A bestselling trans author’s tweet thread about abuse goes viral, then came the allegations of her own abuse
On Nov. 10, a celebrated trans author wrote a viral tweet thread that received over 100,000 likes. The thread complained about the discrepancy between successful, beautiful women, and their often abusive and unkempt male partners.
As it turns out, she may have been projecting.
The author, who writes under the pen name “Meredith Russo,” is formerly known as Meredith Stroud and Travis Lee Stroud. Her 2016 novel If I Was Your Girl received multiple awards and near-endless commendations from literary elites. On the back of the book’s success, Stroud, 32, was invited to publish an article in The New York Times on the struggles of being a transwoman. Stroud’s subsequent book, Birthday, received awards from Refinery29, Bustle and Nylon.
However, some Twitter users brought attention to a blog post from 2016 where the author’s arrest record and past relationship history were detailed, prompting the author to use block lists to squelch criticism.
“Domestic violence is insidious and slow, like the proverbial boiling frog,” Stroud’s ex-wife, Juniper Russo, said. “It’s hard to say when it all started.”
Juniper Russo alleges she was subjected to a campaign of sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of her former partner, abuse she says was so severe that the marriage culminated in a divorce in early 2015.
“We met on OKCupid in 2011 and got married in 2013,” Russo said, claiming the physical abuse started shortly after the wedding. “We had a lot of shared interests at the time, and I was naive enough to think that shared interests are the foundation of a healthy relationship.”
Russo shared disturbing details of some of the alleged abuses she suffered during her marriage to Meredith Stroud.
“When my son was born in 2014, I had severe pre-eclampsia and injuries from giving birth. I had to have major reconstructive surgery. I was extremely weak and in severe pain,” Russo said.
“Meredith was extremely abusive to me during this time, calling me a ‘feeding station, not a parent’ because breastfeeding my son was one of the only things I could do, and because I was asking [Meredith] to help with things like diapers,” Russo also alleges.
During this same time, Juniper says Stroud would tell her to commit suicide. “[Meredith] kept mocking me when I was in pain, and told me I was so useless as a parent I should just kill myself.”
Russo says she was first forced to call the police in late 2014, “[Meredith] was having an outburst. I got scared and called 911. [Meredith] took the phone from me, and was heard trying to prevent me from calling for help.”
As a result, Stroud was booked on charges of interfering with an emergency call.
Like many victims of domestic violence, Russo says she still loved and sympathized with her abuser.
“I ended up bailing [Meredith] out, and paying for the legal defense,” she said.
Russo said she often intervened to prevent Stroud from being charged with domestic abuse, noting that the police wanted to charge Stroud in Nov. 2014.
“I was always trying to protect [Meredith] because I knew men’s jail was not kind to transwomen,” Russo said. “She was always threatening suicide if she were to get arrested.” Russo continues, “Even when things were terrible, I was worried for her safety and didn’t want her to kill herself or be beaten to death in prison.”
Russo turned over 53 pages of legal documents to support her allegations.
The divorce record, which features a restraining order against Stroud, includes messages shared between the two in which Stroud admits to abusing Russo. These messages were accepted as evidence by the divorce courts.
In one series of messages from Facebook, Stroud is calmly attempting to diffuse Russo’s desire to proceed with the divorce, offering to go on medication and check into a psychiatric facility for psychosis maintenance.
In this same conversation, Russo expresses fear of Stroud eventually killing her.
In another, dramatically different text conversation, Stroud says she hopes Russo gets “run over by a f*cking truck” and demands Russo reduce child support payments.
At the time, Stroud was recorded by the court as having an income of $8,300 gross per month, having acquired a substantial six-figure advance from Flatiron Books, the publisher of Stroud’s debut novel, If I Was Your Girl. The court would later order Stroud to pay $1,068 per month.
But Russo says Stroud has not paid child support in years, and currently owes over $20,000 in back payments. In July of 2019, Russo attempted to start a GoFundMe to raise the money needed to legally compel Stroud to pay what was owed. Other than the child support arrangements, Russo did not request alimony or any other financial compensation from the seperation.
After the divorce, Russo says Stroud denigrated her in public, telling fans and followers on social media that Russo was “a TERF who had abused and left” Stroud due to her transition from male to female.
“Many trans people are the victims of violence and discrimination, so [Meredith’s] target audience found that totally relatable and credible. They had no reason to doubt her,” Russo said, noting that both she and her current wife are members of the LGBT community. Russo identifies as non-binary, while her current wife is a transwoman.
“I’ve been harassed quite a bit by Meredith’s social network. I lost a lot of friends and have been largely ostracized from our local LGBT community.” Russo says, “I’ll often be online and someone I don’t know will suddenly jump into a thread to announce I’m the TERF who ruined Meredith Russo’s life.”
Stroud continues to publicly call Russo an abuser, and claims she’s attempting to “destroy” [Stroud’s] career and finances.
The Post Millennial has reached out to Stroud as well as Flatiron-MacMillan Publishing and Stroud’s publishing agent Sarah Barley for comment. While the publishing house and agent did not respond by the time of publication, Stroud denied all allegations while calling The Post Millennial a slew of denigrating names.
When asked about her own admissions of abuse in the court document, Stroud again asserted “Either way, my response to the allegations is that I have not ever sexually or physically abused any of my sexual or romantic partners.”
Stroud claimed, at first, that she was “barred” from speaking about her relationship to her ex-wife by law. When questioned about why she had persistently made social media posts about that very subject, Stroud declined to answer before blocking the account used to contact her.
“Meredith thrives on lies and conflict, and she’s a writer, so she knows how to come up with a good story.” Russo says, “I knew when I left her that I’d become the subject of one of these stories.”
Included in the divorce and restraining order filings was an article Stroud wrote with the intention of submitting it to an LGBT magazine. The article, written as an introspective reflection on the couple’s relationship, states in detail the abuse Stroud subjected Russo to.
And despite Stroud’s public attempts to downplay the arrest, Stroud’s written account supports Russo’s claims that it was she who is responsible for jail bailout and the charges being dropped.
The document also backs Russo’s assertion that she continued to support and care for her spouse even after the repeated physical and sexual assaults, a far cry from Stroud’s claims on social media that Russo had been the abuser, and callously made Stroud homeless.
Due to Stroud’s continued public assertions that Russo is to blame, as well as the harassment from Stroud’s fans she’s received in the past as a result, Russo says she continues to fear retaliation.
Russo notes that some of the posts Stroud has made include threats of violence. From a now-deleted alternative Twitter account, Stroud posted how she wanted Russo’s friends to be “brutally killed” in the style of a violent horror movie.
“My main hope, in discussing all of this, is that the defamation against myself and my family will stop.” Russo comments, “I’ve worked so hard to rebuild my life in the five years since I left Meredith, and I’m emotionally exhausted by the fact that I’m still being defamed on a daily basis as a ‘TERF’ and abuser, and that it’s affected my family so profoundly.”
Despite everything, Juniper Russo says she does not wish ill upon her former spouse, and supports Stroud’s work in the literary world.
“I still have to believe that there’s some good inside of [Meredith] and that she’s leaving some kind of positive mark on the world. If her books have saved one single teenager from suicide, I’d consider that to outweigh the pain and trauma I’ve had to endure at her hands.” Russo continues on to note that deeply flawed people can sometimes make good art.
“It’s important to be aware that someone who creates inspiring work is not necessarily a good person, and I think it’s dangerous for anyone to look up to Meredith as a role model, or to take anything she says at face value.”
Russo concluded. “Her work, including how she presents herself and speaks of those around her, is fictional. I’d caution anyone against mistaking any of it for reality.”
There appears to be some turbulence ahead for the LGBT community. According to a national survey by GLAAD, LGBT acceptance appears to be declining in America. Interestingly, it’s declining among a group that is often touted as the most accepting and socially “woke”—millennials.
The survey reports that the percentage of young people who reported being “somewhat” or “very” comfortable with LGBT people dropped from 53% to 45%. This is the second year in a row that the number has fallen. While many gay publications have shared this survey and rang the alarm, I’ve yet to see anyone online offer a measured opinion of why this is occurring beyond “ORANGE MAN BAD.”
I am a transgender woman and YouTuber who has witnessed LGBT discourse become more extreme and intense year after year. What used to simply be a conversation about marriage equality and treating those who are different than us as equals has become a cultural hailstorm. Our community’s most popular and decorated activists often preach the most extreme of our ideas rather our most practical. Buzzwords and genders are added into the community’s vernacular at such a rate that even I can’t keep up with them. What does that say about someone who is not within the community and their ability to keep pace with the dialogue?
I believe it is the T in LGBT (or whatever the current acronym is) that has contributed the most to the erosion of society’s understanding and acceptance of the community at large. When I transitioned 6 years ago, I remember being fearful of receiving rejection because of who I was. Now, I find myself fearful of rejection because of who trans activists have led the general public to believe I am. The push for 5-year-olds to transition, mandatory dating of trans people (unless you want to be called a bigot), and forced acceptance of biological males destroying female athletes in sports are among the most toxic ideas pushed by trans activists in 2019. As a trans woman myself, I believe none of them but often find myself anxious when meeting new people that they may think I do as a default.
To be clear, these are also all ideas that are incompatible with the general public. It is society’s natural inclination to protect children and women. So why is it that the trans community has made it their mission to brand themselves as something that at best disregards the harm to both children and women and at worst willingly inflicts it? If this is the route the community insists on going down, I don’t see much hope at all. I expect the decline of acceptance to continue.
There is an LGBT fatigue that has fallen on many in society that is a direct result of the constant bullying, shaming, and virtue signalling that comes out of the community—or at least, the activists that are placed on a pedestal to speak on our behalf. As the GLAAD survey reveals, it is particularly millennials who feel this fatigue the strongest. Millennials tend to be the most plugged into the culture war, so it only makes sense that many are beginning to question—what if this LGBT thing is derailing a bit? Why must I be forced to accept drag queens teaching sex ed to my children, and why am I feeling my heart race at the mere thought of questioning or challenging it publicly?
At some point, the community is going to have to address the overreach and bad ideas we are currently spouting. I am personally exhausted with all of it, but hey—all I can do is continue to try to sound the alarm myself.
Six months ago I reported a story about an Ontario couple, Pamela and Jason Buffone, whose daughter, “N,” suffered so much distress in her Grade One classes on gender fluidity that her parents eventually enrolled her in another school. A bright and impressionable child, N informed her parents that her teacher had told the class that “Girls are not real and boys are not real.” The teacher meant, of course, that biology is not an indicator of a child’s gender identity, a concept N was too cognitively immature to grasp at age six, and so found very frightening.
The Buffones were perturbed by the uniform commitment to the teaching of controversial gender theories to young children that they found when they took their objections, first to the school principal and then up the chain to the Superintendent of schools for their district. While sympathy was expressed for N’s confusion and anxiety, which persisted until her parents removed her from the school, approval for the program of instruction in gender fluidity remained firm in every rank.
Most parents would have let the matter drop once their own child’s troubles were over. But the Buffones looked at their daughter’s experiences through the larger lens of a changing culture and took their concern to the next level. Following Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party victory in June 2018, they filed a complaint with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT). That was dismissed, although an OCT representative conceded that the curriculum is based on ideology.
Then they filed an application before the Human rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) against the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board on behalf of their daughter, citing “discrimination on the basis of gender and gender identity in contravention of the Human Rights Code.”
That complaint is now in progress. From the materials I have seen, the School Board is taking the line that the gender-identity law only offers protection to those who are historically disadvantaged. Basically, they’re saying it’s too bad if N was distressed by the lesson plans, but the school’s greater obligation to ensure that dysphoric kids feel included.
From the Buffones’ point of view, inclusion for gender-dysphoric children seemed to require the deliberate erosion of N’s comfort and security in her normative gender identity as a girl—and nothing but a girl. This complaint will uncover whether the HRTO believes that all children’s gender identity rights are protect under Bill 33 (“Toby’s Act”), as its wording would imply, or whether some identities are to be considered more equal than others.
Sometimes a life experience galvanizes people into unexpected activism. It’s a bonus if that person is intelligent, highly organized and familiar with effective methods of communication. This has been the case for Pamela Buffone. Out of frustration at the stonewalling she and her husband received, she decided to take the only kind of action a concerned citizen with no official power can.
Buffone first educated herself on the subject of gender identity: the theories behind it, the proliferating affirmation movement, and the effects of puberty blockers on children. She reached out to other concerned parents and dissidents in the professions most directly involved in the treatment of gender dysphoria. She started to write blog posts based on her experience. With allies, Buffone founded an excellent site, for which she is the publisher, the Canadian Gender Report (CGR).
In the CGR’s “About Us” section, it says, “We are a group of parents and professionals concerned about the medicalization of identity and the lack of open discussion on issues that are affecting Canadian families and children.”
The CGR takes on some of the more pressing issues surrounding the explosion of gender-identity “contagion” all over the western world. It offers reliable science-based information on sex and gender and asks important questions, such as why gay and autistic kids are so radically over-represented in the rush to transition. It offers news on what is happening in this arena, here and abroad, such as a national inquiry into the safety and ethics of transgender medicine presently under way in Australia, conducted by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. It also provides a window into the under-studied area of detransitioning, a phenomenon that activists work hard to suppress knowledge of (usually successfully).
Just to give you an idea of why the CGR is so valuable: In a Dec 3 post, the Report assesses the recently announced Trans Youth Can! observational study of youth referred for blockers or hormones at ten clinics in Canada, funded with a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health research. It will collect data over a two-year period on about 300 Canadian youth under 16 years of age.
On the surface, it seems very bona fide. But the Report finds issues of concern. You can read their critique here. What leaped out at me was the fact that the research team is closely affiliated with Trans Pulse Canada, an organization that requires its board of directors to be majority trans. The CGR notes that Dr. Greta Bauer “is the research director of both the Trans Pulse survey of the trans community in Canada which has been credited with changing legislation and policy in Canada and this Trans Youth Can! study of youth referred for puberty blockers and hormone treatment.” Knowing this, I am skeptical that the study will produce an objective portrayal of the situation.
Indeed, objectivity on the skyrocketing demand for professional services for presumed gender dysphoria is hard to come by at all. The average parent who wants to serve their child’s gender interests, but also wants the most conservative possible process before arriving at affirmation, find themselves stymied when it seems that at every turn—whether it is teachers, social workers, psychologists or medical practitioners—everyone they consult is encouraging pro-active affirmation as a best practice, and any hesitancy to affirm a potential risk factor for the child’s mental health.
That is precisely why the CGR is so valuable as a resource for them. Readers often tell me they want to push back against the ideological excesses of the trans movement, but feel helpless to make a difference. Educating themselves through CGR posts and links and promoting CGR through their networks is an excellent beginning. For parents of young children being exposed to what parents consider age-inappropriate material, I particularly recommend CGR’s “Resources” section.
Here you will find links to other organizations working to bring responsibility and scientific integrity to the trans discussion; a Youtube channel offering interviews and insights on detransitioning; a support group and blog for parents of children with Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD); a U.K. group fighting for the protection of women’s rights in sports; and a link to gender-critical activist Meghan Murphy’s website, Feminist Current.
Also in this section, one finds access to the perspectives of seasoned, non-ideological medical professionals and therapists in this field. Their prudence, rationality and wisdom will act as a welcome balm to the anguished souls of parents caught up in this tangled web, who feel surrounded by trans activist bullies in their search for knowledge and disinterested advice.
I recommend this site to them, and to all Canadians seeking objective information and enlightenment on a culturally transformative, hypothesis-based experiment, in which our children and grandchildren are an unwitting and involuntary test group.
UPDATE: A Twitter spokesperson responding to The Post Millennial advised that Cernovich, Ngo, and Hegseth had been suspended for posting the shooter’s manifesto. However, neither Cernovich nor Hegseth’s tweets included the manifesto. Twitter declined to answer any further questions on the justification for their suspensions.
Following the Pensacola Navy Base shooting having been deemed a terror attack, multiple journalists and media personalities have been suspended from Twitter for reporting details on shooter Mohammed Alshamrami.
Filmmaker Mike Cernovich, The Post Millennial editor-at-large Andy Ngo, and Fox host Pete Hegseth are among those who have been suspended from Twitter for utilizing Alshamrami’s manifesto or social media excerpts to speculate on his motivation for carrying out the deadly attack.
Both Cernovich and Hegseth were suspended for posting excerpts from Alshamrami’s social media, which included disturbing posts indicating the shooting was motivated by anti-American and anti-Israel sentiments.
Andy Ngo was suspended pending he delete a tweet which included a copy of Alshamrami’s manifesto, the copy of which was made public by SITE—a non-governmental organization that monitors white supremacist and jihadist terror threats.
While Cernovich’s account was restored following the removal of the offending tweet, Pete Hegseth and Andy Ngo’s accounts remain suspended, appeals unresponded to by Twitter as of yet.
According to the Twitter Terms of Service, promoting or providing media intended to further a terrorist organization’s goals is a violation of the platform’s policies, leading to an immediate, permanent suspension. However, the terms of service also state that discussion of terrorism for “clearly educational or documentary purposes” does not constitute a violation.
The Post Millennial reached out to Twitter for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.
UPDATE: On December 6th, a Twitter user reported to The Post Millennial that two of Michaels’ tweets had violated the Twitter Terms of Service. Michaels then locked his account.
The Post Millennial reached out to Twitter to verify if disciplinary action had been taken against Michaels since his harassment of Andy Ngo was reported on, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
The Post Millennial has learned that a Twitter account that has been engaged in targeted harassment of TPM Editor-at-large Andy Ngo appears to belong to none other than a Twitter employee.
Max Michaels, who goes under the Twitter handle Manchild, is an Operations Infrastructure Analytics Engineer at the Twitter Command Center. According to his Linkedin, he has worked at Twitter for over 7 years.
Michaels’ abusive behaviour towards Ngo began in June of 2019 after Ngo was bloodied while reporting from an Antifa riot in Portland. Beneath a tweet calling for information which might lead to the arrest of those involved, Michaels wrote: “It’s almost like there are repercussions for being a piece of shit.”
Under another tweet by Ngo, Michaels replies “you should just get fat again and hangout on reddit acting sad. I liked fat, sad Andy better.”
Michaels also replied to journalist Peter Hasson, who was reporting on Ngo’s brain bleed as a result of his beating at the riot, calling the hemorrhage a “lifelong, pre-existing condition from garbage Andy.”
Michaels was featured in a 2016 Vice article describing the important functions of the Command Center. In the piece, Michaels is quoted as saying he and his team are responsible for “keeping the lights on at Twitter.”
A recent job posting for the Twitter Command Center suggests staff have a great deal of insight and control over the intricate details of Twitter’s technical infrastructure, calling into question what impact potential biases in the staff might have over users’ personal information and security on the platform.
Ngo was recently suspended from Twitter for tweeting a truthful claim that “The U.S. is one of the safest countries for trans people. The murder rate of trans victims is actually lower than that for cis population. Also, who is behind the murders? Mostly black men.” Ngo was forced to delete the verifiably truthful claim in order to regain access to his account.
The Post Millennial reached out to Michaels for comment but has not heard back by the time of publication. He did, however, confirm on Twitter that he still works in Operations for Twitter.
Targeted harassment is explicitly against Twitter’s Terms of Service. A Twitter spokesperson said, “Abuse and harassment have no place on Twitter. We take enforcement action against any content that is violative of our rules, regardless of the account involved.”