When organisations that help vulnerable women are targeted

Have a useful backgrounder on the efforts of male trans activists to dominate and subdue Vancouver Rape Relief:

In 1995 Kimberly Nixon, a transwoman, filed a human rights complaint after applying to be a counsellor and being rejected on the grounds that Nixon was not born a woman and had not experienced oppression from birth. Vancouver Rape Relief offered a formal written apology, and suggested that Nixon could support the shelter by joining a fundraising committee. The shelter also offered $500 in acknowledgement of Nixon’s hurt feelings and requested mediation in order [to] make amends. Nixon rejected this offer and escalated the complaint to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, which was heard in 2000. Two years later the tribunal released the decision that they found in favour of Nixon and awarded $7,500 in compensation. However Vancouver Rape Relief sought a judicial review as they argued that discrimination was not present. The British Columbia Supreme Court set aside the decision of The Human Rights Tribunal, finding that the Tribunal had made an error as the shelter has the right to freedom of association as a women-only space, irrespective of gender identity. Nixon appealed to the British Columbia Court of Appeal who unanimously upheld the Supreme Court’s decision in 2007. Nixon appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada who dismissed the request. Arguments built by the shelter in this case have since been used by Aboriginal groups in Canada to maintain their freedom of association.

It’s a tricky thing. There’s been pushing and pulling about it in the US for years over the issue of campus groups that exclude white people. How do you say “no whites invited to this particular group” without giving aid and comfort to whites who want to do the same thing with the terms flipped? It’s tricky (but the answer is not to do what Kimberly Nixon did).

Even supporting the shelter can get you ousted in some activist circles, as anti-poverty campaigner Yuly Chan found out last year when she was removed from an urban renewal panel at a Vancouver Crossroads conference after retweeting Vancouver Rape Relief and expressing support for working class women.

In May 2018 Trans Rights Activists targeted The Licorice Parlour, a sweet shop in Vancouver who had put up a poster advertising the Vancouver Rape Relief annual community fundraiser. The shop’s social media platforms were flooded with fake 1* reviews accusing the shop and the owner, Mary Jean, of transphobia. Mary Jean took to Facebook to assert her support of the shelter and disclose her own experience of sexual assault. She received many messages of support but the accusations of transphobia and fake reviews continued for some time.

And yet…are there any parallel stories about gay men? Do they get bullied the same way? If they do they seem oddly quiet about it.

It has not escaped the notice of many onlookers that the continual targets of this harassment appear to be women, often lesbians. When organisations that help vulnerable women are targeted then it is the women most in need who lose out. Male violence continues to be the biggest threat to trans people, and feminists seek to end male violence in all its forms. In the midst of these political disagreements it is women, not violent men, who are bearing the brunt of Trans Rights Activists’ animosity.

Well, you see, violent men are kind of scary.

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