Controlled Spaces and Gender Identity Laws (USA)

Gender Identity Watch

At Gender Identity Watch, we have monitored “gender identity” laws, regulations, agency policies and other developments for more than two years. We believe it is time for an affirmative statement on these developments and who they harm.

As we have stated many times, we support civil rights protections based on sex stereotypes (i.e., gender identity) in employment and housing. No one should lose a job or be denied housing because they identify as transgender.

With regard to public accommodations, such as public restrooms, we support a definition of “gender identity” that limits a claim for discrimination to those taking steps to medically transition.

Where the rubber really hits the road, though, is when gender identity laws allow Male people into space intended for vulnerable Women – these spaces include homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, halfway homes and, the most significant of all, prisons.

Each of these spaces have at least…

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Marking LibFem Blog Entries #1

“EveryDayWhorephobia” recently published this bad post  and my friend and I decided to grade it according to basic academic standards. The graded post is as follows:

Swerf= sex work exclusionary radical feminist Terf =trans* exclusionary radical feminist. They go hand in hand.

The loudest non religious voices opposed to sex workers rights [CITATION NEEDED], Bindel and Burchill in the UK, Dworkin (currently deceased), Brennan, Farley, among others, describe themselves as radical feminists [This is a political tendency, and as such it important that you present an understanding of political terminology].  I leave the argument of whether they are feminists to others, it’s the radical that intrigues me [Avoid using “I” and “me” statements]. Since the 1960s a certain cachet has been given to groups who are counter cultural, linkages are made between organisations who stand against the dominant narrative of western capitalism and heteronormative values. This was seen in the Occupy camps, where many disparate groups with different reasons for existing were united far more by what they opposed than by what they supported [‘radicalism’ is a concrete political tendency and outlook, not a subculture. Pop-cultural associations do not constitute a political understanding]. We cannot escape history, and as the third generation since the 1960s takes to the streets we have absorbed ideas about how “radical” groups look, sound, behave. [see previous]

The fact is though radical feminists are extreme social conservatives with attitudes towards sex that Pope Francis would approve of. [Avoid unsupported hyperbolic statements]

2/10

 Ann Tagonist‏@radscummery

@kittystryker
sex work is so much better. u only get fired for
refusing to have your face ejaculated on and you’re never sexually harassed!

The attitude towards facials, as the most disgusting sex act possible is just one aspect. BDSM, group sex, anal, bisexuality, pansexuality, almost every sexual act that your Great Grandad would have (publicly) disapproved off sp (-1) is also disapproved of by the radical feminists [baseless generalisation]. That is even before you get into their disapproval of women daring to make money from sex work and challenging the patriarchal idea that men are the gatekeepers of female sexuality. [?]

Why then the insistence on calling themselves radical? [understanding very poor] When your attitude to porn is ban it, when your attitude to sex is only with the lights off and never with any acts that might not be papally approved [not an adequate criteria for evaluating an argument. Irrelevant] , when your views are those that reinforce patriarchal tropes of the whore /madonna split, what is radical? [strawman: avoid using logical fallacies]

We need to go back to the opening sentences[?], and I think look at the worlds -1 second biggest group of real life trolls, the Westboro Baptist Church. The world is a far more complex place than it was 50 years ago, punctuation. [Avoid baseless ahistorical statements] Old certainties, especially when it comes to sex have been overturned. [citation needed] Books like The Happy Hooker [citation & clarification needed] may seem unnuanced to us now, but along with others a different, more open, more empowered attitude to sex, relationships and sexuality was espoused. Phrasing. [No evidence given] We live in a world where the Conservative party passes a same-sex marriage law and millions of women fantasies [sp] about being tied up and beaten by their own Mr Grey. [? Analogy is not argument]

Not liking certain forms of sex is fine, not personally wanting to do X,Y or Z is the right of every human being. [political philosophies are not preferences] However being squicked [this is not a real word] by tit, pulling a Tebbit [?]and finding them morally wrong, purely based on your squick is something, quite rightly, most people do not think should any longer be the basis for law and policy. [address the actual arguments pertaining to what you are criticising] Radical feminists are left between a rock and a hard place, wanting to be radical, [ad hominem] because history [what history? Provide evidence for this assertion] tells them that is a good, powerful thing to be, whilst having personal views that are anything but. [ad hominem]

So, looking around they dig out extreme theories that confuse radicalism and bigotry. [baseless generalisation. Define these terms] They confuse not being mainstream with being counter cultural. [conformation to posited social norms is not relevant] When the WHO and UNAIDS support decriminalization then opposing it is certainly not mainstream, and becomes a core value for people desperate to find something radical to cling to. [ad populum] Look, they cry, I am not boring or conventional, I hold a radical view! [irrelevant ad hominem] Those with an external locus of evaluation need others to approve of them, to support their view of themselves, and thus conferences are held, blogs written where people prove to each other that they are radical, since they all believe it. [This is not remotely scholarly nor is it an argument.]

Which brings us rather neatly to the Westboro Baptist Church.

If you have got this far I am sure you can see the parallels. They take the bible and selectively quote and misinterpret. One of their big claims is that they are the only true Christians. [Hermeneutical issues with the interpretation of religious texts are more nuanced than you lay out. Avoid sweeping or absolute claims] The more Christians and non-Christian groups call them out, the more their belief in themselves as a persecuted minority who know THE TRUTH is reinforced. [fad populum fallacy] For WBC their internal view of themselves is built on being the only Christians. [provide evidence for this claim]

For radfems it is built on the idea they are radical and counter cultural and the only true feminist. [ad hominem, cf earlier commentary] Both refuse to listen to others who read their doctrines and interpret them differently, both have little contact with those outwith their cult, and both respond with violence [citation needed], anger and hatred to anyone who challenges the walls they have built up [unsupported] to keep out the ever-changing progressive world. [avoid using baseless allusion]

Which is the other aspect of this mentioned in the title.[phrasing. No need to start another paragraph] Now some people [who?] are transphobic through fear and ignorance. It is not acceptable, [avoid stating opinions] but like many forms of prejudice can be tackled through education.  This may be the case for some radfems (again fitting with my argument they are in fact personally social conservatives attempting not to be seen as such)[what argument? Ad hominems and logical fallacies are not arguments]. However the vehemence with which trans* women are attacked suggests a dogma, a belief that is at the core of the cult,[not an argument] in the same way WBC pickets the funeral of dead service men and women. ManyChristians are homophobic, only WBC have raised it to being the corner stone of their faith. [see earlier commentary] In the same way radfems have mistaken radicalism for extremism. [baseless assertion]

6/30

Sex workers and trans people are dying [causal inferences must be supported with evidence] because of the stigma against them, [citation needed] it is time for all people who oppose bigotry and prejudice to stand up against it [phrasing]. There can be no compromise.[superfluous!] Just as there are wonderful groups [I’m not getting paid enough to mark this shit], from hells angels [I didn’t know that biker gangs were relevant to political arguments] to parents who now turn up to shield the mourners at funerals the WBC picket [irrelevant] we need allies to block out the terfs and swerfs [these are not words],  do not allow their voices to be heard, oppose their meetings, challenge them wherever they push their beliefs [expression. Changing of tense and subject makes no grammatical sense]. Only by excluding them can you be on the side of those oppressed and marginalised. [this is a conclusion?]

0.5/5

 

8.5/45 3.5%

FAIL

The objective of the piece was clear, however no argumentative or factual evidence was provided to support any of the
discernible claims that you made. Though it is clear that you are passionate about the subject matter, you failed to demonstrate knowledge of the subject matter beyond assertions, hyperbole, and simple logical fallacies. You show
some potential for progress in your chosen fields of study, however, you should consider taking or re-taking the following subjects: FEMI101 Feminism 101, PHIL102 Basic Techniques in Argumentation, STAT113 Elementary Statistics, PHIL113 Remedial Critical Thinking, and SOC160 Introduction to Social Theory.

Why I Am Not Pro-Choice

Before my beloved RF sisters get out their mourning garb, let me explain.

I still use the label “radical feminist” because it is an easy way to identify my political views, and for like-minded people to find me in the vast expanse of the Internet. I prefer the term “female liberationist” because it more accurately describes my politics. Similarly, I reject the label “pro-choice” and instead opt to call myself “pro-abortion”. Anyone who knows me will recall that I have an interest in language and its application in politics, and consider it to be very important in ongoing feminist discourse. I have dabbled in debate about anti-female language used in transgender and liberal feminist activism, and experimented with the language we use in our own corner of the political world, instances of which I will provide in a later post. For now, let us examine some of the more common words and phrases we use to identify ourselves in our respective political movements (and don’t worry- this is not intended to be some tiresome identity politics mindfuck, but an examination of terminology and its implications).

Feminist: This label has all but been abandoned by most and restructured with the addition of applicable modifiers. Liberal  feminists have begun labeling themselves as such, presumably to further distance themselves from radical feminists. The term is occasionally used in the mainstream as a poor attempt at disguising the serving of male interests, or to gain a few liberties for women without offending the male class too much. All but meaningless, “feminism” has come to denote so many bizarrely un-feminist concepts that few of those dedicated to women’s struggle bother to try to define it. I’ve heard radical feminist women discuss ditching the “feminist” part altogether, fearing that they might be associated with the surreal, male-focused orgy that feminism has become. Hence my eagenrness to clarify that I am a female liberationist-ie, someone who is dedicated to the liberation of female people from patriarchy to make my goals and beliefs very clear.

TERF/SWERF: Trans/sex worker-exclusionary radical feminist. Used as a slur against women who acknowledge the existence of biological sex and believe that women should be free to define their spaces, and women who oppose the widespread commodification of  violence against women, respectively. Fundamentally dishonest terms, the linguistic manifestation of the “straw man” logical fallacy, these terms have become so common and so vicious in their implications that “feminist” discourse has been effectively rent in two- the evil TERFs and SWERFs, and the “good feminists”.

Female/Male: In “liberal feminist” discourse, these terms are effectively meaningless. They mean “someone who identifies as male/female”. In “radical feminist” discourse, these terms mean what they actually mean, ie “a female animal is one which is biologically equipped for and typically able to produce ova, and a male animal is one which is biologically equipped for and typically able to produce sperm”. These are political terms because males as a caste systematically oppress and commit violence against females as a class. Liberal feminism/transactivism have in recent years decided to claim that biological sex doesn’t exist because radical feminism started making too much sense to them.

Now, there have been many theories as to how we can amend the problems in the women’s movement today. Myself, I’ve considered initiatives to make liberals be more inclusive of radicals in our shared causes and encouraged people to argue out their differences elsewhere. But radical women are still fighting to even be allowed to let the world know we exist. We are being squashed by the collective fist of the male establishment and its female allies. And though I wish I could wake up one day to find the liberal/radical feminist dichotomy conveniently absent, I know that this won’t happen overnight. And to be quite honest, I think that the women’s movement needs to stop pretending that these “liberal feminists” have anything in common with our goals, or have any of our best interests in mind. They pay lip service to women’s issues while effectively fighting for Men’s Rights. The only difference between “liberal feminism” and “I don’t believe in women’s rights just human rights” is the fact that they use feminist imagery and terminology to gain more followers. And it’s easy for them. Because “liberal feminism” is safe. It is comfortable, and you’re still pleasing men so you have nothing to worry about. I say fuck that, and this is where the “pro-choice” part comes in.

Pretty much anyone with an Internet connection is aware that the major ideological basis of “liberal feminism” is choice. You may remember this from such arguments as “feminism is about women choosing to do whatever they want to do”, “BDSM is a choice”, “prostitution is a choice”, and “if I choose to do it, the choice is feminist”. In other words, “feminism is about having the choice to choose your choices”. This rhetoric is absolutely demented. If someone tells me I should off myself and I choose to blow a hole in my head it doesn’t mean that choice existed in a vacuum, and certainly doesn’t mean that it was a responsible or positive choice to make.

The problem with “pro-choice” in regards to abortion has multiple negative implications for this reason. Abortion is an extremely safe, common, and necessary medical procedure. I have had an abortion myself, and I believe that abortion needs to be considered in the same way one considers any other kind of medical procedure. No one calls themselves “pro-choice” because they are in favour of people electing to have their wisdom teeth removed. I have put off having my wisdom teeth removed for years, partially due to financial constraints and partially due to a strong aversion to having my face ripped apart, and I don’t consider one opting to have or not have an abortion as being any different. I probably need to have my wisdom teeth out, and some women probably shouldn’t have babies if they feel emotionally and financially incapable of supporting them, but while both situations are potentially life-threatening they also potentially aren’t, and are therefore no-one else’s business. If the medical procedure to have my wisdom teeth removed was not available to me, however, I would be understandably perturbed. The reason women aren’t allowed to have abortions is not because those in power have a problem with us making choices, it is because the system hates women and wishes to withhold medical treatments from us because it does not care if we die. This is about the disposability of the female body. Similarly, the system does not criminalise prostitution because it doesn’t like women “choosing to express their sexuality” or any other such liberal nonsense, it does so because it views women as purchasable objects and does not care if we are exploited, raped, abused, or murdered.

The reason that “liberal feminist” activism falls so short of making any actual changes in women’s situation is because it assumes that patriarchal society already views women as human. It doesn’t. No matter how much you love your dad or your brother or your husband does not change the fact that men as a caste hate us. As is evident in the definitions I’ve listed above, post-modern “liberal feminism” is so devoid of critical analysis that it forges for itself a fantasy world in which women have actually made major gains in altering our social status, and living under such a delusion essentially cripples our ability to move forward. In the words of Angela Davis that I love to quote so much, “Radical simply means grasping something by its roots”. Radical women, whether we call ourselves feminists or liberationists, actually need to fight this pomo libfem rhetoric, because it is, aside from being about as insipid as a political ideology can get, possibly the most deceptive and dangerous manifestation of patriarchy there is. And if I never see the word  “choice” used uncritically in feminist discourse for the rest of my days, I’ll  feel at last that the struggle for liberation has moved forward.

The Google Images search term “Liberal Feminism” did not disappoint

The pro-pornography and pro-BDSM positions are fundamentally selfish.

The Prime Directive

From Dinosaur Comics.

I think the proposition I give in the title of this entry may seem counter-intuitive; anyone interested in these debates has been bombarded by entitlement propaganda from the pro side, which posits that men have a right to, and are entitled to, female sexuality. Starting from this premise, I agree that the notion that the pro-prostitution and pro-BDSM positions are selfish does not make much sense (how can it be selfish to demand something that you are entitled to?). But I reject male entitlement to sex, and if we do go beyond that flimsy rationalization, I think the selfish nature of these positions is obvious.

I think that actions which benefit the self and hurt others would be labeled selfish by everyone (except Objectivists, but their own pro-capitalist ideology belies that). So however else selfishness may be defined, we can posit that selfish people are fine…

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The Australian Sex Party, Reactionary Trotskyists, and Bullying Women Out of the Left: The Real ‘Third Wave’

What do these three things have in common?

Anyone who is a radical feminist and has ever been to Melbourne would be able to tell you. First some background.

The Australian Sex Party is a political party whose leader Fiona Patten is a “sex” industry  profiteer- CEO of the Eros Association, a company that owns multiple sex shops and organised sexual assault pornography websites. They pride themselves on a number of deceptively progressive policies behind which they hide their dedication to the mass sexual enslavement of women.

Socialist Alternative (SAlt) are a militant Trotskyist political party  organisation who pretty much everyone who isn’t a SAlt member thinks are a joke. You may remember them from such hits as being obnoxious on national television, being obnoxious in a supermarket, and tokenising their comrade who committed suicide in order to prove that they’re not transphobic.

What they have in common is that they comprise vocal elements of the annual “pro-choice” rally in Melbourne, which is held to counter-protest a “pro-life” march called March For the Foetuses or something similarly demented. This counter-protest is pretty important to us Melbournian feminists, as it is literally the only regular women-orientated action (besides weekly clinic defenses at the East Melbourne Fertility Control Clinic). Considering that these anti-woman activists like to harass women and murder clinic employees, we find it necessary to show up and make sure they all know that we fucking hate them. A group called Campaign for Women’s Reproductive rights “officially” organises this protest and for some reason the Sex Party also has a big hand in the promotion of this rally, as its members can be seen handing out flyers, advertising the party and getting creepy dudes to make speeches with frequent references to women’s genitals. SAlt- being a reactionary mob of quasi-political uni students- also have a large presence, and can be identified at pretty much every protest ever by their repetitive, unoriginal chanting and shoving copies of Red Flag into everyone’s faces.

Oh, did I mention that some women aren’t welcome at this protest?

This year was the first in five that I didn’t bother to attend. After doing an impromptu speech on my second year, I was invited to speak at the next rally. Curiously, the year after, I received no such invitation. Apparently it was because I had voiced anti-“sex” industry opinions on my personal facebook page. How my support for the criminalisation of pimps and johns has anything to do with advocating for abortion rights has not yet been explained to me. After some harassment, threats of physical violence, and doxxing from male Sex Party members, I took it all on the chin and showed up to last year’s rally anyway.

This year, a young woman with similar views to mine attended the rally with her friends. She is a vocal online radical feminist and lesbian activist and was accosted by a member of SAlt. She was physically intimidated and verbally abused to the point that she had a severe panic attack and had to be assisted by street medics. The woman who attacked her (and I shan’t post details with respect to the victim’s safety) responded to criticism by labeling the victim “transphobic” and used the slurs “cis” and “TERF” in the following tirade of harassment instigated by her and her comrades. The victim is understandably shaken and outraged by the way she was made to feel unsafe at a protest that claims to support women.

Her outrage is not enough. There should be public outrage.

This is by no means the first time radical women have been attacked in activist spaces (NOTE: do not confuse with the small and innapropriately named socialist/liberal feminist group Radical Women, who also have a significant presence at the annual counter-protest, and have penned articles for MRA websites). And it will by no means be the last. But this is the prevailing issue with the Left.

Another example of bullying radical feminists out of political spaces can be seen in this statement from Anarchist Affinity, an anarcho-communist fringe group based in Melbourne. This vagueblog statement was issued  in response to an event I organised earlier this year called ‘A Woman’s Place is in the Revolution: Discussing Feminist Visibility in Radical Politics’. The event was a small discussion group of about 20 women  and its goal was to discuss strategies to make the Left safer for women with opinions. Not just RF women, all women. The discussion had literally nothing to do with gender criticism, the sex industry, or anything else that liberal feminists tend to get up in arms about. Demonstrating my point perfectly, AA and “non-affiliated” friends of theirs sent a slew of abuse to myself and the custodians of the space where the event was held, at one point threatening to organise a picket outside the building. After having witnessed one of their members assault a young man at another meeting, I felt it necessary to organise security for the evening. Thankfully none of their cronies showed up, but the fact that this was necessary should cause anyone with a brain to feel pretty concerned about the state of female visibility in the Left.

It is astoundingly obvious that the ostracisation radical feminists face from activist spaces has nothing to do with actual political ideology. Trotskyists are able to march alongside anarchists. Sex Party affiliates manage to attend events organised by anti-capitalists. But neither are apparently able to attend a protest attended by a few 20-something year old women who blog about women’s experiences under patriarchy. They’re doing what the patriarchy has done for years-Divide and Conquer. Why? No one is 100% sure, but I’d wager that it has something to do with a fear of women speaking up about their oppression and their experiences. What’s that called again? Muh-so…mis-oh..misogy….

So where does that leave radical women who want a part in the Left and radical politics? Proposals have been made to form an alliance that works within Leftist groups and provides a support network for outspoken women who have been intimidated for expressing their views (as well as women who have been too intimidated to express their views in the first place). This is a step in the right direction, in theory, and plans are currently underway here in Melbourne. Any woman who is involved in the online (or offline) radical feminist community knows the degree of sisterhood, safety, and solidarity that we can offer each other. The voices just need to get louder. We need to maintain a presence in political spaces and to focus on direct action. Patriarchy funnels down into the left and those misogynistic attitudes need to be challenged before we can move on to challenging society at large. Because feminism is one of the important “new” ideologies driving the Left forward, it’s about time those ungrateful little shits started treating it with the respect it deserves. Each “wave” of feminism has seen its similar struggles, but the Third Wave hasn’t properly happened until the most important struggle in feminist history has been won: prioritising women in the movement, and gaining respect for women within that movement itself.

no women

The Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights: Much like Tony Abbott’s cabinet, we can have one or two as long as they do as we say.

Obligatory Introductory Radscum Post

Hi, and welcome to my new blog. It has been some time since I’ve splattered my opinions all over the Internet for the benefit (or in spite) of strangers, but here I am, bravely charging back into the land of anger, anonymity, and never ending slagging-off that is the blogosphere.

As the title suggests, I am a Radical Feminist (this title was thrust upon me, more on that later) and as the “scum” indicates, I am the scary kind of radical feminist. The kind that doesn’t prioritise male feelings over anything. The kind that believes that there is such a thing as male and female. The kind that lives in dark crevices and feasts on the souls of children. That last part is just a rumour, though.

While I’m on the topic, it’s worth explaining a little about how I came to acquire such a label. Like most radical feminists, I entered into the world of social justice happily and with no knowledge of the devastating divide that exists therein. After chewing through my mother’s collection of “soft” feminist literature- Naomi Wolf, a bit of Greer and the like- I grew into an opinionated teenager with a furious passion for not shaving her armpits and no particular understanding of why I didn’t (don’t worry, this is not a lament about why it is an empowering feminist choice to shave one’s body hair and love penis). Much like the similarly divisive topics of pornography and sexual expression, I had never given “gender” much thought. I was forced to, however, when I came across a collection of hateful blog posts decrying a small radical feminist conference. After doing a little more research, I found that the reason this conference was condemned was because the organisers had specified that it was female-only. Not knowing why on earth feminists would viciously attack a female-only safe space, I publicly questioned this, and was thus informed that I was “radscum”, a “TERF”, then also somehow a white supremacist neo-nazi with a fetish for murdering transgendered people. Luckily for me however, I was treated more kindly than the organisers of the conference, who received enough death threats to warrant moving the conference out of the public space it was booked in. And so I discovered this new term “radical feminism” and was left wondering what on earth was so radical about a bit of good old fashioned vagina positivity, as well as feeling a bit crotchety.

angryoldlady

After a poorly thought out attempt at posting about feminism on Tumblr, I’ve taken a little time out to develop my ideas a little and to become immersed in the sisterly culture of radical feminism. In doing so, I’ve attracted the ire of a colourful array of male transgenders, sex industry lobbyists, disgruntled middle-aged men, political parties, minor activist groups, outspoken solo activists, professional MMA fighters, gym owners, cyber stalkers, and basically everyone a radical feminist wouldn’t want at her birthday party. One of the aforementioned bestowed upon me the illustrious title of “the most vocally violent terf … in Melbourne”.

Now this is the important bit.

All women who have publicly stated their support for females receive such threats and intimidation from those who want us to be quiet. Young women are literally in fear of their lives and feel the need to hide their views in the interests of their own safety. This is unacceptable. This is a tried and true method used by oppressors to pacify those seeking liberation. I want to see a revolutionary feminist movement supported by the Left. I want women to feel safe and wanted in progressive politics. In my view, we haven’t come far since the heyday of the Second Wave, rather, postmodernism is very quickly shoving us back. Women deserve to be vocal. Women need to be loud. Neoliberal ne’er-do-wells with a penchant for disrupting political movements needn’t have the power that they do. Women’s power is in our words, because if we aren’t able to speak, we aren’t able to drown out the voices of the powerful.

In the words of one of my greatest Sheroes Angela Davis: “We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society”.