Kinesis, TransRational, and The Hero’s Journey

[Update, April 2020: I note that since I wrote this, Kinesis seems to have taken down his website ‘walkingnaked.weebly.com’. I’ve therefore uploaded pdf versions of the posts referenced here. He’s also renamed his Twitter account to @Kinysis.]

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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http://walkingnaked.weebly.com/blog/a24-cold-insomnia

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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. 

http://walkingnaked.weebly.com/blog/a1-between-seconds

(A1)BetweenSeconds-WalkingNaked

http://walkingnaked.weebly.com/blog/why-i-want-to-die-and-why-im-not-about-to

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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

(A10)APrivateInitiation-WalkingNaked

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. 

http://walkingnaked.weebly.com/blog/a9-awakening

(A9)Awakening-Walking-Naked

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.)

http://walkingnaked.weebly.com/blog/somebody-call-the-wambulance

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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

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

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http://walkingnaked.weebly.com/blog/just-a-little-crisis

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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.

http://walkingnaked.weebly.com/blog/zero-fucks-given

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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.

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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.