The invisible woman: Gender identity in the age of neoliberalism

Image: Julian Vigo

Skimming over liberal media these past months, the assumption is that anyone who might have an issue with a transgender person in their washroom is necessarily a Bible-thumping bigot from the south. This perception is not only the result of vast oversimplifications, but is a conscious misrepresentation of the facts before us. As much as HB2 is a hateful, bigoted law which is serving as a smoke screen to erase other economic capabilities, the Department of Justice’s position is just as wrong. If we didn’t know that women were third-class citizens before, we should definitely know it now.

Until the end of his presidency, there was not a word from the Obama administration about the rolling back of abortion rights, state after state. Not a peep from Bruce Springsteen or PayPal about women’s rights. This is isn’t shocking… Not for women, at least. We are accustomed to our voices being virtually unheard, even on issues that affect us directly. It is more of the same brocialism as usual. That male violence is a reality and does not magically disappear through the kind of  identity politics that ask us to suspend our disbelief and embrace that “gender identity” trumps sex is par for the course. The problem with Obama’s Department of Justice narrative is that it suggests “gender identity” is sex, and that, while gender is whatever a person feels it to be, the acknowledgement of  biological sex is “transphobic.”

This narrative, wherein gender is medicalized in order to silence one half of the population and wherein biological differences (and the way those differences factor into the system of patriarchy) are now considered to be fictions, is an MRA’s dream. The result of efforts to “broaden the definition of woman” is that, now, anyone can be a woman, but actual women can no longer speak of their oppression or their bodies.

Identitarians (those who hinge their subjectivity to identity politics) have attempted to remedy their feeling “excluded” by subverting women’s political movements and the language through which women describe their realities. One of the recent attempts to redefine woman was the U.S. women’s strike platform, which prioritizes transgender women over women of colour in its statement of violence against women and promotes the reproductive rights “for all women, cis and trans.” Of course, transwomen are male so clearly have no concerns about reproductive rights. Prioritizing males over females in the name of women’s rights is anything but subversive. Rather, it’s age old misogyny.

Nobody knows this more steadfastly than BBC Radio 4 presenter, Jenni Murray, whose piece this past weekend in The Sunday Times, “Be trans, be proud — but don’t call yourself a ‘real woman,’” sparked an uproar, resulting in Murray being disciplined by the BBC. Her “crime”? According to the BBC, Murray was not “impartial” on a “controversial subject.” Critiquing various misinterpretations within transgender discourse, Murray debunked the pseudoscience of “male” and “female” brains, touched upon the tumultuous political climate which prevents medical practitioners from speaking frankly on this subject, and described the gradual institutional erasure of the word “woman” from medical praxis.

Additionally, Murray addresses the phenomenally abusive misinterpretation of Simone de Beauvoir’s infamous quote from The Second Sex, “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” In writing this, de Beauvoir did not mean that makeup and dresses could make a male into a woman, but rather that the imprinting of social, political, and economic expectations onto the female body and psyche throughout a lifetime are such that women are pressured into a preformed mould. In short, Murray’s “sin” was to show that transgender women are not female, but are males with a lifetime of privilege.

For the BBC to demand Murray not opine on a subject that directly affects her as a woman who suffered breast cancer, a mother who breastfed, and a journalist whose work is on a radio show called “Woman’s Hour,” considering that the broadcaster famously protected a rapist, would seem a disingenuous request. Clearly, a woman who hosts a show on this very subject would necessarily be bringing her subjective knowledge to the matter. What this recent “discipline” of Murray demonstrates is the demagoguery surrounding the subject of transgender identity for which women are expected to do as programmed: shut up and nurture.

Certainly anyone with a modicum of humanity would be compassionate towards the plight of transgender persons and their struggles with gender dysphoria. I cannot claim to understand what these individuals go through — I do not pretend to. Yet, the bathroom issue has brought up a pivotal issue about the vulnerability of two groups of people: transgender persons and females. Problematically, the discourse surrounding this matter today discards entirely the rights of females (despite paying constant lip service to women’s rights). From the right, explanations of the sacredness of the family persist, while from the left we are told that any woman who objects to males in women’s washrooms is some sort of paranoid prude (oddly, while producing videos that show how easy it is for men to urinate in a toilet with other males). Within all this, the media refuses to honestly address the issue, wholly ignoring what feminists are saying.

As Andrea Dworkin explains in her 1978 book, Right Wing Women, men on the right think women are private property, whereas men on the left assume women are public property. But this still leaves women in the awkward position of being owned and disenfranchised of their own thoughts and voice simply because taking a position on this thorny subject means the public castigation of those who dare to state the obvious. This punishment can range from ad hominem attacks to complete misrepresentations and hyperbole, to no-platforming, firing, and smearing, as we see time and time again.

In an article published at Counterpunch last year, Elizabeth West presents women’s fear of sexual assault as not only irrational, but completely baseless, and mistakenly claims that there is no evidence to support women’s concerns about male violence in their bathrooms and locker rooms.

In defense of this, West cites an outdated and badly executed report from Media Matters that claims to have “debunked the right wing myth that sexual predators will exploit transgender non-discrimination laws to sneak into women’s restrooms.” This report is flawed for a number of reasons. First, it assumes sexual assault is the most prevalent form of sexual violence committed against females. In truth, the more prevalent sexual crimes enacted towards women are voyeurism, masturbation, and exhibitionism — acts that happen with well-documented frequency everywhere from public toilets to public transport. Second, the states that have gender identity laws still maintain the same protections for sex-segregation specifically written into these statutes as other states without gender identity laws. It was only the 2016 DOJ interpretation of the law which conflated sex with gender. Sex-based protections would have been subordinated to gender identity under Obama’s proposed changes to Title IX, but this was not yet the case. So the fact that these states report no sexual assaults in bathrooms since the gender identity laws passed is not testament to the efficacy of these laws, as argued in the Media Matters report, but rather of the sex-segregation statutes.

Asking for these spaces to be safeguarded does not mean that there is an assumption that all those who identify as transwomen are predatorial. We also don’t assume all men are predators. But the fact remains that the violent crime rate of transwomen is not only many times higher than that of females, but is at the same rate as other males. Indeed, the documented reality of violence perpetrated against women in and out of bathrooms by men who identify as trans demonstrates this. Consider the cases of Kayleigh Woods, who brutally murdered Bethany Hill; serial rapist Lisa Hauxwell; and Davina Ayrton, who sexually assaulted a 15 year old girl. And there are many more such cases.

Although West talks the reader through some statistics about violence towards women, she she completely downplays the issue, writing: “[P]eople with otherwise good minds are letting go the tethers of their intelligence and plunging headlong into the arms of those who are intentionally whipping up this particular twister of fear.” In other words, we need not get caught up in paranoid and irrational fears based on, er, reality?

The sad reality of women throughout the world today is that we are vulnerable to violences of all sorts, overwhelmingly at the hands of males, exclusively because of our sex.

West further demonstrates her lack of credibility, as she is either genuinely ill-informed or simply chooses to misrepresent feminist analysis, by attempting to pass off gender criticism as inherent, not to feminist ideology, but to transgender ideology. She writes,  “Transgender people, by their very existence, must strike terror into the hearts of those whose identities are built on an external framework.” But the external framework which informs gender is exactly what feminists decry. It really doesn’t matter how we identify or how many times we click our ruby slippers together and utter magic identitarian mantras, nothing about the violence enacted towards us changes. But instead of taking violence towards women seriously, West urges us not to worry our little heads with these matters because ecological disaster looms.

Paradoxically, some of the same people who support the notion of “gender identity” are seeking to enforce sex-segregated spaces by refusing a third, gender-neutral space. (This is in spite of the fact that there have not been any incidences of transgender women being attacked in male toilets to date.) The only solution offered is the one wherein females are expected to be the sex that accommodates male violence. This is a political game of “hot potato,” wherein women have been thrown the potato, and are expected (as per usual) to nurture these transgender persons in search of a homeland.

The separation of space for intimate somatic practices is a long-standing tradition that is as rooted in the sensual as it is safety. Any woman who has lived in the Arab world has likely witnessed the scene where the mother of a young boy she has been bringing to the hammam is informed that this boy is now too old to enter in this woman’s space because of how he looks at women. There is a respect of women’s spaces in many cultures that is bizarrely being challenged in some Western societies despite the absence of critique towards the myriad all-male spaces.

Most troubling of all, I have seen zero discussion in mainstream media that addresses the actual problem: male violence. Why has no government committee or the DOJ mandated an investigatory panel to answer the simple question: why can’t men stop being violent towards gender non-conforming males and women?

West implores those who have rational disagreements about trans politics to “let go of being right;” the assumption being that this issue is decided a priori and that “debate” is only about stubborn individuals who just can’t “move on.” I suppose she believes we should all simply “move on” from the reality that women are attacked at far higher rates than the roughly 300,000 documented cases each year, since only 68 per cent of sexual assaults are reported to police. In her response, West repeats what many media reports tell us: that women shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads about males in their washrooms and changing spaces because 80 per cent of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victims. Such posturing is deeply troubling since the purpose of having separate washrooms and changing rooms is so that women can use these facilities without fear of the 20 per cent…  When you are raped, you really don’t give a shit about odds. And when you live in rape culture, these facts matter as much to any women as telling a black man in Ferguson, Missouri that Darren Wilson was only one police officer of many.

The reality of sexism, like racism, is that these structures are perpetrated and bolstered through seemingly “random” acts of violence which are in fact not random at all, but instead are completely woven into the fabric of who is seen and heard, and who isn’t. There is power in the hegemonic structures which inform oppressed individuals that it is all in their heads.

Like so many others, West relies on the playbook of made up facts which abound on transgender advocacy websites, consisting of largely fake statistics about everything from the 41 per cent attempted suicide rates which have been largely debunked, to the fiction that transgender women do not aggress females, to the very troubling statistics of the murder of transgender women which West neglects to clarify. For instance, the significant fact of these murders is not that these individuals were transgender, but that almost every single transwoman killed in 2015 in the USA was of colour and at least five were prostituted. Both of these demographic components (prostitutes and males of colour) suffer discrimination and violence at extraordinarily high rates, a fact that does not make the murder of these persons any less horrific or real. But it does put into perspective the arguments for transgender inclusion in women’s spaces given the media obfuscation of crimes against people of colour and prostitutes.

Given the skewed media representations of violence towards transgender women, one could easily surmise that transgender women are murdered at a higher rate than men. But this could not be further from the truth. In the US, FBI statistics and TDOR show that in 2014 the murder rate for the general population was one in 26,658; for transgender persons one in 95,657, for women one in 60,418, and for men one in 16,967. This means that the rate of violence towards transgender persons is significantly lower than for all other groups — the general population, women, and men. These numbers are based on the more conservative figure from the Williams Institute (2011), which says trans people make up 0.3 per cent of the general population. If we were to use the 0.5 per cent figure embraced by many transgender organizations, (published in a 2012 statewide health survey conducted in Massachusetts), the murder rate of transgender persons would be one in 159,429, a figure emphatically lower than that of the general population as well as than the demographics of women and men. Moreover, there is good reason to believe that the percentage of those who declare themselves transgender and non-binary is higher than either 0.3 per cent or 0.5 per cent, as a recent estimate conducted by Lloyds Bank discovered that 1.0375 per cent of its UK staff “identify” as such. Similarly, the most recent Williams Institute report (2016) estimates that 0.6 per cent of American adults identify as transgender with geographical prevalence, such as the District of Columbia (2.8 per cent), and the age group of 18-24 year olds far more likely than older age groups to identify as transgender.

There are similar misrepresentations being made by some transgender advocates who prioritize the vulnerability of transgender persons over the rest of the population. Contrary to what so many claim, rates of transgender suicide do not significantly vary from other sectors of the general population and rates of transgender bullying are even lower than other more vulnerable populations. While there are some transgender advocates who are more honest about the lack of evidence for the alleged suicide attempt rate of 40 per cent which has been bandied about, to write that transgender persons who have been bullied face a higher risk of suicide than others is patently untrue when the rates of attempted suicide are extremely high among bullied teenagers, in general.

Not insignificant is the general distress among youth, which reveals an incredibly high rate of self-harm and eating disorders, with 47 per cent of young people in Britain wanting to radically change their appearance through various types of surgery. The current hyper-focus on transgender youth in the media teeters perilously at shifting the concern of self-harm and suicide to a certain small, highly politicized demographic when, in fact, there are many groups that experience very high levels of self-harm and suicide, such as 25 per cent of autistic children. In 2015, Girlguiding UK found that self-harming was one of the biggest health concerns for girls aged 11-21, followed by mental illness, cyber-bullying, and depression. This study also shows that 46 per cent of girls aged 17-21 have struggled with mental health issues. Considering that almost two-thirds of young lesbian, gay, and bisexual children have experienced homophobic bullying at school, one must wonder why media focuses almost exclusively on transgender youth. Statistics in Britain show that 45 per cent of young people (aged 13-25) experience bullying by the age of 18, with females being bullied at almost the same levels as transgender youth; gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth being bullied at a higher rate than transgender youth; and those living in poverty and the disabled bullied at higher rates compared to transgender youth. Additionally, UK’s Anti-Bullying Alliance shows that over 90 per cent of parents to children with Asperger Syndrome “reported that their child had been bullied in the previous 12 months” and “83 per cent of young people with learning difficulties have suffered bullying.”

I don’t cite these statistics to silence the important discussions about the bullying of transgender persons, but it is vital to show how the disproportionate amount of media attention to trans issues is drawn from the larger very real problem of the bullying of all teens in countries like the UK and the US. Cherry-picking mental health statistics in order to dismiss the voices of women who express legitimate concern for their safety, in an age when being transgender no longer involves medical transition, but simply a “feeling,” seems to be yet another way to ignore the reality of violence against women.

The current media and social hysteria surrounding transgender persons is functioning to create unnecessary bogeymen of transgender lives which are posited as more cherished than the lives and the rights of women and girls. One only need look in the comment sections of articles in the liberal press to see the monolithic levelling of female voices and the concerted ridicule of anyone who dares say that identity politics erasing the physical body poses a problem for the material reality of females.

The deeper question to ask here — and I sincerely wonder why West and other liberal writers, to include many on the far left, do not conjure this possibility — is this: why is the debate about transwomen’s access to bathrooms never about making men’s bathrooms safe for gender non-conforming men? Rather than foist males into female spaces, why not demand male spaces be made safe for other males? Now I know what you are going to say: “These transgender women are not men!” But isn’t the core argument about identity politics that identity is interior, not exterior? Yet, here we are again mired by conflicting arguments where this “inner sense” of gender identity must now be matched by an external, even sartorial, representation of the “real woman.” It is as if females are magically supposed to know if a male coming into their space is sincerely transgender or just a predatory male. And I do not mean that dress makes the woman (this is largely what transgender advocates are performing despite a discourse which attempts to say the inverse). But if the signs of being a woman are accorded only through coiffure and vestiture, women have no hope to understand their own vulnerability aside from the physical markers that an anatomically male face and body presents to the female subject.

A longer version of this article can be found at Medium.

Julian Vigo is a scholar, filmmaker, and human rights consultant. Her latest book is Earthquake in Haiti: The Pornography of Poverty and the Politics of Development (2015). Contact her via email: julian.vigo@gmail.com.

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  • cday881@gmail.com

    The site says 344 out of 1000 sexual assaultd are reported.

  • Raysa_Lite

    It’s way more than 50%.

    I have been alive for almost 45 years. Out of everyone that I know, and that my husband has known, I was the only woman that hadn’t been a victim of sexual assault/rape/molestation before age 18. And then I was sexually assaulted a little over 2 years ago.

    Right now, of all of the women that I know that have discussed these type of things, I know only 1 that hasn’t been sexually assaulted. And even she has many stories of being groped and/or sexually harrassed.

    And every single woman that I have ever known has stories of being catcalled, intimidated, threatened, etc. by males.

    So nope. I don’t believe the 45% figure, either. Unless it excludes sexual bullying/harrassment.

    • FierceMild

      Being groped IS being sexually assaulted. So that still leaves your number at exactly nil.

      BTW, isn’t it completely mind boggling that we can grow to adulthood blithely not realizing that someone grabbing our bodies in a sexual manner is a sexual assault!? It took me 27 years to figure that out. I feel like it’s impossible to fathom my own cultural conditioning, nevermind the menz who benefit from all this nonesense.

      • Raysa_Lite

        Agreed.

        I feel like males control the language. And even though, in my rational thought process, I know that groping and grabbing is sexual assault, I am also pretty sure that at least some statistics count these as separate things.

        I do not consider them separate, and I agree with you.

        But fiercemild. I can deal with it a little better if I think to myself that I was just grabbed and groped. I almost can’t deal with it if I call it what it actually was.

        My husband and I talked about this when it originally happened. And only one time since. And that one time, he said the phrase, sexually assaulted. And it felt like a slap.

        To frame it that way, to call it what it is, I just almost can’t.

        And I don’t know why.

        Sorry to go on all about me, here. Sometimes, the very act of existing as a not-quite-human is exhausting. Bad day, I guess. But I appreciate your words.

        • FierceMild

          I’m sorry I caused you more pain. You don’t need to apologize for going on about yourself here. I care what happens to you.

          Calling things by their names is something that i find validates the seriousness of what happens to us instead of minimizing it.

          • Raysa_Lite

            Please do not apologize.

            You haven’t caused me a second of pain. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

            I am just angry. Like we all are, like sane people are, and actually should be.

            And everything about this site makes me feel better. Especially the commenters.

        • Wren

          “I can deal with it a little better if I think to myself that I was just
          grabbed and groped. I almost can’t deal with it if I call it what it
          actually was.”

          I know why you can’t. Because then you get so fucking angry that you feel you might kill someone, or hurt someone, but you can’t because you’re not crazy and you don’t want to spend the rest of your life in jail. And if you called it assault most of the world wouldn’t believe you even though you finally believe yourself and that would make you even angrier, so angry you might convince yourself that it’s all your fault and then hate yourself and then want to die. There is no victory except for the man who assaults again.

          There’s nothing we can do with our anger. We hide it behind self-blame, minimization, and denial so that it won’t override our system. And then we get depressed, anxious, stifled, lose our spirit and slowly fade into a shadow of what we truly are. I’ve spent 20 years like this and I won’t anymore. So what do I do now? I don’t fucking know.

          • Raysa_Lite

            And it never stops.

            I am 44. And there’s nothing special about me or the way that I look. And anytime I go out, I get harrassed.

            It’s depressing. To know that it’s never going to stop.

    • Grey Sweater

      I don’t have one woman friend who hasn’t been touched without her consent at the very least. Not one woman.

  • Jeanne Deaux

    The Stone Age vs. progress thing, I don’t understand. The only reason we had a lower life expectancy in the Stone Age is a lot more people died from fights and accidents. Other than that, and you can ask anyone who works in paleopathology, we were a lot healthier and I’d argue we were probably happier.

    Certainly we didn’t have this whole elaborate political-social-cultural bullshit setup in place to psychologically abuse people who don’t fit a very narrow standard for “proper male/female” behavior. I mean, the whole culture gaslights us, and then we’re surprised at a development like transgenderism. Frankly I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner.

    Some folks would argue with me about this, to wit, “But tribal cultures had two-spirited people living among them.” That’s true… in some cases. But (1) it was the more patriarchal tribal cultures that were most likely to have two-spirits among them and (2) two-spirits were usually MALE and never called anything BUT male. Bit different than what we see now. But more and more indigenous people are falling for the modern liberal trans narrative, I’m sorry to say.

    • Rich Garcia

      The Stone Age vs. progress thing was just an analogy. Everything we are considering “progressive” today (Porn Culture and prostitution; the romanticization of femininity and masculinity in film, media, and advertising; and the dogma of a “sexed/gendered” psychology) is in fact retrogressive.

      Andrea Dworkin called out the treachery of the political left almost three decades ago, recognizing that the men on the left were screwing women over just as much as the men on the right. And I urge everyone here to listen to what this brilliant woman has to say. Everything that is being done to women and girls today (their deliberate erasure and disempowerment) is being done on purpose.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X72A9cxQ34s

      • Alienigena

        Thanks for sharing this Rich.

  • Jeanne Deaux

    I’m grateful that homeschooling is an available option and easy to get into where I live. Especially since I live in a “progressive” city. And I tell you what, I never thought I’d see the day when I’d find almost as much to concern me in progressive politics as I do in conservative.

    Some might say I’m not preparing my girl for how men are. But maybe that’s the whole fucking *point*… if this crap is NOT normal to her, then she’ll get angry at it instead of submitting because it’s what she’s been used to all her life. Happily, she’s also one step away from black belt in the martial art she’s studying and can back the outrage with a knuckle sandwich if the situation calls for it.

    • FierceMild

      I’ve read this comment a number of times and I just don’t think I can pass it up again.

      I was a victim of homeschooling and that community is iron-age misogynistic. It’s really very bad. If you’re willing at all to take the advise of a stranger on the internet (and if you’re not I will fuck off with a right good will as I know I’m walking a razor right now) please look into private schools with a social constructivist bent like Montessori and Reggio Emelia. In my area there are even a few single-sex schools that were founded during the eighties specifically to cater to the leadership training needs of young girls and women.

      It’s a little known fact that many private schools have tuition assistance programs in place, I don’t know if that’s a concern for you or not, but I might as well hang for a sheep as a lamb. I will now biff off and save you the trouble of having to invite me to do so.

  • calabasa

    Extremely well-written article.

    The modern trans movement is a cult. This has already been written about online. I am going to plagiarize here (already plagiarized from Reddit, from this essay which I highly recommend):

    http://rejecting-the-gender-cult.tumblr.com/the_cult_essay

    * Draws vulnerable people, especially young people
    * Belief system that contradicts scientific evidence.
    * Characterizes you as deficient (sinner / “wrong body”)
    * Promises to solve your problems (salvation) in return for personal sacrifice of your body, money, and other elements of your life.
    * Rebirth after conversion, “living as your authentic self”
    * Many parents reporting that conversion occurred suddenly after immersion in social-media binges.
    * Recruitment drive, e.g. advertising, talks in schools, encouragement in communities
    * Instant community and love-bombing when you join as reward for sacrifice
    * Belief in an unidentified feeling, “gender identity”, experienced only by members of the community, and its reification, like a soul.
    * Repetition of mantras that don’t make sense but you believe blindly: “Transwomen are women”
    * Initiation (transition) by “priests” (gender specialists)
    * Special status of members (brave trans versus boring cis)
    * Emotional blackmail: “transition or suicide”
    * Isolation – encourages cutting off from family / friends if they don’t agree
    * Dehumanizing the enemy, “terfs”, who happen(?) to be mostly women / feminists (Inquisition vs. witches?).
    * Special, heavily policed language = thought control / brainwashing. e.g. “misgendering” – not using the correct words to repeatedly convey your acceptance of the belief system – makes you a horrible person, perhaps even an evil terf.
    * Members police one another.
    * Questioning / critical thinking silenced by the labels “transphobic”, “terfy”, no-platforming etc
    * Excommunication for members who critique the belief system (gender-critical transwomen are terfs/truscum)
    * Exponential growth in numbers
    * Rich powerful people at the top (billionaire funders)
    * People making money in the middle (the industry)
    * Infiltration of institutions/laws/government – indications of a powerful cult – a recognized religion/theocracy

    I would add to this draws not only vulnerable, but oftentimes pathological people (narcissists, especially, I expect; people with internalized homophobia, men with sexual fetishes and pornography habits, exhibitionists, etc.) There is nothing wrong with a fetish PER SE–cross-dressing make you horny? Fine–but it is not an identity (does not make you *actually* a woman), nor is it a sexual orientation any more than say, enjoying water sports is a sexual orientation (you are oriented to certain people, not to certain sexual activities), but when you think having a fetish should grant you certain rights (beyond the basic human rights you already enjoy) there IS a problem. Transgenderism: internalized homophobia, a popularized, liberal form of conversion therapy, female self-hatred, male entitlement to women’s time, attention, bodies, and spaces, believing in an idea (gender) that would not exist without a physical reality (biology) while denying selfsame physical reality; cherry-picking and misinterpretation of feminist theory and ideas in support of certain preconceived notions (confirmation bias, also known as “what every religious sect ever has done with the religious text from which it draws”), and…etc.

    Another article that raises some very good points and further evidence this is a modern cult:

    https://4thwavenow.com/2016/08/29/hippocrates-rolls-in-his-grave-in-search-of-the-dysphoric-trans-tweens-of-yore/

    A link to a video about crimes committed by transwomen or wannabe transwomen against biological women:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzfwANtnmnc&t=11s

    And a link to an essay I have written, if anyone is interested:

    https://writingdowntheworld.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/squared-away/

    As an addendum to this list/these links, I think it would be a best-seller if someone wrote not an academic treatise on the modern trans trend, but a book of investigative reporting hunting down the beginning of this craze by piecing together stories and interviews. Interviewing detransitioners, people at Stonewall, early members of the riot grrrl movement, and queer theory academics might be a good starting point. The person would have to come across as (and be) absolutely objective, and not give away that they are charting the course of a dangerous trend and decentralized Internet-based cult that is sweeping the globe (and the way the internet has changed our world and how we communicate would have to be an integral part of it).

    • Wren

      regarding the list of cult qualities:
      Holy Fucking Shit.

    • Tobysgirl

      This is the best rundown of transgenderism’s cult properties I have seen — thank you.

  • calabasa

    Oh I know…I read a pro-porn article on there recently, and was like, “I’m done.” Radical my ass.

  • M. Zoidberg

    “It is as if females are magically supposed to know if a male coming into their space is sincerely transgender or just a predatory male.”

    I brought this up to a liberal feminist acquaintance the other day, and I’m not kidding, her reply was, “Well, it’s about human rights. Just because a woman has a penis, doesn’t mean she’ll attack another woman. That’s just a red herring invented by the right. Besides, transwomen are more likely to be attacked.”

    Sent her links to transwomen arrested for sexually assaulting women. Got called a bigot. Apparently, facts are bigoted now. Who knew?!

    • Sabine

      When actual women are referring to biological, adult males with penises as “women” you know they are too far gone to get even a shred of sense out them. And as the facts concerning violent, predatory trans women assaulting women (and worse) as do not fit the whole pathetic neoliberal agenda, of course YOU are a bigot! These women are basically MRAs – the only slight difference is that the men in question call themselves ladies.

      • M. Zoidberg

        Right? I asked her to elaborate, and she said that I was “cherry-picking” situations that showed transwomen in a bad light, and that most of the cases are really based on no actual evidence, because as you know, women lie.

        Yeah, I wrote her off as an MRA.

    • Tobysgirl

      Transgenderism and this hysteria over Russia have absolutely proven that liberals are as allergic to facts as any right-wing nutjob. Isn’t it interesting that you are a bigot for alerting her to male violence?

  • Grey Sweater

    I cannot for the life of me understand how, when men are dangerous to transwomen, women are blamed. Thanks patriarchy for letting men off the hook yet again.

  • Grey Sweater

    It is impossible to know. I’ve never known a woman who wasn’t sexually assaulted at some point in her life. I know ONE person who reported. It ruined her life.

    • Wren

      Yes! We are the ones who are ruined when we report it. I’ve never encouraged anyone to do so.

      • Grey Sweater

        As awful as it sounds, we all advised my family member not to report. It was a man from a very prominent family. She was ripped to shreds and the process went on for several years. He was just found not guilty. Even the judge apologized to her. I will never trust the justice system again.

  • Jenny Jester

    “Certainly anyone with a modicum of humanity would be compassionate towards the plight of transgender persons and their struggles with gender dysphoria.”
    How many of those white het male dudes have dysphoria though? Legit question. How many?

    And even if most of them have dysphoria and aren’t autogynephiles, does it justify their misogyny? Do we women have to pander to them?

    How about actually treating dysphoria, which is a mental illness (and there’s nothing wrong with being mentally ill)? I can’t find it right now, but I remember that there was a statistic showing that suicide rates go up after transgender people transitioned. So, maybe all those expensive surgeries – and capitalism is cashing in on those of course, don’t forget that – aren’t really the solution…
    But I think I’m kinda going off-topic now…
    (But I have to say that I have yet to see a story about dysphoria/transgender people that doesn’t have to do with gender roles, internalized misogyny or homo/lesbophobia. Hey, cool idea: Let’s abolish gender!)

    “Most troubling of all, I have seen zero discussion in mainstream media that addresses the actual problem: male violence. Why has no government committee or the DOJ mandated an investigatory panel to answer the simple question: why can’t men stop being violent towards gender non-conforming males and women?”
    And it won’t ever happened. There is this recent article about “The truth about female sex offenders” and they included Lisa Hauxwell, a man. That’s what goind to happend now or rather is already happening: The rates of female crime will go up thanks to men aka transwomen. Yep, truly an mras dream.

    • Now, you know that treating dysphoria is “conversion therapy”. Seriously, I’ve been told that. Talk about reversal.

      • Cassandra

        Yes, trans advocates are the masters of reversal and say that any attempt to counsel, intervene, talk or otherwise to a person considering transitioning is form of “conversion therapy.”

      • SugarShark

        Funny, I thought mutilating your body with plastic surgery and hormones in a futile attempt to imitate something you’re not and never will be would have been considered the conversion therapy. Which, come to think of it, is exactly what transgenders do…

  • Tobysgirl

    Vigo was told prior to the publication of West’s piece that they were accepting no more articles on gender. Counterpunch is a boys’ club with a few genuflecting girls, and I would say a very privileged boys’ club which assists them in their lack of contact with real life.
    Do we really need more so-called leftists who are elitists? Isn’t this a charge right-wingers have long been hurling at the left? My brother-in-law who was involved in the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention demonstrations spoke of seeing one of the Chicago Eight leaving the scene in a limousine. And certainly my years in leftist activities in the Boston area exposed me to plenty of trust funders who had the class consciousness of William F Buckley.
    You can find plenty of good articles on sites which do not run pro-porn, pro-transgender, or anti-sex offender registry articles (or articles which suggest that arming teachers is a good idea; one of the more wacky pieces they ran years ago).

  • Tobysgirl

    I am so sorry you have gone through all this crap. I personally think women should be armed, at the very least with pepper spray. Your experiences make me glad that the men I worked with in NYC found me intimidating, and even men on the street found me intimidating.

  • Tobysgirl

    Meet me, never raped, never assaulted. Is this because I am old? Life seems so incredibly brutal for young women, I am so glad I never had a daughter (though I wanted to). I’d still like to adopt a grownup daughter!

  • Marija Petrovic

    There was plenty of sexual harassment and sexual assault even 50 years ago toward little girls/teen girls by their male school friends, but nobody talked about it. Situation was even worse, so please don’t make this a new thing, it is as old as time. 20 years ago when I was in primary school, I was about 11 years old little boys literally tortured and sexually assaulted my friend. We girls tried to defend her, but they gathered in gang and then violently touched her boobs and ass, and not one adult in the school wanted to help her. Her mother had to come to school and to slap all of those boys, and even then they didn’t stop. And that is just one incident, I can name 100 more, that always happened and minimizing that fact is worst apology for male behavior. Trust me they don’t need porn to act like that, that is just excuse for their rapist ways.

    • Melanie

      This happened at my high school in the 80’s. A group of boys decided to make a game of targeting a girl to sexually harass and assault. I was one of them. I had about five guys pull me to the ground, pile on top of me and grope me all over. I had a couple hold me against a wall and grope me. It came to a head when one of the girls reported it to the principle after they pulled down her underwear. The boys were never punished adequately. They got a brief suspension and I remember one of the boys who was the alpha male of the school crying because his parents were pissed off, and everyone gathered around to comfort him like he was the victim. I remember being sexually harassed by an older boy when I was in kindergarten. I can only imagine it’s gotten worse now with the influence of porn but it’s always been a reality for girls. I get so pissed off when transwomen say they feel flattered by street harassment and that women should take it as a compliment. They just have no clue. I dropped out of school when I was 14 years old. That wasn’t the only reason I dropped out but the bullying and aggression of the boys in my year was a big part of it. It impacts girls in so many ways.

    • Alienigena

      I think women of my mother’s generation (my mother would have been a child 75-80 years ago, that is, in 1930s) just didn’t talk about the abuse they or their siblings or friends suffered. My mother told me (several months before she died) that one of her elder brothers (there were 8 children in her birth family, 3 males, 5 females) tried to rape an older sister when they are were all children/young teens. Another older sister pulled him (the brother) off the other sister, my mother was the youngest in the family. This elder brother was a paragon of his church, was admired by his co-workers (he made artificial limbs/appliances for amputees and others) at the hospital that he worked at for most of his adult life, was a conscientious objector in WWII and was a medic in Italy during that war. Everyone had such stellar things to say about him though he did have odd beliefs related to his Christianity (that the mountains were the work of the devil, the plains/prairies were god’s work) but this I did not know about him. My mother continued to communicate with this brother, maintained a relationship with him over her lifetime (attending same family events he attended), though I don’t remember ever staying overnight at his house (my cousins were all older teens or adults when I was still a young child) though he lived in the same city as us and my mother would remove us from the house in the evening periodically, so that we would not be there when my abusive, drunken father came home from work (he drank with colleagues after workday was over). So, that decision might have been the result of the childhood experience of near incest. My mother was far too polite and emphasized the importance of politeness, so I guess it would have been impolite and impolitic to acknowledge my uncle’s abusive nature.

    • will

      You remind me of the constant sexual harassment and assault that occurred in my elementary school in the 70s. As early as grades 1 and 2 (ages 6 and 7 years), the boys would pull up the skirts of the girls, usually in front of the largest number of people possible. Later around grades 5 and 6 when some girls were entering puberty, any girl who had breasts forming would be grabbed by groups of boys outside the school and held down while they took turns squeezing her breasts. Teachers turned a blind eye to all of it.

      I also recall when I was in grade 4, the rape of an 8 year old boy by a group of older boys. Everyone in the neighbourhood knew about it and the boy was called “blow boy” by the other boys because he had been forced to fellate the older bigger boys. No one ever held those older boys accountable.

  • Meg Daleman

    I looked for reasons to not get married and found this site. I feel like I have found true useful feminism not that liberal pander to all selfie empowerment that has nothing to due with patriarchy but “empowering” yourself.

  • Cassandra

    This has been a sticking point with many of us. Trans “women” are being counted in women’s violence statistics so it serves to obscure what is male violence even more. In addition, trans women will be and are counted in employment statistics and will also count in wage statistics.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Solidarity, sister.

  • Just Passing Through

    I’m afraid you are exactly right, I have thought this myself many times. We are in for some dark times ahead with new (truly) porn-soaked young minds.

  • martindufresne

    Julian Vigo’s article is now available in French at https://tradfem.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/la-femme-invisib…e-du-liberalisme/

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks Martin!

  • Cassandra

    What FiereMild said below. Get rid of him.

  • Rich Garcia

    @disqus_enipAN0Ij0:disqus Learning how to survive as the collective half of an entire species is necessary, even if you must resort to violence to protect yourselves, as dramatic as this may sound. You’re up against male supremacists (and their female collaborators), and trying to reason, debate, or navel-gaze your way out of your own oppression is not an option. Men have thought these things through, and members of the MGTOW community are actively encouraging men to pass themselves off as “trans” in order to infiltrate legally protected female-only spaces and take them down.

    It’s not even a matter of “gender dysphoria” anymore, but a political effort from male supremacists to erase females because they have an inferiority complex and a grievance against Feminism. A truly “gender dysphoric” individual (and not an autogynephile with an intact penis) who recognizes that he’s biologically male, but relates to and identifies better with females wouldn’t go out of his way to threaten women and girls to silence them.

  • Wren

    I’m gonna check some of these out. Thanks!

  • Wren

    This is the “terrorism” aspect of male sexual violence. Whether they attack or not, we are constantly reminded that they can at their whim, and that we should always be on guard. That these men didn’t attack is their way of saying “see? We can refrain from violence and be merciful.” Then, we are supposed to feel grateful and lucky.

    We are captives to men on a societal scale. We don’t lash out in violence because we are trauma bonded to the class of men. We are supposed to be grateful they don’t rape us every day (if we’re lucky and not a prostitute).

    • FierceMild

      Sometimes I daydream about what the world might look like if it adopted my one legal change. I would decree that no man is ever allowed to use or possess a violence enhancer (knife, gun, bow, pepper spray, etc). How long do you think it would take for them to begin being careful?

  • zoey

    Not pathetic. Do what you have to do until you can be free.

  • FierceMild

    Where did you live?

    • Tobysgirl

      I lived in northern Ohio; much of Ohio was deeply affected by German immigrants. You were expected to BEHAVE. I now live in rural Maine and have heard many stories of kids behaving badly in school, even decades ago (girls hitting boys was common then apparently and still is). I simply figured it had changed in Ohio until a teacher who went there as a visiting teacher told me she couldn’t believe how well-behaved the children were in class. That was several years ago, so it may have changed since then.

  • FierceMild

    Never heard of that, but I so hope it’s true!

  • Tired feminist

    Every time a guy tries to tell me what happens or doesn’t happen in the women’s bathroom, I ask “how do you know?”

    That usually kills it for the moment. 😀

  • Tired feminist

    Dump his ass. You’ll make other friends.

  • genny

    Well, whenI became a radfem in the last year I couldn’t stomach having libfems in my life anymore, so I got rid of them all. Unfortunately the only friend I did keep is my friend of 25 years, who happens to be a liberal male BRA (boner rights advocate) who fancies himself a feminist because he voted for Hillary and is reading ‘The Womens Room’. His opinions annoy the fuck out of me but I guess I keep him around in hopes I’ll change them eventually. Aside from his bonerism, he’s a good friend, so you gotta take what you can get.

    • Yisheng Qingwa

      NO, you don’t. Ditch him. He’s a parasite and does not respect you.

  • Wren

    It does feel like it will never end, and I don’t think it will unless we drastically change strategies.

    It’s frustrating when someone we love doesn’t want to take action, but I have learned that our instincts are often right regarding peoples responses. If she thinks it may get her into hot water, she may be right. Add it to the list of atrocities perpetuated against us, but I do believe that we will have justice eventually.

  • Tired feminist

    You know, I thought like this when I was with my last BF, who was basically a piece of shit.

    If our experiences can be in any way comparable, I can tell you’re probably going to think “geez, how did I even STAND him? What the hell did I have in mind? Why did I even date him?” a few years (or months) after you leave him. 😉

    He not hitting you is the bare minimum. Doesn’t necessarily make him a good person.

  • foamreality

    Wow. I think you’ve covered it all! Brilliant work.

    Thanks for the stats. These should give me choice and agency as an empowered argumentative TERF bigot .