The happy TERF

I’ve been reading a lot about the terfwars I referred to in an earlier post. There are the MTF transgender folk participating as women in sporting events. There are the drag queens—that is, men in woman-face, walking parodies of female stereotypes—who like reading to kiddies but also, it seems, a spot of kiddy-fiddling too, or at least rolling on the floor with them, which, in my book, is called “grooming”. There was the idiot in an obscene monkey-costume advertising a child literacy program. There are the MTFs in female prisons where they threaten and assault both other inmates and, it seems, the staff too, and this despite the fact that a 2009 UCI study already found that 20.5% of men identifying as women are registered sex offenders and 49.8% of them have committed crimes against another person. Those numbers must have gone up a lot since gender self-identification became a Thing and getting access to women became as simple as telling people you are one. A British soap had an absurd story-line about a trans woman being assaulted by women in prison because she was trans. (If they’d assaulted her because she was a murderer, maybe that would’ve been OK?) In any case, nothing about women prisoners being assaulted by trans women, which is what happens in the real world.

Then there is the constant, often threatening, always vicious, wearing down of opposition on Twitter, Instagram, etc. by TRAs who don’t mind deviants but refuse to accept any deviation from their ideology. There is public, violent aggression towards those who disagree with them, as witnessed in the two (to date) demonstrations outside the Korea Town Wi Spa in Los Angeles (now my home city). I was disgusted to see people at the first protest surround and harass a lone woman, shouting insults at her as a “transphobe”, blocking her path, snatching away her hat and the poster she was carrying as she walked on a public pavement/sidewalk and exercised her 1st Amendment rights. If she wasn’t a transphobe before, you can bet your wig and glittery platform boots she is now. Stricto sensu, you see, the word ‘transphobe’ refers to someone who is afraid of trans people.

This is male privilege at its worst. This is men wanting access to women’s spaces; wanting women to STFU; wanting access to children.

Let’s take the spa incidents. On at least two occasions a biological male (not necessarily the same one) entered a part of a spa reserved for women and children only (since nudity is permitted there) and displayed his meat-and-two-veg for all to see—including a small girl. He talked in the shower about how much he liked having sex with women and was looking for a new girlfriend. But he was allowed in because he self-identified as a woman. This is California’s doing. According to California, the rights of men to enter female spaces is important and to be protected; the right of women to feel safe—which often means: to be somewhere people with penises and a Y chromosome cannot reach you—, is neither of these things. The woman who posted a review on Yelp said that she had seen trans women there before and had simply treated them as she would anyone in that part of the spa. This was different. This was a male-bodied person getting access to naked female-bodied persons, adults and children alike, and displaying himself—on one occasion semi-erect—before them. And they could do nothing about it, except tell the receptionist (who limply said it was the law), and then leave.

Just yesterday (July 17 2021) came the second Wi Spa protest, on which The Guardian wrote a report so misleading, so inaccurate, so anti-feminist that I have cancelled all of my contributions to it—the basic monthly ones and the extra ones too. I wrote explaining my reasons. I have read the Graun (as I used to refer to it affectionately) since I was a teenager. I have always been left-wing, but fairly moderate. Here they are the reasons I gave:

‘I have already cancelled my additional contributions on the basis of the outrageously inaccurate and dangerous report on the Wi Spa protests yesterday, 18vii21. I am going to rehearse my reasons again, though much good it will do me, or you.

First, it confused four distinct groups of protestors: RW fringe (QAnon; Proud Boys); RW Christian; and feminists, each protesting for different reasons. In the earlier protests, feminists and Christians were alike threatened, harassed, and intimidated by antifa, including a lone female. Did you see the video of that? The police didn’t turn up until these protestors had already been driven from the scene. This time, the police came. And maybe this escaped you, but antifa THANKED THE POLICE. Do you notice anything wrong with that sentence?

Second, feminists want women’s spaces, not, as you so condescendingly put it, “women’s spaces”, as if they, or women, weren’t real. I thought The Guardian supported feminism, but now you seem to have lost your collective marbles. Woman fought long and hard to get their own safe spaces. In many parts of the world, they still do. They can’t even take a crap in peace. But in the West we have our own problems, including from the RW—and from TRAs. There are plenty of transwomen who just want to talk about what they need to live in peace—effective protection from harassment, threats, intimidation, and worse. Just like women. And IRL all those things come, overwhelmingly, from men, ones with a functioning Y chromosome. 98% of violent criminals are male. Online, women and transwomen can be just as vile, threatening, and, yes, exclusionary. Excluding women.

Not “cis women”, BTW. Women. Less than 1% of the population is trans, and their enablers are taking power away from the rest of us, in life and in language.

We want to keep males out of female spaces: in prisons, changing-rooms, spas, refuges—anywhere where women are at their most vulnerable. Already there have been numerous attacks by transwomen in women’s only spaces. Transwomen are attacked by men, not by women, and women should not have to pay the price for keeping men safe. Transwomen should have their own safe spaces.

In this case a fully-intact male entered a women’s only space at least twice. On both occasions children were also present. On one occasion he was semi-erect. Do you really think that that is acceptable? Because if you do you are condoning perversion, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.’


Men in women’s sports:


Obscene monkey-costume:

Prison assaults:

Threats to TERFS [WARNING: not for the faint-hearted]:

Harassment and violence at the spa protest:

Hollyoaks story:

Anna Garlin Spencer

Today Anna Garlin Spencer (1851-1931) is remembered as a fighter for women’s rights—especially the right to vote and the right to receive an education—and for world peace.

Recently, however, I came across a quotation that throws a different and less flattering light on her life and work. Its source is a book by David Starr Jordan (also 1851-1931), an ichthyologist by trade, and also founding President of Stanford between 1891 and 1916. Jordan was a skeptic in some areas about what he called “sciosophy” (roughly equivalent to today’s “pseudoscience”), and wrote an influential book criticizing it called The Higher Foolishness. But he was not skeptical about eugenics. Jordan was also a pacifist, and a pacifist because he was a eugenicist: he thought that wars consistently kill off “the flower of youth”—the best young men in every generation—while leaving the morally and intellectually less gifted, in short the more unfit, to survive, to father children, and so to allow their genes to be passed down to future generations. The inevitable result of war, he argued, is that “the race” becomes weaker in every way.

Jordan served on the board of “The Human Betterment Foundation” which advocated forced sterilization of “the unfit”, and he also wrote several essays and books promoting his eugenicist ideas, perhaps the most famous being The Blood of the Nation: A study of the decay of races through the survival of the unfit (1902). In 1915 Starr wrote a book to popularize his ideas, called War and the Breed: the relation of war to the downfall of nations. It is in this book, on p121, that he quotes Garlin Spencer approvingly, as follows:

“Women bear the chief burden of personal care of the young, the undeveloped, the frail and sick, the aged, the feeble-minded, the socially incompetent. They have had to bear that burden ever since social sympathy forbade the strong to kill the weak by fiat of the state. This process of social protection of the incompetent has unquestionably lowered the average standard in human quality where it has worked unmodified by some science and art of race culture. War — and all that makes for war — is the worst hindrance to the attempt to relieve women of this overmastering burden of administering philanthropy, and to give her time and opportunity for her organic function of teaching and developing the normal and super-excellent specimens of the race. Not only does it destroy uselessly all the common wealth of humanity so terribly needed for projecting and realizing the social control that can truly advance individual life, but it deliberately and monstrously aids that ‘breeding downward’ which is the bane of civilization. . . . It is because of women’s peculiar functional relation to the social demand for race integrity and race culture that enlightened women must hate war and all that makes for war. It sinks under waves of bestiality and passion those ideals on which respect for womanhood and tender regard for the child have fibered the later progress of the race.”

This quotation is sourced (in a footnote) to a publication called The Independent, which so far I have not been able to locate. More information, and even the complete article from which the quotation is taken, may perhaps be found amongst Spencer’s collected papers, now housed at Swarthmore College. The pamphlet from which I got this information (published by Scholarly Resources Inc., 2005) also states that these are available only on microfiche. The pamphlet describes Garlin Spencer and her life like this:

“Anna Carpenter Garlin Spencer (1851-1931) was a minister, feminist, educator, pacifist, and writer on ethics and social problems. Perhaps inspired by the examples of her abolitionist mother, Nancy Carpenter Garlin, and her aunt, Sarah Carpenter, a missionary who worked with homeless women, Spencer dedicated her life to social reform. She was the first woman minister in Rhode Island, serving in Providence from 1819 to 1902 at the Bell Street Chapel, a liberal, nondenominational ethical church.

“Anna Garlin was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts, in 1851 and spent her youth in that state and in Rhode Island. In 1869 she began writing for the Providence Journal, as well as teaching in the public schools. She remained a journalist until 1878 when she married the Rev. William H. Spencer, a Unitarian minister. From 1902 until her death, Spencer held a series of teaching posts at such institutions as the University of Wisconsin, the University of Chicago, and Teacher s College at Columbia University. She taught on issues of religion, marriage and family, the role of women, sexuality, and philanthropy.

“Spencer was active in the cause of women s rights for more than forty years. She was a friend of well-known feminists, including Susan B. Anthony, Ednah Cheney, Lucy Stone, and Valeria H. Parker. In the 1890s she served as president of the Rhode Island Equal Suffrage Association. An early participant in the National Council of Women, Spencer was also president of that organization in 1920.

“Her interest in pacifism led Spencer to prominent positions in the cause for peace. She was on the Executive Committee of the National Peace and Arbitration Congress in 1907 and was a founding member of the Woman s Peace Party in 1915, serving as vice chairman. In 1919 she also became the first chairman of the national board of the Women s International League for Peace and Freedom.

“Spencer died at her home in New York in 1931.”

Only those phrases ‘writer on ethics and social problems’ and ‘the role of women’ might conceal Spencer’s eugenicist past. I would like to be able to pursue this point, but COVID-19 and my own unfitness make it impossible. Perhaps Garlin Spencer is as well known as a eugenicist as, say, Marie Stopes, who expressed similar opinions not only about the burden placed on women by unwanted children, but also about the burden placed on society by allowing the ‘degenerate, feeble-minded and unbalanced’, ‘the hopelessly rotten and racially diseased’, to have children. If an expert on Garlin Spencer reads this, I would welcome more information.