“It’s about slammed doors”

The terrible people at ADF, who are behind much of the anti-trans and anti-LGBT+ organising on both sides of the Atlantic, have lost their latest legal case. Their lawyer represented Lorie Smith, a cake designer who refused to make cakes for same-sex couples.

Smith had never actually been asked by a same-sex couple to make a cake. She – or rather, her puppeteers – sued the state preemptively. The move was part of the Christian Right’s ongoing campaign to remove legal protections for LGBT+ people, a war against minorities they’re waging not just in the US but in the UK, in Europe and in Africa.

I thought these remarks, by Lambda Legal’s Jennifer C Pizer, were very true.

This really isn’t about cake or websites or flowers. It’s about protecting LGBTQ people and their families from being subjected to slammed doors, service refusals and public humiliation in countless places — from fertility clinics to funeral homes and everywhere in between.


All men

Jessica Valenti: Yes, All Men.

The majority of ‘good’ men prop up sexism in all sorts of ways: Those who complain about #MeToo and not being able to ask out coworkers anymore make life easier for virulent workplace harassers. Men who joke about locking up their daughters pave the cultural way for paternalistic policies that limit women’s rights. Men who only want to marry housewives prop up systemic hurdles in working women’s career paths.

Bullshit Media

This is not a technology story

I’ve had multiple calls from media wanting to do an item today on the tech story du jour, the NHS COVID app telling more people to isolate. But it’s not a tech story. The app is pinging more people because more people are getting infected.

The uncritical framing of this as an app problem rather than the app doing what it’s supposed to do is really appalling: it’s pure spin, a blatant bit of Trumpism: tests are reporting more infections so we must reduce testing.

I shudder to think what the body count of so-called Freedom Day will be.


Speak Up For Soccer

This Twitter thread made me laugh.

Starting my new lobby group, Speak Up For Soccer. Our stated campaigns are to ban kids playing rugby, ban rugby clubs and coaching for teens, and ban adults from playing rugby. We’re not anti-rugby, we’re a pro-soccer rights group.


It’s a mystery

Here are the latest hate crime figures for England and Wales, via the Home Office.

What could have caused a 200% increase in anti-trans hate crimes during a period of sustained attacks on and scaremongering about trans people in the UK press (and by UK politicians), an assault that began in 2016? We may never know.



Another great piece by Jessica Valenti, this time on the hilarious idea that if women don’t want to sleep with right-wing men it’s a sign of “political discrimination” and authoritarianism.

As Valenti points out, it’s the same argument put forward by incels. The only difference is that this time the whiny man-baby has been to university.

As frustrating as it is to some men, women are actually human beings with preferences and free will. We are allowed to reject you because of your political beliefs, your sense of humor, or even your shoes.

…Kaufmann’s argument is near-identical to the ideology of online misogynists who are furious that women have a choice about who to sleep with at all. Just as he frames women’s dating preferences as a civil rights issue, incels claim women “withholding” sex is a human rights violation. The only difference is the academic sheen and where they’re publishing.

There’s a similar sense of entitlement in the bleats of bigots whose friends no longer want to hang out with them: the demand is always for the friends to tolerate the bastard, not for the bastard to stop being a bastard.

And the same sense of entitlement is evident in those who use “free speech” to mean their right to be nasty to others without criticism, let alone consequence.

I’ve written about this before: nobody has a right to be your friend, your lover, your romantic partner, your dinner party guest or your gym buddy. Any relationship is dependent on mutual consent, which can be withdrawn at any time or refused in the first place. Other people’s red lines are not yours to dictate, and if you think they are then you’re exactly the kind of person many of us are not willing to date.

And that’s because it’s indicative of a very particular worldview: the only person who matters in your world is you. There’s nothing attractive about that.

Bullshit LGBTQ+ Media

Staged to invoke rage

This report by the Los Angeles Blade should – but probably won’t – make UK anti-trans activists think about what they’re doing and who their friends are. It’s an investigation into the alleged sauna incident I wrote about the other day, which was used by neo-Nazis as an excuse to crack heads and stab people.

There is increasing doubt among law enforcement and staff at the Wi Spa whether there was ever was a transgender person there to begin with. Anonymous sources within the LAPD tell the Blade they have been unable to find any corroborating evidence that there was a transgender person present on that day.

…Treatment at the Spa is by appointment only, and most of its transgender clients are well known to the staff.

…[the video creator’s] Instagram account is almost exclusively Christian memes, which begs the question why she chose to go to a high-end spa well known for being LGBTQ friendly. During Cubaangel’s video, no transgender person can be seen, and no other witnesses have come forward to confirm the allegations made. It’s also not the first time Wi Spa has been targeted for catering to transgender people.

It seems increasingly likely that the supposed event didn’t happen at all, or that it was staged by an anti-trans activist.

The video quickly made the rounds in far right, and Trans-Exclusionary Feminist (TERF) sites. Anti-trans “feminist” websites like Mumsnet, Ovarit, and Spinster were sharing content by far right provocateurs known for disinformation, like Ian Miles Cheong, by June 27th.

The anti-trans protest was a mix of religious fundamentalist street preachers, QAnon conspiracy theorists chanting “save our children,” and Proud Boys… Right wing personality Andy Ngo, who coordinates with far right groups when they’re looking to engage in violence on camera, was also there.

Andy Ngo’s content was the content shared by UK activists and at least one high profile Guardian writer.

All of this fits into an emerging pattern of the alt-right, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists, violent far right groups like the Proud Boys, the religious right, and anti-trans “feminists” collaborating and coordinating

We’ve been trying to warn people about this for years, but how do you get the media to cover it when their friends and colleagues are the people doing it?

Update: surprise surprise, the US religious right have their fingerprints all over this.

The people behind this escalating campaign, then, are known disinformation purveyors allied with open white supremacists who — as they have done for several years now — created optics-heavy, broadcast news-friendly chaos in order to push a specific agenda.

Hell in a handcart LGBTQ+ Media

Radicalisation in real time

Trans people and allies have been warning about the links between anti-trans activism and the far right for several years now, and this weekend has delivered a frightening example. The whole story is detailed here, but here’s the executive summary (updated a day later with additional details):

  • An evangelical Christian blogger produced a video claiming that a trans woman had been exposing herself to multiple children and adults in an LGBT+ friendly spa in LA.
  • There is no evidence to substantiate any of her claims.
  • Her video contains no evidence that the event happened.
  • Despite significant publicity, nobody has come forward to corroborate her claims.
  • The spa appears to have been the subject of online anti-LGBT+ activism for the last several months.
  • Far-right goons decided that a local trans woman was the culprit (in an event that does not appear to have happened) and sent her multiple death threats. The woman had not been at the spa.
  • Far-right and neo-Nazi groups spread the video, as did anti-trans activists.
  • Far-right and neo-Nazi groups organised a protest at the spa. Many of them turned up in military-style armour and carried weapons including metal bars, knives and pepper spray. One of the thugs was carrying a baseball bat with the Trump logo on it.
  • Far-right thugs including members of neo-Nazi group the Proud Boys attacked journalists and counter-protestors.
  • Two people were stabbed by one far-right thug, a middle-aged white man dressed in military-style gear. He stabbed a counter-protester multiple times in the leg; that person is now in hospital.
  • The same man accidentally stabbed another far-right protester in the arm. Images of the stabbing have been shared by multiple “gender critical” accounts claiming that the woman was the victim of a trans person or trans ally, not one of her fellow fascists. This is not true.
  • In addition to images of the stabbing, UK anti-trans activists have been sharing doctored footage by notorious far-right figures to try and perpetuate lies that the violence was perpetrated by trans people or allies rather than fascist or fascist-adjacent thugs. Some of the earliest such posts were on Mumsnet; they’re now being spread by UK journalists.

I’m reading a lot about QAnon and other right-wing conspiracies right now, and this has frightening echoes of Pizzagate: the baseless claim that a child sex ring was operating out of a pizza parlour in Washington, a claim that lead a heavily armed man to visit the parlour intent on using violence to free the non-existent victims. Many people still believe that such a ring existed.

As the Trans Safety Network article linked above puts it:

Anti-trans tensions are reaching an incredibly worrying threshold, where instagram videos alleging wrongdoing, without any actual evidence of wrongdoing are enough to conjure right wing lynch mobs. In the wake of the protests, prominent UK anti-trans journalists and organisers have shared information from curated far-right sources… misrepresenting events is a well known tool of radicalisation and recruitment for the far-right. Extremist right wing provocateurs are creating partisan versions and hiding behind gender critical women and talking points to provide cover while they harass and terrorise innocent transgender people.

The people sharing the far-right posts are not far-right activists: they’re liberal journalists who write for papers such as The Guardian. This is how radicalisation happens.

Writing in The Herald, Neil Mackay quotes Dr Joe Mulhall, a leading expert on the far right.

MULHALL notes that the culture war is also radicalising many – often online – and leading them towards far=right politics. “If someone gets tipped one way on the trans issue, for example, you start to see them echoing anti-Black Lives Matter stuff,” says Mulhall. “We see more anti-trans content from within the far right than against any other minority today.”

English Defence League (EDL) figures “disproportionally talk about trans rights way more than Muslims now”.

“There’s a debate to be had,” says Mulhall, about issues like women-only bathrooms although he personally says he’d leave that to “trans people”. “However, at a base level, wherever you fall on those debates, the trans community is being attacked by the far right. Whatever you think about trans athletes in the Olympics, it’s unacceptable trans people are being attacked.”

The far right sees trans hatred as a “route to the mainstream. Talking about Jews isn’t. It ostracises you. But if you talk about trans issues it opens the doors to the mainstream. The far right are saying things they know will be echoed in the comment pages”.

Bullshit Hell in a handcart LGBTQ+

Careless Wispa

Over the weekend, Allison Bailey from the so-called LGB Alliance proved how divorced anti-trans activists are from the reality-based community. On discovering a Wispa bar and a lemon in her garden, she immediately came to the obvious conclusion: trans activists were trying to kill her dog.

Nobody, least of all trans activists, was trying to kill her dog.

The chocolate and lemon had been thrown there accidentally by the kids next door, who came round to apologise.

It’s funny in a bleak “this clown is taken seriously by the UK press and the BBC” kind of way. But it also demonstrates the lunacy and paranoia of the anti-trans movement. Bailey’s ridiculous claim will become another anti-trans “fact” trotted out on social media and probably mainstream media too for years to come.


Three things for today

Please take a few minutes to watch this short speech by MP Mhairi Black.

It’s a superb summary of the current moral panic and the people fuelling it, and it ends with this message to the trans community:

This is an ugly and shameful time for all of us, but that shame is not yours to feel or yours to carry. In the same way that we teach young people about gay history now and they are horrified when they hear of our past treatment, so too will future children be when they find out how trans people were treated today. This will pass, and in the meantime know that there are allies everywhere that are with you and are fighting for you publicly and behind the scenes. As our community is so often having to tell people, we are going absolutely nowhere.

This speech by Stewart McDonald MP, also to mark Pride, nails “the polite bigotry of the middle classes”.

And this article in USA Today shows how the current campaign against trans kids in sports is built on lies.