Oh, you guys…

August 31, 2013

What’s especially interesting about this comment is that it originates from the same ISP of a certain “radfem commenter”. Now might be an excellent time for you to cease submitting comments to my blog dear. Thanks.


The authenticity of following statement, now censored from Pandagon.net which was among the first sites who published it, has been confirmed. Some question of its authenticity arose in the initial period after its distribution for issues you can read about Here. However, many women have contacted various signatories and the authenticity of the document has been confirmed. Not only that, but more women have, and are currently, co-signing the document.  Thank you to all the women who contacted me and provided verification over the last twelve hours. The entire statement is published below. Heart at Women’s Space has provided biographical information on the original signers Here, and what an impressive group of women they are. If you would like to have your name added as a co-signer of the document please contact Carol Hanisch here: http://carolhanisch.org/

The original statement in full:

Forbidden Discourse: The Silencing of Feminist Criticism of “Gender”
An open statement from 37 radical feminists from five countries.

August 12, 2013

We, the undersigned 1960s radical feminists and current activists, have been
concerned for some time about the rise within the academy and mainstream media
of “gender theory,” which avoids naming men and the system of male supremacy
as the beneficiaries of women’s oppression. Our concern changed to alarm when
we learned about threats and attacks, some of them physical, on individuals and
organizations daring to challenge the currently fashionable concept of gender.
Recent developments: A U.S. environmental organization that also calls itself
radical feminist is attacked for its political analysis of gender. Feminist conferences
in the U.K., U.S. and Canada are driven from their contracted locations for asserting
the right of women to organize for their liberation separately from men, including
M>F (male to female) transgendered people.

Deep Green Resistance (DGR) reports1 that queer activists defaced its published
materials and trans activists threatened individual DGR members with arson, rape
and murder. Bookstores are pressured not to carry DGR’s work and its speaking
events are cancelled after protests by queer/transgender activists. At “RadFem”
conferences in London2, Portland3 and Toronto4, trans activists accuse scheduled
speakers of hate speech and/or being transphobic because they dare to analyze
gender from a feminist political perspective. Both MF transgender people and
“men’s rights” groups, operating separately but using similar language, demand
to be included in the Rad Fem 2013 conference in London called to fight against
women’s oppression and for liberation.

How did we slide back to the point where radical feminists have to fight for the
right to hold women-only conferences and criticize conventional “gender roles”?
The rise of Gender Studies may be part of the problem. Language is a wonderful
human tool for thinking, understanding, cooperation and progress, so it makes
sense that when people fight for freedom and justice against those who are
oppressing them, the use and misuse of words—of language—becomes part of
the struggle. Originally the term “gender” may have been a useful way around
the communication problem that the word “sex” in English has several meanings.
“Sex” refers to the reproduction of a species, as well as acts bringing about sexual
pleasure AND the simply descriptive division of many plants and animals into
two observable categories—the “sexes.” Using “gender” instead of “sex” allows
feminists to make it clear that all kinds of social relations and differences between
the sexes were unjust, not just sexual relations between the sexes. “Gender”
also covers the artificial, socially-created differences between the human sexes,
the overwhelming majority of which are politically, economically and culturally
disadvantageous to female humans.

“Gender Studies” has displaced the grassroots women’s liberation analysis
of the late 1960s and early 1970s. An early embrace of the neutral idea of
“sex roles” as a major cause of women’s oppression by some segments of the
women’s liberation movement has morphed into the new language—but the
same neutrality—of “gender roles” and “gender oppression.” With a huge
boost from the “new” academic theory coming out of those programs, heavily
influenced by post-modernism, “gender identity” has overwhelmed—when
not denying completely—the theory that biological women are oppressed and
exploited as a class by men and by capitalists due to their reproductive capacity.
Women often can no longer organize against our oppression in women-only
groups without being pilloried with charges of transphobia. But, as a UKbased
radical feminist “Fire in My Belly” wrote in her blog, “Radical feminists
recognise that an individual’s ‘gender identity’ cannot, in a fair society, be
allowed to ride roughshod over biological sex, which cannot be changed.”5
We do not view traditional sex/gender roles as natural or permanent. In fact,
criticizing these “roles” is valid and necessary for women’s liberation. Radical
feminist analysis and activism focus on unequal power relations between men
and women under male supremacy, with real, material benefits going to the
oppressor group (men) at the expense of the oppressed group (women).
The system of male supremacy comes down hard on non-conforming men and
women, as movingly described online by members of the trans community.
While switching gender identity may alleviate some problems on an individual
level, it is not a political solution. Furthermore, a strong case can be made that
it undermines a solution for all, even for the transitioning person, by embracing
and reinforcing the cultural, economic and political tracking of “gender” rather
than challenging it. Transitioning is a deeply personal issue associated with a
lot of pain for many people but it is not a feminist strategy or even individual
feminist stance. Transitioning, by itself, does not aid in the fight for equal
power between the sexes.

There will have to be many advances in science and technology before the
bodies of female humans will no longer be needed for the complicated
and dangerous jobs of supplying eggs and gestating and bearing ongoing
generations to carry on the work of the world. There will also, no doubt, be
struggles to ensure that women are not oppressed in new ways under these
new circumstances.

Not all feminists agree that ‘gender’ should be done away with, nor do
we agree with one another on pornography or prostitution or a radical
transformation of our economy or a number of other issues. But our movement
has a history of airing serious differences in speeches and distributed position
papers, not in physical attacks, threats of bodily harm and censorship of such
analyses. DGR and RadFem stood up for the right to think, speak and write
freely on the question of gender.

Although we may not be in total agreement with DGR’s analysis of gender, we
welcome it as an important contribution to radical feminism and commend
the courage it has taken to stand against the threats and attacks it brought
upon them. We defend the right of RadFem to exclude men, including M>F
trans people, from their feminist meetings and to invite speakers who analyze
gender from a feminist perspective. We also commend CounterPunch online
for publishing the DGR material, which brought similar attacks for transphobia
upon them, including from Jacobin magazine online.

We look forward to freedom from gender. The “freedom for gender”
movement, whatever the intentions of its supporters, is reinforcing the culture
and institutions of gender that are oppressing women. We reject the notion
that this analysis is transphobic. We uphold the radical feminist principle that
women are oppressed by male supremacy in both its individual and institutional
forms. We continue to support the radical feminist strategy of organizing an
independent power base and speaking the basic truths of our experience out of
earshot of the oppressor. We hold these principles and strategies essential for
advancing toward women’s liberation.
5 feministuk.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/radfem-2013-we-didnt-kill-any-men/


Initiated by Carol Hanisch (NY), Kathy Scarbrough (NJ), Ti-Grace Atkinson (MA), and Kathie Sarachild (NY)

Also signed by Roberta Salper (MA), Marjorie Kramer (VT), Jean Golden (MI), Marisa Figueiredo (MA), Maureen Nappi (NY), Sonia Jaffe Robbins (NY), Tobe Levin (Germany), Marge Piercy (MA), Barbara Leon (CA), Anne Forer (AZ), Anselma Dell’Olio (Italy), Carla Lesh (NY), Laura X (CA), Gabrielle Tree (Canada), Christine Delphy (France), Pam Martens (FL), Nellie Hester Bailey (NY), Colette Price (NY), Candi Churchhill (FL), Peggy Powell Dobbins (GA), Annie Tummino (NY), Margo Jefferson (NY), Jennifer Sunderland (NY), Michele Wallace (NJ), Allison Guttu (NY), Sheila Michaels (MO), Carol Giardina (NY), Nicole Hardin (FL), Merle Hoffman (NY), Linda Stein (NY), Margaret Stern (NY), Faith Ringgold (NJ), Joanne Steele (NY)




solanas arrest

From “The (dis)appearance of Up Your Ass: Valerie Solanas as abject revolutionary” by Desiree D. Rowe, Rethinking History, Volume 17, 2013



After I presented an early version of this paper at a national academic conference,

a woman approached me. She1 said that she had seen the very last performance

of a work by Valerie Solanas – a performance I had just mentioned – at that

moment I disliked her. My dislike was rooted in envy, to be sure. Envy of her

experience of seeing Up Your Ass staged in a tiny theater space in New York City.

Of being able to feel the pressure of Solanas’ script. A script that was never again

performed, but shoved in a dusty archive. This space, P.S. 122, is one I have been

to a few times – but I never saw Valerie there.

My new friend saw the performance in 2001. Someone from the Village Voice

must have been there too: ‘What astonishes more is the ahead-of-its-time critique of

gender roles and sexual mores embedded in the jollity,’ she wrote, ‘queer theory has

nothing on the boundary-smashing glee of Solanas’s dystopia, where the two-sex

system is packed off to the junkyard’ (Soloman 2001). My jealousy builds.

Valerie Solanas herself

After that 2001 New York City performance, Valerie Solanas’ writings were put

away for good. Her performances and scripts disappeared. Why? The answer,

unfortunately, lies not in Solanas’ text, but in both the absence and inaccessibility

of it. You see I would love to take you on a grand tour, in the fashion of a rhetorical

analysis of Solanas’ Up Your Ass. But, as you will soon discover – that text is lost.

From the Cradle to the Boat, or The Big Suck, or Up From the Slime

Solanas’ most popular work, SCUM Manifesto (2004), is not her only one.

Solanas has two (lesser known – of course they are) other works. The next known

surviving work of Solanas’ is an article titled ‘A Young Girl’s Primer, or How to

Attain the Leisure Class,’ published in 1966 in the soft-core pornography

magazine Cavalier. She couldn’t get her work into mainstream publications so

she went to porn magazines. Don’t we read it for the articles?

The final piece, and the one I am most interested in, is her 1967 play Up Your

Ass: From the Cradle to the Boat, or The Big Suck, or Up From the Slime. After

Solanas had completed the performance piece, she directly approached Warhol

about producing Up Your Ass. Warhol didn’t care. He took it. Lost it. Didn’t give

a shit (Harding 2001). By the way, this was her only copy. She clickty-clack-

clacked her way through this play and Warhol tossed it aside. Here’s the thing:

the play didn’t suck. After it was rediscovered in 2001 (and performed.

Remember? My new ‘friend’ had seen it) the response was strong.

But who cares?

The play was/is/can be good. But it is still lost.

Currently, the manuscript is in the archives of The Andy Warhol Museum in

Pittsburg, PA. As part of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburg, the Warhol Museum

charges $20 general admission. I paid the student price, $10. Up Your Ass

however, is in the archives. You need an appointment to get in there – it’s no

place for the common folk. The only published excerpt of Up Your Ass appears in

James Harding’s 2001 article, in which he reprints two of the 40 pages of text.

When I attempted to access the script I was informed that I needed to show

documented proof of my affiliation with an institution of higher education.

Further, the copy would cost me, according to an employee of the Archives Study

Center at the Warhol Museum, at least $80 for every hour it took archivists to

retrieve and that didn’t even include photocopying and postage. Further, I was

instructed to wait 4 – 8 weeks to receive a response from the museum to confirm

these details. After payment, they would send me a copy of Solanas’ manuscript.

That struck me as complete bullshit.

That began the process of historical gatekeeping that I had to negotiate for

the next two years.

I found it absurd that I had to provide such information, considering Solanas’

own position on higher education and relationship to Warhol. She was the woman

who attempted to take his life, something the archivists never tired of reminding me

in my contact with the Museum. Solanas also wrote in her manifesto of her disdain

for higher education because of her own experiences at the University of Minnesota,

beliveing it was men that had control over knowledge and doled it out to women only

when they had earned favor with the men in charge. Knowing this and requesting

those letters left me feeling a bit sad. Had so much changed since 1968?

On 7 June 2006, I received my copy of Up Your Ass. The museum had

photocopied (presumably) the original manuscript, which included Solanas’ own

scribblings and editoral marks. It is an amazing document. What I would ordinarily

do is detail the finer points of the piece, quoting Solanas’ acerbic writing style and

marking the destruction of gender binaries and the hilarity of satirical

performativity. I can’t. There are only two copies of Up Your Ass. Mary Harron

found one via Billy Name, one of Warhol’s closest associates. Name gave the

script to Harron who then (allegedly) passed it on to Solanas’ sister. The second

copy is the one I found, and cannot be reproduced or quoted from without seeking

‘permission to quote . . . from the author, if known’ (Warhol Museum Invoice).

The Museum was not going to give permission to me, and I sure could not call

Valerie up and ask, so I was stuck.  So I took a trip to Pittsburg.

A pilgrimage to Pittsburg

It is sad to me, really, that when I visited the Warhol Museum Archives, a manila

folder filled with photocopies of photocopies and originals were plopped in front me.

(I didn’t even need to wear white gloves when touching the documents. No

one told me to. That says something doesn’t it?)

This manila folder, heavy only with the symbolic representation of a little-

known life represented as copies of newspaper articles and scraps of paper, was

the most information I had ever seen about Solanas in one place. Before I opened

that folder I was breathless.

I could romanticize it for you, as if her fragments were swept up by the wind

like dandelion seeds, but we both know that is not what happens to radical activist

women. Solanas was ripped into little pieces and hidden away, and it remains

difficult to pluck even the smallest bit of information about her from the confines

of archives.

That is why, when I told the archivist at the museum that I was thinking about

coming back for a second day he laughed:

Why would I?

There was nothing else to see.

There was just that one folder.

There is no collection devoted to this radical feminist; and this is no accident.

There are only fragments because no one cares enough to preserve them – to

make space in a public conversation about women like Solanas. Radical women.

Solanas’ work is not accepted in traditional feminist histories, offering it no

stable home and perpetuating fragmentation. The Duke University’s online

collection of archives from the Women’s Liberation movement, considered to be

the foremost archives of the time, dismisses her in a footnote: ‘While Solanas is

not generally considered to be part of the Women’s Liberation Movement, her

SCUM (Society to Cut Up Men) Manifesto, written in 1967, is an example of extreme radical feminist theory’ (Special Collections Library, Duke University,

http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/wlm/). Duke’s unwillingness to house Solanas’

materials perpetuates the fragmentation of her story.”



‘I am afraid I may die of silence. Is there a risk? Yes. Without the person

who is not afraid to publish me, would I be published?’ (Cixous 1993, 214)

During my phone conversation with an employee of the Study Archives

Center at The Warhol Museum, I began to feel a sense of dread. As he began to

describe, through a thin veil of sarcasm, each progressive hoop that I would have

to jump through to even read Solanas’ manuscript, my mind wandered.

I needed to visualize the woman whose script was being kept under lock and

key in (from what I can imagine) a dusty room. Valerie was an extraordinarily

intelligent woman, who ‘runs with the best of them’ – Derrida, Freud, Butler,

Del euze ( al l dudes ) – ‘ picking off crucial themes associated with

phallogocentrism’ (Ronnell 2004, 8). She had quit her work as a doctoral

student at the University of Minnesota to pursue other, more revolutionary

endeavors (Ronnell 2004, 11). Though often portrayed as a madwoman,

she fought without being subsumed by the consumer capitalist culture

surrounding you. I guess Valerie paid for her lack of reverence, because she

died ‘homeless and destitute’ in San Francisco in 1988 (Ronnell 2004, 31). With

that gloomy thought I quickly turned back to my conversation with the man in

Pittsburg. When I learn that I need to provide proof of my affiliation with a

university in order to gain access to the manuscript, I laugh, knowing Valerie

would be pissed.

So, I now realize, would He’le’ne Cixous.

She would be pissed because it is impossible for Solanas’ writing of Up Your

Ass to be seen as a form of solace, that Solanas’ text Up Your Ass has been treated

as abject, just as feminine writing has always been, and that Solanas’ attempt at

linguistic rupture, through the lens of Cixous, has failed. How?

Through a closer look at the implications of the context surrounding the

chronology of the disappearance of Up Your Ass, I (we) can come to a better

understanding of not only why I felt such dread that moment on the phone, but

why the inaccessibility of Up Your Ass has far reaching ramifications.


Cixous believes that writing is what can save women from a body-as-text death

within a culture that does not see them. Cixous writes to ‘touch with letters, with

lips, with breath, to caress with the tongue, to lick with the soul, to taste the blood

of the beloved body, of life in its remoteness; to saturate the distance with desire;

in order to keep it from reading you’ (1991, 4). Solanas wrote Up Your Ass as

more of a revolution than a contribution to a Norton Anthology.

Solanas wanted her writing to be read and embodied, not disappear in a

Warholian lighting trunk. In her exploration of Solanas as a radical feminist Dana

Heller likens the disappearance of Up Your Ass as akin to the erasure of the

‘memory’ of Solanas herself: ‘Seemingly unreproducable, Solanas’ memory,

writings, and image had all simply vanished, as ephemeral as print itself’ (Heller

2001, 171). In the losing of Solanas’ performance text, Warhol perpetuated the

same scene that Cixous describes, where every woman who attempts to write for

a larger public fears:

‘I am afraid. As a free writer? Worse still: a woman. Yes, I am afraid: afraid

of solitude, of hatred and rejection, afraid of being ‘horribly burnt’’ (Cixous 1993,


Solanas, through the rejection of her script (and the subsequent loss) was

‘horribly burnt.’ The rejection and fragmentation of Solanas’ text is a rejection of

Solanas. A rejection of her body. And, to take it all one more step – a rejection of

her body-as-text.

Valerie Solanas entered the University of Maryland in 1954, where she was

an open lesbian who ‘put herself through school by working as a prostitute’

(Heller 2001). Pursuing a degree in psychology, Solanas was using her body as a

tool to engage in endeavors of the mind. This theme reappears in nearly all her

(known) texts, when she focuses on the abject processes of the body. The

scatological reference in the title Up Your Ass and the excremental reference

SCUM (which she does not separate with the required periods) push us to think of

the body as a real place. A place for



All of her works come from this abject place. This base site.

She is reaffirming the value of the abject, or the connection between body and


She is in the muck – creating a shitstorm.

A consideration of scum, or the waste product of a waste product, as a powerful

mobilizing force of women is not overlooked by Solanas. She attempts to turn

what is abject into that which is valued.

Her work, however, has become abject itself. And here is where Cixous

steps in.

Cixous formulates women’s writing as abject because it must happen in secret. When

writing is not secret ‘it wasn’t good, and because you punished yourself for writing,

because you didn’t go all the way; or,’ and watch out here, because Cixous brings it

back to the body for us, ‘because you wrote, irresistibly, as when we would

masturbate in secret’ (1976, 877). Women write in secret. And those secrets are


Solanas’ work is secret. Hidden. Disgraceful. She must be punished. She

didn’t care about the singular moment of pleasure. She wanted more.

Her work was focused on a greater structural rupture of the linguistic system

that had so entrapped her. As an individual Solanas worked diligently so that her

voice would be heard – Solanas was fighting/writing for a revolution.

For Solanas, the power was in writing the revolution. When Solanas

approached Warhol to produce Up Your Ass, Warhol responded, ‘‘Did you type

this yourself? I’m so impressed.’ Warhol deadpans. ‘You should come type for

us, Valerie’’ (Heller 2001, 174). She was met with laughter and sarcasm. Cixous

envisions this moment of rejection: ‘A double distress, for even if she

transgresses, her words fall almost always upon the deaf male ear, which hears in

language that which speaks in the masculine’ (1976, 880 – 1). As a rejected abject

body, Valerie never experiences the ideal experience of e´ criture feminine, for her

gift was never received but, rather, it was (figuratively and literally) lost.

The Warhol Museum still has the script. And isn’t showing it to anyone.

As it establishes requirements for viewing (membership with an accredited

institution of higher education) and imposes costly research fees (at least $80 an

hour for ‘research costs’) the Warhol Museum reifies the denial of Solanas’

writing. In effect, the body of the text (body-text) is cloistered in the house of the

one whom rejected it.

The manuscript remains, undistributed, unread, and unrecognized in Pittsburgh.

Up Your Ass might not be a 40-page revolution, but it still should be

accessible to the general public. By keeping the work hidden, by locking it up, the

Andy Warhol Museum continues to categorize Solanas’ work as the text of a

madwoman. Solanas’ will never be able to experience Cixous’ e´ criture feminine.

Yet it might still be possible to bring make this open to the public.”


Read More: Desireé D. Rowe (2013): The (dis)appearance of Up Your Ass: Valerie

Solanas as abject revolutionary, Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice,

17:1, 74-81

CounterPunch WEEKEND EDITION JUNE 7-9, 2013
Transcending the Norms of Gender
The Left Hand of Darkness

Since January of this year, the word ‘transphobia’ has been bantered about in mass media and social networking circles to such intensity that its definition has been expanded and in some instances grossly misrepresented.  ‘Transphobia’ has been used in recent months to indicate everything from the range of negative attitudes and actions towards transsexualism and transgender people to the overt censorship of any expression that takes issue with the theoretical and political expressions of the transgenderism or certain trans activists. Even to undertake a strictly political analysis of the trans community one risks being labeled ‘transphobic’ especially if one is a radical feminist.  As a result of this assault on dialogue, the true violence of transphobia (ie. assault, rape, murder and many other forms of discrimination) is cheapened and diluted in the larger space of discursive disagreements with feminists.  Conterminously, the mislabeling of dialogue under the guise of ‘transphobia’ masks another type of violence perpetuated towards radical feminists who speak about these discursive differences with trans activists.

Relative to this debate is that each group views the other as having ‘privilege’—the trans activists accuse the feminist of having ‘cis-privilege’. The term ‘cis,’ a prefix that trans activists often use to designate one who is born in the body of the gender the subject ‘identifies with’ (as if all people identify equally or in the same manner with their bodies). As a result the word ‘cis’ is often circulated to underscore the ‘natural state’ of privilege that many trans activists project onto women born women, for instance.  And the feminists accuse the trans women of having ‘male privilege’ since they claim that one cannot simply take hormones or undergo surgery and claim oppression.  While it is remarkable to note how impetuously this term ‘transphobia’ is thrown about in the attempt to silence one’s interlocutor, it is likewise deplorable that in recent months there has been an escalation in threats and attacks on these feminists with the sole desire to silence their voices.  This article attempts to examine the ways in which some feminists view discourses of transgenderism specific to trans women as problematic and harmful to women because transgenderism conflates sex and gender as a means to creating a superficial construction of woman by relying on gender stereotypes while erasing the very real violence and oppression that is part of the social reality of women. Conterminous to the erasure of real world women’s experiences, these feminists feel that transgenderism forces the subject into a prescribed way of perceiving trans women that works against logic (ie. what if the viewer simply does not see a woman?) and acts against the ultimate goal of these feminists which is the expunction of gender.

Samantha Berg, anti-prostitution activist and feminist, experienced harassment while putting together the Radfem Reboot Conference in Portland, Oregon in 2012.  There were threats of disruption and violence and a local group made bomb threats in the name of transactivism which materialised in a molotov cocktail being thrown into a local bank.  Lierre Keith of Deep Green Resistance has also been outspoken about her views as a feminist in radical opposition to the transgender movement criticising the collapse of sex (male/female) with gender: ‘They think that gender is somehow natural or biological and for feminists we are critiquing this, that gender is biological. When you look at what is ‘woman’, trauma is used to turn girls into women.  This is a corrupt and brutal political arrangement and we are now not allowed to say that. We cannot make a political movement if we cannot name the class conditions of what is happening to women because they are so attached to the idea that gender is innate.’  Keith, like other radical feminists, fervently opposes the trans community’s creation and reification of gender:  ‘To think that you can be a woman because you want to shave your legs and wear lipstick are daily insults to our physical integrity.  It hurts the entire class of women if you take the social construction out of the practices of torture that create women.’  Discussing the language of the trans movement which attempts to erase biological difference Keith tells me of a discussion she had recently which poignantly demonstrates the problem at hand:  ‘There is one guy who insists that not only does he have a vagina, but he has a cervix.  How could he have a cervix?  Yet he believes it and yet we are supposed to believe that he is not mentally ill?  If I was being asked to have compassion for someone who is mentally ill, I have no problem.  But I find it frightening that we cannot object to this.’ Because of her views and work in radical feminism, Keith has been threatened, labelled a transphobe, and has lost several speaking gigs over the past months.  Keith claims that those who do not speak out are ‘compliant victims’:  ‘We are not allowed to say it out loud and this is the new McCarthyism.  People need to be really frightened by this.’

Last year’s Radfem conference in London was organised by Julia Long who views the attacks on the conference as part of a larger dynamic of patriarchy:  ‘The patriarchal structure works on a very individual level in terms of domestic violence—it could be physical and economic violence, or control of her movements.  A big part of this is his demand to have access to her as he see her in some way as his property and even as an extension of himself.  The attack on the conference, is very much in line with this demand of access:  ‘We demand that you recognise us as female and if you don’t you will be attacked.’  So even if someone uses an unacceptable pronoun, you are attacked.  I just think the whole thing is misogynist in its intent and its effect.  What they are doing is trying to stop us from forming a movement.  And if there were ever a moment for women’s movements, it is today.  What these trans activists are demanding is that we acknowledge that we have this ‘cis’ privilege.’  She negates this notion of privilege as she maintains that women are simply not privileged in today’s world noting how the oppression of women today is naturalised and ‘seen as inevitable’:  ‘it is only when you shift it to a different frame such as race or disability—where men are also discriminated—that it renders it intelligible to people, otherwise they don’t see it at all.  I think so much of it about access because women are not allowed to set boundaries and men set boundaries all the time and they violate our boundaries.’

When I ask Long about why the conference is not open to trans women, she replies that there are symposiums that offer trans women’s inclusion, adding ‘Radfem is simply not one of them.’  Long expresses her dismay over the aggressive attempts to shut down this conference:  ‘Nobody is trying to stop them from having their movement in their own spaces which exclude others.  The whole premise of transgender politics and transgender movement is a view of gender is antithetical to radical feminists’ view of gender. As far as I am concerned,  gender is harmful to everybody because gender is the cultural wing of patriarchy.  It maintains all the codes of male supremacy and female subordination, so that’s what masculinity is and what femininity is. I think we have to get rid of it and the way to that is through radical feminist projects of ending patriarchy.  In fact, in that scenario transgender people would be equally protected.  I just feel it is so offensive to say to us, ‘We get beaten up and raped as well—worse than you.’’  Present in the online discussions are the comparative battles of oppression—who is more oppressed than the other.  This line of discussion is tiring for certain but it does point to some of the underlying issues of contention between these two groups that seems never to be resolved.  Long, like other feminists, does not deny that trans women suffer, she just distinguishes that the suffering of women is radically distinct from that of trans women and there should be allowed the choice for women to organise and meet separately to discuss the issues of oppression specific to them.

This year’s Radfem Conference is to take place this weekend in the Camden Centre after the Irish Centre was forced to cancel after three men’s men’s rights activists yelled at the staff, threatened them, and then published the Irish Centre staff’s personal information on their blog. They didn’t have the resources to deal with the intimidation but were helpful in getting Radfem 2013 established in its new location.  However, not everyone was welcoming the Radfem 2013 Conference at the Camden Centre. Nigel Harris, director, for the Camden LGBT Forum, is quite critical of the radical feminists who are due to hold conference in the Camden Centre this weekend:  ‘The Radfems have stated that they don’t want trans women to attend their conference and Jeffreys has come out saying discriminating things against trans people.  She wants the NHS to ban any spending on gender dysphoria so that it becomes impossible for trans people to transition.’  When I ask Harris why he does not wish for the conference to be held at the Camden Centre he replies,  ‘The Camden Centre in the Town Hall has a sticker that says that this centre is safe for trans people.’  Harris claims he has no personal issue with the radical feminists but claims that his mandate is to protect equal access for trans people claiming that one of this year’s Radfem conference organisers has put up inflammatory comments online.  I have been unable to find any such comments made by the organisers of this year’s conference.  When I ask Harris if all events of the LGBT Forum are open to all people and that there are no workshops that would exclude certain groups, he tells me that there are meetings for trans women which would exclude any women born women.


Read the rest of this article here:


[Image added by me- GM]

The following is the first video to emerge of events that took place at last weekend’s Portland University “Law and Disorder” conference, where two feminists were assaulted by angry transgender and “queer” activists who were enraged that women were offering materials which presented the feminist belief that sex-roles or “gender” are harmful to women and girls. The attackers believed that sex-roles must be supported and that women should not be permitted to voice opinions or write books critical of gender.  The queer/trans politic (as seen in this video) believes that uttering such opinions is so offensive that feminists who express them should be silenced by any means necessary, including threats, censorship and violence. In Saturday’s attack the feminists were threatened and terrorized, their books were destroyed, and one of the women was marked up with a magic marker by one of the men. Read the previous post here: http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/feminists-assaulted-in-transgender-attack-at-portland-conference-for-social-change-womens-books-destroyed-and-bodies-defaced-with-permanent-magic-markers/

This two-part video captures some of the events that took place at the conference the next day, when feminists and some of the male members of DGR attempted to again present materials from Deep Green Resistance – including feminist materials critical of gender.

Again: this is NOT footage of the violent attack. This is footage of queer/transgender activists surrounding the table of Deep Green Resistance the day AFTER the Saturday attack. Footage from Saturday has not yet emerged. To GenderTrender’s knowledge, NONE of the people in this video are accused of committing the violent attack and destruction of feminist books the day before. (More information including the identity of those attackers is emerging and will be posted shortly.) Regardless, this video shows the timbre of the male-centric queer/trans community’s approach to feminist theory and activism which is critical of sex-based social roles or “gender”.

Deep Green Resistance have issued a public statement about the attacks. Here it is:

Three incidents occurred at the “Law and Disorder Conference” in Portland May 11 and 12 concerning DGR and transgender/queer activists. A lot of lies have been told about these incidents. We need to tell the facts of what physically happened.

Two women were tabling, handing out DGR literature and selling books. A group of five transgender/queer activists came up to the table. One of the male queer activists began shouting at the women, using aggressive language. This man made threatening gestures toward the women. He grabbed and defaced table materials. When one of the women went to protect the materials, he marked her arm and hand as well.

 This conference states it has a policy of safe spaces, but “safe spaces” evidently doesn’t apply to women, because although most people in the room had no choice but to hear the shouting, no one, including the organizers, intervened to stop this man and his aggressive behavior.

A half an hour later, a male DGR member tried to engage in respectful conversation with these queer activists. They began chanting at him and insulting him, culminating in them throwing trash and food at his head.

 The next day, Sunday, the DGR crew went back, for more tabling, and an angry mob of queer activists again approached the table, yelling and cursing at them, and demanded that they leave. You can watch the video of this. Once again, for all their talk of “safe spaces,” the organizers did not intervene, nor provide a safe space.

 You will see that throughout all of this, the DGR members were respectful and courteous. They tried to de-escalate. Nonetheless, they were the recipients of bullying, threats, and silencing.

One of the organizers, Brandon Speck, witnessed much of this, and at least pretended to express concern for the women. He originally said that the perpetrators would not be invited back next year. He also promised that he would write up a statement of solidarity with the victims condemning the attacks. He further promised to run this statement by the victims before publishing it. He was not telling the truth. He did not run the statement by the women, and the statement he did publish indeed blames the DGR members for their own victimization. Women from all over responded en masse to this by pointing out that this was the classic victim-blaming that characterizes patriarchy and misogyny. The thread was deleted, and the organizer falsely claimed this was because of “violently transphobic comments.” This was as much a lie as their original release blaming the victims. The only violence in the comments was directed at DGR members.

DGR has never threatened anyone, and has a code of conduct that disallows making threats against people. Any DGR person who behaved as violently as any of the queer activists did at this conference would be immediately banned from DGR. Instead, what has happened is a barrage of threats against DGR members, up to and including mass beheading. And yet these comments are allowed to remain.

 We ask everyone to stand in solidarity with all victims of patriarchal, male-pattern violence, starting with the women who were subjected to this at the Law and Disorder conference.

Prescient conference graphic: women blindfolded and having arms chopped off

Prescient conference graphic: women blindfolded and having arms chopped off

Breaking News: In what has been described as a “horrifying” incident two women were attacked  by a group of men who identified themselves as “transgender women” at the Portland State University “Law and Disorder Conference” which billed itself as a “provocative space for comparative critical dialogue between activists, revolutionaries, educators, artists, musicians, scholars, dancers, actors and writers”.

The women were attacked in a coordinated assault as they sat at a table which sold feminist books and literature. The men destroyed the books and marked up the table display with permanent markers. One of the women was also marked up by the men. Predominantly male conference onlookers by all reports allowed the attack to take place, watching in stunned silence. Two males affiliated with the same group as the feminists -Deep Green Resistance- were also in attendance and the “trans women” threw a projectile at the head of one of them.

According to reports, the transgender males or “trans women” took issue with the feminist content in the Deep Green Resistance materials. Specifically, a portion of the materials reflected the feminist position that social roles based on sex are undesirable and harmful to women.

The transgender males believe that social roles based on sex are natural and innate and that it is instead the unchanging nature of biological sex that is undesirable. They believe that women should not criticize social roles based on sex, in deference to the feelings of men like themselves who embrace such roles. The men reportedly stated that all feminist writing and voices should be silenced by males with force if necessary, and they then proceeded to do just that.

Conference organizer Brandon Speck posted a statement on Facebook today following yesterday’s attack. He claimed that women should not be able to disseminate materials that might offend those men who support sex-roles. He claimed that the women deserved to be attacked for offering materials that contained feminism. He stated that no feminists should be permitted to sell books that men might not like. He said that as a man he had no authority to dictate the behavior of other men who might choose to assault women who offend them. Here is his statement:

Conference statement condoning attacks

Conference statement condoning attacks

Here is the link to the page where his statement is posted:


The attached comments include threats by transgender activists to continue violent attacks against women who promote feminist thought.

I am withholding the names of the women who were attacked until they issue a public statement, which will be published here. The feminists are reported to be terrorized but did not require medical care. No arrests have yet been made. Stay tuned for updates.

*UPDATE* the statement and thread referenced above have been entirely deleted. Here is a link to the page where the former statement was posted:



In a shocking last minute decision Lawrence University representatives no-platformed Deep Green Resistance founding member Lierre Keith from her scheduled Earth Day appearance due to previous feminist comments she has made about gender. Specifically, she was banned from speaking at the university due to her belief that Gender is socially created and not biologically innate.

Keith is the author of The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice and Sustainability and a well known writer, Radical Feminist, food activist and environmentalist. Her scheduled speech “Stopping Civilization’s Violence to the Earth” was booked as part of Lawrence’s Greenfire Earth Week Speaking Series.

An event organizer contacted Keith on April 11 with the disturbing news that Lawrence University faculty lecturer Helen Boyd (pen name of Gail Kramer) who is identified in emails as “Professor Helen Boyd-Kramer, a well-known transadvocate” was organizing a campaign to censor Keith’s environmentalist lecture. Boyd-Kramer is the heterosexual wife of transgender and long-time crossdresser, actor Jason Crowl. Boyd-Kramer is the author of “My Husband Betty: Love, Sex and Life with a Crossdresser” and appears on the transgender circuit as a paid speaker describing her experiences as the wife of a transgender man, as well as lecturing in the Gender Studies and Freshman Studies departments at Lawrence. The organizer informed Lierre Keith that Boyd-Kramer was threatening to mount a public protest at the Earth Day event as well as publish an article in the Lawrence University newspaper damning the event unless Lierre agreed to meet with her “in order to have a private conversation about the issue”. Although Keith’s scheduled Earth Day talk had nothing to do with the transgender issue, the organizer stated his fear that “They would diminish the impact of your talk by making you look close-minded and mean, and by shifting the focus of discussion and re-framing your appearance completely.” Lierre was repeatedly asked if her feminist views on gender had “changed”: “we’d love to hear that and the issue will end there.”

helen boyd

Gail Kramer/Helen Boyd with husband Jason Crowl/Betty Crow

No stranger to controversy, and with the strong support of those in the Wisconsin environmentalist community Keith intended to proceed with her appearance as scheduled on Sunday April 21. Two days before the event she was informed that her environmentalist program had been no-platformed at Lawrence University due to her unwillingness to retract her previous, unrelated feminist statements expressing her belief that gender is socially constructed and not biologically innate.

Lawrence University Earth Day organizer Adam James Kranz posted the following message on the event Facebook page announcing that he would personally replace Keith as speaker and present the aspects of Keith’s ideas that he finds “compelling”:


Why Lierre Keith is Not Speaking at Lawrence

by Greenfire (Notes) on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:06pm

From their website “Deep Green Resistance is an analysis, a strategy, and a movement being born, the only movement of its kind.”

DGR’s writings have strongly influenced my perspective on environmental issues, and I think their ideas have a lot of valuable contributions to make. 

They draw deep connections between violence against the land and violence based on class, race, gender, etc.

Their analysis puts modern ills in historical context, comparing the tribulations of agricultural life to the hunter-gatherer systems dominant for most of human existence.

They make incisive critiques of mainstream modes of activism and reform. 

Their appraisal of reform-based activism asks us whether we can afford to wait, and, if not, whether we have any alternatives.

There are plenty of intellectual critiques one can and should make of DGR – I did two independent studies last Spring doing just that. However, I feel that DGR’s perspective is very valuable and poses some tough questions to the conventional brand of activism. Lierre is one of the three main leaders and authors behind DGR, and I hoped her lecture would provoke some interesting discussion. 

The broad, inclusive resistance to oppression and hierarchy that DGR advocates was my own entry point into activist causes beyond environmentalism. I largely relied on their positions on issues I hadn’t bothered to study myself – especially feminism.

This is why I was so disappointed and betrayed to learn that Lierre doesn’t support the trans community in their fight against the same oppressive forces Lierre spends her life combating. In fact, Lierre’s views are deeply offensive and actively transphobic. If anyone is interested in reading her hate-speech, it is quoted here:


and a deconstruction/rebuttal:


Lierre’s views are products of an old trend in eco-feminism that I can’t claim to understand. However, it is not defensible under the shield of intellectual freedom of thought. Her statements go well beyond an analysis that is merely wrong to a level that is actively offensive and disregards the lived experiences of millions of people.

Greenfire is committed to maintaining a safe space for everyone on campus. Hosting Lierre, knowing her opinions and knowing that members of the community know them as well, would disregard the feelings of members of our community, and this is unacceptable. I personally apologize for not making this decision sooner.

Instead of Lierre’s lecture, Greenfire will now host a lecture and discussion forum on radical environmental activism. I will present aspects of DGR’s ideas that I find compelling and try to ask questions that create a productive dialogue about our own tactical choices and analyses. Everyone is welcome to join us. The event will still take place on Sunday, 4/21, at 1 PM, in Steitz 102.

Adam Kranz


Lierre has issued the following statement directed at the President of Lawrence University:

“xxxxxxxx” <xxxxxxxx@lawrence.edu>
Dear Dr. Beck,


I am writing to tell you about an incident on your campus about which you should be concerned.


I am the author of multiple books on environmentalism. A student at Lawrence, xxxxxxx (cc’d here), invited me to speak for Earth Day. The lecture was scheduled for tomorrow, April 21. Yesterday, I received an email from Mr. xxxxxx (pasted below), canceling my appearance because some students take issue with my ideas.


I will get into the content of this disagreement later. My overwhelming point of concern is the purpose of higher education and the defense of the liberal tradition itself. I don’t know if I can state this strongly enough. Universities are supposed to be institutions founded on the bedrock principle of an open and robust exchange of ideas. I am appalled that anyone would be barred from speaking at your school over a disagreement. Intellectual engagement is the entire reason universities exist. It’s also why institutions of higher learning are vitally important to a pluralistic society. The young adults in your care need to understand this principle. If they learn one thing at your school, it should be this: ideas qua ideas are our only defense against the human tendency to fundamentalism with all its attendant horrors.


Mr. xxxxx’s email (pasted below) stated my appearance would be “threatening” and “offensive” to some students. Given that I have threatened no one, and that I am a middle-aged woman with a degenerative disease and no upper-body strength, I think we can set aside the notion that I pose a physical threat to anyone. What they mean is “uncomfortable.” But people don’t go to college to feel comfortable. They go to be challenged. They go—or, they should go—to learn to engage with new ideas, to examine themselves and the world, to interrogate their beliefs and the society around them as deeply as possible. Some of your students are not preparing themselves for citizenship in a pluralistic democracy, which by definition means a civic society of people who hold differing–often, profoundly differing–beliefs. The entire project will rise or fall on how we as a society negotiate those differences. That some of your students don’t understand this–and are, in fact, actively rejecting it–leaves me gravely concerned for the future. That is why I am bringing this to your attention. I hope you share my concern.


To the details of the disagreement. I will try to be brief. I am a feminist. I have spent three decades fighting male violence against women. My analysis is informed by a century and a half of feminist theory and activism. My views are in no way unique. I believe that a social system of male domination starts with human beings who are biologically male or female and creates two social classes of people: men and women. Socialization to either group can be a brutal process.


Men are made by socialization to masculinity. Being a man requires a psychology based on emotional numbness and a dichotomy of self and other. This is also the psychology required by soldiers, which is why I don’t think you can be a peace activist without being a feminist.


Female socialization is a process of psychologically constraining and breaking girls—otherwise known as “grooming”—to create a class of compliant victims. Femininity is a set of behaviors that are, in essence, ritualized submission.


I see nothing in the creation of gender to celebrate or embrace. As a feminist, I am an abolitionist. Patriarchy is a corrupt and brutal arrangement of power, and I want to see it dismantled so that the category of gender no longer exists. This is also my position on race and class. The categories are not natural: they only exist because hierarchical systems of power create them (see, for instance, Audrey Smedley’s book Race in North America). I want a world of justice and equality, where the material conditions that currently create race, class, and gender have been forever overcome.


There are, of course, people who disagree with feminism. In their view, men and women display domination and submission, respectively, not because of social conditions, but because we have different brains. Gendered behavior is natural, they say, a function of our biology. Boys are naturally aggressive and active, while girls are naturally emotional and passive. The claim is often that prenatal hormones create these propensities, and that the wrong hormones can produce the wrong brain. Hence it is possible to have a man’s body with a woman’s brain (which adherents like to call a “lady brain”). Cursory research will reveal the variations and disagreements amongst the genderists. Some, for instance, believe that gender is a matter of costuming—what they call “presentation.” The problem with gender isn’t gender per se, but that there are social constraints on what men can wear. On the other extreme are people who argue that their genitals are a “birth defect” that require surgical removal.


I can’t do justice to the range of genderist beliefs in an email. My point is that I disagree with them, and because of that disagreement I was disinvited from your school. I don’t know what could be more important in a college environment than an examination of social reality and ideas about justice, but that examination has been shut down at Lawrence.


I would urge you to encourage the opposite in your students, for their sakes, certainly, but more importantly in defense of the values central to the liberal tradition. Encountering ideas that differ from one’s own has never hurt anyone; indeed, it is the only way to a better world.


I would be happy to send the text of the talk (which frankly had nothing to do with the subject discussed above) I had planned to give if you have further interest.



Lierre Keith



Please take a moment to show your support for Lierre Kieth and your support for the great tradition of academic free speech by dropping your own message to Jill Beck, The President of Lawrence University expressing your concern at the following address:


Thank you.

The following is from the “Vigil for Lucy Meadows” Facebook Page:
2013-03-23 Lucy Meadows Vigil
Andie McGrath
why not doorstep littlejohn @4 greenoak place cockfosters rd en4 0jb – his home address?

Follow Post · Yesterday at 3:07pm

  • Cydoni Trusste Cause you don’t want to accidentally turn a bully into a victim.
  • Andie McGrath pfft
  • Natacha Kennedy He actually lives in Florida. This is probably just a pied-a-terre or a different Littlejohn entirely…?
  • Andie McGrath yeah? current voters roll and directorship etc for him and wife there though – more about press coverage etc. also dacre’s is down in kent
  • Natacha Kennedy Hmmmm interesting. I think he spends most of his time in Florida tho, and if he isn’t there right now I bet he is on a plane going in that direction, that is if he has any sense.
  • Andie McGrath haha – true!
  • Natacha Kennedy might come in useful in the near future however, for a demo
  • Cydoni Trusste I assume you ‘pfft’ me because you think I’m viewing him as a victim? No matter how you paint it, appearing as a large number outside someone’s house in protest does not make us look like the peaceful group. I’ve never known something good that started with the words ‘doorstep his house’, regardless of motives.
  • Andie McGrath and we can always send them love letters, fanmail etc
  • Marci Hawkins We don’t appear as a peaceful group? Good. If they can mock a woman they prob helped to kill, they’re fair game.
  • Thia Jones they might get woken in the night by people in vehicles with sirens and blue flashing lights…
  • Thia Jones …they may get visited by…. oh, I don’t know, all sorts of people calling for all manner of purposes
  • Jessi Lloyd Honestly, I don’t think there’s any excuse for bullying another human being. No matter how much of a vile douchebag he is, I’m not going to stoop to outright harassment.
    22 hours ago via mobile · 5
  • Natacha Kennedy I think it is worth remembering that this page is going to be read by journalists and if there is any suggestion of a threat to harass anyone the DM will jump on it, it will be their ‘get out of jail free’ card. Just like Suzanne Moore, Burchill & the TERFs, we need to not allow the DM to escape from its culpability in this way. They would love to get off the hook by claiming victim status. Don’t let that happen! He is very unlikely to be there anyway, since his main residence is Florida.
  • Michelle-Louise Burrows Very true, Natacha. What I suggest is that EVERY single one of us – and I mean EVERY single one – writes to the Daily Mail and the PCC expressing our disgust over what happened to Lucy. In our ranks, we have some very intelligent, very articulate and very internet savvy people who can really go to town on this. Standing outside Littlejohn’s house hollering will achieve precisely NOTHING and will get the Daily Heil off the hook.
  • Paula Pandora Allen we have a name for the “parent” who caused all this crap.. will be released later with some other “tasty” details.. soon as our “diggers” have dug..
  • Andie McGrath you don’t think it’d make him think twice about the kind of articles he writes? make the mail and other papers reconsider their doorstepping antics if they think someone may do the same to them? i have no idea whether it would or not – but i’m happy to give it a shot
  • Paula Pandora Allen Lets just say.. the person who FIRST went to the press is named in this article.. wonder if you can work out which one it is….


    [ Tonight a friend who answered the door at Nathan’s terraced home in Accrington refused to comment.
    Cops found his body after an emergency call.

    An inquest has been opened and adjourned but the cause of death has not been revealed.

    Dad of three Wayne Cowie said: “I was shocked when I found out what had happened. My son came home yesterday and said that Miss Meadows had died.

    “We still don’t know anything really and no one knows why or how. It was upsetting for the kids. I have no idea why he has done it.”]

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4854084/Sex-change-fury-primary-teacher-kills-himself-after-return.html (direct to Sun link – sorry)

    The Scum has learned absolutely nothing from these events. They’re still misgendering Lucy, and harassing people at her home.
  • Theresa Heath-Ellul I agree that we shouldn’t do anything that would allow the DM to shout ‘angry trans cabal’ and that this page should primarily be about discussing the vigil. I also think it’s a great idea to all write to the DM – do others think this should be a group letter or individual ones?
  • Jules Bristow I think individual ones are more likely to make an impact in terms of numbers. Also I think sharing personal addresses is a bad idea, apart from the ethics of it it’s against Facebook’s terms of service and if anyone reports this post – not unlikely as this event is being widely shared so a lot of people who may not support it will be seeing it – it could get this page shut down.
  • Theresa Heath-Ellul Andie, as posting this address could get the page shut down would you mind if we take it down? I don’t want to be seen to be censoring anyone but I think it’s important for the sake of the event.
  • Andie McGrath go for it
  • Andie McGrath but if it matters it is in the public realm
  • PJ Crittenden I don’t have time to go up there myself right now. But I do have time to put a dog turd in the post.
  • Theresa Heath-Ellul Hm, I think I’d have to delete the whole thread – Andie could you just take the address bit out? Thank you x
  • Andie McGrath can’t, you’ll have to delete it
  • Natacha Kennedy Yes, Theresa Heath-Ellul I suggest you delete the entire thread.
  • Theresa Heath-Ellul Ok I’ll do it as soon as I get home, can’t work out how to do it for my phone x
  • Dee Stuart Please let us not stoop to the sort of behaviour exhibited by the Daily Mail or by Littlejohn, especially not on this page as it’s dedicated to the vigil in memory of Lucy Meadows. Write to the DM or Littlejohn by all means. A group letter would merely serve to confirm in their warped minds that there is a trans cabal and the sheer quantity would show people’s feelings are strong. However, I don’t doubt for a minute that Littlejohn is deleting any email he receives the moment he perceives it as contradicting his opinion. Possibly better to write longhand and send it to the DM.
  • Andie McGrath have to admit i am disappointed, i was looking forward to going round asking his neighbours “so what’s it like living next to one of *them*?”, “them?!” “yeah, you know – daily mail writers”
  • Dee Stuart He probably lives amongst like-minded people Andie.
  • Dee Stuart Please Tony xx
    More on Paula Pandora Allen HERE.
    Read my commentary on Lucy Meadows HERE.
Burchill, taking no shit and loving it.

Burchill, taking no shit- and loving it!

The Press Complaints Commission has issued its ruling following an inquiry into the Julie Burchill article.  Transgenders called for the criminalization and censorship of Burchill when she described trans activists who use threats of rape and murder against feminists as “bedwetters in bad wigs”. The title of the article “Transsexuals should cut it out” referred to the ubiquitous harassment, violent threats, and bullying against feminists by transgender activists. You can read her censored article in full HERE.

The Ruling:

Commission’s decision in the case of

Two Complainants v The Observer / The Daily Telegraph


The complainants were concerned about a comment article which responded to criticism of another columnist on social networking sites. The article had first been published by The Observer. Following The Observer’s decision to remove the article from its website, it had been republished on the website of The Daily Telegraph. The Commission received over 800 complaints about the article, which it investigated in correspondence with two lead complainants, one for each newspaper.

The complainants considered that the article contained a number of prejudicial and pejorative references to transgender people in breach of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. They also raised concerns under Clause 1 (Accuracy) that language used by the columnist was inaccurate as well as offensive, and, furthermore that the article misleadingly suggested that the term “cis-gendered” was insulting. Additionally, concerns had been raised that the repeated use of terms of offence had breached Clause 4 (Harassment) of the Code.

The Commission first considered the complaints, framed under Clause 12, that the article had contained a number of remarks about transgender people that were pejorative and discriminatory. It noted that the Observer had accepted that these remarks were offensive, and that it had made the decision to remove the article on the basis that the language used fell outside the scope of what it considered reasonable; however, the Observer denied a breach of Clause 12 because the article had not made reference to any specific individual. Clause 12 states that newspapers “must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability”. However, the clause does not cover references to groups or categories of people. The language used in the article did not refer to any identifiable individual, but to transgender people generally. While the Commission acknowledged the depth of the complainants’ concerns about the terminology used, in the absence of reference to a particular individual, there was no breach of Clause 12.

The Commission also considered the complaint under the terms of Clause 1, which states that “the press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures”. Complainants had suggested that the terms used in the article to refer to transgender people were inaccurate or misleading. Whilst the Commission acknowledged this concern, it was clear from the tone of the article that these terms were being used to express an opinion. Whilst many people had found this opinion deeply distasteful and upsetting, the columnist was entitled to express her views under the terms of Clause 1(iii), so long as the statements were clearly distinguished from fact. The same was true in relation to the columnist’s assertion that the term “cis-gendered” is offensive. Viewed in the context of the article as a whole, particularly in light of the fact that the article had been deliberately identified as a comment piece, this was clearly distinguishable as an expression of her opinion about the term rather than a statement of fact about how it is perceived more broadly. This did not constitute a failure to take care over the accuracy of the article, for the purposes of Clause 1(i), and neither was there any significant inaccuracy requiring correction under the terms of Clause 1(ii). There was no breach of Clause 1.

The Commission turned to consider those concerns raised under Clause 4, which states that “journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit”. It made clear, however, that the publication of a single comment piece was not conduct which would engage the terms of Clause 4. There was no breach of the Code.

The Commission acknowledged that the complainants found much of the article offensive. Nonetheless, the terms of the Editors’ Code of Practice do not address issues of taste and offence. The Code is designed to address the potentially competing rights of freedom of expression and other rights of individuals, such as privacy. Newspapers and magazines have editorial freedom to publish what they consider to be appropriate provided that the rights of individuals – enshrined in the terms of the Code which specifically defines and protects these rights – are not compromised.  It could not, therefore, comment on this aspect of the complaint further.


Too bad, bedwetters.

[bolding by me-GM]


university of new hampshire health joelle ruby ryan

I am writing this today out of a deep concern for the rights of women, feminists and lesbians to speak publicly about issues that effect us. Specifically, I would like to address the actions of Dr. Joelle Ruby Ryan and his ongoing attempts to harass, bully, censor and silence women and feminists on the internet, and the University of New Hampshire’s apparent complicity in his outrageous and illegal actions which Ryan claims to perform under authority of UNH.

You may notice that this week’s post -where we discussed ‘Transilience’, Joelle Ruby Ryan’s new University of New Hampshire Health sponsored video- is no longer visible. Also missing are your comments in the discussion that followed. The reason for this is that UNH’s Dr. Ryan has filed a false, perjured, harassing copyright claim that he apparently hopes will re-write all previous first amendment rights. Here is a screen cap of the post in question:

what it looks like when WordPress.com hides your post

Here is the entire text of that post, none of which Dr. Ryan had a problem with. It was succinctly titled “Transilience – Hilar!” and read:

Joelle Ruby Ryan’s new autobiographical spoken word/stand-up routine.

Joe is the guy who teaches Women’s Studies at the University of New Hampshire who claims the word “female” is outdated and offensive, that there is no shared experience of oppression among women, and thus no class basis for a feminist movement. Joelle believes all female gatherings and spaces should be outlawed as discriminatory against males. More about Joe here:http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/?s=joelle+ruby+ryan

In this looong monologue, the 6 foot 6, 350 lb Ryan shares his youthful experiences being called a “fag” which somehow translates into discovering the sexxay of pantyhose on his shaved legs and a love of stilettos. He shares tales of blowing chunks of sushi all over during drunken binges, and reveals the peace he achieves taking long 4am walks around town alone.

Excerpt: “Mother Nature is a great teacher. I am continually amazed at the kindness and cruelty of the natural world. And by the breadth of diversity to be found within it. When I gaze at flowers I see so many different colors. When I look at trees I see so many different leaves and barks. When I look at stones, I see many different shapes and sizes. Some smooth, some rough. At the ocean, I marvel at the teeming life to be found in it’s depths. Each individual creature so unique, diverse, and crucial, to the well-being of the whole eco-system. Human beings come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes too. They also come in many different sexes, genders, and sexualities. And yet, the very vibrant diversity we can see so easily in the natural world, becomes much harder to see when it comes to human gender. Black or white. Either/Or. One or the other. Why can’t we transpose the brilliant hues we see in flowers to the myriad of genders we know exists in humans? I am an audacious orange flower blooming in the sun and delighting in the soft summer rain. I am also a person who demands the right to be ambiguous, fluid, and defiantly, boldly, queer. I almost never for instance wear breast prostheses. And while I wholeheartedly support the choice to do so, made by many of my sisters, I do not wish to wear silicone mounds on my chest to make others feel more comfortable.”

FORTY MINUTES of this, folks! ENJOY!

Posted by GallusMag

Here is a copy of the University of New Hampshire’s Dr. Ryan’s false DMCA claim [sic]:

Email Address: Joelle.Ryan@unh.edu
Location of copyrighted work (where your original material is located):
First Name: Dr. Joelle Ruby
Last Name: Ryan
Company Name: Univesity of New Hampshire (UNH)
Address Line 1: 73 Main Street
Address Line 2: 203 Huddleston Hall
City: Durham
State/Region/Province: NH
Zip/Postal Code: 03820
Country: USA
Telephone Number: 603-862-0272
Copyright holder you represent (if other than yourself): Self and UNH
Please describe the copyrighted work so that it may be easily identified: The film itself is embedded without my or the university’s permission, along with a copyrighted still from the film, and both are placed on a vicious hate blog which has a long history of defamation, hate-mongering, bigotry and threats against members of the transgender and transsexual community. I would never give permission for my film or stills from said film to be used on a hate site. Please remove the blog entry immediately.
Location (URL) of the unauthorized material on a WordPress.com site (NOT simply the primary URL of the site – example.wordpress.com; you must provide the full and exact permalink of the post, page, or image where the content appears, one per line) :
If the infringement described above is represented by a third-party link to a downloadable file (e.g. 
http://rapidshare.com/files/…), please provide the URL of the file (one per line):
I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.: Yes
I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.: Yes
Signed on this date of (today’s date, MM/DD/YYYY): 03/09/2013
Signature (your digital signature is legally binding): Dr. Joelle Ruby Ryan

You will immediately note a few things.

Joelle Ruby Ryan identifies himself as University of New Hampshire representative

  1. Joelle Ruby Ryan identifies himself as a designated representative of the University of New Hampshire who is acting on authority of that institution.
  2. Ryan claims that using the “embed” function on YouTube videos is a form of copyright infringement. That is simply false. Not only false, but absurd. When University of New Hampshire Health (or anyone else) posts an embeddable public video: anyone, anywhere can embed that video on any site for any reason. You can read about that in an article titled “Court Rules That Embedding A Video Isn’t Copyright Violation” here: http://www.geekosystem.com/embedding-video-copyright-infringement/
  3. Dr. Ryan also claims that a still image from a public video, used for purposes of critique and discussion of that public media, is a form of copyright infringement. Again, an absurd claim that runs in opposition to all known First Amendment law. You can read about that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

You can also read YouTube’s standard terms of service which state:


Section 6 (C)

6. Your Content and Conduct

You also hereby grant each user of the Service a non-exclusive license to access your Content through the Service, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such Content as permitted through the functionality of the Service and under these Terms of Service.


I know, I know. You’re thinking “even a twelve year old knows these things Gallus”. And I agree. They do. We all do. We don’t need a PHD to know that folks- even those we disagree with- are allowed to post about and discuss public media campaigns issued by University of New Hampshire Health, or any other entity. Even your uncle sam’s wedding video could end up “going viral” once he authorizes it’s publication- it happens all the time. Free Speech!

So why is a self-declared agent of the University of New Hampshire filing perjurous, false, ABSURD legal documents against a small Lesbian Feminist blog?

The only conclusion I can reach is that Dr. Joelle Ruby Ryan may be falsely representing himself as an agent of the University of New Hampshire. I reach this conclusion because I think UNH attorneys would not authorize false and frivilous, perjurous claims against Lesbian Feminist bloggers. They might, wisely, consider such actions a form of stalking and harassment- actions which the University of New Hampshire may well be liable for.

I look forward to the impending legal proceedings which were initiated by an agent of the University of New Hampshire on the basis of their claim that posting a YouTube video on a blog is an actionable copyright infringement. I also look forward to the upcoming legal proceedings initiated by the University of New Hampshire against a Lesbian feminist blogger for publishing a still from a UNH Health video for purposes of critique and discussion.

When a publicly funded university mounts such an incredible First Amendment challenge to the rights of bloggers to embed, screen-cap, write about, discuss, and critique the media campaigns published by them one can only wonder in awe which of the University of New Hampshire attorneys authorized such an action. This promises to be a fascinating – even surreal- legal exercise. One which I suspect will not end in favor of the civil liberties restrictions being litigated by the University of New Hampshire and it’s agents.

In the meantime, while the attorneys do their work, I would like to ask for your help.

I would like your help in celebrating our most basic first amendment rights: as bloggers, as women, as feminists and feminist allies, as lesbians and as gays.

I call on you to protest the University of New Hampshire sanctioned harassment of GenderTrender and all other feminist, lesbian, and gender critical bloggers and blog readers by making a post that includes either the video ‘Transilience’ or a screencap of such.

That’s right!

Feel free to copy and paste this post on your own blog or tumblr blog. Feel free to make your own post sharing your thoughts and impressions of Joelle Ruby Ryan’s UNH Health video. Feel free to create amusing and charming memes featuring these materials. The key words here are “Feel Free”. Because it is legal, it is our right to do so, it is protected speech (University of New Hampshire claims notwithstanding). Let’s enjoy and EXERCISE our free speech rights as Feminists and Women and say NO to infringements of our civil liberties.

Thank you for your support.

The link to the fully and legally embedable ‘Transilience’ is here:


When WordPress.com moves to censor your feminist speech and posts they DO NOT send you an email notification. Instead, they post the notification on the Dashboard of that particular blog when you log in. I would encourage feminist bloggers who have not recently logged into your account to do so and check your Dash for such a notice (like the one I received here at GenderTrender).

wordpress.com warning to feminists

Otherwise your blog will be deleted seemingly “out of the blue”. Please check all your blogs at your earliest convenience so that a public campaign can be mounted to save your blog as was done for GenderTrender. Thank you.


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