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Twitter usually isn’t the best place to find valuable insights into complex topics and ideas.  I do like to be proven wrong though, and that was very much the case when I saw this thread by “H”.  This person precisely identifies a several key points where the ideology of transgender has gone markedly afoul.  Much has to do with the correspondence between their activism and narcissistic male entitlement.

 

Common threads do exist between feminism and the trans movement.  The current focus though of putting the validation of (usually) men’s gender-delusions ahead of female rights makes progress in this area difficult at best.

Do Women Have the Right To Defend Their Sex – Michael Biggs

 

Three female academics spoke about women’s rights at Oxford on 25 October to an audience of about two hundred, composed mainly of feminists. Such a meeting would have been unremarkable in 2009, 1999, 1989, or 1979; even in 1969 it would have caused bemusement rather than outrage. Today, however, the meeting was so controversial that the University of Oxford deserves credit for allowing it to go ahead. Indeed, similar events were re-cently cancelled, or re-arranged, by Massey University in New Zealand and Simon Fraser University in Canada. At stake are two fundamental principles.The first is whether women have the right to defend their sex – to preserve, for example, female-only rape shelters and sports competi-tions. The second is whether we have a right to question fashionable doctrines of gender.

The event at Oxford – entitled ‘A woman’s place is at the lectern’ – was arranged by Woman’s Place UK (WPUK). This organization was formed in 2017 by left-wing feminists after an attendee, Maria MacLachlan, was physically assaulted on the way to a meeting discussing the government’s proposal to amend the Gender Recognition Act. To quote from WPUK’s manifesto:

‘We are against all forms of discrimination. We believe in the right of everyone to live their lives free from discrimination and harassment. Women face entrenched and endemic structural in-equality. … This is why sex is a protected characteristic in the Equality Act (2010) which we believe must be defended.’ 

I helped WPUK to book a room in Examination Schools for the meeting, for which it paid the normal rates. The Proctors’ Officers warned of a substantial risk of physical disruption. WPUK’s first meeting in Oxford, at the Quaker Meeting House in April 2017, was besieged by about fifty shouting protesters.2 Demonstrators outside the WPUK’s previous meeting, in Brighton, blocked the entrance and tried to kick in the windows.3 Therefore the University insisted that the organization pay for six pri-vate security guards as well as four University staff and obtain liability insurance for £10 million.

The meeting featured three speakers: Professor Selina Todd, Professor of Modern History at Oxford; Dr Susan Matthews, Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Roehampton; and Raquel Rosario Sanchez, doctoral student at the Centre for Gender and Violence Research at the University of Bristol. The chair was Allison Bailey, a criminal defence barrister at Garden Court Chambers who, incidentally, grew up in Cowley.

When the meeting was announced, transactivists (activists campaigning for the transgender cause, most of whom do not identify as transgender but style them-selves ‘cisgender allies’) reacted with predictable outrage. Trans Action Oxford emerged as a new account (@trans-actionox) on Twitter. It asserted ‘a direct correlation be-tween the proliferation of groups like “A Woman’s Place” and the rise in transphobic abuse in the UK’.4 To quote from their statement of 17 October:

‘A proper commitment to academic freedom uplifts voices from all marginalised groups, including those of trans people. It recognises that freedom of expression does not extend to bigotry, and that bigotry serves to silence the vulnerable.’

According to Trans Action Oxford, then, anyone who disagrees with their doctrines has no right to speak – and, as we will see, must be expelled from the University.  There is a real asymmetry here, because WPUK has never denied freedom of expression to those who disagree with its principles.

Trans Action Oxford’s statement was signed by several bodies including various groups within Oxford Univer-sity Student Union and the Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society. Other signatories were Beyond the Binary, a project at the Pitt Rivers Museum (paid £91,000 by the Her-itage Lottery Fund5), and the Queer Studies Network, funded by the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH). Should academic units of the University attempt to prevent one of their own colleagues – Todd – from speaking? Fortunately the transactivists decided to hold a rally in Broad Street rather than to intimidate people entering the meeting. The meeting proceeded without disruption. Todd emphasized the persistence of sex discrimination in the university sector. Matthews argued that we need to question the beliefs underlying gender ideology in the same way that earlier feminists exposed myths of their own time. Rosario Sanchez traced the transmogrification of Women’s Studies into Gender Studies and urged a re-turn to its roots. The speeches were followed by a lively question-and-answer session. What was said during the meeting would not surprise anyone who has encountered second-wave feminism.

Nevertheless, three of the four women on the platform have been targeted for harassment.  As a founding sup-porter of LGB Alliance, a new group for homosexuals and bisexuals, Bailey received a torrent of abuse and even death threats online.8 Complaints were made to her Chambers, instigated by Gendered Intelligence – an organization which Oxford pays to train staff – and she is now under investigation.  Rosario Sanchez has been bullied by students at her university ever since it was announced that she would chair a WPUK meeting in Bristol in 2018.  She has been forced to run the gamut of masked protesters at meetings inside her university campus and has faced almost two years of threats by students to assault her at multiple events, both inside and outside her university.

Rosario Sanchez and Bailey’s experiences, incidentally, perfectly illustrates the perversity of today’s identity politics. We are exhorted to defer to oppressed groups, but when orthodoxy is challenged by a woman from the Dominican Republic and a black lesbian, then their dissident voices must be silenced. Todd has likewise faced a persistent campaign of harassment. Because the perpetrators are staff and students at Oxford, it should be of particular concern to readers. Trans Action Oxford’s subsequent statement (28 October) literally demands her sacking:

‘Todd refuses to grant trans women the same status as cisgender women. A person who is so openly transphobic should not be in the University’s employment, let alone in a teaching position where she is directly interacting with students … . We demand that it [the University] review its employment of Selina Todd.’

The authors –‘A collective of undergraduate and postgraduate students, and staff, of the University of Oxford’ – lack the courage to sign their names. The statement was retweeted by the Oxford Feminist Society. The Society also tweeted using the hashtag #FuckTerfs. The acronym stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists, and and the associated Twitter traffic is often accompanied by threats of violence.

Ponder the paradox of anonymous ‘intersectional feminists’ hurling obscenities at a feminist scholar because she believes that women face discrimination on account of their sex. As Selina Todd has told me, abuse is not confined to social media. After the WPUK meeting, activists planned to disrupt her lecture to undergraduates, causing the History Faculty to ask the Proctors for security. The front row of the lecture theatre was occupied by several transactivists displaying slogans. Such overt intimidation goes far beyond the bounds of any normal academic disagreement or political debate. Moreover, there is reason to conclude that transactivists are targeting Todd as a woman. She and I share similar views on the subject of sex and gender; if anything, I have been more outspoken.

Although I have not altogether escaped criticism, I have not faced anything like the continual campaign of harassment which she has endured, which, she tells me, has included an official complaint to St Hilda’s – dismissed as without foundation – as well as relentless defamation on social media, for over a year. The University of Oxford deserves real praise for al-lowing the WPUK to hire its premises. (The only other British university to do so is Northumbria.) The Vice-Chancellor’s reply to Trans Action Oxford struck just the right balance: Oxford ‘prioritises protecting academic freedom and robust expression of opinion and debate, while not tolerating any form of unlawful discrimination or harassment.’ But, in my view, the University has not done enough to protect Todd from harassment.

It has neither defended her reputation as one of the leading scholars of women’s history with a long record of mentoring female students, nor refuted the defamatory claim that her presence is ‘directly detrimental’ to the ‘well-being and safety’ of trans students.  Although the University has adopted robust principles on free speech (written by Professor Timothy Garton Ash and Lord Ken Macdonald), it evidently allows – as in the case of Trans Action Oxford – student groups and even academic units to violate those principles.  The debate around sex and gender is inevitably heated because fundamental rights are really at stake.

Needless to say, members of the University have an absolute right to disagree vehemently with Todd and to repudiate her views. It should not be acceptable, however, to call for a colleague and teacher to be sacked for believing that sex matters.

 

I’m fairly new on Twitter but have already had the displeasure of witnessing the fury of faux-progressive backlash against feminism and feminists attempting to speak their mind in public places… in Canada.  Canada??  The easy going, live and let live notions we like to believe in the more sensible regions of Canada seem to dissipate in our larger cities.  Queer rights activists and trans activists have mounted a vigorous assault not on the arguments of gender critical feminists, but rather their character, the venues that host said feminists, and a rather hyperbolic set of straw assertions/mantras that serve as conversational dead ends/thought terminating cliches.

This is not the left that I grew up with, nor do I intend to ever associate with.  These individuals seem to believe that their individualistic solutions to systemic social problems will somehow win the day.  Not gonna happen.

The comparison between the regressive left and religious is worthy of examination.  James Bloodworth makes the comparison in his essay on Unherd.

“But politics as religion invariably comes with a cost. There is, naturally, a constant hunt for heretics. Public denunciations followed by ‘cancellations’ are de rigueur. Rigid adherence to doctrine is celebrated, while those who err are pompously told that they are on the “wrong side of history”. Political spats focus on the moral character of a person rather than the content of their arguments. Public arguments in which, as Swift phrases it, “identity leftists spend a great deal of time expending venom… at fellow leftists with whom they have some minor disagreements” are ubiquitous on Twitter and other social media.

All of this takes the Left further into the echo chamber, away from the people it is supposed to represent. Attitudes which are held by the vast majority of Britons — that there should be some upper limit on immigration, that sex differences exist, that gender isn’t entirely a social construct — are enough to get a person ‘cancelled’ by today’s hobbyist Left. Moreover, the slippery equation of words — or even thoughts — with violence creates a censorious climate where activists feel justified in hounding people from public life completely.”

See the transactivists haranguing women and trying to disrupt two public (in Toronto and Vancouver respectively) gatherings that featured Meghan Murphy and other feminist speakers was solid proof for me of the parallel.

 

Want to learn more?  Witness more male transactivist progressive action that, quelle suprise, targets women.   While attending a meeting to discuss legislation that will effect females, Rebecca Lush speaks to her experience with ‘progressive transactivism’ quoted from the Morning Star:

 ” I had also seen footage of aggressive, masked trans activists blocking a stairwell to a separate meeting in Bristol organised by a different campaign group called We Need to Talk the week before the WPUK Oxford meeting.

I was aware that the venues that host these kinds of meetings are each time subjected to a barrage of harassment and misinformation, misrepresenting WPUK as a “hate group,” which is designed to scare them into cancelling.

However I was determined that I would not be intimidated from attending a public meeting by bullies in balaclavas. […]

We arrived late and thankfully most people were already inside the venue. Suddenly a group of approximately 50 students descended and immediately blocked the door to the meeting house to deter anyone from entering. They started chanting very loudly and aggressively. What happened next was utterly shameful. […]

The very few [demonstrators] who actually talked to me demonstrated quite clearly that they had absolutely no idea what the meeting was about or what the aims of WPUK are.

Not one could tell me just one of its five demands, for instance, which are clearly available in WPUK publicity material.

One said: “You think trans people don’t exist.” When I pointed to my two trans friends who’d attended the meeting and begged to differ, she went back to the cult-like chanting in my face. There was little critical thinking on display, just an unnerving groupthink, coupled with a chilling sense of misplaced righteousness.

I found it very sad that a group of young people would attempt to block a meeting without actually bothering to find out anything about the group they were protesting about, apart from what they’d been told.

My overall impression was that it all seemed extremely cult-like and not at all thoughtful. No-platforming tactics, reserved for preventing violent, street-level fascist organising, clearly have no place in preventing women from trade unions and Mumsnet meeting to discuss legislative proposals and women’s existing legal rights.

However, the violent and intolerant extremist trans activism we are witnessing isn’t a progressive movement, but bears all the hallmarks of an authoritarian cult where people are not allowed to think for themselves or have their ideas challenged.

Women’s rights have been hard-won over centuries, yet we are still nowhere close to equality, with sexism and misogyny rife, including on the left. Women have every right to meet and discuss how to challenge sexism and uphold our few hard-won rights.

WPUK works with trans people who wish to see legislation that protects both the rights of trans people and women’s sex-based rights. Violence, threats and intimidation have no place in democratic and progressive movements and we will not be deterred from speaking out.”

It is nice to see a publication that actually stands for females and socialist principles.

Get your popcorn and strap in for a contentious ride.

Funny how that works…

But then again, wanting the frocks and ignoring the systemic oppression is par for the course.

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