Inside the warped mind of a Trans Rights Activist
A couple of days ago, a “trans rights activist” (TRA) published an article on Medium* entitled, I was one of the transactivists on the Channel 4 documentary, I regret what I did — this is why.
The documentary in question – which was, in my opinion, excellent and well worth watching – was Trans Kids: It’s Time To Talk. It aired last week and can currently be viewed on Vimeo.
Quite a few people on the gender critical side of what is laughingly called this “debate” have applauded the author, Esther Betts, for being courageous. It is a sign of the times we live in that admitting you behaved abominably after the evidence that you did has already been broadcast on national TV, is called “courageous”. However, others – including me – aren’t quite so charitable.
The behaviour now regretted by Esther Betts is shown a few minutes into the third part of the programme, which begins about 30 minutes in. In it we see what appear to be a large group of young white privileged brats behaving much like I’ve seen trans rights activists in many other places behave. They scream abuse: “My pronouns are ‘they’ you fucking cunt!” (to which the unfazed Posie Parker replies, “I don’t care about your pronouns,” thereby committing what the protesters no doubt consider ‘literal violence’).
They shriek, they shout, they chant, “No TERFs on our turf!”, which is the modern day equivalent of, “Burn the witch!”. They suggest, entirely without irony, that the meeting will be full of hateful bigots. They block the entrances to prevent invited speakers and audience members gaining access to the meeting room.
This was not, unfortunately, an atypical group, though they went a bit further than most for reasons we can only guess at. One might have thought that the presence of TV cameras would inhibit them from being violent, from deliberately breaking the law. It didn’t. Did it spur them on? Were they seeking the kind of martyrdom self-bestowed on Tara Wolf who, a few days prior to the event, had been convicted of assaulting me and who has proudly boasted of being a “TERF slayer” ever since? Possibly.
Judging by comments on social media after the documentary aired, the impression left on viewers with no particular axe to grind was that these young people are arrogant, bullying, violent, hateful control freaks. That impression is not wrong. The speakers, on the other hand, came across as calm, pleasant and extremely reasonable in the circumstances. I recommend watching the video of the speakers giving their talks. I doubt whether any of the protesters have bothered to watch what they tried to stop happening, though whether this is because they are as brutishly stupid and closed-minded as they appear or whether they fear they’ll be forced to face the fact that the… let’s say “misapprehensions” they choose to labour under about other people are patent falsehoods, I don’t know.
It doesn’t surprise me that one of those protesters now publicly claims to regret their participation. What surprises me is that more don’t do the same. I understand that, since publication, Esther Betts has been getting stick on social media from other TRAs. Welcome to our world, Esther. Has anyone told you to die in a fire yet?
This paragraph, found some way into the piece, is the only excuse offered by Betts.
I was already aware of what had happened at the meeting in Bristol, which was organised by the indefatigable Venice Allan, back in April of this year and I wrote a bit about it here at the time. Having only a few days earlier been through the distasteful experience of being told by a misogynistic judge to use the feminine pronoun when referring to the violent male defendant, who not only assaulted me but who tells people on social media to suck his cock, and having had to sit quietly while four more trans activists lied through their teeth in an attempt to get this violent male acquitted, I was mightily glad that I hadn’t travelled to Bristol to attend this meeting because I quite simply would not have coped with it. (And, by the way, I bet it wasn’t a feminist who assaulted you, Esther.)
I still find it traumatising having to face protesters at many similar meetings I go to even though, since the assault on me, none have behaved quite as badly as Esther Betts and company did on this occasion.
Although I’d already been shocked and angered by the videos taken at the scene by Julie Bindel and Magdalen Berns, the Channel 4 footage showing Esther Betts and mates acting like a pack of crazed chimps trying to charge into the meeting room and then the revelation in Betts’ article that their intention had been to let off a smoke bomb, blew my mind. Seriously? A smoke bomb in a confined space? No thought of the danger to anyone who might have asthma, say, or some other medical condition? What the hell is wrong with these people?
But what kind of mind do you have to think that intimidating and hurting women is the way to show solidarity with transgender people, one of whom was going to speak at the meeting? What kind of friends are these that need to be supported by you attacking others – people who have done nothing to you? Not a single person at that meeting has been on social media telling anyone to punch a “tranny”, to get your throats cut, to choke on dick, to get your faces broken, to die in a fire. But this is the kind of abuse we get from TRAs for daring to stand up for our rights every single day of our lives.
At about 35:30 minutes into the video we see gently-spoken academic Heather Brunskell-Evans, one of the meeting’s guest speakers, being prevented from entering the building and trying to engage with some of the protesters in a civil manner. She is cut short with: “You’re preaching hate speech. No-one cares about your rights.” This is promptly followed by a chorus of loud chanting: “Go Trans Rights! Go Trans Rights!”
Got that? The right of an accomplished female academic to speak to an audience doesn’t matter. The right of the overwhelmingly female audience to hear her doesn’t matter. Could there be a clearer demonstration of the visceral misogyny of these people? Well, I guess there could. She might like to thank them for stopping short of punching and kicking her to the ground. Later Heather told the meeting that it was the first time in her academic life that she’d feared for her physical safety. For shame!
We are not the people preaching hate but the irony is evidently lost on these numbskulls and I include Esther Betts in that description. I mean, for crying out loud:
Who, out of the invited speakers, has expressed this view – whatever the hell it even means? Nobody! I have no idea where Betts gets this nonsense from. I suspect it is a deliberate and gross distortion of what somebody somewhere has said but to use it as an example of the kind of things seriously posited by any of the people speaking at Bristol is sheer dishonesty.
Anyway, in spite of having been assaulted for only wanting to do the same as the hapless victims of Esther Betts’ aggression at Bristol, which was to attend a peaceful meeting and hear what some invited speakers had to say, in spite of having been lied about and abused repeatedly by TRAs ever since that assault, in spite of being treated like a criminal and forced to pretend to respect a violent abusive male in court, in spite of also having lost friends and support for taking a critical stance on the ideology being promoted by these thugs, I have never once sought to censor anyone else’s views, never tried to prevent them meeting, never tried to bully and intimidate, much less acted violently, towards them – except in self-defence against people who think like Esther Betts.
Of course, I don’t suffer from gender dysphoria. But a lot of other people do, it seems. Strangely enough there appears to be something of an epidemic of it these days and I don’t doubt it’s very distressing and can wear you down. But, fortunately, most sufferers don’t behave as Betts did. And yet a lot of people who don’t have gender dysphoria do behave like that, including the guy pictured right – let’s call him ‘George’ – who was one of Esther Betts’ fellow protesters and the only other one who was interviewed.
This is what he said:
This is a great example of the hopelessly muddled thinking we’ve come to expect from transgender ideologues and it is wearisome to have to point out what’s wrong with it but there’s a chance this blog will be read by some who really can’t see it.
As far as the tyrants of this pseudo-cult are concerned, only viewpoints that are “acceptable” to them may be expressed freely. Well, we already knew that but it is still a mystery to me why they would ever think that trying to silence people they disagree with is acceptable in a civilised and democratic society and that such behavior will win them support. The growing backlash over the past year, as more and more ordinary, decent people have woken up to these tactics, proves the opposite to be the case.
The viewpoint that is unacceptable here is that “trans women are not women”. Again, we know this is a viewpoint they are not prepared to tolerate or engage with because they believe – wrongly in my opinion – that it is not in their interests to do so, even though it is a viewpoint based on the truth that the globally accepted definition of the word “woman” is adult, human female and the word “female” is defined by membership of one of the two reproductive classes in mammals. It has nothing to do with feelings, ideas or experiences. A female baby grows into a woman regardless of how she feels and what kind of life she has.
What is faintly amusing about George’s argument (for want of a better word) is his earnest assertion that he knows what makes a woman is more than her genitalia. “More than”? So you concede that a woman must have female genitalia as a minimum? Well, that’s a start. Thank you, George.
But I doubt if that’s what silly George meant to say. It’s far more likely that George thinks what kind of genitalia one has is irrelevant to whether one is a man or a woman and that what makes a woman is all about something George can’t possibly be expected to know about because he’s a man who believes gender is based on personal feelings or some such nonsense. How convenient. Perhaps George would care to explain what it is that makes him a man then, if not his membership of the sex known as ‘male’? He must at least know that, surely?
Edited to add: George kindly sent me a message answering my question thus:
Well thanks again, George. I feel bad about calling you ‘silly’ now as it was clearly an understatement.
The reason I mention George’s risible contribution at all is because the one assertion in Esther Betts’ piece that made me laugh out loud was the expression of an apparently sincere belief that the TRAs who protested at Bristol are capable of what Betts calls “raising hell intellectually” and “asking difficult, intelligent questions”.
Not once, since I first started taking an interest in this subject, have I seen TRAs like the protesters at Bristol say anything that could be remotely described as intellectual or challenging – not in real life nor on social media. I blogged about how their intervention at the Brighton WPUK meeting was a waste of time that only served to confirm our worst impressions. Almost every day online I get challenged on something or other by TRAs who invariably start hurling insults when I make points they don’t like and can’t answer.
I find it remarkable that Esther Betts claims to be some kind of intellectual powerhouse but neglected the opportunity to demonstrate this. You say Posie Parker argues points that are “easy enough to dismantle”, Esther? Go on then – give us an example. In the Bristol meeting she read out some of the abuse the people you disdain as ‘TERFs’ get from people like you or, if not people like you, then people you are so keen to show solidarity to. Care to dismantle that?
You say you “believe wholeheartedly that trans women are women and trans men are men”? Let’s hear your argument – if it’s based on reason and evidence it will persuade me because these are the only criteria upon which I, as a rationalist and a sceptic, base my own views. They don’t come from “the heart” because I have no heart. My heart and what was in it, particularly my faith in humanity and in basic human decency, has been crushed and incinerated by people like you.
I don’t believe there are any questions from the likes of Esther Betts that can’t be answered with intelligence and reason. I have probably said this a hundred times on social media: they have no arguments and that is why they resort to trying to shut down debate; that is why they call us ‘bigots’, that is why they compare decent, intelligent women worried about our children and our own rights, with Nazis.
Yes, really! In the Medium piece, Esther Betts says this:
And this is what Esther Betts said on camera:
Again, no irony in Betts pontificating about what “decent people” think and do.
I have written before about how angry the casual comparison with Nazis makes me. How much this has to do with being fully aware both of the horrors carried out by the Third Reich (the study of this period being a major part of my degree) and of how much my own family and the rest of the Greek people had suffered during the war, I don’t know. It beggars belief that Betts – a Jew – could ever have thought it was a reasonable thing to say.
I mean, let’s consider just a few things the Nazis notoriously did:
- Mass murders of civilian populations in many places in Europe
- Attempted genocide of Jews and gypsies
- Forcible medical experiments on adults and children alike
- Euthanasia of physically or mentally impaired children
- Forcible sterilization of those with hereditary conditions
And now let’s look at the list of speakers at the meeting in question:
- Heather Bruskell-Evans, academic philosopher and author, who has spent years considering and analysing “the discourses that construct the transgender child”.
- Miranda Yardley, transsexual who has written extensively about transgender ideology from a critical perspective
- Nicole Jones, student, artist, writer and wonderful speaker, actually, but I doubt the protesters knew anything about her. Her name does not get mentioned in Betts’ piece.
- Posie Parker probably needs no introduction now but the Bristol meeting was months before her legendary billboard/light projection campaign so I doubt the protesters knew much, if anything, about her at the time either.
The meeting was chaired by, writer, Jeni Harvey.
Then there was writer and campaigner, Julie Bindel, who has spent much of her life fighting for women victims of misogyny and violence.
What has any one of these people said and done to make Esther Betts ever think they are comparable to Nazis?
Yes, having seen that dreadful interview on TV, Esther Betts now professes to regret those words – but apology comes there none! Why not?
What we get instead is this:
So you don’t hold the view that the thoroughly decent people at that meeting are no better Nazis “quite so militantly”? Are we supposed to be grateful for that? Should we be getting a warm, fuzzy feeling inside?
Could the professed ‘regret’ be more about being exposed as a nasty piece of work? On making your family ashamed? Are you going to link to that Medium article on your CV, just in case, Esther?
If I sound bitter it’s because I am. Esther Betts’ piece starts by lamenting the bad hair and “tranny voice” and only gets round to the detail of how poor Heather Brunskell-Evans “tried to hide in the corner and looked absolutely terrified” in the penultimate paragraph, after expressing regret at the thought that their belligerence might have cowed trans people – not women worried about the impact gender self-ID might have on their lives and on their children but trans people – from going to the event.
Esther Betts claims to be a woman while showing zero empathy for women yet still, for some unfathomable reason, expects respect.
In your dreams, Esther.
Edited to add: Here is Heather’s own account of her experience:
Free Speech and Transactivism Heather Brunskell-Evans 29.11.18
*Edit: 02.05.19 The article has now been deleted from Medium but a version of it was published in the Guardian.
Published 27.11.18 Updated: 30.12.18