A psychotherapist speaks on the teen trans trend

Shout out to 4th Wave Now for holding space for people to speak up and push back against  manipulating teens with false promises.

Submitted by Lane Anderson (a pen name)

I am a licensed psychotherapist. I’m writing this post on my last day at a teen health clinic, where I’ve seen patients and their families for nearly a decade.

In the past year especially, it’s become increasingly clear to me that I cannot uphold the primary value of my profession, to do no harm, without also seriously jeopardizing my standing in the professional community.  It’s a terrible and unfortunate conflict of interest. I’ve lost much sleep over the fact that, for a significant portion of my clients and their parents, I am unable to provide what they profess to come to me seeking: sound clinical judgment. Increasingly, providing such judgment puts me at risk of violating the emergent trans narrative which–seemingly overnight and without any explanation or push-back of which I am aware–has usurped the traditional mental health narrative.

When I am suddenly and without warning discouraged from exploring the underlying causes and conditions of certain of my patients’ distress (as I was trained to do), and instead forced to put my professional stamp of approval upon a prefab, one-size-fits-all narrative intended to explain the complexity of my patient’s troubles, I feel confused.  It’s as if I am being held hostage. No longer encouraged or permitted to question, consider or discuss the full spectrum of my patient’s mental health concerns, it has occurred to me that I am being used, my meager professional authority commandeered to legitimize a new narrative I may or may not wish to corroborate.

It’s been perilous to simply admit to not fully understanding it all–let alone disagree with the trans narrative.  There was no training or teaching. I was just suddenly told that some of my patients thought they were trapped in the wrong body and that was that.

After much soul searching, I felt I had no choice but to remove myself from this crippling work setting. Being told to exercise my clinical judgment with some clients, while ignoring it with others, made me feel like a fraud.

Throughout my career, I have come to my work with these thoughts in mind: that life is complex, that people are complex. But in one way or another, most people tend to balk at that kind of ambiguity. I try to assist people in flexing a little, try to help them find ways to manage life’s gray areas, and the occasional distress that comes from simply being conscious. But at the end of the day, I couldn’t deny it was a little weird for me to go on believing I could effectively teach others to be less rigid, more free people facing their lives head on, when I myself, their humble guide, was being exploited, tongue-tied by a new party line.

There are so many complex forces, from many different realms, coming into play with this trans wave.  Most people are completely unaware of these intersecting interests.


Unfortunately the culture war has done a number on the concept of critical thinking.  I have considered myself liberal my entire adult life, and I still am. But for a long time I couldn’t find anyone questioning this trans explosion who wasn’t on the far right. It made me feel like only conservatives were allowed to think, to consider this issue, but ultimately their thoughts were rendered meaningless due to their branding by the culture war. It’s essential that left-leaning people model critical thinking for the masses in this regard.

It’s important to link people like us together, who have been silenced, so we can resume contact with our critical thinking skills and reduce our growing sense of self doubt.  Divide and conquer is best accomplished through silencing, through calling into question those who speak out. There is so much of this attached to the trans movement. Even just wondering about a profound concept such as transgender is  labeled transphobic.

What I think has happened is that people are now phobic about their own gut responses to life. We are being systematically separated from our own intuition. This is fatal for a civilization, I think. Not that our intuition always tells the truth with a capital T, but it is a critical piece of who we are. Without it, we remain profoundly directionless, and more susceptible to coercion of all types.

What frightens me most about the trans movement is that the establishment has gotten involved and is leading it. I think that’s really weird. Clearly they are benefiting from it financially. So sad. It disturbs me to see how giddy my former medical director is to be part of this growing craze. We used to treat kids with mental health problems, but now it’s all about validating their emergent and shifting identities.

As professionals, if we don’t loudly prioritize their identities as being the most important thing about them (and identities do shift constantly in kids and teens), we risk coming across as unsupportive and even immoral. Identity development has always been a teen task, but in the past it wasn’t necessarily supposed to become a lifestyle, or colonize the entirety of your existence.

Our world is in a profound state of flux. We can’t begin to comprehend what the Internet has done to how we see ourselves. People are looking for ways to belong, ways to understand who they are in place and in time. They are looking to reduce the anxiety that comes when too much change happens all at once. I try and look at trans folks as people who are seeking to answer the new questions that have emerged in this early 21st century.  I have been trying to find a way to understand their urges to detach from their bodies, to undo that feeling of exile they experience in their own flesh.

We all want to get back to ourselves; it is our duty to reconnect with those weighty parts that inevitably sink to the depths of us, the parts too heavy to remain on the surface of our lives.

From what I can see, the age-old human task to reclaim that which has gone missing appears to be manifesting with great prominence in the trans community. The problem is this: we all look for shortcuts to finding the lost treasure. It’s human nature to resist the long and serpentine journey to our own sense of personal truth. In our fear, in our self doubt, we calculate the risk and often decide it is preferable to be shown what another person–a “helping professional” or an activist–bills as a sure thing, a direct path to what we sense we lack.

We all, on some level, hold a childlike fantasy that someone else has figured it out and can provide us a direct map to ourselves. And that’s what the trans narrative does. It promises to guide the follower to their essential, authentic self.  But this, unfortunately, doesn’t happen, because the essential self, whatever that is, is not created from another’s road map, but can only be comprised of the trails we forge ourselves.

What saddens me the most is the way children are being trained to think their parents do not love them if mom and dad don’t jump aboard the trans train. To me, this is a brutal aspect of a near-dictatorship being foisted on everyone. The kids are too young to see that there are no other people who will have their backs, throughout life with lasting devotion, in the unique way their families will. They think these new friends they’ve made online understand them perfectly. And in believing this unquestioningly, they find themselves lulled by the frictionless experience delivered most powerfully by group think.

Of course, I’m describing the pull of all cults; that deep human desire to be known through and through and through.The cult experience seeks to end the frustration that naturally comes when we mature and begin to see ourselves as separate beings. In our separateness, we must do the hard work of truly learning to know another. Group think reduces the fear that comes when we are unsure if we will be located by another, when we remain unable to locate ourselves.

Cults and closed narratives neutralize and tame what we see as the unknown. I think somebody needs to put a refresher out there on the cult mindset and group think.  People seem to have forgotten that we are all very easily influenced by each other. Carl Elliot wrote about this in relation to body dysmorphic disorder (people wanting to amputate their own limbs because they disidentify with them) in the Atlantic, “A new way to be mad.”

One common trait I’ve noticed in nearly all the trans kids I’ve met has been their profound sense of being different, and too alone. They often have had little success with making friends, or what I would call contact with “the other.”  Because of their psychic isolation, they are prime targets for group think narratives. But in addition to looking for a way to belong, they are also craving protection and the stamp of legitimacy, perhaps because they feel a profound lack of it.

Now that the government and medical communities are involved in the creation of who trans folks are, this class of individuals have finally found their safe havens. Now, rather than being merely invisible and awkward, they have been transformed into veritable leaders of a revolution. Now, rather than cower in the shadows, they have commandeered the narratives of others into a similar dark and brooding place where they once were. The tables, as they lived and viewed them, have now turned.

It’s got to be dizzying for these formerly “ugly ducklings” to find themselves at the center of a flock of swans. To become a part of the movement, to finally be seen and found as whole, alive, and most importantly, wanted, all they have to do is renounce the very bodies in which they feel they have been imprisoned. In doing so, the promised payoff is very big, for they have finally found a way to render mute all those who once discounted and disbelieved them. Through silencing others who threaten them, they have unearthed a means of silencing their own self hate. Rather than being afraid of themselves, they make others fear what they have become.

Psychologically these interpersonal tactics would once upon a time have been categorized as immature, “primitive” defenses erected by an undifferentiated self that cannot see the self or others as whole creatures.  But as I witness it in my own practice, this is the basic thinking underlying the psychology of the trans narrative. In her recent blog post, “My Disservice to My Transgender Patients,” Dr. Kathy Mandigo talks about feeling threatened by some of her MTF patients.

Many of the trans kids I’ve worked with will joke about how they and their friends are dictators, “masters of the universe!” I find that clinically significant. This is something toddlers do when they are first discovering they are separate from their rulers (parents). Rather than fear the parent, they seek to control the parent, exert their will on the parent and co-opt the parent’s power as their own. In doing this they hide from view their terror at facing their own powerlessness.

Ideally, the child will gradually outgrow this urge to control, will gradually relinquish the dictatorial need to create safety through controlling the external realm. When that happens,  we say it is a sign of maturity. As our own sense of agency grows, we are better able to forfeit the habit of controlling others. We also begin to feel guilt at the idea of controlling others, as we begin to see them as separate from us, 3D human beings instead of mere props on our psychic stage.

Unfortunately some people have a hard time making this shift. They get stuck or addicted to manipulating their external environment, and will continue to create inner safety through the constant and relentless work of controlling others.

Last week in a team meeting, our medical director said he was meeting with a girl who identifies as FTM to discuss top surgery and testosterone treatment.  Apparently, according to the director,  the girl’s mom is slowing down the process of transition.  Bad mom, right? The director added that the girl’s mom told her that 9 out of 9 of her daughter’s friends also identify as FTM.

At this point I couldn’t hold my tongue any longer. I said, “Can we not be honest and see that we are dealing with a trend?” Of course, everyone else  at the table was mute.  Considering I’m leaving my post, I felt bold enough to say that I found it infuriating we couldn’t discuss this topic clinically. More silent colleagues (except their eyes were wide as if they wanted me to keep talking and taking the risk for them). I said that what we were doing as a medical community was potentially very harmful, and made mention of some of the videos I’d watched featuring transmen who decided to go off testosterone.  The medical director prides himself in providing special services for those patients he deems unjustly marginalized by society. But he can’t see how the medical community has become complicit in the oppression he earnestly seeks to remedy.

A large part of the problem comes with the revolution in health care. More and more, we are giving people the power to define their own treatments. This is good in many ways, but the trans movement is using this moment, and is actively recruiting young, psychologically undefined and frightened people to push their agenda through the medical community. It’s clearly not that difficult to do. These kids are just pawns. That’s how it looks to me anyway. The trans community needs more converts so that the narrative becomes more cohesive. I’m guessing the push for this comes from a need to further cohere so they will have more members to fully cement a fragile, constructed reality.

We–people who don’t identify as trans–are the external realm that must be controlled to bring the trans community the inner peace they now lack. But they don’t understand that they will never find calm or strength this way. You cannot find yourself through coercing others. You cannot extinguish your fears by turning from them. The trans community must face their own fears, face themselves and their own demons.

They can’t wipe out their fear that they are not really transitioning by censoring the thoughts and expressions of others. If they believe they are trans, they shouldn’t need to spend so much effort foisting that belief on others.

The fact that they do dictate to others is to me diagnostic of their very condition. They are uncertain about who and what they are. No sin in that. That’s human.  The transgression comes in refusing to accept this uncertainty, and in sacrificing the lives and consciences of others to nullify your own self doubt.

Conflict on Campus: @UVicWomyn call to save the Women’s Centre

Tweeted by Alison Chapman: "Seen outside the uvic women's centre. And another reason why feminists need to be radical #uvic" https://twitter.com/alisonfchapman/status/609092471482556416

Tweeted by Alison Chapman: “Seen outside the uvic women’s centre. And another reason why feminists need to be radical #uvic” https://twitter.com/alisonfchapman/status/609092471482556416

Tara Prema, Feminist Current, July 21, 2016

After 35 years, the University of Victoria Student Society (UVSS) Women’s Centre is moving to adopt a new name and a new mission, but not everyone is on side. The small office and lounge in the Student Union Building re-opened in June 2016 after a two-week closure; however, the Centre remains unstaffed amid controversy and alleged misconduct involving staff, members, and an ex-coordinator who is transgender.

In November 2015, the UVSS Women’s Centre announced it would be changing its collective name to “Third Space” and expanding to serve not only “self-identified women,” but any “gender variant and gender non-conforming person.” This change appears to be in line with UVic’s updated human rights policy prohibiting discrimination on grounds of “sex (including gender identity).” But the change conflicts with the wishes of some students and with UVSS bylaws that specify the space is for UVic women.

Women’s history

From 1973 to 1981, the University of Victoria Women’s Action Group (one of BC’s first organizations for women’s liberation) pressured the UVSS to establish a women-only drop-in, library, and referral service. In the years since, the Women’s Centre collective lobbied for women’s history courses, expanded daycare facilities, and campus safety, and held workshops on topics from feminist theory to self-defense.

Back then, women’s studies departments, rape crisis centres, and equal rights in higher education did not exist. There were few tenured women and even fewer supports for female students.

The battles took years, but activists succeeded in establishing the centres and a measure of equal rights on campus, as well as bases of operation to organize more widely against rape, harassment and discrimination. The UVic collective, described as a “strong, radical, feminist voice on campus,” led and participated in women-only events from Take Back the Night to pro-choice initiatives, and provided a place for women to discuss feminist theory and plan for action without fear of male censorship.

Shelagh Day was on the frontlines with WAG during those years of struggle for crucial rights and resources. She is now president and senior editor of the Canadian Human Rights Reporter and a member of the Order of Canada. “I do think women’s space is extremely important,” Day says by phone from Vancouver. “It certainly was when women began to be active at UBC and UVic.”

“It remains important to have spaces where women can talk about their lives and their experiences as women and how they analyze that,” Day says.

“I’m always disturbed when women’s spaces are taken away or money is taken away from women’s activities and women’s networking. Of course, other groups also need spaces that are comfortable and appropriate for them. And I think it’s really important that that happens. What I worry about is particularly women’s space being taken away or defunded or turned into something else.”

“Divided and toxic”

Today the Centre is undergoing “turbulence and discomfort,” according to a July 12, 2016 letter to members from Erin Ewart, UVSS executive director,

“[I]ndividuals have not felt safe, have been oppressed, and have been bullied in the space,” Ewart wrote. “All these experiences have culminated in a collective that is divided, a center that is toxic, harassment, and a sense of hopelessness moving forward.”

According to The Martlet, UVic’s student newspaper, the website was closed temporarily and social media accounts were “deactivated” earlier this year. Reached by phone at the UVSS office, Ewart says, “There were concerns about privacy, so the website was temporarily taken down to update the passwords.”

The website was restored in June 2016. Shortly thereafter, a message appeared on the page that Ewart says was “not put up by either of the coordinators.” The post castigated the university for not doing enough to prevent sexual assaults and concluded “UVic is the enemy.”

In June 2016, the collective held a Community Debrief in an attempt to address conflicts at the Centre. A collective member who goes by the name Lexa MacKay* recounts a chaotic scene:

“There was a lot of disruption. [Former coordinator] Daphne Shaed demanded that the hiring committee bypass union rules and hiring rules and get [Shaed] back as a hire. But that wasn’t going to happen. Nadia [Hamdon], the new coordinator, was already hired, and the hiring committee was happy with her. They said she is extremely qualified.”

During the meeting, Shaed, who self-identifies as a “tranny cyborg Hindu daphne shaedwoman,” and a “heterosexual lesbian,” accused Centre coordinator Kay Gallivan of “transmisogyny.” A supporter of Shaed asked Gallivan if she was “afraid of transwomen.”

A second meeting was scheduled for July 14, 2016. According to MacKay, a long-time collective member, Hamdon and Gallivan spoke of “continued incidents of harassment since the previous meeting and they said they were afraid to go in [to the Centre] because they felt unsafe.” The Centre is not currently operating, they said.

Jim Dunsdon, Associate VP for Student Affairs, was present to warn the group that the Third Space website may have been hacked and that the Centre could face sanctions for its message.

Discussion focused on moving forward from this turbulent period and completing the transition to Third Space, including changing the Centre’s signage.

“In moving forward, it is also important to recognize the difference between having a voice, advocating for change and calling bodies in when oppression has occurred and engaging in bullying and harassment type behaviors,” Ewart wrote in the July 12 letter. “The focus needs to begin to shift to the bigger picture and away from two individuals. Harassment can take many forms and can be anything from subtle, passive comments, to acts of violence.”

Voting or consultation?

Regarding the change from “Women’s Centre” to “Third Space,” Ewart says no further consultation with students is planned.

“We did a large consultation with surveys and polls that went out,” she says. When asked for details, Ewart referenced a poll that was posted on the Centre’s website. The web poll introduced the subject of a more “inclusive” name and asked respondents what name they would prefer and why. The survey has since been closed and the results have not been made public.

MacKay says a group of feminists on campus provided extensive feedback via the poll. “We felt it was erasing women,” she says. “They just went ahead and [made the changes] anyway without even talking about the criticism.”

Third Space is currently the unofficial name of the Centre, according to policies adopted at its annual meeting in November, and Ewart says the Third Space name will be official once it’s approved by the collective.

The Third Space website suggests the change might still be subject to “a referendum for all undergraduate students to vote on this matter.”

In any case, according to UVSS bylaws, the space is the Women’s Centre, and membership is limited to “all registered undergraduate women students.” Changing UVSS bylaws requires either a two-thirds vote by the directors, a two-thirds vote of members at a general meeting, or a majority vote in a student referendum.

The new Third Space constitution distances feminism from its history as a political movement for women’s liberation and the end of patriarchal oppression, defining it instead as “a mode of analysis that recognizes the right of every self-identified women, non-binary, and gender fluid to develop to their potential free from oppression” [sic].

The Centre and its staff are funded entirely by student fees, and female students make up 60 per cent of the student body.

The discourse

Controversy has dogged the Centre in the past year. While serving as Finance Coordinator, Shaed attracted negative attention for publishing a full-page, full-frontal nude photo in the June 2015 edition of the Third Space zine produced by the UVSS Women’s Centre. The image was titled “My body is not my shame — Daphne Shaed, Tranny Cyborg.”

Shaed, a political science, linguistics, and computer science student, drew criticism again in February 2016 after tweeting a photo of a student pouring red paint across UVic Pride’s new rainbow crosswalk along with the hashtag, #feelingsilenced. Shaed brushed off accusations of vandalism, tweeting, “the paint washes off, just like your inclusivity.”

“They don’t speak for us,” a Martlet commenter responded at the time. “[Shaed’s] attitude is exclusionary and they are frankly bullies. But any critique of action is shot down – even anonymous concerns are dismissed as ‘cis/straight’ trolls.’”

As of mid-July 2016, Shaed is still listed on the Centre’s website as a coordinator.

Meanwhile, MacKay says feminist literature and discussions that are critical of gender theory, pornography, and prostitution are not permitted at the Centre. After leaving feminist pamphlets at the Centre in January, she received an email from Shaed, explaining that members of the Centre may not challenge certain ideology, including the notion that “sex work is work” and the idea that “woman” is defined based on “a system of self-identification.”

MacKay asked:

”Is there room for ideological diversity in the Women’s Centre? I would like to run a radical feminist group. Would you find that acceptable?”

Shaed replied:

“[W]e can not support discourses that inherently erase others. There is room for discussions in the Women’s Centre, but not when it comes at the expense of undermining the legitimacy of other members and their identities.”

Student frustration with the change is evident on a Twitter page called @UVicWomyn, which was started by MacKay and some other anonymous women in an effort to respond to the proposed repurposing of the Centre.

An email to Centre members from Gallivan and Hamdon said the @UVicWomyn account constitutes “a form of bullying and harassment,” adding, “The UVSS and the Third Space coordinators have taken steps to get the page removed.”




Earlier this year, the Centre’s collective apologized for its “deep history of ‘radical feminism’” which they characterized as “exclusionary, racist, and trans exclusive.” The group committed to “unlearning elitist social justice mentalities.”

Safety and equality

The issues confronted by UVic women three decades ago are still on the front pages today. University parents still struggle for adequate childcare services and sexual assault survivors on campus still find their safety is not a priority with administrators (although their silence is).

Meanwhile, the rate of male violence against women is rising in BC and across the country. In 2015, 19 BC women were murdered by men, two of them in Victoria, and a spate of sexual assaults against women in communities near the University in July 2016 has women on edge.

“A number of women [have been] assaulted on campus,” MacKay says.

“Men target women for assault and it’s not based on how we identify, it’s based on our biology. Women are attacked because we’re female. Being born with a vulva is an automatic target on your back for sexual violence.”

She says women-only spaces protect women by removing the threat of male violence.

@UvicWomyn points out that trans students will benefit from a million-dollar endowment for a Chair of Transgender Studies announced early in 2016.

While the group is in favour of safe space for transgender or “gender fluid” students, they also want space available specifically for women.


@UvicWomyn’s online petition states that “people born male who identify as women have the right to their own space, but not at the expense of women’s space.”

The petition, which gathered over 250 signatures in its first three days, continues:

“Women-born women also have the right to organize on their own terms with others who share the female designation at birth and who were socialized as women, in order to heal from and organize against male exploitation and oppression of women that’s based on our biology and socialization.”

Lee Lakeman, a feminist pioneer and the founder of one of the country’s first safe houses for women, agrees. “My experience is that women-only space is vital to anti-violence work. We seem to think differently, more strategically in that space. It’s easier for women to be bold where we don’t feel censored,” she told me over phone.

“Once you accept that women don’t have equality in society, then it’s fairly obvious that women need to be able to distance themselves from men in order to collectivise.”

“In order for women to have enough room to think, they need some time away from the overpowering presence of men,” she says.

Tara Prema is a former student of journalism and women’s history.

*Lexa MacKay is a pseudonym used at the request of the student, who fears reprisals, including harassment and removal from the collective and the Centre

Dear @MayorGregor: Thanks for the sex

An open letter to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson

Dear Mayor Robertson,

I want to thank you for making it so easy to buy women in your city. It means a lot to men like me.

Let me explain. I’m a john. I buy sex from women on the street, in massage parlours, from online ads. And I’m not ashamed. Why should I be? Sure, it’s against the law, but you and the police are on my side, right? That’s great. The system is working fine – don’t change a thing.

I live in the suburbs and I drive into Vancouver whenever I get the urge. When I roll up, the girls come right over. Makes me feel like a king.

Feminists make a big deal about prostitution being dangerous. Sure, the girls are nervous about serial killers and so on. I can tell by the way they look at me when I get them alone. But do feminists ever think about the needs of men like me? At least this way, I get what I want without the risk of being charged and having to go to court. I’m a family man after all.

So what if I break the law? Sometimes in more ways than one. But a working girl in Vancouver isn’t going to call the cops because Vancouver police won’t do anything. I feel good knowing that’s not an option for her. Powerful.

Feminists make such a big deal about consent. I say as soon as she takes my money, she’s already consented to whatever I want to do to her. If she had other skills, why isn’t she using them? She’s making money on her back and she should be grateful for whatever she gets, even if it’s only a cot in a dirty basement. There are plenty of desperate refugees who would trade places with her. I think I’ve had a couple actually. I’m an equal-opportunity employer.

Of course, we all understand the coercion part. But honestly, do these feminists think police will even try to stop sex trafficking in Vancouver? When there are so many girls and young women in other countries with barely any hope of surviving war and famine? Not to mention the situation on indigenous reserves. At least here they have a slightly better chance of survival, and the main thing is, they’re doing a useful service for men like me.

I’m just one of thousands of johns in and around your city. So listen up, because this is what it’s all about – men looking for girls. Where we go doesn’t matter, whether it’s Main Street, in the suburbs, or in your neighbourhood. Who we find doesn’t matter. She could be anyone. We’re the the only ones who matter. It’s about being real men. We should be able go out with our bros, find some girl and have a real good time. It’s because we want what we can’t get at home. Most women, like my wife, are prudes who can’t take what I’m giving. So the hell with them, I’ll find someone who will.

When my sons get old enough, I’m taking them to a brothel so they can pick out any girl they want. That’s what my dad did for me, and his dad for him. They say before white men came to this place, there were no prostitutes, no bawdyhouses, and no word for rape. Well I say you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. We built this country, we civilized it, and I’ll tell you, Vancouver today is a great place to be a free man with cash in your pocket.

Keep up the good work buddy,


Creating John-Free Communities


Transwoman charged in “hate crime” will go to trial


Brooklyn Fink admits burning a Pride flag last year at University of British Columbia in an act that advocates called a “hate crime.” However, this week the male-to-trans student pleaded “not guilty” to the vandalism that frightened other students and led to the cancellation of a transgender march of remembrance. So far Fink has refused to be represented by a lawyer. The trial is set for three days in March 2017.


The most radical, revolutionary gender practice ever

If you really want to play with gender, particularly if you’re male, then the best way to do that – the most radical, revolutionary, genuinely non-masculine conforming thing you can do – has nothing to do with your dress or your hair or your makeup or your choice of pronouns.

As a male person, the most gender non-conforming thing you can do is to stop making demands of women – of their time, of their resources, of their domestic, emotional and sexual labour. You can stop calling your mother cis scum, and start helping her with the domestic chores. You can stop asking what feminism can do for you, and start asking what you can do to make the world a little more amenable to women.”

– Anonymous


Police seek BC transwoman for gender clinic “terror”


via Gendertrender

Police have issued an arrest warrant for Jayne Ellen Heideck, a suspect in the arson attack on Dr. Pierre Brassard’s gender surgery clinic in Montreal.

On May 2nd, a man carrying a machete, an ax, and a gas can entered the side door of the clinic after hours. He was witnessed by a worker who assumed he was a fellow employee who was locked out by the back dumpsters. The man rushed past him into the operating theatre and ignited the incendiary, which set off the sprinkler system, damaging clinic equipment and supplies. He left the premises before the fire department arrived. Personnel who remained in the building evacuated and no one was harmed. Over $700,000. in damage was caused, and surgeries were cancelled for two days until an alternate temporary facility was arranged.

The transgender community described the incident as an “act of terror” against transgenders, likened to attacks by men on women’s reproductive health providers, and called for hate crime charges to be brought against the perpetrator. Egale, the Canadian Human Rights Trust, stated:

“This act of arson is a symbolic affront to Canada’s trans community, and nothing short of hate crime. The attack underlines the threat of violence that is endured by Canadian trans people on a daily basis, and affirms the continued need for positive change in our country’s public perception of trans people.”

The suspect, Jayne Hellen Heideck, 42, of British Columbia, is a transwoman and apparent ex-patient of Brassard’s. Heideck is charged with breaking and entering, arson by negligence, arson with disregard for human life, among other charges.

While the transgender community decried the lack of outrage that the “hate crime” received in the mainstream press and blogosphere, common sense led most sites, including this one, to suspect the perpetrator may be a member of the transgender community itself.

In 2012 transgender activists attempted to fire bomb a Wells Fargo bank in Portland.

In 2012 transgender activists shut down the University of Pittsburgh repeatedly via bomb threats scrawled on bathroom walls and sent over the internet.

In 2012 a transgender activist threatened to firebomb the feminist London Radfem 2012 conference.

In 2015 a transwoman was convicted in an arson attack on the San Francisco home of facial feminization surgeon Doug Ousterhout.

In 2015 Stacie Laughton, first elected openly transgender state representative, was arrested for threatening to firebomb a hospital.

In 2016, a transwoman confessed to an arson attack on the Gay Pride flag at the University of British Columbia.

How I became a cis-privileged shitlord

by Anonymous. Originally posted on Young Radical Feminists.

Josephine Bloggs

I never thought I’d end up one of the “Freeze Peach” brigade. I am, and always have been, a knit-your-own hummus guardian-reader type. My parents both wear birkenstocks, and weep loony lefty tears at the music of Billy Bragg. I always prided myself on being so broad-minded that there would be no cap capacious enough to accommodate my great, broad temple, bulbous with pious left-wing views. No minority was, well, minor enough for me. My lapels were positively weighty with rosettes and badges for this or that struggle – gay rights, women’s lib, etc. Greer was my God, the earnest feminist discussion group my church. I would tell men to “check their privilege”, or just generally put a sock in it with the zeal of the young and right-minded. The cannon, I gleefully told my fellow students, was sexist. It was important that we hold our tongues and listen to the views of those more marginalised. Public discourse, I maintained, was and is dominated by self-important white heterosexual men, with accents even plummier than my own. I still believe this – really, I do. I believed that freedom of speech could and should be curtailed in order to address what I saw (and still do see) as a fundamentally unequal status quo. The oppressed must be heard over the oppressor. That is, of course, until I got to university, and found out that it was, in fact, me, who was the oppressor. It was then that I found out I was cis, you see.

I’m well-versed in feminist stats. Two women a week die at the hands of a current or ex partner in the UK. Men own 95% of the world’s resources. The average entry age into prostitution in Europe is 15. FGM is endemic, and has reared its ugly head here in the UK. There is so much to be done. You can only imagine my surprise when I found that student feminism centred around pronouns, safe spaces, trigger warnings. The world is cruel to women, and rather than fight it, my fellow “feminists” wanted gender-neutral bathrooms and the right to ignore the ills inflicted upon other women. I criticised the porn industry and was duly chided for being “sex-negative”. I was boring, old-hat, a frigid old bra-burner; an oppressive one at that! Women, you see, cannot conceive of the endless harm done to non-binary and trans people by brats like myself. Woman, the implication was, has had the monopoly on suffering for too long. To struggle is to have a macbook, teal hair, and the pronoun “xir”; ten or so years ago these bouji brats would have been content being goths – but now they’re non-binary. Do you, dear reader, conform religiously to the dictates of gender? Are you not a walking pastiche of your sex? Trouser-clad women, look away now – you are, in fact, non-binary. Being non-binary sounds brill, to be fair. Even if you have a penis, you get to whinge a great deal, and tell women in no uncertain terms to shut up. Behaviour that would have seen you deemed a big dirty sexist three or so years ago gets you a great many approving nods in modern feminist circles. I had long thought that, as feminists, our whole schtick was that there was no such thing as the male or female brain – that woman had the grey matter necessary to lead countries and become CEO’s. That it was nurture, not nature, that had seen women consigned to the kitchen. These long-held views were thrown out the window in order to appease trans-activists. Caitlyn Jenner, I was told by one militant atheist-feminist, had a “feminine soul”. That would explain where all his/her decathlon medals and sired offspring came from!

Universities are pretty bad for sexual assault. That’s stating the obvious, really: the world is bad for sexual assault. But universities particularly so: lots of young people, many of whom spent the past 12 years in a single sex environment, suddenly descend upon a campus or small university town, and hit the pub. Efforts on campus to teach people about meaningful consent and things like that are meagre. The NUS’ one concessionary bid at combating sexual assault on campus was to ban pop ditty “Blurred Lines”, elevating a standard-issue sexist song into the martyr-ly anthem of free speech advocates who like creepy songs about coercing reluctant beaus into bed (or, to call a spade a spade, assault.) All women know about creepy men: there are few women who haven’t lingered too long by the tampon machine in the women’s toilet in order to escape the advances of a leering lech in a nightclub. Our student union bar has two such women’s toilets: sensible, considering that girls inexplicably wee more, and the university rugby team (the male one, naturally), has taken to pissing on the floor of the union bar at sports nights: the women’s toilets are often a great deal more appealing than the bar itself. This state of affairs will be coming to an end soon – one of the women’s toilets will be changed into a “gender neutral” one soon: for “non-binary people.” This is obviously very nice for non-binary people with penises (although any good feminist knows that penis does not mean male, you guys!), but not so fun for tedious, whining uterus-bearers, many of whom fear sexual assault, and know and recognise single-sex spaces such as toilets as a place of welcome respite from the threatening behaviour of men. Que sera sera – these spaces are hardly sacrosanct anyway. I recently went for a wee in the women’s loos, only to find the seat up and the bowl covered in piss. Interesting.

When I tentatively suggested that banning Julie Bindel (“Bindel”: the name alone is “triggering”) from campus might be a bit daft, I was deemed a transphobe, my presence in the university feminist group “unsafe”. God forbid your ideas go unchallenged at university! But the echo-chamber prevailed – she was turfed (or should that be TERF-ed?) from campus. The students slept safe in their beds (or polyamorous communes) once more. In the two years since, I marvel at my naivety. On the cusp of graduation, I would never dare to air my unpopular views like that. As a “cis” woman, I know full well that I am perennially on the verge of “cissexism” – to observe that the penis is male is akin to saying that you think that babies are lovely, but better fried than grilled. I play sports, but wouldn’t dare suggest to my team that I think it might be just a little unfair that transwomen can compete with women in the Olympics. That would be terribly oppressive – transwomen may be allowed to compete with the advantage of denser bones, greater height, superior strength, and testosterone levels seven times that of the average “cis” woman, but what about their feelings? The hard work and perseverance of potential gold medallist females pales in comparison to the importance of the feelings of transwomen; everything does, in fact. To question that a bloke in a frock has had the same experience of womanhood as, well, a woman, is oppressive. So don’t do it. Ever. That’s my experience of it, at least. That’s how I came to find myself on the side of those people I’d disdained for so long: free speech advocates. Bristly-necked men who consider it their constitutional right to watch rape porn; frothy-mouthed Christians who picket abortion clinics; religious fanatics who call gay people the most appalling things. And now me – a whey-faced guardian reader who queries the right of a man in a mini-skirt to use the women’s loos. Just recall the candidates for this year’s NUS women’s officer. One of the candidates has a manifesto that boasts of trans rights, and a five o’clock shadow to rival my Dad’s: by modern standards, he’s a far better feminist that I’ll ever be.

ISIS executes 250 women and girls for refusing to be ‘sex slaves’

The cold-blooded killings allegedly took place in Mosul, the second biggest city in Iraq, after the victims were hand-picked by IS soldiers.

The women were forced into temporary marriage, or sexual jihad, and those who refused were murdered, sometimes with their families, said Kurdish Democratic Party spokesman Said Mamuzini.

Islamic State vehicles drive through Mosul. Photo: AAP

“At least 250 girls have so far been executed by the IS for refusing to accept the practice of sexual jihad, and sometimes the families of the girls were also executed for rejecting to submit to IS’s request,” Mr Mamuzini told AhlulBayt news agency.

Another official, Ghayas Surchi from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan said women were not allowed to go out alone in the city or choose their own spouse.

IS forcefully gained control of Mosul in June 2014 after the fall of the Iraqi army, but US President Barack Obama said he was positive the city would be reclaimed “eventually”.

An Islamic State fighter holds an ISIL flag and a weapon in Mosul. Photo: Reuters

“My expectation is that by the end of the year, we will have created the conditions whereby Mosul will eventually fall,” Mr Obama said on Monday.

The horrific executions echo similar killings that took place last August, when almost two dozen women from Mosul were slain for refusing sex with Islamic State soldiers.

Yahoo7 News, April 22 2016

The Pimping of Pregnancy: Exposing the international commercial surrogacy business

From Julie Bindel, Byline

Birthing a Market, A Study on Commercial Surrogacy (2012) estimates that there are currently 3000 clinics in India offering surrogacy services. Surrogacy is a 2.3 billion dollar industry annually. Around 10,000 foreign couples visit India for reproductive services each year.

Dr Nayna Patel, a frontrunner of the Indian surrogacy movement, heads the Akanksha Infertility Clinic in Gujarat, where more than 600 surrogate babies have been born. Not only does Patel see the industry growing, she is gearing up for it and is building what is being dubbed as the world’s first multi-million dollar ‘baby factory’ in Anand, Gujarat, which will be a one-stop-destination for surrogacy. Patel predicts a 12 percent growth in the sector per year.

Whilst the rich Westerners buying surrogacy services often see the ‘service’ as a human right, many would argue that using poor, brown women as incubators is racist, colonialist, and akin to prostitution.

This reproductive tourism is usually viewed as unproblematic, and almost an act of kindness on behalf of the commissioning parents, because, it is argued, the women who carry the babies have no other way to earn a living.

But in Gujarat, and other poor, rural parts of India, parents of multiple daughters sometimes sell the older ones to trafficking gangs and pimps, who take them to cities to work as surrogates and earn money for their younger sisters’ dowries. Surrogates in India are usually paid under $8,000.

Once working as surrogates, women can be kept in cramped quarters and told when to eat, drink, and sleep. Monitored like prisoners, they may be required to refrain from sex and riding bicycles. Surrogates can also be prevented from using painkillers, even for conditions such as migraine, or required to take medicines like Lupron, estrogen, and progesterone to help achieve pregnancy, all of which can have damaging side effects.

During the ‘pimping of pregnancy’ project I would visit several countries that are known as hot spots in the rent a womb business, such as India, Thailand, and Mexico.

Countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria prohibit all forms of surrogacy. In countries including the UK, Ireland, Denmark and Belgium, surrogacy is allowed where the surrogate mother is not paid, or only paid for reasonable expenses. Paying the mother a fee is prohibited.

Commercial surrogacy is legal in some US states, for example, California, and countries including India, Russia and Ukraine.

In these countries, with vastly different legal systems, I would meet the commissioning parents; brokers; clinicians; surrogate women; and those campaigning to end the commercial trade in wombs. I would ask the question, is outsourcing reproduction another form of bonded labour, and is it widening the gap between rich and poor, the global north and south. Would commercial surrogacy exist at all if it were not for the increasing acceptance of the financial exploitation of the female body?

I would also look at the boom in the sale of breast milk. In the US, new mothers with professional careers are offered work-based ‘lactation rooms’ as incentives to return to work as soon as possible after giving birth. They can make on-line bookings for the purpose-designed pumping chairs in these rooms, where they can ‘comfortably’ plug in and express milk during a work-break. Lactation rooms are coveted as a sign of a caring workplace, with the newly developed ‘Corporate Lactation Policies’ of companies like Goldman Sachs becoming an accepted substitute for maternity leave.

Very poor women are being pimped and coerced into selling their milk, and there are even instances where the women are impregnated in order to produce the milk for sale. I would be looking at how ethical the companies that broker the sales, such as Prolacta, and whether it is aware of the exploitation behind the commercialisation of this product. I would talk to those who buy and sell, and look at the diverse stories behind this new and insidious form of wet nursing.

Please help me raise enough funds to do this research. I would bring you the very best in evidence, and will work hard to access interviews with those involved, in whichever way, in this market. I want to live in a world where it is unacceptable to put a price on a baby, or consider the inside of a woman’s body a saleable entity.

Read more The Byline.