You are currently browsing the daily archive for April 13, 2020.

  Medium took the article down, but I’ve reproduced it here to demonstrate the misogyny and violence that is inherent in transactivism.  This article drips with virulent hate toward women daring to defend their boundaries and spaces.

Read the oh so progressive transactivists and their goals.

Transphobic Fear-Mongering Under The Guise of Rape Relief in Vancouver

Apr 12 · 8 min read

How can we end this aggressive transphobic propaganda campaign once and for all?

Some awesome activists informing Vancouver residents that Vancouver Rape Relief is a hate group in 2012. Source.
The Vancouver Rape Relief Shelter (VRR), an infamous crisis counseling place run by TERF’s who discriminate against trans women and sex workers, has been permanently stripped of over $30,000 in public funding from the city of Vancouver! This is excellent news. They were first corrected for their failure to serve women in 2019 and the new vote reinforces that admonition. That is money that can go to organizations that actually help women instead of preaching hate.
But now what?
Some say it is best to leave VRR alone and let them wither. Unfortunately, that’s not really an option. VRR has managed to pull donations from America and other countries, especially from the alt-right. You can see how the Nazis are rallying behind VRR to keep it afloat with propaganda pieces in the National Review and the Post Millennial, both well-known fascist outlets. (Content warning: those links contain stomach-churning TERF lies.) Simply leaving them alone won’t make them go away.
But, say the same people, isn’t VRR unable to do anything? Again, that is sadly wrong. If they were contained and isolated it would be one thing. But VRR has stated publicly their insidious intent to continue to spread venom and lies about trans women and sex workers. In August 2019, their spokeswoman, Hilla Kerner, stated forcefully: “We are not fucking going anywhere!”
VRR’s goal is to take vulnerable women and brainwash them with anti-trans propaganda.
By their own numbers, VRR sees 1200 women a year. These women have been abused and are therefore in a highly vulnerable mental state. (Something I know quite well personally.) In February 2020, they wrote to their supporters: “We are not going anywhere, and neither is our Public Education and Community Outreach Programs.” VRR’s goal is to take these vulnerable women and brainwash them with anti-trans propaganda and convince them to become fear-mongering TERF’s. This makes them more than just an isolated pocket of hostility: it means they are an active threat to Vancouver’s entire trans community.
Suing VRR has not worked. Eliminating public funds from VRR has not worked. They were even granted an incredible grace period by Vancouver in 2019: an entire year of introspection. VRR’s leadership was told to think about their choices, think about whether they wanted to support women or spread enmity. Choosing inclusion would have cost VRR absolutely nothing and gained them everything.
They even had precedent for seeing what a shift could earn them: WAVAW had reversed course on sex workers and pledged full inclusion and was met with widespread admiration and praise. There was direct evidence that allowing all women into shelters caused no harm to anyone while increasing the sense of community for all.
But even with a year to think about their wrongs and apologize to the women they mercilessly abandoned, even with other shelters proving that their safety concerns were unfounded, they chose prejudice. VRR’s leadership is as committed to despising women as David Duke and Richard Spencer are to anti-Semitism.

When dealing with committed cryptofascists, irredeemably committed to their anti-humanity, the only course of action is to escalate further. To do anything less would be allowing hate to win — and love trumps hate. What are some strategies activists can and should employ against VRR?
The first is to continue cutting their public funding. The loss of city funding denies them over $30,000. But the province of British Columbia supplies them with an estimated $600,000. Their total budget is $1.1 million, so that represents over half. Elect officials who will rally to cut that off, contingent on them changing their ways. Their stubbornness could be born of the small loss the city funding represents. If over half their budget is on the line, maybe that will finally bring them to the 21st century.
A gradual strategy that may succeed is infiltration and replacement. VRR works as a collective and accepts volunteers from all over. Replacement has been attempted before, but unsuccessfully. VRR have illegally banned trans women from aiding women as far back as 1995. Kimberly Nixon bravely fought to make the organization more inclusive but they bitterly clung to their provincial views all the way to Canada’s Supreme Court that unjustly validated their phobia.
However, while VRR actively bars trans women, it will welcome cis women. Cis women allies can therefore step up and help change the group internally. VRR’s collective is by some reports only 27 members strong. If 30 allies were to trickle in, they could wield democratic control of the organization and could right the wrongs of the current leadership. This would be an amazing bloodless coup.

Heroic trans activist Morgane Oger has defeated VRR twice before the Vancouver City Council.
Another option was recently made viable thanks to the legal work of Morgane Oger, who has led the charge against VRR since 2013. In 2019, she won a decision against Christian radical Bill Whatcott. The court specifically ruled that Whatcott mocking her for being a trans woman and stating that she was not a woman violated her human rights. That meant she was allowed to sue him and won a judgment against him for $55,000.
The leadership of VRR has repeated rhetoric mirroring that of Whatcott on many different fronts (proving the link between TERF’s and white supremacists). Whatcott used fliers; VRR posts to social media, podcasts, and other locations. Since you cannot deny that trans women are women, VRR’s denial violates the “dignity, feelings and self-respect” of every single trans woman they deny access to, both in services and as volunteers.
In theory, this means that trans women could go in to volunteer and to use the VRR. They could record the exchange with the VRR leaders where they will be — predictably — told they aren’t “real women” and therefore not allowed at VRR. Then, they can sue both the VRR and those individuals for violating their human rights just as Whatcott violated Oger’s. The legal precedent would give the tribunal a strong reason to rule against VRR en masse. With enough lawsuits, you could seize ownership of the facilities and throw the current collective out on their ears.
The lawsuit method is a lot messier than the gentle takeover method, and has several downsides. It siphons funds that could be spent on helping women into the hands of lawyers. Protracted legal battles could help them rally even more support from their alt-right backers. It will take longer than taking it over from the inside, as it can take courts 2 or more years to render critical rulings. Still, it may be easier to find dozens of trans women willing to step up for this legal battle than 30 or more reliable cis women allies.

A photo of supporters of VRR who live in Vancouver.
Finally, there’s direct action targeted narrowly at the leaders. To do this we need more information. There are 27 volunteers in all, with 10 of them being the leaders who push transphobia. Most (but maybe not all) of those 27 bear the responsibility for discrimination. We know the identity of their spokeswoman, Hilla Kerner. Karla Gjini is another leader of the VRR. Revealing their names, faces, and other information would allow activists to appropriately engage with them.

Karla Gjini (left) trying to defend her transphobic views to the Vancouver City Council.
History shows that when singled out, many bigots will renege on their hateful ideas and begin to reform. And if they don’t, then Vancouver can expel them from their community. Nazis have no right to a peaceful existence or steady employment. They have declared their support of fascism and have therefore declared their intent to directly harm the trans community of Vancouver, Canada, and beyond. They threaten the safety and dignity of others and therefore deserve none themselves until they choose to be human once more.
The donor list for the VRR is another piece of vital information. Who are their major funders? What companies and organizations funnel them money? Some companies may think they’re supporting an actual women’s shelter. Making them aware that they’re giving money to a Neo-Nazi style indoctrination camp will hopefully disabuse them of that notion. Their tweets invite posts from TERF’s around the world that expose their hate. The people behind those accounts should be reminded that the world is always watching.
The usual caveats to this approach apply. Be careful of misidentifying people. Attacking bystanders just makes the VRR look sympathetic. Don’t do anything you can’t handle the consequences of. We can’t all be like the heroic woman who came close to delivering a blow for justice on TERF Julie Bindle. Do what you can manage.
Note that none of the above tactics have to be sequential. Some or all of them can be enacted concurrently. For example, infiltration plus direct action to get Nazi scum off the streets is a great combination. Public funding cuts need to continue as long as they get any state funding at all.
Want something to do right now while trapped indoors? VRR’s Wikipedia page only barely mentions how their funding has been stripped for being a hate group. In fact, no mention of them being a hate group can be found there. Please consider updating that page with all the relevant information and patrolling it so the TERF’s can’t hide their shame.
The VRR’s storefront address is 1424 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC V5L 5G2. Their commercial number is 604–872–8212 and official email is info@rapereliefshelter.bc.ca. You can also use a form on their website to send them your opinion. Their Twitter account is @VanRapeRelief and their Facebook page is @VancouverRapeRelief, both of which can be reported for rampant transphobic content. We should always remember that deplatforming works. Canceling them from communication platforms makes it harder for them to spread their propaganda.
You can support the people currently working on the frontlines of the fight. Join the Trans Alliance Society based in Vancouver that helped strike VRR’s funding through intelligent and passionate appeals. There’s the Coalition Against Trans Antagonism (CATA) that recently relaunched on Facebook and needs more likes on their page. That’s quick and simple activism you can do wherever you are.
In August of 2019, VRR was allegedly vandalized by activists, including a dead rat nailed to their door. No culprit was ever found, so there is no evidence it wasn’t self-inflicted to score sympathy points. However, we should heed Morgane Oger’s request not to vandalize VRR’s buildings. The facilities and physical space of VRR is not the problem. It’s the people who direct the use.
We need to find a way to take over that space and end its use for hate, not destroy the resources themselves. That eliminates the positive future use those locations could have. VRR, for all its faults, is a historical site: it’s the oldest of its kind in Canada. That makes it all the more tragic when it leaves a legacy of discrimination over positive activism.
The women of Vancouver will not be safe until the den of TERF vipers is wiped out from their midst. Once VRR has been reformed into an intersectional feminist women’s shelter, that city will be a safer place for all.

Laura Izaguirre
Written by

I write on topics of social justice and anti-fascism. Queer latinx. She/Her. ATX. #Resist

Dr. Jane Clare Jones has a insightful analysis: on the brutal misogyny in this Medium piece.

 

 

There is nothing progressive about threatening and abusing women, and that is what Transactivism is, as demonstrated here.

I’m disappointed that Bernie Sanders did not get the Democratic nomination.  I suspect the only way he will ever get into the race proper is if he runs as an independent.  The structural opposition within the Democratic party is just too strong to overcome currently.  I hope that Chomsky’s observations are correct and the political movements that have started now, remain active and continue to grow, allowing them to influence public policy in the future.

 

“AMY GOODMAN: Before we go to break, on Wednesday, just before Bernie Sanders announced, but it did look like he was about to pull out of the presidential race, I asked political dissident, linguist and author Noam Chomsky about his assessment of the Bernie Sanders campaign in this time of the coronavirus pandemic.

NOAM CHOMSKY: If Trump is reelected, it’s a indescribable disaster. It means that the policies of the past four years, which have been extremely destructive to the American population, to the world, will be continued and probably accelerated. What this is going to mean for health is bad enough. I just mentioned the Lancet figures. It will get worse. What this means for the environment or the threat of nuclear war, which no one is talking about but is extremely serious, is indescribable.

Suppose Biden is elected. I would anticipate it would be essentially a continuation of Obama — nothing very great, but at least not totally destructive, and opportunities for an organized public to change what is being done, to impose pressures.

It’s common to say now that the Sanders campaign failed. I think that’s a mistake. I think it was an extraordinary success, completely shifted the arena of debate and discussion. Issues that were unthinkable a couple years ago are now right in the middle of attention.

The worst crime he committed, in the eyes of the establishment, is not the policy he’s proposing; it’s the fact that he was able to inspire popular movements, which had already been developing — Occupy, Black Lives Matter, many others — and turn them into an activist movement, which doesn’t just show up every couple years to push a leader and then go home, but applies constant pressure, constant activism and so on. That could affect a Biden administration.”

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