Gender Identity Watch, Conservative Pseudo-Feminists

Secular Woman recently released a petition for the Southern Poverty Law Center to start tracking the hate site “Gender Identity Watch”. I am one of the original signatories of the petition and statement. I have explained why these people need to be watched before. Cathy Brennan and her collaborators are responsible for a long list of hate sites where they target trans women, their favourite target.

man-womanThey write in response:In a counter statement (if you can call it that) on their infamous blog they label us Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs). That alone is just plain absurd seeing that Secular Woman as an organisation, as well as original signatories of this petition, have been a target of hate speech from MRAs for quite some time. If there’s anyone here that resembles the MRAs in any way it is Gender Identity Watch and their associates whose tactic it is to publicly name and shame anyone who disagrees with their message, putting people in real danger of hate crimes by publishing personal information online.

Calling political speech that does not toe the liberal line “hate speech” is a common tactic of Queer and Liberal organizations. Rather than free and open debate, such MRAs want you to embrace thought-terminating cliches like  ”Transwomen are Women.” These MRAs – who are invariably White Males who “identify” as Women or heterosexual “Queer” Women who have no investment in Lesbian community – continually harass the Southern Poverty Law Center, which actually has its hands full tracking racist hate groups across the country.

I understand this is a conservative group that despises “liberals” and “queers”. That much is obvious. Adhering to pre-feminist gender segregation ideology is of course something you’re free to do, but it generally doesn’t fly in modern progressive society. This type of groups have been banned from public venues before because of this, just like patriarchal fundamentalist religious groups have.

I am sorry that statements like “transwomen are women” are thought-terminating to you. That is of course always a problem with conservative thinking. Going beyond the established dogma is difficult to comprehend, but if you’re prepared to open your mind just a little it isn’t actually that difficult. Feminists have been doing this for a couple of centuries now, and feminists are continuing to do so today.

Of course to justify their position they need to classify trans women as “men”. Usually they will assume only trans women support such a petition, but they have realised that most people with a healthy open mind and a minimum of social consciousness will oppose their bigotry, so they’ve added “heterosexual women” too. Since they usually claim that being supportive of trans women is also homophobic, for some absurd reason, they need to deny cis lesbians their identity as lesbians if they were to support trans inclusion. Hence the reference to “queers” in quotation marks, and to “heterosexuals”.

This is quite an absurd mind-bending argument of the “no true Scotsman fallacy“-type. There are plenty of cis lesbians who see trans women as women and as potential partners in the same way they do other women. That doesn’t make them any less lesbian. It is also perfectly reasonable to have preferences regarding anatomy without being transphobic. Choice of sexual partner is a personal one, and not to be dictated by anyone – especially not Cathy Brennan.

In addition they chose to add “white” to the above list just for good measure. Presumably because the people behind this statement are all white. I know for a fact that people of colour, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, pansexuals, trans and cis men and women – pretty much every identity on the race, gender and sexuality spectra – have signed this petition. Undoubtedly a very inconvenient fact. The “white” argument is especially appalling since the group of trans women most at risk from hate crimes are trans women of colour. The list of trans* people murdered each year contains a large proportion of trans* people of colour. If there is anyone from our group that is especially vulnerable to these hate groups’ tactics it is them.

But sure, if you want to debate bigoted ideologies amongst yourselves, feel free. It’s your right, and no one is denying you that right. We have the right to publicly disagree with you though. The problem is that you are exposing trans* people to danger by publicly outing us, stalking us and harassing us. You expose us to dangerous situations, risk of losing our jobs, homes and community, in the name of what? Traditional gender segregation, othering and bigotry. That is why you’re a hate group. And calling yourself “Gender Identity Watch”? Can you be more pretentious? You better tuck in your privilege. It’s showing.

3 Comments

  1. “I understand this is a conservative group that despises “liberals” and “queers”. That much is obvious.”

    Sadly, it isn’t. The site is run by none other than Cathy (bugbrennan) Brennan. Brennan is a cis woman, and a lesbian. Her social values tend to run in the direction of liberals (she’s pro women’s rights, and she’s ALL for gay rights).

    At least UNTIL trans women are introduced to the equation.

    Brennan is an old school radical lesbian feminist. Which is to say she subscribes to the super silly idea that trans women are secret agents of the patriarchy, infiltrating women’s space with the sole intention of destroying feminism from the inside. Or something. The idea that maybe trans women want into women’s space because they ARE women is a foreign concept that’s never entered her mind.

    And Brennan is only against what she considers “queer” ideals, not gay or lesbian ones. Which is to say she’s against the whole idea of including the “T” in LGBT.

    Her main excuse it that trans women “erase and silence” her. Even though she has like a gazillion websites that attack trans women, and she give lectures at the annual radfem conferences. She’s ALSO deeply terrified that trans women will use the dreaded Cotton Ceiling theory to “shame” and “coerce” her and other lesbians into having sex with trans women. Even though she acknowledges she’s NEVER had sex with a trans woman and never will. And even though NO lesbian EVER has been “shamed” into doing so. Because apparently, having an enjoyable sexual tryst with a trans women would cause the international lesbian league to immediately revoke her gold star lesbian card. Or something.

    In short, Brennan seem to feel her cis-ness gives her the right to decide for everyone else who is or isn’t a woman. OR a lesbian.

    But she’s wrong.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for your comment.

    The reference to “liberals and queers” is taken directly from their quote, so in the least they’re operating with different definitions of “liberal” and “conservative”, and in this context I interpret it in relation to feminism (second wave vs. third wave / queer theory), which makes more sense than in a traditional political context.

    But yeah, I’m well aware of Cathy Brennan and her unapologetic cissexist bigotry. I couldn’t see her name under that post though, so I avoided mentioning her. It is pretty blatantly obvious that her “activism” is rooted in bigotry, and I’ve seen a lot of radical feminists distancing themselves from her and her kind as well. Even more so in mainstream feminism.

    At the end of the day they’re more or less irrelevant in modern feminism and are mainly perpetuating an old second wave war between several groups who accuse each other of affirming various forms of normativity and who tend to hold a deeply conspiratorial view of patriarchy. Different radical second wave groups are having a sandbox fight over who supports the patriarchy more: Straight women who date men, or political and actual lesbian feminists who tend to be very femmephobic and masculine-centric. They tend to hold conflicting views like wanting to abolish gender while rigorously patrolling their self-defined borders of sex and in the process both appropriate the identity “lesbian” and “woman”.

    A woman (trans or cis) who dates other women (trans or cis) have the right to define her sexuality as she wishes and it is not something Brennan & Co have the right to police. I couldn’t care less what they think, but I do care when they publicly harass and stalk people like Brennan is well known for. It is sad that US anti-discrimination laws are so weak. Over here she would never be allowed to continue her vendetta.

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  3. “The reference to “liberals and queers” is taken directly from their quote, so in the least they’re operating with different definitions of “liberal” and “conservative”, and in this context I interpret it in relation to feminism (second wave vs. third wave / queer theory), which makes more sense than in a traditional political context.”

    Yeah, the ONLY reason Brennan rails against the “queer” and “liberal” labels is because “queer” and “liberal” circles INCLUDE trans people. She’s totally against the “T” being in “LGBT”.

    “At the end of the day they’re more or less irrelevant in modern feminism and are mainly perpetuating an old second wave war between several groups who accuse each other of affirming various forms of normativity and who tend to hold a deeply conspiratorial view of patriarchy.”

    Sadly, I’m not so sure about that anymore. While it’s true the majority of feminists do not follow “radical” principles, their movement seems to be gaining some steam in recent years. More radfem conferences and speaking engagements seem to be cropping up. Feminists like Meghan Murphy push extreme radical feminist ideals under the guise of “mainstream” feminism. Food activist and environmentalist Lierre Keith uses her environmental group Deep Green Resistance to push radical trans hatred. And there seems to be a growing group of young college women in women’s study classes who seem to get to the 2nd wave part of feminist history, only to stop reading any further. Which is a shame given how much farther feminism has gone since then. Radical feminism’s “gender critical” theory (which may, on the surface, seem somewhat logical) has rapidly devolved into “trans critical” hatred, targeting trans women specifically. Seriously, I never hear a radfem ANYWHERE accuse a cis woman of “upholding the patriarchy”, no matter WHAT her choice of gender expression. But they SURE will attack trans women with it.

    We also must acknowledge radfem’s ACTIVE attempts to take away the rights of trans people. Brennan herself has already co-written a letter to the U.N. against trans rights (which thankfully was rejected), and she’s currently involved with the Pacific Justice Institute (an anti-gay group, no less) in an attempt to role back California’s trans student protection laws. This woman is no longer simply misguided or obnoxious, she’s downright dangerous. So while they are (thankfully) a minority, they’re not so “irrelevant” anymore. They’re pushing a “trans rights destroy cis women’s freedom” meme which may sound somewhat reasonable to a cis person with little understanding of trans people. They push the idea that trans women are all “molesters” and “perverts” that feeds into the underlying defense that ALL cis women use whenever they say trans women shouldn’t be allowed in women’s spaces. They invade ANY forum they can to try to push these ideas on gullible cis woman.

    These women are dangerous, and they are fighting hard and dirty. It’s time for us to fight back.

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