Back in the good old days of 2011 when Nazis were indisputably punchable and the President of the United States did not issue orders via Twitter, a fellow by the name of Paul Elam launched a website called “Register Her.” It was a domain dedicated to publishing the photographs, home addresses, phone numbers, routes to work and/or any other personal information folks could acquire–a practice commonly called “doxxing”–of women who have caused “significant harm to innocent individuals.” Alongside convicted female sex offenders and murderers were… women whose sexual assault allegations were defeated in court. Most feminists would recognize the problems immediately: How there exists a gap between morality and legality; how courts must convict with evidence that proves the defendant performed the deed “beyond all reasonable doubt;” how an acquittal doesn’t necessarily mean the action had not occurred. And that’s without taking into account the evidence that most law systems perform poorly when attempting to prosecute sexualized violence. The final, perhaps most critical detail, is that he wasn’t the sole contributor. His followers can and did propose their own profiles for the women who had, in their view, wronged them, and doxxing soon became a mainstay of online “men’s rights activism.” It became an assumption that if you were being filmed by MRAs, your face could end up on the darknet, and your details shortly thereafter.
Most people would agree, given this context, that if Paul Elam walks up to you with a video camera and you’re a woman, he’s engaging in an act of intimidation, because we know what he does with those images. Now the courts might say “it’s legal to film someone in public,” but, again, recalling our morality/legality gap, courts have also said upskirt photographs are legal too. Again, it’s not a particularly difficult analysis to perform–the law is behind most people’s conceptions for morality, so the argument “it’s legal” should be understood to be irrelevant when the actual discussion is ethics. It is, in essence, surrendering the argument altogether, though to those of an authoritarian bend it is convincing.
But, oh, how I have sinned dearest readers. The Cis hand me a flogger, expecting, anticipating, a heinous and distressing act of public self-flagellation, the thwap thwap thwap of Cis Justice tearing flesh from my back, matters made right by public confession. Their brows knit as I refuse, casting me as the vile monster I am–because, my friends, the exact same scenario has now occurred to transgender people, and The Cis have many a-finger to wag for not partaking in their ritual and begging forgiveness.
Back in the good old days of 2013 when Nazis were indisputably punchable and the President of the United States did not issue orders via Twitter, a person by the name of Cathy Brennan launched a website called “Pretendbians.” It was a domain dedicated to publishing the photographs, home addresses, phone numbers, routes to work and/or any other personal information folks could acquire–a practice commonly called “doxxing”–of transgender women who dared to claim the label “lesbian.” Alongside convicted female sex offenders and murderers were… women whose OkCupid profiles openly disclosed their trans status. Brennan administers dozens (I’m not exaggerating) of such websites with variations on this central theme. Now most reasonable people would agree that this false equivalency is defamatory in spirit if not by law, and Brennan pointing out that her activity is “technically legal” is, in essence, surrendering the ethics argument altogether. The final, perhaps most critical detail, is that she isn’t the sole contributor. Her followers can and do propose their own profiles from teh trans who have, in their view, wronged them, and doxxing remains a mainstay in “female rights activism.”
Given this suspiciously familiar context, I would hope that more people recognize that when Brennan or her peers walk right up to you with a camera, they’re not planning a fucking home video. Not so. The Cis have ordained it. 50 lashes at the break of dawn. “Pure Insanity,” writes Chris Hearn. “We can’t have a Rational Discussion” writes anonymous user Reluctantly Rad. “Males attacked innocent woman” writes Harvey Jeni. “A bunch of brats” writes Laci Green.
Trans people are being choked, and all The Cis can muster is “try not to faint on the upholstery.” Behold: The poster children for cisgender supremacy, a topsy turvy world where bleeding on a cis person is a crime punishable by death, as long as you’re trans. It’s the ideological relative to American 2nd Amendment worship coinciding with “the Black Panthers were terrorists!”
Bigot logic isn’t difficult. You start with your conclusion–“the
blackstrans are bad”–and work your way backwards from there. At least, that’s the only way that I can look at footage of a teen being choked and conclude this constituted an example of the teen’s aggression.
So here’s what happened: TERFs planned a self-congratulatory circle-jerk to celebrate their wild conspiracy theories and indulge in transmisogyny. Local advocates caught wind of these plans and canvassed public venues to inform the venue of the TERFs’ intentions. TERFs couldn’t book a public function and eventually secured a costly private venue through a poncy club membership. The circle jerk commences. Upon exiting their event, Maria McLachlan, an active TERF campaigner, walks straight up to a group of protesters with her camera.
You see where I’m going with this, right? If we agree that Paul Elam filming you is an act of intimidation because of his history of doxxing women, why wouldn’t we agree that Maria McLachlan filming you is one too, due to her political associations, which doxx transgender people? (Answer: Because you’re living in the upside down land of Absolute Moral Relativism where Everything Trans Do is Wrong). Where Chris and Rad and Harvey and Laci go wrong is in not recognizing that this, the threat of doxxing, is the opening broadside.
McLachlan is told, several times, to stop filming the crowd. At one point a protester puts their sign between them and McLachlan’s camera. It’s only after several minutes of being told to go away, of being told to stop filming, that someone attempts to push her camera away.
I will not equivocate. I will not give The Cis the tiniest concession. This act was, in no uncertain terms, self-defence, and anyone arguing otherwise must think we are under obligation to subject ourselves to TERF terrorism. McLachlan isn’t some rando off the street, but a veteran in the 44 years of war TERFs have waged on trans women. These are people equipped with the best picked-cherries delivered into the ears of Parliament and Congress to slide cultural genocide past blissfully unaware cis people. These are the people curating discussion groups where disturbingly detailed murder fantasies against trans people are shared.
This is the equivalent of Paul Elam waltzing right up into your personal space, knowing full well what he’s going to do with images of you.
What happens next is the sort of psychodrama historians of marginalized populations are well acquainted with: Images of McLachlan choking out the teen who pushed her camera away are shared far and wide as proof of “transgender violence.” The Daily Wire, the Daily Heil, dozens of TERF blogs all uncritically accepted this narrative. “Vile” and “vicious” writes Chris, not of the adult woman choking a teenager, but of the teenager, for being choked. After yanking this teen around for some time, she is finally punched in order to force her to release the teen.
In other news, The Cis have revived the practice of determining witchcraft practice by drowning the accused, and Shiv is really fucking sick of this shit. The Cis are cancelled. Y’all need a fucking time-out, because I can’t deal with this next-level bullshit.
There it is folks: The Banner of Vicious Transgender Violence is a teenager being dragged around in a chokehold. Please bear this in mind next time you hear the TERFs twittering about violence.