So we’re carrying on with my random thoughts and philosophical musing about the whole Transgender debate that is flooding once again through Pagan spaces…rather than having fun and playing WoW. I swear, I hate doing this stuff sometimes. So let’s keep looking at: Transgender Inclusion Debates Re-ignite in Pagan Community
The first protest came in the way of a June 5 call-to-action blog post by activist and author David Salisbury. He wrote in part, “As a leader of the largest witchcraft tradition in Washington DC, I refuse to sit in silence. As an author and teacher of Goddess spirituality, I refuse to sit in silence. As a queer person, I refuse to sit in silence.” After Salisbury, the online, written protests only grew in number through both the blogosphere and social media, including posts from Peter Dybing, Vanessa Blackwood, Estara T’Shirai, Yvonne Aburrow, and Susan Harper.
Well, the only person out of these I’ve ever heard of is Yvonne Aburrow, who had a post I broke down the other day. And I’m suddenly filled with the realization of why I do not get further involved in the Pagan community as a whole.
Because (and yes, I am aware I fit this description), they seem to be nothing but a bunch of assholes who can’t shut up and let other people live their lives in peace. Which, admittedly, is why I’m an asshole who won’t shut up and let other people live their lives in peace. I have this weird compulsion to go out and be a dick to people who are being dicks.
After reading the funding campaign explanation and exploring the work of various authors, Pagan transgender activist and vice president of STRIVE Rev. Katherine A. Jones said, “I find it disheartening that so many women are so mired in a combination of transphobia and internalized misogyny that they are willing to blatantly attack their fellow women in the name of this exclusionary false feminism they have created […]The obsession with so called ‘biological sex’ is an indicator of women who see themselves as nothing more than vaginas. Just like the patriarchal men who oppress them. Unfortunately it seems to be common even within the Pagan community.”
Can we just take a moment to realize that this entire fucking debate is about one group of women insisting the other group of women has so much internalized misogyny that they hate women?
Yeah, I’m not kidding.
The Biocentriests view the transgenders as misogynistic invaders of women’s spaces, so filled with patriarchal misogyny that they have to “claim to be women so they can invade women’s spaces.”
And the Transgenders view the biocentriests as misogynistic transphobes who are so filled with patriarchal misogyny that they refuse to recognize other women as women because they lack certain biological markers.
Barrett said that she fully expected the backlash. When asked specifically about transgender exclusion and the erasure of the transgender identity within the scope of the book, she said, “While it is well-documented that physical and sexual violence against women and girls is on the rise globally, so-called progressives and the transgender lobbyists are acting to silence, disrupt, and legislate against our ability to name, gather and address the issues of our own oppression. This is female erasure.”
See! Exactly what I said. Both sides are claiming to be fighting against “violence against women,” and that the other side is “aiding the misogynistic patriarchy.”
At this point, if there is a Patriarchy it’s probably sitting off in a drawing room with a martini (shaken, not stirred) and staring in bewilderment at what the hell is going on.
Now, I’m not going to say that the problems Barrett is talking about don’t exist, and that the transgender activists aren’t getting in the way of some of the research. I’m pretty positive they are.
After all, I’ve read several times were the male gay community is actually having it with the transgender community because the transgender community has a habit of swooping in on the newly curious about their gender identity and convincing them that they’re “trans” rather than simply “gay.” Which, given the newness of everything and the lack of scientific understanding (which the transcommunity has a history of shutting down as “transphobic,” and I’m not joking there*), leads to a lot of confusion, a lot of rivalries, and a lot of self harm.
She added that the anthology addresses “concerns about a very profitable and growing transgender medical industry targeting well meaning parents, vulnerable children and adolescents, with no other options discussed other than transitioning that results in sterilization and a lifetime of dependence on pharmaceuticals and with no long-term studies of the health impact, are silenced. In this industry young lesbians and gay boys can be “normalized” by transitioning them. The possibility that homophobia is playing out in this issue seems to be too taboo to discuss.”
Case in point.
This is one of my issues here. We do not have the science to answer who is and is not trans vs gay. There is no known “gay gene” or “trans gene” it’s all one giant mystery that is often as much a mystery to the person involved. There are cases of straight people realizing they’re gay, cases of gay people realizing they’re straight, even cases of trans people realizing they’re cis people.
The girl in the picture is famous for making a video called “Die Cis Scum.” Huge, very popular in the trans community as I understand it. Couple years later though, she realized it was a “phase” and came out as a cis-gender straight girl. Indeed, in the trans community there are apparently people called “transtrenders” who internally are considered people faking it for the attention and public power they can get, because of how they live as transgender people.
And Barrett is not wrong about the transgender activists blocking the study of any of these things or the highly profitable medical industry that is the transitioning medical effort, or it’s completely unknown side effects. Though I have heard there is a higher chance of cancer in trans people (either because of the chemicals or the failure to seek medical attention based on symptoms involving “non-legitimate body parts” to their sex), the reason for which is…unknown.
Arguably the most public outcry came from activist and writer Alley Valkyrie via Facebook.* On June 7, Valkyrie posted an “Open Letter to the Pagan Community,” which was shared over 250 times in that forum alone. The letter read in part, “As a pagan and a cis woman, I cannot and I will not remain silent on this matter, and I will not stand by in the face of violent targeting that is being enacted in my name.”
Hela, why did I know that Rhyd and Friends were going to show up here…
What did she say this time…
Valkyrie clarified later that, while she does not support the anthology or Barrett’s work, her letter was actually aimed at attacks reportedly being launched at some of the bloggers who had previously spoken out against Barrett’s anthology. In the letter she said, “I also recognize that by posting this, I will also likely become a target.”
Shortly after the publication of her open letter, the post was removed along with other similar ones. Then she was locked out of her Facebook account for 24 hours. Other Pagans were reporting similar occurrences around that time. Valkyrie’s letter can be found in its entirety here.
Okay…guess we don’t get told in the article. Well, maybe I’ll go read Valk’s post later.
Interesting that she and others got blocked from Facebook. I wonder which side it was that did it. Because I’m sure that facebook got either complaints about “transphobic hate speech” or “misogynistic hate speech” and that’s why they shut it down. That’s pretty fact though. Usually you don’t get kicked out that fast if it’s not islamophobic hate speech.
Valkyrie and others have accused Barrett of being “complicit in this violence” due to her close association with those suspected of enacting what is being labeled as “doxing.” Barrett said she knows nothing of these attacks and hasn’t been following the online backlash.
Wow, progressivism really is a self devouring monster.
Can’t say I really blame Barrett for hiding away from the internet thought. Lot smarter than I am in that regard, apparently…
But that is not where the story ends; it is where it gets more complicated. In her open letter, Valkyrie addressed Cherry Hill Seminary (CHS) due to its continued relationship with Barrett. The letter reads, “I am calling on Cherry Hill Seminary to publicly disassociate with Ruth Barrett immediately.”
Best way to respond to “violence?” More violence apparently. And I see Valk is following the BLM strategy of “force organizations to capitulate to our political ideology or else!”
Because remember kids, Progresivism and Marxism are about tolerance and diversity of opinions and people. And if you dare to disagree with us on that, we’ll destroy your life and everything you ever cared for.
Within twenty-four hours of hearing about letter, Barrett resigned saying, “I believe very strongly in the mission of Cherry Hill Seminary and their academic commitment to diversity in their faculty and the free exchange of ideas. Rather than let my participation endanger the future of Cherry Hill Seminary, it made the most sense for me to respectfully remove myself. While some doors have closed to me, I will continue to teach as I have been doing all along.”
Hemlock was the only choice, it seems.
Which, I’ll be honest, makes me respect Barrett a bit more. I mean, fucking Hel, in this day an age the way to tell the good guys from the bad guys, if there even are any, is by who is calling for the complete destruction of their foes and who is willing to sacrifice themselves.
Look, I’ll say it again. I do not agree with Barrett’s beliefs or world view. I don’t like what she preaches. But she’s got a right to her beliefs and world view and to share it freely so long as she doesn’t enact physical violence on people and try to murder heretics.
In an interview CHS director Holli Emore told The Wild Hunt that Barrett tried to resign last fall when similar issues rose the surface, but the CHS governing board would not accept the resignation. Emore explained, “The work of a seminary is to prepare people to facilitate healing and build bridges. The work of higher education is to expose students to as many ideas as possible and to develop critical thinking skills.”
At the time, the seminary stood behind its commitment to academic freedom. However, Barrett did cancel her fall rituals course and, as has been revealed, hasn’t taught any class at CHS for four years even though she is listed as faculty.
This time around, the school accepted the resignation.
Hell, I’ll even give my props to CHS at this point. They stuck by their person and the ideals of academic freedom and freedom of expression. They stuck by the ideals of multiplicity of belief. They refused initially to give into the cowardly demands for censorship and purging of wrong thinkers.
But I guess they learned what happens when you do that post CoG’s takeover. Socrates was allowed to drink the Hemlock. Let the mob go home in peace.
Which is why I tend to give the biocentrists a bit more leeway. They’re not invading and they’re not shutting people down for advocating transgenderism. They’re merely saying “leave us our spaces, let us take care of our own.” So, I guess it’s nice to see Valk engaging in some good old imperialism then. Really refreshes the palate to the reality of Marxism. I wonder what she and the others would have done had CHS and Barrett refused the route of sepuku?
“Cherry Hill Seminary has never and would never condone violence against anyone and most certainly supports the full rights of transgender individuals,” said Emore. “The kind of attacks of unbridled animosity against Pagans on issues like this is indicative of a deeper need. It is clear to me that CHS is needed more than ever.”
You know, I kinda feel bad for the CHS people. They still dream of “peace in our time.” Not realizing that there can never be peace between the trans and the bios. It would be like trying to build peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. There’s just too much bad blood and religious difference to overcome.
CHS President Jeffrey Albaugh took to Facebook, saying, “Although I find the events disheartening and depressing, I keep returning to a single question: what do I have to offer that can aid in the process of resolution? The answers were simple. I can listen. I can enter into dialogue. We can have a discussion on the matter. This ability to enter into dialogue is, in my opinion, one of the hallmarks of leadership.”
Actually Jeff, as someone who has been watching this go down for years there’s really only one thing I can say.
Run Jeff, Run! Grab who you can save and get the Hell Out! You can’t help, you can’t bring peace, you’ll only scream as everything you love is burned alive before your eyes and you’re finally executed as a traitor to whichever side finally wins the fight. Your only option is to run as far and as fast as you can and pray that the Gods protect you from the fire and the flood.
Albaugh added that, since the issues came to light, nobody had reached out to him personally and that “demands have been posted on the Internet, strewn across Face Book and re-blogged ad infinitum.” He said, “No wonder this is off the rails. Everyone is shouting and no one is listening. So this, then, becomes my invitation. Contact me.”
Welp. I tried.
*I’ve misplaced the article, but there was a leading researcher in the transgender field who had done a shit ton to help transgender people that got himself shut down and labeled a transphobe because after a decade or more of research he found some of the behaviors linked with transphobia and where they came from (hint, a fair bit of it was not ‘born this way’), as well as was starting to show that most “young” transgenders were actually more often simply homosexual.
I don’t entirely agree with what you said here but at least it’s well thought out.
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Virginia Carper said:
I know two of the Pagans you listed personally. I have a checkered history with both. It would seem that they are both budinskies and social justice warriors, who put their oar in wherever it fits. Then have hissy fits when told to leave.
As for me, I have been told by my enemies that I am civil, respectful, and balanced as well as a combative questioner. Well I was combatively questioning why they were involved in something not their business, why they insisted that we take sides when we didn’t want to, and why they shut down dissent whilst telling us that we were wrong to not allow them to ramble on. Also I mentioned I found their relations with their followers to be cultlike. Mention that, and I was instant enemy.
By cultlike, it seems that once they say go do something, everyone piles on and does it without question. They act as a whole instead of individuals who may agree on several points. I could be wrong, and but at least a discussion would have been nice.
I believe that both sides in this have fallen into a groove that they think is real, and have been operating from the groove’s reality. I.e. seeing everything as either or, fighting the good fight for their cause and seeing everyone else as the enemy, and not even considering that not everyone wants to be a part of the fight.
I am like the first poster about a lot of your writing, I usually don’t agree, but you do put out excellent reasoning and logic. As well as researched.
That’s not cultism, that’s traditional tribalism. You stand up for, and protect your tribe members, at all costs – even if it means war with those outside your tribe, even if it means lying, even if it means a financial or legal cost to yourself. Wow, Lucius – it’s even MORE alt-right behaviors and proto-fascism they are displaying!!!
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Virginia Carper said:
Thanks for letting me know the difference. Now, I have something else to ponder.
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Caw, Motherfsckers (Estara T'shirai) said:
Saying you had no idea who I was *and* that I was clearly an asshole with nothing to do was a bold move. Kudos for that. *kissy face*
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Lucius Svartwulf Helsen said:
To be fair, I did call myself an asshole for the same reason.
And…I still have no idea who you are.
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