A Regurgitation of Old Tripe

This is part of the text from an email I received a mere eleven days after Squid and I were officially ‘terfed’. The writer was a friend of ours who we’d known for years. This part refers to a Twitter spat that happened between me and a mutual, ahem, friend… although that person and I hadn’t been friends for a year prior to this, when I came to the conclusion that she was a silly little girl who needed to grow up.

“You’re welcome to your opinion, however it felt an awful lot like you were taking offence at a term like ‘cis’ out of nowhere an [sic] unnecessarily. As if somehow being a woman was a limited resource or trans women existing diminished you being a woman simply by association. I don’t get why you would be against trans people or taking offence to general terms used such as ‘cis’ when it’s not really any kind of issue for you, it’s not a matter of oppression or lessening being a woman. Let’s face it, trans men and trans women are the ones who have this whole thing worse off if you look at things like suicide rates, life expectancy and general treatment of them. If you’re going to be a feminist, standing up for trans women feels like it should really be baked into the subject.”

I was incensed, by this point. Of course, I spent time answering, though I was rather more polite than I’ve been below, but I’m not dumb enough to think he even opened my email before he deleted it and so I am exercising my right of reply here, publicly. Oh, sorry, did I not mention that this load of regurgitated old tripe was written by a man? Don’t tell me you didn’t guess…

So first of all, I’m going to respond quickly to each point as it comes and then afterwards I’ll go into more detail about why I found it so annoying and actually rather insulting:

“You’re welcome to your opinion [Gee, thanks], however it felt an awful lot like you were taking offence at a term like ‘cis’ out of nowhere an unnecessarily. [Neither out of nowhere nor unnecessarily. I am a woman. Woman is enough.] As if somehow being a woman was a limited resource [It is limited – to be a woman, you first need to be female] or trans women existing diminished you being a woman simply by association. [Nope – they’re not women because they’re not female. Are you seeing a pattern, yet?] I don’t get why you would be against trans people [Whoever said I was?] or taking offence to general terms used such as ‘cis’ when it’s not really any kind of issue for you [It isn’t? Really? Please, do explain my own reasoning to me. Oh, you’re not even going to try. OK, then. As you were…], it’s not a matter of oppression or lessening being a woman. [It is a matter of oppression, actually. Calling women cis just because we’re not trans is deeply insulting, because it’s yet another label forced upon us by men and a way to control how we think, speak and act. And to that, I say: Get fucked.] Let’s face it, trans men and trans women are the ones who have this whole thing worse off [Two women a week are killed by partners or ex-partners – that’s without mentioning all the women who are killed by other men or the 85,000 of us a year who are raped in the UK alone] if you look at things like suicide rates [Based on one bullshit survey], life expectancy [A lot of transwomen are prostitutes – female prostitutes get murdered at a higher rate than other women, too] and general treatment of them [Oh, PLEASE, can you hear yourself?!]. If you’re going to be a feminist [I am, no thanks to ‘friends’ like you], standing up for trans women feels like it should really be baked into the subject. [To you, perhaps – but I’m not in the habit of including men in things that are meant for women.]

Right – now point by point, I’ll go into more detail about why exactly this pissed me off as much as it did:

1 – You’re welcome to your opinion [Gee, thanks]

A man tells a woman she’s “welcome to her opinion” and expects not to get pushback for it. Fucking hell. It’s not as if women have been fighting to have our opinions heard and respected FOREVER, or anything…

2 – however it felt an awful lot like you were taking offence at a term like ‘cis’ out of nowhere an unnecessarily. [Neither out of nowhere nor unnecessarily. I am a woman. Woman is enough.]

Unlike a lot of people these days, I do not easily take offence. But this statement – that I am wrong to be offended by the term ‘cis’ – is in itself deeply offensive. I don’t need a qualifier to explain what ‘type’ of woman I am. I am female and I am an adult human. That really is enough, and if it isn’t enough for you, then, well, we’re unlikely to be friends. Saying that I am a ‘cis woman’ is to suggest that a transwoman is simply another kind of woman, which is untrue. A transwoman is a kind of man. A woman is not simply whatever men say a woman is. A woman is an adult human female.

3 – As if somehow being a woman was a limited resource [It is limited – to be a woman, you first need to be female]

I couldn’t believe he’d written this and probably kept a straight face while he was writing it. The category of woman – what I am (and what he emphatically is not) – was up for grabs by men. No, mate. It fucking well ain’t.

4 – or trans women existing diminished you being a woman simply by association. [Nope – they’re not women because they’re not female. Are you seeing a pattern, yet?]

I don’t think I need to explain this further.

5 – I don’t get why you would be against trans people [Whoever said I was?]

You’re assuming I don’t like trans people. Far from it. What I don’t like are misogynistic arseholes, of which there are a hell of a lot. Forgive me for being blunt, here, but had I realised you were one of them, we would never have become friends in the first place.

6 – or taking offence to general terms used such as ‘cis’ when it’s not really any kind of issue for you [It isn’t? Really? Please, do explain my own reasoning to me. Oh, you’re not even going to try. OK, then. As you were…]

To assume this isn’t any kind of issue for me says exactly what about you, I wonder? You’re assuming I won’t give a shit that men are pretending to be women, insisting they are as much or even more ‘woman’ than I am and then shoving their size elevens into my personal space, disrespecting the boundaries I’ve set. Why would I not have a problem with that? Do you always assume it’s OK for men to cross boundaries women have set? What about young girls? Are they wrong to not want a man to come any closer, or are they bigots, too? ‘Cis’ says that a transwoman is as much female as me. He’s not. He’s male. And males pose a danger to females. End of discussion.

7 – it’s not a matter of oppression or lessening being a woman. [It is a matter of oppression, actually. Calling women cis just because we’re not trans is deeply insulting, because it’s yet another label forced upon us by men and a way to control how we think, speak and act. And to that, I say: Get fucked.]

So it’s not a matter of oppression when men tell women what we can and can’t call ourselves; what we can and can’t talk about; how we can and can’t refer to our own bodies; what we can and can’t say or think about how society has always treated women and girls as less valuable and less important than boys and men? Really? You think I should be just fine with being told I’m no more woman than a man? You’re fucking delusional, mate.

8 – Let’s face it, trans men and trans women are the ones who have this whole thing worse off [Two women a week are killed by partners or ex-partners – that’s without mentioning all the women who are killed by other men or the 85,000 of us a year who are raped in the UK alone]

The statistics are out there. I wish I was exaggerating. I’m not.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/domestic-abuse-violence-death-women-partner-a9333161.html

https://rapecrisis.org.uk/get-informed/about-sexual-violence/statistics-sexual-violence/

9 – if you look at things like suicide rates [Based on one bullshit survey]

This is something that keeps getting wheeled out in an attempt to guilt-trip women into feeling sorry for those men who are constantly sending us rape and death threats if we don’t capitulate, and it’s based on a single survey carried out by the misogynistic men’s rights organisation Stonewall. This is a statistic that is based on the self-declaration of 27 people. TWENTY-SEVEN. I call bullshit.

https://www.genderhq.org/trans-youth-suicide-statistics-kill-themselves-manipulate-parents

10 – life expectancy [A lot of transwomen are prostitutes – female prostitutes get murdered at a higher rate than other women, too]

“Sex work is work!” – just like any other job, eh? Uh-huh. Gotcha. It’s as dangerous for transwomen as it is for women. It’s a dangerous thing to do, selling your body for cash. Men have a nasty habit of murdering those they hate. Or haven’t you realised that yet?

https://fairplayforwomen.com/trans-murder-rates/

11 – and general treatment of them [Oh, PLEASE, can you hear yourself?!].

Your treatment of me right now is questionable at best. I say that male people can’t be turned into female people (fact) and you have to stick your oar in and tell me I’m wrong for saying that in case it hurts some poor men’s feelies? That says more about you than I think you realise, me ole pal.

12 – If you’re going to be a feminist [I am, no thanks to ‘friends’ like you]

I hardly need anyone’s permission to stand up and fight for women’s rights which means, by the way, my rights. You have a girlfriend. Sounds to me like I care more about her rights than you do.

13 – standing up for trans women feels like it should really be baked into the subject. [To you, perhaps – but I’m not in the habit of including men in things that are meant for women.]

Feminism is about women, girls, and our liberation from oppression by men. You are a man. I am a woman. I am more invested in this fight than you are because it’s not your basic rights they’re gunning for.

Any more questions?

Thought not.

A Woman Among Women at Women’s Lib 2020 – The Female Perspective

This was a first for me. I’d never been to any kind of political meeting before. But this is a cause that not only can I get fully behind, it’s a cause I can’t not get fully behind. After all the work done by our sisters in the past, including the Suffragettes, women’s legal rights are at risk of being taken from us. If I didn’t get behind that, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. And if our rights are stripped – which is looking increasingly likely – I would never be able to forgive myself if I hadn’t spoken up and said, ‘Not without a fucking fight.’

For several weeks, friends had been asking whether I was going to the WPUK (A Woman’s Place UK) Women’s Liberation Conference in February, but I had come off Twitter back in September (much to the relief of my kung fu instructor, who could see what it was doing to my state of mind), and I didn’t know how to get tickets.

By the time we did get details, the first batch had already sold out. Shit. Not a massive surprise. More went on sale the following week, but again, by the time I got there, they’d all gone. I had more or less resigned myself to the fact we weren’t going and started making provisional plans to meet friends in the pub after the event. Then that Friday, a friend gave me another link. The final batch would be going on sale in the morning. But – damn it! I was going training tomorrow, as I do practically every Saturday. And there is very little that will stop me from going training. (I am proudly obstinate. A family trait. And besides which, if I didn’t go because I was trying to get tickets for something that had nothing to do with martial arts, my instructor would be having words… It’s OK. It’s what he’s there for, and it keeps me honest.)

So I tasked my significant other, known throughout the Twitterverse and beyond as Altered Squid, or just Squid, to get tickets if he possibly could. While I was training, I heard my phone bleep, and between classes, I checked. There was a message that said he could only get one, so he’d got it for me (because Squid is a star). But I’d not been able to look while I was training so I saw all the messages at once, and in the meantime, lo and behold! Yes! He’d managed to get two! WE WERE GOING!!!

I must confess to feeling a little apprehensive, despite my excitement. When WPUK held a meeting in Brighton back in September, the protest outside was so vicious that women were having panic attacks once inside, or were unable to get in at all, having insults screamed in their ears (do these idiots not know that this can cause an eardrum to burst, or do they just not care because we’re ‘terfs’?), while the local coppers stood around with their arms crossed and did nothing as some of them banged and kicked on the windows throughout the event.

The nearby residents eventually got so pissed off with the incessant racket that they began slinging buckets of water over the trans rights protesters (who later blamed the ‘terfs’ for it). There was a lot at stake, and I was wondering if, for the first time since I had begun training more than a decade ago, I’d actually have to use my kung fu in self defence (which I have a legal right to do). Linda Bellos once said that if she were ever attacked, she would defend herself, and she was subsequently taken to court for threatening behaviour. As if she doesn’t have a legal right to defend herself if attacked.

https://womansplaceuk.org/linda-bellos-self-defence-is-no-offence/

However, those who know me well know that I am not one to let others tell me what to do, and I’m damned if I’ll let a group of people who apparently can’t tell men from women stop me from going to a women’s rights event.

But we found out there may now be a snag. Because Squid had secured both tickets, and you could only buy one ticket at a time, they were both in his name. And WPUK had sent out an email saying that we’d need ID that matched the name on the ticket (for security reasons – see above). But it was sorted when another email arrived with Squid saying that if one of the tickets was for someone else to please tell them, otherwise they would refund the money. He duly gave them my name and my email address.

Phew! I got my own ticket through, with my name on it, the same day.

I said a moment ago that there is very little that will stop me from going training, and this is true, but this conference was being held on a Saturday – and it would be going on all day. So I told my instructor what was happening and went training on Thursday instead. I can’t not train, but I also couldn’t pass up this chance to be present at what has since already turned out to be something of a historic event.

Squid has written about the day here:

https://www.critorix.co.uk/essays/the-female-vibe-a-man-among-women-at-wpuk/

However, some of you may have noticed that Squid is a man, and I am a woman. (Although I know it’s hard, as you can’t always tell, these days.) As a consequence, our experiences were, naturally, slightly different.

Despite the early start (I don’t do mornings), by the time we reached the station and saw some of our friends there, I was ready to go. I waved maniacally at them as we reached the ticket machines and then we went over to greet everyone.

None of us really knew where the venue was, but as we approached, it became obvious, as we could hear the chants of the protesters three streets away. In fact, their presence made things very easy for us to figure out where we were supposed to go. Ah, we thought. It must be in here. Thanks, protesters! You were a big help, there.

And they weren’t scary. My heart started to race a little, because I didn’t know what to expect, but it wasn’t hammering. After Jo had hugged me and welcomed me – as she appeared to have been doing to many of the women who arrived – we went inside and my heart stopped fluttering.

I immediately felt invigorated. Surrounded by so many women, some of whom were our friends, others we’d seen in WPUK videos on YouTube, and hundreds of others:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzFqsUqDzyXEQMJVy42NwUw/videos

In all, there were around 900 people, of which no more than maybe a dozen were men. (Squid reckoned about twenty. I swear I didn’t see that many.) We met other friends there, and we knew many of those who would later be giving talks or running workshops, none of which we attended. I really was spoilt for choice and I had one of those moments when my head goes a bit funny and I find it impossible to make a decision. It may be my age (don’t say a fucking word) or it may simply have been that there were so many people there that I couldn’t think straight. Either way, we didn’t go to any of them. And in any case, we were mainly there to hear the talks, mix with women, make connections and just be there.

That was it. You always hear these tales of historic events, important movements, and I wanted, for once, simply to be able to say that I’d been there. I wanted not just to have witnessed the fight for women’s rights, envious of other women who were at these meetings but unable to do much, as I saw it, myself. I wanted to have been an active part of that fight. To be able to get to my old age (hopefully) and say, ‘Yep. I was there.’

One of the first people I spotted was Linda Bellos. I did ask for a photo, as well as a hug, but she wasn’t comfortable with the idea of being put on a pedestal, which I completely respect. I never did get the photo, but when she said she would be happy to hug me as a sister, I did what I am very good at and she returned the hug with genuine sisterly warmth.

I was looking around while Squid was in the loo (and for an event with so many women present, it was notable that there were NO QUEUES for the ladies’ – women who weren’t there may find this hard to believe, but it’s true) and there on one of the chairs was one of the most amazing women anyone could ever hope to meet – Hibo Wardere, who wrote the book Cut and who travels the country and indeed the world teaching people about the horrors of FGM. We’d been in touch for a while and had swapped numbers before I left Twitter, so I went over, told her who I was and gave her the biggest, warmest hug. She is a true legend. When Squid came round the corner and spotted who I was with, a huge grin appeared on his face. We hung out with Hibo for some time. She really is the loveliest woman.

We spotted Julie Bindel (who I later half-hugged across a table full of sandwiches), Maya Forstater, Allison Bailey, Selina Todd, Nicola Williams… SO MANY POWERFUL WOMEN! The femaleness of the place was unbelievable, and I said to Squid that for perhaps the first time in my adult life, in a room full of strangers, something odd had happened. My guard, which is usually up all the time when I’m out, was down. I felt safe. And I never feel safe when I’m out, except under certain circumstances (such as when I’m training – I don’t just go to learn kung fu…). Hundreds upon hundreds of people, most of whom I didn’t know and had never met, and I felt as safe as I ever had. It was weird, and it was wondrous.

(To clarify: I don’t mean that I feel constantly in danger and under threat when I’m out. I mean that I don’t know what it’s like to leave the house, close the door behind me and feel a hundred per cent safe. Women, if not men, will know the difference.)

Although the morning speeches were introduced by a man, Brad Blitz, of the UCL Institute of Education,  he wasn’t part of the conference itself. A few women were miffed that it felt as if the first speaker at a women’s event was a man, but he wasn’t involved in the event, he was simply introducing it. He welcomed us into his institution, made clear that free speech was as important to him as it was to us, and left us to get on with it. The speeches were – I’m going to use a word I’ve never used before, I think, ever – rousing. Both the morning and afternoon speeches gave me hope that all was not lost in the fight for women’s rights. 

Around the edges of the hall where the sandwiches had been laid on, along with tea, coffee, fruit juice, biscuits, bananas, etc., there were several stalls run by various campaign groups. I spotted some little tins wrapped with bits of white cotton on which had been printed THOU SHALT NOT SUFFER A WITCH TO LIVE, but sadly these were not for sale, or I definitely would have bought one. What I did buy were little pin badges of the female symbol (I’d seen women wearing them and had been eyeing them all morning) – for me and for my mum, whose birthday it had been a couple of days before – and some notebooks, as well as picking up various leaflets and postcards and things. I wish I could have bought more stuff (I was particularly drawn to cotton patches and badges with uterus designs), but with restricted finances, I had to make strategic choices.

I felt a sisterly vibe, overwhelmingly and gloriously female, and realised it is this feeling that certain men resent. They may want this, they may try to get it, but they can’t have it, because they are not female. They can experience a version of it if they get access to spaces where there are many more women than men, but they can never fully belong to it, because they are not women. Something fundamental is missing. And they hate us for it.

As I have got older, certain things are falling into place for me. I have realised that far from being afraid of old age, I shall welcome it – because it’s better to reach old age than not reach it. I shall let my hair go grey and leave it long and go about showing it off, because I am proud of it. Women with silver hair are gorgeous and I will never be ashamed of that or try to hide it. If my face shows more lines as I grow older, they will be lines caused by much laughter in my life – I laugh a lot and I laugh loud, like any self-respecting witch should.

There were many women at the conference who were my age or older, others who were younger. I felt an affinity with all of them, because we are all female and we have a range of shared experiences. Not being able to talk about this openly without fear of social death (because we no longer put witches and heretics to actual death) is a symptom of a sickness in our society. It is probably down to women to cure – partly because many of us are witches and partly because it’s always down to women to fix things like this. And will we get any thanks, when this all dies down (as it surely must)? We shall see. But I doubt it.

While others were at their various panels and workshops, I had an idea to go to Gower Street, where you can procure remaindered books at decent prices, so with the help of Squid’s phone, we found our way there and had a nosey around. And yes, of course we came out with some books. Don’t tell me you thought even for a moment that we came out empty-handed? We’re skint, sure, but cheap books are cheap books and the temptation is hard to resist.

We made sure to return to UCL in plenty of time for the closing plenary, found a couple of seats and settled in. 

During the last few minutes, as things started to wrap up, a clipboard was passed round, which contained sheets of paper that we could fill in with our details. On the back were some of the questions in the Scottish GRA consultation, and the good people at WPUK had answered the relevant ones for us in advance. You don’t have to live in Scotland to fill it in. You can find details here. As the writers of this document have said they especially want to hear from trans people and trans allies, with no mention of wanting to hear from women, I encourage you to do your bit.

The last words of Kiri Tunks’ speech have stayed with me, and will likely stay with me forever: “This is a movement. We are the movement. Let’s move.”

As we were leaving, I spotted Kiri and gave her a hug, told her that it had been a fabulous day and thanked her for organising it.

To paraphrase a David Bowie lyric: I hugged a lot of women, that day.

Actually, the feelings evoked in that song really sum up how I felt at the conference. So here it is:

We came away awash with love for women and with renewed determination that women’s rights will not be taken from us without a fight. We will fight with words rather than weapons, but words are powerful, and should be used with care. It’s easy – too easy – to yell and swear at idiots on social media. But all that gets us is stress, and (if we really piss off the wokebros and TRAs) a place on several block lists. (I think I had made it onto 40-odd such lists before I deleted my Twitter account. It’s something of which I’m very proud.)

What we need to do is connect, in person as well as online. Make plans. Talk to people, whether people we know or people we don’t. Myself, I’ve been talking to people who know me well enough to realise that there may just be something to what I’m telling them. That it isn’t just a load of pissed-off, hormonal women with nothing to do but moan about men, but something much deeper and much more dangerous, and even sinister. Because make no mistake – women’s rights are in peril. And the Labour Party have since proved that they are no friends to women, either. At least, not to women like us.

For we are the troublesome women. The women who aren’t afraid to say, ‘Now hang on a minute!’ The women who won’t comply. The women who dare to set boundaries (and woe betide any man who crosses them).

We are the women who, when faced with a group of people trying to take away our legal rights, will stand up and say, in the words of our friend Jane Clare Jones:

‘Get stuffed.’

https://janeclarejones.com/2019/02/07/why-british-feminists-are-such-a-bunch-of-evil-witches/

I’ve never been a dissident before. It’s quite exciting.

But it’s also frightening. I am frightened. Because it seems the moment women started speaking up about what happens to us daily at the hands of men, the backlash started. Feminism isn’t feminism, we’re told, if we don’t include transwomen. What a load of old tripe!

Transwomen are male, and adult human males have been known across the world and across the millennia, in every language that has ever been spoken, as men.

Men.

Women need to be afraid of men.

But we must not be afraid to say no. We must not be so afraid that we capitulate to the demands of a few at our own expense. And remember, sisters, that we are more than half the population of the planet.

They cannot, and will not, silence us all.

So speak up.

The Female Vibe: A Man Among Women at WPUK

On Saturday 1st February I attended the WPUK meeting at UCL in London. The day began early; at 6am myself and my girlfriend (Queen Bitch aka QB) got up, had coffee, and made our way to Brighton Station. There we met friends, and caught the train up together, chatting along the way. 

At Euston we made our way to the venue by guesswork and Google maps, until we came close enough to hear the cries of the protesters outside the venue. The adrenaline began to flow, but spirits remained high. I was curious to see the angry mob for myself, and wondered how they would react to seeing me, a man with brown skin, attending a meeting of women who are routinely branded as nazis, manhaters, and white supremacists. Would I be labelled, in the lunatic words of Kerry-Anne Mendoza, a ‘turncoat of colour’? I didn’t know what to expect, but I felt no fear. I was with friends, and whatever happened, we would keep each other safe. 

When we arrived at the venue, I was disappointed. There were perhaps thirty protesters, chanting. ‘Be nice, trans rights!’ I think they were saying. I agreed with them. 

A few other attendees were hanging about outside, smoking and chatting. There was no sense of fear or threat. I scanned the faces of the protesters; to me they looked mostly like young women; perhaps a few identified as non-binary, but it was hard to tell. Upon closer inspection, I saw that behind them were a few people who looked male — perhaps men or non-binary folks, or even transwomen. 

At first I wondered why the male-looking people were hiding behind the female ones, but then it occurred to me that some of those women likely had cis-privilege, or cis-passing privilege, and had therefore been strategically placed to protect the more marginalised male individuals in the group from potential attack from imaginary nazis. 

The bravery of these young women was impressive, for not ten feet away, small groups of women continued to greet one another with hugs, smiles and laughter. I looked again at the protesters; I discerned no fear in their faces, and little sign of determination. I felt no hostility toward them, only love. I was happy they were standing up for their beliefs, even though I think those beliefs are silly.

Smiling, I tried to make eye contact. I am not certain, but I think a few smiled back. They seem nice, I thought; perhaps later I’ll talk to them. But for now, it was time to go in. 

Near the entrance was the welcoming committee, which included a small woman with kind face and a big smile. Her name was Jo, and I took her to be a lesbian. After exchanging introductions, she gave QB a big hug and shook my hand. We showed our tickets and entered the venue. Milling about in the foyer, QB spotted Linda Bellos and ran up to fangirl at her. ‘Linda Bellos!’ she cried. ‘You’re a star! Can I hug you?’

‘Oh, no, no,’ said Linda. ‘That makes me very uncomfortable. I’m not a star. I really don’t like that stuff, it feeds into the ego and you have to be very careful about that sort of thing. But I can hug you as a sister.’ 

Hugs were duly exchanged. Linda spotted me nearby, clocked me as a man, and approached. ‘What I would really like,’ she said, ‘is for men to get together, as men, and talk about masculinity. I think that’s very important.’

‘I agree completely,’ I replied. It was the truth. She nodded, apparently satisfied. For me, the theme of the day was now set.

 We made our way downstairs where we found an abundance of tea, coffee and pastries, and a large crowd of friendly women.

‘That vibe,’ said QB. ‘Female!’

‘Yep,’ I said. ‘It’s great.’

‘This is what they’re jealous of,’ she said. ‘This vibe.’

‘Transwomen? Maybe, yeah.’

‘It’s nuts.’

‘The crazy thing is, they could have it,’ I said. ‘Sort of. Partake of it, I mean. But… not by force.’

’They don’t get it,’ she said. ‘Cos they’re men.’

‘Yeah,’ I shrugged. ‘It’s very sad. I wish those protestors could come in and feel this; the women, at least. Imagine! Maybe they’ve never experienced it.’

‘Aaargh! It’s all so silly!’

I’m lucky, I thought. I’ve spent a lot of time in female spaces, where there are far more women than men, and have always felt comfortable. There’s something about the energy, whatever that means — the vibe. What causes this vibe, I don’t know; the sound of women’s voices, perhaps, or some subconscious smell that has to do with pheromones; the smell of mothers and sisters and nans, of friends, and of every woman I’ve loved, or even just met. 

I don’t know what the cause is. But mixed spaces feel very different to me; as the proportion of men increases, the energy quickly becomes male-dominated. The female vibe is swamped by the male, and I no longer feel comfortable; instead, I get a sense of threat. It’s hard to explain why this is; perhaps pheromones, again? But if I as a man can feel that, how could women not feel it too, and more intensely? 

But how could men understand this — especially those who’ve never felt that female vibe, or who are not comfortable with it? Perhaps they sense something amiss, and seek to change that vibe to suit themselves? Perhaps it never occurs to them to make themselves small, to refrain from broadcasting their own male energy, to relax and let the femaleness wash over them? Will men understand these things, if I talk about them? Will they look at me strangely, and make foolish remarks about rationality? Could I explain my feelings to them? Perhaps not. But women will understand.

We had the chance to sign up for various panels and workshops, but we felt overwhelmed by the choices available, and in the end decided not to. After all, we had come mainly to hear the speeches and to hang out and talk with women. I am quiet, shy, introverted, depressive, and feel awkward in social situations. I rarely approach people; I don’t want to bother them, particularly women, who surely have more interesting people to talk to than me. QB is more smiley and outgoing, so she takes the lead in such things. I couldn’t stop her if I tried.

So we milled about, spotting familiar faces and saying hello, until it was time to enter the auditorium, where we met up with our friend Diane and settled in to listen to the opening speeches. These were inspiring, and have been written about by others. 

My favourite speaker was Pragna Patel, founder of Southall Black Sisters, who spoke of the women’s movement of the seventies and eighties — my childhood, in the days of apartheid South Africa. I am a child of apartheid; both my parents grew up in that country — a white English woman and a Natal Indian man. They came to the UK to study, where they met at a foreign students’ society and fell in love. As a mixed-race couple, their relationship would have been illegal in South Africa at that time, so they made a life together in England. My father became a barrister, specialising in cases of racial and sexual discrimination. These issues, as well as goings on in South Africa, were part of the scenery of my childhood, and much of what Pragna said struck a chord in me. I felt a deep sense of resurgence, of belonging. I was with my sisters, but I was not one of them. I was a brother.

I surveyed the audience, trying to spot other men. There were only a few — out of some nine-hundred people, perhaps fifty were men, but I doubt it. I’d say it was more like twenty. I was a little disappointed. Do men not care? How can they not care? But this was a women’s conference. If there were too many men there, we’d fuck up the vibe. And perhaps more men had bought tickets, and chosen to pass them on to women. I hope so.

But I was there. And I had been tasked by Linda Bellos herself to discuss masculinity with men. It’s an important task, but I have no idea how to proceed. What the fuck do I know about masculinity? How can I possibly talk about such a thing — with men, of all people? I am not good with men.

Shortly after I was ‘terfed’ I became so enraged about the idea of ‘gender identity’ that I wrote a satirical thread on Twitter in which I ‘realised’ that I was a woman after all. 

Exploring My Gender

Apparently this was pretty convincing; I received messages of support, and QB received a text from her mum, who was a bit concerned. I was taking the piss, but (almost) everything I said about myself was true. I have as much claim to womanhood as any other man — zero. But if I spin things a certain way, many people could be persuaded otherwise — and they would lie to my face and call it kindness. They would lie to themselves. I find it hard to believe, but it’s true. 

I cannot be a woman, and I do not ‘identify’ as trans. But given my history, perhaps I too am a ‘refugee from masculinity’? Perhaps I too have found masculinity restrictive, and tried to escape from it? But I have not succeeded. I’m not convinced escape is even possible, for anyone. At least not yet. 

After the speeches, we went outside for a bit. I wanted to vape, and also to see how the protesters were doing. I wondered if by now their numbers had swelled, and their rage ignited. If not, I hoped they would be friendly enough that I could strike up a conversation. I wondered if they could be offered tea, and maybe biscuits? Was this a golden opportunity to strike up a productive dialogue between the two ’sides’?

No, it was not. The protesters had left already. Now just a few women were standing outside, some smoking. I vaped for a bit, then went back in to get tea.

There were feminist icons everywhere! We spotted Julie Bindel, our friend Jane Clare Jones, Rosa Freedman, and numerous familiar faces whose names we could not remember. There were women of all ages and colours, all shapes and sizes and hairstyles. They wore all different kinds of shoes. Around the edges of the room were a variety of stalls run by women’s groups, selling merch and handing out flyers about different feminist issues. There were women from FiLiA, Nordic Model Now!, Object!, and many more. We wandered around, picking up brochures, making purchases, and enjoying friendly banter. Conscious of my maleness, I tried not to get in the way, and nobody complained. I think I was smiling, because people smiled at me. I felt no hostility, no hatred. There was no sense of threat there, only love.

“I feel safe here,” said QB.

“Sure,” I replied. “Why wouldn’t you?”

“Completely safe. In a room full of strangers.” She shook her head. “That’s not normal for me.”

“Huh,” I said. “Because it’s women?”

“I think so, yeah.”

“Me too.”

“I’ve never really felt safe before, with this many people. Not in the same way.”

“There’s no threat of male violence,” I said. “Men, here and there. But no threat.”

“None.”

“It’s the threat, isn’t it? It doesn’t take actual violence, just that sense of threat.”

“Yeah, like it could kick off any moment.”

“Even if actually it doesn’t. I know what you mean.”

“Women need this.”

“I know,” I said. “Maybe men need it too. But… if there were more of us here… it wouldn’t be like this.”

“No.”

“Sometimes I feel bad for men. They’re — we’re missing out.”

“Well, tough shit.”

“I know.” I sighed. “I just wish… I dunno. I wish they could understand. How can I make them understand?”

“You can’t. They don’t want to.”

“Hm. Bunch of weirdos, if you ask me.”

We spotted Hibo Wardere, and QB ran over to fangirl and chat with this warm, humorous, and very chilled out legend. While we were hanging out with Hibo, we bumped into our friend Jen, who told us of her recent adventure travelling to Bristol to retrieve a misplaced box of flyers for the Institute of Feminist Thought. Jen went for a smoke, and returned shortly with another woman, with whom myself and QB fell out badly some time ago. It was briefly awkward; I sensed no real hostility, but we didn’t speak. I hope that didn’t ruin her day; it certainly didn’t ruin ours. Our differences may be irreconcilable, but they are of no real consequence. She may no longer be a friend. But she remains a sister.

Soon it was lunchtime, and sandwiches appeared. We ate a few, and then I did a strange thing — I walked around searching for signs of bigotry. Anything would do — white supremacy, homophobia, hatred of men, venomous lies about trans people, women plotting mass murder — anything! Surely, in such a large gathering, there must be some detectable sign of the hatred commonly ascribed to WPUK and similar groups? Here I was, walking among them with a quizzical expression on my face, and no-one so much as looked at me funny. All I saw was ordinary women eating sandwiches, drinking juice, and talking. There was nothing remotely scary about any of it. I was surrounded, and vastly outnumbered by women commonly smeared as far-right religious fundamentalist man-hating nazi scum who deserve The Wall, and I felt completely safe. It was hard to believe these people could possibly pose a threat to anyone. Men often underestimate women, it’s true — but the fearmongering was clearly bullshit. 

So what, exactly, were the kiddiwinks protesting against? It’s obvious, isn’t it? They were protesting against this: Women gathering to discuss issues of importance to women, in a room infused with female energy. Women who are not concerned with the needs of men, who simply do not care what men think about them. It sounds glorious to me, but apparently it’s terrifying.

‘Transphobia!’ cry the queer activists and their porn-positive wokebro allies. ‘They want to kill us all!’

No, they don’t. They don’t want to kill anyone. They want to gather together to fight for women’s rights, that’s all. So why would queer activists be against that?

‘Transwomen are women! Sex work is work! Our identities are valid!’

What the fuck is going on? What is the actual problem? Why can’t we talk to each other, and try to work things out? Why the smears, the bomb-threats, the no-platforming, the endless bullshit about nazis and clownfish and the feminine penis? Have these people gone completely insane?

No. They’re not insane. They’re not stupid. They’ve been inducted into what amounts to something like a psychotherapeutic cult. The lack of general knowledge about how cults really work has made us vulnerable to social infection, which has taken hold at every level of society. Those who are not yet infected are too terrified to speak out against the disease. 

Twitter and Thought Reform

In order to spread, this disease — this cult-like social infection — takes advantage of vulnerabilities in our society. One such vulnerability is generated by the way masculinity operates on certain kinds of men; men not so different from myself — a minority, perhaps.

Imagine a young man, introverted, socially awkward, and low in confidence. He is seen as ‘unmanly’, or even ‘effeminate’. He finds it hard to fit in with other men. They ridicule him and call him a ‘cuck’. They may physically attack him in the hope he will ‘man up’ and stop being such a ‘pussy’. 

But the cuck does not ‘man up’; he bursts into tears and runs away. The other men call him ‘gay’, but they are wrong — for this man is heterosexual. And he has a potential advantage over other men: due to his gentle nature, women do not perceive him as a threat. They take pity on this man and invite him into their social circle. Here, he is seen for what he is — a sweet and gentle soul. His association with women may even protect him somewhat from male bullying. He may grow in confidence, and feel able, for the first time, to express his personality.

This man comes to appreciate the energy of female spaces. He feels safe there, while male spaces continue to cause him anxiety. He discusses this with his female friends, who can relate to it very well. They come to trust him; they may confide in the man, who learns much about women. In a sense, the man has become an ‘honorary woman’ among his female friends. They may even tell him this.

Sooner or later, this man will develop sexual or romantic feelings towards one or more of his friends. Eventually he may act on those feelings. If he is rejected, he will be flooded with difficult emotions — embarrassment, shame, and even anger. He may react by making a complete dick of himself. 

Now, his female friends will begin to treat him differently. The differences are subtle, but the man is sensitive, perhaps paranoid — and cannot help noticing. And now he feels betrayed. For years, he has been friends with these women! He has watched, helpless, as they are hurt by relationships with men he regards as dickheads and sexists. For years, he has provided a friendly shoulder to cry on. And now, after all he’s done, they dare to reject him? How could they?

Oh, of course they have the right to reject him sexually. But to reject him as a friend, too? To treat him as they would one of those awful sexist men? Those bitches! How they lie! They say they want men to be kind, but they always go for the arseholes! It’s a cliche, but it’s true! Oh, the injustice! 

Something like this has happened to me. It’s normal. But those emotions can be hard to deal with, especially without the support of friends. It took me a while to get over it, but some men never do — instead they develop a deep hatred of women. They might keep that hatred hidden, or instead become incels, and wear it as a badge of pride. 

After lunch we bumped into Dr Em and had a quick chat. Then people went to attend their workshops, and QB and I went for a walk to a local bookshop to browse. We returned in time for tea, biscuits and the closing plenary. After that were the regional meetings, and then drinks! We got chatting to various women (sorry but I didn’t get your names). I expressed some of my thoughts about men, and how we too are harmed by the idea that we can identify as women. We talked about the female vibe. I think I complained at one point about men who just parrot the thoughts of women. That seems pointless to me — since men can’t be feminists, we might as well think for ourselves. Our experience is different from that of women, so why not draw on it? Can we discuss our own experiences, and come to better understand masculinity? I guess we can try.

The story of the ‘cuck’ can go another way. I haven’t experienced this myself, but I can imagine it: suppose this man becomes sexually fixated on the female vibe itself. Now he is aroused by his mere presence within female circles, and relieves himself privately. That female energy comes to play a major role in his sexual fantasies. He feels guilty, for he knows this is a betrayal of trust — but that sense of transgression turns him on even more. 

Soon, the status of ‘honorary woman’ is not enough for him; for sexual reasons, he wants more; he wants to drown in that female vibe. He wants to be accepted as a woman not only by his female friends, but by everyone else as well. 

This man has developed interpersonal autogynephilia — or something like it. And when he learns all about trans identities, he convinces himself he has ‘gender dysphoria’, and declares himself a woman. 

If his female friends reject this, or give any hint that they don’t see him as a real woman — not just an honorary one — he will become enraged. After all he’s done for them, why won’t they participate in his sexual fantasies? It’s not as though he’s asking them to actually do anything! He’s not asking them for sex, just acceptance! They said he was a woman, but they were lying all along! In truth, they see him as a man — a pervert, even! He thought they were his friends, but it turns out they’re evil terfs who want him dead! Oh, the injustice! 

 If his friends reject his newfound womanhood, this man will leave them, and look for a new group of women who can ‘validate his identity’. When he finds some who are prepared to play along, he will make ever-increasing demands. Soon, these ’trans-positive’ women will be working for him full-time to spread the gospel that transwomen are women. They will point to their friend — a once kind and gentle man — as an example of a harmless transwoman, unfairly oppressed by bigots. They will lie to his face, and call it kindness. 

He knows they are lying, and hates them for it. These women have no self-respect, he thinks; they’re just dickpandering! But this also turns him on. At last, his transition is complete: a once decent man has transformed into an arsehole. And if he ever realises what he’s become, he can blame it on those nasty women. He has betrayed his female friends completely — and they have betrayed him. 

When it really matters, a real friend will call you out on your bullshit. Real friendship is rare, particularly between people of different sexes. What is rare is also valuable. For men to ignore the possibility of finding real friendship with women is foolish in the extreme.

If an increasing number of men take this path through life and end up identifying as ‘women’ (perhaps due to our ‘new understanding’ of gender) it will increase the proportion of male people entering female spaces. This will cause the female energy to be swamped by the male — and the space itself will feel different. 

It may be that many young women have simply never experienced that female vibe. They don’t know it, they don’t miss it, and they do not understand its importance to women — and of not allowing its disruption by males. 

Perhaps in the past, transwomen could enter women’s spaces with only minor effects on the energy — due to their tiny numbers. But as the numbers increase, so do the disruptive effects — the tipping point is reached quickly, and the energy becomes masculine. Something important has been lost, and the women do not feel safe. When they object, they are expected to explain the problem logically. But what if it goes deeper than logic; what if it’s something animal — like pheromones? What if it’s just how nature works, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it? What if female-dominated spaces are key to a healthy society? Is it bigotry to defend them, or just wisdom? And do men also need single-sex spaces, where they can discuss masculinity — free from judgement, and free from the distractions of women? Is this something men want? Maybe not. The idea of it scares me. I am not good with men. I suspect a lot of us feel the same way. We don’t want to talk about masculinity — and certainly not with men! Men are weird. I fear they would not understand. 

Some fears seem too hard to face. Perhaps facing them is necessary.

By eight o’clock, after a few drinks and plenty of conversation, we were exhausted. It had been a long day, full of emotions, and despite the wonderful vibes we were in need of escape from the crowd, and a return to introversion. There were many more people I could (and perhaps should) have spoken to, but I was burned out on social contact, and getting twitchy. I’m no good when I’m twitchy.  Filled with love for women, and determined to keep fighting for their rights, we said our goodbyes and left to catch the train.

Since that meeting, several Labour leadership candidates have repeatedly endorsed the idea that WPUK is a hate group, dedicated to harming the rights of trans people. Nothing could be further from the truth. WPUK campaigns for the rights of women and girls. Where there is tension between those rights and the rights of trans people, WPUK seeks dialogue with a view to resolving the difficulties. By opposing women’s rights, the Party undermines the very principles it claims to uphold, and ensures its own destruction. They are making a terrible, stupid mistake. I will never forgive them.

Twitter and Thought Reform

I’ve written about thought reform before, focusing on the ‘woke left’ and ‘transgenderist’ subcultures:

 https://www.critorix.co.uk/essays/cults-deception-and-the-woke-left/

Now I want to talk about how Twitter itself promotes the formation of subcultures, each of which has many characteristics of a thought reform environment.

 On Twitter, several feedback mechanisms are available for tweets. For example, likes and retweets tends to signal approval. When one receives many likes, retweets, and positive replies, one knows one has said ‘the right thing’. The tweets that tend to get most approval are short, pithy, easy to understand, and resonate strongly with the emotions or opinions of the group. Tweets that contradict those opinions, or which go against the dominant emotions, tend to be met with forceful, angry replies, few likes and retweets, and / or blocking. These negative responses then receive the approval of the group. The most emotionally charged tweets tend to receive the most attention, whether negative, positive, or mixed. If there is little response, one feels irrelevant. 

When a tweet ‘goes viral’, the volume of responses can be overwhelming. When strong disapproval is encountered, one may feel attacked (‘swarmed’ or dogpiled’), which can make one wary of expressing similar views again. If there is strong approval, one feels validated (or ‘lovebombed’) — this motivates one to re-express those views. In both cases, onlookers are similarly affected.

Now, consider Margaret Singer’s 6 Conditions for a Thought Reform Environment, and how they relate to the dynamics of Twitter subcultures. NB: these conditions are a sort of ‘weaponisation’ of normal social processes.

What Is A Cult and How Does It Work?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bRBFhMEQFk

1) Deception – Keep the subject unaware of the hidden agenda: 

The (potential) anonymity afforded by Twitter makes it relatively easy for groups or individuals with a hidden agenda to operate, and to exert coercive influence on others.

2) Destabilisation – Control the subject’s physical environment and ‘thinking time’:

Twitter is addictive — in order to maximise profits, it is designed that way. So, although heavy use of Twitter may not promote control of one’s physical environment, it can certainly take control of one’s ‘thinking time’.

3) Dependency and Dread – Create a sense of powerlessness, anxiety and fear:

Twitter mechanisms promote the easy formation of like-minded groups. One can become dependent on membership of these groups for social validation, especially if one feels isolated from ‘normal society’.

4) Disconnection – Suppress the old behaviour and attitudes:

In these groups, there tend to be certain dos and don’ts — some behaviours are punished, while others are rewarded. Therefore, one avoids expressing the ‘wrong’ thoughts for fear of reprisals. In time, one may come to suppress even the thinking of such thoughts.

5) Developing the Cult Pseudopersonality – Elicit new behaviour and attitudes:

In order to get in with the group, one tends to express the approved views. This creates an online image that may be at odds with one’s ‘true’ (or perhaps, former) personality.

6) Denial and Dedication – Maintain a closed system of logic and restrict criticism:

Twitter mechanisms and social pressures promote the blocking and marginalisation of those who express opinions at odds with those of the group. This can lead to significant changes in one’s own core beliefs and behaviour.

Now, consider Steven Hassan’s BITE model, which is essentially another way of describing the same conditions of thought reform. 

https://freedomofmind.com/bite-model/

Here, the group controls one’s Behaviour, Information, Thoughts, and Emotions. It’s easier to consider these in a different order:

1) Control of Information:

The more time one spends on Twitter, the less time one has to seek out alternative sources of information. If one is a member of a relatively closed group, the information one does see tends to reinforce the dominant narratives of the group. Conflicting information tends to be suppressed.

2) Control of Emotions:

When one reinforces the group’s dominant narrative, one receives approval. When one contradicts it, one receives disapproval. Since Twitter mechanisms reward the most emotionally charged tweets, responses can have a strong effect on the emotions.

3) Control of Thoughts:

The influences on one’s emotions, combined with the limited access to information, lead to changes in one’s thinking that make it more compatible with that of the group.

4) Control of Behaviour:

One stops expressing unpopular opinions in favour of those that meet with the group’s approval.

These processes operate in all Twitter subcultures, and are clearly visible: We can think of the Corbynistas, Trumpists, transgenderists (or TRAs), the gender critical movement (or GCs), the alt-right, and many more. In all of these subcultures, the conditions for thought reform exist (to a greater or lesser extent) purely by virtue of the medium itself. 

These various Twitter subcultures are not cults per se, but they operate in much the same way. Many people within these subcultures have noticed this cult-like pattern within other groups, but rarely notice it within their own. They are quick to label others as ‘cultists’, but there is little understanding of what a cult is, and how it works. Instead, the word is used as a slur — it serves only to reinforce one’s own group identity. Thus, this behaviour itself operates as a mechanism of thought reform.

Recently, a number of individuals have broken away from the gender critical movement, to form their own group, which spends its time railing against the cult-like tendencies of both GCs and TRAs. They assure themselves that they alone are seeing things clearly — they think for themselves, and express their opinions without regard to what others may think of them. But this is nonsense. All they have done is swap one social group for another, in which the same social factors are operative, by virtue of the medium itself as well as their own habits of mind.

There is no escape. The fact is that nobody is immune to these influences, no matter how intelligent, well-educated, erudite, or stupid one may be. Human beings are fundamentally social creatures, and we are all susceptible to the toxic influences of our peers. 

So, how can human beings, communicating via social media, guard against thought reform and the creation of cult-like subcultures? It’s not easy. But I recommend we all learn about thought-reform, and actively work to counter it within our own communities. 

http://www.prem-rawat-bio.org/academic/singer.html

Do not allow yourself to be controlled by your emotions. Stop punishing those who go against the grain, and instead reward them with likes and retweets. When you receive likes and retweets, refrain from repeating yourself — think of something new to say, and say that instead. If people attack you, do not retaliate; simply ignore them, or respond with polite neutrality.

When someone makes a comment you’ve heard a thousand times before, recognise its worthlessness, and ignore it. Limit your time on social media. Seek out alternative sources of information, and opinions that differ from your own. Try, at all times, to prove yourself wrong. Do not measure your own value by the perceptions of like-minded individuals, or confuse social status with virtue. 

Don’t let anybody else tell you what to think. And most importantly, stay calm. 

Kinesis, TransRational, and The Hero’s Journey

Kinesis has recently returned to Twitter in the guise of @StygianSnow. Several people have written eloquently about their bad experiences with this person (and his organisation TransRational), as a warning to others — especially women — who may be drawn into his orbit. 

https://medium.com/@hatpinwoman/what-to-do-if-someone-is-being-abusive-in-your-online-community-71928758fd18

https://lonelyts.blog/2019/11/23/trust/

https://www.critorix.co.uk/essays/tipping-point/

My own experiences are similar. Until now I’ve not spoken about them in detail, but with Kinesis on the loose again, I feel I must.

The saga of TransRational is long and convoluted. Kinesis describes much of it as ‘drama’, and he is correct. What he does not say is that he himself was the driving force behind that. 

Kinesis is fond of drama, and skilled at painting himself as a Hero locked in battle with dark forces; a perpetual underdog, pure and stout of heart, who will one day surely triumph! His audience roots for him instinctively, and Kinesis takes full advantage. He’s clever with words; he likes to play on our sympathies, and slowly draw us in. He makes drama wherever he goes.

Since Kinesis likes drama so much, I will tell his story in mythic form.

I will draw partly on the work of Joseph Campbell, who describes what he calls ‘the monomyth’ in his famous book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. There he examines legends and folktales from many different cultures to show the underlying structure common to all — the Hero’s Journey — which, from a Jungian perspective, has deep psychological significance. The structure is infinitely flexible; all its stages can be repeated, omitted, shuffled, or elaborated to produce an endless variety of stories. This flexibility can be seen as a weakness — but still, the theory is useful.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hero%27s_journey

I will also draw from Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey, which describes the monomyth in a format more suited for writers. These ideas are extremely influential in Hollywood, where they’re used often to construct formulaic adventure stories that play well at the box-office. The Lord of the Rings is an obvious example. But the idea of the Hero’s Journey need not be taken so literally — from this perspective Legally Blonde and Pulp Fiction are variations of the same basic story, along with The Lion King, Ratatouille, and The Saga of Caveman Hom. 

Many other stories can be thought of as a Hero’s Journey gone wrong — with disastrous results. The tale of Kinesis is an example of just such a failure.

The Trans Hero’s Journey

There’s a ‘standard narrative’ of transition which can also be thought of as a Hero’s Journey. Perhaps that’s one reason this narrative is so popular — it’s appealing to imagine oneself as a Hero, rather than a misguided fool whose hubris will lead to disaster.

The narrative goes roughly like this:

1. The Ordinary World / A Special Birth

The Hero is born Special due to a mismatch between their Gender Identity (a mystical property of the soul) and the physical characteristics of their sexed body. This causes the Hero great suffering throughout their life.

2. The Call To Adventure

One day, the Hero realises they are Special — not truly of the sex ‘assigned’ at birth.

3. Reluctance / Refusal of the Call

The Hero knows that being Special is a terrible burden, and comes with great responsibilities. The Hero wants to be normal, not Special, and so refuses the burden.

4. Encouraged by a Mentor

The Hero meets others of the same kind, who recognise both the Hero’s Specialness as well as the desire to escape the foul clutches of destiny. They teach the Hero how to shoulder the burden of being a Special person, who is not of the sex ‘assigned’ at birth.

5. Crossing of the First Threshold to Enter the Special World

Despite fierce opposition from family and friends (in the mythic role of Threshold Guardians) the Hero at last accepts the Call to Adventure, and sets out on the arduous quest to change their sexed body to match their Gender Identity, and to be accepted by society as a Valid Person.

6. Tests, Allies and Enemies / The Road of Trials

Family, friends, psychologists and terfs all try to hamper the Hero’s quest, by attempting to discourage and / or  destroy the Hero. These Enemies are motivated by hatred for Heroes, who threaten to upset the established order of the Ordinary World — which (as any successful Hero will discover) is built on lies. Allies appear, and lend aid to the Hero. But beware! Allies and Enemies are not always what they seem, and may Shapeshift from one to the other and back again. 

7. Approaching the Inmost Cave 

The Hero awaits and attends a series of appointments with the gender clinic, all the while battling the evil forces of the terfs, as well as concerned parents and other Enemies. The Hero must remain resolute in the face of danger and multiple setbacks.

8. Crossing the Second Threshold to Face The Ordeal 

The Hero struggles to overcome another group of Threshold Guardians — yet more terfs, bigots, and ignorant medical professionals. If successful, the Hero may begin the process of transition.

9. Reward

Transition is complete — the Ordeal is over! Exhausted, the Hero emerges changed from the Belly of the Beast, blinking in the light.

10. The Road Home to the Ordinary World, Pursued by Enemies

The Hero attempts to gain acceptance by society as a Valid Person. Terfs, family, friends, and the mainstream culture of the Ordinary World conspire to make this extremely difficult. Bigotry against Heroes is rife!

11. Crossing of the Third Threshold / Resurrection

At last, bigotry is defeated, and the Hero is accepted by the society of the Ordinary World. The Hero gains a different identity, and is reborn as a real, Valid Person. 

12. Return with the Boon

During the journey, the Hero has gained deep knowledge of the true nature of gender. The Hero works tirelessly to impart this hard-won knowledge to the denizens of the Ordinary World. Often the Hero will act as a Mentor (or Ally) to another struggling Hero of the same kind, dispensing wisdom and regaling the youngster with glorious tales of the Hero’s past adventures.

Kinesis the Hero – Part One: Transition / The Backstory

Now we come to Kinesis’s personal version of the Transition Myth. It is a highly elaborated variation of the typical such tale, and forms the backstory to the Saga of TransRational. I have no idea how much of this story is true — perhaps none of it — but my information comes chiefly from Kinesis himself. Much of it is available to read on his blog, or has appeared on his Twitter feed at one time or another. There are also a few important details gleaned from private conversations. 

I see this as a story about the development of Kinesis’s sexuality, which is both complex and mysterious. But my purpose is not to shame or ridicule Kinesis for this. Instead, I will ridicule other elements of his story — in which the Hero becomes a fool. 

I regard this entire narrative not as biography, but myth. 

1. The Ordinary World

Kinesis is born into an abusive Calvinist Cult. At first he pays little attention to his penis, which is hidden from view by a diaper. Then potty training begins. At first, Kinesis is aided in his quest to use the potty by his mother. But the day comes when he feels like a Big Boy, and decides to use the potty on his own. This leads to a disturbing confrontation with his own penis, which Kinesis imagines to be a parasitic worm that has laid eggs inside his body. Kinesis is overcome with terror. In order to avoid further trouble with the worm, he decides to continue wearing diapers. For this, he is severely punished by his father, who ties a dirty diaper around his son’s neck and makes him stand in a corner for hours.

(Note: This period — like others — has the (partial) mythic structure of a Hero’s Journey in its own right. The stages of the Journey supposedly reflect the psychological structure of human experience — not just an entire human life from birth to death, but also its constituent adventures.)

http://walkingnaked.weebly.com/blog/a5-onset

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2. First Call To Adventure

At the age of three, Kinesis’s father announces that it is time for Kinesis to become a man — just like him.

3. Reluctance / Refusal of the First Call

Kinesis refuses to become a man like his father. How can he become a man at the age of three? The Call cannot yet be answered, but in the long run, there is no choice. Sooner or later, Kinesis must grow up — and then, surely, he will be a man. The thought of this terrifies him, because he knows that a man must come to terms with the existence of his penis.

4. Encouraged by a Mentor

Kinesis’s father (a sort of ‘Dark Mentor’ figure) continues to inflict cruel punishments upon his son for refusing to become a man. He threatens to put Kinesis in diapers and place him on a blanket in front of the church, unless he stops crying like a baby. Although this is framed as a punishment, Kinesis secretly longs for his father to carry out his threat. But he is never ‘man enough’ to stand up to his father and thus obtain the longed-for punishment / reward. Instead, he stops crying and does his best to fake ‘being a man’. (In part, this is because Kinesis is already unpopular with the other boys, who tease him mercilessly and accuse him of being gay.) 

At other times, Kinesis is forced to eat the same mushy, disgusting broccoli over and over again. (To this day, broccoli upsets him tremendously.) Though he remains uncomfortable with his own penis, his primal terror of the worm begins to fade. 

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4.1. Second Call to Adventure / A Herald

At the age of eight, Kinesis encounters his Aunt, a diaper-wearing transwoman, who is viewed with contempt and disgust by his parents, particularly his father. Kinesis witnesses a scene in which this Aunt, wearing a diaper, is cradled in Kinesis’s mother’s lap and fed with a baby bottle. 

At this time, Kinesis is still wearing diapers in secret whenever possible; this allows him to feel safe, and helps minimise awareness of his dreaded penis. Now, to his horror, he recognises something of himself in his Aunt; he too longs to be babied, to escape the awful consequences of becoming a man. 

This encounter with his Aunt suggests an alternative path for him — could this be his future? His destiny? He is both attracted and repelled by the possibility. His parents view this Aunt as a vile, mutilated creature — an abomination in the eyes of God. Since Kinesis desires to become like his Aunt, is he an abomination too? 

4.2. Reluctance / Refusal of the Second Call.

Overcome with guilt, shame and self-disgust, Kinesis represses his desire to become like his Aunt.

4.3 Third Call to Adventure / Another Herald

Kinesis has a bizarre encounter with a paedophile, in which he learns about semen for the first time. He is oddly excited by the encounter, and perhaps feels the first stirrings of his own sexuality. He is too young and innocent to understand that what happened was sexual abuse. The paedophile’s kindly manner during the encounter stands in direct contrast to the appalling cruelty of Kinesis’s father (who by this time has warned Kinesis that thinking about girls is the same as raping them).

http://walkingnaked.weebly.com/blog/a10-a-private-initiation

4.4 Acceptance of the Third Call

This Call cannot be refused, and Kinesis allows himself to become a sexual being. He finds a special way to masturbate without the need to handle his penis, thus incorporating the use of diapers into his burgeoning sexuality. 

5. Crossing of the First Threshold to Enter the Special World

When he is fourteen years old, Kinesis’s parents separate. His mother leaves the Cult, taking him and his siblings with her. The children share their time between both parents, thus repeatedly crossing the Threshold between the two worlds. Gradually, the Ordinary World of the Cult comes to seem strange, and the Special World of the Outsiders grows more familiar. 

6. Tests, Allies and Enemies: The Road of Trials

Kinesis, now a young adult, must learn how to live in the mysterious Special World of the Outsiders. He finds he is hampered by his upbringing in the Ordinary World of the Cult, which has left him with extreme anxiety, and crippled by guilt and self-disgust. He alleviates the anxiety by continuing to wear diapers, which still bring great comfort. Without them, he is unable to function — sexually or otherwise. 

He is extremely confused and conflicted about his sexuality. He performs numerous sex-acts on men, but for him this does not count as homosexuality — which he still believes to be sinful. At the same time he frequents the local fetish scene and embarks on a string of dysfunctional relationships with women. He is subjected to further emotional and sexual abuse — sometimes perpetrated by women who find his diaper fetish an attractive feature. But he has no sexual attraction to these women, and is unable to satisfy their most basic erotic desires. 

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6.1 Encouragement from a Second Mentor

Kinesis encounters a mysterious Old Man who will, over the course of years, school him in the ancient spiritual traditions of the East. This will provide him with Magical Knowledge that will aid him greatly in future adventures.

(Somewhere along the journey, Kinesis has become a musician, a writer, a sculptor and a painter. These are significant accomplishments, but little is known about this part of his story. Eventually, under the Old Man’s tutelage, he will round out his skill-set by becoming a Shaman.)

6.2 Continuation of the Road of Trials / Apotheosis

Following an incident with a male friend in which Kinesis is overcome with lust for the young fellow, Kinesis’s girlfriend concludes that he is a repressed homosexual man. Kinesis denies this, and claims to be bisexual — but the girlfriend is unconvinced. 

Towards the end of this period, Kinesis has a great spiritual revelation which causes him to lose his fear of death. That night he finds himself sporting a sturdy erection, and is overcome by the need for sexual release — he must fuck something, anything! Fortunately his girlfriend is nearby, and he avails himself of her vagina. For the first time he is able to satisfy her sexually, despite feeling no sexual attraction for her whatsoever — at that moment, all she is to him is a convenient hole. Afterwards, he feels utterly disgusted with himself for using her in this way. The relationship ends not long after.

But miraculously, Kinesis is free at last from his compulsion. Once, he allowed the fetish to control him, but now he is the master! 

7. Approaching the Inmost Cave / Woman As Temptress

Now free of the fetish, Kinesis begins to entertain the possibility that he may be homosexual after all. He finds this difficult, as he has been brought up to believe homosexuality is a sin. Nevertheless he makes several brave but unsuccessful forays into the gay scene. 

Kinesis is then pursued by a woman (The Temptress) who will not take no for an answer. Hoping to discourage her, he tells her about his diaper fetish, but this stratagem backfires — it only makes her want him more! Eventually, Kinesis gives in. This Temptress will become an important Ally in the Great Ordeal soon to come.

(Note: Here, I feel our Hero has made a Wrong Turn. He has only recently brought the fetish under control, and has begun to explore his homosexuality. Under these circumstances it is unwise for him to begin a relationship with any woman, let alone one who enjoys the very fetish he has fought so long and hard to conquer. But the Hero has succumbed to Temptation.)

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8. Crossing the Second Threshold to face The Ordeal 

Kinesis develops crippling ME, which leaves him completely unable to function in the Special World of the Outsiders. It becomes absolutely necessary for him to sit around the house all day wearing diapers and playing computer games. The Temptress — who masquerades as his greatest, most beloved Ally — helps facilitate this. 

While educating himself on matters of gender and sexuality, Kinesis stumbles across the work of Zinnia Jones, and comes up with the idea that his ME is caused by a hormonal imbalance that could — perhaps — be alleviated by oestrogen. He approaches medical professionals with his theory, but all are dismissive. Finally, he is able to obtain the oestrogen for himself — the results are immediate, and remarkable! 

http://walkingnaked.weebly.com/blog/the-blessed-curse-of-informed-consent

http://walkingnaked.weebly.com/blog/a15-the-fluidity-of-consent

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9. Reward

Suddenly, Kinesis has lost all interest in the fetish. And at last, he feels able to function — to a degree — in the Special World of the Outsiders. Indeed, by this time it is more familiar to him than the Ordinary World of the Cult. The Special World of the Outsiders and the Ordinary World of the Cult have swapped places. What was Special has become Ordinary, and what was Ordinary is now Special. (This shapeshifting is very common in myth.) 

But has Kinesis willingly answered the Second Call, and set off on the long journey towards becoming a transwoman, just like his Aunt? No. Not willingly.

Still less has he answered the First Call, to become a man. For Kinesis, to become a man would be a fate worse than death, and he refuses to face it. But neither is Kinesis like his Aunt — to him a disgusting, mutilated freak unworthy even of God’s love. Kinesis is something different — he is a victim of circumstance, who accepts the Second Call only grudgingly, for the sake of his own survival. 

Kinesis does not seek to become a transwoman — instead, he is forced to transition by strange forces beyond his control. He must embark on this uncertain quest with nothing to rely on but belief in his own genius, and the gritty determination that he will never become a man, like his father. He refuses to become such a monster, and the consequences of refusal cannot possibly be his fault.

 10. The Road Home to the Ordinary World, Pursued by Enemies / The Second Road of Trials

Kinesis finally recalls the suppressed memory of that first terrible confrontation with his penis, which led, ultimately, to the development of his diaper fetish. He comes to believe that the fetish developed as a coping mechanism for gender dysphoria. 

Pressed by mysterious forces, Kinesis reluctantly accepts his fate, and continues with his transition. He attempts to gain acceptance by mainstream society as a transwoman, but of a special kind that is not a nasty abomination like his Aunt. Terfs, family, friends, and the mainstream society of the Newly Ordinary World conspire to make this difficult. At times, Kinesis joins forces with his Enemies, the better to conspire against himself! 

Bigotry against transwomen is rife. But armed with a dog-eared copy of the ‘Gita’, flanked by the dynamic duo of Don Juan the Yaqui mystic and the ghost of Gurdjieff, Kinesis bravely battles his Enemies with love, logic, and mysterious remarks about samsara. 

(Note: This is Kinesis’s current stage of the Journey, and by now he is hopelessly off-track. In the overarching narrative of his Transition Myth, Kinesis has yet to move beyond this point, for his Enemies are numerous and cunning.)

 This stage can be be seen as a Second Road of Trials, and contains innumerable adventures which can be viewed as Hero’s Journeys in their own right. (Many are very similar — perhaps our Hero is going round in circles?) 

I’ll explore one of these capers in detail in just a moment. But first, what would be the next two stages of Kinesis’s Transition Myth, when at last he defeats his enemies? How will we know when our Hero has reached his ultimate goal?

11. Crossing of the Third Threshold / Resurrection

(Speculative): At last, Kinesis is accepted as a transwoman (but not a mutilated abomination like his Aunt!) by the society of the Ordinary World. Thus, he gains a different identity, and is reborn as an Important Person; neither man nor monster, but a very stable genius.

12. Return with the Boon

(Speculative): During his journey, Kinesis has gained deep knowledge of the true nature of gender and sexuality. With his own transition complete, he works tirelessly to etch his name into history. He establishes a Special Monastic Order of Transsexual Porno-Shaman to provide relationship counselling and sexual services to the denizens of the Ordinary World. Kinesis then acts as a Mentor to other struggling trans people, providing the youngsters with all the deep wisdom gained from the crazy adventures of his past.

(Note: It may sound outlandish, but this is not a joke.)

Kinesis the Hero – Part Two: The Saga of TransRational

Much of the following is based on my own recollection. It is not my intent to mislead, but many details are omitted, and parts of it may be disputed by the Hero himself. Again, I have presented the story as though it were myth.

1. The Ordinary World

We join Kinesis on the Second Road of Trials following his Great Ordeal, as, fortified by oestrogen, he battles terrible Enemies in his brave quest to be accepted by mainstream society as a special kind of transwoman. 

At this time, Kinesis is working feverishly to understand all the issues in the ongoing debate about ‘gender identity’. He knows that if he is to complete his quest, he must study the upcoming terrain carefully. 

2. The Call To Adventure

After extensive study of the gender identity problem, and having heard many points of view (including those of both Zinnia Jones and Jordan Peterson) Kinesis concludes that something very important is missing from the debate: his own wisdom. This is something that he, Kinesis, would be only too happy to provide! Perhaps he holds the special key that will solve the riddle of gender? Of this he is not yet certain; he knows only that his opinion is very important. He must do all he can to ensure people hear it. 

3. Reluctance / Refusal of the Call

Kinesis knows he must become an influencer! But how? He has no public platform, and few resources. He lacks confidence in his own emotional strength and stability — does he really have what it takes to see the task through? Does he dare try? Perhaps instead he should concentrate on his artistic endeavours? As he vacillates, he continues his study of the social media battlefield, and becomes increasingly convinced that he has no choice but to involve himself in the conflict. For better or worse, he is becoming a transwoman, and the outcome of the gender wars will decide his fate!

4. Encouraged by a Mentor

We have already mentioned a few mentor figures — not only the Mysterious Old Man, but Zinnia Jones and Jordan Peterson, who aid the Hero by means of their writings and YouTube videos. Through social media, he finds others — as yet unknown — who enlighten him further with their wisdom; unwittingly, in some cases.

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5. Crossing of the First Threshold to Enter the Special World

By now, Kinesis has formed a Vision of the future in which trans people are seen as valued members of society, and live happily side by side with those whom they currently see as their enemies — family, friends and terfs alike! In his Vision, a Special Monastic Order of Transsexual Porno-Shaman will provide erotic and spiritual services to the wider community. If time permits, the sex-monks could also help save the environment. He knows this is a crazy plan — but it might just work!

(Note: Our Hero’s belief in this Vision strikes me as another Wrong Turn.)

The first phase of Kinesis’s plan is to put forward a ‘centrist position’ between the two extremes of radical terfism and transgender cultism — both of which he regards as misguided, if not evil. By this time he has gained a deep understanding of both ideological positions, and is confident he can argue the case both for and against either side.

 Kinesis creates a Twitter account, and begins commenting. At last, he has entered the arena of public debate.

6. Allies and Enemies Part 1: The Shapeshifters

Through his social media activities, Kinesis identifies several people who could be of use to him during the first phase of his plan. Later, perhaps, he will recruit others he can use to help achieve his Vision — but for now, these people will have to do, for there is no time to waste. He gathers these Allies around him, and creates a Discord server to facilitate their collaboration.

The Allies are a motley crew indeed — among many others, they include a young Practitioner of Voodoo, a Sheep, a Squid, and the Queen of Bitches. Unbeknownst to Kinesis, all four of these characters are Shapeshifters; they will betray him one by one, and become his Enemies. But the Squid (that’s me) and the Queen (my girlfriend) are particularly deadly; they are fiction writers, and highly skilled in the arts of deception. Both are Trickster figures, who shift shape with ease; they are fools, mentors, and makers of mischief, all at the same time. Both homme and femme fatale, they will lead our Hero a merry dance — to the edge of his own destruction!

6.1. Allies and Enemies Part 2: Perverts and Weirdos

The Allies begin life together as a chat group, consisting mostly of trans people who are viewed by Kinesis as ‘rational’. (Most of these are transwomen, but there are also a few transmen.) Before long, this discussion group will be given a name: TransRational.

At first, the chat consists chiefly of sexual innuendo, plus the merciless ridicule of other trans people who are considered ‘crazy’ by the more ‘rational’ ones. The Squid is taken aback by what he takes to be the obsessive focus on sexual matters, but reflects that this is only to be expected — he has read the work of Blanchard and Lawrence, which suggests that transsexualism is intimately connected with sexuality. The majority of transwomen in the group are aware (if not always familiar) with Blanchard’s work, and consider themselves to be the HSTS type, as they are attracted to men. The main targets of ridicule are non-passing transwomen, who are assumed to be AGP. This type is attracted to women, and the group views them mostly as delusional perverts and troublemakers. 

At this stage, the major Enemies of TransRational are these non-passing AGP ‘perverts’ who are thought to be causing all the trouble, as well as a few ‘extremist’ GC women who lump all transwomen together, and are thought to be unnecessarily mean. These are also the chief Enemies of Kinesis, our Hero. He has chosen his Allies well — or so it appears.

6.2. The Road of Trials Part 1: Misunderstandings?

The Queen of Bitches is at first reluctant to join TransRational, but at the urging of her friend Kinesis (as well as her boyfriend the Squid) eventually does so. She is there to represent a GC woman’s perspective on the debate, which Kinesis says is very important. At this stage, the Queen is the only woman in the group. (The Squid is also gender critical, but he cannot speak for women because he is a man.)

As soon as the Queen appears, a discussion ensues in which it becomes apparent that most of the Allies are very dubious about feminism. They do not accept that women are oppressed by men, and give numerous examples of the problems faced by men, as well as the perks of being a woman. Tempers flare, and the discussion soon comes to resemble a pile-on, with the Queen of Bitches as the target. 

The Squid also defends the feminist position, but being a man, he prefers to let the Queen of Bitches speak for herself — which she is more than capable of doing. Kinesis himself mostly stays out of the argument. Both Queen and Squid are taken aback by the apparent hostility of these ‘rational’ trans people towards the feminist movement. It appears to the Squid that the hostility is rooted in a misunderstanding of the feminist position — particularly an inability to distinguish between radical and liberal feminism. Later, he attempts to ‘educate’ the transwomen about the difference, but it does no good. 

6.3. The Road of Trials Part 2: Mutiny

At this stage, TransRational is just a chat group, with no clear leader. After many discussions, some common ground is established between the various members, who form an uneasy alliance. Attempts are made to create a manifesto which will outline the group’s ‘centrist’ position. The discussion is extensive, but little progress is made. 

Major arguments break out on many subjects — Trump, the Left, Blanchard, kink, paedophiles, and the question of whether Kinesis should lead TransRational — and if not, who else? The arguments over leadership grow ever more heated, and culminate in mutiny against Kinesis, who the Sheep and the Voodoo Practitioner have already come to regard as a madman and pervert. By this time the Squid and the Queen of Bitches have formed a close friendship with Kinesis, and take his side. The Squid (in the guise of Warrior-Fool) is particularly strenuous in his defence of our Hero. With a great roar, he chases away both the Sheep and the Voodoo Practitioner, who subsequently form their own group. 

When the dust settles, TransRational consists of the leader Kinesis, advised by the Squid and the Queen of Bitches — plus a handful of minor characters. Together, the Three Amigos soldier bravely on. 

6.4. The Road of Trials Part 3: Shamanism and Womanhood / The Woman as Temptress 

In dribs and drabs more members are recruited, and make valuable contributions. On several occasions, Kinesis disappears from the chat and takes to Twitter, where he writes long threads based on ideas that have just that moment been expressed by other members of TransRational. Our Hero presents these ideas as his own, and nobody bothers to complain.

Cautiously Kinesis discusses his long-term plans with the Squid. He says it is necessary to change the societal narrative about trans people. The Squid points out that the best way to alter any social narrative is by means of religion, not reason. He outlines his own crazy idea — inspired by the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster — of a new religion for the modern age. This would have science and reason at its core, while making room also for spiritual practice by promoting the idea of a conscious, divine universe. He is not sure such a thing would be possible, nor even wise — but it is fun to think about.

Kinesis is sufficiently emboldened by the Squid’s nonsense to mention his own idea of setting up a kind of monastery for trans people. He refers to Jordan Peterson’s complaint about those who demand something from society, but offer nothing in return. Kinesis feels that trans people have a great deal to offer. Many, he says, are very sexual by nature; others are good with children; others again are highly intelligent and technically skilled. However, many of these strengths remain undiscovered, unused, and unappreciated, in part due to the difficulties of transition. 

So why not create a monastery, in which trans people can develop their various skills while preparing for transition? The monks could then provide services to society — for example, they might engage in shamanism, child-rearing, prostitution, sexual therapy and relationship counselling, or environmental clean up. This will help remove the stigma around trans people and prove their value to society. It will also generate funds which can be used to pay for their transition. 

The Squid takes this as a crazy blue-sky idea, and runs with it — after all, he is a writer of weird science fiction with a comedy twist; crazy ideas are his bread and butter! He loves to bat crazy ideas back and forth! The Squid first thinks of reasons why the concept might work, but then shifts gears. He points out that feminists — to whom TransRational is supposed to be allied — are unlikely to support any form of sex-work, and in any case this line of work may conflict with the goal of child-rearing. He suggests it would therefore be better to focus on environmental cleanup, which is more necessary, and far less controversial. 

Little does he know his comments strike at the very heart of our Hero’s long-term plans to found a Special Monastic Order of Transsexual Porno-Shaman! Kinesis chooses not to discuss his plan in further detail — at least, not with the Squid — but despite his friend’s criticism, he continues to believe in it. Soon after this, our Hero recruits a Sidekick, who turns out to be a loudmouth and an idiot — but crucially, not a Shapeshifter. No matter what, the Sidekick will stay loyal to his master.

 Serious work begins on the TransRational website, manifesto, and scripts for YouTube videos. Discussions continue, but the few feminists in the group increasingly come to feel that their opinions are undervalued, and at times feel shouted down. The Squid, a man who expresses similar views to the feminists, appears to be taken more seriously — at least by Kinesis. 

Towards the end of the year, Kinesis is flown to New York to attend a secret meeting with a prominent academic feminist, who Kinesis claims would like to collaborate with him on a research paper. The hoped-for collaboration never takes place. Shortly after this, Kinesis has an orchiectomy, and promptly loses his mind.

During the writing of the manifesto, Kinesis clashes repeatedly with the Queen of Bitches, particularly on the subject of child transition, to which she is completely opposed. One such discussion is particularly heated, and leads to a major argument between the Three Amigos. On Twitter, our Hero has numerous fights with women on the same subject, as well as on the question of whether or not an inverted penis is functionally equivalent to a vagina. Words like ‘mutilation’, ‘unnatural’ and ‘abuse’ are particularly triggering for Kinesis — who is haunted by the memory of his diaper-wearing Aunt, and by the trauma of his abusive childhood. 

During this difficult time, the Squid and the Queen of Bitches support Kinesis — when they are not arguing — with conversation, laughter and encouragement. This happens often, for unbeknownst to them our Hero has gradually begun to think of himself as a woman. (Again, he has succumbed to Temptation!) He knows that neither the Squid nor the Queen of Bitches see him in this way, and most likely never will. They continue to think of Kinesis as male, and refer to him with the appropriate pronouns. For our Hero, this situation is the source of huge pain and internal conflict. 

At last — with great fanfare — the website is launched, and the manifesto published. The questions of childhood transition, sports, and several others are ducked for the time-being while differences of opinion are worked out behind the scenes. 

6.5. The Road of Trials Part 4 : Uterus Implants and the Terf Tour

Kinesis continues to get into fierce but silly arguments with GC women on Twitter. The Queen and the Squid advise him repeatedly to stop doing this, but he continues. The relationship becomes increasingly strained, and is soon dominated by conflict between Kinesis and the Queen. For the most part the Squid leaves them to work it out between themselves, while becoming increasingly irritated at what he sees as Kinesis’s irrational behaviour. He expresses this irritation at first privately, but as Kinesis’s antics become ever more annoying, he begins to do so in public.

Around this time, Kinesis outlines his Theory of Feminism to the Squid. He says that many women enjoy femininity, but there are two kinds of women who do not, and therefore become feminists. The first type are unfeminine, and therefore disadvantaged by the gender system as they are unable to conform. Their reasons for wanting to abolish gender are obvious. The second type (of which the Queen of Bitches is an example) are feminine, but are suffering the effects of trauma due to physical or emotional abuse at the hands of men. This type wish to remake the gender system to produce in large numbers the sort of men they prefer: soft, gentle and kind — just like the Hero himself! 

Kinesis says this is self-serving and narrow minded, because many ordinary women enjoy femininity, and like men just as they are: masculine. These women like Real Men; they do not want them to be soft, gentle or kind. (And neither does our Hero — he is attracted only to Real Men, despite the childhood abuse he suffered at the hands of his father, who was himself a Real Man with no time for sissy-boys like Kinesis.)

The Squid is annoyed by this theory and says it is utter bollocks. He advises the Hero not to spread it around as it is sure to enrage the feminists. By now he has grown concerned about Kinesis’s attitude towards women. He writes an essay for the TransRational website about the group’s unconditional support for feminism, including aspects which have nothing to do with trans issues. With Kinesis’s agreement — and without argument — this essay is published, and seems generally well-received.

Meanwhile, Kinesis has started a crowd funder on Twitter in the hope of coming to the UK to attend the wedding of a dying friend. He decides to make use of the trip to meet and interview several prominent gender-critical feminists, as well as Queen and Squid. In the end, sufficient funds are raised, and our Hero books his trip — jokingly known as the Terf Tour.

When Kinesis and the Queen of Bitches discuss the matter of uterus implants, she is horrified to discover that our Hero would like a uterus himself, and cannot understand her sense of visceral horror at the idea. He believes this is a sign of her extremism and transphobia. He even compares the Queen of Bitches to Posie Parker — that terrible fiend! (This comparison has no effect, but for Queen and Squid it provides much fodder for comedy.)

Finally — just days before the start of the Terf Tour — our Hero writes a letter in which he outlines his feelings about becoming a woman. The Squid reads it, and is horrified to discover that Kinesis has gone completely batshit. He gently asks Kinesis if he has thought any more about whether or not he is AGP. This is a subject to which Kinesis repeatedly returns, and has been discussed many times before in a civil manner. But this time, Kinesis takes great offence and starts ranting about perverts. The Squid offers his apologies, but in truth he is taken aback by this unexpected development.

Nevertheless he is sympathetic to the Hero’s plight — clearly, Kinesis is in terrible pain. The Squid tells Kinesis that the Queen too should read what he has to say. He prepares the Queen for a great shock, then shows her the letter. In a subsequent conversation, Kinesis demands that for the sake of their friendship, the Queen of Bitches must accept him as a woman. But this she cannot do — and Kinesis knows it.

Our Hero then puts his friendship with the Queen ‘on hold’. This enrages both the Squid and the Queen, who finally recognise that this relationship with Kinesis — whether intentionally or not — has become emotionally abusive. For the Queen of Bitches, the friendship is now over. But the Squid still cares deeply for the Hero, and cannot yet bear to let go. But at last, Queen and Squid leave TransRational completely. They will not meet Kinesis on the Terf Tour. 

During that tour, Kinesis does a livestream with Miranda Yardley. Miranda attempts to seem less scary by not wearing his fearsome hat, but to no avail. Kinesis is terrified. The resulting video is viewed by the Squid and the Queen of Bitches, and enrages them both. Kinesis comes across as shifty, and unable to answer such simple questions as ‘What is the purpose of TransRational?’ The video is incredibly painful for them to watch, and by the end of it they have come to believe that Kinesis is a con-artist and madman, and they were wrong to lend him their support.

Kinesis is terribly hurt by this development. He too feels betrayed, tricked, and gaslit. He reminds himself that the Queen of Bitches is an evil transphobe who has yet to recover from damage done by an abusive past relationship. The Squid is even worse, for he has Magic Powers. He wields the power of the Shadow, which represents all the Hero’s repressed guilt and self-disgust. He has knowledge of dark secrets which threaten to destroy the Hero — or to redeem him. 

In the mind of the Hero, the Squid has become his Nemesis! To the Squid, Kinesis is a twat.

http://walkingnaked.weebly.com/blog/june-14th-2019

http://walkingnaked.weebly.com/blog/romancing-the-word

6.6. The Road of Trials Part 5: The Battlefield

Kinesis returns from the Terf Tour. Evil Squid, who built the TransRational website, now archives the contents, transfers the domain to Kinesis, and provides him with instructions on how to restore the archive to an alternative server. He asks Kinesis never to contact him again. A few weeks later, he shuts down the server. 

Our Hero decides to build a new website rather than restore the archive provided by his tentacled Nemesis. He recruits several new members. In addition to some arse-kissing Chamchas, these include a golden-haired Siren, a Man, and a Penguin — whose experiences within TransRational will be similar to those of Evil Squid and the Queen. Unfortunately, they have no way of knowing this, for Kinesis has warned them against contacting that evil duo. Within the group, it is forbidden even to speak their names! 

Kinesis gets into further fights with women on Twitter. These culminate in a massive battle sparked by our Hero’s support for prostitution, which is at odds with the views of most of the GC community. The fighting is brutal; Kinesis is wounded early on, but with stunning bravery he continues the fight. He is able to maim several of his attackers, and to piss off hundreds more. But he is unable to defeat them, and at last retreats from the battlefield to fight another day. 

As the Allies tend his wounds, our Hero rails against his Enemies, spitting venom and bile. The Siren sings a soft and soothing song and the Chamchas kiss his arse until at last the Hero falls into a deep sleep. But there he finds no solace, for he is haunted by darkness and doubts — what if he’s been wrong all along? What if the Special Monastic Order of Transsexual Porno-Shaman cannot be established? What then? Has all his work been for naught? Does his life have no meaning at all?

Kinesis will fight this same battle repeatedly, but he will never win; each time he steps into the fray, he finds his Enemies have grown more numerous, and yet more deadly! Each time, he is forced to retreat to the safe haven of TransRational, where his wounds will be healed, and he can rant and rave with impunity.

But all is not well. As this cycle repeats, a few Allies grow increasingly uncomfortable with Kinesis’s behaviour, and concerned for his mental health. 

6.7. The Road of Trials Part 6: Conspiracy 

Remembering the Hero’s warnings never to contact the Evil Squid, the Siren decides to do so. She is quickly introduced to the Queen of Bitches. The evil duo are surprisingly friendly. They wish the Siren and TransRational well, but warn her of Kinesis’s mental instability and his tendency to engage in abusive behaviour, particularly towards women. 

Meanwhile, the Hero continues his battle against those who would thwart his plans — but his enemies are indefatigable! As his anger and frustration intensifies, Kinesis is beset by wave upon wave of doubts and self-hatred, with which he fortifies himself for the next attack. 

His venom grows stronger, and spews ever more frequently from his lips, until the Allies themselves become targets, and begin to fear him. Together with the Sidekick, the Chamchas kiss the Hero’s arse with great vigour. But the Siren remembers her conversation with the Queen and Evil Squid, and decides to leave TransRational.

She contacts the Queen and the Squid again, and this time they talk in more detail. When the Siren tells her story, Queen and Squid are horrified. Since they parted ways, Kinesis has got much, much worse. They begin to regret their relative silence about their split with Kinesis — if they had spoken out, would it have prevented others from being abused? Perhaps they are partly responsible? Perhaps they are not. But they begin to speak more openly of their experiences.

Soon after this, Squid and Queen are contacted by the Penguin, and tell her the same thing they told the Siren: Kinesis displays a pattern of abusive behaviour, particularly towards women, and is mentally unstable. The Penguin listens with interest, then returns to TransRational. 

7. Approaching the Inmost Cave

A couple of weeks later, the Queen of Bitches thinks of the Penguin and contacts her to ask how things are going. She soon learns that all is not well. Before long, Queen and Squid will be introduced to the Man.

Within TransRational, a major argument has erupted over the true identity of the Man. Kinesis has grown suspicious, because the Man is a transwoman who calls himself a man. This is very upsetting to the Hero, the Sidekick, and all the Chamchas, who insist that transwomen are not men. They interrogate the Man about the reasons for his transition, as well as about his childhood and sexual history. Kinesis considers his answers unsatisfactory, and labels him a liar and a pervert. The Chamchas denounce him, then kiss the Hero’s arse. But the Penguin defends the Man vigorously. This enrages the Hero and his Chamchas.

The fight spills out onto Twitter, where it gets nasty. Squid and the Queen of Bitches look on with horror and bemusement, while receiving scattered reports from the front line. They hear of doxxing and sock puppets, and pervy interrogations conducted by the Hero himself. Many of these claims are evidenced. Queen and Squid are disgusted by these revelations about their former friend Kinesis. They now believe him to be dangerous. And the Squid feels like an idiot.

The Man leaves TransRational along with the Penguin, and the fighting escalates further. Now the Squid joins in, as do the Sheep, the Practitioner of Voodoo, and many others. 

Kinesis writes a bizarre thread about Dark Forces conspiring to destroy TransRational, but this is met with pure ridicule. Finally, our Hero succumbs to the Enemy onslaught, and deactivates his Twitter account.

8. Escape from the Special World to Face The Ordeal 

Away from Twitter, the Hero licks his wounds. Perhaps the Chamchas lick his arse? The facts are uncertain, but we do know that Kinesis is beset by a terrible fever, and stays away from Twitter for several weeks — until his account is deleted. We can be sure that during this time he suffers terribly, and puts a great deal of thought into how to proceed. Must he renounce his glorious dream to found a Special Monastic Order of Transsexual Porno-Shaman? Has it finally come to this? The thought of it torments him. The dream infuses his life with meaning — it feels so right! It cannot be wrong; Kinesis himself forbids it. He must think his way out of the problem.

9. Reward / Apotheosis: A New Strategy

All that thinking pays off when Kinesis realises that the GCs are not only wrong, but stupid! Suddenly, he feels much better. He is not to blame for what happened to the women in TransRational. They may believe they were subjected to abuse, but they are wrong. What they were subjected to was simply reason, plus the timeless wisdom of the Orient. Those women are silly. It is not their fault, for they lack the Hero’s spiritual training and extraordinary powers of empathy. When faced with the transcendent genius of Kinesis, their minds were unable to cope! Threatened by his intellect, and unable to refute his logic, they resorted inevitably to bigotry and name-calling. 

This is typical of women. Not all women, of course — just those who know the Hero well. Those women, he now realises, are part of a GC cult. Cults are bad, and Kinesis knows all about it because he grew up in one. 

Sadly, the Hero shakes his head. There is nothing more he can do for those women. And anyway, hasn’t he done enough? He’s done plenty, but received not the merest scrap of gratitude! Clearly, women is bitches, and they do not deserve him.

But perhaps Kinesis can reason with those who oppose the GC bigots? After all, they too are wrong, and could benefit greatly from his wisdom. Perhaps he can join their group? Perhaps they will recognise the Hero’s brilliance, and grant him a seat at the Big Table of Clever People, along with Castaneda, Peterson, and Jones.

10. Crossing the Second Threshold to Return to the Special World, Evading his Enemies

Kinesis returns to Twitter with a new account. He tries several different handles before finally settling on @StygianSnow. At first he boldly asserts he is in favour of sex-work, and that he is no longer GC — this soon disappears from his profile, but to no avail! He has been spotted by a handful of evil women, who have been awaiting his return. These women attack, but Kinesis is ready, and swiftly blocks them! His Chamchas maintain a low profile, but the Sidekick, ever loyal, scouts the terrain and reports back to the Hero. Scattered bands of women still roam the land, but aside from a few dark mutterings, they have mostly forgotten him. Our Hero chuckles at this foolishness — the women have left him for dead! But now he is risen — and stronger now than ever before!

Our Hero slips through dense forest, blocking as he goes, until he finds himself upon a well-trodden path that leads him, inexorably, to the Village of the Unicorns. 

11. Crossing of the Third Threshold / Resurrection 

The Village of the Unicorns is guarded by fierce transactivists, who remember Kinesis from Before, when he fought side by side with their sworn enemies the GCs. They are mistrustful of him, and assault our Hero with sharp sticks! But Kinesis is unfazed; again, he deploys the block button, and the attack is repelled.

Our Hero arrives in the Village, and begins to hold court. The Unicorns, who are curious by nature, emerge one by one from their gingerbread cottages. They stare at Kinesis in slack-jawed amazement — who is this person, and what is he doing here? He is talking, yes — but what is he on about? The Unicorns swish their tales in confusion; the words make no sense, but they can’t stop listening! And they cannot look away — for already, they are hypnotised. And at last, Kinesis is reborn!

12. Return with the Boon

(Speculative): During the journey, the Hero has gained deep knowledge of the true nature of gender. He works tirelessly to recruit the Unicorns as Allies by dispensing his wisdom and regaling them with glorious tales of his past adventures. 

With new Allies recruited and trained, Kinesis leads them from the Unicorn Village to return to the Road of Trials and complete his greater Journey of Transition. The Unicorns will aid the Hero in his plan to create a Special Monastic Order of Transsexual Porno-Shaman, and thus make his mark on history.

The Moral

Not all stories have morals, but perhaps there are some lessons to be learned from this one?

First of all this business of the Special Monastic Order of Transsexual Porno-Shaman. It sounds like something I’ve made up to discredit Kinesis, but I’m afraid it’s not — and I’m not the only person he talked to about this.  Perhaps by now he’s given up on the idea? I don’t know. Somehow, I doubt it.

But in any case it makes no sense. It doesn’t solve the problem of how to balance trans rights against the rights of women and other groups. All it does is normalise sex-work, and assign it to a special caste. Even if you remove sex-work from the equation, you’re still placing trans people apart from the rest of humanity. And I see no reason to believe that trans people are more spiritual, or would make better shaman than anyone else. To make it work would require a massive cultural shift. If the goal is for transpeople to be fully accepted by society, there must be easier ways. It’s a nice idea for a satirical novel, but that’s all.

Next, Kinesis — is he a villain? Not necessarily. I think he’s struggling with the effects of childhood trauma. He needs support, but has nowhere to turn but social media. He uses Twitter as a psychotherapist, and it’s not working. It can’t work, because Kinesis is an emotional vampire whose thirst can never be satisfied. People on Twitter are not trained in psychotherapy; we’re not paid for our time. When we offer support, we do it out of friendship. We get emotionally involved, and make mistakes. Kinesis does the same. But in my experience, the support only goes one way. I never shared with him my own life story, or my troubles. Perhaps he thinks they do not exist. Perhaps he doesn’t care. But I stopped being his psychotherapist when I realised I couldn’t help him, that I was doing more harm than good. That broke my heart, but tough shit. And now he regards me as a monster. 

Just like his father. 

But never mind me and my feelings. We hurt one another terribly, but to me it’s water under the bridge. The only reason I’m writing this is because Kinesis is back on Twitter, and up to his old tricks. This time his targets are not women, but trans people and sex-workers. If he is not a villain, then at least he behaves like one. What he’s doing here is triangulation — he hopes to gain influence, and move the needle of public opinion towards his supposed ’centrist’ position. 

He has read Castaneda, and the Bhagavad Gita. He has been trained by a Shaman, and thinks of himself as a great spiritual being — but it’s all bullshit. His position is not an honest one because it is based not on reality, but a mistaken belief in his own myth — the true meaning of which he continually evades. 

Atonement with the Father

There is a stage of the Hero’s Journey which is missing from the story of Kinesis, and which could be the key to understanding why he is the way he is. It comes back to that First Call to Adventure, when his father made an impossible demand of his three-year-old son. He told the child he must now be a man, and then punished him for his inevitable failure. That was an extraordinarily cruel thing to do. 

Kinesis had no choice but to refuse that Call. Since then, he has refused it again repeatedly — and with good reason. His father was an ogre, a cruel and abusive man. What decent human being would ever want to emulate him? 

Campbell writes: 

‘[T]he ogre aspect of the father is a reflex of the victim’s own ego — [and] is itself the fault that keeps one steeped in a sense of sin, sealing the potentially adult spirit from a better balanced, more realistic view of the father, and therewith of the world. Atonement (at-one-ment) consists in no more than the abandonment of that self-generated double monster — the dragon thought to be God (superego) and the dragon thought to be sin (repressed id) […]

‘The problem of the hero going to meet the father is to open his soul beyond terror to such a degree that he will be ripe to understand how the sickening and inane tragedies of this vast and ruthless cosmos are completely validated in the majesty of Being. The hero transcends life with its peculiar blind spot and for a moment rises to a glimpse of the source. He beholds the face of the father, understands — and the two are atoned.’

Here, Campbell is not talking about anyone’s actual father; he’s talking about an Archetype — a sort of psychological template, through which humans can understand themselves, the world, and the meaning of life. It is this Archetype Kinesis must confront if he wishes to find peace within himself. This, and nothing more, is the Ultimate Boon.

The child may refuse the Call of his father, but there is no escape from the demands of Father Time. Our Hero must overcome all his shame and self-disgust to accept himself fully as a Valid Person — a transwoman, a sexual being, and finally, a man.

Tipping Point

We all have a tipping point

All of us. Sometimes, we don’t know when that tipping point is getting close, but once we feel it approaching, there’s nothing to prevent it, and when it arrives, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma: we can carry on allowing ourselves to get hurt, or we can walk away.

During the course of the gender debate, I’ve made a lot of friends. I’ve lost a few people I thought were friends. Some of the friends I made I’ve since lost or walked away from. One friendship I even walked away from twice (never ignore your instincts). Some of those friends have been men, some trans people. Most of the friends I’ve made – and kept –  are women.

There’s a good reason most are women.

One of the trans people I made friends with so desperately wants to be a woman, but – and this is my personal opinion – he does not sound, talk, feel, look, think or in any way behave like a woman. This person appeared sweet, at first. Friendly. Approachable. A good laugh. Smart. Talented. Most of all, it seemed he was on women’s side. (And I’m going to say he, because it’s a point of principle – male people get male pronouns, because it avoids confusion and also I refuse to gaslight myself.)

My boyfriend had been speaking to this person, who I’ll just call K, before me, and he encouraged us to become friends. K seemed decent. Vulnerable, as most of us are, and willing to talk about it. Sometimes, a little too willing, and the same stories would be repeated week after week (that should have been a red flag, right there – bear with me). But mostly, we were able to have a good laugh, and we thought the friendship was special – that it had staying power.

But whatever else we had – the laughs, the disagreements – there were two sticking points that K and I couldn’t get past. Ever. Oftentimes, my boyfriend wanted to bang our heads together (no matter that we were on opposite sides of the Atlantic), and so we argued things out, K and I. We argued a lot. K, having previously conceded that transwomen were not women (but neither were they men – they were transwomen), insisted that if a transwoman had taken puberty blockers to prevent them from going through male puberty (which I consider to be child abuse, but I’ll get to that), then that person would have no significant physical advantages over women in sport and should therefore be allowed to compete against them. I said no. I said no because whatever a person does to their body, whether or not a boy goes through male puberty (and therefore lacks the physical advantages inherent in male sportsmen), one thing remained that I would never budge on: that sports person is still not, and never will be, a woman. Women’s sports are for women, not for men who have altered their bodies. For me, it really is as simple as that, and it should not be controversial to say so.

The other sticking point was “trans kids” and I’ve put that in quote marks because I don’t believe there is any such thing as a trans child. In my opinion, giving children drugs because they don’t conform to society’s accepted gender norms (“likes trucks, must be a boy; likes dolls, must be a girl”) is tantamount to child abuse. This is even worse when they are then mutilated – and I will use that word. Their healthy body parts (breasts, penis, balls) sliced off so they and society can pretend they’re the opposite sex. This is worse still when it’s encouraged by those who should know better –  it then becomes state-sanctioned child abuse.

This was the sort of language I used in conversations with K – mutilation, medicalised for life, child abuse. Because I’m not in the habit of sugaring the pill. Jazz Jennings – poor kid – is a particular case in point. K asked me not to “misgender her again.” (I had insisted Jazz was a mutilated, badly abused boy – I still believe this to be the case. Try getting me to move on that and I guarantee you’ll get the same response as K did.)

So anyway, this is not meant to be about my opinions as regards the trans debate, but I wanted to use the above to illustrate a few things. One, I am stubborn. It’s a trait I’ve inherited from my mum and my nan and I am proud of it. I do imagine I can be intensely irritating at times because of it, but it is who I am. Two, when it comes to children and their welfare, I am immovable. I don’t have children myself, because I’ve never had the patience to be a good mother, but touch a hair on a kid’s head in front of me and I swear you will not know what’s hit you. Three, no matter how nice I appear to be, I am only nice up to a point. I have discovered in the last few years that if I stop saying or doing things just to “be nice” or if I don’t say or do what people expect of me, those people will call me an awful person and cut me off, or I’ll simply never hear from them again. (This mostly doesn’t bother me, but in some cases, it hurts, because I’ve thought these people friends who knew better than to think I would budge on something I felt strongly about. Hey-ho. The loss is theirs.)

These are facets of my character that I don’t hide. I tell people about them, and this should serve as warning enough that if they try to persuade me of something I’ve already made up my mind about, they will come up against those facets of my character that are not necessarily very nice (because they’re not meant to be). And I also do not hide the fact – because I am not ashamed – that for nearly a decade, I was in a coercive relationship. I tell people I will not let anyone – and I do mean anyone – make me feel that way ever again. The reason the repetition of the same stories should have been a red flag was because that was something I experienced in that coercive relationship. I’ve since found out that it’s a common tactic used by abusive people – a form of guilt-tripping. (“This person did this, but you would never do that to me, would you?”)

I told K these things about me.

I never thought he would test me to the absolute limit.

Against my own better judgement, I continued with the friendship, despite these two main sticking points and despite all the arguments, stress and lost sleep. I didn’t want it to end. K seemed sweet, beneath it all, but there was something niggling at me that I simply couldn’t shift. And one night, I recognised, with a jolt, what it was. I was talking to my boyfriend about K, and said, “But it doesn’t matter what I think, because I’m a woman. My opinion is worthless to K.”

It doesn’t matter what I think.

I’m a woman.

My opinion is worthless.

It seems innocuous, nothing to get het up about, but it was exactly the same way I had felt so often with my abusive ex and it was at that point I put the guard back up to full height, and yet still I continued. We were friends. Surely he didn’t mean to be so cruel?

One night (and it was always us in the UK up into the early hours, never K in the States), we were Skyping again – we did that a few times. And we were talking about various things. We got onto the topic of implanting uteruses into transwomen.

Now, I’m going to be brutally honest here, and say the very idea makes me feel sick. I have disturbing images in my head of women being pinned down and having their wombs forcibly ripped from them, and if I can see something in my mind’s eye, I trust that instinct. I never – ever – ignore it. I told K this, thinking it was obvious why I found the idea utterly terrifying. I’m not even going to explain why here, because it really is that obvious.

K didn’t get it. Or at least, he appeared not to.

My boyfriend isn’t generally a soother, he’ll usually let me cry things out (I’m a big girl, I can cope), but this time, he took me in his arms and made sure I felt safe, because if K’s opinion on uterus implants into transwomen – men – was a common one, what did that say about how society views women and girls in general? I couldn’t get through to K. It was like being faced with the brick wall I’d felt I was bashing my head against on the day I finally walked out on my abusive ex. I was shaking and I was crying, and in the end, I gave up, curled into a foetal position on the bed and told my boyfriend that he could deal with it now because I was done.

K did not say to my boyfriend, “Hey, mate, you’d better take care of her, she’s a mess, this can wait.” He continued to argue his point. My feelings didn’t matter. What I thought didn’t matter. My opinion was worthless.

Again.

(K had even said to me on several occasions that my opinion was in the minority, i.e. that most people thought that a person with a penis could actually be a woman. No matter how many times I said most people are not arguing because they don’t know it’s even an issue – because of course everyone knows what a woman is – he continued to try to gaslight me.)

I think my boyfriend continued to talk to K for another two hours, at which point, he too gave up, annoyed that not only did he have an extremely distressed girlfriend – a mess of snot and tears – next to him on the bed, he was indulging the person who’d got her into that state in the first place. Enough. We went to bed.

And you’d think that would have been it, wouldn’t you? If this was someone else’s story, I’d be thinking, surely this is it? Surely she didn’t let him treat her that way any more after that? Surely the friendship was over now?

Nope.

Not quite.

What finally finished it was K telling me that either I could accept him as a woman or we’d have to temporarily put the friendship on hold – for his benefit, you understand, not mine. And I refused to see him as a woman. In fact, no – scratch that. It wasn’t that I refused to “see him as a woman.” I just didn’t. I never had. Because he’s male, and he will always be male. Adult male (however sweet) = man. So anyway, I said fine. I’m done. This is not going anywhere.

Because emotional manipulation is something I know about. It’s something a great many women – too many women – know an awful lot about. And K was a master at it. Anything I said that went against what he was fighting for was plain wrong. What I said seemed “transphobic”. The attacks on me – one of them very public – became more frequent. He said things like:

“[E]verything you say lately seems designed to make me feel like less of a person.”

“I love you so much, and yet for me it’s survival and for you it’s opinion.”

“It’s perspective for you. It’s stubbornness. For me it’s life or death.”

And yes, he actually said these things to me. My perspective – that a male person cannot be a woman and most of the time can’t even understand how women think and feel – was no more than “an opinion.” For K, however, it was “life or death.”

One thing you’ll see frequently when you read about abusive people is that they will regularly issue suicide threats. And I do not respond well to emotional blackmail, as K discovered that night. The friendship was over.

Shortly after this, K visited the UK, and the original plan was that we would take the chance to meet him. Now, of course, I decided this was not going to happen, at least not for me. My boyfriend was still dithering and wondering whether to meet him without me. I promised I wouldn’t stop him, though I thought it was a bad idea, and in the end, none of us did meet. Believe me – this was for the best.

In the meantime, people who have since become good friends have reached out – either to my boyfriend or to me – and we’ve given our thoughts about K while not saying outright that they should stay the fuck away from him for their own sake (though this is actually now how I feel). They explained the situation and asked for anything I could tell them that might help. So I did. I apologised for my opinions sounding rather negative, but as far as I was concerned, what I had told them was the truth.

Forewarned is fore-armed.

The inevitable happened. Those friendships with K broke down. New ones were forged as a direct result. And now we want to prevent other women, women who may be compassionate and want to protect K (particularly when it seems as though he’s being attacked on social media), from getting caught up in the same web as we ourselves managed – with help from each other – to escape.

It wasn’t easy. Breaking friendships is hard. Even when you know that walking away is the best thing not only for you but for them. K has his demons. We have ours. I have plenty, and they still haunt me. And the only person who can really fight my demons is me, but I can only do that if I’m not trying to fight someone else’s at the same time. I’m happy to help – always – but not at the expense of my own wellbeing. I have to put myself first.

Dealing with K felt as though my energy was being drawn from me by a vampire. It had to stop. I had to take time for me, and repair myself. The pieces were scattered, but I think I’ve now managed to find them all and put them back in the right place.

Women need to stick together. Tightly. Men can be welcome into our groups, but it’s a by-invitation-only contract and it can be revoked at any time if we stop trusting those men. And that does, I’m afraid, include transwomen. Some trans people are great, and none of what I’ve said here is in any way an attack on trans people in general, although I confess I am flummoxed by the whole thing. But women – those of us who are born female and know what that means – must reach out to each other. Because when push comes to shove, we know we cannot rely on men. Individually, they may be great. I love men. But we have to face the fact that, collectively, they won’t help us. Men help other men, even when they don’t realise they’re doing it. Men make excuses for other men’s behaviour.

Helping women is down to women. This is what I’m attempting to do here.

This is not an attack on K. This is a warning to other women whose kindness he may try to exploit.

I want you to not feel what I felt. I want you to feel safe.

Take care.

Subversion

It’s good to subvert people’s expectations. What you see is not always what you get, and that’s the way it should be.

When we were just breaking away from the war-ravaged Forties, emerging into the Fifties, the decade that was filled with colour after years of drabness, people still weren’t quite ready for what the Sixties would bring. It was too early. Here are a couple of songs from the Fifties, and remember that, although it’s hard for us born later to really understand, these were considered shocking at the time:

[Little Richard, Lucille]

[Elvis Presley, Hound Dog]

In the Sixties, everything changed. We had Op Art – strange optical illusions that made your eyes see things that weren’t there, or made you perceive movement in perfect stillness, or colour where no colours were present. But musicians, although beginning to branch out – think of the hippie movement, the Flower Children – were still quite clean cut. Even though at this time, we had acts such as the Stones, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, when we think of “Sixties music”, the sort of thing that springs to mind is likely to be something like this:

[The Mamas and the Papas, California Dreamin]

But then we also have this: 

[Janis Joplin, Try (just a little bit harder)]

 

There’s a reason people who lived through the Sixties wax lyrical about the music of that time. There was just so much of it!

In the Seventies, everything changed again. We now had glam rock. Musicians, mostly men, wearing flamboyant clothes, glitter and make-up and relying on the necessary (and, at the time, inevitable) shock value to add impact to their image. People who grew up in the Thirties, Forties and Fifties certainly weren’t prepared for what happened, and it made the shock value all the more profitable – and desirable – to those who were making the music.

[T-Rex, Get It On]

[Roxy Music, Ladytron]

(It’s true: the Seventies were nuts.)

And by the late Seventies, we had punk, and the following link may not be what you’re expecting:

[Adam and the Ants, Car Trouble]

In the Eighties, we had post-punk and the New Romantics (a movement that began with the Blitz kids). More men wearing make-up. Electronics added something otherworldly – creepy? – to the sound. Adam and the Ants, moving on from punk to embrace a wider audience, added a tribal element to the mix with their Burundi-inspired double-drum soundscape. Boy George confused a generation of young men and inspired the same generation of young women by making himself beautiful – and vulnerable.

[Culture Club, Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?]

[Adam and the Ants, Kings of the Wild Frontier]

Many of these Eighties bands were heavily influenced by the previous two decades, especially the Seventies, and added something of their own to it. For the rest of the Eighties, musicians had a lot to live up to:

[Adam and the Ants, Ants Invasion]

[Then Jerico, The Big Area]

[Sisters of Mercy, This Corrosion]

The Nineties were different again; as a reaction to what some saw as a fairly “safe” music mainstream – Britpop in the UK, for instance – we now had bands such as Placebo and Suede emerging, taking risks, wearing dresses and make-up and singing about nancy boys and gay sex.

[Placebo, Nancy Boy]

[Suede, Animal Nitrate]

And we also had beautiful Finnish men singing about death:

[HIM, Death is in Love With Us]

But the one constant who had been with us since the Sixties, and who most definitely had been leading the way, style wise, since the early Seventies, was David Bowie.

[David Bowie, Time]

Now, recently, certain trans folk have been quick to tell feminists that they’re wrong for thinking the concept of gender identity is harmful. Just look at David Bowie, they say. He was trans positive, he had a trans lover (Romy Haag, we know, eye roll), he hung out with Jayne (formerly Wayne) County (again, we know)… and yes, many of those feminists the trans folk are trying to “educate” are themselves Bowie fans. He accumulated millions of fans over the years, many of them obsessive, from all across the globe.

So, with this in mind, we’re going to look at the concept of gender ideology through a Bowie-shaped lens. What was the message he was trying to convey? That varies, of course, depending on your point of view and where you stand politically.

[David Bowie, Fame]

Identity – this seems to be what much of the transgender movement is about. I am who I say I am and you’re in no position to refute that because I know who I am better than you do. OK. Let’s start there.

Who we are is not a given. It shifts. Mutates. Like a kaleidoscope of colours merging and separating, separating and merging, finally stopping in a particular place – and no matter where it stops, it’s never the same as any other combination of colours and shapes that’s ever existed before. Each one of us is unique. On this, the woke blokes, the transgender people and the feminists are in complete agreement. But too often, people fail to recognise sufficiently that there are also things certain groups have in common, and which bind us together. One of those commonalities is rooted in the body we were born with. Our sex.

As we grow up, we explore who we are. This exploration is in part a series of interactions with the people around us, and much of the time, the nature of these interactions is coloured by our sex and by how we are perceived by others. And then when puberty hits, we’re flooded with hormones, our bodies start changing and our sexuality develops. (Remember, I’m not talking about gender identity here. That’s a modern concept that feminists prefer to call “personality.”) But, crucially,  our minds develop, as well. As we seek to separate ourselves from our families, and become autonomous human beings, we start to question who we truly are. And those questions lead us to some strange places. Some frightening places. Why do I feel this way? Am I the only one? Are there others like me? Everyone else seems to be having an easy time, so why is life so hard for me?

[David Bowie, Changes]

These are the questions that every young person going through puberty asks. And yet certain people use that same shared sense of isolation and disconnect to manipulate young people into believing the rest of us don’t share their sense of isolation at puberty. It invites them into an ideology that promotes the misguided idea they can literally be whatever they would prefer to be. That if you like boy things, that means you’re a boy; if you like girl things, that means you’re a girl. Feminists believe this is the kind of sexist claptrap that they have been fighting against for centuries.

Although we may not suffer from exactly the same kind of isolation as that felt by these young people – times change – the notion that any of us goes through life without these feelings of isolation and struggle with our own internal sense of who we are is patently nonsense.

David Bowie was practically the walking embodiment of this feeling. Whether or not he felt that way himself is irrelevant – he told a lot of fibs, and the fibs were part of his image. But one thing we do know is that he never stopped asking questions. He never stopped exploring. To try to find out who he was and who we all are, he peered into the darkest recesses, those none of us really wants to look into. He did it for us. He went there, he came back and he showed us what he’d seen. He never claimed to understand it, but he was always eager to share what he’d found.

His final album, Blackstar, was perhaps his way of giving us the sum of everything he’d learnt about himself over the course of his long career by asking all those questions. Who am I? What is my purpose in life? What am I here to do? 

Did I change the world? 

[David Bowie, Loving the Alien]

As regards that last, for many of us, the answer is yes. He did. He changed our world. Because he told us we could look at things in a different way but without ever telling us how it was done. For many fans, Bowie’s message seemed to be that we could – and indeed should – flip what was expected of us and turn it upside down, forcing people to look at us –  and themselves – in a different way. That way wasn’t prescribed for us. It just said, “Look. What do you see? How does it make you feel?”

When someone says, “I am X,” and we perceive something different, our minds do a double-take. What you see isn’t necessarily what’s there. A skilled actor can make you believe they’re someone else, suspend disbelief. A skilled mime artist can make you see a gate as they pretend to walk through it, a car as they pretend to drive it, an invisible key as it unlocks an invisible door. We know those things aren’t really there. Like those Magic Eye pictures that were all the rage in the Nineties, what we see depends partly on how we look. We can change our depth perception and see something different. We can look at a pane of glass, or we can look through it and see what’s beyond. (That’s how those Magic Eye pictures worked, for those who could never figure it out. You had to look through them, not at them.)

David Bowie showed us that if we looked at something in a different way to how we’d been taught to look at it, perhaps we’d see something different. Perhaps we’d see what was really there, hiding just beneath the surface. Perhaps we’d see something no one else had ever seen. But we had to really look.

[David Bowie, Ashes to Ashes]

This, I suspect, is one reason transgender people use the example of Bowie to “explain” to us why they’re not what we perceive them to be – rather, they are precisely, and only, what they perceive themselves to be. Nothing more, nor less. Some of us will be afraid to look more closely, for fear of what we might see. So, should we look they way they say we should? Or should we subvert? Look differently? Think for ourselves? Seek what’s really underneath?

We’ll always see something, but can we be certain that what we see is real? Because as well as looking to find something no one else has seen, we can also fool ourselves into seeing something that really isn’t there at all. Think of that invisible key in that invisible lock, opening that invisible door.

Those glam rockers in the Seventies – starting with David Bowie and Marc Bolan – dressed in a way that made people look. Made people think. Some were afraid of what they saw, and looked away. Perhaps it shocked them to the core, or made them angry. Others looked, and liked what they found. Either way, the kids loved it. And parents – with the odd (very odd) exception – were terrified. Were these the ch-ch-ch-changes Bowie had told us about? What the devil was going on?

But what none of those glamsters asked us to believe was that they were anything other than what they were. The message was – and remains, for many – that you could be as weird as you liked, that masculinity and femininity were irrelevant and sometimes even undesirable. Some said masculinity was a joke, something to be made fun of. For a while, in the Seventies, the most manly thing a man could do was wear make-up. (Bolan alone must have sent sales of glitter soaring.)

[T-Rex, Children of the Revolution]

Bowie often looked out at his audiences and saw hundreds of clones of himself. And he loved that fans were taking what he was doing and running with it. He thought that was fabulous. They were themselves, but more sparkly, more glittery versions of themselves. Louder, and much harder to ignore.

In 1980–81, Adam Ant wore a white war stripe across his nose, partly as a big “fuck you” to the corrupt music industry and partly as homage to the warriors he was trying to emulate for his stage persona. For me, this was the first time I had seen a good-looking man with make-up that made me sit up and really look. I was six years old. I knew even at that young age it was subversive. It was dangerous. And I also knew I found it attractive. I still do.

[Adam and the Ants, Ant Rap, 1981]

Radical feminism has no problem with men wearing make-up and outlandish clothes. For a certain type of women, it’s the most attractive thing! Feminism wants to do away with restrictive norms of behaviour laid out for both men and women, which for an inordinately long time had been considered indispensable. There is no need to create new categories, which are just as restrictive as the old ones – many would say more so. Part of Bowie’s message was that we don’t need to be hemmed in by these categories. We can escape the boxes, break out of them and subvert expectations., while remaining fundamentally what we are – a man or a woman.

One thing Bowie never advocated was sticking rigidly to sex stereotypes. Androgyny was the name of the game for most of the Seventies, and for most of the Eighties, as well. (“Wow, she’s nice! Oh, it’s– That’s a dude.”) 

[Aerosmith, Dude Looks Like A Lady]

And that was true subversion of expectations. It forced people to question themselves, and sometimes also their sexuality. And questioning yourself, though perhaps an uncomfortable experience, is a good thing. And (going out on a limb here, bear with me) one of the reasons it’s good is precisely because it’s uncomfortable. 

[David Bowie, Rebel Rebel]

Here’s a quote from Bowie: “Always go a little further into the water than you feel capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

[Alice Cooper, The Ballad of Dwight Fry]

Being uncomfortable can, therefore, be a positive thing, as long as our personal safety is not at risk. Being uncomfortable can arouse our curiosity. Bowie taught us to figure out who, and perhaps also what, we are. But he also taught us that other people’s perceptions of us are unpredictable. And this is a good thing. The confusion arising from these varied perceptions is part of what makes us human. That confusion can keep us guessing for years. Bowie certainly used those notorious fibs of his to that effect. He was an artist. His whole life was part of that art.

Fuck, he even made art out of his own death:

[David Bowie, Lazarus]

So now, let’s come back to Romy Haag and Jayne County. Both of these individuals were transsexuals, and it was precisely that, I suspect, that would have drawn David Bowie to them. They were different. They were interesting. Neither was what they initially appeared to be. 

People – all sorts of people – fascinated Bowie. He was often called a chameleon, but actually, that description annoyed him; a chameleon changes in order to blend in. But Bowie wasn’t a chameleon. He was a magpie. He stole ideas. (In 1979, Adam Ant even wrote a song about his idea-stealing propensities, called Zerox.)

[Adam Ant, Zerox]

David Bowie would hear a riff, or see an image, and ask himself how he could use it. He once said, “The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.” He wasn’t coy about it, he was very open; and when he did this, he turned it around – subverted it – so that it became uniquely Bowie. Subversion became his trademark, and is one reason so many people loved him, and why his influence will continue to spread. As long as people want to subvert, they will be drawn to David Bowie.

Bowie didn’t try to be like Romy Haag or Jayne County, but he stole from them both. Watch this, and note the costume changes:

[David Bowie, Boys Keep Swinging]

Some of us are different, whether we like it or not. Some of us stand out for our personalities. Others stand out because of the way we dress, or the way we do our make-up; for our brains; for our magnetism. And humans have always decorated ourselves for one reason or another. It’s what we do.

[David Bowie, The Heart’s Filthy Lesson]

The filthy lesson of the heart, Bowie once said, was that you’re going to die. And because we’re all going to die one day, why not celebrate our lives together? Why not celebrate the complexity and wonder of being fully human while we can? Nature has already given us so much to celebrate! Human beings come in various shapes, sizes and colours. We’re already so diverse and wonderful; we have endless material for art and self-expression. We can dress however we want – we don’t need to pretend to be something else when what we are is already so fascinating.

In the end, it was Bowie’s fascination with people, especially with those who don’t quite fit, that made him the incredible artist he was – why so many of us feel such a deep connection, not just with his art, but with Bowie as a person – whoever he may have been. We can embrace our differences, celebrate them; and through our differences, we can find unity.

Please – and this is a sincere request – don’t use my love of Bowie to tell me why I’m wrong about identity politics. Let’s love Bowie together, in our own way, and do our best to understand what it was he was trying to tell us.

And remember that, in the end, we can’t change who or what we are – but we can express ourselves however we damn well please. And no one can stop us from doing that.

[David Bowie, Heroes]

Exploring My Gender

[Originally posted on Twitter, 15 June 2018 – slightly edited]

Clearly, my comments over the last few days, on the subject of radical feminists and trans people, have deeply hurt several people I know personally, who identify as trans, and who I regard as friends.

That’s the reality, and I have to face it.

I owe it to my friends to listen, and try to understand what they are saying to me.

I don’t have to agree with them, but I should do all I can to see things from their perspective.

This is an important principle of friendship.

The hurt I have caused seems, at root, to derive from a difference of opinion about the definition of the word ‘woman’.

I have been encouraged to adopt the following definition: ‘a woman is a person who says they are a woman’.

I have rejected that definition repeatedly.

In view of the hurt I have caused, I am seriously reconsidering this position.

This has nothing to do with any arguments that have been put forward. But when your friends reject you, it’s a clear sign that something has gone wrong.

Up till now, I have always considered myself a male human, and have, as a matter of convention, accepted the label ‘man’. For the most part, I have done this unthinkingly.

This is problematic.

I must try to see things from a different perspective.

I have decided, therefore, to accept this definition of the word ‘woman’: 

‘a woman is a person who says they are a woman’

This, I have decided, is the correct definition.

Accepting this definition opens up a world of new possibilities for me.

It’s liberating. But it’s also scary.

I find myself looking at my past experiences with a different eye now.

I had accepted the label ‘man’ without ever really thinking about what it means.

I realise now, that what made me a ‘man’, the only thing, is the very fact of my accepting this label.

I was a man, because I said I was a man. There was no real reason for it, other than that.

This much is now clear to me.

But, I wonder, am I truly a man? And why have I always accepted that label so unquestioningly? 

I thought being a man had something to do with being male, but I now realise that my so-called ‘maleness’ is without substance.

Could it be that I am not a man after all?

The fact of the matter is, I don’t know whether or not I am a man. I can’t know. I’ve never even thought about it. Not really. Not on a deep level.

I don’t know – that’s the fact. And I owe it to myself to explore my feelings on this matter with an open mind.

I recognise that this will be difficult.  If I do this, I realise I will be opening myself up to ridicule, social ostracism, and possibly violence.

Am I prepared to take these risks?

But I owe it to myself. I must be brave. I must not let the haters bring me down.

Now that I reflect upon my life, when I consider all my experiences and feelings, I’m confronted with an unassailable fact:

I have a great deal in common with trans people.

I was bullied extensively as a child.

I was bullied for being fat.

I was bullied for being a paki.

I was bullied for liking books.

I was bullied for doing well at school.

I was bullied for being gay, and for while I thought maybe I was gay.

I have always preferred the company of women.

I was even accepted, or felt accepted, into a circle of friends in which, when we got together, I was the only man. In a sense, I was an honorary woman. 

This was a situation with which I was very comfortable.

I have never felt comfortable in my own skin. To this day, I am uncomfortable around cameras, and I prefer not to look in mirrors.

When I do catch myself in a mirror, I often wonder – is that really me? I find it hard to believe that it is. 

I really don’t like what I see.

People are always surprised when I tell them this. They start complimenting the way I look.

But it never makes any difference. I simply don’t believe what people say. 

I don’t think they’re lying, exactly. Just wrong.

The more I stare in the mirror, the less I recognise the person looking back at me. The more I examine my genitals, the more they disgust me. 

I suffer from depression, social anxiety, isolation. Though I have friends, I often feel lonely.

Could this be gender dysphoria?

Of course, I am not a medical professional, but thanks to the internet it is easy to come to a tentative diagnosis: Yes, I do have gender dysphoria.

It is therefore possible that I am not a man. I might not be a woman though. It’s hard to say. 

But genderqueer? Absolutely.

It is hard for me to accept that I am genderqueer. I can feel my mind trying to resist the truth about who I am.

I must break free from these shackles of the mind, and embrace my true identity.

But the fact is, I’m scared.

I have never discussed this with my family or friends. How could I? I have only just found out what I am.

I dread to think how my girlfriend will react. My girlfriend is a terf. She will not understand.

I’m afraid people will say I am a pervert. But I am not a pervert – I am completely harmless.

I am genderqueer, and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

It’s not me that has a problem, it’s society.

The greatest horror of all this is also the greatest irony: I am well aware that some people will think this is all a big joke. That I am just laughing at gender non-conforming people. That this whole thread is mean-spirited, or even cruel.

But it’s not a joke. I don’t see how anyone could regard this situation as even slightly comical. To be frank, I find the very idea deeply insulting.

This is what we face, every day.

The ridicule. 

The taunts. 

The hate. 

The denial of our very existence. The complete lack of human compassion.

The disregard and erasure of our own lived experience.

I can see now why terf rhetoric is so very very dangerous.

Well, there’s a surprise. My girlfriend has just seen this thread and tried to start a ‘conversation’. 

But I’m not ready for that. I’m still sorting out my thoughts. I told her to go away, and thank fuck she did. 

I am literally shaking right now.

I will deal with my girlfriend later. So far, we have always had a ‘good relationship’. I would like that to continue.

But honestly? I don’t know.

Right now, I have to think about myself. It’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. 

It really is.

It’s okay.

I need a fucking ice-cream.

Is that okay?

Yes.

Yes it is.

I have obtained ice-cream.

Win!

Genderqueer. 

But that’s a cop-out, isn’t it? Genderqueer is an umbrella term for any gender non-conforming person. That’s pretty vague.

Genderqueer. It says very little about who I am. It’s barely an identity at all.

Let’s see if I can be more specific.

We can start with the easy stuff:

I am (almost???) exclusively attracted to women. This includes some trans women. I like them ‘feminine’, but I tend to adhere to a somewhat non-stereotypical view of femininity – it’s very nuanced for me.

But I’m not gay or anything.

So I’m not gay. 

I’d always assumed I was heterosexual, or at worst only slightly bi. But all that assumes I’m a man. Since it’s possible I’m not a man, I might not be heterosexual.

I might be a woman. A lesbian, in fact. That makes sense, too; I’ve always liked lesbians.

Okay. I am now open to the possibility that I might be a woman.

But am I a woman? How can I tell?

Well, what about my personality? Jordan Peterson says men and women have different personalities. So let’s look at Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_psychology#Personality_traits

Wikipedia says ‘women consistently report higher Neuroticism, agreeableness, warmth (an extraversion facet) and openness to feelings, and men often report higher assertiveness (a facet of extraversion) and openness to ideas’.

So those are the facts.

My female traits: Definitely neurotic – I’ve been told this by women, in fact, and they should know. I’m usually agreeable, so that’s a slight plus. I can be warm, but I’m a total introvert and I have to be honest so I’ll call that neutral. I’m very open to feelings though.

My male traits: Assertiveness? No way! I was bullied at school and I’m generally a very quiet and softly spoken person and I’m always in danger of getting pushed around. Also it’s extraversion, so a definite no. But I’ll admit I’m totally open to ideas. To a fault, even.

So…

Yeah, that’s interesting. I definitely have more female traits than male ones. 

Plus I’ve always thought of myself as a feminist. Radical, even!

So obviously on the gender spectrum I must be closer to a woman than a man.

So that’s personality covered. 

But there’s more to a woman than that. Isn’t there?

I mean, not clothes or hair, or makeup, cos it’s sexist to say those things are what make a women. Why *should* women be forced to make themselves pretty for men? 

As a feminist, I reject that.

And obviously it has nothing to do with vaginas or whatever, because that’s cis-sexist and anti-science. I admit I used to think that way myself, but then I did some education and got woke.

Scientists reckon it has something to do with patterns of activity in the brain. I mean, it’s not the *actual brain* that matters – that would be sexist. 

It’s more about what the brain *does*; how it processes information. Men and women are very different that way.

But obviously I don’t have access to an MRI, so I can’t check my brain activity to find out if I’m a woman or not, or (I suppose) to what *extent* I’m a woman.

So that doesn’t help me at all.

What else is there?

What I hear from a lot of trans women is they say they ‘feel like a woman’. So that’s obviously an important part of it.

So do I feel like a woman?

Honestly, it’s hard to be sure. But I will say that when I really think about it, when I search my soul… in all honesty I can’t say I feel like a man. And I’d go further – if I’m *really* honest, I have no idea what it feels like to be a man. When I ask myself, nothing comes.

I mean, literally.

I’ve got *nothing*.

The truth is, I don’t feel like a man at all. I don’t even know what one is, really. If I’m honest, I mean.

But maybe that’s *exactly* what it’s like to feel like a woman? Not feeling like a man, I mean.

No, it can’t be just that. There must be something it is like to be a woman. It must be a thing. 

But how can I tell if I’m really feeling that thing? Or not?

I’ve read lots of books written by women, and I even enjoyed them. I thought they were good. I easily related to the main character even if they were female, which obviously is what women writers usually do. Or sometimes it’s a cat. Or a womble, sometimes.

In fact, when I was a kid, my favourite writer (one of them!) was Astrid Lindgren, who wrote the Pippi Longstocking books.

Pippi was a tomboy, I guess. She was super strong and went on adventures. I really related to Pippi, and wanted to be like her.

I mean, I really loved those Pippi books. I read them over and over again. 

My elder brother, who I’d say is just a straight cis-man, actually bullied me about this!

Typical.

But I have no problem with women authors. Sure, there are some books I didn’t get on with – Jane Eyre, for example, which I threw across the room when she capitulated to that awful sexist bloke! 

I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Was that supposed to be romantic? Ugh.

I mean, seriously.

So I have no problem relating to female characters at all.

Plus I’m a feminist, obviously.

I definitely relate to women really well – like, I understand them. No problem there!

But I can’t say the same about men. Frankly, they do my fucking head in. Men are more sexist than you can possibly imagine.

I mean not *all* men. But most.

See, men aren’t just sexist on the surface. It runs deep through the fibre of their beings; it’s the air they breathe, the water they swim in. 

They absorb sexism from our culture like little misogynist sponges. They suck that shit in till it fills them to the very brim.

I mean, not all men – everyone understands that. Even feminists!

Like, I’ve never been sexist at all. I’m sure someone would’ve told me if I was. I can’t remember a single incident.

But then, on the gender spectrum, I’m much closer to a woman than a man. 

So that makes sense.

Overall then, I think it’s fair to say I’m more likely a woman than a man. Or at least, I’m somewhere on that side of the spectrum.

I probably am a woman. Trans, obviously. But a woman.

I’m still attracted to women. 

So I’m a trans lesbian! How exciting!

So what should I do about pronouns now? This is a tough question, if I’m honest. 

I guess he/him/his is okay for now. I feel a bit strange about going directly to she/her/hers.

After all, I don’t want to make this difficult for anyone.

It’s something to think about. But I’ve always had a soft spot for per/per/pers, like in Woman At the Edge of Time?

But I haven’t seen that used very much so maybe it’s not cool – more research needed!

Okay, enough.

That was so exhausting for me!

Woo.

I think my girlfriend has been cooking, which is great because I’m getting hungry. I don’t know what it is, but it smells great!

I suppose she’ll want to have that ‘conversation’ now…

So, am I a woman? What was the definition again? Oh, yes:

‘a woman is a person who says they are a woman’

That’s pretty clear – I have to actually *say* it. 

Am I ready for that?

I mean, I sort of implied already that I’m a woman – but that’s not the same thing.

The rule is, you have to say it *out loud*. 

You have to actually say it.

But if I have to be honest… the truth is I’m not ready to say it. I’m not ready to be a woman.

And I haven’t said it.

Not yet.

So I’m still not a woman.

I mean, for fuck’s sake, people.

Get a grip.

Cults, Deception and the Woke Left

This is an essay about cults.

It’s a very long essay and rather eclectic, with many links to further reading that seems relevant – if sometimes obliquely. All resources are public. I’m not an expert on cults, so please do check out some of those links. 

Screenshots of tweets are included in case the tweets themselves disappear. Please do not harass any of the tweeters! 

And now – on with the show…

Many people have claimed that ‘transgenderism’ is a cult.

Thread about transgenderism as a cult

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Others have claimed that ‘terfism’ (or ‘the gender critical movement’) is a cult.

Roz Kaveny argues that ‘radical feminists are acting like a cult’.

NotCursedE claims that ‘terfs’ are a cult.

Some say that in the end TransRational became a cult. It’s easy to make these claims, but what do they mean?

What is a cult? Are you in one? Am I? How would we know if we were?

These seem like questions worth investigating.

But first, I’ll admit my bias – I think the gender critical movement is much less cult-like than transgenderism. But some of the links I include will argue otherwise. Those bits are important – especially for those who don’t want to be part of a cult.

(I will explain later what I mean by both ‘the gender critical movement’ and ‘transgenderism’.)

Much of the following is taken directly from this talk by Margaret Singer: 

What Is A Cult and How Does It Work?

An alternative way of thinking about cults is provided by @CultExpert Steven Hassan’s BITE (Behavior, Information, Thought, and Emotional control) Model. In places, I will draw from that too. I recommend a visit to Hassan’s website for more info.

https://freedomofmind.com/bite-model/

There are also Robert Jay Lifton’s 8 Criteria for Thought Reform. This brilliant series of essays by a desister explores the cultic nature of transgenderism from that perspective. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

https://newthoughtcrime.com

These other models are broadly compatible with Margaret Singer’s work. You can find a collection of her writings about cults on this webpage: 

http://www.prem-rawat-bio.org/academic/singer.html

 

What is a Cult?

Cults are typically started by an individual: the Leader. Whereas most recognised religions venerate God or some abstract principle, cults venerate the Leader. 

What makes an organisation a cult is the relationship between the Leader (or the Management) and the follower. 

In a Cultic Relationship, members hand over decision making power to the Leader. They are promised that in return they will gain secret knowledge. 

Cults are totalistic. There is a rule for everything

Cults are totalitarian. The cult Leader makes the rules

Cults are non-altruistic. The Leader will pretend he is helping the members with their personal development, but their primary purpose is to benefit the Leader.

Cults have a double set of ethics. For example, they must tell the truth to insiders, but it’s okay to lie to outsiders (eg sinners or bigots)

Cults are elitist. They believe that the members are special, above non-members, and therefore the double ethics are okay.

Cult recruitment is deceptive. Recruits may not know what the group is, or what joining it will mean in the long run.

As society changes, manipulative people  – who are always present – take advantage of instabilities. They figure out from bigger cults how it’s done, and start their own. The target group for recruitment varies. 

The earliest cults were youth cults.

Outbreak: On Transgender Teens and Psychic Epidemics

Cults can be formed around *any* content. The themes are ever-changing – cults can be formed around health fads, outer space, flying saucers – there are even horse cults! 

The Art of Deception: UFO Cults and Their Influence in America

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“In addition to religious cults, there are psychotherapy cults, political cults, commercial cults, terrorist organizations, and trafficking rings…”

Hassan’s BITE Model applied to Undue Influence in Trafficking and Terrorism

 “…There are also personality cults, particularly if one person exerts undue influence over another (or a small group of people, such as in a family)…” 

“…There are groups which combine all or some of these elements, especially when the group is large and has a variety of “fronts” or other entities.”

https://freedomofmind.com/cult-mind-control/

When people talk about cults, they often talk about ‘brainwashing’ and ‘mind control’. When we hear these words, we tend to think of unthinking zombies, blindly carrying out their Master’s will. This is a silly idea, and very misleading.  

Thread: A tale of induction into a psychotherapeutic cult

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A better, less dramatic, term for ‘brainwashing’ would be ‘thought reform’. We’ll come to that later. A better term for ‘mind control’ would be ’undue influence’.

 

Undue (or Coercive) Influence / “Mind Control”

Unorthodox beliefs alone do not make a cult. Instead, you have to look at the specific behaviours and styles of influence used within the group.

Going undercover with a cult infiltrator.

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‘Influence’ in this context means persuasion – particularly, the use of persuasive techniques. These are the tools of the salesman, the teacher, the con artist, the magician, the storyteller, the politician, the guru, the hypnotist, the raconteur, and the cult Leader. 

There’s nothing secret or mysterious about most of these techniques. Many of them involve nothing more than the skilled use of language.

Video: the role of language and confusion in cult mind control (Hassan)

The purpose of language is twofold. Internal language is for thinking – the persuasion and influence of the self. This – not ‘communication’ – is its primary purpose.

Noam Chomsky on Mind & Language

Externalised language – speech, writing, or sign language – is for the persuasion and influence of others. Language is an important tool of persuasion. Some words, and in particular, some ways of using them, are more persuasive than others. 

Right now, I’m trying to persuade you of something. So watch out!

There are many books on the subject of influence and persuasion. The techniques can be studied. They can learned, and put to use. They can be used for good, for ill, or just for fun. 

We are all susceptible to these techniques. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be human – arguably, our ability and our susceptibility to influence is the key to our success as a species! Influence, clearly, is nothing to be scared of.

But what about ‘undue influence’?

Influence can be thought of as a continuum, ranging from benign to harmful – even malicious. 

https://freedomofmind.com/influence-continuum/

Here’s an explanation of undue influence as it relates to cults:

“Undue influence is any act of persuasion that overcomes the free will and judgment of another person. People can be unduly influenced by deception, flattery, trickery, coercion, hypnosis, and other techniques.”

https://freedomofmind.com/cult-mind-control/

‘Undue influence’ is closely related to ‘coercive control’ (‘Undue influence’ is sometimes called ‘coercive influence’):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abusive_power_and_control

Why do people fall prey to undue influence?

Are they stupid? Uneducated? Weak-willed?

Not at all.

We tend to believe that what people do reflects who they are. In social psychology this is known as The Fundamental Attribution Error: when explaining human behaviour we tend to overestimate the role of personal characteristics as opposed to external factors. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_attribution_error

In the context of undue influence or coercive control, this is a form of victim blaming. 

After all – how would you know if you were under ‘undue influence’ or ‘mind control’?

You probably wouldn’t.

Video: GNC Centric: My Journey into online kink as a trans teen

So that’s ‘mind control’. What about ‘brainwashing’?

 

Thought Reform / Brainwashing”

A Thought Reform Programme is a coordinated programme of undue influence and behaviour control, designed to make recruits put aside their old values and do what the cult Leader – or the ‘Management’ – wants.

Thought Reform Exists: Organised, Programmatic Influence (Singer)

‘Brainwashing’ does *not* create mindless robots. The recruit is unaware of any agenda to reform their thoughts and behaviour.

Recruits make their own decisions, but they do so in the context of a reward / punishment system set up by the Management. 

6 Conditions for a Though Reform Environment

1) Deception – Keep the subject unaware of the hidden agenda

2) Destabilisation – Control the subject’s physical environment and ‘thinking time’.

3) Dependency and Dread – Create a sense of powerlessness, anxiety and fear

4) Disconnection – Suppress the old behaviour and attitudes

5) Developing the Cult Pseudopersonality – Elicit new behaviour and attitudes

6) Denial and Dedication – Maintain a closed system of logic and restrict criticism.

 

1) Deception

Deceptive recruitment 

There’s no special “type” who gets into a cult. It’s *not* just stupid or weird people; it can be anyone who is approached by a recruiter at a vulnerable time in their life; anyone trusting or open who accepts a kind offer from a stranger. 

Recruiters never tell people the downsides, otherwise nobody would ever join.

Video: GNC Centric: Double Standards in Adult Reactions to Gay & Les Kids vs Trans Kids

Medical professionals often recruit people into cults. This is extremely unethical as they already have great power over the patient. 

Singer on Psychotherapeutic Cults

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Recruiters may use a different name to provide a cover of innocence. The recruit may be invited to dinner, a lecture, or some other event, without knowing it’s a cult front.

An open letter to Dr Polly Carmichael from a former GIDS clinician

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Recruiters will never try to argue anyone into a cult; instead they use soft sell techniques. Sugar and honey always works better than an iron fist. So the biggest deceptions, and the most powerful thought reform programs are always done this way.

Video: GNC Centric: Online Relationships from my Teen Years

There is a very organised, step-by-step program of recruitment.

It often starts with Love Bombing:

“Oh, what a bright and interesting person you are! Are you local? No? Oh, how interesting, you must come to this party with me! All my friends are really cool – you’ll fit in great!”

What is love bombing? 

If you’re feeling lonely, this may be enough for them to get their hooks in; we’re all vulnerable to flattery and false promises.

This is a thread about Lupron, a “puberty blocker” often given to gender non-conforming children:

Soon you get to the cult’s facility, where they’re selling something, such as a programme of ‘courses’. The first course is very cheap, often free! But this is the first step toward getting sucked in. 

 

2) Destabilisation

Get control of the recruit’s thinking time

Keep the recruit busy; split them from friends and family so they become dependent on the group, and have no meaningful relationship with outsiders. 

Eventually the recruit will become so dependent that there’s nothing left of their former life to go back to.

Hypnotism and Reduction of Critical Thinking

Hypnosis can be done very simply. You make your voice more chanty, watch the subject’s breathing, and pace your phrasing to put them into a light trance. 

Wikipedia article (section) about trance induction

Then you use guided imagery – a parable with repeating phrases, told in a soothing, rhythmic way. This gets the attention highly focused. The subject puts their trust in the speaker and becomes suggestible, with no critical thoughts or judgement.

Only the words and imagery is kept in focus. Then the sermon will have more impact, and the subject is more likely to absorb them into their thinking.

31 Hypnosis Techniques

 

Meditation and the Reduction of Critical Thinking

Many cults use mantras / empty mind meditation. This allows them to sell meditation courses. The first ‘course’ is easy and fun. The recruit then moves on to longer, more intense variations. 

The effects can be disastrous. Some ex-members find it hard to maintain continuous thinking / processing of information – eg they may find it hard to read a book or follow an argument. 

The meditational state may intrude into their volitional behaviour – so they may suddenly forget where they are and what they’re doing.

Thought Reform Programs and the Production of Psychiatric Casualties.

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3) Dependency and Dread

Reframing / Euphemistic Framing

The Management takes a normal experience or feeling, gives it a special name, and uses it to prove their point, or to show they have magical abilities. 

This makes their message seem more believable and scares the followers into following orders. 

Reframing of natural events can be used to intimidate members into obedience. “Follow the rules, and nothing bad will happen – but if you don’t…”

 

Reframing hyperventilation as a ‘magic power’

Many cults use prolonged chanting or “speaking in tongues”. This produces hyperventilation.

Hyperventilation raises the pH of the blood; extremities (fingers, toes, lips) begin to tingle, and the subject feels giddy. 

The Management often reframe this as a ‘magic state’. 

Many people continue to have episodes of hyperventilation after leaving a cult; they may go to the emergency room where they are given a brown paper bag to breath into.

 

Intimidating Members by “Superhuman” Knowledge, Spying and Guilt Induction

The Management operates a spy network, in which Members tattle on each other to get in their good graces. 

Thread: ”Is J.K. Rowling a terf?”

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The Management hears about private conversations through the spy network, and may pretend to have gained knowledge through supernatural means. (eg “X has been thinking lecherous thoughts about Y”.)

The Management can induce guilt by almost *any* means possible. They can turn the power of the entire group against a single person. This is very rare outside cults (it would be like a teacher getting the whole class to point at one individual and chant, “Sinner! Sinner!”)

TRASHING: The Dark Side of Sisterhood by Joreen

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Eventually members get to feel guilty even for *thinking thoughts*.  So gradually the member suppresses all critical thinking about the Management.

Video: GNC Centric: Social Media: from Transitioning with Queer Cult Twitter to GC Tumblr

 

Creating Fear of the Outside World and dependency on the group

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_narcissism

The Management gain a heady power by having people pay attention only to them. To maintain this they will denigrate the outside world; they tell followers that leaving the group will cause a disaster – cancer, hell, bad karma etc; the message is – do not affiliate with the outside world!

Claims of harassment and doxxing of transgender community by ‘terfs’, and fear for the future of a secret scrambled egg recipe

Cults will often invent an enemy – either the entire outside world, or specific targets. 

Anti-Trans “Feminists” Converted My Friend

It’s Them (the sinners / lunatics / terfs) against Us (the pious / sane / woke). This leads to tighter bonding within the group.

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Sex Essentialist Violence And Radical Inclusion: An Interview With Sandy Stone

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4) Disconnection

Management must suppress the recruit’s old behaviour via reward / punishment experiences in order to install new behaviour.

Names are often changed. This creates a split from the past and is the first step towards creating a cult pseudo-identity.

The cult has its own lingo / jargon. This gives the impression that this is a special group with special knowledge and a certain culture. It also helps separate from their family and friends.

Article on the evils of the cis

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Language is used very differently inside the cult, and members have to translate their thoughts into normal English to speak with outsiders. 

Cambridge University Students Union Guide on ‘How to Spot terf Ideology’

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Cult lingo fractures normal, sequential, reflective thinking. Cult members often talk in abstract jargon without clear meaning, but act as if they understand each other. 

 

We all think of ourselves as “civilised” people who should be able to follow what’s being said — and if we can’t, it’s our fault. So when faced with this jargon we turn inward, looking for the meaning in abstract phrases. This assists with trance induction.

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In many groups, the Management speaks in imagery and allegory, describing the outer world as satanic or unenlightened. This is another way of stopping reflective thinking.

Thread: Trans women get periods too!

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The more he speaks in globalities, the less the followers can think critically. Soon, they’re trained like dogs. He uses charged words like ‘Satan’ etc, and everybody knows how to respond.

NYT on ‘How British Feminism Became Anti-Trans’

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Denigration, ridicule and humiliation:

The group is the member’s new family. The Management is far above the lowly followers, whose status depends on their approval. If the Management humiliates them, they will work to get back in his good graces. 

Attacks on Peripheral Vs Central Elements of Self and the Impact of Thought Reforming Techniques:

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Confessions:

Confessions allow the Management to learn what followers feel guilty about, or proud of. This is used to enhance guilt or to break the spirit. It’s also important to get followers to confess that they want to get in with the group. 

Some groups keep files of information on their members, which can be used to manipulate them.

Thread: Confessions, reframing, reality denial

Some groups give great praise to members who break down and cry during confessions. In psychotherapeutic groups, they’ll say things like, “Finally you’re breaking down the barriers! Insight! Primal Pain!”

Thread: I just want to say I’m proud of my husband today

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What this means is “Now at last you’re behaving how we want you to behave!”

Thread: ‘Trans women have so much compassion for our men’

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5) Developing the Cult Pseudopersonality

When a friend or family member of a cult recruit says, “She doesn’t seem like her old self,” they’re reacting to behaviour elicited by the cult, that is displayed in social circumstances that call for it. 

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This learned behaviour will wither if they are away from the cult long enough because it is a superimposed identity, a pseudopersonality. 

Undue influence used by terrorist cults and traffickers to induce trauma and create false identities

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Revising Personal History

Recruits are subtly (not openly / explicitly) urged to revise their personal history. The Management wants to show newcomers that members used to be terrible people until they were saved by the cult. 

So members will get up and confess to hideous crimes that never happened.

How the psychiatric profession plus the internet may create new body-imaging disorders

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Some groups do ‘Past Lives’ work; they recount these past lives in great detail. People come to believe that they really were monstrous people in past lives. 

The Past Lives Recruiter/Trainer is adept at using language to trance members out and produce strong visual imagery about past lives. The Trainer may have recruits go over and over the time “when you tore heads off of babies” etc. 

But these are pseudomemories / confabulations – they never happened, but were generated by the Trainer by the power of words.

Children Misled At Gender Clinic – Accounts from ex GIDS staff

 

Desensitisation – Dimming the Conscience

In a cult, recruits see things done, and do things that are against their consciences but they become desensitised. (eg children beaten, threats, intimidation, etc)

Facebook moderators embrace fringe views after being exposed to conspiracy theories at work

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Street recruiters may lie to the public about the purpose of their fund raising etc – they may say it’s to fund a rehab centre they know they don’t have. 

They view the Management as all-powerful and the cult as an elite, while outsiders are lesser beings – so it’s okay to lie to them or do terrible things to the bad guys. 

Video: Transactivist bullies threaten to beat up Laci Green in a parking lot

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When they leave, many former members have unending guilt about their actions and wonder how they were able to put their conscience in the ‘deep freeze’ like that.

Reddit: Neovagina Disasters

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6) Denial and Dedication

In a democracy, the many factions take turns to run things. This is not allowed in a cult.

Cults are totalitarian and autocratic. Factions are not tolerated as this will split the cult if they’re allowed to grow. 

The cult tries to break any bonding between the individual members and restrict all bonding only to the Management. 

Gender Critical Feminism Is Garbage

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Cults often get recruits to engage in bizarre behaviour – such as climbing a mountain late at night to contact aliens. The mere fact of doing this will make them believe more passionately in the reason for doing it – and less likely to back down.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

In a cult, criticism is severely restricted. Members cannot complain to Management; it’s a closed system – the managers are right and you are wrong.

The Third Wave “Dream Girl” Begs To Be Broken

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In some cults the Management says “You must learn to obey.” Obedience is gradually learned, until eventually the Management says, “Even if I say 2+2=5, you must say 2+2=5”

Horrifying article about hatred of women in the porn industry

 

Reframing Failed Prophecies to Maintain the Authority of the Management

Often the Management pushes the prophecies further ahead in time and blames the followers for the fact that the prophecy did not come true. 

They weren’t praying hard enough, their chores were not done properly – it’s always the fault of the followers.

Jessica Yaniv accused of trying to share child porn, sexual harassment of minors

 

Conclusions

So which is more cult-like? The gender critical movement? or transgenderism?

Benjamin Boyce: Is Evergreen a Cult?

 

What is a Cult? Recap

Cults are typically started by an individual – the Leader. 

Cults venerate the Leader. 

Cult members give decision making power to the Leader, in return for secret knowledge. 

Cults are totalistic. There is a rule for everything

Cults are totalitarian. The cult Leader makes the rules

Cults are non-altruistic. Their primary purpose is to benefit the Leader

Cults have a double set of ethics. One set for insiders, another for outsider

Cults are elitist. They believe that the members are special.

Cult recruitment is deceptive. Recruits don’t know what joining the group will mean in the long run.

Cults can be formed around *any* content.

Based on this, transgenderism (or so-called ‘woke feminism’) cannot reasonably be described as a cult. But neither can the gender critical movement (or ‘terfism’). 

In neither case is there any clear Leader (or Leadership group) to whom allegiance must be pledged, who makes all the rules, reaps all the benefits, and must be venerated. 

Some of the other points are debatable – for example, some might argue that transgenderism venerates and benefits autogynephilic MtF transsexuals above all other groups. 

Or that the GC movement has one set of ethics for women, and another for men. Perhaps both groups have some cult-like elements – but they are not actual cults.

As for TransRational, it’s hard to be certain as its inner workings are opaque to outsiders. I have been an outsider for several months, but from what I’ve heard it moved in a distinctly cult-like direction during that time.

Despite rumours of that organisation’s demise, I fully expect that its Leader – the hapless narcissist Kinesis – will soon return to enact some misguided ‘revenge’ against the legion of imaginary ‘enemies’ who, bit by bit, exposed Kinesis as a twat. 

Love Bombing: A Narcissist’s Secret Weapon

 

What is Thought Reform? Recap

Thought reform is a coordinated programme of undue influence and behaviour control.

The cult recruit is taken through the thought reform process step by step. 

They are unaware.

The old behaviour is gradually pushed out, and the new one brought in.

There is a system of punishment and reward to police the recruit’s behaviour. 

No complaining is allowed.

 

6 Conditions for a Thought Reform Environment

1) Deception – Keep the subject unaware of the hidden agenda

2) Destabilisation – Control the subject’s physical environment and ‘thinking time’.

3) Dependency and Dread – Create a sense of powerlessness, anxiety and fear

4) Disconnection – Suppress the old behaviour and attitudes

5) Developing the Cult Pseudopersonality – Elicit new behaviour and attitudes

6) Denial and Dedication – Maintain a closed system of logic and restrict criticism.

These conditions are not present in the gender critical movement. In fact, the gender critical movement is an uneasy, informal, and often ill-advised alliance between many different groups who oppose transgenderism, sometimes for completely different reasons. 

Some of these groups are, if anything, anti-feminist. There is frequent disagreement not only between the different groups, but also within them. Many of these disagreements cannot be resolved. 

The movement as a whole has no manifesto beyond the following:

1) Humans are a sexually dimorphic species

2) Humans cannot change sex

3) Female humans sometimes need to be segregated from male humans.

The feminist section of the movement (which is the majority) would also agree that:

4) In human society, male humans are in a dominant position over female humans. 

5) This is neither necessary nor desirable. 

6) The situation can be changed, and we should work to change it.

This is basic feminism. It is *not* radical feminism!

Here’s an article about what radical feminism is, and what it isn’t – no doubt some radical feminists will disagree with some of this, but it’s interesting all the same:

Who’s a Radical Feminist? by Sekhmet She Owl

The gender critical movement is a mess. A glorious mess, sometimes. But it is not a cult. And it does not create the conditions for thought reform.

Transgenderism is different. 

Not all trans people are transgenderists. And not all transgenderists are trans people – in fact, most are not. Transgenderism is a separate thing from whatever it means to be trans. Transgenderism is not a state of being. It’s a political movement. 

The transgender manifesto is very simple. It consists of two simple axioms:

1) Trans women are women.

2) Sex work is work.

These axioms are not open to debate. They are taken as true. All the rest of transgenderism follows from these axioms. The axioms are used to justify the denial of reality, and all the twisted logic and pseudoscience with which we are familiar.

If empirical observations contradict these axioms, then the observations must be invalid, and elaborate conceptual models must be invented to explain why this is so. This is the key to understanding transgenderism.

For instance:

Trans women are women. So they must be like other women; they must be women for the same reason women are women. Since trans women and women are biologically different, the differences must be irrelevant. This is a scientific fact because trans women are women. 

But surely both kinds of women must have something in common! There must be some mysterious essence of womanhood – call it ‘gender identity’. 

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This essence is as-yet undetectable by any instrument, yet it is not imaginary or a mental construct of any kind, because it is real. Gender identity must be real because it is a scientific fact that trans women are women, even if science cannot explain why this is so. 

We are doing science here, and science deals with reality, so gender identity is a scientific concept which means it is real. So gender identity must be innate to all humans because otherwise it would be sexist, and sexism is bad so it can’t be sexist. 

This proves that all humans are born with this essence we call ‘gender identity’, including trans women. And trans men, too! This means there must be trans children, that those children are suffering, and that society must intervene. 

We must find out which children are trans, and help them to transition. But how will we know which children are trans? We’ll have to ask them! But to answer the question the children must first understand the concept of gender identity. 

Therefore, we must teach children that trans women are women. And sex work is work. 

On the delights of BDSM porn: Everybody Spanks: The Dangerous Ignorance Of The UK’s Sex Act Censorship

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I’ve given numerous examples of words and behaviour from transgenderists that appear very much as though they have been subjected to a thought reform programme. It’s easy to find many more.

We have the direct testimony of desisters, who describe their experiences within that environment. The individual descriptions have much in common, and the overall picture matches up very well with the six conditions described above.

Transgenderism is not so much an ideology as it is a thought reform programme – or rather, a component of one.

But it is not a cult. So where is this Thought Reform Programme coming from? What is its purpose? And who are the ‘managers’?

Perhaps we’re looking at the wrong cult. 

Sandy Stone and the influence of the Posttranssexual Manifesto

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Transgenderism is part of a larger movement called Transhumanism.

I’ve written about Transhumanism before

So have many others:

A thread about two movements, transgender and transhumanism, by Malcolm Clark

This is a great thread on the ‘work’ of Martine Rothblatt, the founder of the Terasem Cult, written by Jane Clare Jones

Transhumanism fits the definition of a cult more closely. For example, it is much easier to identify specific individuals who are good candidates for the position of Transhumanist Cult Leader. And transhumanist cults do in fact exist:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terasem_Movement

The Leaders of these cults are are connected to other prominent transhumanists – some of whom (such as Nick Bostrom) masquerade successfully as ‘philosophers’:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanity%2B

Jeffrey Epstein reportedly wanted to ‘seed the human race with his DNA’ as part of his fascination with transhumanism. He hoped that when he died  his head and penis could be cryogenically preserved for when he comes back to life in the future:

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And then there’s Zoltan Istvan, who heads a political movement in America that wants to make us all more than human.

But transhumanism is not the full story either.

Transhumanism can be mistaken for a form of radical progressivism; it promotes a vision of complete freedom from the limitations of gender, sex, and even biology. These ideas sit more naturally on the progressive / liberal left than on the conservative right. 

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By presenting their ideas as viable answers to the real issues faced, not only by trans people, but by society at large, the transhumanists have been able to rebrand Cyborg Feminism (aka ‘third wave antifeminism’) as simply ‘feminism’.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Cyborg_Manifesto

It’s worth thinking about the interaction between transhumanism, progressivism, liberalism, and the ‘left’ – particularly in the US, where the ‘left’ has completely lost its fucking mind. (The UK is not much better, but there are still pockets of sanity.)

Here, Bret Weinstein describes the thought reform environment at Evergreen State College in detail. Here, the focus is not transgenderism, but race:

How the Magic Trick is Done

More details of this madness can be found in this excellent three-part documentary:

Bret Weinstein, Heather Heying & the Evergreen Equity Council (Part 1)

Benjamin Boyce has also covered this topic extensively, for example here:

The Complete Evergreen Story

 

The internal contradictions of modern ‘woke’ leftist thought are extreme – and many of them have nothing to do with transgenderism. There’s no way to resolve these contradictions without vigorous debate. But in a thought reform environment, no debate is allowed. 

Perhaps this is one reason why the ‘left’ has gone insane.

How Identity Corrupts Politics, with William Ray

 

Messengers Of Deception

So what do we do, if we want to help people exit from a cult? 

Margaret Singer – Leaving a Cult

Don’t tell them they’re stupid. Don’t tell them they’re in a cult. Don’t accuse or insult them. Don’t get angry. Instead, get curious. Ask kind, gentle questions. Bring up other cults as a matter of idle conversation and shake your head in disbelief – perhaps something will resonate with them.

Twitter is the wrong venue for any of this as it’s so confrontational. By arguing with people, we only entrench them further in their beliefs. The management *wants* us to argue with the recruits online. Our anger is being used to reinforce the programming. It aids our monstering. And it diverts us into ineffectual activities that mess with our minds.

Women do not have penises.

We’re allowing our opponents to monopolise our thinking time, rather than using it to develop effective counter strategies. We’re facing a highly intelligent and well-organised system. To undermine that system we must be clear about its nature. 

Many people have pointed out that ‘gender’ is the only axis of marginalisation into which the hated cishet white man can identity and thus claim the most ‘marginalised’ and therefore most elevated position in the new ‘woke’ order. 

Transgenderism is just one component of the Woke Thought Reform Programme. 

It’s a corruption of the original laudable goal of fighting discrimination against trans people. That cause has been hijacked – not by transsexuals, but by those who fear to lose the power they currently have. 

The ‘woke’ folk can’t cope with this; they can’t even see it – they’re too overcome by cognitive dissonance. They identify as the good guys, fighting oppression in all its forms – and they’ve invested so much time and energy into this identity that they can’t permit themselves to see the corruption of their movement. They’re being played for fools. We all are.

In some ways the smarter you are the easier it is to be fooled. Clever people are very good at the mental gymnastics necessary to believe in absurdities.

In his book Messengers Of Deception, Jacques Vallee warned of the inability of science to handle the irrational — he thought it was a great danger for society. And sure enough, we see exactly that — a societal inability to cope with the power of irrational beliefs — for example in transgenderism.

Paratopia was a podcast by two ‘experiencers of high strangeness’ – Jeremy Vaeni and Jeff Ritzmann (@jeremy_vaeni and @darth_jeffR) – on the subject of the paranormal — where they took the piss while trying to make sense of their own experiences. It was brilliant.

In one episode of Paratopia, a guest told the world of his encounter with the Toilet Elf. Much hilarity ensued. A tall tale, perhaps – but it appears that some people really do experience such strange phenomena. The experience is real to them — but does that mean the Toilet Elf truly exists? Not necessarily. And perhaps ‘gender identity’ is the same sort of thing. 

‘Transgenderism’ plays on the feelings and deepest desires of trans people, and recruits them into an effort to persuade society to accept its two fundamental axioms: trans women are women, and sex work is work. 

But this is just one component of the ‘woke’ thought-reform program, which aims to queer society to destroy and then rebuild it as a totalitarian system. But it’s all done with sugar and spice and all things nice – until you disagree with the management. Or, as I like to call them, The Great Penis Cult.

It’s a fiendishly clever plan. And it’s working.

But who on earth would believe that theory? Nobody, of course, except a conspiracy nut like myself.

So I look forward to being ridiculed mercilessly by men who think they’re lesbians.

What are TERFs?

[Originally posted on Twitter, 18 June 2018 – slightly edited]

I’m still waiting for someone, anyone, to offer a justification for ‘punching terfs’.

I still think there is no justification.

Is there really nobody out there who dares to correct this bigoted, cis-sexist opinion?

I do not *want* to be a ‘bigot’ – please help.

All I’m hearing is crickets.

And the wind outside blowing through the potato plants.

Occasionally, I hear goldfinches squabble as they queue at the bird feeder for sunflower seeds.

All is peaceful here.

It was about a week ago, I think that I first found out that some of my friends – the trans ones – were seriously advocating violence against some people who they called ‘terfs’.

These ‘terfs’ are almost always female women. They tend to be a little older and / or lesbians.

I’d kind of heard of ‘terfs’ before, and I’d heard they hated trans people. I disapproved of that.

But I’m against violence in general. I’d thought my trans friends were against it too. 

So I was very surprised to hear them advocating for it so stridently.

So I decided to find out more about ‘terfs’. Perhaps they were such truly awful people they could only be opposed by violence?

Perhaps terfs were an evil terrorist group – a sort of feminist ISIS?

I didn’t know much about trans people, either. So I began to educate myself.

Shortly before this, I had spend a week cat-sitting. During that time, I tried to educate myself about the manosphere, particularly the incel subculture.

That was a deeply unpleasant experience. But it was also quite fascinating.

I may return to that subject  later.

Back to terfs – one of my trans friends, a female non-binary person and writer of great talent, told me that ‘terf rhetoric’ was so toxic and damaging to trans people, and caused them such distress, that it often drove them to self-hatred, self-harm, and suicide.

Therefore, she explained, ‘terf rhetoric’ constituted violence against trans people. For this reason, it was morally correct to advocate actual physical violence against ’terfs’.

This justification did not convince me, and i said so.

This made her very angry.

She informed me I was ignorant, and advised me to educate myself on the subject.

I asked if she could point me in the right direction, so I could begin this necessary process of education.

She mumbled about unspecified ‘scientific journals’ and suggested I search the internet.

So I searched the internet.

I found out that ‘terf rhetoric’ amounts to no more than an insistence that there are deep biological differences between ‘men’ and ‘women’.

Many trans folk believe this view is outdated and transphobic. It upsets them, and they refuse to accept it.

I’ve looked into this quite carefully now, and this business of ‘biological reality’ seems to be the sticking point.

Trans folks (or I should say, ’trans activists’ as there is a difference) have come up with a long list of reasons why biology can never determine whether a person is a ‘man’, a ‘woman’ or something else.

Every single one of these explanations strikes me as utterly ridiculous.

These ‘explanations’ tend to be complicated irrelevancies about brain activity, hormones, the complex relationship between genotype and phenotype, clothes, makeup, and a bizarre redefinition of the word ‘vagina’.

None of these explanations can withstand any serious scrutiny.

In short, these people are talking shit, and it does not take a genius to figure that out.

But by calling out this bullshit, I have hurt the feelings of trans people. I have been labelled a ‘bigot’ and a ‘transphobe’. 

This hurts my feelings too.

But somehow, I will survive.

Since it’s so obvious that these trans activists are talking shit, I find it strange that so many apparently sane, rational people are unable to notice this fact.

Many sane, rational people are very vocal in their support for this bullshit.

I think this support is misguided.

The ‘debate’ revolves around trans women, who are male.

There’s less discussion of trans men, who are female.

I’m not female, so I can’t talk about women or trans-men.

I am not trans either. But I am male, so I might have some insight into that.

If you are a male person – which includes trans women – you may be triggered by some of what follows (tho I haven’t planned it out).

Please proceed with caution.

This is a trans woman with >500k subscribers on YouTube. She is nice for me to look at, and could probably pass as a woman. She does not seem particularly odious to me:

Men Who Date Trans Women… | Stef Sanjati

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=Q5E8vS8wwI8

What strikes me very strongly here is the obsessive focus on the question of whether or not people are gay.

For example, she is not gay, and neither is her boyfriend, who is a trans man. Also, heterosexual men who date trans women are not gay.

She’s keen to convince me it’s okay for me to date a trans woman as it would not make me gay if I did.

The vid is >13 mins long.

To me she seems *desperate* for a proper shafting. She likes penises, and her boyfriend’s penis is just not hitting the spot.

Quite a predicament.

I would suggest that her boyfriend’s penis is failing to satisfy her for the simple reason that it is not a penis.

Her boyfriend has no penis, because he is female.

But I think she’d reject this wild theory of mine; she’d call me a bigot and a transphobe.

I’d suggest that this person (who I find physically attractive) is in fact a homosexual male.

If so, this is a video of a gay man who likes penises, but is sexually frustrated due to the fact she is ‘dating’ a woman, who doesn’t have one.

Is it me that’s confused? Or her?

And if I find her attractive, this homosexual male trans woman, does that make me gay?

I don’t think so, personally. But if it did, so what?

Why make such a big fuss about whether or not people are gay? 

This level of homophobia is truly astonishing.

This obsessive focus on the politics and pragmatics of attraction and sexuality seems rife among trans-activists, and no just on YouTube.

At the beginning of the video Stef (the attractive trans woman) briefly discusses ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’.

She says there’s a stigma against straight men dating trans women. She thinks this is due to ‘masculinity’ – which is upheld (by society) as an important thing you must try to obtain; while ‘femininity’ is frivolous and stupid.

She objects to this view.

So do I.

She says that men who date trans women are often called ‘gay’ by their friends. She objects to this.

So do I.

She asks why trans women are considered a threat to masculinity, but ‘masculine’ women are not. Why are ‘super-feminine’ trans women considered a problem?

This is a good question. But I think it’s something she needs to ask more seriously of *herself*.

Why can’t she just be a ‘super-feminine’ homosexual man who likes penises?

Why is it so important for her to be a ‘woman’ instead, for whom liking penises is not gay at all?

I think the answer is obvious – this person is so deeply homophobic she would rather make a massive effort to convince people she is a heterosexual woman, rather than simply accept herself as a ‘super-feminine’ homosexual man.

She *really* hates the idea of being gay.

I want to move on from Stef now. She seems like a nice person overall, apart from the amazing homophobia, which is so virulent I almost find it comical.

I want to consider male heterosexual trans women, who are not gay, but call themselves lesbians.

From what I can tell, these are the main ones the ‘terfs’ are worried about.

There seem to be a lot of them; at any rate, they’re the ones shouting the loudest. They anger easily.

This is where it gets difficult.

If you are of a nervous disposition, you may want to turn away now.

You may not like what you see.

I don’t like it either.

I don’t want to deal wth it.

But I think I have to.

Our next video comes from a trans women with 53K subscribers on YouTube. She describes herself as an ‘intersectional feminist’. 

I believe she is associated with Everyday Feminism. Here’s their website:

https://everydayfeminism.com

This video is part of a series called ‘Feminism with Riley’. 

This video requires a trigger warning, because it is rapey.

Are genital preferences transphobic? | Riley J. Dennis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=k5GYlZKfBmI

In this vid, she informs us that it’s okay to be a lesbian, but the fact is that some lesbians have penises. 

If a lesbian won’t ‘date’ another lesbian with a penis it’s probably  cos they are transphobic, and they should try to overcome their cis-sexist bigotry.

Presumably a similar argument would apply to heterosexual men.

Clearly this makes me a bigot too, as I’d be very hesitant to date anyone with a penis.

Am I homophobic? 

Or am I heterosexual?

Neither, apparently.

Those concepts no longer exist.

We’re all transphobes now.

Dig?

Quite honestly, this is one of the most repugnant things I’ve ever seen.

And as I mentioned earlier, not long ago I explored the manosphere, including the incel phenomenon.

Just let that sink in for a minute.

I assure you, this person is not an outlier – I have seen similar views expressed elsewhere, by transactivists and their allies – the supposed ‘woke’ folk.

This view appears particularly common among heterosexual male trans women.

Many of these heterosexual male trans women consider themselves ‘feminists’. As do many of their allies among the ‘woke’ folk.

Is this what feminism is, now?

This is rape culture.

This is homophobia.

This is deep, deep misogyny.

And you call it ‘feminism’?

Fuck you.

This is an enormous threat to gay rights. And gay men need to wake up to that fact *right now*.

Heterosexual men? Like me?

Ah, well.

It’s not a threat to us, is it?

Male trans women would *never* try this shit on a bunch of heterosexual guys. I would advise against that.

I have more to say about heterosexual men – especially male ones, like me, who are not trans. It may make you uncomfortable.

But here’s the thing:

Trans women can be beautiful. Yes. As nice to look at as a beautiful woman. Beauty is subjective, and tastes vary.

But it’s true.

Trans women can be very ‘feminine’ and ‘beautiful’, and that’s great. 

Male people should feel comfortable with their femininity, and be able to express it openly. In this, maybe trans women can lead the way. 

But I think something else is happening too.

As a heterosexual male, I’m likely to enjoy looking at trans women. From what I can tell, I am even allowed to do this. Maybe I can even perv on them openly without being a sexist.

But would that make me gay?

Maybe a bit, yeah.

But not if they’re women.

How ‘woke’ is that?

Well, that’s ‘intersectional feminism’ for you. That’s where we’re headed.

And it makes me feel sick.