Page 15 | Middle ground

(472 Posts)
HDDD Sun 15-Sep-19 12:45:34

I've been trying to follow conversations online in regard to gender critical thought, pronouns, selfID, transrights, lesbian erasure etc. And all I can find is extreme views on both sides. Is there a middle ground? Is it here? Is Twitter too toxic? I want to be informed not screamed at.

OP’s posts: |
BickerinBrattle Tue 17-Sep-19 01:21:36

Do you know about the bomb threat made to GC feminists by transactivists, HDDD?

It happened in Hastings, to one of the first meetings women were organising to discuss the proposed changes to the GRA and their ramifications for women.

What women wanted, the entire purpose of the meeting, was that the government agree to consult women regarding the way changes to the GRA could impact women and girls. But the only response women got, from MPs, Stonewall, academics, and activists was: Transwomen are Women: No Debate.

It was around that time, or perhaps a bit earlier, that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said that she supported trans rights but that transwomen were not the same as natal women, and that difference had to be taken into account — and she was slammed hard all over social media and in print journalism.

Similarly, Rose Magowan, at a reading for her memoir in which she detailed the rape and abuse Harvey Weinstein had doled out to her, including sending former Mossad agents to threaten her, was harangued by a transactivist later identified as a paedophile for her “c*s privilege” for not doing enough to stop a claimed genocide of transwomen and then, after being deluged with hate messages, Magowan was made to apologise for her sins and promise to centre transwomen in her activism. (She has been notably silent ever since.)

The extreme amount of vitriol Adichie and Magowan received served to silence many women.

I believe it was last year that transactivists gathered outside the offices of the Metro UK and set off smoke bombs after the paper published a story they didn’t like.

I’m sure you’ve read about the dead rat recently nailed to the door of Vancouver Rape Relief along with spray-painted graffiti reading “Kill T*rfs” and “Trans Power” and of the near bankruptcy faced by VRR — a rape refuge built and paid for by women — throughout a twelve-year long legal battle VRR fought to maintain a policy of hiring only women to be rape counselors to their female clientele. Ultimately VRR won in the Supreme Court and was awarded court costs the plaintiff has never paid, and that plaintiff has not stopped efforts to force VRR’s closure.

I’m sure you’ve read about the transactivists harassing human rights attorney Rosa Freedman — who’d been giving talks about the way human rights law works when there is a clash of rights between groups, about ways to balance rights. She was threatened and chased on her campus to the point she had to hide in the bushes, received the late night phoned death threats, and then discovered that a man had urinated all over her office door.

And I’m sure you read about Maria MacLachlan knocked to the ground, kicked, beaten, and throttled by three male transactivists, though the police were only able to identify and arrest one. I’m sure you read about the assault on Julie Bindel, and while the male fist didn’t connect with her face, thanks to security personnel, the action is nonetheless an assault under the law.

Let’s see: there was also a meeting in Bristol, where transactivists with masked faces stormed the stairwells and entrances to prevent women meeting, threatening violence.

And an attempted meeting at the Millwall Football Club, where transactivists so threatened the venue that even the redoubtable Millwall bent beneath the threats and canceled the meeting.

There was the police summoned to eject Julia Long and three other women at an open-to-the-public meeting at Accenture’s office regarding trans rights — merely because a panelists felt unsafe that Julia was there, because Julia might ask a question. Heaven forfend that a question inspire nuanced debate.

In Canada, Meghan Murphy, scheduled to give a talk in the Vancouver Public Library about women’s issues regarding self i.d. received so many threats, as did the library itself, that the library charged her several thousand dollars in security costs just to avail herself of public space all citizens are entitled to.

Also in Vancouver, at the Dyke March, transactivists surrounded lesbians wearing interlocking female symbols, depictions of a uterus, or the labrys symbol, and physically prevented them marching in the parade.

In San Francisco, long the centre of the gay and lesbian rights movement in the US, the public library hosted an exhibit of pink-and-blue baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire, axes, and t-shirts painted red to simulate blood along with slogans about punching T*erfs, and when women protested, the library claimed it was an art exhibit. But at the SF Dyke March, transactivists wore those t-shirts, carried those axes (until the police stopped them) and roughed up several lesbians, knocking one to the ground.

In Baltimore, the local LGBT organisation fired the only lesbian (and only female) on the governing board when she could not agree that males could be lesbians, and the Baltimore Pride celebration included a party announcement depicting a woman hanged by her neck.

I’m trying to remember the names of all the women who lost jobs and/or contracts for expressing gender critical opinions, but I’ve forgotten names, and many of the incidents. The arts instructor, the tax specialist, the filmmaker, the graduate teaching assistant. Then the names and professions of those who are certain that if they spoke up, they’d lose their jobs. The teacher, the headmaster, the sport coach, the therapist, the social worker, the civil service employee, the writer, the journalist, the tech worker.

Denunciation, firings, harangue, threat, and violence are the responses women have gotten when attempting to have nuanced debate about the fact that girls and women are stakeholders in the proposed legal changes.

The fact that some, and by no means all, transactivists have moved off the No Debate stance is a credit not to them but to the courage, resolve, and persistently rational points women have made while standing in the face of actual, physical threat.

In Hastings, after the bomb threat was made, as women weren’t sure whether they would again be stymied in merely holding a meeting to find ways to make sure women were consulted regarding legal changes that affected them, police investigated, identified the man who’d made the threat, searched his home, and found explosives.

I have long been worried that as women make their voices more and more heard in this debate, someone — a woman — is going to get killed.

Three men upon a 60-year old woman, knocking her to the ground — had she landed differently, Maria MacLachlan could have been killed. We all know that a male fist, with sufficient momentum, can bring enough force to a woman’s skull to fracture it — Julie Bindel could have been severely injured or killed. At the Metro UK, anyone with COPD could have ended up in respiratory distress or failure. The man in Hastings could have taken his explosives to the women’s meeting.

Every day I read death threat to feminists. I read of us described as pestilence, vermin, and Nazis. I read that the proper response to our advocacy on our own behalf is our extermination. These are not always from fringe crazies, either — these are from academics, journalists, celebrities, local politicians, college students. Whether they realise it or not, are providing cover for and legitimating violence against women as a response to political disagreement.

Nothing women have said or done justifies the response we have gotten, and nothing women have said is in any way equivalent in threat.

Transactivists expected to have won self I.d. already, and they have not. The possibility now exists that they might not win it in the foreseeable future.

Anyone who understands patterns of male abuse of women knows that fact puts us, right now, in a very dangerous time.

I expect escalation of hyperbole and threat from transactivists. And I expect that women, esp. in the UK, having shown so much resolve already, will not now yield. I expect that in some places, women and girls are going to move into civil disobedience, as organisations bow to regulatory capture and strip away rights and protections regardless of the stall in legal change.

Anyone seeking nuanced rationale debate about balancing rights has simply arrived on scene too late.

DancelikeEmmaGoldman Tue 17-Sep-19 01:32:54

That is a brilliant post BickerinBrattle. Yes to it all, especially the last paragraph.

I feel like we're going to end up with a sort of alcoholic lassi. But with goats milk.

Milk vodka.

You can make milk liquor at home too - it’s been on my list of things to try.

Fallingirl Tue 17-Sep-19 01:36:59

Well said, Bickerin.

This should be pinned at the top of FWR board.

TheProdigalKittensReturn Tue 17-Sep-19 01:45:59


To both the milky vodka and the behavior of trans activists.

Durgasarrow Tue 17-Sep-19 03:42:00

It's okay to call someone by the pronouns of their choice as a courtesy. It's not okay for it to be legislated.

LoreleiRock Tue 17-Sep-19 04:42:24

This is my middle ground; Trans people deserve their own spaces and I will fight and fight for these (just as our sisters did for us) but they will not take our space. It isn’t negotiable for some though is it? We could have been such good allies, but we can’t be erased like this.

truthisarevolutionaryact Tue 17-Sep-19 08:33:53

What a great post BickerinBrattle - quite overwhelming to see it all written like that.
Might I urge anyone from the middle or either side to find the time to write today to their MP about the awful trans pupil guidelines that the EHRC are about to impose on schools - if these guidelines are allowed to go through, the marginalisation of girls will be complete. They are truly awful.
All the information needed can be found at the end of this thread in the post by GColdtimer -

LangCleg Tue 17-Sep-19 08:44:47

Trans people deserve their own spaces and I will fight and fight for these (just as our sisters did for us)

Why? When they don't want them?

Why not spend that time fighting to maintain the spaces won for us by our sisters?

Barracker Tue 17-Sep-19 09:01:20

Everyone should read that superb post by BickerinBrattle

Tyrotoxicity Tue 17-Sep-19 09:30:32

Adding to the round of applause for Bickerin. It's sobering to see it all written out like that.

I'm happy to support people who consider themselves 'trans' in their attempts to build their own spaces from the ground up.

They're not having ours though. It's theft, pure and simple.

There are enough women out there who haven't hit the wall and started resisting yet, who are willing to accommodate and support trans people to have happier and more productive lives. The refusal to accept a third space as a possibility means there's only one way for those women to help.

It's exploitative. We have compassion and empathy, we want to help - but the only form of help they will allow themselves to acknowledge is our submission.

dolorsit Tue 17-Sep-19 09:31:26

Would BickerinBrattle be willing to start a new thread with that post? I'm not sure how to reframe it but the post really does highlight why women get pissed off at being asked to "be nice"

It's far too good a post to be lost within a thread.

RufusthebewiIderedreindeer Tue 17-Sep-19 09:36:29


Michelleoftheresistance Tue 17-Sep-19 09:58:31


I know what is meant by 'fight and fight for third spaces'. I think the kind of women you find on FWR are the ones who have years of experience in writing the letters, going to the marches, fund raising for refuges and all the rest of it, and had they been approached early on with a request to help trans people have their own spaces apart from male ones that meets their need for privacy, dignity, safety, the ability to breach gender stereotypes without facing toxic masculinity, there would have been a huge source of organised support and sympathy here.

But the aim has been a very hostile, very anti woman take over bid, hostile colonization.

After years of that, I wholly get Lang's point. My response at this point is meh. I'm no longer interested in helping or what needs need meeting, my energy and efforts and time are reserved wholly for women, because I really do see clearly now how ingrained and how serious the oppression of women is. Women haven't got time to bail men out with this one, and it's characteristic of the patriarchy and misogyny that it's assumed that women will always suck up the effort and the labour and fix everyone else's problems for them before getting around to their own.

Liberation is largely about saying no.

TheAlternativeTentacle Tue 17-Sep-19 10:06:41

Would BickerinBrattle be willing to start a new thread with that post? I'm not sure how to reframe it but the post really does highlight why women get pissed off at being asked to "be nice"

It would get deleted as 'not in the spirit' and Bicker would get binned.

Datun Tue 17-Sep-19 10:07:24


I'm atting you just in case you miss this.

Please start a new thread with that. Or let me know if you are publishing it anywhere else.

Over the last few years, people will often list things that have happpened, but as they became too numerous, it felt overwhelming.

You've just done it. And it's mind blowing. I know about all those things, and it's still mind blowing to see it written out like that. Do you mind if I share that elsewhere?

LangCleg Tue 17-Sep-19 10:07:56


After years of that, I wholly get Lang's point.

My point is twofold: women's rights are under attack so I'll be prioritising those, thank you very much; why fight for a "solution" that the political transgender wing has already rejected and when that wing has captured policy making? Utter waste of effort aside from a virtue signalling bit of self congratulation as to one's niceness.

SmellbowSpaceBowl Tue 17-Sep-19 10:22:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheProdigalKittensReturn Tue 17-Sep-19 10:39:54

Utter waste of effort aside from a virtue signalling bit of self congratulation as to one's niceness.

The people demanding that we do it never seem to want to do it themselves either. There seems to be an epidemic of that, people deeply convinced of their own niceness and other women's horribleness who're all about delegating work to the nasty women that they don't seem to have any intention of doing themselves. Like they're the generals and we're the insubordinate troops with ideas above our station.

littlbrowndog Tue 17-Sep-19 10:44:17

True kittens

Great post bickering

Tyrotoxicity Tue 17-Sep-19 10:44:19

Why not spend that time fighting to maintain the spaces won for us by our sisters?

My point is threefold. (And thank you all for doing the legwork on the pointing out the first two points, over and over again, so the third point could emerge.)

What are we doing to prepare for the next assault?

The function of genderisation - of language, of clothing, of hobbies, of careers, of all of it - is to give the dominant male a concealed-carry permit for his inbuilt rape weapon.

So I show my daughter the photos, and I draw her attention to the reality of the sexed body, and I give her the words. I'm doing everything I can to ensure that when she comes up against this, she's got the words she needs to express the thought "yes, but clearly you have a rape-weapon-inbuilt body, and this makes you unsafe."

Dunno what else to do, but training our daughters to see right through this shit and not submit to it is one of the fundamental steps. As is training our sons to manage their feelings without externalising them.

TheProdigalKittensReturn Tue 17-Sep-19 10:50:58

It's the pronouns are Royphenol issue, innit? Take away the words to describe who's of risk at what and why and you've made it much harder for the potential prey group to protect themselves.

NotMyFIrstTIme Tue 17-Sep-19 12:07:03


Can I suggest some consciousness-raising? That might help you understand that langcleg is simply speaking plainly. If you don't like what she says, you need to examine any feminist credentials you may claim to have.

Calling langcleg "deeply unpleasant" says so much more about you than it does about her.

And please - this is a fast-moving, open, discussion board. You post - it's there for anyone to respond to. Internet Forums 101.

NotMyFIrstTIme Tue 17-Sep-19 12:10:51


Excellent post, thank you. It's a superb - if chilling - summation of the situation.

TheAlternativeTentacle Tue 17-Sep-19 13:05:13

Have a little watch of this might help you get some answers.

NeurotrashWarrior Tue 17-Sep-19 13:23:56

Seventhed or eighthed bickering ...

Probably pointless now but some notes I made reading this...

Re feeling 'sorry' or empathy for trans people; Do you feel as sorry for the AGP lot? Look at #girlslikeus on twitter.

Gender dysphoria doesn't have to be treated with transition.

"Things go wrong in the womb" well this is a sweeping medical statement but when it comes to dysphoria, any dysphoria, it's an mismatch between the body and how the brain perceived the body. The baby wouldn't have had that a birth, it would have been absorbed via social interaction and self perception.

Regarding brains; they're flexible and plastic and can learn new things that actually change the structure, areas enlarge or diminish in long term states such as anxiety or depression or life devoted to a skill such as a taxi driver with 'the knowledge' v one without, or bilingualism.

Gendered environments create gendered brains.

A good link to read regarding brains:

There's clearly an attempt to plea to lurkers; which is fair enough but most are past that here and in various other online and offline groups.

Women are sick of being told how to act.

I can absolutely have empathy for someone with dysphoria, I've experienced a level of body or rather face dysmorphia myself since I was 6, but as usual there's a massive absence of Transmen discussed on this thread.

Being female they're included in feminism, esp as often they de transition realising they might be lesbians or were reacting to toxic masculinity and toxic femininity/ female objectification.

The men aren't included. Nowt to do with feminism.

Men need to deal with that issue.

<omg wel jel of the gin rufus! awesome slampagne that will make!>

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in