Who Started the Campaign of Disinformation Against Cathy Brennan and Elizabeth Hungerford?

September 23, 2011

Violent, Bizarre, Bloody illustration from Kelley Ann Busey's Planetransgender post "Cathey Brennan UN letter: Toxic Transphobia Death" (sic)

I was looking at Fab’s post about the Trans Panther Party’s terrorist activities and threats against myself and the women who sent a feminist legal submission to the UN . Reflecting on all the violent rhetoric and genuine threats that have come about and been directed toward the Lesbian authors of that UN submission (some of which I’ve documented on this blog), I thought back to where it all started.

I really think Bilerico and Pam’s House Blend need to be blamed for creating and stoking this campaign of disinformation, harassment, and stalking of Lesbian activists Cathy Brennan and Elizabeth Hungerford. Bilerico and PHB were the first LGBT media outlets to respond to the UN legal submission.

To anyone who hasn’t been following this:  the UN submission suggested that in matters of litigation involving males in female sex-segregated spaces, non-transgender males should not be able to claim “gender identity”, if they have no prior history of transgenderism. That’s it. Non-transgender males would be prevented from falsely claiming transgenderism to gain access to female sex-segregated spaces. Not unlike the caveat in the CT Gender Identity protections law which was passed this year and heralded as a success by the trans community. Nothing to do with surgical requirements, or any restriction whatsoever on transgender people. There’s nothing even vaguely anti-trans about the UN submission. It’s a pro- women’s rights submission. Not an anti-trans one. One could even say it was a pro-trans submission, as it proposed codifying the rights of transgender males to enter female spaces.

What freaked out the genderists is that two feminist attorneys drafted a letter to the UN that addressed “gender” in any way. That they spoke of that which must never be mentioned by women: Gender. Women who do speak of Gender must be attacked and silenced immediately. Which is what Bilerico and Pam’s House Blend did.

Bilerico and Pam’s House Blend, both mainstream LGBT sites, were the first to fire shots. Bilerico ran a hideously inflammatory and inaccurate post titled “Less Than Woman, Less Than Human“, which actually raised the topic of violent retaliation against Brennan and Hungerford. The Bilerico post falsely claimed that the UN letter sought to deny basic human rights to trans people. It claimed the letter sought to discriminate against trans people in employment and housing (which couldn’t be further from the truth). Then the post uncritically, and bizarrely went off to conflate the UN submission with Radical Feminism, solely because the post author apparently first saw the letter’s text on a Radical Feminist site.(Cathy Brennan has never been a Radical Feminist and has in fact spent considerable unpaid time advocating for the rights of transgender people.)

This was followed by descriptions of attacks and hate crimes against transgender people, claiming the UN submission would increase such attacks. It was the worst sort of “reporting”: inaccurate, inflammatory, and unrelentingly addled. The author Mercedes Allen never did post a retraction. Fellow Bilerico blogger Jillian Weiss later posted an appeal to decency to the violent rhetoric that followed, but Weiss never mentioned the original post that started it all: the Bilerico post. As an attorney Weiss was uniquely positioned to refute the disinformation. But apparently chose not to.

Pam’s House Blend published their version the next day, the disgustingly titled “Cathy Brennan and Elizabeth Hungerford Take Their Anti-Trans Hysteria to the UN”.

This post was bursting with the same outrageous level of untruth, hyperbole, disinformation and downright lies. The author Laurel Ramseyer claimed “… it would presumably allow any women in or near a public bathroom to become “panty police” and make a “show me your papers” demand of any other woman entering the bathroom.” – which is absurd since the UN submission only deals with civil litigation matters. It was another mainstream LGBT post filled with hateful anti-feminist rhetoric and pure shit-stirring fabrication. Not only was there no published retraction- but soon after Cathy posted a link on her long-term Pam’s profile to the blog set up to refute the disinformation  (http://sexnotgender.wordpress.com/) Pam Spaulding BANNED her, and deleted her account.

There will always be crazy-ass losers and unstable fringe activists that lack the social and intellectual skills required to discern nuance or legal complexity. OR EVEN REALITY. Violent bullies like Anthony Casebeer and weekend terrorist paramilitary warriors the Caucasian Trans Panther Party, cognitively impaired Kelly Anne Busey of Planetransgender, violence obsessed Marti Abernathey at Transadvocate and the disturbed Katrina Rose at Endablog have never read (or never comprehended) the Brennan Hungerford UN submission. But they damn sure read the mainstream posts from the “authorities” at Bilerico and Pam’s House Blend.

20 Responses to “Who Started the Campaign of Disinformation Against Cathy Brennan and Elizabeth Hungerford?”

  1. FCM Says:

    yes. just as it is unwise to negotiate with terrorists, it impossible to have a rational dialog with those who are irrational, and you cant have an intellectual discourse with those who are too stupid (or willfully ignorant) to even comprehend what is being said. there is a reading-comprehension problem and its a problem shared by all MAABs i might add, when it comes to correctly interpreting whats being said on radfem blogs, and even things that are merely pro-womens rights (and not radfem) and as you point out, even things that are at their core pro-trans, or even addressing gender in any way. clearly, we are not even allowed to talk about it, and we sure as hell arent allowed to address the legal implications for FAABs. this is supre-extra-grande forbidden.


  2. Katrina Rose helped stoke a lot of this hate.

    http://endablog.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/if/

    To this day, I still have no idea why the Transgender Borg are upset by the document as it protects women and includes transsexual women. Are they mad the male crossdressers weren’t included? *shrug*

  3. Kathrin Says:

    For a while, Pam took a much less active role in management of her blog. She had some pretty serious health issues she was dealing with (fibromyalgia).

    When Pam stepped back, Autumn Sandeen seemed to become a large part of the energy, focus, and tone for the blog. In my opinion, this was not a good thing. The March 2011 reader’s survey ( http://www.scribd.com/doc/51470876/Pam-s-House-Blend-s-Reader-Survey-Final-March-2011 ) helped show just how polarizing* Autumn can be.

    When asked what the Blend needs to improve on, many of the comments revolved around Autumn and related drama:

    “… I find myself visiting less and less as the Blend seems to be leaning disproportionally on trans issues. I jokingly play a game sometimes trying to guess how quickly any thread will be ‘trans-jacked.'”
    “I am not a fan of much of the transgender work… and I’m transsexual. It is too doctrinaire, long winded, repetitive and the reader commentary is very mean spirited. I quit reading those posts.”
    “your comments section is a cesspool of nastiness…”
    “Stop letting Autumn Sandeen fight publicly on yourblog[sic] with other T people”
    “less drama with the T’s”
    “Tone down the T vs. LGB rhetoric.”
    “… fewer posts by Autumn”

    If I remember correctly, Autumn was responsible for a exceptionally large percentage of the banning going on. It wouldn’t be surprising if Pam herself wasn’t actually the one to ban Cathy.

    It’s sadly unsurprising the rhetoric that came out of PHB. The “trans-jacking” went from the comments, to the posts, to the blog.

    * Whatever my personal feelings may be on the issue, it would be unfair for me to smear an individual “behind their back”.

  4. twanzmooselike Says:

    So many blogs, so few reporters.

    Thanks GM. Just a pleasure to watch you work.

  5. FCM Says:

    also, it good of you to have traced this back to its source and made a record of all of it. the truth needs to be known, and the opposition lies, constantly.

  6. KatieS Says:

    I’m going to speculate here. If someone wanted to discourage information-finding about either radical feminism or trans issues, this making up a fight would be one way to do it.

    For anyone looking for accurate, sane information about trans issues, it will be lost in the chaos. For instance, information about a child not needing hormone blockers at a young age because they identify with the sex opposite their genetic sex. Or information about just wanting to live one’s life privately as a transsexual person and the right to make that choice. Or regrets about having had surgery for those who are actually lesbian or gay.

    At the same time, making feminists look like haters who want to take away the rights of others is also what this seems to be directed at. Another form of backlash.

    For some reason this brought to mind those two guys who were posing as lesbians, the Iranian lesbian blogger and the other guy pretending to be a lesbian blogger.

    For instance, if there was an anti-feminist, anti-LGBT conservative group (with their highly funded think-tanks) this is just the kind of tactic they’d use. Certainly some of the trolls on the internet have been hired to disrupt certain sites, keep people from conversing about various ideas, keep groups from forming political alliances, etc.

    I’m not pointing the finger at any one person or saying any one group is behind it, or even any one type of group. I’m just suspicious that, with something this weird (a totally bogus firestorm based on a really weird misreading of the letter by Brennan and Hungerford) there has to be more than meets the eye. What it is, I don’t know, but perhaps it would be helpful to think about it from this standpoint.

    • DaveSquirrel Says:

      Katie, you are assuming innocence and goodwill, as well as equal standing between feminists/women and tranz/tranzjacktivists. Whilst there are some fairly benign tranz out there, who recognise why we need to keep protections in place for FABs, most are not of the benign variety. The twanzjacktivists that we hear from, and the ones who pressure legal bodies to change legislation are primarily the wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing, and are the sexual predators, perverts, fetishists. They want free access to indulge their fetishes. There can be no other reason for them INSISTING that laws are so loose that they are a joke, and offer no protection whatsoever for FABs.

      So basically it is up to the genuine tranz community (TS not TG) to become more vocal against these usurpers of twanz politics. As it appears now, the predators/fetishists are the vocal ones in the tranz community. Once the TGs are effectively out of the picture, then perhaps we can talk allies, or negotiations or whatever. But not whilst we have looneys declaring “my woman penis” etc. That is so not on.

  7. Bev Jo Says:

    I agree, Dave. I also have to add that for any of these men to really be allies, they would have to give up appropriating our identity and calling themselves “women” in any form. The myth/illusion/con/cult that people can change sex fuels this entire situation. They can say they don’t identify with or want to support what being a male means in patriarchy, but that is very different from identifying as women.


  8. Please forgive this most likely 101ish and ignorant question: what do m2f trans folks have to gain from gaining access to woman-only spaces? Is it just about more male-dominance or what?

    • DaveSquirrel Says:

      It’s not actually an ignorant question at all, it is fairly complex in some ways.

      It is related to the reasons they are M2T, and those reasons are varied:

      Sexual-fetish driven (access to females, as in wolf in sheep’s clothing)
      Sexual-fetish driven – as part of autogynephilia
      “Proof” of passing as a female (to themselves mainly, frequently not to others)
      Male dominance over females (for the usurpers mainly, who think they make “better” women than females do)

      I am sure there is more, but it is late and bedtime for me.

  9. Noanodyne Says:

    Their reasoning is that if they are attending as a “woman” at a women’s-only event, then by definition they must be “women.”

    They do this nonsense to “prove” that they are women and unfortunately, they have an audience that laps it up, reflects it back to them, and that continues recursively.

    They crave that — they know that they aren’t women and they are constantly seeking “proof” or validation that they are. When FABs provide that validation in any form, the the M2Ts preen like the cocks of the walk that they are.

    They often say that if they can force Mich Fest to willingly allow them in, then it will be proven once-and-for-all that they actually are women.


  10. “what do m2f trans folks have to gain from gaining access to woman-only spaces?”

    They need a prove that they are “real women”.


  11. Sorry I meant proof (I’m not from the US). There are also dudes who want to gain access because they want to rape and molest women or they want to live their fetishist fantasy. Really creepy stuff. I hope women continue to fight against this.


  12. [...] House Blend (where actual lesbians are not represented and are in fact censored and banned for discussing concerns of female persons) and also his gig at San Diego LGBTWeekly  writing about the interests of Gender Affiianados [...]

  13. flowirin Says:

    a very sensible submission. i cannot understand why any of the trans community would object – unless they are not quite right in the head.


  14. [...] M2T (now lives as a het dude btw) who threated another feminist with a baseball bat. Well, him and his buddies [...]

  15. Bo Says:

    “Non-transgender males would be prevented from falsely claiming transgenderism to gain access to female sex-segregated spaces.”
    Fine with that and for fact all males, trans or not, have no place in females segregated space. In other words only men and so including trans men too, should only go in men lavatories. Same goes for women, and so including trans women, should only go inside women lavatories. Is that simple?

    By the terms “MtoT” or “FtoT” make no sense because most trans individuals always always were so (T), it just often took them lots of work to come to term openly with their transgender nature due to wide social pressure against the validity of existence of such peoples and the ostracism which draw from that. However some trans people become women other become men, ultimately.


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