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TRA response to Mumsnet new pro trans guidelines

(344 Posts)
Southfields Fri 15-Jun-18 10:27:23

As many on here predicted, they are STILL not satisfied. They believe the new guidelines from Justine are transphobic.

So, MN feminists don't like the new guidelines and nor do the TRA.

Where do we go from here?

By transwoman Natasha Kennedy:

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

False equivalence on stilts: Mumsnet's new censorship.

Today Mumsnet have come out with some badly transphobic guidelines which can only be regarded ill-considered at the most generous, profoundly transphobic at worst. They have said they are going to ban transphobia, terms like "TIM" ("Trans-identified male") and the like, although transphobes on Mumsnet are apparently already trying to find ways of producing new abusive and transphobic terms in order to get round this. How many hundreds of mods Mumsnet are going to employ to monitor this is unclear.

However for false equivalence they have decided ban the term "cis-". This is not only ridiculous, it is profoundly transphobic and reflects the institutional transphobia endemic at Mumsnet. "Cis-" as a prefix, they claim is offensive to "feminists", swallowing the rhetoric that "cis-" is somehow a form of abuse (in fact it is only a form of abuse if you are a transphobic bigot). Mumsnet are exposing their bias here and it isn't pretty.

The prefix "cis-" was first used in relation to gender by Dr Ernst Burchard, a cisgender doctor - and one of the earliest campaigners for gay rights - in "Lexikon des Gesamten Sexuallebens" published in German in 1914 and the term "cisgender" was first used by a cis male academic called Sigusch in 1998. It was created in order to provide a counterbalance to "trans-" so that people didn't have to say "non-trans" or "normal" when referring to someone who is cisgender. "Cis-" is effectively like the prefix "hetero-" in heterosexual. We don't talk about people who are not gay men or lesbians as "normal" people, so why should be have to do just that for trans people on Mumsnet?

In effect Mumsnet have censored trans people from using their discussion boards because we can no longer name people who are cisgender except in a way that Others us, pathologizes us or marks us out as somehow "abnormal" or not valid. In effect this is an Orwellian kind of censorship at a lexicon level (like "doubleplusgood") from a media platform that has complained noisily about Orwellian "censorship" when trans people called them out on the abuse we have been receiving on Mumsnet.

So it doesn't just reveal Mumsnet's institutional transphobia but their profound hypocrisy also. They cried foul to that other transphobic media platform, The Times, about being held to account for the transphobia in their forums yet have now banned some elements of the very behaviour they said trans people were threatening "censorship" by complaining about. In other words by their own standards of a few weeks ago they now are "censoring" themselves. This is not merely hypocritical, it is pathetic.

They are effectively excluding discussion by trans people and our allies by denying us legitimate terminology; banning a term that is, by the way, in the Oxford English Dictionary. Without being able to use a term like "cisgender" they are effectively making it impossible for trans people to engage in any meaningful debate in important areas. Their attempt to appear even-handed has ended up being oppressive and effectively taking the side of the oppressor. False equivalence is the name of the game, something trans people are very familiar with in the media, particularly broadcast media. And something the CEO of Mumsnet should be very familiar with since her partner is a senior commissioning editor in Channel 4, which recently produced an abusive and demeaning "debate" about my right to exist.

Mumsnet have got it badly wrong, they have demonstrated that

they are institutionally transphobic and in Desmond Tutu's terms are not even taking the side of the oppressor by being neutral, they are taking the side of the oppressor, period. Their motivation for this...? The only conclusion I can come up with is that they want to maintain their abusive transphobic user-base while avoiding complaints of abuse to advertisers; screenshots of transphobic abuse next to adverts make advertisers nervous. It is worth noting that trans people have been complaining about this kind of transphobic abuse on their site for literally years and they have arrogantly ignored us and brushed us off.

But the implications of Mumsnet's censorship go much further into dangerous territory...

As an academic the last place I would ever want go to discuss my work is of course Mumsnet, but now even if I wanted to I would be unable to since my most recent peer-reviewed publications, and some soon to come not only use terms with the prefix "cis-" ("Cultural cisgenderism" and "Cis-mythologization") throughout but they use them in the title. In effect my research is now banned from Mumsnet. No great loss from my point of view but should we should regard this as the modern equivalent of book-burning?

When the Nazis started to burn

books in Berlin University in 1933, among the first into the flames were those of Magnus Hirschfeld, a researcher into trans people. The comparison is too obvious not to make. Indeed I am not the only academic some of whose work it is now prohibited to discuss on Mumsnet; Gavi Ansara's and Peter Hegarty's award-winning research publication "Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising and misgendering children from 1999 to 2008" (which originally coined the term "cisgenderism") is also banned under Mumsnet's new regime as are works by both transgender and cisgender academics including; Dr Ruth Pearce, Prof Dean Spade, Dr Julia Serano, Prof Rogers Brubaker, Prof Susan Stryker, Dr Jemma Tosh, Dr Diane Ehrensaft, Asst Prof Z Nicolazzo, Asst Prof Tobias Raun, Prof Sara Ahmed, Dr Meg-John Barker, CN Lester... I could go on and on...

To go from complaining to mainstream media about "censorship" to implementing a thoroughly Orwellian censorship regime of its own is quite a feat of hypocrisy even by Mumsnet's own pitiful standards, and something trans people are used to as pretty much the default setting of transphobes. However banning a term that is the equivalent of "heterosexual-" is not only bizarre but profoundly oppressive, the fact that it prevents the discussion of work by a wide range of academics is, in practical terms no great loss, Mumsnet is really just a cesspit of hate and ignorance. The symbolism of it however is very significant indeed.

starcrossedseahorse Fri 15-Jun-18 10:31:14

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

InLoveWithDavidTennant Fri 15-Jun-18 10:32:08

"Cis-" as a prefix, they claim is offensive to "feminists"

The word is woman. It IS offensive to women

Give an inch, take a mile!! They will never be happy until mumsnet is shut down

Bowlofbabelfish Fri 15-Jun-18 10:34:25

As an academic the last place I would ever want go to discuss my work is of course Mumsnet

I’m torn between laughing hysterically at that line and finding it... no, bugger it, it just made me laugh.

I’d love to ask them to expand on why. I think it’d be rather informative.

as an academic and scientist myself (gosh it sounds important doesn’t it!) and a pesky female, I, Dr. Babelfish, I have found MN a really interesting and interested place where the work I’ve done and the field I work in is often discussed. Questions have been raised by multiple interested intelligent laywomen, who are interested in, and engaged with, science.

I wonder why this academic doesn’t want to discuss their work here?

CaptainMarvelDanvers Fri 15-Jun-18 10:34:30

Nothing is ever going to be good for them unless we bow down and worship them like the good little women that we will never be.

LemonJello Fri 15-Jun-18 10:35:49

I think there are some good points made, about censorship and the academic publications that would now be banned from here.

Picassospaintbrush Fri 15-Jun-18 10:36:32


LemonJello Fri 15-Jun-18 10:37:15

Mumsnet is really just a cesspit of hate and ignorance.

That brings the credibility down just a touch however.

starcrossedseahorse Fri 15-Jun-18 10:37:48

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

TufVoyaging Fri 15-Jun-18 10:37:53

I agree CaptainMarvelDanvers, nothing will ever be enough. Each concession is seen as a stepping stone to the total silencing of women. Only then will the complaints stop.

NotBadConsidering Fri 15-Jun-18 10:38:06

I can't believe someone with such poor comprehension is an academic. Of course you can discuss the bullshitsubject of "cisgenderism". The new guidelines didn't say anything about that. The three letters of "cis" haven't been banned. It's just a TRA can call someone, a poster for example, a "cis woman".

BeyondSceptical Fri 15-Jun-18 10:39:49

You'd think a trans activist would understand that assuming everyone who says they are "not trans" is automatically "cis" belittles and erases non binary and other identities....

I mean, obviously they disagree that it is offensive, but you'd think they could understand the point above.

Anywho, I don't think the word is banned full stop, as they seem to have interpreted. I'm sure I could blather on about the historical impact of cis-trans isomerism in thalidomide without getting a single strike for it.

Sarahconnor1 Fri 15-Jun-18 10:43:41

Yeah it was never going to be enough and it's naive to think otherwise. Complete capitulation is what is wanted.

Thanks for posting this response though it clearly shows what the agenda is.

Giddy99 Fri 15-Jun-18 10:45:32


Why have you misgendered Natasha, rather offensive. and no need for it.

Southfields Fri 15-Jun-18 10:47:05

The article is the finest example of DARVO I have ever seen.

Darvo means "defend by attacking and reversing victim and offender".

Darvo is the basic tenet of the TRA. Everything they are actually doing, they project at us, and pretend that we are doing it to them.

Hence complaining that we are imposing "Orwellian" constraints on free speech, oppressing them, attacking them. They simply reverse victim and offender. This places all the focus on the other side.

Kennedy is at Goldsmith's College, along with "Ada Cable" (who says attacking terfs is "justified because it's self defence"), and it's Tanis Wolf's alma mater, and it's where Lily Madigan starts in September.

Here's a pic of Natasha Kennedy.

smithsinarazz Fri 15-Jun-18 10:49:57

Look, if both sides are complaining, that makes me think MN have got it about right.

Southfields Fri 15-Jun-18 10:50:55


There has been no "misgendering".

Kennedy is absolutely open and vocal about the fact of being born male. It's not a secret, nobody is being "outed" or offended. Quite the reverse: Kennedy is a very outspoken spokesperson on being born male and currently dressing as female and using a female name.

I for one would never be party to "outing" anyone who was "passing" and wanted their birth sex kept a secret.

Opheliah Fri 15-Jun-18 10:51:19

Nothing is ever enough.

Southfields Fri 15-Jun-18 10:52:16

"Look, if both sides are complaining, that makes me think MN have got it about right."


Yeah, they've offended and upset both sides, so at least they are evenhanded! LOLOL

Picassospaintbrush Fri 15-Jun-18 10:53:25

It's basically saying if we can't call someone cis you are all Nazis in a cesspit.

Plus the repetition of the 'phobe word several hundred times it seems.

womanformallyknownaswoman Fri 15-Jun-18 10:56:00

Word salad - classic MO of cluster B aggressive male abusers

ScienceIsTruth Fri 15-Jun-18 10:56:16

@InLoveWithDavidTennant and @CaptainMarvelDanvers, I completely agree that they will never be satisfied until they have total control.

Like most abusers, it starts off small: "If you'd just stop wearing make up, I'd be happy" leads to "If you'd cover yourself up more, it would please me", which in turn leads to "If you'd stop going out without me" or "I don't like you seeing X" or "I know you can't see it atm, but I'm doing this for your own good".

Every time you concede another inch they will want 2 more. IT WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH.

heresyandwitchcraft Fri 15-Jun-18 10:56:18

banning a term that is, by the way, in the Oxford English Dictionary

But they get really pissed off and call the dictionary flawed when you use it to define "woman" and "female"

This isn't going to stop. And it was the TRAs who demanded language be policed like this in the first place. If anything, they're the book burners here.

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Fri 15-Jun-18 10:57:00

Cis being included in the OED is not evidence of its legitimacy or lack of offensiveness. You can also find n****r, slut, and a derogatory term for a person with Down's Syndrome - following Natasha's logic these must also be perfectly acceptable, but we all know they aren't! They are offensive to the majority of people they are applied to, so is cis.

hackmum Fri 15-Jun-18 10:57:00

Am I right in thinking that Natacha Kennedy isn't Natacha Kennedy All the time? Sometimes she goes by her birth name of Mark Hellen. (Natacha and Mark have also co-written academic papers - isn't that sweet?)

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