So let’s start with saying straight up that I know nothing about Ireland. Never lived there, never visited there, and I’m pretty much less confident in my knowledge of what constitutes Irish experience than I am that Ireland’s plants are purple. But what happened in Ireland during the RepealThe8th movement to overturn Ireland’s lethal ban on abortion is important for everyone to know. So I’m gonna reprint the shit outta the words of someone who does know something about all this, The Slothmare Before Christmas, AKA @CaseyExplosion on Twitter.
You can see her original tweets on this topic here. I’m going to cut & paste the text from them into non-twitter format for easier reading, but everything in the large quoted bit below is from @CaseyExplosion save where obviously noted & you can verify that there.
In light of the completely revisionist take from Glinner crediting anti-trans extremists in the UK of helping with the #RepealThe8th campaign, let’s take a moment to acknowledge what actually happened:
An attempt by US evangelical-linked activists to sabotage the repeal effort.
To put this in a wider context, after the evangelical movement in the US lost the fight on marriage equality, they didn’t pack up their bags and go home, they shifted their focus to trans rights instead, and they appropriated “feminist” language to do so:
“Hands Across The Ailse” are one such evangelical group that masquerades as feminist in order to undermine not only trans rights, but LGBT and women’s rights also.
As far as I know, many UK-based anti-trans extremists (or TERFs if you prefer) are involved with this organization.
One such anti-trans extremist, Venice “Dr. Radfem” Allan pictured here with hard-line conservative David Davies. Her antagonism towards Irish feminists was well documented, as was her stance on abortion being about making “careless sex” easier.
Now, if you’ll recall back to January, there was an open letter (aka the #TERFsout letter) from Irish feminists published on http://feministire.com that rejected a proposed talk from anti-trans extremists, as part of the “We Need To Talk” speaking tour.
The tour garnered questions of 1) who’s funding it, and 2) why now?
Ireland already passed one of the most progressive gender recognition laws in the world, and no UK based parties came over to talk about it then, so why were they so invested ahead of the abortion referendum?
Those questions are still unanswered, they got extremely defensive when asked about their funding, but I’m guessing their US evangelical buddies gave them more than a bit. After all, a lot of money from the US was coming in to attempt to stop the repeal efforts.
And you know what? This kinda divide and conquer tactic works. There was a handful of people in Ireland who drank the TERF koolaid, and it resulted in an extremely reactionary response to those involved in the repeal effort:
So radical, much feminism pic.twitter.com/4Kb5s6k7DT
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) March 5, 2018
[The embedded screen caps included in the tweet above are reproduced in full immediately below for your convenience — cd]
That is the kind of infighting I believe the UK anti-trans extremists were seeking to cause with their talks, fracture the leadership of the repeal campaign, and get everyone involved bogged down in infighting in the months ahead of the referendum.
US evangelicals bankrolling fake “feminist” groups is nothing new, there’s plenty of precedent for that happening already. So it’s not exactly a stretch to imagine UK-based TERFs linked to a US evangelical group were attempting to sow discord in Ireland.
And *THAT* is what those UK “Gender critical” activists are responsible for, a failed attempt at interference in our referendum to sabotage our repeal efforts, presumably backed by conservative christian funding from the US.
They didn’t help, they tried to hinder.
By being staunchly inclusive of trans people and responding with a resounding “TERFs out!” Ireland successfully resisted attempts to interfere in our referendum by US evangelicals and UK TERFs.
By rejecting hate, we were indivisible.
Also, some reciepts. Thanks for this!
Receipts for this: a)& b) Transgender Trend founder & Hands Across the Aisle supporting each others causes on twitter, c) linking to each other's websites, d) anti-abortion Founder & spokesperson of Hands Across the Aisle trying to compare anti-abortion with anti-trans pic.twitter.com/mOz6kykPWw
— TransHealthNow (@DadTrans) May 31, 2018
a) & b) Hands Across the Aisle Founder's publicly anti abortion stance
b) the episode where she stole and posted photos on twitter of young children from closed parents of trans children groups she had lied to infiltrate
c) support from UK #Transphobe PP defending her pic.twitter.com/F6U8Ph8eiS
— TransHealthNow (@DadTrans) May 31, 2018
By the way, in tandem with these efforts from UK TERFs, we also had efforts by Irish anti-abortion activists to set up fake pro-repeal accounts to use trans people as a wedge issue.
So the question needs to be asked, was this a coordinated effort?
— Newsworthy_ie (@newsworthy_ie) February 27, 2018
Now, you’ll note that @CaseyExplosion is explicitly engaging in speculation on funding sources, but is otherwise giving facts about the people involved in UK anti-trans “feminist” efforts to lead discussions in Ireland about whether or not Irish people should repeal the 8th Amendment banning abortion and thus gain substantial reproductive rights and freedoms previously denied them. There are some Irish associated with those UK activists who actively assert that despite nothing specifically about trans people being on the ballot, they will vote down repeal because the repeal movement is not explicitly anti-trans. For these actors, choosing these actions, their anti-trans stance has made them anti-woman. I cannot speak to how widespread this was, nor do I have any information to confirm @CaseyExplosion’s financing speculations. But this happened and it will continue to happen until we can end the utility of anti-trans arguments in splitting feminist movements.
In the 1990s and maybe even the early 2000s this might have been possible by abandoning trans-inclusive gender liberation. Today we have, fortunately, come too far for that. But we aren’t yet in a place where we have truly united around the idea that trans-inclusive gender liberation is as integral to feminism as workplace gender liberation or educational gender liberation or multi-racial gender liberation. If I understand what happened in Ireland correctly, they’re a bit ahead of us in the Pacific Northwest, and even farther than that ahead of many other parts of Canada and the USA. (Hands Across the Aisle, is, after all, a US-based, -funded & -dominated group.) But we can get there. Ireland has helped show us how, and Elliot Page has helped give us the opportunity.