#IStandWithMeb and the latest TERFy nonsense

The contretemps du jour on Twitter is an attempt by TERFs to take over a trans-inclusive bar in Edinburgh (Meb is the bartender who politely threw them out). Marion Millar, a notorious transphobe who is currently awaiting trial for hate crimes against trans people, was one of the organizers who “innocently” (yeah, if you believe that you’re pretty darned gullible) booked a night out with the girls at Doctors, a pub in Edinburgh.

That would be fine, even TERFs get to enjoy some fish & chips and a pint now and then, except…they saw this as an opportunity to hand out inflammatory flyers and put up gender critical stickers in the rest room and argue with the other patrons and the bartender.

Here’s a good summary of the evening.

Doctors bar in Edinburgh and specifically their manager have come under fire from a torrent of abuse from transphobes on social media who have even been review-bombing the bar on Facebook etc. This after a group of transphobes went to the bar wearing transphobic campaigning t-shirts and armed with leaflets which they attempted to litter around the place. They were politely asked to leave, refused and were escorted out by police.

They got what they wanted, to provoke and disturb other people and get in the news with their brand of indignant hatred, and the staff at the bar dealt with it as responsibly as they could. They also found a target for their hate to focus on, Meb, and an exciting new hashtag they can poison.

If ever I find myself in Edinburgh again, I’ll definitely seek out Doctors and give them my custom. They sound like good people.


  1. Wounded King says

    I think I saw you give a talk in the Banshee Labyrinth at the festival a few years ago, that is only ~10 minutes from Doctors. Admittedly, most parts of the Edinburgh Old Town are ~10 minutes from any other, it isn’t a huge place.

    Only downside to Doctor’s is it is so full of academics and med students in the late afternoon since it is directly opposite the gate to the Old Medical School building. That said, I think most of the med students are somewhere else now as the historians and social scientists are taking over some of the old medical school buildings.

  2. Allison says

    Haters just gotta hate, I suppose. (And gotta lie, too.)

    Just like the racists in the USA South, who spat on and threw stuff at black children trying to attend formerly all-white schools. Cf.: the “Little Rock Nine” or Norman Rockwell’s “The Problem We All Live With.” Except in this case, the bigots have no legal control over this venue, they’re just coming in like a bunch of brown-shirts invading a synagogue.

  3. cartomancer says

    It must be so nice to have a life so devoid of actual problems that you choose to spend your time doing this bollocks.

  4. cartomancer says

    (that’s invading pubs in Edinburgh, of course, , not writing about it on Pharyngula).

  5. says

    Handing out flyers at a private business without the owner’s permission? Of course you get kicked out. If you want to hand out flyers, there’s a public street right outside.
    Of course, that doesn’t allow you to make a big scene that can draw publicity, which is clearly what this was about.

  6. blf says

    This sounded familiar — and that I don’t remember too clearly is perhaps a recommendation — but I’m moderately confident I’ve been there at least once some yonks ago. Since my memory is very hazy, I’ve no specific recommendations, albeit that does suggest the beers(? (at least)) were nice…

  7. Allison says

    The contretemps du jour on Twitter …

    Is there anything Twitter is good for besides “contretemps”?

    As with FaceBook, my experience is that the signal-to-noise ratio is so low it isn’t worth spending any of the remaining milliseconds of my life on it. When I’ve followed links to Twitter, I have never learned anything I didn’t already know. But then, my life is stressful enough as it is without letting myself get riled up over “a whole bunch of like angry people being angry because they’re like really miserable freaking people.” (Quote ripped out of context from a story I like.)

    Although I suppose one can learn where the next outbreak of mob violence is likely to break out (e.g., Jan 6)

  8. christoph says

    That was a clever touch where the flyer implied that trans folk are rapists and violent offenders.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    Aren’t they supposed to be beating up immigrants instead? Or is that just England?
    I would recommend they follow the example of the PM of the film ‘Oops, Apocalypse’ and stuff like unemployment on pixies.

  10. says

    UK neonazi allies LGB Alliance received a warning from the UK charity commission for a hateful tweet equating Trans and Non-Binary people to “bestiality”. Their “apology” is as empty as their ethical standards. They meant it when they posted it, and still do now.


    LGBA is a hate group and should never have been given charity status. With any luck, it will eventually be taken away.

  11. says

    Apparently one of the people involved was Marion Millar, who is their latest “Joan of Arc”. She’s being questioned for malicious communication after tweeting out horrible stuff about trans people, encouraging violence against them*, claiming that all she did was tweet stuff like “women are adult human females” (read with Ferengi voice).
    So yeah, all of this stinks. They weren’t just a group of women who found themselves in a bar for drinks, that happens to have a trans woman as a manager, and then got kicked out “for being women”. These Karens will always claim that they’re being discriminated against for some innocent shit, when in reality they actually stir up shit. They totally didn’t distribute their leaflets, they just happened to have the exact same ones one their womens (saying “on their persons” would be misogyny as terves don’t believe that women are people), and they also of course agree with the leaflets. This whole thing is staged and aimed to ruin a woman’s life. they will fall to the fainting couch if one of their brave white knights goes on to hurt Meb or her staff in an order to defend the poor, helpless, weak, women, but that’s exactly what they’re doing, see the staged Spa incidence in the US. Stochastic terrorism.

    *You have to take my word here. I’ve seen the screen shots, but either my Google fu has left me, or they have been taken down because British law is bizarre and means posting tweets showing what she said can lead to a misstrial.

  12. chrislawson says

    Of course it was innocent. Whenever I go out for a night at the pub, I always co-ordinate inflammatory T-shirts with my friends and carry a large supply of hate speech pamphlets. Doesn’t everyone?

  13. KG says

    I have drunk in Doctor’s – it’s near where meetings of the Edinburgh Greens and of Edinburgh Radical Independence Campaign were held pre-pandemic. Nice pub. I’ll go back as soon as I return to pubs at all!

  14. says

    Those so called “dangers” in that piece of paper are odd.

    Men in female hospital wards? Personally, I believe that it would be better for hospital wards to be mixed gender to begin with and have some privacy screens or places for changing clothes or something like that for those situations when privacy is needed.

    Men in women’s sports teams? That’s already a thing, in plenty of sports, especially amateur level, people are allowed to do whatever they want. This reminds me a case when a Latvian female boxer decided to have a fight against a (cis) dude (same weight class as her), and nobody in the local boxing community had a problem with it. Two experienced athletes consented to a fight, and everybody respected their choice. Only random people in online comments had to whine about how women should be forbidden from fighting against dudes. When it comes to sports, determining what is fair should be done on a case by case basis by professionals. Some clueless layperson should not dictate that mixed gender teams or men competing against women is always inherently wrong.

    Rape counseling? I think a cis man can be a rape counselor for women. When it comes to therapy, actual training as a counselor and characteristics like ability to listen and empathize are what matters, not the shape of genitals. Of course, if some victims prefer female counselors, they should have a choice, but it’s not like every victim freaks out at the sight of any man after getting abused by one specific man. More importantly, men also get raped, thus the society as a whole definitely need male rape counselors and therapists.

    Access to women’s domestic violence refuges? Again, I think domestic violence shelters ought to be accessible for every victim, including cis men. Since a victim can have any gender, it would be better to create domestic violence shelters that are inclusive and offer help for everybody regardless of their genital shape or gender identity.

    Having their crimes recorded as committed by a woman? WTF? Why even care about statistics so much? Really? Who cares how the crimes committed by a tiny minority of humanity get classified, it is not like they can possibly influence overall statistical trends revealed by crime statistics. More importantly, why even bother keeping statistics about crime rates among different demographic groups?

    As for prisons, I believe that those ought to be humane and nobody should fear getting raped in a prison regardless of whether inmates are segregated by gender or no.

    Of course, I understand that the author of this text feared that trans women might do all these things. In my opinion, of course trans women should be free to do all those things that cis women can do. But in this case personally I would also be perfectly fine with cis men doing some of these things, that, according to the bigots who wrote this text, a trans woman should not be allowed to do.

  15. mailliw says

    The right wing AfD here in Germany have an election poster with the slogan “Deutsch statt Gendern” – German instead of genders.

    My first thought on seeing it was – they want to destroy the German language – how can you have German without genders?

    Maybe they think everything should be neuter – so I have started calling them das ÄfDchen.

  16. pacal says

    Just what would these idiots think about Christian Fundamentalists, (Or just Fundamentalists in general.), going to a Gay bar and passing out material labeling Gay people has pedophiles, rapists, criminals and in need of conversion therapy. Would they be clutching their pearls about such people being asked to leave and if they refused being escorted out by Police?

  17. says

    Given how comfortable TERFs are with ultra-conservative ideas, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sided with the fundies.

  18. dianne says

    What I don’t understand about TERFs is how they can simultaneously believe that women are constantly endangered and oppressed by men and that men want to become women. If women’s lives are hard, why would any man want to be a woman? Unless, of course, she was a woman and TERFs are FOS.

    Also “female hospital wards”? What the? Is this a British thing?

  19. says

    dianne @ #23:

    Also “female hospital wards”? What the? Is this a British thing?

    Seriously! Honestly, the whole list is really pathetic and stupid. “This is already happening in Scotland”! Even if I were open to their bigotry I’d be like, meh.

  20. says

    Also “female hospital wards”? What the? Is this a British thing?

    British Terves seem to be constantly confused by the idea of “stalls” as well.
    But seriously, it’s never about actually keeping women out of prison, or improving conditions in prison. Especially British Terves absolutely deny the fact that cis women also abuse and assault people, especially other women. They take a very antiquated notion in English law that says that it’s not rape unless there’s a penis involved and then act like that’s some sort of unchangeable fact (BioLogY!!11!!) and therefore no tender lovely cis woman can ever rape a person.
    Honestly, they are getting along so well with right wing fundamentalists because their ideas about men and women are pretty much the same: Men and women are fundamentally different (because of evolution!) and therefore have fundamentally different needs. Everybody born with penis is inherently violent and a danger towards women while cis women are small and meek and inherently harmless and in need of protection. Honestly, their description of women reminds me of panda bears, not of grown ass humans.
    Also, of course, they keep talking about how trans women should just get their own spaces and then go to the pub run by a trans woman.

  21. says

    @#22, LykeX

    Given how comfortable TERFs are with ultra-conservative ideas, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sided with the fundies.

    There is an already-well-observed standard path leading from TERFiness to Neo-Nazi-dom. (A while back I remember seeing a fairly long list of people who, 5 years after announcing their support for Gender Critical policies, had gone full-on explicitly pro-Hitler this-is-not-a-joke fascist. None of them were big, recognizable names but at best: “if I had a nickel for every time I was doomed by a puppet, I’d have two nickels – which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird that it happened twice.”) It’s not entirely surprising — the famous photos of Nazis burning books in 1933 are from the destruction of the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, which was an early supporter of transsexuality and non-absolute views of gender; although all people who are “Gender Critical” may not be Nazis, all Nazis were gender critical. Furthermore, TERF propaganda about trans women borrows heavily from Nazi rhetoric about Jews (sometimes Jewish women, but sometimes just Jews period), to the point where somebody managed to track down a direct re-use of artwork on a modern TERF flyer from a genuine Nazi poster about Jews. It’s pretty well-established, and it casts people like J. K. Rowling in an increasingly unflattering light.

    (TERFs also commonly overlap heavily in their opinions with Tradwives, which… wasn’t the “RF” in “TERF” supposed to stand for “Radical Feminist”?)

  22. says

    What I don’t understand about TERFs is how they can simultaneously believe that women are constantly endangered and oppressed by men and that men want to become women. If women’s lives are hard, why would any man want to be a woman?

    They don’t believe this. To understand TERF thinking you must start from an unshakeable axiom: trans people aren’t real. There is to them no such thing as a legitimate transition for stated reasons.

    Thus, to them, there aren’t ‘men who want to be women’, there are ‘men who like to pretend to be women but are really just men’, and vice versa. Then they apply their gender essentialist assumptions to this, to answer not the question you propose but rather “Why would a man pretend to be a woman?” and “Why would a woman pretend to be a man?”

    The former one, they wonder why a more powerful person would dress up as a less powerful one, and because to them men have agency but are horny All The Time, that must be it. A man so incredibly horny for this fetish that he pretends to renounce the power of being a man, all because it makes him rock hard all the time, ESPECIALLY the bit where he gets to control the world by forcing other people to join in his sex game nonconsensually. But he’s not really giving up anything, he’s still got all the man privileges, it’s just a way to hurt women to get his jollies.

    The latter one, they see that men have more power and women are oppressed, but their gender essentialism says that women don’t have agency, therefore if a woman pretends to be a man it can’t be a legitimate decision of her own, poor dear, obviously some outside force has convinced them to abandon their sacred wombynhood and join the enemy.

    That is how TERFs think, though usually they only admit it when they think no neutral party is looking. Now I need a shower.

  23. says

    The latter one, they see that men have more power and women are oppressed, but their gender essentialism says that women don’t have agency, therefore if a woman pretends to be a man it can’t be a legitimate decision of her own, poor dear, obviously some outside force has convinced them to abandon their sacred wombynhood and join the enemy.

    As I said, they tend to confuse women with panda bears: very delicate creatures in need of nature reserves that have to be guarded by the good guys vs. the bad guys. Of course the “good guys” get rewarded with sex. I kid you not, one prominent British Terv recently published an article why a woman should have sex with her male partner regardless of whether she wants to.
    I mean, they go against probably 100 years or more of feminist theory and activism that says that we don’t want protection but equality, that we don’t want “single sex spaces” but full participation in society, and then they wonder why people don’t consider them feminist.

  24. xipuloxx says

    Long time reader, first time commenter here (also quite badly behind on reading the blog!). Thanks for telling us about this. I’m not much for social media so I hadn’t heard about it till now.

    I’ve never heard of this pub before, but as it happens I’ll be in Edinburgh next month (Covid willing) so now I intend to stop in there and give them some of my custom. I see they do a beer from which they donate 20p per pint to the charity Switchboard LGBT+ so I’ll have to have some of that! :-)