Notes on the Journey

Posts tagged ‘sex and gender’

25 Ways To Spot a Secret TERF

25 Ways To Spot a Secret TERF

By Devonsilence on the DOUBLE PLUS GOOD blog


Now, most of us know what a trans exclusionary radical feminist, aka TERF looks like. We’ve seen them celebrating the death of yet another trans teen, or preventing essential medical care for transpersons, or simply trying to stop them from going to the toilet. BUT, not every TERF is so open about their hateful murdering bigotry. There are those who fly under the radar, who hide in plain sight… who walk among us.

Are YOU harbouring a secret TERF? Perhaps you work with one. Perhaps one is your friend, or perhaps you even have one participating in your intersectional feminist discussion forum. It is essentially that these closet TERFs are rooted out. For until they are exposed and ostracised for their oppressive opinions, it will not be possible to educate them to the rightful path of intersectionality.

To help us in our efforts, here is a list of telltale signs to look out for when seeking a secret TERF:

  1. Does she like to make distinctions between sex and gender, suggesting one is biological while the other is a social construct? Does she talk about chromosomes or biology like they’re important?

  2. Is she still referring to transwomen as transwomen instead of just ‘women’, or referring to ciswomen simply as ‘women’ or even more suspiciously, ‘womyn’?

  3. Does she go a bit quiet when Fallon Fox comes up in conversation?

  4. Does she opine that intersectionality has more to do with race and class than gender identity?

  1. Does she hesitate to applaud the stylishness and glamour of Caitlyn Jenner’s latest outfit?

  1. Does she ask for citations over statistics regarding the violence and suicide involving transpeople, or suggest that intersectional factors like race, class or sexuality might be relevant?

  1. Does she ask for citations?

  1. Does she read material written by second wave feminists? Did she decline to burn her copy of The Female Eunuch when requested?

  1. Does she associate with known TERFs who have been already been sniffed out and ejected from your social circles? Has she refrained from blocking them immediately on social media or joining in letter writing campaigns to get them fired or expelled?

  1. Has she hesitated to agree that a child under eighteen should be given gender confirmation surgery?

  1. Has she ever suggested that a child below the age of ten should not be given gender confirmation surgery?

  1. Does she have a large pentacle incorporating a picture of Janice Raymond upon any of the walls in her home?

  2. Does she or does she not follow Danielle Muscato on Twitter? Has she ever neglected to retweet her?

  1. Does she regard the porn industry and prostitution fundamentally exploitive and fostering the objectification of women? SWERFs tend to have TERFish sympathies. Drop the words ‘Nordic Model’ into conversation and see where she goes with it.

  2. Has she ever begun a statement with the words ‘Of course transpeople should be protected from violence and discrimination with regards to employment, healthcare and housing, but…’

  1. Has being in her presence caused any nursing men to experience difficulties with chestfeeding?

  1. Have any of the pre operative, male presenting, non dysphoric women in your social circle experienced erectile dysfunction after speaking with the potential TERF?

  1. Does she appear uncomfortable about changing clothes alongside a transperson? If so, next time look carefully to see if she has any large moles about her body, these may in fact be ‘teats’, from which TERFs are known to suckle one another as they reinforce their cisprivilege.

  2. Has she yet to vocally affirm that there can be no greater oppression than that suffered by a closeted trans lesbian, trapped in the body of a wealthy, white male industrialist?

  1. How many pets does she have? If she has cats, are they black, does she talk to them? If she has more exotic pets, like a goat or a bat or a squirrel then there’s a good chance she’s a TERF, especially if they appear to converse with her. Be especially vigilant for her pets suckling at her TERF teat, that’s a total giveaway.

  1. Look in her fridge, have either the milk, cheese or butter spoiled before their expiration date? Has she visited your home only for you to discover the milk had spoiled afterwards? (This test doesn’t work so well with vegan TERFs).

  1. Does she live in a house made of gingerbread? This might not be apparent, it may be necessary to gnaw at one of the door frames.

  1. Place a box of organic eggs next to her and see if any of them hatch.

  1. Listen carefully to her speech patterns and her voice, does she emit a low buzzing noise similar to a bee or a wasp?

  1. Hide some coins in a flower pot and hide it in her front garden, check back in thirteen days to see if the coins have turned into pebbles, or seashells.

Once certain, don’t be afraid to accuse her publicly. If she doesn’t recant, and refuses to accept leniency in exchange for informing on her fellow terfbians, paint the words ‘DIE CIS SCUM’ upon her front door in red paint, then form a group to follow her everywhere she goes chanting TERF! TERF! TERF!, ideally large bells should be rung as you do so, especially at her place of employment or education.

These individuals must be stopped, because their poisonous thoughts are what lead directly to the murders of transpeople. That’s right, if left unchecked, their wicked exclusionary thoughts will cause cis men (though not all men) to attack transgender individuals.

They stand in the way of life saving boob jobs, they misgender unborn children, and perpetuate harmful myths about transpeople not being the most oppressed minority throughout the history of humanity.

Worst of all, they prioritize the needs of ciswomen, thereby distorting the true meaning of feminism. Do not suffer a TERF to live.

Or tweet.


“Evil Womxn”: The Silencing Of Biological Reality And The Technology Of Obfuscation

From Forbes:

“Evil Womxn”: The Silencing Of Biological Reality And The Technology Of Obfuscation

Julian Vigo

Social Media 

I cover the anthropological intersections of tech, politics & culture.

Dedicated to Electric Light Orchestra

In the UK, the recent Reform of the Gender Recognition Act consultation ended on Monday which temporarily marked a pause to one of the most heated issues in the country. For the past five years, I have been actively researching and writing about what is at the heart of these “gender wars” where one side of this debate has persistently attempted to interchange biology with socialization while shutting down any debate on this subject. Briefly, the pro-gender side of this discussion has argued that gender (masculine/feminine) is innate or biological, while contending that sex (male/female) is a social construction. This thesis is not only completely false and scientifically unsound, but it is a direct reversal of what we do know: sex is biological and gender is socially constructed. Women are not menstruating because they wear pink, they menstruate because of the sex of their body. Inversely, men do not earn more money than women on average today because currency has an “invisible magnet” to the human penis, but it is because how socialization has historically had men in the seat of economic power, a fact which is slowly leveling off over time and with legislation.

Children born with a penis or a vagina are somatically sexed by the physical fact of their primary sex characteristics, namely: genitalia, gonads, and sex chromosomes. Secondary sex characteristics are what develop later in puberty: the enlargement of breasts for females, the physical contouring of the body, the elongation of the body for males, the storage of more body fat for females, body hair, the shape of the face in both sexes, the structure of the pelvis and other bones, increased muscle mass for males, and so forth. These are somatic markings of the body which can vary, but as a rule females and males are entirely distinct sexually because of these characteristics in addition to the basic fact that females are the only sex which can get pregnant. The transgender narrative insists that children are “assigned a gender at birth” which is in fact incorrect. Children’s external genitalia are observed and from this a sex is recorded. Nothing more. Gender is what pushes the sexed body into a social box because “boys should do this” and “girls that.”

Hold on there—wait, wait!! I know, you are going to say, “But what about intersex?” I’m coming to that now. Intersex does not interrupt the fact of sexual dimorphism which is defined as “the differences in appearance between males and females of the same species, such as in color, shape, size, and structure, that are caused by the inheritance of one or the other sexual pattern in the genetic material.” That there are various intersex conditions no more changes the scientific fact that humans are sexually dimorphic any more than a person born with one leg does not change the fact that humans are bipedal, or that another person born with one eye makes us copepods (one-eyed crustacean species). In fact, many intersex organizations and spokespersons have repeatedly asked to stop having their condition politicized and used to further the transgender political ideology.

Still, the reversal of these terms “sex” and “gender” is not a coincidence—it is the result of a conscious conflation of these terms for the past decade where transgender activists have been using these terms interchangeably. And the effect of this is that now, nobody knows what the other means. Take for instance The New York Times article from Monday states that the Trump administration is planning to “define gender goes beyond the limits of scientific knowledge.” The fallacy of this statement I will address in a moment. For now, let’s note how the Times uses “gender” here while going on to quote Dr. Joshua D. Safer, an endocrinologist at Mount Sinai who discusses sex and gender interchangeably. While these two terms are not at all the same, an endocrinologist and president of the Professional Association of Transgender Health is clearly conflating them, and it would seem purposefully so: “As far as we…understand it in 2018, [gender identity] is hard-wired, it is biological, it is not entirely hormonal.” Indeed, it is easy to use gender and sex interchangeably while offering no proof of any hard wiring whatsoever while also reverting to vague clichés that have no scientific basis. Gender does not “originate between yours ears.”

Like The New York Times piece, there are several articles which have been making the rounds on social media this week which also falsely posit that sex is a spectrum: this one in Nature, a blog post about this first piece from Stanford University, and this piece in Wired. In effect, the Nature piece is not a piece of scientific research and is an op-ed on Disorders of Sexual Determination (DSD) which relies on the anomaly to posit that human sex is not dimorphic even though like my above examples, human sexual dimorphism is not changed by anomalies or disorders. (Here is a great breakdown of the Nature article.) The Wired article jumps the shark by contending that because people have virtual identities online that it is somehow “old school” all the while claiming that gender is scientific because these writers as well demonstrate not knowing the difference between gender and sex. And this op-ed by Anne Fausto-Sterling is a rinse and repeat of the same analysis of the anomalies of sex and positing them as the norm. A parallel to this type of logical fallacy in political economy would be to analyze the wealth of the 1% and declare that poverty is over concluding that this means that everyone is opulently wealthy.

But here is where things get interesting. The New York Times article, from which all these other pieces are spun, mis-interprets the Trump administration memo as the word “gender” when in reality it is “sex.”

The term, gender, has been weaponized to such a degree that most people don’t understand the distinction between the two. Michael McConkey situates the current obfuscation of gender and sex where the “social constructionist agenda is premised on exploiting the broader public’s confusion about the meaning of the word “gender’.” While CNN got the story down correctly and referred to the memo’s wording of “sex,” it completely misunderstood what is at stake with the legal definition of sex being proposed, writing, “The argument goes that to deny someone a job because they’re not masculine or feminine enough constitutes sex-based discrimination.” Someone’s being “too” or “not enough” masculine or feminine is entirely related to gender, not sex.

Yet, women being denied employment because their possible employer deems them to be a child-bearing “risk” is an example of how sex, not gender, is used to oppress a class of humans. And these distinctions are not minor, they are the very basis upon which women—from butch lesbians to effeminate women—around the planet are raped and forcibly impregnated today. Boko Haram didn’t ask how its hundreds of rape victims identified. Yet, transgender ideology labels this inherent biological vulnerability in females, as “cis privilege.”

Still, we do know that identity is psychological and not somatic. To date there is no proof that gender identity for some is anything more than a manifestation of “gender dysphoria, a condition classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5). While for many others, given the recent evidence of ROGD (rapid-onset gender dysphoria) amongst adolescents in recent years, it is widely believed that we are facing a wave of social transitioners who are self-identifying as transgender because of a social contagion. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the UK where the onslaught of pro-trans lobby groups have infiltrated the education system—even advising the NHS despite these groups not being professionally qualified in this field—such that there has been a 4000% increase over the past decade in girls presenting to the country’s only gender clinic for children, the Tavistock in London, self-identifying as transgender. If anything speaks to the fact that gender is social and sex somatic, it is this rising numbers of girls being sterilized by puberty blockers. To clarify—that’s their sex, not gender, being permanently shutdown for any possible reproduction, in addition to the skyrocketing increase of voluntary mastectomies of these girls as young as 13.

So what is the fallout from this attempt to conflate sex with gender? First, you have the recent phenomenon of males wanting to be housed in female prisons, such as the recent case of Karen White, a rapist sentenced to prison yet treated as a woman by the prison service. Aside from the tragedy of the women he sexually assaulted behind bars, the fact that now crime statistics falsely reporting “women as rapists” will sky rocket over time giving inaccurate census information and misdirecting much needed services for women (eg. women are the overwhelming victims of male violence, not the perpetrators thereof).

Relatedly, in areas where there is a recognition of women in certain fields, you now have males who are entering into this framework taking accolades and other forms of recognition from women, such as Pippa/Philip Bunce who received the Financial Times Top 50 Female champions of Women in Business. Bruce is a transvestite who comes to work in a suit or dress depending on his mood. And the recent removal of the word woman from a major Pap smear campaign by Cancer Research UK this past summer, angered women across the UK, replacing “woman” with “anyone with a cervix” as has Planned Parenthood’s removal of “pregnant woman”, now replacing this with “pregnant person” in tandem with media that is capitulating unquestioningly ideology. And this week The Guardian ran a fake news piece saying that “YouGov asked 538 menstruators about their experiences of period pain in the workplace.” Yet when you go to the YouGov website to see this poll, nowhere does the abject word “menstruator” appear. This was the fabulation of Guardian writer Poppy Noor scoring some “woke points.”

Are feminists being alarmist to think that the category of women is not only under erasure but that there is a conscious political ploy to render biological females invisible? Well, when  Brendan O’Neill who is usually quite critical of feminists, come to call out this very erasure of women in the public sphere, we must realize that this is a massive problem and a serious threat to the rights of women. It is time for everyone to pay close attention to what is actually going on.

Proof in point, writer and feminist, Julie Bindel, was invited to speak later this month at “Truth to Power Café” in London’s Roundhouse, an event specifically celebrating free speech. Then earlier this week, Bindel was no-platformed from this event by the event organizer, Jeremy Goldstein, under pressure by two other participants. Bindel is a well-known British feminist and activist who has worked on issues central to the rights of women who has unfairly been branded as “transphobic” since an article she wrote in 2004. After it was made known that Bindel was no-platformed, Index on Censorship pulled out of the event and finally the Roundhouse cancelled the “Truth To Power Café” event issuing a statement about the “safety of [their] young people, audiences, staff and volunteers” and that they feel that they “can no longer guarantee it is a safe space, particularly for our young artists.” One would have thought Isis had been invited to this event and not a human rights campaigner.

Similarly, feminist campaigner, Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull of Standing for Women in the UK has produced billboards around the country, only to see most of them taken down after various media companies were lobbied by trans campaigners. What did her billboards contain? The dictionary definition of the word “woman”: adult human female. Keen-Minshull’s first billboard in Liverpool last month was was removed after the media owner, Primesight, apologized saying that they were “misled by the campaign’s message.” (Yeah, because the definition of woman is so cryptic that Tom Hanks will be soon starring in a forthcoming Da Vinci Code sequel on the cryptic meaning of “woman.”) Keen-Minshull then went on to post more billboards—one in Leeds which was up for a day and a half and another in London which survived a couple of hours before both were removed. Also, ten buses which were supposed to carry this definition on a side were also declined on the basis that it would be “likely to offend the general travelling public.” As Keen-Minshull related these events to me, she paused, stating, “How can we be talking about the dictionary definition of woman as controversial?”

We are at an impasse where the elliptical and conscious misrepresentations of sex are being used to shut up women in Canada, the US, the UK and beyond from live talks which are de-platformed, to social media accounts which are shut down, to billboards being removed, and the very linguistic basis for discussing sexual difference being erased. More bizarrely private and public institutions are coming on board thoughtlessly parroting an ideology they have no comprehension of such as the Wellcome Collection in London which two weeks ago was excoriated for using the term “womxn” because they felt it was “important to create a space/venue that includes diverse perspectives.”  But how can spelling the word for adult human female with an be anything but exclusive of, er, women? Just like the revamping of  women’s toilet’s into gender neutral toilets today, it is no coincidence that it is not men’s toilets which are rendered gender neutral, but women’s. Similarly, those making demands that women “include men” in feminism will then shift to their next demand that women “include” men as women. As absurd as it is to fathom that my writing six zeros after my bank account balance will make me a millionaire, somehow large tranches of society have been duped into believing that words cast a magic spell upon reality.  What is crystal clear here is that being “gender neutral” and “inclusive” has become a political mandate shoved at women as if they are supposed to fix the problems of why the default to an effeminate male is a female. Other questions abound:  why should these gender non-conforming males, because of their non-conformity, be sanctioned to the women’s toilets? Why should gender neutrality in any way implicate women as arbiters between men when it is men who need to sit down and discuss amongst themselves why some of them are intolerant of non-masculine males in their toilettes, showers, and other intimate spaces? Because of the unspoken and underlying presumption that women are easier to bully and manipulate, women have been saddled with sorting out men’s “sock drawer.”

Women the world over reject the social status attached to having a female body given that the benefits are highly outweighed by its deficits. Yet, as a class of people who are politically and economically disenfranchised still in 2018, we are facing the evisceration of the only power we have to name our reality and speak out against what is an appalling Orwellian stage in our human history: language. We need to understand that the cure to the weight that gender imposes upon all of us—especially upon females— is not to shantay and sashay our way into fabulousness or to rebrand ourselves as a new word as if words function like three clicks of Dorothy’s ruby slippers. Our task as humans is to to expand upon the experiences we live and to state in clear and loud tones that there is no “wrong body,” just very regressive politics in relation to material reality.

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I am an independent scholar and filmmaker who specializes in anthropology, technology, and political philosophy. My latest book is “Earthquake in Haiti: The Pornography

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Case highlights the importance of distinguishing between sex and gender for purposes of interpreting nation’s civil rights laws and highlights First Amendment implications of compelling speech.

WASHINGTON – The Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), an unapologetically radical feminist organization that fights for the rights, privacy, and safety of women and girls, today filed an amicus brief (PDF) in the case of R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Aimee Stephens (U.S. Supreme Court Docket No. 18-107).

In that case, a man named Aimee Stephens sued his previous employer, the R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, because the funeral home fired him on the basis of his self-declared “gender identity.” The case is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In its brief, WoLF argues that sex and gender are distinct concepts that should not be conflated. It states that “[l]egallyredefining ‘female’ as anyone who claims to be female results in the erasure of female people as a class. If, as a matter of law, anyone can be a woman, then no one is a woman, and sex-based protections in the law have no meaning whatsoever.”

WoLF argues that the case presents an opportunity for the Supreme Court to re-affirm previous caselaw holding that discriminatory actions on the basis of sex-stereotyping violate the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

“Congress knew very well what the word ‘sex’ means when it included that word in the list of categories of people in need of civil rights protections,” said Kara Dansky, who serves on the board of the Women’s Liberation Front. “There is no basis, nor is there any reason, for this Court to hold that sex means anything other than everyone knows it means.”

The brief goes on to state: “Importantly, re-affirming the prohibition on sex-stereotyping would also protect gay employees against workplace discrimination because heterosexuality functions as a sex-stereotype, in the sense that society tends to presume that people are heterosexual. Taking an action against a homosexual employee because of that person’s sexuality would, therefore, constitute unlawful sex-stereotype sex discrimination.”

WoLF additionally argues that to require an employer, or anyone, to believe and/or state that men can be women violates the First Amendment. “The notion that a man can be a woman, or that a woman can be a man, is nothing other than a belief system, adhered to by a very small segment of society,” said Natasha Chart, the WoLF board Chair. “No one should be required to agree with that belief system, or to use compelled speech to further it.”

Oral arguments in the case are anticipated to occur on October 8, 2019.


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