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Jun 16 2012

Blogathon: 5th Hour

A little something worth knowing about…

Earlier this week, Cathy Brennan, the consistently irritating little embodiment of hate-mongering radical-feminism, outed a teenage trans kid to his high school in retaliation for what Brennan characterized as threatening remarks.

This is the e-mail she sent:

Good morning –

My name is Cathy Brennan, and I am a lesbian feminist activist in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. Recently, a student at your school, Rufus Ulrik (formerly Cara), has been emailing me and contacting me via social media. This student seems disturbed. I do not want any contact with this student., as she has made numerous disturbing comments about women and rape on Tumblr, a social media website. See [link removed] and [also removed]

Can you assist me please? I will be in the U.K. in July. You may also reach me at this email address. I am truly disturbed that someone this young would act this violently.

I am also reporting this user to Tumblr for abuse by copy of this email. They are user http://evenweirdosneedtoreblog.tumblr.com/

Thank you,

Cathy Brennan

There is absolutely no justification for. None. No “feminist” justifications, no “on his behalf” justifications, no “I felt threatened” justifications. Absolutely none.

This is shameless and monstrous.

Brennan seems to feel her actions were justified due to the “threatening” demeanor with which Rufus approached her over tumblr. That does not even get CLOSE to justifying it. Rufus is a teenager. A kid. Brennan is an adult. It’s her job to behave responsibly in relation to that dynamic. They’re not on equal footing.

Furthermore, they apparently live on different continents. Whatever “threat” Brennan felt was hardly credible. And why is she contacting the SCHOOL? Reading the e-mail, it is painfully clear that what this is is a petty, vindictive, and unbelievably cruel act of vengeance. She’s getting pissed off and angry, and so she does what she can to ruin this guy’s life.

Actually, I take it back. Brennan clearly isn’t the adult in this dynamic.

The thing is is that an action like this has the potential for deadly serious consequences. It takes the silly, petty, angry fighting on tumblr, in which Rufus may well have said some inappropriate things, and suddenly turns it into Rufus facing serious real life risks, up to and including violence. Brennan crosses a line that should NEVER be crossed.

When you’re outing people, when you’re exposing them to risks to their literal safety, when you are actively, openly, overtly exploiting your political and socio-cultural power to crush a vulnerable minority beneath your heel in petty retaliation, you have gone all the way. You are no longer simply shitty activist. You are no longer an accidental part of the problem. You are no longer someone whose simply doing a bad job of trying to fix things. You are no longer even the kind of bigot who engages in micro-aggressions and support of patriarchy and kyrarchal systems as an emergent, cultural thing. What you have become is the worst, most direct, most overt kind of bigot and bully. Someone engaging in DIRECT acts of oppression.

How anyone can possibly forgive Brennan for this, or continue to see her as a feminist or even someone on the side of social justice at all, how any of her supports can AT ALL consider themselves a force fighting AGAINST oppression, in the wake of this action is completely incomprehensible.

This is the point where rad-fems NEED to make a clear, unambiguous stand if they are ever going to maintain any credibility in terms of claiming to be proponents of social justice, human rights, feminism and the fight against oppression.

I’m willing to give most radical-feminists the benefit of the doubt, and believe they do have a better world at heart, and do want to fight against patriarchy and oppression, that they are indeed feminists, but simply have a heavily distorted view of these things. But if there isn’t a clear response to this act, a clear condemning of the line Brennan chose to cross, I am done offering any trust whatsoever.

If there is not such a response, I think we really have no choice but to see the rad-fems who stand by her as a clear-cut, unambiguous hate group, willing to engage in direct acts of oppression, direct and forceful exertion of their power against the vulnerable and weak in order to maintain their privilege.

Absolutely no better than any patriarch willing to exploit their power to directly subjugate women. Such as, for instance, outing the name of a victim of sexual assault to the media after she presses charges to intimidate her into silence.

THOSE are the kinds of tactics you’re turning to, “feminists”.

When are you going to finally have your “are we the baddies?” moment?

If you want a really easy way to earn my immediate and eternal disgust and contempt, defend her actions.

45 comments

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  1. 1
    Chana Messinger

    Oh my god. Oh. My God. Someone please make them stop.

  2. 2
    Abbey

    Vile. But how did you find out about this?

    1. 2.1
      Catherine

      Because Brennan is somehow proud of this and posted it to one of her TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist) Blogs…

      1. Abbey

        I was afraid that was it. I was hoping it was a leak instead. No, she has to be PROUD of it.

  3. 3
    Robert B.

    Just another fucking bully…

  4. 4
    Emily

    You know how the radfems are always demanding we trans folks disown any such ugly and distasteful elements of our community? Well, they need to do the very same. If they won’t, it’s clear where they stand.

    1. 4.1
      Erin W

      Yep.

    2. 4.2
      Marja Erwin

      Exactly. Outing, misogyny, and anti-lesbianism must stop. They don’t get a free pass because we’re usually a bit different than they are. Misogyny towards trans womyn is still misogyny. Anti-lesbianism towards trans womyn [and non-trans womyn in relationships with us] is still anti-lesbianism. In fact, it’s sometimes the same anti-lesbianism that older psychologists applied to them, just turned on us.

  5. 5
    Suzan

    Radfems are not feminists at all. They are a bunch of right wing trip pushers peddling the agenda of the Christo-Fascists. Not only are they anti-TS/TG but they are anti-sex, anti-sex worker, anti-heterosexuality.

    They are also anti-class analysis of oppression. They are anti-equality based feminism.

    They are sex/gender essentialists who believe men and women are different down to the atomic level.

    They also believe in a bunch of pseudo-religious stuff not supported by archeological findings that makes the 6000 year old planet Christians look sane.

    Today Radical Feminism comes hand in hand with the right wing war on women just as it did in the 1970s.

    TS/TG people are being used to divert energy away from fighting the right wing and their misogynistic war on women.

    I’ve saw this movie the first time it was made in the 1970s and they are pulling the same trip again.

    Look what happened to feminism the first time they ran this number. Would any real feminist repeat something that tore the movement apart the first time they did it?

  6. 6
    Andrew Tripp

    Yes, because equality will be achieved through violence and marginalization of those deemed to be Other. Great logic, radfems. Not at all related to how patriarchy works, at all.

    Schmucks.

  7. 7
    Megan

    Ah, Cathy Brennan. Taking a brave petty stand for all humanity grue-kind. Someday, the world will thank laugh at her for her dedicated activism creepy stalking hobby.

    1. 7.1
      mx. punk

      megan ftw!

  8. 8
    Michael Halila

    Radical feminists have never been anything other than female chauvinists. There was a time when their brand of radicalism was meaningful in a positive sense, but that passed at least twenty years ago. Now they’re just chauvinists. I defy anyone to spin this latest stunt as anything else.

    1. 8.1
      Suzan

      I think the term you are looking for isn’t female chauvinists. I think it is right wing Republican Christo-Fascists. Particularly true considering how many of them were Nuns or went to rigid Catholic schools and colleges. From Germaine Greer to Cathy Brennan. Good Timothy Dolan/William Donahue Catholics one and all.

  9. 9
    Anna

    My only issue with this article is that when Brennan co authored her letter to the United Nations trying to stop protections for trans people world wide is when she crossed the line into direct opressive action.

    Heck she probably did before this. I have heard outing and threats of outing have been a long part of her tactics.

    Any feminist who cares anything at all about human rights should have condemned her LONG ago and this is just yet one more horrifying thing for her and her supporters to be called to account for.

  10. 10
    Illya

    I’m trans and genderqueer but I completely support Brennan on this. No one has the right to threaten others. When you do this, you run the risk that the victim will fight back, which is apparently what happened here.

    There seems to be a body of thought in the trans community that we have the right to threaten, harass and even attack others (as in “glitterbombing” for example) and that the victims have to stand there and take it. This is a ridiculous attitude and it is going to surprise a lot of trans activists when they wind up in prison.

    Good for her and I hope that anyone else who is harassed and threatened on the internet will do the same.

    1. 10.1
      Natalie Reed

      HE WAS JUST A KID AND HOW THE FUCK IS VINDICTIVELY OUTING SOMEONE TO HIS SCHOOL IN ANY WAY THE APPROPRIATE RESPONSE TO THREATS OR HARASSMENT.

      Jesus Christ. I would LOVE to just straight up ban you right now for defending what she did, but that would be a violation of my own policy. But holy shit where the FUCK do you get off defending and praising that.

      Please leave. I do not want you here.

      1. Illya

        You don’t have to use profanity. I don’t know if you have a problem with my opinion or the fact that a genderqueer is taking Brennan’s side on this issue. Either way, your response isn’t really making this a welcoming space for free thought.

        Anyway, I don’t see anything vindictive in Brennan’s email. And as far as I know, there is no evidence that he was outed. I think she used his birth name because it may have been how the school recorded his enrollment.

        1. Natalie Reed

          This ISN’T a welcoming space for people who defend actions like that or make excuses for them. Don’t think for a minute I’m trying to give the impression that you’re welcome here.

          This isn’t a blog that’s open to any and all perspectives. It’s a platform I use for advancing certain kinds of ideas and dialogues. I’m not going to freely offer that platform to be used for people to promote beliefs and ideas I find reprehensible. The fact that this is on Freethoughtblogs does NOT mean I have some kind of “all statements universally welcomed!” attitude. If you think that’s my professed approach, or an ideal I aspire towards, you’re quite mistaken.

          1. Illya

            I guess I was mistaken. I thought that free thought meant, you know, free thought.

          2. Natalie Reed

            Yeah, sorry, it doesn’t. It means free thought. Now, again, please leave.

        2. Vicki

          It looks like Natalie found the line. It’s one thing to out a kid to his school or post naked pictures of people that disagree with you online, but using such language crosses the line!

          Please, replace it with condescending babytalk. Not everybody can handle grown-up no-no words.

        3. Amy

          “I don’t know if you have a problem with my opinion or the fact that a genderqueer is taking Brennan’s side on this issue”

          This is kind of funny, actually. If you couldn’t tell what Natalie was talking about, either you are not the brightest bulb in the pack or just trolling.

          Anyone that would support the outing of a teen trans person to their school is sick. BTW, Brennan also sent an email to the kid’s dad’s place of work!

    2. 10.2
      Anna

      Are you honestly saying that outing a teenager and putting there life at risk is appropriate or proportional? You honestly think glitterbombing is real threat?

      Trans people being outed and dying are real. Glitterbombing is an inconvience. Trans people losing there families and homes from there trans status is real Cathy Brennan taking an insult is minor.

      Its like responding with a gun when someone calls you an idiot its not right not appropriate and the source of her response was hatred of us

      1. Illya

        Where do you read that his life is in danger? Brennan is the one who was threatened, not him. The trans boy wrote back that he didn’t care at all that Brennan “outed” him and I think he threw in a few LOLs too. That doesn’t sound like his life was in danger or even that he really felt outed.

        I think you make up these dire circumstances in order to justify bad behavior by trans folk. If you say that all trans people are at imminent risk of death every moment of every day, then anything they say and do seems justified. But you can’t live like that. You have to obey the law and respect others. That means no violence and no threats of violence.

        If you reject this and insist that you have some kind of right to threaten others, then don’t be surprised when they take action, as Brennan quite rightly did. I think she’s a lawyer, so if that kid keeps on harassing her, I wouldn’t be surprised if she sues.

        1. Nobby

          As was mentioned earlier, which you still haven’t responded to, where’s the threat? Where is this vile attack on Brennan? From what I recall, the worst was “You can rape my mother” or something along those lines which, uh, isn’t exactly a threat to Brennan.

          And if you think that forcibly outing someone like that ([and claiming threats that didn’t occur) isn’t opening them up to violence, you obviously aren’t paying attention.

        2. Anna

          Outing someone is NEVER ok. It is a serious threat to their life. What business does she have contacting the school anyway?

          The child was a minor if she felt it was a credible threat contacting the parents or the police was appropriate, outing the child to the school was NOT. Under no circumstances was this ok.

          If you don’t see this and honestly dont understand what Ms Brennan is all about you really need to remove your head from your rear. I suspect you do get it though and you just dont care. Which is why im now done with you.

        3. hall-of-rage

          It doesn’t necessarily matter that the kid says it’s fine to be outed: that could be bravado or he may really see no danger in being out. It matters that queer high-school students, especially trans ones, are very vulnerable to violence, and there is no excuse for Brennan forgetting that. Or you. Being trans and genderqueer isn’t an excuse for you not acknowledging the power dynamics at play, or how vulnerable high-school students are.

          Also “the high school’s records” my foot. Brennan has repeatedly demonstrated her transphobia, and she addressed him as “Rufus/Cara” in a reply.

          1. Illya

            I dunno. I think a teenager is entitled to self-determination and is entitled to a voice. You are diminishing him when you say that he is incapable of assessing his own situation. This is ageism.

            So we have no consequences to the teen, and the teen himself saying he doesn’t mind a bit, yet you keep insisting that the situation is dire. Maybe you think the principal is a murderer and is going to kill him?

          2. Natalie Reed

            Mmm… yeah, sure, you’re TOTALLY just operating on this kid’s behalf and trying to PROTECT his right to a voice and self-determination…right…

            I’m sorry, but this is getting a bit too transparent.

        4. Sassafras

          That doesn’t sound like his life was in danger or even that he really felt outed.

          If you can judge the danger of what was done to him by how it “sounds”, then you have no business claiming he threatened Brennan; he’s a teenager on another continent from her, so it doesn’t sound to me like he was a real threat.

    3. 10.3
      Tori

      Did you bother to read what that kid wrote? I’m not seeing a threat in the two linked posts. I’m seeing some juvenile jokes, of the kind that are block worthy, but even after digging through 5-6 pages of the backlog of tagged posts I didn’t see a real threat on the kid’s part(I’m still not sure what their preferred name & pronouns are because of the way brennen intentionally mangles them)

      What I did see was an open threat on brennan’s part to out someone. That there is the not cool
      (http://bugbrennan.tumblr.com/post/23825282534/baby-didnt-anyone-tell-you-harassing-people-online-is).

    4. 10.4
      mx. punk

      i’m curious… do you think misandry and reverse racism are Things?

      i’m trans* and non-binary– and i think brennan is fucking petty/evil.

      1. Suzan

        Man hating is not the same as misogyny. Because the powerless lack the ability to systematically oppress men as a class. The same is true of “reverse racism.”

        It is sort of how only the acts of an invading country can be considered terrorism and any violent acts by the people of the country that has been invaded against the invader are acts of resistance.

        Misandry and reverse racism are the arguments of sophists. The pleading of the bully and oppressor and cannot be taken seriously.

        In the case of Brennan we have a person who is a partner in a high powered law firm that protects the one percent arguing a people who universally fall in a class described by Thurgood Marshall as the “the despised and dispossessed.”

        The argument that one is oppressed by members of such a class organizing and passing laws that serve to protect their universal human right is somehow oppressive to a member of the privileged class fails any sane person’s credibility test.

      2. Vicki

        Racism(it’s just called racism) and Misandry are real things. They’re kinda like false rape accusations, though. These realities are nowhere near as large as the fictional ones. Think of the gay conspiracy or the War on Christmas. Giant, carefully cultivated urban legends that bear little resemblance to reality.

  11. 11
    Dalillama

    Vile as Brennan is, I find it almost as depressing that someone springs from the woodwork to defend her so rapidly. It never seems to fail, no matter what kind of assholery is involved, the internet can always provide apologists for it as well.

  12. 12
    Jessica

    Brennan should be castigated in the strongest terms possible for such an abhorrent and cowardly act.

  13. 13
    Rufus

    Hey, yo guys. Erm. I’m back (check the extended letter for some info) and also she told my town clerk (the biggest gossip in town) and also contacted the police I think.
    And I’m genderqueer not a transguy
    ‘they’ pronouns
    but thanks anyway, trying to get this spread around and stuff

    ~Rufus

    1. 13.1
      Natalie Reed

      Oh! I’m really sorry about the mix-up on pronouns! Sincere apologies.

      I hope this doesn’t end up being too much of a problem for you. If there’s anything any of us internet people can do to help, and help minimize the damage and risk, let us know. Take care.

  14. 14
    Sissy Krystal aka Sissy Reed Barrow

    Hi Natalie,

    WOW! and Really! I am appalled at your thinking and decision to have this despicable person on your site and to promote it. GAYnotQueer oh Sorry Zinnia Jones oh sorry Zackery Zolack who is the NUMBER#1 front man who came o my tumblr page about 8 months ago and stole a photo from my tumblr page re- captioned it to His- It’s liking and perverted little mind. Then he passed his project on to his master and idol Cathy bitch Brennan who just mite be Zinnia Jones aka GaynotQueer aka Zackery Zolacks mother.

    Natalie I’m not a mean person in fact I rarely old a grudge more than 60 seconds, buy please your completely exonerating all the devil himself Zinnia Jones for crimes of which he should be in prison for and honestly if found by the wrong people yeah dead. This very disturbed person you have chosen to promote has completely destroyed my life financially as being the one to blame for my 3 emplo9yees with fam9ilies to be unemployed and 2 of those families homeless now, as I myself will be in about 2 months from me writing this to you.

    I have to ask is your website really just a farce and are you in reality also a Trans and Man hater yourself, not to mimick Rodney Allen King but seriously isn’t there enough room on this planet for all of us and to just get along. Natalie I’m not meaning to be condescending but you are much younger than I and is grrrre Zinnia and believe it or not sometimes people older than you like your parents really do know more and are trying to help.

    Natalie promoting Zinnia is the most horrendously insulting and blind to public and social justice anyone could to within the Brennan / Tumblr crimes against transgender people of which my mind just spends when I THINK ABOUT ZINNIA you are trans, God damn did some one drop you on your head.! or hey we already know 99% of Radfems are Sociopaths did you forget your meds honey.

    Natalie I’ll orward this letter to the Huff also and quite a number of others you want to be in the know. not against you dear but Zinnia s a criminal and needs to face charges. You know he’s never apologized to even one of us. No remorse yeah that’s a bad sign.

    1. 14.1
      Natalie Reed

      This is one of the most bizarre and incoherent comments I’ve EVER gotten. What are you actually saying? All I was able to parse is that you think Zinnia Jones is secretly a Cathy Brennan sock-puppet? I know beyond ALL reasonable doubt that she is not, by the way. You know lots of people have, like, met Zinnia and talked to her in person and things like that, right?

      Also misgendering someone and making ableist “did you forget your meds” comments while self-righteously positioning yourself as someone more social-justicey and trans-friendly than me or her is RIDICULOUS.

  15. 15
    Sissy Krystal aka Sissy Reed Barrow

    Moderation Natalie I wrote a very diplomatic latter of which regardless I’ll be posting all over the internet just like zinnia would do

    1. 15.1
      Natalie Reed

      “diplomatic” lol

  16. 16
    Sissy Krystal

    Natalie,

    What are you about 12 now or 13 or your parents do not allow you to go on dangerous website such as tumblr. You really are dense and blind as there are numerous others who were ousted and insulted by Zinnia. So you must be a Devil worshiper or part of the occult or you can not see or hear because Zinnia’s video’s are the most narcissistic self righteous and hate filled you tube vids ever recorded. If anyone the majority of user’s on this site with knowledge of Zinnia find these statements to be false please say so now. Zinnia was not only bug fuckeries sock puppet but also friends. Grow up little girl and open the curtains to reality. Don’t bother writing me back you’ve already shown your IQ

    1. 16.1
      Natalie Reed

      Fun-times.

  1. 17
    Toldot: Voices and Transgender Day of Remembrance « Planting Rainbows

    [...] on Twitter and call me awful things simply because I’m trans, but Brennan has done far worse: outing a transgender teenager to his high school in the name of “safety” and—honest to [...]

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