“Women who have raised concerns about the impact of gender identity ideology and legislation … have been fired from their jobs, threatened, punched, kicked out of their left-wing political parties, ostracized by friends and fellow activists,” Meghan Murphy told her audience at the Toronto Public Library October 29.
Murphy, the influential feminist editor of Feminist Current, argues that the gender-identity movement will eliminate the legal and civic recognition of all women. Unless women are legally defined by their biology, she explains, men will declare themselves to be women and take over women’s private spaces, cultural events, sports competitions, legal rights, and political movements.
That view is increasingly recognized by mainstream U.S. conservative groups, such as Concerned Women for America.
The agreement between feminists and conservatives comes as the two political movements remain far apart on other issues, including abortion, sexual autonomy, and the relative status of women in what some describe as a “patriarchal society.”
In contrast, the left argues Americans are wrong to view women and men as biologically different, complementary, and equal. That view is an unfair “social construct” which prevents transgender people from living as their “true selves,” say progressives who argue that women can have penises, that men can be lesbians, that children can change their sex, and that civic propaganda unfairly imposes “compulsory heterosexuality” on adults and children.
Many pro-transgender groups surrounded the library speech and threatened Murphy’s audience:
Women gathering to discuss sex-based rights face baying crowd (again) -this time in Toronto for #MeghanMurphy talk. This happens because lobbying groups insist on pitting sex against gender identity, & sew tissue of confusion around those distinctions. It’s inexcusable. https://t.co/0fawD9LlRr
— Kathleen Stock (@Docstockk) October 30, 2019
“I have personally been threatened with death and rape numerous times, libeled, and called every name you can imagine, simply for asking questions about the impact of gender identity legislation on women, and for stating it is not possible to change sex through self-declaration,” Murphy said in her speech, adding:
This is unacceptable. Women have the right to speak about their sex based rights and to discuss valid concerns about the impact of men identifying as women on their safety.
This trans activist movement — this gender identity ideology — is nothing if not an absolutely regressive, irrational, anti-woman movement that appears to have become incredibly authoritarian, as no one is allowed to question, challenge, or disagree. And those who do, like myself, are threatened with just about every social and physical punishment imaginable — jail, social ostracization, loss of income, violence, even death. It is insanity. Even more so when you consider that it is those of us simply trying to speak — to have a conversation — to ask pivotal questions about laws and ideas and policies that impact our lives and the lives of others — who are accused of “bigotry,” “fascism,” and “violence.” The reversals boggle the mind. And the government and the media have completely failed women on this issue.
If you shut your eyes and listen, you can easily imagine the protesters screaming, "Witches! Witches! Burn them! Burn them!
Except, this isn't the Salem witch trials.
This is 21st century activism. Transgender activism.
— gender is harmful (@genderisharmful) October 30, 2019
Her opposition to the transgender ideology and the gender-identity movement does not mean hostility to people who claim to be transgender, she argued:
I have not said trans people should not have rights or that they are dangerous. I have not suggested trans people be excluded from spaces. I am not interested in whether or not people identify as trans, it has no bearing on my arguments. I am interested in who is male and who is female. I do not wish violence on anyone. I have never encouraged violence. I have never engaged in hate speech.
I have never said that “transwomen are not real women.” I have said that trans-identified males are male. Because they are. This is not a judgement or an insult, it is simply a material reality — a biological reality. If you are born male, you remain male for life. Everyone knows this. It is not a belief or an opinion, it is a fact.
Also, to be clear: This does not — or should not — preclude males from wearing clothing designated for women, wearing makeup, growing their hair long, or even getting cosmetic surgery. I personally believe cosmetic surgeries are serious surgeries that should be considered very carefully and analyzed within the context of a culture that demands women be sexually desirable and pleasing to the male gaze above all else, but nonetheless, I’m not in the business of trying to ban people from spending tens of thousands of dollars going under the knife in a fruitless pursuit of the “perfect body,” if that’s what they desire.
The mob chanted 'Walk of Shame '…F..k you bitch …i know you motherf…er ….The Left is lost: https://t.co/1sUAse61ZI
— Julie Bindel (@bindelj) October 30, 2019
The transgender supporters are changing the language to subordinate women to men, she said:
In 2019, the trans movement has determined there are not women and men, but males and “non-males,” essentially defining women right out of the picture. I guess the future isn’t so feminist after all. And that isn’t just a mistake made by one journalist.
The entire language of the trans activist movement has taken up the erasure of women in order to accommodate a tiny minority of people who would like us all to pretend that material reality doesn’t exist. We are no longer women, but ‘cis women’, which means, supposedly, we are women who ‘identify with the gender assigned to us at birth’.
This is insulting. I am not a woman because I identify with femininity. Femininity refers to the set of stereotypes imposed on women in a patriarchal society. I do not identify with those stereotypes. I am not passive, irrational, or over emotional. I am not a woman because I wear makeup or high heels. My long hair does not make me a woman. If I were currently in sweatpants and sneakers, if I shaved my head and went makeupless and took up football, I’d still be a woman.
This is insane. It’s 2019, and women may not meet in a public library to talk about how changes to the law affect them without being intimidated and harassed by a braying crowd of men (I don’t give a shit about their identity, it’s entirely irrelevant). https://t.co/8GkitgJ3Yu
— Helen (@MsHelenWatts) October 30, 2019
The law and culture need to recognize that women have different needs from men; she said:
One of the reasons I challenge gender identity ideology is because I think it is regressive, sexist, and nonsensical. I think it limits us, rather than allowing us a full range of options as human beings with diverse interests and personality traits. But I also think it has incredibly negative impacts on women’s rights, in particular.
Over and over again, I ask those who insist that “transwomen are women” what the word “woman” means. They refuse to answer. They simply say, “It’s a person who identifies as a woman,” which essentially means, “it’s nothing at all” — it is anything anyone says it is.
On what basis do women’s rights exist, if the word “woman” is meaningless? If anyone can identify in and out of femaleness on a whim?
If we wish to maintain women’s rights and protect women’s spaces, we cannot separate women from femaleness. It is irrational and dangerous. It makes women and girls vulnerable. Beyond that, there is absolutely no reason why we can’t protect the rights of individuals to step outside gender roles, and to express themselves as they like, and also understand that sexual dimorphism is real, that males and females exist, and that those differences matter.
None of this is about transphobia. It is about women having the right to say no to men. To not be gaslighted and bullied for daring to consider their own safety, rights, and feelings first. To speak, to tell the truth, to name reality, and to maintain their sex-based rights.
I love #meghanmurphy ‘s inisistence that we are not alone. We may feel alone, but no one *really* believes that humans can change sex. Keep talking. Keep whispering. Keep spreading the word: #sexnotgender
And read Female Erasure. 😉 https://t.co/T1v7iUHmNW
— eHungerford 🐝 (@ehungerford) October 30, 2019
Murphy asked her audience to speak out on the issue, despite intimidation from the pro-transgender groups:
It is not ok that I am standing here with a police presence and body guards to state the obvious. It is not ok that people are afraid to speak, never mind to show up. And the only way to combat this is to speak more.
So thank you all for being here, thank you for pushing back, or at least engaging — for refusing to join the mob, and for instead trying to understand the issues. Thank you to the library and Vickery Bowles, for standing up for what is right, and for free speech in the face of extreme backlash, and thank you to the organizers of this event, who are just regular women, with no funding, no social or political power, who just want this conversation to happen.
Conservatives & (some) feminists agree biology shapes our personalities & politics. They're uniting to stop the progressives' ruthless "transgender" demand that we deny biology's impact on people & politics despite the known hazards to adults, teens & kids https://t.co/gND8VfyMOl
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) October 9, 2019
In general, the transgender ideology says a person’s legal and civic recognition as a man or a woman is determined by their “gender identity,” not by their biology.
The ideology also insists that men and women are more or less interchangeable, and it objects to the public’s view of the two sexes as simultaneously different, complementary, and equal.
The transgender advocates want to impose their ideology on Americans by establishing “transgender rights” laws. Those rights would require the Department of Justice to penalize individuals and groups who insist that biology determines male or female status — and also shapes peoples’ likely political, civic, and personal priorities.
Polls show the transgender ideology is deeply unpopular, especially among women and parents. In 2017, former President Barack Obama told National Public Radio (NPR) that his promotion of the transgender ideology made it easier for Donald Trump to win the presidency.
Multiple polls show that most Americans reasonably wish to help and comfort people who think they are a member of the opposite sex, even as they also reject the transgender ideology’s claim that people’s legal sex is determined by their feeling of “gender identity,” not by biology. A U.K. survey shows a similar mix of sympathy for people who say they are transgender alongside lopsided opposition to the ideology.
The transgender movement is diverse, so its different factions have competing goals and priorities. It includes sexual liberationists, progressives, feminists who wish to blur distinctions between the two sexes, and people who glamorize the differences between the two sexes. It includes high-profile children, people who are trying to live as members of the opposite sex, troubled teenage girls trying to flee womanhood, and people trying to “detransition” back to their sex.
It also includes men who demand sex from lesbians, masculine autogynephiles who say they are entitled to women’s rights, alpha males who insist they are the natural leaders of women, parents eager to support their children’s transgender claims, wealthy donors, politicians, political professionals, revenue-seeking drug companies, surgeons, and medical service providers.
Transgender advocates claim that two million Americans say they are transgender to a greater or lesser extent. But very few people who describe themselves as transgender undergo cosmetic surgery of the genitals. Only about 4,118 Americans surgically altered their bodies in hospitals from 2000 to 2014 to appear like members of the opposite sex, according to a pro-transgender medical study. A Pentagon report commissioned by former Defense Secretary James Mattis said that “rates for genital surgery are exceedingly low- 2% of transgender men and 10% of transgender women.”
In Ohio, for example, in February, a judge forced parents of a teenage girl to give up custody so she could begin a lifetime of drug treatments and surgery that would allow her to appear as a male.
The progressive push to bend Americans’ attitudes and their male-and-female civic society around the idea of “gender identity” has already attacked and cracked many of the popular social rules that help Americans manage the cooperation and competition among and between complementary, different, and equal men and women.
These pro-gender claims have an impact on different-sex bathrooms, shelters for battered women, sports leagues for girls, hiking groups for boys, K-12 curricula, university speech codes, religious freedoms, free speech, the social status of women, parents’ rights in childrearing, children’s safety, practices to help teenagers, health outcomes, women’s ideals of beauty, culture and civil society, scientific research, prison safety, civic ceremonies, school rules, men’s sense of masculinity, law enforcement, military culture, and children’s sexual privacy.