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Cathy Brennan attempts to censor LGBT magazine

OutSmart magazine asked me to write a piece on the TERF phenomena. My 2500+ word article featured just two sentences that mentioned Cathy Brennan’s behavior. Cathy Brennan – a Maryland attorney, activist, leader and a public face of TERFism – is demanding that my article be edited so that it remains silent about her behavior in the modern TERF movement.

Lie for me or else!

Lie for me or else!

Brennan asserted that she’s hired lawyers to successfully go after other media outlets for their coverage of her behavior in the past. Brennan wrote, “Neither I nor any organization I work with has any connection to right wing organisations. It’s simply false.” She then claimed that the article needed to be “corrected” to promote the fiction that she’s not worked with the Pacific Justice Institute in targeting a Colorado trans kid, Jane Doe.

Here are the 2 sentences with which Brennan takes issue:

Recently, Cathy Brennan, an attorney who heads a particularly hateful TERF group, outed a trans youth at school and even went so far as to work with the ex-gay group Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) in targeting a sixteen-year-old trans girl. Brennan’s group acted as PJI’s mouthpiece, joined them in misgendering her, and promoted PJI’s bullying.

Let’s fact check each claim made:

  • Cathy Brennan, an attorney
    This is a fact. She’s licensed in more than one state.
  • Brennan heads a particularly hateful TERF group
    This is a fact. She heads Gender Identity Watch among other demonstrably hateful groups. Several thousand people agree with this statement.
  • Brennan outed a trans youth at school
    This is a fact.
  • Brennan went so far as to work with the ex-gay group Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) in targeting a sixteen-year-old trans girl. Brennan’s group acted as PJI’s mouthpiece
    This is a demonstrable fact:

Note that I did not say that she worked for PJI, nor did I assert that she (as Brennan falsely implies that I did) is “connected” to a right wing organization. In fact, I asserted that she worked with PJI in targeting Jane Doe. Brennan undertook every action which targeted Jane Doe voluntarily; PJI didn’t pay her to do what she did. Presumably, nobody paid her to work with PJI in targeting Jane Doe, that was something she did because she freely chose to do it.

  • Brennan either voluntarily contacted PJI or she didn’t. Which is it?
  • PJI gave her a narrative that furthered their goal of targeting Jane Doe or they didn’t. Which is it?
  • Brennan either voluntarily published PJI’s narrative over her social media networks or she didn’t. Which is it?
  • Brennan either issued PJI’s statement to the TransAdvocate (me) or she didn’t. Which is it?

Gosh, if there was only a way to somehow prove that Brennan did, in fact, do each of the above things…

Asserts the debunking of PJI’s claim against Jane Doe is “bullshit” & admits to contacting PJI

Asserts the debunking of PJI’s claim against Jane Doe is “bullshit” & admits to contacting PJI

Brennan issues PJI’s statement to the TransAdvocate

Brennan issues PJI’s statement to the TransAdvocate

Promotes the narrative PJI provided Brennan on her social networks.

Promotes the narrative PJI provided Brennan on her social networks.

Did Brennan:

A.) Contact PJI in order to fact check PJI’s claim for an article she published; or,

B.) Simply claim that she believed that my debunking of PJI’s narrative was “bullshit,” acted to obtain a statement from PJI which supported PJI’s narrative about Jane Doe, and then voluntarily engaged in promoting that very narrative?

Which is it? A or B?

Let’s get back to fact checking my last assertion: Brennan, “joined them in misgendering [Jane Doe], and promoted PJI’s bullying.”

Either Brennan joined PJI in misgendering Jane Doe or she didn’t. Which is it?

TERF9[1]

CB-GIW-outs-trans-kid[1]

Either Brennan defended and promoted PJI’s debunked propaganda or she didn’t. Which is it?

TERF2[1]

TERF12[1]

CB-PJI-21[1]

 Brennan may truly believe that reasonable people should conclude that her behavior represents the opposite of my statement: Brennan, the leader of a particularly hateful TERF group, worked … “with the ex-gay group Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) in targeting a sixteen-year-old trans girl” and that Brennan’s group “acted as PJI’s mouthpiece, joined them in misgendering her, and promoted PJI’s bullying.” Maybe in Brennan’s reality this is what not working with an ex-gay group to target a trans kid looks like. Maybe for Brennan, having an ex-gay group issue you a statement which you then promote is what not being a mouthpiece looks like. Maybe for Brennan, promoting PJI’s ‘Jane-Doe-is-a-male’ narrative is how adults act to not misgender or harm trans kids. Maybe Brennan mistakenly thinks that PJI is a left wing organization instead of a right wing organization.

Regardless of how Brennan chooses to justify her demonstrable behavior, there are facts to be known about these two sentences:

Recently, Cathy Brennan, an attorney who heads a particularly hateful TERF group, outed a trans youth at school and even went so far as to work with the ex-gay group Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) in targeting a sixteen-year-old trans girl. Brennan’s group acted as PJI’s mouthpiece, joined them in misgendering her, and promoted PJI’s bullying.

Either my statements are verifiable or they are not… and if my statements are verifiable, what does that say about Brennan when she threatens a small LGBT magazine in an effort to make them promote the fiction that my statement isn’t verifiable?

 


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Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter in the South and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable healthcare for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at the social justice sites TransAdvocate.com and TheTERFs.com, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group.