Memoirist Benvenuto attacked by Trans Activists, Police Called

December 6, 2012


This is a follow-up to THIS post.

A book reading by Christine Benvenuto, from her memoir “Sex Changes: A Memoir of Marriage, Gender, and Moving On” was disrupted by transgender activists who took issue with the author’s right to share her experiences as the wife of a transgendering partner. Although her ex-husband is never identified in her memoir he has since been publicly identified as Yeshiva University professor Jay, now “Joy” Ladin. Ladin, who notified the Orthodox Jewish university of his intention to adopt  a “female” persona 48 hours after being granted tenure at the institution, himself published a memoir this year called “Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders”. Ladin has referred to his transgenderism as his own “private concentration camp“. Ladin’s friends were reportedly among the activists who disrupted the reading, shouting obscenities and threatening violence until police were summoned.

One of the activists was Hampshire College “Queer Studies”  professor Margaret Cerullo. From today’s Amherst Bulletin:

“While Benvenuto says her story can help families in which a member has gender issues, not everyone agrees. It has sparked a local protest which included Margaret Cerullo, a Hampshire College professor of sociology, who admits she hasn’t read the book, but nevertheless calls it hurtful, containing negative stereotypes about transgender people based on excerpts she read online. “These kind of portrayals are very damaging, especially for young trans people, who are already struggling with self-image … it seemed unnecessarily cruel,” she said in a phone interview.

Last month Cerullo, a group of Hampshire students and others — including friends of Benvenuto’s ex-husband — showed up at Benvenuto’s reading at Amherst Books to voice their objections, an episode that ended with police being called. Cerullo said the group was attempting to have “a dialogue” with Benvenuto. Benvenuto, however, said the protesters shouted obscenities, even though children were present at the bookstore, and seemed to be seeking “a violent encounter.”

Benvenuto has also left the Jewish Community of Amherst Synagogue that she and her children have attended for years due to lack of support from some members.

From the same article:

“[Benvenuto] was also disturbed by what she calls “an anti-feminist element” among some people, primarily women, whose attitude appeared to be “we’re going to support your husband — you’re the wife and you’ve got to shut up and back him and sacrifice, and if your kids aren’t on board with this, get them on board.”

Read more from today’s Amherst Bulletin article here:

You can support Benvenuto’s right to free speech by purchasing her book here:

Makes a nice Holiday gift!


[bolding by me- GM]

21 Responses to “Memoirist Benvenuto attacked by Trans Activists, Police Called”

  1. michelle Says:

    I see it didn’t take long for the former husband to show up in the Amherst comments section to play the victim role. And true to form, because his former wife won’t view him the way he wants to be viewed, she is labeled as transphobic. Ladin is a grade-A Asshole!

    Equally appalling is someone at the collegiate level protesting a book that they openly admit they have not read simply because they saw some snippets in press. I guess all book reviews can now just be accomplished by reading the dust jackets (yeah, I’m old- I know about such things) instead of actually engaging in the novel concept of *gasp* READING the damned thing.

  2. EqualRightsAndProtection Says:

    I think that book is going to make a great Christmas gift for my close family and friends this year. I’ll pop down to Barnes & Noble and order a few copies. If 5 copies of any book gets sold in a week, it gets a “turn out” on the shelf. Which means that the front cover is seen, not the spine only on the shelf. I’ll go order 6 copies.

    • EqualRightsAndProtection Says:

      Also, if we can coordinate our efforts and buy 1500 copies of the book from one outlet within a week period, it will end up on the NYT Best Seller list.

    • michelle Says:

      I did my part on the digital side, ordering it for the Kindle. Gives me something to read on an otherwise boring flight to LA coming up soon…hopefully those digital orders count for rankings just as would a hard copy.

  3. Becky Green Says:

    Big fucking surprise! A bunch of lunatic men and their allies pissing, moaning and threatening violence because a woman won’t play their fucked up game.

    CERULLO SAID: “These kind of portrayal are very damaging, especially for young trans people…”
    TRANSLATION: “These stories portraying the truth are very damaging, especially to the trans P.R. campaign.”

    • michelle Says:

      It helps if they would actually READ the portrayal before they attempted to claim it was ‘damaging’ in any capacity. And the other irony is that if the ‘young trans people’ took the time to read it, then perhaps they would save a wife and kids the agony of being collateral damage as they chase their delusions.

  4. Anon Male Says:

    I think it’s absolutely possible to say insightful things about a work without reading it. If you’re an expert on a subject and it’s not your first rodeo, absolutely. OTOH, that’s not what happened here.

    I’m just pointing that out because, like gnostic flavored transgenderism (“I just know gender exists and works how I think it works, I don’t need proof and you wouldn’t either if you were a good person and going to heaven.”), a lot of amateur art critics these days think that they have some sort of core, revelatory opinion on a work. They think that if they read another critic’s response before penning their own beliefs that they’ll somehow pervert this utter personal truth that radiates with objectivity and needs to be shared with the world, unsullied.

    I know this sounds off topic, but I think it’s cut from the same cultural cloth of us all being a blizzard of snowflakes — except for the people we don’t like who are just a bucket full of monolithic poop. Which is something Levin is absolutely taking advantage of in leveraging his tiny, yet all-in, community against his ex wife.

  5. GallusMag Says:

    LMAO- Left on the Amherst article.

  6. radicalwoman Says:

    Anything other than complete and total acceptance with a plastered on smile is “transphobia” to these nutjobs.

  7. GallusMag Says:

    Excellent comment left on the Amherst Record article:

    “B. Klein wrote:
    The narcissism the manipulation of the Ms. Joy Ladin’s comment on her ex wife’s book is part and parcel of the tactics that are being used against Ms. Benvenuto to damage her book’s opportunities for publicity. “I would have hurt or killed myself,” Okay, so staying alive meant Ms. Ladin spends her time trying to damage Ms, Benvenuto writing career. Please note that Ms. Ladin is the first comment and no doubt she is trolling her ex-wife. Does that really seem “stable” and “supportive” behavior? While “the trans” card has been a boon for Ms. Laudin, really a minor poet prior, she has since her transition made herself not only into a cause celeb but also, a speaker, an expert in Judaism and spirituality –-an all round opportunist on the PC circuit. Fine. But what is not fine is the fact that she has done and has her group do everything possible to make sure that Ms. Benvenuto does not get the publicity her book deserves. Internet communications have leaked out showing how group en mass sent out messages to people in the gay and trans communities and organize a campaign against Ms. Benvenuto book to protest it and produce bad publicity surrounding it. A launched a mob attack. And at the same time, all cried in unison—on 3 “TRANSPHOBIA” when they in fact were bashing Ms. Benvenuto.

    Why? Joy Ladin and her posse is bent on not letting Ms. Benvenuto have her own story as a woman, an ex-wife, and as a mother. Ms. Ladin, true to opportunistic form has rallied a band of people that hate heterosexual women like poison and who have slandered, maligned and insulted Ms.Benvenuto using every possible cliché about women, wives and mother’s Anyone who buys the poor pitiful me should be advised –this is one strong smart cookie, and no heterosexual women better ever try to get in her way. And that my friends is way more creepy than a man in skirt. I wish Ms. Laudin would really spare people the “innocence” pose documents reflecting the call to arms to “silence” Ms. Benvenuto weave their way to writers, editors, Rabbis all over—people hit forward in horror. And while there is real transphobia in the world Ms. Ladin has used the accusation in the most cynical and disgusting way possible, to damage her ex wife and in so doing she has damaged people, because to trivialize it corrupts any true and future claim. But manipulative people that bully are not often sensitive to any real claims because it is all just a power game. And if you don’t believe that Ms. Ladin is attempting to damage her ex wife’s carreer Here is a copy of the Review on Good Read Ms. Laudin Gave to the book.

    “It won’t be giving anything away to reveal that this is an angry book. The author’s anger about her husband’s transition from living as a man to living as a woman is hard to untangle from her repulsion at the idea of transgender identity. As always, it’s hard to evaluate the reliability of an angry memoir, to judge the accuracy of the author’s account of what angered her. In this case, readers can (and should) also read Ms. Benvenuto’s ex-husband’s side of the story, in the memoir Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, by Joy Ladin, published in March 2012. Some of the facts are the same in both memoirs; some are very different. But the reader of both books will be able to evaluate Ms. Benvenuto’s claims about Ladin’s indifference to the suffering of her family, Ladin’s mental instability, and Ladin’s conduct of her gender transition.” (Emphasis mine by Joy Ladin)

    While it plugs her own book it neglects to mention that she is the reviewer and is the ex husband, and is the father of the writer’s childern— And (nice touch) she speaks of herself in the 3rd person. The criticism is ridiculous and spiteful. Anger is a sane emotion, in some situations and not uninteresting on the page. I would be angry too if my ex-husband was stalking me and launching tirades against me, not to mention leaving creepy comments everyplace that publishes or interviews me. What is an outrage is the fact that Ms. Ladin an expert an insincerity, manipulation and obfuscation can cry and howl—transphobia—Here is a phobia, my phobia–I am deeply afraid of people that organize at the drop of hat to go after a person to abuse them—that’s scary No doubt her rank and file will follow suit, always at the ready and continue to abuse Ms. Benevenuto. You can spot their writing, words like transphobic, angry (hetero woman are always fixed with label) biased, shocking, appalling—any language that exaggerates distorts and hates women, that’s them– anything that portrays women as angry, unreliable, also them, anything that presents with faux and cynical righteous indignation, also them.

    Oh —never tried to stop Ms., Benivido from telling her story—replace “never” with “always.” So lesson: transphobia is very bad, but trying to destroy your ex wife’s career is good.”

  8. Bev Jo Says:

    That is a brilliant plan, ERP, to get that book on the NYT best seller list!

    Really, the best justice would for all their campaigning and female-phobia and female-hatred to turn that book into a huge seller.

    We know that it’s mostly only the “LGBTQWERTYWTF” types and pretend feminists who support the trans cult and female-phobia. Most women are just repulsed or amused by posturing ugly men in dresses and makeup. And those multitudes of women would love this kind of a woman’s memoirt.

  9. Dorie Says:

    B. Klein couldn’t have said it better. The momentum is hopefully shifting as Joy Ladin’s ongoing manipulations come to light. There is no question that Ladin has been cyber-stalking the author and has been engaging in an ongoing campaign to discredit her and her work. Ladin, who posts under various pseudonyms and organizes vile, essentially anti-dialogical attacks against Benvenuto is truly the one who cannot let go and move on. Playing the long-suffering, misunderstood victim of his ex-wife’s “transphobia” is Ladin’s last and best chance to gain notoriety. The truth will out. I wonder how Ladin’s kids are going to feel as they eventually read about what was done to their mother by Ladin, by someone who has already betrayed them in more ways than can be enumerated. If Ladin is fighting in such underhanded, vindictive ways to silence Benvenuto and her work, shouldn’t it really make us all wonder what precisely Ladin wants to silence? For such a supposedly laudable “scholar” and deeply religious individual, why the misguided scorn, ad hominem attacks and refusal to let readers decide for themselves how they feel about this essentially interesting, important and thought-provoking topic of family members coming to terms with a person understanding well into a marriage that while they were born a man, they have always felt themselves to be a woman. This topic is one of human rights, of deepening understanding, of the loss of community and the familiar, in all senses of the word. If Ladin wasn’t busy organizing the trans community and daily demonstrating her psychopathology, we could possibly all be talking the things that really matter, not debating whether Ladin’s ex-wife is transphobic. Someone close to Ladin who still has an independent thought left in their head should tell Ladin to shut up. She wrote her book and had her say. Benvenuto did the same. Now shut up and let us decide for ourselves.

  10. cabochon Says:

    But WHY didn’t Ms. Benvenuto use her magical cis-privilege powers and vanquish her protestors?? Oh, gad, faab’s are in reality bottom of the totem pole, last in line…I am getting so sick of all this.

  11. […] No, really! Cerullo was quoted in the article they reference stating that she had not even read memoirist Christine Benvenuto’s book, yet she was calling for it to be banned, as she feared it might hurt men’s […]

  12. Sylvie Says:

    “Margaret Cerullo, a Hampshire College professor of sociology, who admits she hasn’t read the book, but nevertheless calls it hurtful, containing negative stereotypes about transgender people based on excerpts she read online.”

    A college professor who admits she hasn’t read the book. That’s Oarsome. I’m a college professor therefore what I say is automatically validated wot wot, I don’t need to read the book to know what it’s all about – I just buy the CliffsNotes silly.

    How dare HE, yes HIM, Christine’s ex-husband, censor and harass her in the ways he is.

    “Some of the facts are the same in both memoirs; some are very different.”

    Heh. That’ll be because everyone’s perception of the elephant is different Mr Joy Laudin. You can’t force someone to adopt or agree with your perception. And generally speaking, no one’s perception is wrong. It’s just different. Although in this case, I’d posture that Mr Laudin’s perception is skewed. The need to censor Christine suggests to me that her perception is more accurate. Mr Laudin doth protest too much etc.

    These people are dangerous. More so because of the subtle nature of their abuse (although not really that subtle to those who might be aware of such toxic behavior).

    The amount of people who demand that differing perceptions are wiped out so that only theirs remains is insidious.

    I am purchasing Christine’s book as I type…

  13. […] has been censored and harassed (police being called during one bookstore reading incident) after publication of her memoir reflecting on the disintegration of […]

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