British TERFs recruit by lying to women on the verge of a breakthrough. It’s happening here, too.

A woman sits at a laptop, gazing down at her baby, who’s on the floor next to her. She seems irritated.
A woman sits at a laptop, gazing down at her baby, who’s on the floor next to her. She seems irritated.
Watch out, Little Timmy, shit’s about to get weird. Photo by Standsome Worklifestyle on Unsplash.

So help me, I did not intend to spend part of my week pitying the TERFs on Mumsnet, but, thanks to a truly fantastic article by Katie J.M. Baker at Lux Magazine, that’s where I wound up.

Mumsnet, which began as a parenting forum twenty years ago, has become the premier digital hub of the British TERF movement. Checking in on the “women’s rights” forum on a Saturday afternoon reveals users railing against trans people being allowed to donate blood (“haemoglobins won’t change if someone just identifies as a different gender”), or police reports identifying trans people by their correct…

Andrew Sullivan and the New York Times provide a series of bad answers to the “trans question.”

More of a bisexual lighting question, really. Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

Last week, I found myself on the phone, trying not to shout at a reporter from the New York Times.

The shouting was about Substack. I was one of several people who left the platform over its choice to pay, platform and protect transphobic writers. Unfortunately, my post about leaving Substack caught lots of traffic, and I was being treated as an “expert.” Being a trans “expert” in a conversation about transphobia is the closest any human being can get to Hell without hitting Glenn Greenwald on the way down.

There was the writer who wanted to know why I…

On vision, visibility, and what I’m doing here.

Low trains visibility.
Low trains visibility.
PICTURED: Low trains visibility. (Photo by Jaime Dantas on Unsplash.)

The Day of Trans Visibility came and went while I was drafting this post. It was my first as an openly trans person. I wasn’t happy about it.

The day of Visibility, March 31, arrived this year on the week that Arkansas criminalized healthcare for trans minors. It came on the same week that Substack, a media corporation which was making headlines for its transphobia, received $65 million in venture capital funding. I want to be seen; I want a reason to celebrate. But at this moment, visibility is not enough.

We can see trans children now. Fictional trans kids…

The Clinton years aren’t what we really miss — it’s the power of being older and knowing better

Cuba Gooding Jr., Soleil Moon Frye, and Jared Leto in 1991. Photo: Barry King/Getty Images

Soleil Moon Frye’s documentary Kid 90, which premiered on Hulu this month, is an exercise in resurrected childhood. Frye was a child star in the early ’90s, the eponymous character in the show Punky Brewster, and she knew most of the other child and teen actors in the business. She often carried a camcorder to parties, and she now possesses footage of dozens of nostalgia-gilded faces caught at the height of their fame and completely off-guard. (David Arquette! Brian Austin Greene! Leonardo DiCaprio for about three seconds!)

What Kid 90 wants to say, outside of “look at all these famous…

Trans communities have always honored complex gender narratives

Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

When news first spread that 60 Minutes was planning to cover “detransitioners,” the trans community rightly panicked. Detransitioners — cis people, predominantly cis women, who used to identify as trans and now regret their transitions — have become a major flashpoint in the ongoing culture war around trans people. They are central to the work of Irreversible Damage author Abigail Shrier, who claims most adolescent trans boys are girls transitioning due to social contagion. They were the subject of a controversial 2017 piece by The Stranger’s Katie Herzog, even though most estimates suggest that only around 2% of all people…

The newsletter platform is the latest tech company to turn a blind eye to anti-trans arguments

Photo: Andrew Brookes/Getty Images

Last weekend, I announced my intent to abandon Substack. I surprised myself a little with the decision. I like my newsletter. I had content scheduled for two or three months in advance. I had been on the platform since early 2018, when I was recruited by co-founder Hamish McKenzie, who promised me that Toast founders Daniel Lavery and Nicole Cliffe were satisfied users. Yet, over the past several months, I had watched as the platform morphed into a haven for online transphobia, and when I hit my limit, I hit it hard.

The names on Substack now — Glenn Greenwald…

The rise and fall of New York’s governor is what happens when we treat male rage and intimidation as a leadership skill

Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Andrew Cuomo has never tried to hide who he is: The New York governor is a famous bully. He’ll publicly berate and scream at a reporter for asking a simple question about school closures. He’ll grab a female acquaintance by the face in front of cameras. His feud with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has been called the nastiest and pettiest dispute in politics; at one point, Cuomo stuck de Blasio with a $485 million Metropolitan Transportation Authority bill just to make his rival’s life harder.

Stories from Cuomo’s early career tend to include the phrase “relentless personal vendetta”…

Marvel’s latest hit is relentlessly overhyped, but it’s perfect for our Covid reality

Photo: Marvel Studios/Disney+

Just before the one-year anniversary of Covid-19, I started watching It’s a Sin. The widely acclaimed miniseries, by Queer as Folk creator and former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies, is about young men living through the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. I only ever had a child’s-eye view of those years: I volunteered at the local AIDS hospice in middle school and sat through school PSAs about how one mistake could kill you, but I never shared the terror or grief of adult gay men, who were losing boyfriends and friends and mentors in massive numbers. …

The roasting of earnest Millennials reflects an ancient, intergenerational war of feelings

Photo: Jason Connolly / AFP via Getty Images

There’s a moment from college that I remember with mortifying clarity. It was 2002, and I was sitting in a classroom, midway through a course on memoir writing as a form of social justice. This entailed a lot of personal disclosures from my classmates, all of which I found brilliant. Racism, sexism, homophobia; the war, which had recently started and which we vowed to end; the worst president in American history, George W. Bush. These issues concerned us, we cared about them, and more importantly, we were right about them every single time we opened our mouths.

“It’s amazing,” I…

The ‘debate’ over trans student-athletes relies on ancient — and false — ideas about women’s weakness

Photo: David Waldorf/Getty Images

In the early 2000s, I used to debate feminism with straight men. It’s a losing game, and I don’t advise you to try it, but I was in college, so chalk it up to youthful experimentation. The men I spoke to did not have the most advanced grasp on the matter, and tended to stall out at the “women aren’t worse than men” portion. By saying women were equal to men, they’d ask, wasn’t I really saying women were the same as men? Weren’t there some things men were just better at? I’d ask what they meant, and they’d sputter…

Jude Ellison S. Doyle

Author of “Trainwreck” (Melville House, ‘16) and “Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers” (Melville House, ‘19). Seen at Elle, In These Times & all across the Internet.

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