It feels like a waiting game; will it take the murder of a campaigner, or perhaps a fatal attack on a meeting, for the authorities to take the threat of trans activism seriously? Given the numbers of porn-fed, grievance-hoarding young men drawn towards transgenderism, some form of planned violence seems darkly inevitable.
But academics working for the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) based at King’s College London, are focusing their attention elsewhere. Last year ICSR published a paper entitled ‘Far from gone: the evolution of extremism in the first 100 days of the Biden Administration’ which concludes “Transphobia should be recognised as a security concern”.
Another paper, by Craig McLean, a senior lecturer at Northumbria University, ‘The growth of the anti-transgender movement in the United Kingdom; The silent radicalization (sic) of the British electorate’ posits that gender critical people are in fact “pushing a radical agenda to deny the basic rights of trans people.” This might come as something of a shock to the average Mumsnetter or LGN reader who simply seek to raise awareness that sex matters.
Two gender critical groups, Fair Cop and Women’s Right’s Network, have analysed the claims made by ICSR and McLean. Working together, they discovered evidence of “a wider and concerning trend that ‘transphobia’ is assumed to be an inevitable by-product of far-right extremist and violent groups, and therefore an issue of national security.”
Sarah Phillimore, a lawyer who oversaw the analysis, says:
“Both reports either ignore or deny the distinction between protected political speech and violent extremism. This means those – mostly women – who wish to engage in lawful and necessary discussion about sex-based rights are being considered equivalent to terrorists. This is not only dangerous for the individuals concerned but harmful to attempts to investigate and prevent actual domestic extremism”.
Neither paper offers a definition of “transphobia”, a word deployed to shame anyone who seeks to preserve single-sex spaces or rejects the idea that lesbians can have penises.
The ICSR report identifies comments made online following the appointment of US Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine “as a rallying point for various far-right groups and narratives”:
“Levine has been the target of open transphobia. Commonly, the group attempts to deny Levine the right to assert her gender identity, by referring to her using male pronouns and repeatedly asserting that she is a biological male. For instance, in one post made by the group, a picture of Levine is superimposed with the words: ‘Diversity hire: still old white man’, insinuating that Levine is not a woman.”
This is somewhat baffling, one suspects the Proud Boys or other far right groups wouldn’t feel particularly threatened by the appointment of an old, white man to a position of authority. Furthermore, the assumption is clearly that the report’s audience will believe that Levine, who adopted a trans identity at 53, is not in fact a biological male.
But in reality, only one side is recorded as having threatened to bomb a meeting, of sharing photos of gender critical campaigners’ children online and physically attacking women.
Shortly after ICSR released their report in April 2021, a former PhD student at Brunel University who goes by the name Andrea Cachia, posted pictures of himself with guns. Cachia claimed to be going on a “terf hunt”, apparently creating a list of gender critical women for “target practice”. On Twitter, Cachia posted a picture of himself posing with his finger on the trigger of a gun, with the caption “Omw [on my way] to make a bitches pronouns was/were.”
And yet, according to the brainiacs at ICSR, those of us who question Cachia’s womanly identity are the ones who pose a risk to national security.
Numerous public figures who’ve ventured into the TERF wars have quickly retreated into inane platitudes about a “polarised debate” and “toxicity of both sides”. But in reality, only one side is recorded as having threatened to bomb a meeting, of sharing photos of gender critical campaigners’ children online and physically attacking women. And yet, academics who identify as experts have chosen to ignore the evidence in favour of an approach with all the intellectual rigour of an India Willoughby tweet.
Ultimately, such lazy and partisan research will bolster the faux sense of victimhood that young, aggressive male trans activists already weaponize to justify the threats they send. Now legitimised by academics, the narrative that ‘TERFS are Nazis’ will further dehumanise gender critical people, increasing the likelihood of a serious attack by a trans activist.
It is worth noting, that terrorism and radicalisation are tactics taken by those outside of the state. That a movement, comprised largely of women who refuse to give up their boundaries, is categorised as a greater threat than unhinged activists, implicitly shows where the balance of power lies.
Jo Bartosch writes for The Critic, Spiked, The Telegraph, The New Statesman, The Article, The Times, Unherd, The Spectator, The Mail on Sunday and is reporter for Lesbian and Gay News.