Note: For full access to this article as well as all the other benefits of VIP in the Townhall Media family, purchase a VIP subscription. The promo code “Tyler” will get you 5 percent off.
As a red-blooded conservative, I grew up learning that feminism is evil. I was taught to support traditional marriage and oppose abortion, and feminists — especially lesbian feminists — always seemed like my enemies. I was in for a rude awakening. Some of the very feminists I once mistrusted have become my heroes, showing the courage to speak the truth in the face of harassment and violence. So what happened?
Last year, I read about a movement called “Get the L Out” — a group of feminists in the LGBT movement in Britain who rightly objected to the mainstreaming of transgender identity. They wanted to get the “T” out of the LGBT acronym, but eventually settled on getting the “L” out, instead.
“Get the L Out” caused a stir by marching behind a banner reading, “Transactivism Erases Lesbians.” Specifically, they argued that transgender activism is fundamentally incompatible with lesbianism. In fact, they accused transgender activism of propping up conversion therapy and rape culture.
Transgender activism “erases” lesbians by promoting their “social transition,” encouraging women who are less effeminate and attracted to other women to identify as straight men, “thus favouring the pretence of heterosexuality over lesbianism … a form of conversion therapy.” Transgender activism also pushes harmful experimental drugs on these lesbians, the group alleged. (Charlotte Evans, a woman who once identified as a man, explained why transgender identity seems particularly seductive to feminist women who believe the Patriarchy still dominates society.)
Perhaps most insidiously, transgender activism “promotes the right of heterosexual males who ‘identify’ as women and lesbians (despite most of them still retaining their male genitals) over the right of lesbians to choose their sexual partners. This new ‘queer’ LGBT politics thus coerces lesbians to accept the penis as a female organ and promotes heterosexual intercourse between male and female as a form of lesbian sex.”
That got my attention. I consider homosexual activity sinful, but I would never dream of forcing anyone to be open to sex against his or her will. The transgender movement is effectively creating a new coercive sexual morality insisting that lesbians — who by definition are only sexually interested in other women — must be open to heterosexual sex, so long as the males who are interested in them claim to identify as women.
At the time I read that, I had already been covering transgender news for about two years. I wrote about a “transgender dragon lady” — a biological male who removed his teeth, colored his eyes, had horn implants, removed his ears, mostly removed his nose, and cut his tongue in half in order to “transition” into a dragon lady. I had written about more mainstream women who had undergone painful surgeries and hormone treatments to affirm their male gender identities — only to detransition and deeply regret mutilating their bodies.
When the Boy Scouts of America embraced transgender identity, I took a stand against the move. As an Eagle Scout, I consider transgender activism a rejection of the Scout Oath to be trustworthy and reverent. In July 2017, I wrote an article about the Bible’s promises to people who struggle with transgender identity.
While I was writing, feminists on the front lines of the gender wars were getting violently attacked for daring to stand up against transgender activism.
In 2017, a man who identifies as a woman and goes by the name Tara Wolf assaulted 60-year-old Maria MacLachlan for the crime of disagreeing with transgender identity.
MacLachlan, a mother of two, posted on Facebook, “Earlier this year, my sympathies for trans people started to evaporate after being shocked at the hatred and abuse and threats of violence being directed at women who think as I do, which is that gender is a load of crap and there’s nothing wrong with being a ‘feminine’ man or a ‘masculine woman’ but the bottom line is that women are adult human females and men are adult human males.”
Women who dare to speak out have been branded “TERFs” — a slur for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” — and been met with threats and physical violence.
Despite this, Miriam Ben-Shalom — the first lesbian to be reinstated to the Army after getting kicked out for her sexual orientation — repeatedly spoke out, and I have been honored to work with her in this battle for reality.
Ben-Shalom had been booted from the Army due to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy, which allowed homosexuals to serve in the military so long as they remained quiet about their sexuality. LGBT activists compared this to Trump’s policy allowing transgender people to serve in the military so long as they lived in accordance with their biological sex over their gender identity.
“As one who helped bring the end to the ban on LGB military service and DADT, I am offended that a mental aberration is being compared to being a sexual human being,” Ben-Shalom told me earlier this year. She insisted that the decision not to endorse transgender identity in the military “isn’t like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell at all.” She would know. She argued that at least seven of the conditions that disqualify people for military service apply to transgender people.
Ben-Shalom, a left-leaning Independent, has spoken out against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for adopting the transgender trend of identifying her pronouns. She condemned the CW show Supergirl when it endorsed transgender identity. It is not easy for women like Ben-Shalom to take these stances, and this kind of courage is inspiring.
Other radical feminists like Kara Dansky and Julia Beck have also spoken out against transgender activism. Dansky, a lawyer with the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) denounced the transgender movement as a “Men’s Rights Movement.” Since transgender activism involves removing sex-based rights from women as a class, Beck has denounced the pro-transgender Equality Act as a “human rights violation.”
These women opened my eyes to the threats of transgender identity. I had long suspected that transgender bathroom policies like those adopted by Target would leave women vulnerable to male voyeurs pretending to identify as women, but these women showed me that these policies also deny women their fundamental human rights to sex-segregated spaces.
Meanwhile, attacks on gender-critical feminists have continued. In February 2019, British police called 74-year-old atheist feminist Margaret Nelson, telling her that her messages on Twitter offended transgender people. She said many others have been contacted by the police, “as there appears to be a campaign to exploit the definition of hate in British law, which is too wide and woolly, by reporting people for causing ‘distress,’ and the police really don’t know how to handle it.”
Activists also hounded Roman Catholic mother Caroline Farrow for her stance on the issue. They did not just attack her, but also her husband, her children, and even her ex-husband. “I’ve just got a team of people, they seem to attach so much importance and so much weight to what I say and they’re just determined to shut down my point of view. They feel that they can be as abusive as they like: they can target my family, target my children, and I deserve it because I’m full of ‘hate’ because I believe that men can’t become women.”
Transgender activists have threatened to pour acid on her face and on the faces of her children and to beat her with a golf club. They even published the identity and contact information of her ex-husband. Yet when Farrow went to the police about this harassment, the cops said it wasn’t a high enough priority. Then a few months later, they investigated her for potential hate speech.
One male writer for Teen Vogue, Rewire, and Vice who identifies as a woman tweeted his desire to eat “transphobes,” in order to provide nutrients for his “starving” baby — when he is eight months pregnant (yes, this would require a womb transplant). “Transphobe” refers to a person who disagrees that biological men can become women (or vice versa) by identifying as the opposite sex.
Meanwhile in Canada, a biological male who goes by the name Jessica Yaniv tried to force women working at waxing studios to service his genitals — and he threatened them with civil rights complaints when they refused. Last month, he finally lost his tenuous legal battle.
Yet when Meghan Murphy, a feminist journalist in Canada, outed Yaniv on Twitter, the platform banned her. Yaniv later bragged about getting her booted from the platform. Murphy had received “numerous, explicit violent threats,” which the company refused to take down. “I have been told to ‘shut up and die,’ to ‘choke,’ to ‘commit suicide,’ and so on and so forth,” she wrote. “All of these tweets, which seem to very clearly fit within the definition of ‘abusive tweets,’ were lobbed my way attached to the word ‘TERF,’ which, as most of you know, is a term used to smear and denigrate those who question transgender ideology.”
“Twitter is in the business of protecting predators and silencing women who try to hold those predators accountable,” she told PJ Media in July. “Twitter should be humiliated. They allowed this predatory man to have me permanently suspended from Twitter just for acknowledging that he was the one responsible.”
Last month, a mob of transgender activists gathered to angrily protest a Meghan Murphy speech. A group called We the Females Canada shared a video contrasting the protests and the speech.
“We will hold them accountable for letting Meghan Murphy into our community spaces,” angry protesters shout.
“I’m not going to say anything controversial or shocking or hateful,” Murphy says.
“Hate speech isn’t free!” protesters shout.
Murphy explains, “I’ve never said that trans people should not have rights or that they’re dangerous. I don’t believe that.”
One angry man chants, “Hate speech isn’t free! Hate speech isn’t free! Hate speech isn’t free!”
Meanwhile, the feminist speaks, “Women have the right to speak about their sex-based rights. They have the right to express valid concerns about the impact of men identifying as women on their safety.”
“Get f*cked. You’d be better off if you went home and bled out on your floor,” one hateful man declares.
Murphy recalls pro-transgender harassment directed against Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter in August. Graffiti read, “Kill TERFs, f*ck TERFs, TERFs go home, you’re not welcome, trans women are women, and trans power!”
“In other words, these activists are threatening women. Extremely vulnerable women, women who are traumatized,” Murphy explains. “Now we’re being told that this is discriminatory, that having spaces for women to protect them from male violence is bigoted.”
Mob frenzy vs rational discourse at the Meghan Murphy talk on Oct 29. See it here. The ending may surprise you. #womensrights #billc16 #meghanmurphy #wethefemales #onpoli #topoli #letwomentalk pic.twitter.com/UboYUS8uHY
— We The Females (@wethefemalescan) November 6, 2019
Women like Meghan Murphy, Miriam Ben-Shalom, Kara Dansky, Julia Beck, Margaret Nelson, and so many others have united to oppose the destructive transgender ideology, despite the threats and violence they and other women constantly face.
I’m a conservative evangelical Christian. I still oppose abortion, support traditional marriage, and push back against the false narrative of the gender pay gap. But I cannot help but be impressed by these feminists who vehemently disagree with me on all those issues.
Feminists are fighting for women’s rights to their own sex-segregated spaces, free from the prying eyes of males and free from the athletic advantages males enjoy over females. Lesbians are fighting for the right to say “no” to biological males.
The topsiturvidom of transgender activism has united strange bedfellows, bringing WoLF together with the Heritage Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom. It has also taught me to appreciate the venomous harridans I once considered irredeemable foes.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.