The above is a picture of militant lesbians and gays protesting against a movie that promoted false gay stereotypes.
Above is what happened when a bunch of RadFems righteously took over the offices of the Ladie’s Home Journal because it was a vector for promoting false stereotypes about women. Protesting negative stereotypes of cisgender women in the media has a long and proud tradition among feminists.
Queer Nation’s New York membership has vowed to deface all of Basic Instinct’s posters and to hand out leaflets at theaters where it opens. Similar protests are expected in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Locally, the Philadelphia Lesbian and Gay Task Force is also organizing a dissent.
On Friday, articles were published in the show-business trade newspapers and elsewhere, suggesting that a disruption could occur at the movie industry’s biggest annual show, the Oscars. Earlier in the week, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said that it plans to continue protests against “Basic Instinct,” which it termed “gratuitously defamatory” toward lesbians and women in general.
So, to be clear… when cis people – especially radical lesbians – take a stand (even a militant stand) against the promulgation of stereotyped misinformation, it’s nothing but awesome.
When trans people write a letter – yes, a mere letter – expressing concerns about Sheila Jeffreys’ upcoming book (which will promote false trans stereotypes) open season is declared upon all trans people:
I am writing to let you know that we were all sent a copy of your recent letter to Rutledge Press in reference to Sheila Jeffreys’ forthcoming book, Gender Hurts, and have organized a small but growing group to address the issue. We will continue to coordinate our efforts so that our classrooms will be at the forefront of questioning transgender as a valid political movement—or perhaps that is just a veil for a misogynist hate group. Why the distinctly male rage? Why the threats and why the attempts to silence women and other academics? In order to illuminate these questions we will turn attentions toward Michael Bailey’s The Man That Would Be Queen and Dr. Anne Lawrence’s notions on transgender narcissistic rage, as both may serve to posit alternate theories of equal merit that students can understand.
I have read both your blogs and have found them insightful and well measured. I just wanted to clarify a couple of points…
The letter to Rutledge got around and sounded a warning. We are women academics, writers, artists, researchers, editors all currently working in the academy and all unaffiliated with any political group. We each have reputations that if nothing else, are benign and mild. The issue is that we see a real threat and believe these transactivists to be misogynistic. And we all have watched as these men attack women’s careers because people are afraid to be called “transphobic” which can be argued exists as a reality for poor non white people and not white men in their 40’s with elite educations and training. We will present a new concept: Trans privilege as another form of white male elitism. That privilege has in certain corners of the culture eroded women’s rights. We are, as I said from across the curriculum, some soft science, some humanities. Most are straight women.
At first blush, second and third it would seem that neither Denny nor Jamison or Williams can read because at no point does the letter mention graduate students. Our project is to have students (large undergraduate courses) question and not just accept what are essentially lies repeated over and over. They will learn the dangers of false analogy, of junk science, of political conformity. They will learn that the fear of being called a bigot is not a good enough excuse to not question threats against those that do question. Students will fact check, stand look out for “double and good speak” and all the manipulations of logic and rhetoric. They will be very busy. If Williams and the lynch mob finds out who I am it will not be hard to establish that I have zero connection with any feminist groups and I would say they would look like jackasses but that’s a fete accompli. In fact I am betting the radfems bless their hearts, are all scratching their heads and wondering: who the hell?
No war has been declared. Rather reality has been declared. Despite how well positioned some of these “activists” are if they keep it up they will be given recognition as the most pathological movement since Germany in the 1930’s.
Where have I heard this kind of grousing before?
Sheila Jeffreys is an infamous anti-trans RadFem opinion leader. For instance, she expressed support for ultra-conservative British politician Norman Tebbit’s views on the Gender Recognition Act (which gave trans people legal recognition under British law):
Now one of the things I find puzzling about it is that, when I look at the House of Lords debate on this legislation, those I agree with most are the radical right. Particularly the person I find that I agree with most, in here, and I’m not sure he will be pleased to find this, is Norman Tebbitt… Tebbitt also says that the savage mutilation of transgenderism, we would say if it was taking place in other cultures apart from the culture of Britain, was a harmful cultural practice, and how come we’re not recognising that in the British Isles. So he makes all of these arguments from the radical right, which is quite embarrassing to me, but I have to say, so called progressive and left people are not recognising the human rights violations of transgenderism or how crazy the legislation is.
I find it interesting that Jeffreys herself notes that her views are aligned with the “radical right.”
Criticism of the practice of transgenderism is being censored as a result of a campaign of vilification by transgender activists of anyone who does not accept the new orthodoxy on this issue.
– The very first sentence of Sheila Jeffreys defence the RadFem2012 Conference – a conference that which was later given the boot by their event host for being an anti-trans hate group (emphasis mine)
Despite being a Catholic, Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty of Ontario forced even Catholic schools to promote the homosexual agenda in the schools and have Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs, even though the practice of homosexuality violates Catholic teaching. (So much for religious freedom!)
– White supremacist, Paul Fromm, decrying censorship while advocating for the
academicreligious freedom to critique homosexuality as a choice.
Framing being gay or trans as a mere practice – something that one does instead of what one is – is a favored rhetorical tool used by hate groups the world over and unsurprisingly, we find this exact hate rhetoric in the very first sentence of Sheila Jeffreys response. For if being trans is merely a practice – an addiction, a lifestyle, a pastime, etc – then it can be argued that one can cease engaging in that practice.
In the same way anti-trans RadRight groups assert that schools should stop censoring young earth creationism by ‘teaching the controversy,’ anti-trans RadFems have likewise embraced the same rhetorical narrative where schools are concerned:
[In our classrooms] we will dismantle the basic claim of “transgender” oppression. Once exposed the list of fraudulent claims that follow falls apart. The questions students will invariably ask is: why? Why the distinctly male rage? Why the threats and why the attempts to silence women and other academics? In order to illuminate these questions we will turn attentions toward Michael Bailey’s The Man That Would Be Queen… [This response to your letter to Jeffrey’s publisher] is meant to let you know that you just secured Sheila Jeffreys another generation and your attempts to censor her are a case study in: the reach exceeds the grasp. By the time we are done the transgender movement and those names attached will be more accurately seen as like carnival hucksters and boss man thugs and Sheila Jeffreys will drop a note on personal stationary thanking you for the spike in sales.
– Women for Academic Freedom
This narrative is embraced, supported and endorsed by anti-trans RadFem opinion leaders like Cathy Brennan. As Sheila Jeffreys herself noted, there’s a reason it’s next to impossible to distinguish anti-trans RadFem rhetoric from anti-trans RadRight rhetoric. For example, can you confidently say whether the following statement made by an anti-trans RadFem hate group or an anti-trans RadRight hate group?
“This was a man, everyone recognized it’s a man, going into the women’s restroom. Now whether that person has good or ill intentions towards women, no one knows, but the fact of the matter is when you defy common sense and when it says ‘women’s fitting room’ and you allow people other than women in that fitting room, you’re just asking for trouble. This is just an absurd policy… [women] may be watched by a peeping tom or even worse, sexually assaulted or raped.”
There’s a reason you won’t be able to tell if the following comments about Shezow came from a popular anti-trans RadFem site or a popular anti-trans RadRight site:
Five of the above comments come from an anti-trans RadFem site and five comes from an anti-trans RadRight site. Can you tell the difference? No? Here’s the answers.
There’s a reason anti-trans RadFems and the anti-trans RadRighters both think that reparative therapy will cure trans people.
Nonsexist counseling is another direction for change that should be explored. The kind of counseling to “pass” successfully as masculine or feminine that now reigns in gender identity clinics only reinforces the problem of transsexualism. It does nothing to develop critical awareness, and makes transsexuals dependent upon medical-technical solutions. What I am advocating is a counseling that explores the social origins of the transsexual problem and the consequences of the medicaltechnical solution.
– Anti-Trans RadFem opinion leader Janice Raymond (1980), Technology on the Social and Ethical Aspects of Transsexual Surgery
Unfortunately, the promotion of “sex change” operations has decreased investigation into prevention and therapy for those suffering from gender dysphoria. For example, in one case a Catholic, married man who had several children wanted to become female. In his therapeutic treatment, he came to understand the origins of his inability identify with his masculinity. In working with a spiritual director, he slowly came to experience God as loving father who could protect him, and to develop a relationship with St. Joseph as a role model of male love.
Radical Women, founded in 1967, was an early radical feminist group. These radical women are still around and are still pushing back against hate. As I said, there’s a reason anti-trans RadFems and the anti-trans RadRight sound alike. Consider what Radical Women have to say about anti-trans RadFems:
They seem to see the biggest threat coming from transpeople and allies rather than attacks on abortion, economic exploitation or domestic violence. Online debates focus on not allowing transwomen in “women’s” bathrooms as though there needs to be some sort of bathroom police on duty. These ridiculous debates detract from much more productive conversations on how to organize against sexism. Anti-trans views ultimately come from a flawed, female-chauvinist analysis that sees sexism as the paramount issue and only weakly, if at all, takes into account how women’s oppression intersects with racism, class, ableism, homophobia and of course transphobia…
Transphobia comes from a minority of women in the feminist community but unfortunately it’s a rather noisy minority. Their hatred does not have any place in our struggle. Feminism is supposed to be an ideology of transcending gender oppression and eliminating the strict binary definition of gender, not reinforcing it. Feminists should be against hatred and bigotry in all forms and respect everyone’s right to biological autonomy.
… Sheila Jeffreys’ 2003 book, Unpacking Queer Politics… claims that being transgender is a self harm disorder and reinforces binary gender models…
Radical Women has fought for transpeople from the 1973 First West Coast Lesbian Conference to participating in the 2007 United ENDA movement that pushed for inclusion of transpeople in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Radical Women welcomes transwomen as members and defends transpeople’s right to respect within the queer movement as in society at large.
The reason anti-trans RadFems and the anti-trans RadRighters sound alike is quite clear. So, why does the Southern Poverty Law Center refuse to see it? Why do they continue to feature anti-trans opinion leaders like this…
… as their being their voice of reason on their site? Even when their voice of reason
intimidates tracks trans people who dare ask the Southern Poverty Law Center withdraw their support of anti-trans RadFems like Brennan, why does the Southern Poverty Law Center – time and again – fail to see what everyone else sees?
When anti-trans RadFems attempt to hold conferences, but are booted from their event location for being a hate group over and over and over again, why does the Souther Poverty Law Center refuse to recognize what other radical feminist women can so clearly see?
… their arrogance and oppressiveness is amazing. It is funny though that they are so used to Feminists immediately bowing before them that they don’t know how to deal with that we don’t care what happens to them. They expect we’ll be shocked to see statistics about them being killed, and don’t realize, some of us wish they would ALL be dead.
The FBI defines gender identity as “A person’s internal sense of being male, female, or a combination of both; that internal sense of a person’s gender may be different from the person’s gender as assigned at birth.”
The FBI defines a hate group as “An organization whose primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, and malice against persons of or with a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity which differs from that of the members or the organization.”
Anti-trans RadFems, also known as Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs) represent a hate group. Note the way TERF leaders successfully worked to have access to trans healthcare removed from the trans community. Here’s an early TERF leader setting up the plan:
While there are many who feel that morality must be built into law, I believe that the elimination of transsexualism is not best achieved by legislation prohibiting transsexual treatment and surgery but rather by legislation that limits it and by other legislation that lessens the support given to sex-role stereotyping, which generated the problem to begin with. Any legislation should be aimed at the social conditions that initiate and promote the surgery as well as the growth of the medical-institutional complex that translates these stereotypes into flesh and blood. More generally, the education of children is one case in point here. Images of sex roles continue to be reinforced, at public expense, in school textbooks. Children learn to role play at an early age.
– TERF opinion leader Janice Raymond (1980), Technology on the Social and Ethical Aspects of Transsexual Surgery; position paper submitted to the Carter and Reagan Administrations
Do I really need to recount the TERF trans hunts to out and force transwomen out of jobs? Do I really need to recount the ways in which RadFems targeted folks like Beth Elliott? Should I recount how TERFs bloodied trans icon and Stonewall instigator Sylvia Rivera for daring to speak at the 1973 Liberation Day Rally? I won’t go into the long history of TERF hate, but if you want to educate yourself, this provides a great overview. For more than 40 years, TERFs have specifically targeted trans people and their actions have caused real and lasting harm. They seek to silence while simultaneously claiming that they are being censored. Some TERFs threaten real violence (trigger warning) while others lie and/or cry crocodile tears when they face the exact same social stigma other hate groups face.
Is there any other context whereby such long standing and targeted hate would be ignored by the Southern Poverty Law Center?
Please contact the Southern Poverty Law Center and voice your feelings about their continued silence:
Twitter: @splcenter #no2h8splc
Email: SPLC contact form
Phone: (334) 956-8200
Also, please sign this petition to the SPLC.