Sheila Jeffreys: Let us be free to debate transgenderism without being accused of ‘hate speech’

May 29, 2012

Just published : Sheila Jeffreys response to genderist protests of RadFem2012 conference, accusations of “hate speech”:

“Criticism of the practice of transgenderism is being censored as a result of a campaign of vilification by transgender activists of anyone who does not accept the new orthodoxy on this issue. A recent Comment is free piece by the transgender activist Roz Kaveney, headlined “Radical feminists are acting like a cult”, criticises a forthcoming radical feminist conference, at which I was to be a speaker, on the grounds that I and “my supporters” may be guilty of “hate speech” for our political criticism of this practice.

Though Kaveney’s comments about me are comparatively mild in tone, the campaign by transgender activists in general is anything but. This particular campaign persuaded Conway Hall, the conference venue, to ban me from speaking on the grounds that I “foster hatred” and “actively discriminate”. On being asked to account for this, Conway Hall appeared to compare me to “David Irving the holocaust denier”. The proffered evidence consists of quotes from me arguing that transgender surgery should be considered a human rights violation – hardly evidence of hate speech.

For several years there has been a concerted campaign via the internet and on the ground, to ensure that I, and any other persons who have criticised transgenderism, from any academic discipline, are not given opportunities to speak in public. I have not yet spoken in public about transgenderism, but do speak about religion and women’s human rights, about pornography, and about beauty practices.

Whatever the topic of my presentation, and whether in Australia, the UK or the US, transgender activists bombard the organising group and the venue with emails accusing me of transhate, transphobia, hate speech, and seek to have me banned. On blogs, Facebook and Twitter they accuse me of wanting to “eliminate” transgendered persons, and they wish me dead. One activist has created an image of a pesticide can bearing a photo of me and the slogan “kills rad fems instantly”. These activists threaten demonstrations and placards against me at any venue where I speak.

What is clear is that transgender activists do not want any criticism of the practice to be made. They do not just target me, but the few other feminists who have ever been critical. Germaine Greer was glitterbombed, a practice that can be seen as assault and can endanger eyesight, in Sydney this year, though it is many years since she said anything critical of transgenderism.

Psychiatrists and sexologists who are critical of the practice are targeted too. Transgender activism was successful in gaining the cancellation of a London conference entitled Transgender: Time for Change, organised by the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ lesbian and gay special interest group for May 2011. When, in 2003, US sexologist Michael Bailey published a book, The Man Who Would Be Queen, which argued that transgenderism was a practice based on sexual fetishism, he became subject to a campaign of vilification, which included placing photographs of his children on a website with insulting captions. The effect is to scare off any researchers from touching the topic.

There are many aspects of the practice which bear investigation, including the history and social construction of the idea of transgenderism, the recent increased identification of children as transgender, the phenomenon of transgender regrets, that is those persons who consider they have made a mistake. Given that the drug and surgical treatments have now been normalised and are increasingly embarked upon by young lesbians and sought out by parents for young children, it is most important that the rights of researchers and theorists to comment and investigate should be protected.

Instead, they are subjected to determined campaigns of bullying, intimidation and attempts to shut them down. The degree of vituperation and the energy expended by the activists may suggest that they fear the practice of transgenderism could justifiably be subjected to criticism, and might not stand up to rigorous research and debate, if critics were allowed to speak out.”


24 Responses to “Sheila Jeffreys: Let us be free to debate transgenderism without being accused of ‘hate speech’”

  1. GallusMag Says:

    What a week for trans. Protesting feminist conferences and PROTESTING RAPE SERVICES by and FOR FEMALES:

  2. RoseVerbena Says:

    I can’t begin to tell you how distraught I am about this. I don’t know what I would do without the few other women I have found on-line who are still willing and able to speak out on this issue, even if only anonymously and in great fear of being targeted in real life by these vicious, relentlessly abusive “trans” whacktivists.

    The fact that I have one of these “trans women” stalking me in real life just ads gasoline to the fire burning in my gut.

    No one commented back when I mentioned that I had my account suspended by the Twitter mods for daring to speak out in favor of RadFem2012 — but it was just one more reminder to me that women are always and forever to be forced to submit to males or we shall be silenced — even if the males are “trans women” with a serious mental disorder — even when trying to use supposedly modern, supposedly pro rough-n-tumble free-speech sites like Twitter.

    Vicious misogynists are still posting on Twitter but I got suspended. Viciously misogynist “trans” whacktivists can hold workshops every day of the week but Sheila Jeffreys got banned from Conway Hall, a place that only a week ago touted it’s dedication to letting all voices be heard.

    So much for freedom of speech. So much for the “social media revolution”. So much for women’s right to autonomous thought in this new century.

    This is what the new “social media” says to me, that’s what the “new feminism” says to me, that’s what “progressive” organizations now say to me:

    “Submit or be silenced, bitch!”

    I might as well be 17 and back in my abusive boyfriend’s house, being threatened with a back-hand across the mouth for speaking my mind without male approval. I escaped that abusive, sexist relationship.

    How do I escape this abusive, sexist world?

  3. It is very distressing.
    Ironically, today a transwoman on my blog is insisting that we’re making up the numbers of women who were murdered during the witch-craze, when in fact, the number has been grossly underestimated.

  4. Nicky Says:

    It’s very disgusting and disheartening.
    It’s ironic, that the tactics that transactivist are using on on women and lesbian groups. It’s being used on intersex people as well. It’s like submit to their warped ideology or be silenced. It seems the vast majority of Intersex people have submitted to the transactvist and are afraid to speak up. It’s clear that the trans community is committing terrorist acts against women, lesbian and intersex people.

  5. Bev Jo Says:

    Interesting that the trannies are now referring to Radical Feminists as a cult, since I’ve been calling the trans a cult for a while now. They take every idea from us and distort it to their own purpose.

    Only when we see “trans women” as men who are incredibly female-hating while stalking us and demanding access to us on every level is it all really clear what is happening. And knowing they are the most male of men, in spite of their posturing, frees us up on every level. They are clearly our enemy, trying to destroy feminism, and women and Lesbians ourselves, by defining us out of existence.

    Again, they will NEVER get full access to us. No matter how they threaten or attack.

  6. lesley213 Says:

    I have only just heard about this here and I am so upset about it. I was really looking forward to hearing Sheila Jeffreys speak and I am angry that the bullying tactics to silence her have worked. Is there anything we can do to protest against this?

    • RoseVerbena Says:

      I wrote to Conway Hall, the venue, protesting the ban:

      Now I’m worried they’ll cancel the whole event or force them to open it to the general public.

      • GallusMag Says:

        All I can say is that the women organizing RadFem2012 are highly intelligent, dedicated and creative. If anyone thinks that radical feminists will be silenced they are mistaken.

        Any information regarding RadFem2012 which could be used by the aligned forces of anti-abortion activists, MRAs and Trans Activists to harass, threaten or commit violence against women will not be posted on this blog.

        Suffice to say our opponents will be sorely disappointed in their efforts to prevent females from exercising our human rights to congregate and express free speech.


      • GallusMag Says:

        Censoring and silencing the political speech of women only drives more women to seek out their sisters uncensored views. On some level males/trans understand this: that is why their silencing so quickly turns to the foundation of male power: violence and threats of violence.

  7. ethicalequinox Says:

    “Suffice to say our opponents will be sorely disappointed in their efforts to prevent females from exercising our human rights to congregate and express free speech.”

    So good to hear this! 😉

    Radical feminists will NOT be required to ask for permission to disagree with those who hate us. They sure as hell never ask us ours….

  8. ethicalequinox Says:

    “The degree of vituperation and the energy expended by the activists may suggest that they fear the practice of transgenderism could justifiably be subjected to criticism, and might not stand up to rigorous research and debate, if critics were allowed to speak out.”

    YES! HA! Methinks the “ladies” doth protest too much, no?

  9. […] a tumultuous week of controversial protests from the transgender community over “RadFem2012”, a small female-only […]

  10. When Simone de Beauvoir claims, “one is not born, but, rather, becomes a woman,” she is appropriating and reinterpreting this doctrine of constituting acts from the phenomenological tradition. In this sense, gender is in no way a stable identity or locus of agency from which various acts proceed; rather, it is an identity tenuously constituted in time—an identity, instituted through a stylized repetition of acts. Further, gender is instituted through the stylization of the body and, hence, must be understood as the mundane way in which bodily gestures, movements, and enactments of various kinds constitute the illusion of an abiding gendered self. This formulation moves the conception of gender off the ground of a substantial model of identity to one that requires a conception of a constituted social temporality. Significantly, if gender is instituted through acts which are internally discontinuous, then the appearance of substance is precisely that, a constructed identity, a performative accomplishment which the mundane social audience, including the actors themselves, come to believe and to perform in the mode of belief. If the ground of gender identity is the stylized repetition of acts through time, and not a seemingly seamless identity, then the possibilities of gender transformation are to be found in the arbitrary relation between such acts, in the possibility of a different sort of repeating, in the
    breaking or subversive repetition of that style.

    Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory”
    Judith Butler is a lesbian, feminist and professor of philosophy and comparative literature at UC Berkeley. Full essay available at:

      • BadDyke Says:

        Yeah, and I kind of get suspicious when someone who writes in a very obscure fashion defends it by saying that it is on purpose, so that you don’t lapse into ‘commonsense’ ways of thinking.
        From Wiki:
        “The author ascribes this to the fact that the concepts she writes about are “philosophically challenging, often ‘counter-intuitive’, and not always described in immediately accessible language.”

        Not IMMEDIATELY accessible, but does that mean that someone other than herself can eventually figure it out — or is it just emperors new clothes all over again?

        Perhaps ‘lol pomo’ really is the best response — short, unambiguous, easily understandable, as well as being something I agree with.

  11. FeistyAmazon Says:

    “Emperor’s New Clothes” all the way, even Alixx Dobkin has an article with a similar title, and how it’s sad that they don’t ‘put the knives away”(surgical instruments) and what would be our next generation of Dykes are all becoming ‘male’. How can you create a community, when it’s all reliant solely pretty much on the medical industry? Remove that pillar and there isn’t much to stand on.

    And no, I dont go for the overly complicating and obsfucating language of the transapologists academics and all their ‘gender theory’ nonsense either!
    – FeistyAmazon
    P.S. I think the hate crimes of the trans community against Dykes and other WBW womyn needs to be catalogued and exposed. As well as the overall cooptation of our communities and strong beliefs in the change bio female womonkind can do constantly being challenged bespeaks to the deep, deep inherent sexism and body hatred most females live with on a daily basis due to patriarchal instruction. Especially when the media constantly tell ALL bio female women WE ARE NOT ENOUGH just the way we are! That makeup, pills, potions and surgeries will improve us, when not necessary at all! And get rid of the whole ‘I was born in the wrong body’ ideology. No you were born in the wrong century, the wrong era,whathaveyou that teaches females to hate themselves everyday because we lack real, solid power in EVERY aspect of our lives.

  12. […] are being silenced into submission to Trans Politics (aka manspeak) for having the NERVE to question how turning harmful gender-based stereotypes into laws (in order to supposedly protect […]

  13. Gallus, since I’ve have been posting links to your blog, Bev Jo, and other Radfeminists on my fb page. I only began posting links less than FIVE DAYS. Facebook today has blocked my access to my account requiring me to “submit” to them proof of my legal name which I’ve had for SEVEN FUCKING MONTHS. I’ve sent those sons of bastards the documents and they say they will get back to me after they’ve “looked over my documents” This shit has inow instilled in me a rabid hatred of ANYTHING MALE or TRANS! So my only connection to other Radfeminists has been cut off.

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