If you are a woman and you stand up for women’s rights, in these times, there is a cost, even if you’re insulated by class or wealth, by skin colour, by having valued skills. Over the years, women have spoken out about the new guise of misogyny – trans activism – only for their stories to disappear into silence.
Then, just last week, JK Rowling released her account of the barrage of misogynist harassment she was subject to for speaking out in defence of women’s sex-based rights. We want to show how widespread her experience is. She is an exceptional woman and yet, in this regard, she could be any of us. Any of us who have attempted to hold the line this past decade, as women’s rights and children’s safeguarding came under sustained attack.
What follows is a collection of accounts by women authors, journalists, thinkers, researchers, artists and filmmakers. Each woman describes the impact that trans activism, from the early 2010s to the present day, has had on her creativity, her voice and her ability to speak of her experience and her ideas.
What we see here is not a selection of isolated cases – uppity women being hammered back into place – but a pattern of targeted abuse of women to get us to stop speaking about femaleness, and the social consequences of femaleness. The desired outcome is to prevent women from influencing a shaping literary and artistic culture. In other words, erasure.
Some of the accounts are anonymous, for the obvious reasons brought to light by the wall of abuse in response to JK Rowling’s strategic interventions in the ‘Terf Wars.’ Lisa Littman was likewise bombarded, and professionally sidelined, for publishing research on ROGD. Maya Forstater was sacked for raising the difference between sex and gender on social media. The list is long. There is enough in these accounts to end careers and livelihoods, unless we are poised at the brink of genuine progress.
Some stories are from brave, trailblazing women who stuck their heads over the parapet in the earlier stages of this battle. They lost much, at the hands of trans activists, but their voices were not silenced. Quite the reverse.
This collection will stand as a snapshot of a period in history in which trans activism succeeded in making the facts of womanhood unspeakable. Well, nearly succeeded. We are certainly not done, yet.
- @JeanRhys1 & Me
- Anonymous Was a Woman
- An Author of a Certain Age
- A Literary Ghosting
- Character Assassination
- Skewing the Stats, Skewering the Statistician – Alice Sullivan
- Whispering Campaigns
- Smoke Bombing Women at Grenfell – Joan Smith
- Using the Rainbow as a Cudgel – Jess de Wahls
- Reality is Lawless, Fiction is Truth – Libby Emmons
- Bullshit Said With Confidence Becomes the Truth – Rachel Ara
- Under His Eye
- Be Kind, or We’ll Kerb-Stomp You, Bitch