“Decapitate” and “eat” political adversaries, fantasize about beating them to death with a hammer, or seeing them run over en masse. This is the radical trans movement in the United Kingdom, where disagreement with whether or not a sixteen year old woman can become a man in three months is enough to warrant death threats.
Last week, a political demonstration in Scotland ripped the peaceful veneer off the violence bubbling beneath the surface of the radical trans movement, revealing once and for all that if you will not willingly accept that men can magically turn into women, you will be forced to by increasingly strident threats. In the United States, we’re still mostly polite enough to have these insane conversations in something resembling reasonable language. Hence, The New York Times ponders whether or not parents should have a right to know if their child is changing their gender. At least for now, they’re content to tell the story of the Bradshaws and how their local school hid the reality of what was happening to their son with a straight face, as if every parent doesn’t simply have a right to know their teenager is considering a life altering decision. “The Bradshaws have been startled to find themselves at odds with the school over their right to know about, and weigh in on, such a major development in their child’s life — a dispute that illustrates how school districts, which have long been a battleground in cultural conflicts over gender and sexuality, are now facing wrenching new tensions over how to accommodate transgender children.” Similarly, Yahoo! Life bemoans that pregnant women who present as men complete with beards don’t get the respect they deserve and, perhaps needless to say, it’s your fault for not seeing someone with a mountain of facial hair and assuming they are expecting. “We grow up in a world with books, from preschool on up, that until very recently have not imagined or really represented the diversity of communities as they are,” Dr. Juno Obedin-Maliver explained to the website. “None of our systems have been designed to delineate the difference between somebody’s gender and somebody’s pregnancy capacity.” As Yahoo! Life put it, “Due to the fact that trans male pregnancies are vastly under-researched — not to mention their lack of visibility — the process is clouded with misconceptions” and “until society acknowledges the basic truth that ‘anyone born with a uterus, ovaries and tubes’ has the capacity to become pregnant, there will always be a lack of accurate research and data, leaving trans parents at a disadvantage.”
The underlying propositions in both cases are undoubtedly radical, seeking nothing less than a change in the definition of one of the most defining aspects of the human experience, but the overall language has the veneer at least of civility. In Europe, however, that is increasingly not the case, where the target of trans-activist furor is a group known as TERFs, Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists. Once upon a time, this group was simply known as feminists, those who support women’s rights and believe that women are different from men based on their biological sex. The rise of the radical trans-movement, which believes women and men are interchangeable depending on how a person feels at a given point in their life, and their co-opting of the feminist mantle, has required a forcible rebranding with the express purpose of diminishing their, rather reasonable in my opinion, perspective. Women, according to the trans-activists, are no longer allowed to believe that anything in this world, from shelters for the abused to prisons to who they choose to have sexual intercourse with, belongs exclusively to them. All this, the good, the bad, and the ugly, must now be shared with men who claim to be women, and whether or not the impact on actual women is good, bad, or ugly is irrelevant. The trans-movement is all that matters, and all other concerns have become subservient to the cause, even basic decency, respect for others, and the principles of non-violent protest. Thus, Member of Parliament Kirsten Oswald and Member of Scottish Parliament Kaukaub Stewart, both of the Scottish National Party, had no compunction about joining a demonstration where protestors were brandishing signs calling for the decapitation of TERFs, as in cutting off their heads, followed by eating them. “Decapitate TERFs” and “I Eat TERFs and Tories for Breakfast” were on full display while the politicians smiled for the cameras in support of a gender-recognition bill blocked by the British government. The bill itself greatly relaxed the rules regarding official changes of gender in Scotland. A two year requirement to live in your gender of choice in order to be formally recognized was reduced to just three months with another three months of some kind of “reflection.” People seeking to change their gender no longer had to consult a doctor and get an actual diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and people could now apply to officially change their gender at just 16 years of age. As the conservative publication for the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, City Journal, summarized it, “16-year-olds could receive legal recognition as the opposite sex without the need for a medical diagnosis, surgical intervention, or the administration of puberty-blocking drugs. For the Scottish government, being trans comes down to self-identification: all you need is to adopt a new set of pronouns.”
I am hard pressed to name a more radical position in contemporary politics. It likely takes more scrutiny to get a driver’s license in Scotland, forget purchasing a hunting rifle, than it would to change your gender. All one needs to do is feel like it for three months and say they thought about it for a few more, and magically they are forever transformed, or at least until they decide they want to change back. By this standard, one could conceivably go from man to woman and back again in less than a year, a revolving door of gender. This position, however, is sacrosanct and woe to any woman who disagrees that a man cannot become her gender in three months. At another pro-trans rally, a member of the Scottish National Party compared opposition to trans-activism the same as Nazism. “I’ve seen first-hand when I traveled…to visit a place called Auschwitz’.” Another member of the Scottish National Party went off on Twitter claiming they would like to “beat the fuck out of some TERFs.” Others have a habit of chanting “Witch! Witch! Witch!” at women who disagree at these demonstrations, most of which takes place with the tacit approval of progressive politicians in the United Kingdom. The result was ironic enough that embattled author and proud TERF, J.K. Rowling tweeted, “A few of Scotland’s wonderfully progressive and kind politicians, posing proudly in front of banners calling for women to be decapitated and eaten.” Though MSP Stewart stood right in front of these signs and is undoubtedly familiar with the language in use by a movement she supports, the Scottish Parliament member played completely dumb, claiming “I was not aware of these signs” in what must be a sudden case of blindness, and she “disagrees with them” while claiming the protest was “in defence of Scottish democracy,” whatever that means. Ms. Rowling responded, cheekily enough, “I too beam with delight when having my photograph taken with things of which I am entirely unaware.”
Ms. Rowling, of course, is no stranger to attacks from trans activists after taking the entirely sensible position that there need to be places in this world where biological women can go without fear of being accosted by biological men. A battered women’s shelter for example. She believes trans women do not belong there for what, to me at least, are fairly obvious reasons. Data on shelters is tough to come by, but in prisons in the United States we know that men are claiming to be women to transfer to lighter security prisons, and then raping the biological women there. Earlier this year, an inmate at Riker’s Island in New York, for example, was sentenced to another seven years in prison for raping a woman. In Europe, The Telegraph declared, “‘Madness’: Trans woman guilty of two rapes as a man could be sent to female jail.” Other than these safe spaces, Ms, Rowling takes no issue with the existence of trans-people in general, their desire to use their preferred pronouns, that a person has a right to define the way they present themselves to the world, and those rights should be respected. In other words, she is pro-trans save for a handful of isolated situations where she believes the rights and safety of biological women take precedence, which again seems entirely obvious because trans people aren’t the only ones with rights in these situations. Women have rights that need to be protected, or at least they used to. It is difficult to see what is objectionable about that point of view, but the radical trans activists would have you believe Ms. Rowling is a menace that needs to be destroyed and therefore she must be continually targeted. Recently she noted how strange it was that we are experiencing a supposedly progressive movement that features men threatening to abuse women. A Twitter user, “gaymon de vaslayra” was excited about the prospect of women who believe it means something be a woman in the first place getting run over en masse at an upcoming demonstration. “I sure would HATE it if someone took their car to glasgow green on the 5th of February and hit p*sie p*rker and friends with their car! What an awful thing that would be, that I would hate!” he tweeted, along with “me watching the country’s leading defenders of women and girls exploding like bin bags full of baked beans on your windshield: oh no!” As Ms. Rowling noted in response to the account which has since been deleted, “Weird, isn’t it, but I struggle to remember any other progressive movement that attracted so many men who love fantasising about the brutal deaths of women.” Nor was this the man’s only similar comment; had previously shared recordings claiming he wanted to kill Ms. Rowling herself with a hammer.
The Harry Potter author certainly has a point which often goes unmentioned: In an era where the conventional wisdom holds that heated rhetoric of a form of violence and terrorism, what they now call “stochastic terrorism,” which would make it a threat to democracy, is there any other area of public life where language like this would be tolerated? Can you imagine someone using this sort of language to target blacks, Jews, or homosexuals? One also has to wonder why such violent rhetoric is needed if their position is reasonable, based on evidence and science as progressives like to claim. In my experience, the more strident and heated the denial or debate, the less persuasive the argument. Intimidation replaces reason when reason alone cannot convince people that their lived experiences and the self-evident differences between men and women are not real. Threats of violence do not serve to convince people of the rightness of your position, but rather to force them into submission, or at least to keeping your contrary opinion to yourself.
Fortunately, not everyone in Europe thinks this way and Ms. Rowling as her share of trans-friendly supporters that may disagree with her, but respect her right to an opinion. “I don’t like the way she’s been treated, actually. I think she’s entitled to her opinion, she’s entitled to say what she feels,” explained Succession star Brian Cox. “As a woman, she’s very much entitled to say what she feels about her own body. There’s nobody better to say that, as a woman. So, I do feel that people have been a bit high and mighty about their own attitude toward J.K. Rowling.” “J.K. Rowling has written these great books about empowerment, about young children finding themselves as human beings. It’s about how you become a better, stronger, more morally centered human being,” actor Ralph Fiennes said in a New York Times interview last year. “The verbal abuse directed at her is disgusting, it’s appalling. I mean, I can understand a viewpoint that might be angry at what she says about women. But it’s not some obscene, über-right-wing fascist. It’s just a woman saying, ‘I’m a woman and I feel I’m a woman and I want to be able to say that I’m a woman.’ And I understand where she’s coming from. Even though I’m not a woman,” he continued. Perhaps chivalry is not entirely dead, but clearly it is teetering on the brink. The United States might have been spared the worst of this excess for now, though I fear it is only a matter of time unless fair minded people stand up for the fundamental right to disagree without the threat of violence. Some may say the violence is already here, outside a Dave Chappelle show of all things. As he described it, ““The trans [people] and their surrogates, always say that my jokes are somehow gonna be the root cause of some impending violence that they feel like is inevitable for my jokes,” the superstar comedian said. “But I gotta tell you, as abrasive as they were, the way they were protesting, throwing eggs at people, throwing barricades, cussing and screaming, [none of my fans] beat ‘em up.” If democracy is truly at stake, this is where the challenge lies, not preventing a 16 year old from changing gender on a whim.
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