‘The Transsexual Empire’ revisited: Meghan Murphy in conversation with Janice Raymond

The following is an edited transcript of Meghan Murphy’s interview with Janice Raymond, originally published on October 16, 2020, transcribed and edited by Donovan Cleckley.

“As the gender identity clinics expand and the tolerance for transsexual surgery grows, it is not inconceivable that such clinics could become sex-role control centers, for deviant, nonfeminine females and nonmasculine males, as well as for transsexuals. Such gender identity centers are already being used for the treatment of designated child transsexuals. The use of behavior modification and control is presently very widespread. It is fast becoming a tool of American law enforcement, and funding for it from state and government sources has been documented.”

          – Janice G. Raymond, The Transsexual Empire (1979)

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Dr. Janice G. Raymond is a lesbian radical feminist activist and author as well as a professor emerita of women’s studies and medical ethics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She was Co-Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) from 1994–2007, and served on CATW’s Board of Directors until recently. Her books include The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male (1979), A Passion for Friends: Toward a Philosophy of Female Affection (1986), Women as Wombs: Reproductive Technologies and the Battle over Women’s Freedom (1993), and Not a Choice, Not a Job: Exposing Myths about Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade (2013).

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Meghan Murphy: One of the most interesting things about The Transsexual Empire is that so much of it is still relevant today. And it is sort of amazing to me that you wrote it so many decades ago, and that we are still really having a lot of the same conversations. What led you to write this book? What led you to write a book on transgenderism in the first place, back in 1979?

Janice Raymond: Well, initially it was my PhD dissertation, but, at that time, I was in graduate school during the early 1970s, and that was when the feminist women’s health movement was evolving, and I was in that movement. And, in the process, we were challenging a lot of medical practices that negatively impacted women such as unnecessary hysterectomies, cesareans, and the like. Much of my teaching, writing, and activism, at the time, focused on the use of technologies that were really destructive to women’s bodies and their minds — practices like lobotomies, which I did a lot of work on.

I guess my early work and activism led me to question the medical consequences of what I saw then and what I still see as the bodily mutilation that is inherent in transsexual surgery and also the detrimental effects of taking lifelong hormones. But, aside from the medical consequences, I really wanted to show that cutting off a healthy penis or breasts, being pumped full of hormones, often embarking on secondary surgical journeys just to alter your appearance in a better way, all of that is a walking tribute to the power of patriarchal definitions of masculinity and femininity. They essentially teach all of us that, when gender defines society, it is easier to change your body than to change your society.

Moving forward a little bit, I suspected that transsexualism — and, later, its more recent iteration of transgenderism — would change women’s lives in a way that would attempt to define us out of existence. But I certainly never could have predicted that trans activists would have the cheek to rename us as “cis women,” “TERFs,” “front holes,” “uterus-owners,” “egg-producers,” “chest-feeders”—and even “non-men.”

So that was the start of it. And then I did a lot of other things in my writing. During the 1980s, I was particularly writing on new reproductive technologies, but I also began to notice that trans activists began to challenge the feminist position on transsexualism, which there was somewhat at the time. There was certainly much more of a cohesive radical feminism at the time.

And there was almost a kind of “coming out” about the fact, as the trans activists saw it, that transsexualism was a challenge to gender. The language of transsexualism was, at that point, somewhat changing to “transgender.” They began to claim that it was they who posed a radical challenge to gender, “transgressing” gender expectations and crossing boundaries of binary sex roles. That was really the first inkling that there was a movement of “transgender” people who were beginning to claim that they were the actual challenge to gender expectations.

Then, we move into the 1990s. This “self-declaration” became very prominent, and there all of a sudden seemed to be loads of trans activists promoting “self-declaration.” That all started really in the 1990s. And surgery and hormones no longer became necessary to transitioning, although many trans self-identifiers do still use hormones.

In the earlier days, people would ask me: What is the big deal about transsexualism? Why is it such a significant issue, especially in the roster of pressing issues that concern feminists? But I think that, as I saw it then and I see it now, transsexualism and transgenderism raise questions of what gender is and how to challenge it. And, while it may offer some sort of relief to a small part of the population suffering an acute case of this society’s sexual madness, it certainly does not offer any comfort to those millions who find that we are women in the right body but the wrong society.

MM: What does title of the book — The Transsexual Empire — mean to you?

JR: A large part of the critique is centered on the coalition of medical specialists, medical doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, etc., who came together, at that point, to really make it some sort of a “science.” And that was also the beginning of the transsexual industry — the term, “empire,” of course, was a take-off on that. The industry itself was really starting to be based in universities. There were hospital-based gender identity centers that were treating adult transsexuals (or what I called, “sex-role control centers”). And these also began treating female and male children who deviated from traditional sex roles. I wrote in the book, “Such gender identity centers are already being used for the treatment of designated child transsexuals.” I think that was a bit prophetic; it did not take long before those centers would proliferate. Now, there are at least 40 gender identity clinics that treat what is called children’s “gender dysphoria” in the United States.

So that brings us up to the phenomenon of what is happening right now with the large number of children who are allegedly seeking — or whose parents are now seeking — transgender treatment. People said: Well, that is the old regime of transsexualism. But not really. The medical model still governs children’s treatment. And it is no surprise that drugs like problematic puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones used after puberty to suppress it, have become acceptable. But there has been virtually no pushback from the medical community. So the term “the transsexual empire” was really meant to symbolize the industry, the transgender industry, which, today, is really out of control.

MM: You wrote in the book that the medical model is at the heart of the transsexual empire. It seems clear, based on what you just said, that this is true. Can you expand on that a bit more?

JR: The whole philosophy of changing sex is based on the ability to change at least the appearance of “sex.” That is the issue that I was dealing with in the book. I saw that, as opposed to the currents of transgenderism today, people who were considering transsexualism were considering surgery and hormones. There was no such thing as “self-declaration.” That really dominated the lives of people who were “transsexualized” at that point — there was kind of a set of regulations that you had to abide by if you wanted the surgery. And you had to conform to “passing” requirements. All of that was part of the medical and therapeutic treatment. There was a requirement that you had to live as the sex of your choice for two years before any medical procedure would be approved. That was my point: that it was highly medicalized, almost treated as a disease, in the sense that it needed treatment.

A lot of people now are saying, Well, that is not the dominant current of transgenderism. In other words, most people at this point who declare themselves the opposite sex are not going through these procedures anymore. In the course of writing this book, I looked up some of the statistics for the actual numbers of people who are undergoing transgender surgeries, and it is enormous, absolutely enormous. A lot of academics will say: Well, today, it is really not medicalized. But, certainly, what is happening to children is as medicalized as it gets, when you consider that puberty is suppressed and, then, if they stay in that course of treatment, then they are subjected to cross-sex hormones at a rather tender age.

MM: I wonder when things started changing? One of the big reasons that so many women started to push back harder against gender identity ideology is because trans activists started changing legislation and policies, and the activism, ideology, and politics around transgenderism itself changed to say that it is just about “self-identification.” It no longer matters if you have surgery or take hormones — you can simply “declare” yourself the opposite sex, and this should be accepted not only by those around you but also legally. We are no longer even allowed to say that it is a medical condition or a mental condition, which is odd, because I do not know how else you would define what is called “gender dysphoria.” When did you see all of that changing?

JR: I added a chapter to the book that was not in my doctoral dissertation, after I got the PhD…  I think I called it “Sappho by Surgery.” I saw this thing happening quite early with men who began to claim that they were “trans lesbians.” My partner started a “bread and roses” restaurant at Cambridge at the time. She would come home and say:

“My God. This guy came in with two women under each of his arms, and he wants to play on the women’s softball team. And he just blasts the ball right out of the pen.”

All of that was beginning to happen, and that was, of course, what I call “self-declaration.” You did not have to have any medical treatment to become what was called, by them, a “trans lesbian.”

There was more and more demand for access to women’s spaces, like women’s restaurants, which were prevalent at the time. Even in the locker rooms of universities, my female students would tell me, “This guy came in and claimed he was a woman and said he wanted to use the women’s locker room.”

And so the “trans lesbian” thing is not new; it is old. There just were not many of them around. Now, of course, men who identify as “trans lesbians” go so far as to deem it “discriminatory” if lesbian women reject their sexual advances. This whole — I kid you not — renaming of the penis as a “lady stick”… I think that was incipient at the time, but, today, it is the norm.

They did not have a platform like the internet to violently mock any gender critic. I got a lot of emails once we started to use emails and that was the favored venue on the internet. But it was really happening gradually. And I think that the number of trans activists who are in the online industries are managing a lot of things, like, for example, your exile from Twitter. I think that a lot of trans activism began on the internet and is now out of control.

MM: Why do you think there was that switch? Why did it move from the purely medical model to the “self-identification model” — this idea that you should just be able to declare yourself the opposite sex?

JR: It is one more way, I think, of taking over women’s space. When you declare yourself to be a woman, of course it smooths your way into women’s spaces. It is certainly part of the movement that we are now seeing. The fact that this could even be put out there and some very rational people could jump on that bandwagon and confirm it is what is even more shocking. And this is, of course, being institutionalized at universities. I am glad that I am not teaching at a university at this point; I do not think I could last, given what I hear from some of my colleagues about what is happening now with the kind of mobbing in classrooms if someone makes a point that is not “woke.” I think that it is rather clear that this is a very male-identified movement and, unfortunately, many women are glomming onto it.

MM: That is the thing that has baffled me quite a bit about this trend and the way it has manifested itself and taken hold these days. It makes sense, in some ways, why men who identify as trans would want to be “accepted as women” or access women’s spaces. I suppose some might say that it is to avoid male violence in certain spaces or harassment from other men because they do not look “properly” masculine.

But I talk a lot about the way in which politicians have gotten really on board, particularly left-wing parties have gotten really on board — they will not even listen to us. The left-wing parties here in Canada — in Vancouver where I live — the provincial parties, they will not acknowledge what our concerns are. They will not have conversations with us, they will not engage with us, and they are just so offensively rude about what women are saying, calling us “TERFs” and “transphobic” and “bigots” and all these horrible things. But it is not only men who are doing it — it is lots and lots of women, lots of female politicians — women who would consider themselves to be feminists and advocates for women. Why do you think that is?

JR: Many people, at least that I speak with, know that self-declared women are not identical to natal women, but they just will not say so publicly because they fear being a “TERF” or a “bigot” or an “oppressor.” Lots of people have expressed this fear to me privately at various forums. I get emails all the time saying: “I admire your courage.” But then they confess that they cannot challenge this trans ideology openly because they have a lot to lose and they fear being called “transphobic.” And they see just what you said, what is happening to others about what they are called — the names.

Another strand of it is that people just want to be polite, so they will conform their language to calling self-declared men or women as men or women. Robert Jensen writes about how people he speaks to about it are at pains not to hurt the feelings of trans people, but says, “Sensitivity to others is appropriate, but should it trump attempts to understand an issue? Is it respectful of trans people to not speak about these matters?”

It is based on the belief that people in the trans community somehow “are not emotionally equipped” to discuss this.

There is a mob mentality. It depends on which group of people you are talking to and with. I know that, as I said before, what is really happening is that it is taking over institutions. Women’s Studies programs are being redefined as Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies — things like that. Legislation is being passed. Similar to the legislation in Canada, New York City has legislation saying that if you intentionally “misgender” a trans person, that you could be fined up to $125,000, which is ridiculous. I do not think it has been enforced, but it is “on the books,” so to speak.

The optimism I have about all of this is what is now coming out of the transmen movement. We talk so much about the “sins,” so to speak, of transwomen, and I think even that has had a chokehold, almost, on what we discuss. We do discuss what transmen are doing to women’s culture, but the mainstream media, when they discuss trans issues, it is always about transwomen. There is so little visibility in the media for transmen compared to what is given to transwomen. It is almost as if the women as transmen are being left out of the narrative. It is almost as if all trans-identified people experience the same things in exactly the same way, and they do not.

What has given me optimism is that, while there is a majority of young girls now going down the path to becoming trans, this is only one part of the story. The greatest number of detransitioners are young women who have rejected their trans status, many whom I find have written very eloquently about it. The good news is that many girls who underwent trans treatments, in contrast to boys undergoing such treatments, are detransitioning and becoming critics of transgenderism.

What gives me hope is that increasing numbers of female detransitioners are coming out. When Charlie Evans, from the UK, started her project and program for detransitioners [the Detransition Advocacy Network] and announced it, 300 women called. What gives me hope is that a large number of self-identified men are reporting that they shifted identity from female to male because of the misogyny that they experienced as women. These self-identified men have also come to grips with their own internalized misogyny that propelled them to transition, where becoming a self-identified man is more acceptable than being a lesbian. I am sure you are familiar with some of these testimonies, Meghan, but I think a lot of people do not understand really what is happening here and what the testimonies of detransitioners are actually saying. Just let me read a few here:

“Conforming as male meant hearing the word ‘rape’ used as a synonym for domination, humiliation, or asserting authority and not being able to say anything. Being a man meant bragging about getting pussy and listening to overdramatized fantasy versions of my co-workers’ sexual exploits. It meant laughing at the misogyny saturating my world and profiting from it. This was one I could not swallow, though I tried for three years, via a deeping subconscious hatred of my own sex.”

A lot of testimonies are like this:

“So, how did I get to where I am today? I was sexually molested from the age of 8 to the age of 10. I bought the lies. At one point, I believed the gender craze. I advocated for the trans community; I did the TV circuit.”

Another:

“Growing up in a female body wasn’t easy for me. Friends told me I should lose weight. I couldn’t leave the house without men whistling after me and people talked to my breasts instead of talking to my face.”

And finally:

“I regret it all. There’s a very strong narrative that if you don’t transition you’re going to kill yourself.”

In reading into these accounts, patterns emerge of past sexual abuse and harassment, eating disorders, discomfort, even hating their bodies, estrangement from what I call compulsory femininity that they grow up with. And a lot of the “transmen” had consumed a lot of trans pornography that features ideal transmen that sport their muscles and showcase their bodies. It’s a process and it is not immediate and it takes sometimes years, but I think that this is changing. Part of the reason is that women have seen more clearly what is happening here when they identify as male. And lesbians have been certainly intimately marked by their journeys to and through the promised land of manhood. There is also a lot of eloquent testimony about seeing life from both sides, so that gives me a lot of hope. What Charlie Evans is doing is incredible. We are going to see a lot of pushback on this; we are already seeing a lot of it. People like James Caspian and Lisa Littman get chastised or actually exiled from their universities and their research gets stopped. Activists do not want the numbers to come out about how many are detransitioning.

MM: Littman’s research was on rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD), which happens specifically to teenage girls. And, as you say, she was attacked by trans activists, her research was attacked by trans activists, and the university did not support her at all.

JR: The university actually took down the press release that it had issued about her study. And the academic journal called PLoS ONE gave lip service to saying that Littman’s methodology in places was wrong. But the article still, as it almost originally was, stands, luckily. That is one victory. James Caspian was not so lucky — he had his research proposal revoked. And he was proposing conducting research that focused on the reasons why former transitioners chose to reject their earlier choices and go into the process of detransitioning. But he is now suing Bath Spa University in the UK. I do not know where that legal challenge is going, but he said that the university backed off because, when they were attacked on social media, it was a piece of potentially political research. It carried, as the university saw it, risk to them and was detrimental to their reputation. This is really hard for me, also, as an academic, to understand how a university could cave in to that kind of pressure. Because, certainly, it has not caved in to other things. It is just happening to too many academics.

MM: When you published the book, what was the response? Today, if you published something like it, you would be virtually slaughtered, attacked, harassed, vilified, and smeared. What was the situation when you published it back in 1979?

JR: It got a glowing review in The New York Times. It started me off on a very positive journey, but that all began to change very quickly, too. Again, it happened almost overnight; the censorship developed gradually.

In the beginning, when I was a student, and I did not even see it as censorship. I had applied for a grant to research and write the dissertation that would become the book. A prestigious U.S. foundation contacted me to say that the grant had been awarded and that it needed only some administrative signatures. They even paid for my medical exam, because part of the grant was that they were going to pay for my medical insurance.

Several weeks later, I was told by a colleague who worked at the foundation that the grant had been sabotaged by doctors associated with one of the evolving gender identity clinics where I conducted some interviews. They complained that my research would threaten their work, so, needless to say, I did not get the grant.

As the 1990s rolled around, a transsexual identifying as a woman contacted Teachers College Press. The press had reprinted The Transsexual Empire in 1994, and this trans woman accused me of deliberately omitting the preface to the original edition of the book in the new reprint. The transsexual wrote that I was guilty of scholarly misconduct, since the 1994 version was not a true copy of the original book. The publisher responded stating that it was their decision to cut the original preface from the reprint edition for reasons of keeping the book to a specific page length.

I won that battle, but, not to be dissuaded, the accuser next contacted my university, reiterating that I was guilty of scholarly misconduct, seeking a disciplinary hearing to determine this far-fetched offense of academic fraud. I was called in by my academic dean, and was told that the university would conduct an investigation. And I countered with the fact that the publisher had already undertaken an investigation, and it was they who had claimed responsibility for the preface. I also added that, if they mandated this disciplinary hearing, I would be compelled to seek legal assistance if the university proceeded with what was a redundant investigation of such a frivolous claim. Well, he subsequently and promptly reversed himself. Yes, those were early actions of censorship.

Right around the same period, I experienced my first massive protest by trans activists, which are par for the course today. It was at a feminist bookstore in New York City, and the gauntlet of protestors were legion. And it all felt very threatening, especially as I entered and exited the store. That was the beginning of all of that for me, in terms of wherever I spoke –even out of the country — I was subjected to those kinds of protests.

After 40 plus years of dissenting from trans dogma, I recently learned that the Women’s Studies program at my university (which was the University of Massachusetts Amherst), which had, many years ago, after I left, renamed themselves as Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies… I had taught in the Women’s Studies department of that university for 28 years, and a colleague called me up and said: “Have you seen the message on the website of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department?” I said no. And she said: “Well, you had better look at it.” So I did. On the website itself, the message was apologizing for what the department called “the persistence of legacies of trans-exclusionary radical feminism, including its presence in the history of Women’s Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.” So obviously they did not name me. It felt like it was kind of a delayed sendoff, because it was quite shocking to see that right on the website. But it was pretty transparent; they did not have to name me, since no one else in the department’s history was remotely identified with the research and writing that I had done. Anyway, that was the beginning of the end.

MM: When you started getting protested, like the ones that you just discussed, did other feminists support you?

JR: Other radical feminists supported me. Yes. And some feminists, for example this colleague that I mentioned, whom I would not call a radical feminist — in fact, she had been critical of some of my work — supported me. It was mostly radical feminists. I got a lot of letters, quite frankly, and then a lot of emails saying: “I have so much admiration for what you are writing and doing, but I cannot do what you are doing.” It is kind of a phantom support, I guess, when people write and tell you that they support your position, they support what you are doing, but, no, they themselves cannot talk about it.

MM: That extends to today. I get those kinds of messages today also.

Back in 1977, Gloria Steinem spoke out about transgenderism, because there was the situation of James Humphrey Morris, a British officer who transitioned to become Jan Morris, and then there was that tennis player who transitioned from Richard Raskind to Renée Richards. Steinem wrote:

“Feminists are right to feel uncomfortable about the need for and the uses of transsexualism. Even while we protect the right of an informed individual to make that decision, and to be identified as he or she wishes, we have to make clear that this is not a long-term feminist goal. The point is to transform society so that a female can ‘go out for basketball’ and a male doesn’t have to be ‘the strong one.’ Better to turn anger outward toward changing the world than inward toward mutilating our bodies into conformity.”

A few years ago, she rescinded, because trans activists discovered that she had been critical of transgenderism back in the day and went after her. So, she came out and took it back and apologized essentially.

JR: Any place she went to speak, I think that she was asked about it; an enormous amount of pressure was put on her to change her position. It was certainly disappointing to a lot of us, because Gloria, I think, is one of the heroines of the women’s movement. She has certainly been a friend to the work that I have been engaged in with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for many, many years. She has been very important to a lot of feminist causes. She has been criticized for not being radical enough, but I think that she lives out her feminism, and she has done it, also, at great cost to herself in many ways. So I was very disappointed when I saw that statement, because she blurbed The Transsexual Empire — she endorsed it when it first came out. But, then again, there are other prominent feminists who have done the same thing.

MM: Have you talked to any feminists who have done the same kind of thing and asked them why? Do you know why they would rescind in this way? I understand that people want to protect their work and protect themselves, and that they do not want to be constantly derailed by this issue, but, at the same time, you would think that it would also be important to stand with other women. And, when they make statements like that, it kind of throws the rest of us under the bus. I feel personally — and I am sure lots of other women feel so too — that I could not not say this, because what we are saying is true; there is nothing wrong with what we are saying, and because it is so important.

JR: Well, I think, for one thing, a lot of people do not know this side of the trans movement — the kind of things, for example, that are going on… An enormous amount of violence against women, reading the tweets, reading a lot of this. They are not privy to this, because that is not their thing, so to speak. This is why what you are doing is really important. People do not even know that self-declared men exist, as one point. They do not even know about the violent kinds of messages many of us get. Many in the trans movement now are turning on one another. What can I say about it? I do not have a crystal ball in terms of how people think.

The mainstream media has so prioritized transwomen and, now, particularly in the progressive press, we are hearing a lot about transwomen who are in prostitution or pornography or who arrive in domestic violence centers battered by other men. And I think that there is a kind of knee-jerk response where women identify them as women, unfortunately, which they are not. Women are almost grateful for any kind of joining of organizations or individuals who say: “We’re women.” And a lot of women think that is great, because it means that they support us, that they are with us. And it does not mean that.

MM: Where do you see all this going in the future? I sometimes feel optimistic, because I think that a lot of people are seeing the truth of what is going on. A lot of people for many years did not think about this issue at all. And then feminists started talking about it, and a lot of people probably were not aware or just thought: Oh, this does not affect me. This is some weird, niche issue — who cares?

People around the world are waking up due to issues like men playing against women in sports, men being transferred to women’s prisons, men having access to women’s washrooms and transition houses, things like that. The conversation has just blown up. So I do see a lot of people coming around and speaking out. But, at the same time, this ideology has been totally institutionalized, as you said earlier; they are teaching it in schools and the universities have been taken over. Almost all of the women’s organizations, NGOs, and charities are placating trans activists, changing their language and their mandates. Governments and political parties… So on and so forth. Do you see things turning around?

JR: That is one reason why I emphasize my optimism about transmen, because I do see that turning around, in that corner of the movement. That is really significant. And I am not sure that a lot of people know about that. That is why I emphasized earlier that, really, transwomen get all of the media attention, at least in the United States. It is really hard to say that. It is a bit different in the UK. The major media — thanks to Julie Bindel, Sarah Ditum, and others — is much more liberal about that issue than US media. Every week, practically, in The New York Times, there is a positive article about some aspect of transgenderism. I think that the UK is a lot better off than we are. I am also optimistic about the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), which does not seem to have any teeth at this moment.

We need more of a movement here [in the US] which makes itself visible, because you have to lobby for what you want. The mainstream organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, this alphabet soup of “LGBTQ” — they are receiving a lot of money from foundations (Jennifer Bilek has written about this) and also from corporations that are now donating money to transgender issues. We do not have anything comparable to that — we do not always need that, but we need that now. We need a lobbying strategy, and we need to really think more strategically about what we can do to affect legislation.

My experience as the co-director of the CATW prepared me for a lot of that, and I had to do a lot of that, but now someone else is going to have to do it. It is important to be in those forums, and we are not there. We have our podcasts, and we have our blogs, and we have a lot of very good instruments with which to go forward. But we are not where legislation is. That is, I think, where we need to be.

MM: I agree. Before we sign off here, can you tell us about the new book you are working on?

JR: Yes. It is coming along, and, as I said, there will be a big chapter on transmen, particularly the detransitioning movement. I also want to address some other questions that we have been talking about in the podcast: why there is such an institutional hold on all of this and why such powerful institutions, like universities, are cowed by “bad press.” The book is also concerned with sexual objectification within the trans movement — the sexual objectification of women mainly, but also of transgender individuals. There is a whole transgender pornography section in many pornography sites. Sheila Jeffreys has written quite a bit about this, and I would like to look at this more carefully from the point of view of the Bruce Jenners of the world who are now sexually strutting their stuff as “women” in many mainstream magazines. It is going to deal with a lot of issues that I have mentioned. And the violence against women, radical feminists, gender-critical people, and, especially, lesbians are having to deal with as it comes over Twitter, as it comes into gatherings of women. I think that the only violence against women that really is acknowledged is that of transwomen who come to the battered women’s shelters, to the domestic violence shelters — at least here in the US. When I told a colleague that I was going to include a chapter on trans violence against women, the person said: “Oh, yeah. You really have to talk about that, because they are getting a lot of that.” And what she meant was transwomen, not natal women. So, that was a wake-up call that a lot needed to be done about publicizing that kind of violence against natal women and against lesbians and against anybody, really, who dissents from trans orthodoxies.

MM: Do you have any idea when the book will be published?

JR: I hope it will be submitted by the middle of 2021. I have not got a publisher yet, but that will be another challenge.

JR: Well, I am really looking forward to reading it. Thanks so much for talking with me today about all of this. I have wanted to have a conversation with you about all that has gone on for a long time.

JR: Thank you, Meghan.

Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her very beautiful dog.