“We cannot allow censorship and silencing of individuals
Universities have a particular responsibility to resist this kind of bullying
The Observer, Friday 13 February 2015 19.04 EST
The fate of Kate Smurthwaite’s comedy show, cancelled by Goldsmith’s College in London last month (“What could be more absurd than censorship on campus”, Nick Cohen, Comment) is part of a worrying pattern of intimidation and silencing of individuals whose views are deemed “transphobic” or “whorephobic”. Most of the people so labelled are feminists or pro-feminist men, some have experience in the sex industry, some are transgender.
Last month, there were calls for the Cambridge Union to withdraw a speaking invitation to Germaine Greer; then the Green party came under pressure to repudiate the philosophy lecturer Rupert Read after he questioned the arguments put forward by some trans-activists. The feminist activist and writer Julie Bindel has been “no-platformed” by the National Union of Students for several years.
“No platforming” used to be a tactic used against self-proclaimed fascists and Holocaust-deniers. But today it is being used to prevent the expression of feminist arguments critical of the sex industry and of some demands made by trans activists. The feminists who hold these views have never advocated or engaged in violence against any group of people. Yet it is argued that the mere presence of anyone said to hold those views is a threat to a protected minority group’s safety.
GenderTrender received notification yesterday from WordPress.com that Cathy Brennan has filed a legal copyright claim of ownership for the now-archived website RadFem Hub.
Specifically, Ms. Brennan demanded that GenderTrender cease and desist in displaying the above screenshot of the RadFem Hub website header on the grounds that Brennan is the sole and legal owner of said intellectual property.
Cathy Brennan played no part in the creation of the RadFem Hub project, nor participated in the creation of its header or graphics design. She was reportedly brought on board just prior to the demise of the site, under verbal agreement that she would maintain the $50. a year URL costs in perpetuity, an agreement that was apparently reneged on in the space of one year. It is believed that Brennan produced no original content related to the site.
Brennan filed six other simultaneous copyright claims against this website for seemingly random materials published on GenderTrender.
All of her claims have (thankfully) been rejected as without merit by WordPress.com. One might speculate that such claims represent harassment, censorship, and abuse by a wealthy financial services legal partner against a low income working class lesbian feminist blogger, possibly due to ongoing political disagreements.
Germaine Greer to women at Cambridge Union: “kick ass and take names and talk loud and make a crowd”
January 28, 2015
Iconic feminist Germaine Greer kicked off her UK tour in support of “Disappearing Women” at the Cambridge Union Society this Monday evening past, in what was reported to be a rousing, triumphant success. Attempts by anti-feminist transgender activists to have her speech censored failed, potential threats by males who believe they are female were ameliorated by frisking attendees at the doors, and she spoke to a packed house.
From the Cambridge Varsity:
“Despite the queue created by the heightened security measures, the atmosphere of the crowd was eager but not angry – there were few signs of protest except for a few LGBT+ representatives handing out leaflets at the door. They declined to comment on their decision to boycott the event, and there was little of the sense of outrage that had characterised the statements of the LGBT+ community.
Greer was uncompromising in her rhetoric, condemning from the beginning of her speech the “pressure on women to be clean, sweet, perfumed and submissive” and later suggested that trans women do not know what it is to “have a big, hairy, smelly vagina”. Greer was robust in her championing of the woman as an autonomous person and was anxious not to be diverted into what she described as “side issues”.
Witty and acerbic, Greer had the audience laughing throughout; describing the Sun website as a “fantasmagoria of nipples” whilst simultaneously speaking passionately and intensely about her notion of “the disappearing woman”.
She cited examples of cases in which women are judged but go unheard, condemning the fact that “nobody bothers to investigate” the perspective of women such as Amanda Hutton, who was widely reviled in the media. Her championing of sexual liberation and power for women was clear as she invited her audience to “kick ass and take names and talk loud and make a crowd”.
In the wake of the LGBT+ Cambridge campaign and its recent domination of student media, audience members were relentless in their questioning of Greer on her exclusion of transgender women from her feminist ideas. Greer remained steadfast in her stipulation that her feminism was about women and appeared visibly angered by the fact that discussion lingered upon what she clearly felt to be a side issue: “I’ve got 51 per cent of the world to think about and I’ve got to talk about transphobia”.
When a student quoted her own words back to her she did not compromise her previous position and repeated the word “delusion” to describe the wish of men to become women, causing a stir amongst the audience with her antipathy towards any presentation of men in drag: “I hate Mrs Brown”.
However, such discussion was secondary to Greer’s address of the body image problems of the 21st century. She explicitly stated that it remained the obligation of feminists to rage against the pressure on women to “have a baby and then go back to looking like a 12 year old boy ten days later”.
Strident and controversial as ever – describing Harriet Harman as “not smart enough” and referring to The Guardian Newspaper as “the fucking Guardian” – Greer seemed piqued but unfazed by the opposition of students to her speech because of her transgender views.
Her message to students was clear and impassioned. “We need to recognise women as human beings,” she said, and demanded of her female audience that they “toughen up; be more difficult. Be braver.”
A small “boycott” event was held in response in a classroom elsewhere by anti-feminist transgenderists. Organized by Em Travis, a feminine young woman who identifies as “internally non-binary transgender” the protest event featured two male transsexuals who campaign against feminism and lesbian rights. The first, Andrew “Roz” Kaveney, is best known as the founder of “Feminists Against Censorship”, a deceptively named organization whose purpose is to protect and promote the “rights” of transwomen and other males to consume what is defined in the UK as “extreme violent pornography”: that which depicts what appear to be “life-threatening or seriously injurious” acts. In Kaveney’s topsy-turvy world, “being female” is a lifestyle choice for men, and “Feminism” is the active promotion of the most violent sexualized acts against women imaginable.
The other middle-aged male selected by transtrender Em Travis to chair her event was Christopher “Aunty Sarah” Brown, an anti-gay activist who was formally protested by women at London’s Dyke March this year.
According to the Varsity, Greer’s brash and humorous tone was not duplicated at the protest event, where: “The [transgender] talk took place in a mindful and open atmosphere created by the strict and very comprehensive guidelines – including the use of verbal trigger warnings when addressing potentially offensive or harmful content – to which all audience members closely adhered.”
Males (both transgender and not) continue to pearl-clutch in the wake of Germaine Greer’s presentation: over her frank speech, but mainly over her lack of capitulation to transgenderism, a view they seemed to desperately want to hear, over and over again. Expect this formula to rinse and repeat as the legendary Woman’s Liberationist continues her appearances on her “Disappearing Women” tour across the UK. Do catch her at an upcoming scheduled event near you!
October 20, 2014
Excerpted from here: http://www.pdxqcenter.org/q-center-statement-to-our-community/
“I rarely talk about what my transition means to me personally, and that’s because the times I have, the trans people I’ve talked to have gotten very upset even though I’m only talking about myself. Not about anyone else.
I can’t view myself as having always been a woman. Not can I view myself as being female now that I’ve transitioned. This isn’t about internalized transphobia. This is about me being proud of and accepting my past and who I am.
Before I even knew I was going to transition, I always knew I was attracted to men. I was very closeted through my teenage years, but I knew. When I finally came out the first time to my friends as gay, I swore to myself I would never be ashamed of who I was again. To say that I’ve always been a woman, more than that that I’m a straight woman, feels too much like hiding who I was. I refuse to hide or be ashamed of my past.
Because so much of my life is the story of a young gay boy struggling with acceptance, my life only makes sense to me when viewed as being male. Even since transitioning, my life still only makes sense when people know that. I can’t talk about my journey to deciding to transition without that fact. Since the moment I was declared male before I was even born, my life has been shaped by that. For 25 years it was shaped by that. Nowadays people see me as a woman, but it’s still being shaped by that.
Beyond just that, accepting that I have a male body has helped me come to terms with so much. It has allowed me to accept the things that are impossible to change while focusing only on what can be. I don’t want to spend my life hating myself for having too wide shoulders, or big hands, or a large head. Those things are just signs that I’m male and that’s ok. I couldn’t reach this point of personal self acceptance and love when I was trying to view myself as just like other women. I don’t feel I ever would have been able to either.
Yet even though this viewpoint has given me soo much strength to live, I’m afraid to talk about it because I don’t know how someone in the trans or queer community is going to react. I don’t know if they’re one of the many people who have hated me online for viewing myself differently than they view themselves.
When there are trans people online who will insult and try to ostracize people like me for speaking about only how we view ourselves, I can understand how anger has guided them to where their views on other trans people are. I would never detransition, transition has brought me too much joy, but other trans people have told me to detransition because they don’t want someone who sees themself as male while still being a trans woman. I’ve been called a terf sock puppet, a house tranny, told to kill myself, and had trans people purposely trigger my dysphoria just for saying that I found personal acceptance and a way to hold both those thoughts at the same time.
So I thank the q center for allowing these women to speak. Cause honestly until i heard about this, I’d accepted that this wasn’t something that i could ever tell other trans people again.
I didn’t know about new narratives when it happened, but if I did I would have gone. This is the first time I’ve heard of other trans women who understand my point of view. Judging by a number of the conversations I’ve seen online about this the past couple days, I’m not alone either. And it feels good to know there’s people in my community who can understand the personal journey I’ve been through.”
Read the Q Center Statement and more responses by following the above link.
Read more about New Narratives here: http://newnarratives2014.wordpress.com/
October 18, 2014
October 16, 2014
After weeks of silence, the mainstream media is finally reporting on the deluge of violent threats made by men towards feminist media and pop culture commenter Anita Sarkeesian, which caused her to flee her home on advice of the FBI, and cancel a scheduled university appearance.
While it is good that the violent male campaign against Sarkeesian is finally, belatedly, receiving widespread attention, any feminist who has ever written or spoke in public on the subject of “Gender” will note that what is unusual is not the threats themselves, but the fact that they are being reported by male-stream media.
The New Statesman posts a piece today by GlossWitch, in the shadow of the Sarkeesian fiasco, which specifically addresses the ongoing campaign of censorship against the Women’s Rights movement by the male Transgender Rights movement, whose goals are in opposition.
October 7, 2014
Wealthy transgender Twitter executive Dana McCallum evaded prosecution on multiple felony counts of rape, false imprisonment, and battery, even though there were multiple witnesses to his violent rape spree, which he inflicted on his estranged wife in the presence of their children.
McCallum’s friends in the media enforced a news blackout on the high profile case and the charges and trial were not reported on mainstream news sites, including the outcome of today’s hearing. Social Justice Activists maintained silence on the case. The last time GenderTrender reported on this case we were locked out of our blog by Automattic/Wordpress.com for over a week. Transgender activists were concerned that the case would publicize the facts that most male transgenders do not undergo genital surgery, and that male transgenders commit violence against women- including sexualized violence- at exactly the same rates as non-transgender males.
Gawker has the story: From Gawker:
“At a hearing in San Francisco Superior Court this morning, Dana McCallum, a Twitter engineer and prominent women’s rights and LGBT activist, accepted a guilty plea for two misdemeanors related to the alleged rape of her wife. McCallum, who is a transgender woman, was initially charged with five felonies for the alleged incident, which occurred in January.
The misdemeanors were for one count of domestic violence with corporal injury to the spouse (California penal code 273.5) and one count of false imprisonment (code 236). McCallum, whose legal name is Dana Contreras will serve three years probation, 4 days in county jail (with credit for the 4 days already served), 25 hours of community service, counseling for substance abuse, 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling, as well as some minor fees.
In court today, McCallum first said “no contest” to the plea, but the District Attorney’s office insisted on a guilty plea.
McCallum initially pled not guilty to the felony charges, which included three counts of spousal rape, one count of false imprisonment and one count of domestic violence.
McCallum and her wife are in the process of getting divorced. The victim told Valleywag that McCallum served her with divorce papers two days before the incident. However, the victim also noted that the incident occurred when McCallum arrived uninvited and unexpected at the victim’s house in Noe Valley. The victim’s three children and her daughter’s friend were present that night. McCallum’s former attorney John Runfola, who has been replaced with Nanci L. Clarence, said that McCallum served her wife with divorce papers one day before the incident. The divorce has not been finalized.
McCallum’s wife read a a moving victim’s impact statement before the judge today where she said McCallum was given two opportunities to apologize, but did not apologize or ask about her welfare. She described the incident as an “alcohol fueled sexual violent crime, but said she wanted “forgiveness” to prevail and for this to be “an inspiration for other addicts,” rather than “an ugly headline for the vultures to pick over.” She said that she still loved McCallum and was disappointed by the community’s response:
I must say that it deeply saddens me that as a victim, my only public support has been from hate groups. I expected more from the LGBT and feminist community. It’s a shame that they can’t do the emotional work it requires to process that someone they love is capable of such an awful crime. That is their burden to carry, though.
McCallum has been working as an engineer at Twitter since 2010. She was arrested in January and released on $350,000 bail. According to an earlier report from the San Francisco Examiner, court documents stipulated that McCallum had to attend AA meetings as a condition of her release. The Examiner also obtained a copy of a criminal protective order, which stated that McCallum must not contact or come within 150 feet of her wife.
The victim told Valleywag that they had been separated for eight months. In April, the San Francisco Chronicle said:
McCallum, whose legal name is Dana Contreras, had been separated from her wife for about a year but maintained a polite, and at times sexual, relationship with her, authorities said.
The case has been deeply troubling for equal rights advocates in the technology industry both because of the nature of the charges and because McCallum, who is best know by the handle @DanaDanger, has long been an activist for feminist and LGBT causes. Last January, she wrote a piece about women and transgender people for Model View Culture. The article has since been deleted, along with McCallum’s bio, which used to say:
Dana McCallum has been working in software engineering and engineering leadership since 2000. As an advocate for women in technology and the LGBT community, Dana helped create advocacy teams at Twitter and other companies, served as a delegate on women’s issues in India, and speaks regularly at events focused on women and LGBT people in tech.
McCallum has also tweeted a number of times in support of justice for rape victims.
In April, McCallum’s old lawyer, John Runfola, aggressively denied the allegations, telling the Examiner that the victim was after a monetary gain. Twitter went public in November, 2013. The lockup period, after which Twitter employees could sell their stock, ended in May. However, unless otherwise agreed upon California divorce law states that assets like stock options are community property and divided equally. The couple has been married since 2007, before McCallum’s tenure at Twitter. What’s more, if McCallum had been convicted of felonies, it could affect her job at Twitter and therefore spousal support.”
[Bolding by me-GM.] Read the rest at the link above.