Politics makes strange bedfellows, a truism I am presently experiencing in real time as I find myself on social media supporting TERFs – Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists – in their battle against Trans ideologues regarding the charged question(s): Who/What is a woman?
The lines of that battle are pretty simply drawn.
Trans ideologues uphold one entirely subjective criterion: a woman is anyone who claims to be a woman, whether she has a vagina or a penis.
TERFs, on the other hand, say a woman is ineluctably tied to her biology, with sex-based rights resting on women’s material reality.
That happens to be my position as well: A woman is a woman.
A trans woman is a man who identifies as a woman. (I have no problem calling trans women “she” in case you were wondering.)
The war of (mostly, but occasionally more than) words between the two groups is heated, intense and often hate-filled.
Not just here, but in many western societies.
Well-meaning liberals are often torn on who to support as the greater victim, since both groups consider themselves feminists.
These passions are played out in real-life conundrums.
Thus, for example, it is unthinkable to TERFs that a trans woman should be considered for a job at a rape crisis centre, where space shared with a biological male can never be considered “safe” for a rape victim.
Or that a trans woman should have the right to share space with girls in a bathroom or – worse – a public locker room.
Nobody can deny that fears of male voyeurism, facilitated by gender-identity rights legislation, are unwarranted.
There have been a number of ugly incidents in which girls or women have been victimized in this way.
By contrast, all these rights are claimed for her gender peers by trans woman Morgane Oger, Vice-president of the NDP in B.C., who recently announced her candidacy for the Vancouver mayoralty. Oger, very active on social media, brooks no dissension from TERFs or anyone else who takes a science-based approach to gender politics.
In her eyes, biological males who say they are women “are” women.
Anyone saying they are not “real” women has in her eyes committed a literal hate crime.
Like me, as in what I said above.
Oger proved this when, on January 20th, a feminist attending a #MeToo-themed women’s march in Vancouver, held up a sign reading in part:
“Transwomen are men. Truth is not hate…Woman is a biological reality. Do not cis-gender me…Stop the stereotypes….I am a female.”
Captured and posted on social media, her photo went viral, and she suffered quite an unpleasant blowback as a result.
Oger went further than Twitter insults.
Sharing the image on Facebook, she wrote, “This is hate speech. Anyone know who this person is? …I feel that she has overstepped….” She continued: “We have six months for somebody to file a [human rights] complaint against this woman on the basis of gender identity.”
Oger’s invitation to “doxx” a private citizen protester – to out her personal information with a view to public exposure and retribution – resulted in more than 200 disgusted people signing an open letter to the BC NDP.
They described Oger thus: “Oger invites and escalates conflict, is unable to negotiate or reach consensus with a large portion of voters, defames and insults them, targets individuals with relentless harassment and smear campaigns, and advocates that real, material harm be inflicted on them.”
They also cited Oger’s reference to her “team of lawyers” being confident “that the act of publishing hateful material [is] the only test in this case.”
In blogger Jonathon Kneeland’s thoughtful analytical article on the broader subject, posted at newcenter.ca, “There’s a TERF war brewing: The battle between sanity and safety, and the weaponizing of transgender,” he nicely encapsulates the creepiness Oger’s actions elicited in many observers. “Morgane Oger is in a position of authority and has access to state power.
Oger publicly stated that a private citizen’s scientific understanding of biology is incorrect according to Oger’s interpretation of transgender ideology. We then have a call to public harassment and intimidation and an invitation to report to Oger for re-education….Oger and her ilk have made their position very clear: you accept my unscientific interpretation of biology, or I’ll ruin your life.”
Although her objective is chilling, Oger is at least polite in her posts. Some of her fellow travellers on Twitter are less decorous. “Is it legal to punch a TERF with a baseball bat asking for a friend”; “Kill all terfs”; “I wanna f*** some terfs up, they are no better than fash”; “Punching terfs is the same as punching Nazis”; “It’d be nice if there were roving gangs of trans women beating the shit out of transphobes, but alas, this doesn’t seem to be the case.”
(you can find them, Twitter handles and unnerving images included, in Kneeland’s article.)
Then there’s this from @AliceAvizandum: “I heard a TERF got punched so it’s my duty as commander of Armchair Violence Enthusiast to say: good job, nice work, keep it up.” She was doubtless referring to the story of radical feminist Maria Maclachlan who, protesting at a trans-activist event in London’s Hyde Park, was knocked down and punched by men dressed as women.
At the assault trial, Ms. Maclachkan was told by the judge that she must address her principal attacker by the pronoun of his choosing.
At this point, I think it is important to note that Oger and her minions do not speak for most trans people, who lead unpoliticized and unselfconscious private lives.
In my social interactions with non-activist trans women, I have learned that activists like Oger are an embarrassment to such people.
They wish only to live and let live.
They do not hanker for special pronouns. They have no wish to see very young children “affirmed” as trans. They willingly concede that their own dysphoria may be part of a matrix of other psychological issues.
They are perfectly comfortable with parents taking the “watch and wait” approach to children, and have no vested interest in stopping dysphoric children’s return to their natal sex.
They voluntarily explored their own situations with objective psychologists before transitioning. And when they did, it was with mature informed consent, something that cannot be said for so many children and teenagers in the grip of this social contagion we are witnessing.
Oger’s position is favoured in the corridors of power, alas.
If Oger’s prey eventually finds herself before a human rights tribunal, it may go far beyond pronouns, perhaps ending in forced attestation to an unsupported gender theory and/or an indefinite commitment to silence on the issue. Or an onerous fine. Or even prison.
When Jordan Peterson made his deposition to the Senate in 2016 regarding the “transgender bill,” Bill C-16’s endorsement of compelled speech in the matter of pronouns, and its velvet-totalitarian potential for erosion of citizens’ speech freedoms, many people claimed he was creating a tempest in a teapot. They cannot say that now.
The tempest walks amongst us, is embraced by a mainstream provincial political party and has a name: Morgane Oger.