“Unless you understand what it is to be trans you’ve no right to question my existence”

The article by @UglaStefania aka Owl Fisher that appeared with this title last week is one of the worst I’ve ever read. OK, there’s plenty of competition out there but this monstrosity wasn’t published on some unknown blog languishing in a dusty corner of the internet. It wasn’t even on Medium where trans writers regularly publish such torturous rubbish as the piece I blogged about recently. This one by Owl Fisher was on the Metro news site! What on earth were you thinking of, Metro?

I have, on this site, devoted a page to bad arguments by trans people and allies but this one plumbs new depths of absurdity. The problem with it is so obvious that I’m not even sure it’s worth adding to that page, lest it insults the intelligence of readers of this site (a predicament that doesn’t concern editors of Metro, obviously).

Actually the straw man in the title is already dealt with there. Of course nobody is questioning anybody’s “existence” but this is not what is actually meant when this accusation is thrown out. It’s really just a dishonest way of saying “I am a woman (or man) because I say I am and you have no right to say otherwise.” When we see men claiming to be women, we tend to ask awkward questions like, ‘How do you know?’, ‘What is your definition of woman?’, ‘What do you mean by “living as a woman”?’, ‘What does being a woman feel like?’ They hate questions like that and by phrasing them as ‘questioning or denying someone’s very existence‘, they manage to avoid answering them while presenting themselves as victims. Neat!

The main point made in the article is this:

On the one side are “experts on trans rights” on the other side are “anti-trans campaigners” who know nothing and, because they know nothing, they shouldn’t be given a platform anywhere. To put it another way, only trans advocates should be allowed to express an opinion – everyone else should STFU.

Of course, we’ve all seen briefer versions of this fallacious appeal to authority posted on social media but this is the first time I’ve seen over 700 words devoted to it, so there must be a serious attempt to make a proper argument out of it, right?

Wrong. We are not told who these supposed “experts” are, nor what it is that makes them experts. We are also told that these “anti-trans voices…base their arguments on misinformation, fear and lack of evidence” – yet not a single example of any such argument is given. When you are allowed 700 words on a news website, why on earth wouldn’t you use the opportunity to make a slam-dunk case giving the lie to the arguments you disagree with. You can be damn sure that’s what I would do.

If I were asked to name experts in transgenderism, probably one of the first people I’d think of is sex researcher, Dr Kenneth Zucker. Another one would be Dr James Barrett, President of the British Association of Gender Identity Specialists – yet both of these have been disdained by trans activists for not affirming every single case presented to them. In fact, trans bullies cost Zucker his job, though he was later vindicated.

But Zucker and Barrett are certainly not experts in feminism and women’s rights, so far as I know. Someone who is, is Meghan Murphy, founder of the award-winning Feminist Current website. Meghan’s first degree at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, was in Women Studies; her master’s degree was in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies and she has over a decade of experience speaking on women’s issues and writing for various publications.

Yet Meghan Murphy is compared by Owl to a climate-change denier or member of the Flat Earth society, who shouldn’t have been invited to speak at the Scottish Parliament about how transgender ideology affects women’s rights because she supposedly has “no expertise, qualifications or experience with transgender rights”. Huh? She wasn’t asked to speak about transgender rights but about women’s rights and she certainly understands how transgender ideology affects them. That’s why she testified against Bill C-16 and as she actually lives in the country where this legislation was enacted, who better to speak on this very subject?

Worse is this falsehood about Meghan:

She has even been banned from Twitter for life for breaching its community standards of hateful conduct in November last year, because of targeted harassment towards specific individuals based on their gender identity.

No, she did not “target harassment” at anybody though she – along with many other feminists on Twitter – was repeatedly the target of harassment and vile abuse from trans activists. Twitter is notorious for banning anyone who challenges any part of transgender ideology, however politely we do so. Meghan is suing Twitter and, in my opinion, should look into suing Metro as well – though I appreciate the piece is unlikely to be widely read so may not have the effect on her reputation Owl is hoping for.

The other feminist named in the Metro piece is Sheila Jeffreys, whom Owl describes as “a feminist professor from Melbourne, [who] referred to trans women as suffering from ‘parasitism’.”

No, Sheila didn’t say “suffering from parasitism”. What she said at the meeting in question – and this was accurately reported in Pink News, so Owl has no excuse for misrepresenting it – was:

When men claim to be women…and parasitically occupy the bodies of the oppressed, they speak for the oppressed. They come to be recognised as the oppressed. There’s no space for women’s liberation.

A parasite is an organism that benefits by deriving nutrients from a host, to the detriment of the latter. Sheila uses the term metaphorically to mean that once men declare as and are accepted as women, they benefit from all the rights that generations of women fought for while curtailing our ability to speak about ourselves, our lives, our concerns as women.

This is an intellectual argument, not the degrading insult Owl and others try to portray it as because it suits their agenda to do so and because presenting a rebuttal is beyond them.

It beggars belief that Owl should suggest that highly accomplished women like Meghan and Sheila, with their long history as feminist writers and activists, should be prevented from putting forward arguments on behalf of women. The reason for doing so is that that they are brilliant feminists, who eloquently challenge transgender ideology. Owl wants women like that silenced. Notably, Owl resorts to the usual canards of suggesting they and others like them aren’t really for the rights of women and girls at all but are actually right-wing and anti-human rights, though readers aren’t afforded the courtesy of a single example or argument to back up this preposterous assertion. On the contrary, we are told that, “they do not want equality, but supremacy.” Oh for crying out loud!

It’s high time the likes of Owl Fisher learned that they can no longer get away with lying about women who are fighting the ideological attack being waged on our rights and well-being and that doing so wins them more enemies than friends. We are sick to death of being so blatantly and cynically misrepresented by entitled males who have grown used to getting away with it.

I suggest that any future articles on this topic published by the Metro should address the ongoing problems of how women are oppressed, enslaved, trafficked, raped and murdered on account of our membership of the female sex class and how this fact is being disregarded by unscrupulous trans activists like Owl Fisher.


Published 17.05.19

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