A note to those who complain that they’re “not allowed to criticize Islam”

I often see people complain that they’re “not allowed to criticize Islam”, that any criticism is framed as Islamophobia, or who voice frustrated and rhetorical questions like “why do liberals defend Islam?” (the feminist version of this is “why do liberal feminists defend Islam?”), and so on. I wrote an answer to someone on social media who posted that it’s “so frustrating when libfems call radfems Islamophobic for critizing the hijab”, along with the image below. Since this topic comes up so frequently I thought I’d also write an answer here.

The poster commented: “This! It is so, so frustrating when libfems call radfems ‘islamophobic’ for criticizing the hijab. They’re such imbeciles, it’s insane.”

It is not inherently Islamophobic to criticize the hijab, but when you think that the hijab is the all and everything and absolute pinnacle of women’s oppression, you seem myopic, and yes, likely prejudiced towards a specific group. 

Furthermore. The accusation of Islamophobia is not used just because people “criticize the hijab”. This is not a fair characterization of those who speak about Islamophobia and it dismisses valid concerns about bigotry. I know that when I point out Islamophobia, it’s not in response to people’s mere criticism of the hijab. I have no issue with the above quote.

When some of us name Islamophobia, it’s because of things like this:

– Focusing disproportionately on examples of sexism among Muslims in comparison to elsewhere.
– Blowing up the significance of the hijab such that it is assumed to be associated with the most extreme experience of female subservience and oppression. This simply isn’t true.
– Taking examples of news and customs from (frankly) backwater places and presenting them as representative of all Muslims, instead of realizing that like the Christian world, the Muslim world has differences based on country, ethnicity, class, rural/urban, and more.
– Downvoting* the women of Muslim origin who point these things out and tell you that their experiences are not the same as the news story you read (about the honor killing in Pakistan or whatnot), while simultaneously criticizing liberal feminists for not listening to the ex-Muslim women you want them to listen to (who are sometimes the Candace Owenses of the Muslim world).

The queer and liberal feminist whitewashing of Islam can be downright strange, but at least we can appreciate that it stems from something positive: The recognition of the bias and bigotry of much of Western discourse around Muslims, and especially the role that the focus on the oppression of Muslim women has played in right-wing demagoguery, including the drumming up for war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an alternative timeline where Iran made nice with the US and South Korea was placed in the Axis of Evil, we’d have heard much more about molka than hijabs.

In regards to the hijab specifically, I am not sure liberal feminists are really saying that the hijab itself is inherently empowering. I can see Muslim women, and especially men, making that argument. But I think that what liberal feminists find empowering is simply choice. Any choice, all choice. That includes the choice to wear a hijab but it’s not the hijab in and of itself that they find empowering. They don’t care about the origins of the hijab anymore than they do about analyzing women’s nudity in the West. In fact, celebrating women’s choice through the example of the hijab validates their support for the increasing self-objectification of Western women in today’s porn-saturated culture. By framing feminism around choice, they’ve diverted it from analyzing where our behaviors come from and what their material impacts are.

Radical feminists are usually critical of equating liberation with the freedom to take off one’s clothes. But when it comes to Muslims, they tend to fall right into the long-standing Western view that “we’re civilized and equal because our women are in bikinis, Muslims are savages because their women are covered up”. I don’t view the hijab as a symbol of liberation, but when I see quasi-naked women in the West prancing or twerking or standing like ditzy adornments on TV shows, at parties, or in music videos next to fully clothed men, I can’t fail to see the bias in the notion that women covering their hair is the ultimate indicator of submission.

*Referring to the good old days of Reddit here.


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 barely 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

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.”


Maya Forstater, A Galileo of these Nutty Times

Maya Forstater is a gender critical feminist whose court case against her former employer is bringing some visibility to the utter nuttiness of the trans movement and the broader progressive and leftist community.

Image from @GenderfreeCamp on Twitter

Earlier this year, tax expert Maya Forstater was fired from her job at the Centre for Global Development for tweeting that men cannot become women. It is an indisputable fact that humans cannot change sex. A male who gets breast implants is still a male. A male who gets his penis reconstructed into a cavity is still a male. A male who wears eyeliner and declares that he has a woman’s soul is still a male. Whether or not one believes in the existence of an innate gender identity has no bearing on this question. Biological sex is immutable.

A few weeks ago her case against her former employer opened at an employment tribunal, where she was grilled on her “belief” that sex is immutable, i.e. for stating a scientific fact. When this started, I wrote on Facebook that this was some Galileo-level shit. But to be honest, I thought that some level of reason would prevail. Not so. Two days ago, the judge ruled that Maya Forstater’s employer was justified in firing her because her view that sex is immutable “is incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others”.

It is discriminatory to fire people for their beliefs and utterly fascistic to fire them for opinions expressed in their non-professional life. A few weeks ago a woman posted to Reddit because she was called to meet with her boss over private Facebook posts that were considered transphobic. Imagine what we would have said twenty years ago if we thought of losing our jobs over comments we made to our friends at a pub. We would have cited 1984 and most wouldn’t have believed that in the West we were at risk of such scenarios. Social media has taken over the private sphere and it’s absolutely chilling. And with sexist tech bros as our new communication overlords, women are taking the brunt. Women are routinely banned from social media and sent violent and hateful messages, including rape and death threats, for voicing basic feminist analysis.

In the case of Maya Forstater, we’re not just talking about any beliefs or political opinions. What got her sacked was a plain-old, value-neutral statement of fact. In 2019, women who believe that humans are a sexually dimorphic species are like Galileo in front of a tribunal of believers in a magical gender essence that overrides material reality. I’ve said this before: that the trans movement has gotten acquiescence to their dogma inscribed in law and policy is religious fundamentalism.

Debate causes irreparable harm in this brave new world.

This case is in the UK, but Americans are no better. The stereotype of American conservatives is that they are anti-science and ignorant with their denial of evolution and climate change. Now, progressives have surpassed the right in their anti-science attitude. Ultimately this finds its roots in a deeper problem with the culture that is not limited to political affiliation. In his article Modern Biology and Ecology: the Roots of America’s Assertive Illiteracy, Jim Britell warns that; “In worldwide surveys of people’s grasp of biological science and evolution, the results for the U.S. jump out as similar to pre-industrial societies. Chomsky says that to find the scale of ignorance about modern biology found in America today, one must go to mosques in Iran or rural Sicily. Ten percent of Americans believe in modern evolution; 75 percent literally believe in the devil! Americans do not generally realize that the furious debates about teaching evolution and creationism are unique to America.”

There is a problem with thinking that only “the other” (in the US this would be the red states) are a problem. After Trump was voted in progressives threw the blame for all potential catastrophes on Trump voters, but Democrats are erasing women as a class and removing our sex-based rights. Articles have been circulating for a while about the rise of right-wing authoritarianism (Trump, Bolsonaro, Putin..) and its dire effects on women’s rights, but in Trudeau’s Canada women are being assaulted by men in prison. In California, Democrat Scott Wiener authored a bill ensuring that men can be housed in women’s prisons, regardless of anatomy.  This not only puts female prisoners at risk, it forces female guards to conduct searches on male prisoners if said prisoner professes he is a woman. I agree with Jo Bartosch, magical thinking should have no place in law.

Denying the reality of biological sex is anti-science, anti-intellectual and untethered to reality. But denying that biological sex is socially, politically and legally relevant is also part of a fundamentally conservative backlash against the gains made by women. It is on par with “I don’t see race”–you can’t fight sexism if you can’t name sex. You can’t provide women their own services, spaces and resources when you can’t define the word woman. People support this because it has been cloaked as social justice and nobody wants to be on the dreaded “wrong side of history”. Sadly, the failure of progressives to think critically is harming those who are already the most marginalized and vulnerable. Women in prisons and homeless shelters are forced to share rooms with men as long as the man proclaims he has some inner feminine essence, children are medicalized and sterilized for gender non-conformity and lesbians are being attacked by the woke crowd for not having sex with males. Not quite the social justice we were sold.

From the New York Times article, Across the Globe, A Serious Backlash Against Women’s Rights: ‘Over the last few years, a global surge in right-wing, authoritarian movements has spurred a broad backpedaling on women’s rights and, in particular, protections against gender-based violence. “In general, we see a very serious backlash against women’s rights,” said Kalliopi Mingeirou, who leads the U.N. division focused on ending violence against women and girls. And that backlash, added Mingeirou, has helped normalize violence and harassment, either by dismantling legal protections or by hollowing out support systems.’ What they fail to mention is that transactivism is part of this backlash and the Left has been eating it up.

Women who speak the truth are branded as witches again. Is it any wonder that JK Rowling came to our rescue? The meltdown in response to her tweet has been epic. Transactivists are calling her a TERF, a nazi, a bigot, a cunt; complete with calls for her books to be banned and burned. Ricky Gervais has come to the dark TERF side and people are finally starting to ask what the hell is going on. So far, progressives have gone along with the demands of transactivists without trying to understand what those demands were. With the firing of Maya Forstater, the dogma they have been ramming through law and policy with no public discussion is starting to become clearer.

Dr. Jane Clare Jones explains that it is thanks to this lack of public engagement that their gains have been won, “The reason why the trans rights movement cannot allow there to be a public discussion around its political ideology and its implications is because if people really understood that it’s political ideology is committed to denying that there are male and female humans, then the collective ‘What the Actual Living Fuck?’ would be so deafening that the whole political project would be dead in the water. So, instead, it has had to be achieved by a) a ton of behind-the-scenes collusion between trans rights organization and individuals in positions of political and civic power and, b) silencing public interrogation by bullying dissenters, hamstringing the press and public bodies, and making sure that everyone understands the very high social sanctions for speaking out.”

Hopefully, the visibility of JK Rowling and Ricky Gervais are ushering in this collective “WHAT THE ACTUAL LIVING FUCK” moment. It’s about time.Facebooktwittermail

In 2019 in the United States, I Lost Funding for Expressing Feminist Views

I run a small non-profit that works on issues where my feminism has no direct relevance (food politics, sustainability, animal rights). Our budget has always been shoestring and my work has for the most part been unpaid. Despite this, I have done a huge amount of impactful and truly revolutionary work over the last few years. Last summer, we lost the only funder with whom I had an ongoing, informal relationship. My organization is completely unique in what it does, so the fact that this funder severed our relationship was directly harmful not only to us, but to the “cause”.

This happened because I’ve openly shared my gender critical views. Namely that biological sex is real and that gender is a social construct. That a man can like makeup and dresses and that doesn’t make him a woman. That women are oppressed on the basis of biological sex and that this is the basis on which women’s rights were fought for. That we must continue to fight sex-based oppression and that gender essentialism and the goals of gender identity movement run counter to this.   

The writing with which she took issue is copied at the end of this post, and she found my statement that I don’t use preferred pronouns particularly damning. She did not engage with the analysis that accompanied the statement. Instead, it was taken as proof that I was squarely past the grey zone and in the field of bigotry. Ironically, I wrote about the dogmatism of this movement and her reaction was a clear validation of my point.

To be noted, this woman wasn’t the full-on gender identity activist in this story–someone else “flagged me hard” which led her to read my posts. In a way, this was more offensive because she presented herself as a neutral good-willing party who is distraught by the “divisions” in the movement. She said that while she hates the “I punch TERFs” rhetoric of transactivists… both sides were guilty. This is an incredibly dishonest cop-out when she doesn’t have the ovaries to stand up for women. While she insisted several times that both sides were guilty, she didn’t name anything feminists have done that remotely resembles the violent rhetoric coming from transactivists. Feminists are not punching and harassing transactivists, getting them fired and deplatformed, calling for violence against them or spewing hateful rhetoric. Unbelievably, she (a white woman) tried to educate me on how certain types of discourse can serve to paint “marginalized populations” as dangerous. As someone of Iranian and Muslim origin, I have direct experience and intimate knowledge of this. I told her that my posts had done nothing of the sort, but focusing on my statement on pronouns was her way of dealing with her cognitive dissonance around considering herself a social justice advocate while punishing a female activist for speaking up for women. Under the current dogma, not using preferred pronouns is a clear-cut sign of being “mean”–no more critical thinking required.

Further irony: This woman took over the organizing of the Animal Rights National Conference last year following the #metoo scandals in the animal rights movement, including involving the conference’s previous founder and organizer. The women upholding the edicts of gender identity have no solidarity with their class, no interest in understanding actual feminism, and no integrity. But they’ll get on a platform and take credit for “making change for women” or some such empty soundbite.

In my conversation with the funder, she named three examples of my wrongdoing. The first two are that I stated that I don’t use preferred pronouns and that, in her words, I compared gender identity to “magic” (see excerpt copied below). While I did not say magic, it is correct that belief in innate gender identity is often akin to a mystical belief system. However, this misses the point that irregardless of one’s belief in gender identity, women’s oppression is sex-based. People with vaginas suffer violence and discrimination by and relative to people with penises. Resources and spaces for people with vaginas are necessary on this basis, independently of the inner sense of identity of a person with a penis. Reworking the words man and woman does not do away the oppression of people with vaginas by people with penises.  

The third example was a meme I shared on Facebook, with Caitlin Jenner’s quote that the hardest part of being a woman is choosing what to wear, over an image of a maimed woman and figures about worldwide violence against women. This was interpreted as an unfair attack on transwomen by using the ridiculous statement of one privileged person who is arguably not a good representative of most transwomen. But my post was not a commentary on transwomen nor an attempt to paint them all with the same brush. It was a commentary on a gender-identity movement that is erasing and making light of women’s sex-based oppression. Not all transpeople are on board with the gender id movement and many of its champions are not trans themselves, but Jenner’s statement absolutely encapsulates the philosophy of this movement. 

The minimization and denial of sex-based oppression is there when pussy hats at a women’s march or mentions of female biology are deemed exclusionary, when women’s prisons and homeless shelters are opened up to men, when men can claim women’s scholarships and compete in women’s sports, when bathrooms are made unisex because transwomens’ fear of male violence is seen as valid but women’s fear of male violence is dismissed as hysterics and bigotry.   

We are dangerously sliding backwards when feminist analysis is unspeakable and feminists are punished for advocating for women. And given that many women are active in other social movements, this surge of misogyny is harming other important causes as well. In my post I drew a comparison between Iran and the West, which was deemed unacceptable by an economically privileged white American woman who considers herself a fighter for “intersectional social justice”. The funder belongs to a crowd that urges us to “listen to POC! listen to women! listen to marginalized folks!”–but that only applies to the POC, the women, the marginalized folks that are keeping to script and saying things with which they agree. To truly fight for the disadvantaged and for the planet will require intellectual integrity over easy mantras, to step outside of one’s bubble and engage with a broader set of voices.   

Excerpt from Twitter, Transactivism and the New Religious Fundamentalism:

‘There is no scientific backing of the existence of an innate gender identity. It is purely a belief – not a fact – about the nature of the human mind or soul. (And even if gender identity were a real thing, why would it follow that we should redefine the words man and woman on the basis of this newly discovered spiritual/psychological attribute?) It’s fine to hold non-scientific beliefs, but believers should not force others to adopt these beliefs or participate in the language or rituals associated with them. To use preferred pronouns is an ideological choice and we should be free to opt in or out of it. I don’t use preferred pronouns because I don’t believe in gender identity, and furthermore I think it is a harmful belief system that reinforces sexism. (…)

To mandate speech that upholds a mystical belief system, and to persecute those who reject or critique that belief system, is religious fundamentalism. While it could be argued that Twitter is a private company and can do what it wants, companies like Twitter and Facebook have effectively taken over the public arena and by censoring feminists, they are excluding feminists from public discourse. And this goes beyond tech companies. In New York  City for example, employers and landlords can be fined for “misgendering” someone. This flies in the face of the separation of church and state.’


Transwomen ARE Women: A Mantra That Sets Women’s Equality Back

To allow males to play on women’s sports teams or to access resources for women is a slap in the face of all women who have experienced discrimination on the basis of their sex, i.e. all women.  

Earlier this month, the all-female Iranian handball team lost to the Australian team at the Asian Handball Championship. Iranian women were made to fight against a trans-identified male–someone who has the benefit of male physiology. It’s no surprise the Iranians lost; there is a reason sports are usually separated on the basis of sex.

Rachel McKinnon, who is transgender, won first place at a woman’s world cycling championship.

The transgender player on the Australian women’s handball team is Hannah Mouncey, who played on the Austrialian men’s handball team before his transition in 2016. Last year, he played for a women’s Canberra Australian football team, where a woman’s leg was broken as he tackled her. Men are generally bigger, stronger, and have a larger lung capacity than women. Taking estrogen in adulthood does not erase the physical advantages of having gone through male puberty. After Fallon Fox, a trans-identified male MMA fighter broke the skull of his female opponent, the latter said “I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. (…) I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right.”

The same Rachel McKinnon speaking like an abusive, entitled man to Martina Navratilova, after she said there should be some standards about allowing males into women’s sports.

So men are taking women’s spots and winning, sometimes breaking bones in the process. For some people this is a non-issue because transwomen ARE women. End of discussion. But what does that actually mean and entail?

Until now, the words man and women have been defined on the basis of biological sex. A woman is an adult human female, and female is the sex that produces ova. To say that transwomen are women means that we are changing the definition of woman. Gender ideologues do not have a clear, consistent proposal for what this new definition would be and when put on the spot, they opt for the circular “a woman is anyone who feels like a woman” (of course, nobody can know if they feel like a woman if there is no definition of woman to which to refer, but I digress). But the idea is usually that “woman” is to be redefined by “gender identity”, an internal and innate sense of one’s gender that gender ideologues believe we all possess.

Under this new definition, the category of woman includes both people who produce ova and people who produce sperm. The new definition of man is someone whose gender identity is male, and the category of man includes people with vaginas and people with penises. The ramification of this is that someone with a penis, a larger body and more musculature can “identify” into a woman’s sports team and compete against women who are not only substantially smaller and weaker, but who have been historically and systematically disadvantaged because of institutional sexism.

Sports are segregated on the basis of sex because of natural differences between men and women’s bodies, but sex-specific programs and resources also serve to redress – to a small extent – the disadvantages that patriarchy has imposed on women. Being able to compete professionally was until recently denied to women (in the case of tobogganing in Switzerland, as recently as 2018) and women’s sports are still underfunded.

The discrepancy in opportunities afforded to women and men, in sports as elsewhere, has been based on biological sex: someone born with a penis has not faced the same obstacles as someone born with a vagina. When the race official of the 1967 Boston Marathon tried to physically remove Kathy Switzer from the marathon, he didn’t ask her how she identified. He knew she was a biological female and that was the marathon’s official criteria for excluding her.

So where do transwomen fit into this history?

Social justice folks give great importance to hierarchies of oppression, where people who are perceived as the most oppressed are to be centered and prioritized. We are repeatedly told that transwomen are the most oppressed of women (and of all marginalized groups), but this doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Let’s start with the observation that we live in a world in which being born with a vagina comes with a host of disadvantages, starting in the womb. In a recent article, Dominican feminist Raquel Rosario Sanchez describes the rise of sex-selective abortion: Female fetuses are aborted and female babies are killed so frequently that in 2018, over 20 countries have documented sex imbalances. A report published by the United Nations Population Fund, titled, “Sex Imbalances at Birth,” says that the masculinization of demographic trends is “not a natural phenomenon but is achieved through a deliberate elimination of girls.”

Nobody knows how these babies identify, nor do they care. They are hated because of their biological sex. As Sanchez puts it, ‘Policy-makers and “gender identity” scholars may not care about biological sex, but it turns out that patriarchy does care very much about the female bodies of women and girls.’ Girls are married off to older men; sold into sex slavery; genitally mutilated; denied an education and the right to inherit property; told they are stupid; socialized to hate their bodies; objectified and sexually assaulted; excluded from careers and public space; all on the basis of being of the class of humans that produces ova. If you disagree with this, you disagree with the very founding premise of feminism. There are plenty of people who believe that females hold privilege over males, but until recently these people didn’t call themselves feminists.

Transwomen belong to the class of humans who produce sperm and were born with penises and XY chromosomes. If transwomen are women, then they are women who did not experience the same oppression as women born with XX chromosomes. If need be – for safety at night or a leg up at work for example – transwomen can choose to hide their “authentic selves” and let the world assume they are men. (A painful experience perhaps, but certainly less painful than being raped for walking home alone) In other words, if transwomen are women, they are women with male-passing privilege. If “woman” is to be a category comprised of “transwomen” (women with penises) and “ciswomen” (women with vaginas), it follows that transwomen are the most privileged of women, not the most oppressed.

When it comes to sex-specific spaces, resources and policies, one’s definition of woman is not really the problem, because changing the definition of woman does not change the rationale under which these spaces, resources and policies were created. If the words “man/woman” no longer relate to sex, then they should no longer be relevant to one’s placement in athletics. If language is to be updated, so should policy: we would segregate sports explicitly on the basis of body parts, in keeping with the whole point of sex-segregation. We’ll have teams and competitions for “people born with penises” and others for “people born with vaginas”.

“I was angry about the human talent that was lost just because it was born into a female body, and the mediocrity that was rewarded because it was born into a male one.” – Gloria Steinem

Affirmative action and resources for women exist to counter the effects of the institutional and cultural obstacles that women have faced for millennia. My grandmother, Frances Sarnat Hugle, was a Silicon Valley pioneer at a time when female engineers were an anomaly. Many of her accomplishments were erased or downplayed both in her life and her death; nonetheless, a scholarship for female engineering students was recently set up in her honor. If gender ideologues have their way, male students could be awarded the scholarship if they state that they identify as female, despite not having shared the struggles of women in STEM.

Chicago Daily Tribune, May 6, 1944

At 16, my grandmother defied the strict gender norms of her time by winning a math tournament. An article from the day illustrates the belief that girls are intellectually inferior: “Pin curls and permanents may adorn the outside of a girl’s head, but they are no sign that all is frivolity inside it. Frances Sarnat, 16, senior at Hyde Park High school, proved this yesterday when she whisked thru 36 sticklers to win the third mathematics tournament sponsored by Wilson Junior college mathematics department.”

It’s been shown that teachers are biased against girls in respect to their math ability, which in turn impedes girls from pursuing careers in STEM. Compare this to the hypothetical situation of a 16 year old transgirl in 1944. This person would have been read as male and sailed through his school years and career, he’d be welcomed in male-dominated spaces and his accomplishments readily recognized as his. After cashing in on decades of male privilege, this celebrated engineer would announce that “she” had always felt like a woman inside. If the IEEE Frances B. Hugle Scholarship is ever awarded to a male student, it will be a slap in the face of all women in STEM and an insult to my grandmother’s memory.

The concern about opening women’s spaces and resources to males is not just about transwomen, but also men who will pretend to identify as trans. There is currently no external criteria to verify who is trans (let alone a coherent and consistent definition of what trans means). Trans activists are pushing for self-declaration to be the only criteria and have made impressive headway in getting policies changed accordingly; from changing rooms to prisons to women’s colleges. It should be obvious that this can lead to men falsely declaring themselves trans to access women’s spaces and resources. This reddit post by a man asking if he should change gender on his ID to access women’s scholarships illustrates the ease and nonchalance with which men will participate in the evisceration of women’s gains.

Men are elbowing women out of our spots as they are increasingly feted as the best of women, like Caitlyn Jenner, a Glamour woman of the year. And at the same time that transactivists lobby for male access to women’s spaces and resources, men’s rights activists are fighting to dismantle women’s scholarships and programs altogether. What differentiates these movements when their activism leads to the same results? More and more it seems that transactivism is men’s rights activism in drag.