A professional’s path to gender heresy
I will personally vouch for the bona fides of this writer. They are in fact everything they claim to be and everything they say is an informed, professional opinion based on empirical evidence and personal experience. This essay is long, but informative, and was censored by Medium.com last week within moments of publication. It will also be appearing at Uncommon Ground later this week. Platforming stories like this one is a key reason for the existence of this website and newsletter.
Many people who have known me for longer than a year have taken note that I have recently made what they see as a hard shift to the right, politically. And while I understand their inclination to believe I’ve drifted from my leftist roots hoping for a more equitable and safe society due to what they may see as harmful rhetoric coming from me as of late, I must sincerely disagree. I would argue that it is they themselves who have abandoned reason, justice, advocacy, and logic.
Here is my story of how I got here.
As long as I’ve been politically active, which is since Bush Jr. was president, I’ve fallen harder and harder left on most issues. From income inequality, racial disparities across the board, same sex marriage, to protesting the Walker administration in Wisconsin after Act 10, the more I got into activism, the more made sense to me and the more I felt at home in my beliefs. I met a lot of women that I came to look up to as mentors in the movement, and while I’ve always been loud and opinionated myself, I am also a careful and curious observer who likes to learn from others.
I remember being at my undergrad social work internship the day same sex marriage was legalized. We all were excited and running to each others’ offices, cheering, high fives, the whole thing. I felt a sense of accomplishment. I wasn’t LGB myself, but I had a lot of friends that were, and I couldn’t come up with any reason they shouldn’t get to just love whoever they love. It didn’t hurt anyone, so it was a non-issue. To deprive them of this right would be unjust. Our country got it right, thankfully. That said, I wasn’t really paying attention to much more than that in the LGBT community, at that point. I was too overwhelmed doing multiple majors in school and dealing with some serious health issues at the time to invest myself further into anything.
Around 2012 or so while active in the Wisconsin protests, I met a similarly aged man in the activist movement. Some activists realized that I knew my way around the mental health system well. I knew how to help low income individuals find services and get therapy. I knew how to help them apply for community aid or other programs. So, on occasion, some would come to me, often in times of crisis, desperate for help. C was one of those people. I don’t remember if C reached out to me, or if someone else did on his behalf, but I ended up meeting with him a few times after he had serious domestic incidents where the police were eventually called by neighbors because he was losing his mind and flipping out on his partner. He went to jail at least once, but probably more. He was taken inpatient to the local hospital more than once as well.
During my time trying to help C, it was clear he was suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, a Cluster B disorder. I knew it just from one meeting. The doctors confirmed it while he was in inpatient treatment. His partner at the time wanted to stay with him and give him a chance to get better. I admired her courage. I brought them both books on BPD, DBT workbooks, lots of “how I got better from BPD” books, etc. I hoped that this would at least guide him, and help his partner understand what he was going through, and how best to safely set boundaries and still keep herself sane.
She didn’t last long. Soon, her parents were coming from out of state to rescue her from the relationship. Being entirely too familiar with BPD, I can’t say I blamed her at his stage of his treatment.
Before long, I found out C was in the hospital again. I went to visit. During the visit, I found out that C was now identifying as a trans woman. C was going to go by a feminized version of their name, and was a woman now.
I was visiting C inpatient in the mental ward, where C was involuntarily detained for BPD outbursts so bad he attacked his partner and ended up being arrested again. Trashed the apartment. Holes in walls. The whole thing.
To say I was shocked at this immediate affirmation is to put it lightly. A whole crux of BPD causes one to struggle with an unstable sense of self and to constantly grapple with the question, “Who am I?” It becomes a constant fight of re-defining oneself and a nonstop battle against doubt and self-hate while experiencing a very real sense of not belonging anywhere. To so easily diagnose someone in a full on BPD crisis episode as trans without even stabilizing the BPD? Were they crazy? I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t the expert. I knew a lot, sure, but I wasn’t an expert. (Yet.)
When C got out of the hospital, he demanded his children call him mom, started crowdfunding for laser hair removal on his face, and got into roller derby.
This incident definitely planted one of the first “terf” seeds.
(I stayed in touch with C for a couple years, but if I’m honest, their timeline was full of constant chaos and drama, so I chose to walk away from that relationship entirely once I was in another state.)
Trauma and Instability
Meanwhile, I had a girlfriend whose teenage daughter I had spent some time with, K. K was into anime and cosplay and all sorts of stuff teenagers get into. Having grown out of those phases myself, I had a ton of old art books, supplies, anime posters, and other items that I gave her. I observed over time as she taught herself to sew and made the most incredible cosplay costumes all from scratch. She mastered makeup and being able to make herself look like any character she wanted to play. To say it was impressive doesn’t give nearly enough credit.
K’s home life wasn’t the best, though. She was a mixed race child to a white mother. Her father wasn’t in the picture. Her mother remarried to a really unwell army vet who had some addiction and abuse problems that resulted in a lot of issues. There were also two younger half brothers in the house from this marriage. While I will not make any attempts to diagnose K, I can safely say she suffered enough trauma in this home to make note of, and that growing up multi racial in such a conservative and white area, I’m sure had some impact too. I am as white as they come and moving there was even tough on me, having come of age in a far more diverse area. I can’t even imagine what not being white there would be like. I’m only speculating, but I am willing to bet that some of these traumas contributed to what would happen later.
After I’d known K and her mother for a couple of years, K began seeing a kid from her cosplay circles. I honestly wasn’t sure of this kid’s gender because they were always dressed up, they were all going through puberty, and frankly, it didn’t matter to me if K was gay or straight. It wasn’t my business. I was a very gender non-conforming teenager myself. I had a shaved head for my last year of high school. I had people shouting at me all the time, “Are you a boy or a girl!?!” I knew that kind of nonsense didn’t matter, so I just chilled with her mom as we were interrupted by screeching teenagers on occasion, no big deal. Until a few months later when K came out as some new pronouns and non-binary, and then a bit later as a he/him transman. I saw as her whole friend group were coming out nonbinanry or trans one way or the other. The entire cosplay group full of teens from all over Wisconsin were soon coming out as trans and non-binary and asserting new pronouns. Then then went on to say they were in “gay” or “queer” relationships (but not really?). They honestly reminded me a lot of the “goth” kids when I was in high school, and the “emo” ones that came with the next group. The implications of this thought are worrisome.
I thought, surely, this must be a phase and she will get through it. I know she had a lot of issues with men as a result of her abusive step dad. I also saw how much her little brothers got doted on while she was tasked with being a second caretaker more than a kid herself. I saw that she didn’t have a single positive female role model in her life with any consistency.
That planted another seed.
While in undergrad, I served in student government. One of the things we voted on were gender neutral bathrooms in the dorms. This particular gender neutral bathroom was on one floor, and open to either gender. There were still sexed bathrooms for males and females. Without hearing a single negative thing from any constituents, I went with my libfem values, and voted in favor of the gender neutral bathrooms. The resolution passed. Gender neutral bathrooms in the dorms happened. This made sense to me at the time as I figured some people may certainly be uncomfortable if they are struggling through gender identity issues on campus, and they absolutely deserve a safe space to shower and change.
In my sociology major, I met R, a younger woman, who at least from a distance seemed to share similar values to me. I was a non-traditional student, returning for a second degree on my way to grad school, so I was a good bit older than a lot of the students. If I’m honest, R was a lot like I was in high school. Blue hair, crazy makeup, wild outfits. I was cool with it. Been there myself and we all have to go through our various phases on our paths to being well rounded adults.
R and I would sit together in our sociology courses. She was gifted at math, I wasn’t. Somehow, I made it through stats and research methods (some dreaded classes in a SOC major) with my grades intact. She struggled, though. Not because she wasn’t smart, but because she was going through some major mental health issues constantly. When we weren’t talking course material or politics, her nonstop topic was how much she hated her dad. How much she wanted her mom to leave him. How abusive he was. All the ways he’d wronged her. She despised him, I don’t know what else to say there. It was clear she was suffering from a good bit of trauma, so much that she’d just disappear and stop showing up to classes, stop turning in course work, stop replying to people. She’d just fall off the map. I did my best to advocate to get her help. I emailed a couple of our mutual professors in the social work department that I trusted to reach out to her, but I’m not sure if anything ever came from it. I know that she really struggled through, and I didn’t feel she was receiving substantial enough mental health treatment for the stuff she was struggling with.
R was the person who first introduced me to a lot of the new language that I was previously completely ignorant of. She called me “Cis” as a way to dismiss what I might think because I wasn’t as “queer” as she was. I wasn’t really sure what that meant, but I figured, “Sure, if she’s gay and I’m a striaght married chick, I’m sure there’s some stuff I don’t get that she does, cool.” That was the end of that. I think I even remember saying to her, “Yeah, I don’t really get all that.” I didn’t know if she was gay or not. I didn’t know what any of it meant. I hadn’t heard the word “queer” used by straight people though, so I had to assume. (How naive I was.)
In hindsight, it was rather presumptuous of her to make this claim, knowing of the term what I do now. If you want to talk about gender non-conforming, I had this girl beat hands down in every stage of my life. I was a tomboy from the time I could walk and only had “masculine” interests, from GI Joes as a kid, playing with all the neighborhood boys in the dirt fields throwing rocks at each other, D&D in the 80’s and 90’s with the guys, to having a mohawk then shaved head in high school. I joined the army in the only combat arms MOS women could do at the time. I mean, if anyone was gender non conforming, it was me. But none of that nonsense mattered to me and I didn’t need any special labels or considerations. I was just me. I like what I like. I wear what I wear. None of that changes who “I” fundamentally am. It’s just stuff I do in this world with my body. It doesn’t make up my identity.
R also explained to me how on different days she felt different ways. Again, I didn’t understand it much and just shrugged and accepted her. I didn’t see how it changed anything anyways. She’d complain that her binder was hurting her some days.
“I felt more masculine today so I used a binder on my breasts to dress masculine.”
I still didn’t know what I was dealing with here, so I accepted. She must have her reasons. Just because I didn’t understand them didn’t mean they weren’t valid, I figured.
Most days though, R arrived in full on hot topic dresses, leggings, boots, full on glam makeup, and hair colored blue or pink or purple. Those were on the days she “felt” feminine? Okay I thought… I have days I dress a bit nicer too… for like weddings and such, so cheers I guess? To this day I still don’t get how this non-binary nonsense is anything different from what I went through in high school refusing to submit to the female stereotypes I was being sold and told I had to conform to. I never did and never would. I wear makeup maybe once a year. I wear dresses even less frequently. I wear my hair in a bun every single day. I wear ridiculous baggy clothes for comfort. I don’t get how any of that makes me less of a woman. I am a woman because of my lived experiences on this earth, in this society, in this body. My experience in my meatsuit, and the way the world has treated me as I’ve navigated my way through it in said meatsuit, is what makes up who I am. Not the clothes or accessories I choose to wear on any given day. How meaningless, stereotypical, and shallow.
Still, perhaps there was something I didn’t understand and it’s in my nature to give the benefit of the doubt.
My years of interacting with R and her quest in non-binary land planted some more seeds.
(R eventually graduated, then pursued a Ph.D in psychology in California, struggled through a couple semesters, then dropped out and moved back to Wisconsin. She has recently blocked me for not seeing her as not female).
Mental Health/Sex Offender
During my MSW internship, I was sent to work as a therapist at an institution for involuntarily committed sex offenders. These are the guys whose crimes are so bad that even after they’ve served their prison sentences, they are deemed too dangerous to release to the public, so they are sent to our institution indefinitely, or until a judge deems them rehabilitated and orders them released. Our job was to reduce their recidivism and rehabilitate them (or to do our best to try).
This was a life changing experience for me. Going every day of my life into an institution where I walked around the same halls as some of the most sexually violent men in the country, all on my own, no weapons, no escorts, and I had to trust none of them to grab or attack me. Had to trust I could get to a panic button. Had to trust the guards would watch their cameras and see it happening and come to my rescue. I learned to firm my boundaries hard as stone there. I learned to stay quiet and observe. I learned to ask a lot of questions, and did I ever.
I was blessed with the best supervision I could ever ask for. Some of the top experts in the country on issues of paraphilia, sexuality, male violence, etc. I spent endless time reading through court documents, studies, case files, descriptions of the violent and grotesque crimes my clients had committed. I read the most horrific things imaginable about them, and then had to file that in the back of my mind and still see them as human beings in need of help and compassion. I was able to do that. I set my values and fear and even my anger at what they’d done to children and women aside in hope that something I could provide would help these patients find some relief from the things that tormented them. When I finally left, I received feedback that I had made a difference to some of them, so that must count for something.
Listening to them in their group and individual sessions was where I started to break from my libfem roots. This institution had a mix of groups. We had high/low IQ, and high/low psychopathy clients. They were housed in different units. I worked with the high IQ high psychopathy population. Aside from the common theme of abuse, trauma, and being victims of sexual abuse themselves, I learned just how much pornography was a massive contributing factor to a lot of these guys offending in a variety of ways. A common theme was men with what some would call a micropenis. Others didn’t have a micropenis, just what they viewed as one that is small. They see huge penises in porn. They get a major complex that they’ll never be able to please a woman. Add in some trauma and deviance, and down the escalator to hell they go. One that I remember well was a man that told me about how he targeted little girls. He did this, he said, because they wouldn’t be disappointed by the size of his penis like adult women would be. They wouldn’t know what they were missing, so they’d enjoy it. It was the only way he felt he’d get any sexual release, so he perfected preying on little girls. This is a rabbit hole I could write on quite a bit (sex offender treatment, reducing recidivism, pornography), but I don’t want to go too far off topic. Nonetheless, hearing and seeing inside the minds of high level committed sex offenders that year, it fundamentally changed me.
During my time there, I had a lot of questions. My supervision was amazing. One day I asked, naively, “What about female sex offenders, do we treat them?”
My boss chuckled.
“It’s not that they don’t exist, but they’re so rare. And they’d rarely if ever need this type of treatment. It’s usually an entirely different approach for an entirely different cause…” and he schooled me on why I was a shit feminist, without saying as much. I had a lot to learn away from the “but not all men,” and the “women do it too” circles that were pervasive even in the left. Reality wasn’t what some of my allies were guilt tripping me into believing.
So then I asked, “What about trans women?” At this point, still fully believing the “some people are born in the wrong body” line.
Boss paused again. “We have trans women, and we have males with AGP. We keep them in another wing.” Cool. Makes sense.
“Wait, what is AGP?”
That lesson I received that day was… another eye opener. AGP (autogynephilia) was a new but shocking concept. I knew of cross dressers, but this was a whole other level from what I’d imagined. I had no idea this was such a fetish for some men. A growing number of men. In talking with them, common themes were the pornography they consumed, the trauma the personality disorders, this histories of abuse. These males were on female hormones, wore female attire, and put on makeup. But they were still male and they were still capable of being violent rapists as they had many times in their past. To think of putting them in female prisons or shelters or homes was so outrageous to me that I couldn’t imagine anyone would ever even suggest something so absurd. Little did I know, such absurd things would not only be requested, but demanded within a couple of years by the people marching beside me for social justice in other areas.
More seeds planted.
Once I relocated to the PNW, I joined a group of folks online trying to start a D&D group, always being sure to add the “please be inclusive” because I didn’t want anyone to feel unwelcome. One of the people offered to host, and we graciously accepted. We went to their home a few times, and in the end it didn’t work out because this person scared the shit out of some of us. Not because they were trans. Initially we were not only welcoming of that, but were happy to have a good mix of people (for once we had a really diverse group of not all white dudes, a rarity in tabletop gaming). But things got weird. In the game this person acted really strange. But that wasn’t all of it. Before long it got fairly uncomfortable for me. I noticed that this person was really fixated on me out of everyone. I was the only female in the group. They almost seemed to be studying me. They also went way over the top with trying to accommodate us. After reflecting, I realized this person was just trying so hard to be some ideal stereotype of a woman. Having tons of baked stuff they made, tons of bottles of wine for us… I don’t know how to explain it really, but we all felt it was just super over the top. Before long, due to this person’s antics, and what one of the others in the group confided in me felt like “an emotional vampire,” using us for validation, a few of us decided to bail from the group and start our own.
(I’m not really sure if this even planted seeds because I don’t like to paint anyone with the same brush, but it’s another experience to file away with the many others.)
Around the same time, I had another friend from an old social circle going through some things of her own. I don’t have a lot of details, just little tidbits from what little she told me or I saw happen online from a distance. My friend had two young daughters and was married to a college professor who she adored. After years of marriage and starting their family together, and moving around the country supporting his career, her husband unexpectedly came out as a trans woman. This seemed to come out of nowhere and was shocking for my friend. Still, she was super supportive. So supportive that when a local feminist “terf” wouldn’t affirm gender identity at the local school her children attended, the feminist was attacked by an online mob and threatened that she must submit to the group think, or lose all she held dear. She did not submit, and she lost everything. She lost her radio spots, she lost being able to play music at local establishments, and she had her name ruined all over that tight knit city. Her life was drug through the coals for refusing to submit to trans ideology. I think I may have contributed to this mob, if I’m honest (I have since reached out and personally apologized to this woman, and have written to some of the orgs that canceled her to explain why I joined the mob, why I regret it now, and why I was wrong to do so. I highly recommend anyone who has engaged in these mobs do what you can to undo some of the damage to women’s careers. It is not feminist to destroy women for disagreeing with you about their own rights).
I’m not sure how long it was, but it was only a matter of time before my friend’s marriage collapsed, and her formerly masculine husband moved on to live his new life in his new trans woman identity, leaving my friend a single mother. I honestly don’t know how her views are these days because I am afraid to speak about it for fear of offense, but I can’t imagine it’s been an easy journey for her. This same friend started a petition to get pink and blue out of toy aisles years ago. I imagine it must be hard to fight against gender stereotypes in toys and clothes, teaching her daughters that what they wear and like doesn’t change them, while also seeing their biological father live in feminine stereotypes and claim womanhood. I can’t even imagine. I know this woman to be strong though and I just hope that everything works out as best it can for her. I believe she is dating women now.
(More seeds planted.)
After receiving my MSW and LICSW, I moved and took some time off of my activism work to deal with some health issues. I was more active online, not that anything any of us did changed much. Mostly we were just screaming with each other in echo chambers, but it felt good to have a sense of belonging with like minded people and to have what most humans crave, some sort of social tribe. It’s in our nature to want to be accepted and validated, so it makes sense we’ll find and attract like minded people. What could go wrong? Surely not groupthink algorithms. Big tech would never do something like that to us.
Fast forward. Another year has gone by and now a distant male family member (G) in Wisconsin has a huge facebook group (several of them actually) of thousands of leftists. At first the groups were pretty fun. Picking apart right wing fallacies. Making fun of ridiculous things GOP folks would say that obviously weren’t based in reality. It was a relief to be around people who seemed to understand that we are all in this together and do better if we lift each other up. Before long however, things started changing.
Language started being policed. Even if I made fun of MY OWN health issues as a way to cope with them, I was called ableist and out of line. Saying, “the truck slid down the hill on the ice, it was crazy!” brought me a chorus of “ableism! How dare you!” I was like, “What the fuck? Are they this fucking fragile?”
I started to bow out of that crumbling group then, but lurked for a bit. My husband spent less time online, but before long, they got him too. “If you refuse to date trans women, you are a transphobe!” He came to me, confused, “Does this make sense?” We talked through it and thought, “No, this makes no sense. You’re a straight male. Trans women are males. You married a woman with intent to have kids. It sounds super incel rapey and predatory to me, so I suggest ignoring them. They must be an out of control sect of the trans folks/activists who are just extreme I guess?”
(More seeds planted, we’ll have a giant TERF garden soon at this rate.)
Trans as “Most Oppressed People Ever” to Shut Down Dissent–Enabling Predatory Behaviors in Silence
At some point, G and I got into a disagreement over one of the ways they were silencing people in the group. I felt they were being really thought policing. We argued a bit, but we could do that, at the time. I was winning the argument, so out of nowhere, G pulled his trans card. “I’m trans.” He did it in a way meant to shut me down. In a way meant to say, “I am more oppressed than you are, so I get a bigger say here.”
My reaction was shock I guess. G is a masuline male. He’s a bit obsessed with himself and his looks and his hair plugs, but he’s never remotely lived as a woman. But, what could I say? “Okay. I didn’t know. Let us know how best to support you.” And I was silenced as a woman right there. He asked me not to tell his family. He said that if I outed him to his family, he would “just die!” Alright, got it.
More time went on. I’d had a falling out with G over his and his fiance’s behavior at other family events I’d gone to, and he used that to kick me from the facebook group. I didn’t care, I had already stopped interacting quite a while at that point and was sick of his gaslighting and dismissive demeaning behaviors.
Fast forward several months. I started receiving DM’s from people concerned G was preying on vulnerable women. Now, let me explain. G is a college professor. He teaches English. He was working on his thesis. He also is a textbook narcissist. I think one could argue he meets every single one of the nine diagnostic criteria points for NPD. He’s done awful things in the years I’ve known him. From cheating on long term girlfriends that were full on supporting him, to convincing girlfriends to have abortions (while in school) promising they’d marry and have kids when done (then he’d leave them), to trying to stop girls from leaving him with suicide threats and attempts. Years ago, after enough suicide attempts, I brought him to live with my husband and I for some time, until his addictions were so out of control I couldn’t have him in my home. Once he left, another suicide attempt to get back at everyone that wouldn’t do what he wanted. We all learned to stop jumping at his suicide attempts because he did it so often and never very earnestly.
Now, here was this textbook narcissist, in charge of a group with thousands of young women. He was a very charismatic guy. He could talk most people in circles with philosophy and rhetoric. He was very pompous, too. But a lot of girls fell for his charm. The DM’s I received told me that G was making unwanted advances at young women, pressuring them into more personal conversations, demanding to be added to snapchat, etc. I heard about all sorts of girls who were kind of creeped out but too afraid to speak because of the power he wielded in the group and not wanting to lose their social group. Already no contact with him, I reached out to his sister who I knew he was close to. I basically said something like, “Hey, getting a lot of reports your brother is being a total creep on women and it’s not looking great for him. Can you have a talk with him? Could be career ending stuff!” She let me know she heard similar and would talk to him. Right on.
A few more months go by and his whole world blows up. He crosses the wrong woman. He has convinced a young lady in another state that he is single, that he wants her to move to be with him, and he will take care of her. He has courted her. He has pressured her to send pics. He has pressured her to video chat sexually. She posted a huge detailed list of things he’d done in all his groups, receipts and all. Then more women started coming forward. It was a shitshow for a few days. What he hadn’t told the other girl was that he was in fact not only engaged, but had also gotten married in the time he was convincing her to come live with him. He had her planning her life to go live with him. Many other women started to come forward too. Some were lesbians. Lesbians who he pressured into sex with him at cocaine fueled parties, claiming he was trans and that made him a lesbian (I know because he is so slick he send snaps of them all doing lines of coke, so smart). Several of these lesbians came out as victims of his grooming, manipulation, and abuse too.
I was outraged. I saw him for who he is. He is a predatory male using his power and charisma to prey on vulnerable, much younger women, abusing his positions of authority to do so. As a victim of this type of abuse myself when I was younger, I really detest this kind of behavior. I posted about it because I myself had added a lot of my female friends to his groups, and I wanted them to all be warned to stay away from him and leave the groups so they’d not be preyed on as well. I felt like a fool for putting people I knew and cared for in his path. I cared more for the victims than I did for the guy who thought he could just do whatever he wanted to women and get away with it. That was another eye opening experience.
All his groups got nuked and he left facebook, snapchat, and all other social media in shame. Nothing he could say would redeem him at this point. But other groups existed that were in the same circles and still more popped up. People online had taken what I’d written and gotten mad at ME for, the best part, “misgendering” G. G who I have known for 15 years. 15 years of me knowing exactly who he is, how he manipulates and uses people, how he doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself, how nasty he is to others, etc. Further, and more importantly, let us not forget that he himself had asked me not to out him. He himself had made that request of me. Thus, it puts me, as one technically in his family, who has to continue to use he/him. But the mob didn’t want to hear that. They didn’t want to hear that this narcissistic abuser of women was using the trans identity to prey on vulnerable women. Nope, the biggest crime that occurred that day was me misgendering G with the pronouns he himself asked me to use. Me, someone who knew him far better than anyone on the damn internet.
I was confused. I was writing things like, “G actions are hurting trans people, why would you do stuff like this?” I still felt this must be outsider behavior. The “real” trans community wasn’t like this, surely.
Some of the last seeds were planted here. This also started to water all those seeds.
After all the issues with G, I started feeling myself think some “very terfy” things. Worried I was guilty of some sort of not getting it or not listening to the right people, I reached out to a trans woman friend I knew. They were a partner to a female friend I had back in Wisconsin, and seemed perfectly reasonable when we met. They were kind enough to talk to me on the phone, which I appreciated. We began talking about trans issues. I felt that my questions, from a female perspective, were dismissed. I felt a bit gaslit, but tried to be open minded and tried to stay kind. I’d argue things like, “But he isn’t more oppressed. To use that identity to shut people down from speaking is wrong.” And rather than realizing that in fact, G HAD benefited from male privilege his entire life, and couldn’t possibly understand the experiences of being female, the experiences of being the women he forced into having abortions, being the women whose nudes he solicited and then shared with friends, the experiences of being the women that had to flee the state to escape his narcissistic abuse, or the feelings of the women he strung along playing with while living double/triple lives. And this person I trusted to keep me from going full terf and to teach me what “real” trans people were totally fumbled this ball. They told me that I couldn’t possibly understand how oppressive it must be for him to have to stay stealth at work and to his family and in all areas of life, and to only be able to be out online. I thought, “Stealth? Are you kidding? This guy is the king of his guy group. They all party with him. He’s the king of the show everywhere he goes.” I was told I have to accept and embrace his transition, and understand that the things he’s doing may just be because he’s confused.
What. The. Fuck? This didn’t feel right.
Soon after, in a post online questioning the biological advantages of people born male, who went through male puberty, and then compete in women’s sports, this person whom I thought was “one of the reasonable ones” showed up on my timeline to tell me that biology doesn’t matter, identity does, and that this was fair to women. That my continued questions were harming them, so they were going to unfriend me so that they didn’t feel abused. Me having questions about women getting their skulls crushed in sports is destroying your mental health? Really? And you want to argue this isn’t a mental health issue? Really? You can’t have a frank discussion about biology? So that person then TERF’d me.
Enter their partner, who I’d known for like 12 years. She knew me fairly well. She knew me to be fair minded and we agreed on most issues. We both spent years in the same activist community in Madison, WI. She came in and shouted me down. How dare I question the narrative I was being fed? Nevermind that I spent many years in martial arts and know very well the difference in power between males and women in sport. Never mind that I spent 3 years in the military wearing gear made for males, trying to keep up with male paces, and fracturing and breaking bones to do it, causing lifelong injuries and pain. We are fundamentally different. That is okay. To deny this is to deny biological realities, and I refused to be gaslit. She actually said to me, “How dare you gate keep with your education.” As if my education doesn’t qualify me to explore this issue in more depth? As if it isn’t my education that qualifies me to enter this debate?
Enter the zinger. This is where my friend of many years tells me that her teenage daughter came out as trans, and has already had her top surgery, which she claims has been life saving. I was aghast. She had the healthy breasts removed from her little teenager, a teenager that probably was just a lesbian. Said teenager was en route for cross sex hormones, too. I had to think, with less than 1% of the population, what are the odds of two in one home? And of it only manifesting in the teenage girl after her mother left her father for the trans woman. Just really, what are the odds? It’s almost like a trauma response. They blocked me for daring to understand that XX, XY, and intersex conditions are what biology proves. For understanding that intersex conditions do not provide for an argument that suddenly, a magical spectrum exists. I have a degree in sociology. I understand what social construct means. I had it crushed into my mind for years at multiple high ranked universities.
These kids don’t seem to.
Getting dogpiled by people on my side of the political spectrum for misgendering my very male presenting family member, G made me realize I couldn’t normalize this type of treatment of people any longer. There had been a lot of things in those leftist groups that people had completely stopped talking about out of fear. I’m not sure how the little anti fascists can claim not to be facsist while literally thought and language policing people for daring to go against groupthink or bringing up critical questions for discussion. Surely these anti fascists would believe in robust debate about issues that impact us all, right? To see them all just mob on people and shut down anyone for anything made me take a few steps back from the movement I’d been so immersed in for so long. This isn’t what I was fighting for. This is no different than what the evangelicals in Wisconsin were doing to me. Submit. Submit to our beliefs, our language, our values, or you’re a bad person and you’re out of the group and out of the family and will never feel a sense of belonging with us again! Questions are unwelcoming, submission is the only acceptable outcome.” I fled Wisconsin after finishing my education there because so much of the state felt so cult like. It was oppressive and robbed me of happiness. Now, here were my people, doing the exact same shit with their own cultish, hypocritical ideology full of inconsistencies, logical fallacies, circular logic, and best of all, threats and insults at people who had anything to say.. Questioning any inconsistencies didn’t bring about discussion or reasonable responses, it brought social ostracisation. It didn’t feel very free, honest, or intelligent.
If I’m honest, iIt felt an awful lot more like a cult (another subject I’ve studied comprehensively).
I see people often retort, “educate yourself!” This has to be one of the most frustrating things to deal with, day in and day out. A bunch of young people who learned this ideology on tumblr and other social media, screaming at me, a woman with 5 relevant undergrad majors, and an advanced degree in mental health, and with experience treating males with AGP. A woman who grew up in an extremely diverse area, overcame profound poverty and a family full of addicts and mental illness. A woman who, despite undiagnosed birth defects like congenital heart failure, joined the military and pushed herself through three years of some of the most awful experiences in order to drag herself from the poverty she was born into and get herself a college education. A college education she went on to do extremely well in. I scored well enough for the VA they’d let me study anything I wanted. I received 5 majors, all almost entirely with straight A’s. I was on the Dean’s List every semester and in the honor societies for several of my majors. I even served as VP of our local NASW group, and was an officer in other social work clubs. I received majors in English, history, sociology, social work, and philosophy (emphasis in religious studies) as well as a minor in political science. I did so well that the VA took the unusual step to also pay for my advanced degree. That doesn’t happen often. I received my MSW in mental health from a highly competitive top ten university. I have my LICSW and I treat sex offenders. I have worked in social services in human trafficking, and in DV legal advocacy. I have staffed DV shelters. I have rescued women and driven them cross country to flee their abusers on limited notice. I have hidden people in my homes when they needed to escape abusers. I’ve financially chipped in to restart women’s lives. I’ve worked in halfway houses treating women who were released to us from jail just in time to not have to deliver their babies in shackles and be immediately separated. We taught them how to properly and safely care for their newborns while in inpatient addiction treatment. Most of these women were victims of severe trauma at the hands of males. Some were trafficked, some were drugged, all were abused. One had her baby almost murdered by the birth father. Many of these girls relapsed on release, lost custody of their babies, and some ended up dead.
So, to sit and tell me to educate myself is at the very least, offensive. I have taken several biology courses, including one specifically for human genetics. I understand sociology extremely well, including this whole “social construct” thing, as evidenced by said degree in sociology and membership in the honor society associated with it. I took sociology of gender courses and even then I saw how ridiculous it was to compare intersex conditions to trans supporting arguments. They are not remotely the same thing and it’s a reach to attempt to compare them. I took multiple biomedical ethics courses as well, and I’m so thankful for those experiences because it’s given me the ability to look deeper, think critically, and has raised unlimited red flags.
I believe that in fact it is my accusers that are the ones that don’t fully understand the difference between sex and gender, and that’s why this whole mess has become such a dumpster fire of epic proportions to begin with. I believe they are the ones who don’t understand that intersex conditions are rare, and even then do not provide for an argument of a spectrum, but instead show that on rare occasions, humans have birth defects. I’m one of those humans. I was born with an S curve in my spine (scoliosis), with congenital heart failure, with a lazy eye, with my leg bones twisted a bit, and am infertile. Those are all things that are a result of malformations when I was developing in my mother’s womb. Maybe it was my father’s agent orange exposure in the military, who knows? But birth defects are birth defects. It doesn’t mean humans are on a spectrum that suddenly everyone has to call their straight spines cis-spines, and their healthy hearts cis-hearts. How absurd would that be? To amend language to place the statistical minorities in the majority? Where else would we suggest such things? Birth defects do not prove spectrums. They prove that environmental and other factors impact fetal development. I’m not interested in whataboutism from the right, so I certainly won’t tolerate it on the left. Engaging in logical fallacies does not lead to robust discussion, is not good for social progress, and has no place in intellectual debate.
This is about where I found out what Gender Critical was. Down the rabbit hole I went. I had heard a small amount about the reality TV show kid Jazz Jennings. Didn’t understand it at the time, thought TLC was cool to go “woke” I guess? Then I read on. The things that child has been put through concern me greatly and I worry that they will not live a full, healthy, and happy life. Not because they are trans, but because they were made trans.
Everyone sold puberty blockers as a “pause button.” Yet, none seem to simply use it as that. One gender clinic in the UK has a 100% referral rate for patients from puberty blockers to cross sex hormones. If it were just a pause button, as they say, then how on earth is there a 100% referral rate to hormones to present as the opposite sex? Is it really harmless? For what it’s worth, we use those exact same meds they use to block puberty to chemically castrate male sex offenders. Think of that what you will.
As a result of being placed on puberty blockers, Jazz Jennings never grew a normal size penis. The penis remained the same size as that of a prepubescent boy. For those that don’t know, part of the process of creating a neo vagina is splitting the penis up and then inverting the skin of the shaft to make the vaginal canal. For an adult male who went through puberty, there is typically enough flesh to do this, as they also utilize the scrotum to create the vaginal canal (if that’s what we want to call it). Some of these are hooked up to the colon to provide lubrication. This surgical operation outcome is what many TRA would have women be forced to call a vagina while referring to their own genitalia as “front holes.” Is this progressive?
Imagine though, your penis never developing. You’ve never had an erection. Never had an orgasm. You’re a teenager now. Rather than letting you come off the puberty blockers and let you develop, your parents and producers and doctors all push you to have surgery now, as a teenager. It wasn’t so much a pause button as a delay till we can legally get surgery, it seems. Well, that poor child has had several botched surgeries now. That child will likely never know an orgasm. That child will never be able to have children of their own. That child was deprived of the opportunity to explore other options, to explore their own sexuality, and was enabled or perhaps even forced to destroy themselves for our entertainment on national TV for their family’s fame and fortune. I truly believe what was done to that child for all to see will be a stain in our history books that is taught in biomedical ethics courses in the future, much like Dr. Money was taught to me as a classic case of what not to do (and yet, we’re doing it en masse now. It’s madness).
Down the Rabbit Hole
I went down the rabbit hole where I learned about:
Cotton ceiling–the idea that lesbians have to sleep with male trans women otherwise they are bigots with a genital fetish.
Boxer ceiling–the idea that gay men must sleep with female trans men, otherwise they are bigots with a genital fetish.
The whole “genital preferences are transphobic” argument, neglecting the fact that in saying this, they are completely negating homosexuality. I hadn’t realized how deeply homophobic the movement/ideology had become.
Threatening to rape, kill, defile, or otherwise typical male violence, at “terfs.” I noticed this anger, hate, and vitriol only extended to women, never men.
Women are now called menstruators with front holes.
Rape shelters losing funding for not letting individuals with penises in, and rape shelters being vandalized, slandered, and attacked. That’s not very femnist nor is it good for women.
Male bodied sex offenders being moved into womens prisons where they have raped. Something I scoffed at only a few years ago.
Male bodied persons in womens shelters where they have assaulted, raped, and engaged in voyerism knowing women will be silenced and kicked out for being bigoted or hateful if they say anything.
Story after story from Trans Widows (women whose husbands, often in middle age, become trans women after years of living as males and husbands). Reading about some of the depravity these women endured shocked me. I had been sold trans women as the most oppressed people on the planet, but here they were pushing their wives boundaries, sexually abusing them, forcing them to do increasingly perverted things from their sissy porn addictions to try to save the marriages. Putting the family into financial ruin with their binge and purge spending sprees to get new outfits and styles and make up, only to toss it and start over. The wives losing their support systems as the husbands are now “stunning and brave” and fawned over while the wives are considered faulted for not being able to make it work with such a brave and miraculous person living their true selves. So, social isolation through narcissistic abuse, check. Nothing new here, I saw it all the time in various social work settings.
I found LGB Drop the T and the LGB Alliance where I found thousands of gay men and lesbians talking about all the ways they have been forced out of their organizations, lost their voices, lost their advocacy, been shouted down, and silenced. They’ve lost a great deal of their culture. Especially lesbians as TWAW has mandated that all lesbian spaces be opened up to male bodied trans people who identify as lesbians, and lesbians are shouted down for not wanting to engage in this abuse. So many of them are back into hiding. How woke.
The kids. Like Jazz Jennings. Kids as young as 4 being put on the trans train. 4!!! What does a 4 year old know!?! I played with He-Man, refused to wear dresses, and did my best to pee standing up with the boys I grew up with around that age!!! They would have trans’d me!!!
I’ve read studies. A minimum of 80% of these kids would likely grow out of it and go on to be homosexual adults. 80%! So if the majority will outgrow it, tell me again why we are putting them on puberty blockers, cross-sex medications, and giving them surgeries that sterilize them and often destroy sexual function? Tell me again why we are EXPERIMENTING on CHILDREN?
I looked into how much the pharmaceutical companies were making off of these new drugs and at how much the surgeons were making with all of these botched surgeries that constantly needed to be redone. I looked at how many were on detrans groups crying out, “How could anyone do this to me? I didn’t know, they didn’t tell me!” Young people just barely into adulthood wishing they could undo all the damage that was done to them, and how the doctors that did the surgeries and promised to make them their true selves were now nowhere to be found to help them. I saw how they were all shouted down, silenced, and told they “were not real trans.”
Well, if they’re not “real trans,” then why were they given puberty blockers, cross sex hormones, and surgeries that cannot restore functioning? Shouldn’t better barriers be put in place? The answer I got often was a resounding, “Shut up terf, die terf, transphobe, terfs get the wall,” and on and on.
I’ve clocked a lot of miles protesting. I’ve protested in Arizona, for years in Wisconsin, and I’ve made my way to Ferguson, Minneapolis, Seattle, and New York for various causes. I’m no stranger to activism and what peaceful protest looks like. I have literally tens of thousands of photographs documenting protests, some of which have been published in various protest books.
Earlier this year, I attended an event in Seattle put on by the Women’s Liberation Front. Here, these “evil terfs” talked about such dangerous things such as womens sex based rights. I know, right? Burn those witches!
For that, they were rewarded with a bomb threat before it even got started that cleared out the building, followed by mobs of protestors outside. The Seattle PD had set it up so that protestors were in front of the library, and women could enter at a set aside entrance. They had to close the rest of the library for safety due to receiving so many threats.
During the talk, people pounded on all the windows, all the doors, and made tons of noise to make us feel threatened and drown us out. Before long, the chorus of protestors inside started going off too with their cult mantra, “Trans women are women!” They were invited to make some points or say some things if they’d like, but instead they just shouted slurs, insults, threats, and repeated their mantra. I think this experience, seeing males outside, and inside, threatening to rape and murder us to our faces, and trying to make us fearful to even attend such a meeting, or to even leave the building, was what peaked my husband. None of the protests we ever went to against any other cause contained rape and death threats. We didn’t call in bomb threats. We didn’t carry weapons. We didn’t try to make people feel unsafe by mule kicking doors making huge explosive sounds. We didn’t protest to terrorize, we protested to be heard. That’s not what these fellas were doing to us. It was purely to terrorize. It was another eye opening experience.
I was shocked to see how for so many, this is in fact, a fetish. It’s AGP. I naively thought that AGP may be unique to the few guys I had in sex offender treatment. I was wrong. AGP is a social contagion that is blowing up among males right now due to heavy porn consumption. There are plenty of studies on the negative impacts of porn consumption done and I recommend looking it into further before defending the industry. The porn being consumed has to keep getting more extreme to be able to give the same dopamine releases, so they keep getting into more extreme things. Users are starting younger and younger these days, and getting more addicted. I’ve been in groups for people recovering from porn addictions, and know many couples are talking about how heavy porn consumption is negatively impacting their relationships, which is considerably. It’s a bit of an epidemic if I’m honest, and one I don’t think enough people are paying attention to. Talk to any relationship counselor or therapist though, and they’ll tell you about some of the problems. It’s no secret we have a fast rising population of teenage boys suffering from ED as a result of the availability of, and overuse of online pornography.
As concerning, the massive increase in young girls that are now choosing to chop off their breasts as young as 12 years old. One gender clinic reported a 4400% increase in females identifying as trans men over ten years. There have been links to friend groups, as one comes out, so do many of the friends in the circle. Should we really be putting these young children on life altering hormones and doing sterilizing surgeries on them? These medications do a great deal of damage to female bodies. Many will need full hysterectomies by the time they’re in their 20’s. It causes heart issues, among others. It’s unconscionable to put children on these once banned medications for obvious mental health concerns that should be treated first.
There is a high prevalence of autism and cluster B disorders in the trans community. Anyone who knows anything about cluster B disorders can understand why affirming these identity issues so rapidly can have negative consequences, especially as patients avoid treatment for said personality disorders in favor of the magic cure of transition and hormones that they’ve been sold. I hope I don’t need to go into why transing autistic children is wrong. Anyone who understands ASD should have a pretty good idea, though.
The suicide rate does in fact not go down after transition, which means it’s not the magical cure we were promised. In fact, studies show it actually increases after transition once individuals realize they were sold a lie, and they can never be fully be the other sex. This is why we are now fighting distortions in language. Not only do they claim to be the other gender now, but also the other biological sex. We are bigots if we deny this new reality they have prescribed for us.
As noted earlier, I ultimately became a social worker. It is my job to treat mental illness and to do my best to guide patients to recovery, or at least to a place where they can live a happier, more fulfilling lives. Social Workers have a code of ethics, they are as follows:
Dignity and Worth of the Person
Importance of Human Relationships
Service: I am tasked with serving people in need and addressing social problems. I would be neglecting my duties to neglect womens sex based rights issues and to force traumatized women to redefine their realities to accommodate an ideology not based in biological reality. The harm to the many outweighs the benefit to the few and should immediately be reconsidered and re-evaluated. Female, sex-based issues were not considered enough when implementing policies to accommodate this new ideology, which means that we have gotten this wrong and need to reconsider with everyone equally at the table.
Social Justice: Advocating for women’s sex based rights fits here. Women are an oppressed group on the basis of sex, not identity. Women deserve womens only services in rape shelters, prisons, and other places of refuge. I have treated too many traumatized women and too many male sexual predators to ever believe that advocating for violating vulnerable and traumatized peoples’ very real boundaries to make other unwell individuals feel validated is warranted. Women should not have to put themselves at risk to play nice. I used to think the “just want to pee” thing was true, until it was proven otherwise. Too many women have been assaulted, too many spy cameras placed, too many little children peeped on and uploaded to porn sites for me to ever change my mind here. I realize people will say, “Laws won’t stop any man from going in there anyways.” Perhaps not, but it’ll make it easier to stop them. I’ve literally seen videos uploaded from trans women, AKA males with obvious autogynephilia wanking themselves off in the mirror, on video. In one of the videos, two little girls walked in, screamed, and ran out. The man was standing there full on nude going off on himself streaming it for his viewers, who cheered it on.
While it is true that that is most certainly not representative of most trans people, undoubtedly, and I do not mean to infer that it does, there have been enough examples that prove that safeguards for female people need to be replaced.
Also, it’s pertinent that I am required to stand up against harassment. Seeing all the women getting threatened with rape and death threats for asking questions about biology, seeing women canceled and lose their careers for daring to not want to shower with penises next to them, seeing academics lose their careers for refusing to submit, seeing entire discussion boards vaporized by big tech, this is oppression of women and it is out of control. I will never stop advocating for women.
Dignity and Worth of the Person: Every human being has worth. Every human being deserves compassion and empathy. Every human being deserves to feel safe and to have human rights. I will not argue otherwise, ever. In fact, those with a great deal of trauma need this shown even more, I get that. But what about the dignity and worth of the Trans Widows? The detrans kids? The women getting pushed out of their careers? The women getting rape and death threats? Why do expectations of dignity and worth only go one way? I have not tried to run any trans person out of a job. I have not tried to deny any trans person safety. The most I have done is, after being attacked, refused to continue with the pronouns. To hear that this is akin to “literal violence” is laughable, as a woman who has been subjected to actual male violence throughout my life. I am not responsible for male violence against trans women, or other males. I am a victim of it as well, and it is not my job to protect males from other males.
The duty to society is great, and to allow less than 1% to oppress 51% is unconscionable knowing what I now know.
Integrity: It would be the ultimate betrayal of trust for me to engage in a lie and lie to my clients, to cause harm to my clients through lies, and to deny reality for clients. My integrity is strong, as are my values, and I will sacrifice my career before I will sacrifice my integrity. And let me make this very clear. There isn’t a single therapist I’ve spoken to at length that disagrees with me on these issues. Where they disagree with me is in their ability to speak out. Their ability to not lose their careers if they go against what they’re being forced to do. I cannot do that. I will not participate in a lie, and I will not go along with medical experimentation on vulnerable gay, autistic, and traumatized children. I absolutely will not.
Competence: In my MSW program, I can remember so many students coming to me with questions after we were told we all had to put pronouns on our nametags and in our email signature. The students all knew me to be a super sjw activist and figured I’d understand it. Truth is, I really didn’t, yet. None of us did. We all had questions. I went with, “Well, I guess it doesn’t hurt any of us, so I guess we may as well if it helps others.”
I note this for two reasons. Nobody in that program could explain it adequately. Not the professors or the students. Nobody understood it. It was just forced on us. It was forced on us in the humanities at my undergrad school, and it was forced on us even more in my graduate program. The places I was free of it were internships devoted to women only services, and sex offender treatment where they don’t parce words for various paraphilias like the leftists that “don’t kink shame” want to go with. News flash, some kinks deserve to be shamed. Many of the sex offenders I treat would call the crimes they committed their kinks.
My whole class of graduating social workers with master’s degrees at a top ten public university didn’t understand it. They remained quiet and didn’t ask questions out of fear. Inevitably, I am sure there were some students that were Gender Critical there and just bit their tongues silently. I wish I had talked to them and learned more then, as I’d have been a much louder voice back in these programs had I known then what I know now. All those kids I graduated with were sent out into the world to treat people with no actual understanding of gender ideology, just that they had to accept it. That goes against everything higher education is for, to be clear. We’re meant to be taught to critically think for ourselves, not just mindlessly parrot ideology as truths without even processing why.
It is my duty to continue to improve my skills, my knowledge base, to continue my training, to be informed. Having done those things on this issue, seeing how detrimental it is to women and children, it would be incompetent of me to not scream from roof tops and raise the red flags anywhere I can.
Of note: Currently the trans lobby in the US is working to remove being trans as a mental disorder. I sincerely hope people start to pay closer attention to what this will mean.
Listen to Trans People!
I have! It is because I have listened to them that I have come to these conclusions. I have plenty of trans friends who agree with me. But the outrageous reality denying TRA activists on the left even try to cancel the trans people they disagree with if it goes against their authoritarian views on gender. They cancel the detrans people, too.
TERF Me Harder
They can’t come for my job, I’m in a gender critical organization, so I’ll speak. I’ll be one of the ones to say, we got this wrong. We need to go back. We need to re-evaluate how we treat gender non-conforming children with personality disorders or with ASD. We need to be much more careful with what medications we are willing to give to children. We should hold the medical community accountable for their years of careless experimentation on vulnerable children and put on full display the damages they have caused. The pharmaceutical industry also needs to be exposed, including how much money they are making off of this, how much they pay to social influencers on youtube and other social media services to continue the narrative and influence more young children. We need to examine how much they lobby the government for legislation for the T agenda which is causing a great deal of harm to an entire generation of vulnerable children, closeting an entire generation or two of lesbians, and silencing women all over the world.
Gender Clinics have already had several whistleblowers come out about the atrocities going on within their walls, yet so many refuse to even acknowledge it.
It has to stop somewhere. I refuse to be steamrolled by this new insidious men’s right movement to put male rapists in womens prisons, subpar male athletes in women’s sports, males with no fashion in female leadership positions, and gender non-conforming children on the trans train to mutilation.
If biological sex isn’t real, then there is no such thing as same sex attraction or homosexuality.
TRA’s have argued themselves in circles with homophobia and misogyny, at the expense of the LGB community and women and girls. It is a snake eating its own tail.
I say enough.
Not in my name.
I will not submit.
“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed–if all records told the same tale–then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”
–George Orwell, 1984
After publishing this on Medium, it was taken down within 5 minutes.
Once posted to Reddit, it was also taken down.
Following JK Rowling’s shining a spotlight on the issue and more women finding the feminist sub r/gendercritical on reddit where they could talk to people like me about concerns such as these, reddit took the action to ban a sub for over 60,000 radical feminists. They were banned from their last free space on the internet where they could come together and discuss women’s issues unique to female bodied people.
The censorship, deplatforming of, cancellation of, and abuse aimed at women is extremely out of control, and I challenge society to take a deep, hard look at the direction we are headed and really determine if this is what is best for us. Letting a few white male tech giants in Silicon Valley determine what is allowed to be free speech and what isn’t is dangerous.
Women deserve their own platform, and I will work to provide one.