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.
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.
They write in response:
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.