and the women who avoid these consequences do so at the cost of never publicly voicing their feminist views. Either that, or they just leave the movement.

I wanted to share a dispatch from the closet that many feminist animal rights activists have been shoved into. It’s an email that was sent to me by a female acquaintance after I wrote my post last year on being dropped as an author from an animal rights anthology. I’m sharing it with her permission and I edited it very slightly to keep it anonymous.

Hi Nassim,

Ugh, I don’t know where to begin…

Your early FB posts on this, and Mary Kate’s writings prompted me to pay closer attention.(2) And then I heard that MK got *fired* from her job because of something she’d written -wtf?

A lot of the verbiage had been troubling me but it wasn’t until I read of Meghan Murphy’s talk (in a Canadian library) being hounded and shut down that, with horror and disbelief, I started reading about what had been developing in the past several years, especially in the UK. 

I wanted to write to you, especially when you posted your last piece on FB re being dismissed from the book, but, coward that I am, was ashamed to be another of the many women who tell you of their admiration and support, but will not also speak up.

I’ve been following a number of sources and barely have the emotional strength to read about it let alone act.

Not only am I struggling to make a living, but the wildly dystopian and incomprehensible nature of what has manifested out of the whole shift from what I thought was settled years ago— that “gender” is a set of artificial “norms“ imposed, especially on women, not a fixed set of behaviors that one can escape or adopt by “identifying” or surgically altering one’s body—is deeply troubling and frightening…

When I was last with a group of friends, one said, 

“Well, I don’t think I’d go as far as to agree with Mary Kate, but…”

What?, but hers is just basic feminism…

I’ve tried writing about it but the fury leaves me unable to focus on anything else. 

The lock-step anti-“TERF“ comments I see on FB, by people who consider themselves deep-thinking progressives … is dumbfounding.

At the Conscious Eating Conference at the end of Feb, just before the lockdown, Pax, acting as conference host and moderator, stood at the podium to introduce Carol J. Adams, and found it relevant to loudly assert that “Trans women *ARE* women”.. and the room erupted in wild applause. (3)

Enough for now…

Notes:

(1) While I have long opposed “intersectionality” as understood in the animal rights/vegan movements, this does not at all reflect an opposition actual intersectionality, as formulated by Kimberlé Crenshaw.

(2) She is referring to Mary Kate Fain, who was kicked out of an animal rights organization she had founded (not only kicked out, but accosted by AR activists who hurled abuse at her on the street). After losing her job she went on to found the feminist website 4W, that in a short amount of time has become one of the most important resources for the feminist movement and that hosts the writings of dozens of women from around the world (and pays them too!); she co-created Spinster, an alternative platform to Twitter which has the habit of booting off uppity women; she is a prolific writer who also recently started a podcast, and on top of that got a job with a radical feminist organization. Basically Mary Kate is some sort of Wonder Woman who could have put her talents towards animal liberation, but the movement preferred to hound her out.
(Read Mary Kate’s story of losing her job in her article Fired For Feminism.)

(3) The Conscious Eating conference is organized by Hope Bohanec, the editor who dropped me from her book because of my feminism. From my interactions with her, it became clear that she has little experience with and interest in human-related issues but strives to tick the requisite boxes of diversity so as to avoid criticism. Being of relative privilege and disconnected from much of the oppression that women experience in this world, she thinks that “transwomen are the most oppressed of women”. This conference took place shortly after Hope dropped me from her book. The focus that year was “to explore overlapping oppressions”; a panel on the history of the animal rights movement with prominent female activists was titled Animal Rights Herstory Panel.
By Pax she is referring to Pax Ahimsa, a trans-identified female who started “educating” the AR movement on gender ideology, “inclusivity” etc etc years ago. Pax’s blog reveals a person who has no grasp of basic feminist analysis and whose ideas are in complete opposition to it.
Carol J. Adams is a renowned vegan second wave feminist who, interestingly, has been attacked by trans activists for various reasons in the past, but is now seemingly on board with gender ideology and has become mealy-mouthed on sex and gender, presumably to gain the approval of the “intersectional vegan” crowd. Maybe this is the sad result of having built an audience composed more of vegans than of feminists.

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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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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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How being a feminist got me dropped as an author of an animal rights anthology (Bonus: A beginner’s gender critical reading list)

Earlier this year, I was dropped as a contributor to a book project because of my feminist writing. The book is an animal rights anthology that seeks to dispel the myths that surround types of animal farming that are perceived as humane alternatives to factory farming, with various authors reflecting on the “humane meat” phenomenon from the angles of their respective work. My chapter would have shared a unique and, I think, useful analysis of the psychology and social dynamics that lead to the celebration of animal agriculture as ethical and even enlightened in progressive circles. 

More than a year after the project started, the editor (Hope Bohanec) suddenly informed me that the publisher she had found would not take on the book if my chapter was included, due to the gender critical opinions that I share on this blog. My chapter had nothing to do with gender, sex-based oppression, or feminism. Nonetheless, any association with me is verboten. I will mention that this publisher has already profited off of labor and ideas that I contributed to a book she published two years ago and for which I was never credited. I have been wanting to write the story of that book because it is a perfect illustration of the problems that arise with so-called “intersectional veganism”. In particular, how a superficial, performative and ID-politic approach to caring about “all oppression” ironically leads to an erasure of radical voices and support for neoliberal politics that harm society’s most disenfranchised. I never got around to writing about that, but now here we are again.  

After her conversation with the publisher, Hope called me to ask that I “explain”. ‘What’s this “gender critical” stuff?’ She is a white woman who has internalized that she needs to be an “ally” to the oppressed, and moves in a woke culture that believes that to do so, one must take their marching orders from social justice thought leaders rather than engage in critical thinking. She’d been fed that transwomen are society’s most oppressed and transphobia is a rampant social ill and… that’s the extent of it. 

I was caught off-guard by the call and didn’t have the mindspace for an in-depth overview of the feminist critique of transactivism, but I tried to summarize it nonetheless. Despite her initial demand that I explain gender critical feminism to her, Hope immediately interrupted me and jumped to explaining to me instead. This was a familiar dynamic with this person. As I then tried to engage with her points, she cut me off saying that she felt attacked. While I was put on the spot to explain my ideas, my attempts at doing so were repeatedly shut down. She laughed dismissively and in disbelief at what I said, as if I were making things up or was just very confused. For example, she didn’t believe that lesbians are pressured into sex with transwomen or that they’re vilified if they assert that they only have sex with people with vaginas. She didn’t believe that self-ID is a thing. She said she was “sure” that there are “protocols” to determine who is trans and can be let into women’s shelters, prisons and other spaces. I answered that she would be considered transphobic for not supporting self-ID; that stumped her for a second. People will go along with the hounding of women as TERFs but they themselves don’t support the movement they think they support. 

Hope had the main libfem points down. A “woman is anyone who feels like a woman”–a circular non-definition. Instead of getting bogged down in the semantics of woman, I attempted to move the conversation along by speaking of “people with uteruses”, but here the interjection was “not all women have a uterus”. This is where the postmodern dismantlement of language gets us: you can not speak of the oppression faced by a group of people, much less organize against it, if you can not name or define said group. I tried to explain that regardless of how you label them, the class of people formerly known as women are oppressed and are entitled to have a movement focused on themselves, as well as single-sex spaces and resources. She didn’t agree, but thought that if women are entitled to separate spaces, all the more reason that transwomen should have access to them. Because, as she exclaimed several times, “transwomen are the MOST oppressed!”. Under this now commonly-espoused truth, there is no recognition of the realities that women and girls (i.e. human females) face for being female. Women and girls can’t identify out of being subjected to FGM, child marriage, being denied an education, being denied the right to own land, imprisoned for singing in public, sexual harassment, being killed by a spouse, rape, being forced to marry their rapist, or any of the other ways females are treated under patriarchy. Males can identify as women all they want, it won’t change that they’re born in a world that heaps privilege on them from the moment it becomes apparent that they have a penis. When you say that transwomen (i.e. males) are the most oppressed of women (i.e. females) you’re saying that sex-based oppression doesn’t exist. When I asked “Do you think that it’s ok for people of color to have spaces separate from white people?”, the answer was “Yes, because in that case, there’s a power dynamic”. The woke are spectacularly un-woke when it comes to sexism. 

The usual perception of the trans movement is something like this: It is a progressive movement that organizes for the rights of a particularly vulnerable and oppressed population, and also leads to a generally more accepting and free society in which gender norms are less strict and policed. People’s attitudes towards the movement place them in two camps. On one side, it is supported by people who are progressive, accepting of difference, and whose reaction to the marginalized is solidarity and compassion rather than vilification. On the other side, it is opposed by those who recoil at the sight of people transgressing gender norms and/or who are too comfortable in their privilege to understand or care about the struggles of the oppressed.   

A gender critical stance is something else, and coming from me (I have the reputation of being quite woke myself), it threw a wrench into this binary. Grappling with a new take was too much effort, and Hope just wanted to cut to the chase. Was I a bigot or not? Should she remove me from her book or not? To find out, she interrupted me with a “Let me ask you this: do you believe transwomen are women?”. In this cult-like mentality, allegiance to this belief is the simple baseline of virtue. However, nobody who repeats this mantra even defines what a woman is, so how are we to know if we believe that anyone is one? And if I answer no to the question, it’s proof that I’m a heretic and a bigot, no further discussion required. 

Of course, I don’t agree that not acquiescing to repeating “transwomen are women” makes one a bigot. And as it currently stands, I do not think that the trans movement is progressive. And if we are to be schematic about it, I would say that there are not two, but three groups of people. There are progressives, conservatives, and then there are conservatives dressed as progressives. Feminists fall in the first category. We believe that people should be free to express themselves however they wish, that there is no right or wrong way to be a woman or a man, that gender should be done away with, that women are oppressed on the basis of sex and that women’s rights matter, and that it is perfectly fine to be homosexual. The second category are the “traditional” conservatives: they believe that there are innate psychological and behavioral differences between men and women, they do not accept boys who want to wear dresses or men who have sex with other men, and they are in favor of some level of inequality between men and women. Then there’s the third category. They are ok with a boy liking dresses, as long as they block his puberty and castrate him. They are ok with men having sex with men, as long as one of them identifies as a woman. They’re still not ok with women exclusively having sex with women, and they’ll attack lesbians just as viciously as the traditional traditionalists. Like conservatives, these people believe that gender is innate; that there is some female essence that makes women like makeup and the color pink, be more emotional, submissive and well-suited to housework and raising babies. Unlike conservatives, they don’t think that sex and gender always “match”, which is one of the reasons they appear progressive to those who aren’t looking closely. 

Outside of queer/trans echo-chambers, most people find what feminists say to be very reasonable. In fact, they are often confused as to what the problem is. And so feminists are silenced and censored and no-platformed and vilified so that nobody reads what we are actually saying. Those who do, and who find themselves agreeing, are often too scared to ask questions lest they become a target. In June, JK Rowling wrote a compassionate and thoughtful letter explaining why she thinks that biological sex is real and relevant to women’s experiences, and why it should be taken into account in policy. In response, she received a deluge of sexist insults, rape threats and death threats, complete with disowning her of her books (yep – some people decided that she hadn’t actually written Harry Potter). Back in the world most people live in, it was a real head-scratcher to understand what was so offensive about what JK Rowling had written. Her letter and subsequent experiences shed some much-needed light on the irrationality and misogyny of the trans movement. She has enough money that they can’t cancel her, and she has enough courage to not back down in front of bullies. 

Not all women are able or willing to do the same. Many who are gender critical or who have concerns about gender identity ideology keep their views private. And if we don’t self-censor, others do it for us. In June, Reddit shut down r/gendercritical, the largest feminist forum on the internet. It was supposedly part of a wider shut-down of subreddits promoting hate, however r/gendercritical did no such thing. Contrary to other banned subreddits like r/The_Donald, r/gendercritical had never received any warnings. At the same time, subreddits promoting the hatred of women – such as rape fetish subreddits – were kept up. Even r/gendercriticalguys stayed up for a couple weeks longer, until the hypocrisy became too damning. Shutting down r/gendercritical was entirely about removing a female-dominated space in which women could share experiences and analysis. The timing was interesting, as this was shortly after JK Rowling published her initial letter, and many new women were flocking to the subreddit after realizing that there was something not quite progressive about the trans movement. And it wasn’t just r/gendercritical. Women’s health-based subreddits were then targeted for not being “inclusive” enough, many of their moderators were removed and replaced with trans-identifying men or trans allies. Meanwhile, nobody was policing and derailing the discussion on men’s health subreddits. 

While the removal of r/gendercritical made some waves, the censorship of women often flies under the radar. Right before r/gendercritical was shut down, the story of Allison Bailey was being shared. Allison Bailey is a Black lesbian barrister in the UK who helped found the LGB Alliance. In reaction, Stonewall coordinated with the barristers’ chambers of which she is a member to put her under investigation. She set up a crowdfund campaign on CrowdJustice to raise funds to bring a case to the Employment Tribunal. In short sequence, her crowdfund was shared on reddit, where I first saw it. Then CrowdJustice removed it, without her consent. Then they reinstated it, but with her original statement edited and no longer accepting donations. Jo Bartosch writesIdentity top trumps can be pretty odious, but it seems relevant to note that Allison Bailey is a black lesbian from a working-class background who is simply fighting for the right not to be discriminated against for her beliefs. To have the weight of the woke, and overwhelmingly white, middle-class establishment come crashing down on her for stepping out of line reveals the power and influence of the transgender lobby.”

An ad hominem that transactivists throw at gender-critical feminists is that they are all privileged middle-aged white women. From there an association is often drawn with racism, and before you know it, believing that biological sex is real is equated to being a racist. (Many transactivists seriously argue that biological sex is a colonial construct. Apparently, before colonization, people of color didn’t know how babies are made.) JK Rowling is a wealthy white woman and so they feel they can publicly rip her apart (because they can’t rip apart her arguments). Women of color who are gender critical are attacked no less viciously, but usually more privately. While anger against JK Rowling was raging on the interwebs, the crowdfund of Allison Bailey was being quietly removed, edited and capped behind the public eye. In the world of ID politics, what matters is not the strength of an argument but the identity of the person who makes it. Gender critical women of color threaten the narrative that transactivists have woven–in more ways than one. Indeed, Allison Bailey recently tweeted “When the usual suspects spout their usual nonsense about the gender critical movement in the UK being an extension of white feminism, remind them that every key case before the courts is being brought by women of color.”

The “privilege” finger-pointing is a projection of course, but it appears convincing to those in woke circles because of the homogeneity of their social sphere and lack of awareness of the world outside of Western middle classes. This highlights one of the reasons the animal rights movement is such a fertile terrain for woke culture. The American animal rights movement is by and large a middle to upper-middle class movement that has very little connection to other progressive or liberatory movements. Its homogeneity is increasingly egregious in a social context that prizes diversity and representation for marginalized groups. In addition to this, animal rights activists have often been accused of caring more about animals than humans. Established animal rights non-profits and funders are keen to redress this image and don’t shy away from blatant tokenization. Platform a couple POC talking about anything social-justice-y at an animal rights event and your opportunities for funding and sponsorships shoot way up. In this context, it’s easy (and lucrative) for people whose politics amount to not much other than identity politics to market themselves as experts and thought leaders. As a result, we just get liberals educating other liberals on how to do social justice. While often from minority groups (and pseudo-minority, e.g. heterosexuals claiming to be “queer”), social justice thought leaders are usually from the same social circles–educated in the same institutions that produce the white woke people, typically American, etc. The illusion of diversity legitimizes and entrenches the homogeneity of the milieu and further marginalizes the radicals, who are deemed to already be represented. Similarly, there is a lot of pressure on animal rights advocates (I would even say emotional blackmail) to be “intersectional”, which is basically taken to mean that they have to focus on humans in some way. On the flipside, any gesture of caring about humans can serve the purpose of showing that one isn’t the default bad vegan who only cares about animals… once that box is ticked, there is no need for activism that is genuinely transformational.

I was reminded of the disconnect between the animal rights movement and the left when I spoke to Hope of the harm of gender identity ideology to children. She thought that my assertion that children are transed for simply not conforming to gender norms was ludicrous, that there was much more to it. Her claim to expertise? “I’ve watched three documentaries!” Those who have some sort of leftist background, or even who have just grown up as a member of a marginalized community, usually recognize that media can be a vehicle of propaganda and that it should be subject to scrutiny. I am not implying that all leftists today are wise to the propaganda of the gender identity movement. Robert Jensen points out that while leftists are usually critical of liberals, when it comes to issues of sex and gender they suddenly become liberals, including by abandoning the media criticism that is a key component of contemporary left analysis. With that said, a habit of skepticism is at least a starting point, while opinions are easy to manipulate among those who aren’t used to questioning what they’re told. It doesn’t matter how many documentaries you watch; if you’re uncritically consuming more and more of the same messaging from the same sources, chances are you’re not being educated, you’re being indoctrinated. 

With men more vulnerable to Covid than women, this pandemic has made it clear that biology does indeed exist and that sex differences should be more researched (see: COVID-19’s deadliness for men is revealing why researchers should have been studying immune system sex differences years ago). Yet the left is supporting an anti-science movement that tells us that sex is merely a social construct. During Covid there has also been a steady stream of articles highlighting the reality of sex-based oppression–because when shit hits the fan, women are doubly impacted. A few examples: The Coronavirus is a Disaster for Feminism, Minister: 3,600 Rape Cases Recorded Nationwide during Covid-19 Lockdown, Hundreds of Girls and Women Have Disappeared in Peru During COVID-19 Pandemic, Coronavirus: Significant rise in pregnant Kenyan women dying amid curfew, experts say, Menstrual health and mentoring in Nepal lockdown, What India’s lockdown did to domestic abuse victims, During the Pandemic, More Women Must Miscarry at Home, Trafficked ‘brides’ stuck in China due to Coronavirus after fleeing abuse, Fears the coronavirus pandemic will hit women hardest, Fears of another spike of domestic violence. All the while, supposed progressives demonize women who defend sex-based rights. Causes they find more worthy? Gender-neutral language and defending the pronouns of wealthy westerners. 

“Intersectionality” was originally about understanding how multiple axes of oppression “intersect” such that the resulting oppression is greater than the sum of its parts. The use of the term then shifted to convey (amongst other things) the centering of those who are the most disadvantaged in certain groups, i.e. who experience an intersection of oppressive systems. With this definition for example, intersectionality in the labor movement would be to center women, gay people, people of color, and others whose class-based oppression is compounded by other axes of oppression, here sexism, homophobia and racism respectively. Even going with this second definition, those who now claim that they are “intersectional” – intersectional feminists, intersectional vegans, intersectional social justice advocates – could not be more hypocritical. They support an elitist movement that benefits men while completely ignoring the realities of women around the world. The more a woman is vulnerable, marginalized and oppressed, the less visible and important her struggles are to them. Sure, they might fall over themselves to cater to a young middle class English-speaking Western woman who wants to be called “they” (though less so than for a man who wants to be called “she”), but an elderly woman doesn’t want a trans-identifying male nurse cleaning her genital area? A homeless woman doesn’t want to shower with a trans-identified male who looks and acts just like any regular man? A Muslim esthetician doesn’t want to wax the scrotum of a trans-identified male in the privacy of her home? A lesbian doesn’t want to be told that she should try girl-dick? Women want to speak about endometriosis, PCOS or focus their activism on abortion access? Psh. Bigots and white feminists, the lot of them. As for women who aren’t in the West, their existence rarely even registers.

Women have been writing and speaking and organizing against gender ideology, while we get censored and our analysis and our words are erased (Literally erased–everything I wrote on Reddit is gone. My intellectual labor served to make men rich and now even I can no longer access it). So below I’ve compiled a reading and viewing list for the feminist take on gender identity. I’ve only scratched the surface, but this is an assortment to get you started. 

It should go without saying that sharing these links does not mean that I agree with all of the views expressed in them.   

(Edit April 4, 2021: Replaced Editor with the editor’s name throughout the above text.)

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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Is Animal Liberation Incompatible with Food Sovereignty?

I am currently writing a chapter on the role of social movements for a very exciting book on the transformation of food systems, and thinking about the different elements that will allow us to build a veganic food system. I remembered this comment that I posted to Animal Liberation Currents some months ago and would like to share it here. 

I founded the People’s Harvest Forum in 2015 as a way to promote food sovereignty and agroecology, while working within a vegan ethic. I think that if we simply present veganism as the better way to eat or grow food, then advocating for a strict adherence to veganism is fundamentally incompatible with food sovereignty. This is one of the reasons the forum never included presentations on veganism as a necessary solution to environmental, social or public health issues (e.g. veganism as a response to climate change). On the other hand, I think we can stand firmly behind an animal liberationist ethic and promote veganism in the same way we promote women’s liberation and other social justice causes – with all the conundrums these pose and despite the fact that these are also often at odds with the traditions and the status quo of groups with which we interact.

The reason vegans feel the need to make veganism about everything else under the sun is because we are an ideological minority and veganism is very far from being normative, so it stands out in a way that accepted positions don’t. The strategy of the People’s Harvest Forum was to consciously reverse that attitude and treat our empathy towards cows as something no different than our empathy for dogs. So in our panels on agroecology, there was of course an element that went against tradition, however those who promote agroecology will tell you that while they want to maintain tradition in how we grow food – to a large extent – they also want to do away with tradition in regards to relationships of power between men and women. There are vegans who would have liked to help build the food sovereignty movement and have had difficulty plugging in. Some have given up activism, others have given up veganism. Seed the Commons was created as third solution, a place for activists to work towards a transformation of our food system that includes nonhuman animals in our ethic.

Unfortunately, the animal rights movement is mostly focused on individual consumption – even the voices that pass for radical in the movement push the notion of voting with ones dollar. There needs to be a true radicalization of people in the movement (by this I do not refer to extremist tactics but rather to a focus on transformation of food systems instead of the liberal approach of advocating for small improvements to existent structures and corporations). On the other side of it though, I don’t think the food sovereignty movement will easily take on animal liberation because so many people within the movement live off of animal exploitation. For better or worse, the social transformation here is probably going to be led by a more middle class, urban mainstream. As veganism becomes mainstreamed, it will be easier for people within radical movements to advocate for an inclusion of nonhuman animals.

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