The rape victim may not say “his” penis

Feb 8th, 2021 5:09 pm | By

Shahdin Farsai wrote an opinion piece for Canadian Lawyer Magazine in October, titled British Columbia’s practice directions on preferred gender pronouns in court are problematic. Yesterday the magazine removed the article.

The article is archived.

On December 16, 2020, both the BC Supreme and Provincial courts issued practice directions to lawyers that require parties and/or lawyers to state their preferred gender pronouns at the beginning of all court proceedings, which are “to be used” by all participants appearing before the courts including judges.

My antennas naturally went up as a lawyer. I see these practice directions as problematic for three central reasons. They are potentially compelled speech in court, a breach of privacy rights, and damage the perception of judicial impartiality.

… Outside of court, we have legislation to protect gender identity or expression in the BC Human Rights Code, but inside court all parties are protected by absolute privilege or immunity. This doctrine shields the legal process from itself becoming the source of further litigation. No one can dictate the words spoken or written by court participants including judges during judicial proceedings. The doctrine is essential to the administration of justice because it permits parties to give evidence in whatever words they choose and lawyers to protect and present their client´s case unfettered.

We saw this play out when the judge compelled Maria Maclachlan to refer to the man who assaulted her with female pronouns, which obviously impeded her ability to give evidence in her own words, and indeed to tell the truth about what happened.

The doctrine of absolute immunity goes hand in hand with lawyers’ professional duty to zealously protect their client’s rights. Advocates must not be under any obligation to refer to another party by their preferred pronouns, especially if doing so would go against the legal position and the instructions that they receive from their clients. This point was made in a recent case before the BC Supreme Court. The court heard the case of a mother attempting to prevent her 17-year-old daughter from having surgery to remove her breasts. The daughter wanted to transition to the male gender, and provincial authorities supported her wish. The mother still regarded her daughter as a female. The question of her gender transition was the very issue before the court. Yet when the mother and her counsel referred to the daughter as “her”, the judge challenged the mother´s right to do so. According to the transcript, the judge said, “there has been a request that counsel refer to [the youth] as he or him … are you refusing to do that?”

The woman who gave birth to the girl was being compelled to refer to her as he and him.

But as I mentioned the piece was removed. Conversation ensued.

No skin off his…nose, is it.

H/t GW

If you can’t win, cheat

Feb 8th, 2021 4:36 pm | By

Voting rights are being attacked again. Ari Berman at Mother Jones:

Georgia Republicans have already introduced an avalanche of new laws that would radically limit voting options in the state. On Monday—the first day of Black History Month—Republicans in the state Senate introduced nine bills to restrict access to the ballot, including eliminating automatic voter registration, no-excuse absentee voting, and mail ballot drop boxes, as well as prohibiting third-party groups from sending mail ballot applications, and banning people who move to Georgia after the general election from voting in runoff elections. Many of the bills were sponsored by Republicans who backed Texas’ unsuccessful attempt to persuade the Supreme Court to throw out election results from Georgia and other states carried by Biden. These bills come on the heels of another bill that would require voters to submit physical copies of photo identification twice to vote by mail, once when they request a mail-in ballot and again when they return it.

We’ve been through all this. It’s voter suppression, and it’s wrong. The Voting Rights Act made it illegal, but then the Supreme Court said “never mind” in 2013.

“I will not let them end this [legislative] session without changing some of these laws,” Alice O’Lenick, the GOP chair of the board of elections in Gwinnett County in suburban Atlanta, which Biden carried by 18 points, said last month. “They don’t have to change all of them, but they’ve got to change the major parts of them so that we at least have a shot at winning.”

A shot at winning by suppressing the vote, that is. That’s not a shot “we” are supposed to have.

And to make it harder for Democrats to get elected.

One of the most disgusting

Feb 8th, 2021 9:44 am | By

See also

Sauce for the goose

Feb 8th, 2021 9:21 am | By

But white tears when it’s Phipps telling us about them are a whole different story, it seems.

So…when she doesn’t feel safe she retreats, and that’s not white tears. Imagine how trans people feel! Don’t imagine how women feel, except me, but do imagine how trans people feel.

There are lots of flattering and sympathetic replies, and she doesn’t reject any of them as being too sympathetic and flattering to white tears.

This abject fucking gaslighting

Feb 8th, 2021 8:43 am | By

Jane Clare Jones expresses the disgust at Alison Phipps’s sneers better.

That. Why is it now the done thing for a feminist academic to sneer at women who report sexual trauma? WHY?

Veto on detransition research

Feb 8th, 2021 8:17 am | By

From the new Glinner update week in the war on women

THE TELEGRAPH: The psychotherapist blocked from researching detransition is taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

James Caspian is a psychotherapist who has specialised in counselling trans people for over 10 years. He has worked with numerous de-transitioners and had planned to conduct an academic study into this massively under-researched area. However, Bath Spa University rejected Caspian’s MA proposal. He was told, “Attacks on social media may not be confined to the researcher but may involve the university.” 

And the university is too fragile to cope with “attacks on social media”? So much too fragile that it vetoes research on something one would think is of considerable importance to the well-being of quite a few people?

Caspian is now taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights. He told The Telegraph why he is pursuing this issue:

Too much is at stake for academic freedom and for hundreds, if not thousands, of young people who are saying that they are being harmed and often silenced by a rigid view that has become a kind of transgender ideology and permits no discussion.

My preliminary research had revealed a growing controversial schism in transgender politics and inpatient experiences which greatly concerned me and confirmed the need for this research. Some of the people I spoke to said they were too traumatised to speak about their experiences, which proved it was even more important to research the issue, not less.

Bath Spa University should feel embarrassed.

Speaking of “attachments to the self”

Feb 8th, 2021 8:03 am | By

We get to read Alison Phipps’s “don’t hit me, hit those other white women” paper.

The actual title, lest we forget, is “White tears, white rage: Victimhood and (as) violence in mainstream feminism.” It’s a white woman sneering at white women, specifically for talking thinking campaigning as feminists.

Speaking out can attract political dividends: in earlier work (Phipps, 20162020) I have theorised experience, especially of the traumatic kind, as a form of investment capital in what Ahmed (2012 [2004]: 45) calls the ‘affective economies’ of testimonial culture. Trauma can be disclosed or ventriloquised to generate further capital in the form of feeling, creating political gain.

Most of the key figures in the viral iteration of #MeToo were Western, white and middle or upper-class (Tambe, 2018), reflecting the makeup of mainstream feminism and especially its media iterations…

In her 1995 book States of Injury, Wendy Brown argued that progressive movements tended to coalesce around ‘wounded identities’ that demanded recognition and protection, whether from hate speech, harassment or violence…

As I have argued elsewhere (Phipps, 2019), the ‘wounded attachments’ Brown attributed to feminism are likely to be those of middle-class whiteness, given the domination of both first and second waves of mainstream feminism by bourgeois white women (such as myself). 

Such as herself, but she’s damn well going to sneer anyway, because that’s where the action is – piling up the reasons to hate Karen.

By ‘mainstream feminism’, I largely mean Anglo-American public feminism. This includes media feminism (and some forms of social media feminism), institutional feminism, corporate feminism and policy feminism. This is not a cohesive and unified movement, but it has clear directions and effects. Building on HoSang (2010), I call the modus operandi of this feminism ‘political whiteness’. This goes beyond the implicitly or explicitly ‘whites first’ orientation of most politics dominated by white people: it has a complex affective landscape involving attachments to the self (often the wounded self) and to power (often in the form of the state). These attachments produce a number of dynamics: narcissism, alertness to threat (which in white women’s case is often sexualised), and an accompanying need for control.

How dare women be alert to threat? How dare women feel a need to control threats?

But also…every single item in her extended sneer applies double or triple to those geniuses of non-white non-bourgeois feminism, [drum roll] trans women. Trans women are immune to Phipps’s sneers because they and they alone are True Victims who have Every Right to be alert to threats and flaunt their wounded identities and demand recognition and protection. The trans bit cancels the white bit, you see.

More later.

Outraged & in pain etc etc

Feb 7th, 2021 5:36 pm | By

Someone is watching.

I don’t want to brush off or belittle concerns about racism, but at the same time…I’ve seen too many self-righteous Letters of Outrage lately not to recognize this as another example. “Our community is outraged and in pain”? I doubt it. I bet their community was in a fever of righteous exhilaration.

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe McNeil really did fling around racist insults with cheerful abandon…but I doubt it. Jesse Singal doubts it.

David Aaronovitch doubts it.

There’s a fad in my neighborhood, and for all I know in all neighborhoods, to festoon one’s front garden with yard signs carrying little homilies and love notes. I hate this fad. “Our community is outraged and in pain” is kind of those homilies and love notes turned inside out.

I’m not kidding about the love notes, either. One reads “YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE.” It’s so stupid, because it’s a yard sign – total strangers are going to be reading it. What’s the point of displaying such a meaningless slogan? And others like it? There are ones that say “DON’T GIVE UP” – but sometimes giving up is just fine, and in any case it’s our decision, not that of random neighbors we don’t know.

So one the one hand YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE, whoever you are, and on the other hand, our community is outraged and in pain and we are going to get your ass fired. Don’t give up though.

The nail-studded bat

Feb 7th, 2021 3:23 pm | By

This is one way we know trans women are not women.

That’s not “activism.” It’s not struggle, it’s not consciousness raising, it’s not social justice. It’s just an image of an angry man brandishing a bat studded with nails, by way of telling us we are under orders to agree with him that he is a woman, and that refusal will be met with murderous violence.

I don’t want to be any kind of ally with men who threaten to smash women to death for failing to agree that the threatening men are women.

We’re stuck in a tight circle here. That nail-studded bat simply underlines and entrenches the impossibility of 1. seeing the bat guy as a woman and 2. agreeing to pretend the guy is a woman. The threat is supposed to make us surrender but all it does is make us say: “See? This is just same old male violence and domination, so hell no.”

A second thing. That “not up for debate” trope is supposed to suggest the obvious justice of the claim and the irrationality of failing to agree with the claim. But how can it? How can we be expected to agree that men claiming to be women is just obviously both true and progressive? It’s not that kind of claim. The “activists” want to pretend it is, but it isn’t.

It’s not a human right to force people to agree that you’re a woman when you’re obviously a man. It just isn’t. Knowing the difference is a very basic bit of animal knowledge, and forcing us to pretend otherwise is not a right.


Feb 7th, 2021 12:10 pm | By

Oh ffs.

Trump lawyer wants to suspend the trial during his “sabbath” because it’s “mandatory” for him.

David Schoen, 62, has written to senior figures of both main parties in the US Senate asking for an agreement that the trial [be] postponed from 5.24pm on Friday until Sunday so that he can observe the Sabbath. In the letter, reported by the New York Times, the lawyer apologises for any inconvenience, adding that “the practices and prohibitions are mandatory for me … so I have no choice.”

Blah blah blah. Mandatory according to whom? A particular version of the imagined sky daddy. He might as well say it’s mandatory for him to take two days off to say prayers to Elmer Fudd.

Image result for elmer fudd

The request presents managers of the trial with a scheduling dilemma. To complete the trial by sundown on Friday would require breakneck speed that could appear unseemly; to delay it until Sunday might push the proceedings into the following week that had been earmarked as a Senate holiday.

Never mind that, imagined sky daddy makes the rules.

The oath

Feb 7th, 2021 11:49 am | By

Interesting. Liz Cheney is thinking about criminal investigation of Trump.

In extraordinary remarks on Fox News Sunday, Cheney made specific reference to the “massive criminal investigation” on the Capitol insurrection that is now sweeping the country. She said that the probe would cover “every aspect” of the events of 6 January and look at “everyone who was involved”.

But she reserved her most pointed words for Trump. “People will want to know what the president was doing,” she said. “They will want to know whether the tweet that he sent out calling Vice-President Mike Pence a coward while the attack was underway was a premeditated attempt to provoke violence.”

The impeachment trial in the Senate starts Tuesday.

Last week she survived an attempt by fellow House Republicans to remove her from her leadership position in protest at her support of Trump’s impeachment. On Saturday, the Republican party in her home state of Wyoming voted to censure her, calling for her immediate resignation.

Cheney said Sunday she would not step down. “The oath I took to the constitution compelled me to vote for impeachment – it does not bend to partisanship or political pressure, and I will stand by that.”

If the Republicans only knew it, she’s doing them a favor.

Ahead of the historic proceedings, prominent Democrats took to the Sunday political shows and spoke with passion about why Trump deserved to be convicted for his role in allegedly inciting the 6 January assault. Ayanna Pressley, a congresswoman from Massachusetts, called on senators to “honor their oath and hold Trump accountable and bar him from ever holding office again”.

It’s funny, in a way, the obligatory “allegedly” – necessary because the trial is pending but still funny in a way, since we’ve all seen the video where he quite frankly and unabashedly incites the assault. When we can watch him doing it on a loop it ain’t no mere allegation.

About that tweet –

In the tweet, which has now been removed from Twitter as part of Trump’s suspension from the platform, he criticised the then vice-president for failing to block counting of the electoral college results of the presidential election that Trump lost.

“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done,” Trump posted.

The tweet was posted about 10 minutes after it was reported that Pence had been ushered off the floor of the Senate following the violent breach of the Capitol by Trump supporters and white supremacists. During the attack, members of the mob could be heard chanting “hang Mike Pence”.

“Heck no”? Really?

Feb 7th, 2021 10:38 am | By

This is a puzzler. I’m seeing people laughing at a column by Virginia Heffernan for its clueless entitled snobbery crossed with self-righteous “liberalism,” which sounded odd to me because when I first encountered her writing she was a libertarian with some modest leanings in a more leftish direction. Also, she was sharp, and the writing in this piece is very dim – so the piece must be a parody, right? Surely? Poe’s law?

Let’s see…

Oh, heck no. The Trumpites next door to our pandemic getaway, who seem as devoted to the ex-president as you can get without being Q fans, just plowed our driveway without being asked and did a great job.

How am I going to resist demands for unity in the face of this act of aggressive niceness?

Of course, on some level, I realize I owe them thanks — and, man, it really looks like the guy back-dragged the driveway like a pro — but how much thanks?

Surely that’s parody-naïve not real naïve …isn’t it?

These neighbors are staunch partisans of blue lives, and there aren’t a lot of anything other than white lives in neighborhood.

This is also kind of weird. Back in the city, people don’t sweep other people’s walkways for nothing.

Yeeeaaah I don’t think this can be real Heffernan talking in her own voice.

On the other hand if it is parody I’m not sure what her point is.

Leaving the Greens

Feb 7th, 2021 6:46 am | By

The Green Party is losing women:

Dozens of activists have quit the Green Party in protest at the election of a transgender campaigner as head of its women’s group.

That is, at the election of a trans woman as head of its women’s group. Quite a few women think that positions of that kind should be for women rather than trans women. We think that because women are still far from being equally represented in top jobs, let alone over-represented, so to make a man who identifies as a woman (which is not the same as just plain being one) the head of a party’s women’s group is insulting to women.

The exodus, involving at least 40 women, follows the appointment in December of Kathryn Bristow, who was born a man but now identifies as a transwoman.

If you’re born male you’re a man, however you identify. Identifying as something doesn’t change physical reality.

[H]er critics claim Ms Bristow’s new role means women are losing representation within the party.

Because it does. Obviously.

Some even fear that its focus on trans issues could overshadow its traditional campaigning against environmental catastrophe.

“Even”? It’s not a huge leap.

A source suggested Ms Bristow’s appointment has added to internal strife that erupted five years ago when the party referred to women as ‘non-males’, adding: ‘Many women in the Green Party have had enough of being told what to think. 

‘We’ve fought hard for over a century to have a seat at the political table. Trans people face their own challenges and need spokespeople, but so do women.’

In emails from departing supporters seen by The Mail on Sunday, furious female activists among the 52,000-strong membership criticise the party’s stance on women’s rights.

The party’s grassroots have been further outraged by an email sent to LGBTQ+ members urging them not to include motions for discussion on items such as ‘women’s sex-based rights’ which were labelled as ‘non-inclusive’. 

Yes, and discussion on black people’s rights is non-inclusive, discussion on lesbian and gay rights is non-inclusive, discussion on workers’ rights is non-inclusive, discussion on immigrants’ rights is non-inclusive. Any kind of specificity is non-inclusive. The fact remains that there are particular sets of people who are deprived of rights because they are in one (or more) of those sets, not because of generic human-ness. Workers don’t have to be inclusive of bosses and women don’t have to be inclusive of men.

Ms Bristow rejects the claims. She tweeted: ‘My rights as a trans person don’t conflict with anyone else’s, as that’s not how human rights work. Fighting for trans liberation is part of everyone’s liberation, because we all must be free for any of us to be.’

Of course that’s how human rights work. If it were otherwise we wouldn’t need human rights at all. If nobody ever exploited or dominated or oppressed anyone else, human rights wouldn’t even be a concept. We need the concept because the more powerful do all that to the less powerful. All our human rights conflict with people’s rights to exploit and harm us. That is how human rights work.

Last night, a Green Party spokesman said: ‘We are unequivocal in our support for trans rights.

‘We recognise that transwomen are women, transmen are men and non-binary identities exist and are valid.’

They “recognise” a falsehood, and their doing so conflicts with women’s rights.

No evidence required

Feb 6th, 2021 5:00 pm | By

The misogynist hyperbole is out of hand.

The right to peripheral vision

Feb 6th, 2021 3:50 pm | By

One small good thing:

Activists in Indonesia on Thursday lauded the government’s decision to ban public schools from making religious attire mandatory, a move that followed national outrage over non-Muslim students being forced to wear a hijab.

Muslim students shouldn’t be forced to wear it either, of course, not even by their parents.

The special autonomous province of Aceh, which enforces sharia law, is exempt from the decree, Education Minister Nadiem Makarim said.

So stay out of Aceh.

Andreas Harsono, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, said schools in more than 20 provinces still make religious attire mandatory in their dress code, so the decree was a positive step.

“Many public schools require girls and female teachers to wear the hijab that too often prompt bullying, intimidation, social pressures, and in some cases, forced resignation,” he said.

It’s a badge of inferiority, whatever else it is.


Feb 6th, 2021 12:04 pm | By

She’s still there though.

Rent money

Feb 6th, 2021 11:15 am | By

Interesting. You know all that $$$ Trump raised with the “stolen election!!!” claims? He’s taken a big chunk of it for himself. I’d have thought that was just plain fraud, but what do I know.

Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, which never received a cent from the former president, moved an estimated $2.8 million of donor money into the Trump Organization—including at least $81,000 since Trump lost the election.

Doesn’t that look like theft?

In addition, one of the campaign’s joint-fundraising committees, which collects money in partnership with the Republican Party, shifted about $4.3 million of donor money into Trump’s business from January 20, 2017, to December 31, 2020—at least $331,000 of which came after the election.

The money covered the cost of rent, airfare, lodging and other expenses. All the payments are laid out in filings the campaign submitted to the Federal Election Commission. Representatives for the Trump Organization, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Two days after the election, on November 5, the joint-fundraising committee paid $11,000 to Trump’s hotel empire. A week later—after the Associated Press, Fox News and other major media outlets had already called the race for Joe Biden—the same committee put another $294,000 into Trump’s hotel business to rent space, order catering and pay for lodging.

Conflict of interest, fraud, theft – it’s at least one of those, right?

Sleazy to the end.

Biggest investigation ever

Feb 6th, 2021 10:55 am | By

The charges are piling up.

All 56 FBI field offices are engaged in a huge investigation that ranks alongside the biggest the bureau has conducted. As Michael Sherwin, acting US attorney for Washington DC which is leading the hunt, has put it: “The scope and scale of this investigation are really unprecedented, not only in FBI history but probably DoJ history.”

Already the number of people who have been arrested, either by the FBI, Capitol police or local Washington DC officers has reached 235, spanning more than 40 states. As the investigation widens and deepens, the focus is tightening on anyone considered to have acted as a coordinator of the action in an attempt to take out the ringleaders.

So that they can’t do it again.

As more has become known about those arrested, the strategy being pursued by the FBI has also revealed itself. In several cases, people who participated in the storming of the Capitol were picked up and charged with relatively minor offenses such as trespassing or theft of mail simply as a means to get them into prosecutorial clutches.

Once in the system, more serious charges could then be added as intelligence came in. That pattern of escalating charges can be seen in the cases of Nicholas DeCarlo from Texas and Nicholas Ochs from Hawaii.

Initially, the pair were accused of unlawful entry into federal property. But new conspiracy charges were added this week in which they are alleged to have planned out their travel across state lines, raised money to pay for it, and then made the trip to Washington DC in a premeditated attempt to obstruct the certification of Joe Biden as winner of the US presidential election.

Prosecutors have made clear that they are ramping up the charges against select individuals as a means of discouraging further violence from Trump supporters and their far-right and white supremacist allies. “We are going to focus on the most significant charges as a deterrent, because regardless of if it was just a trespass in the Capitol or someone planted a pipe bomb, you will be charged and you will be found,” Sherwin said.

Because you posted it all online.

The FBI’s work has been greatly assisted by the plethora of intelligence swirling around online – in many cases posted by the suspects themselves. Take the hapless duo, DeCarlo and Ochs.

photo of the pair, posing thumbs up in front of the memorial door of the US Capitol on which they had scrawled the words “MURDER THE MEDIA”, was easily found online. It has been included in the indictment against them, and earned them the special attentions of the media assault strike force set up by federal prosecutors to investigate violent threats against members of the media.

Inspired by the hoodlum from Queens.

As they sift this mountain of evidence the FBI is finding that far-right and white supremacist groups were in the lead. Surprise surprise.

Worrying about the liability

Feb 6th, 2021 6:30 am | By

Oh you mean if we tell thousands of damaging lies about you on our very popular “news” channel you’re going to sue us? For real???

Lou Dobbs is out at Fox Business, just a day after the voting machine company Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against him, the cable news network and several purveyors of the debunked theory that its technology was used to commit massive voter fraud.

It wasn’t really a “theory,” bunked or debunked. It was a story. Trump wanted a story so they made a story for him.

After the initial threats were made, Fox News and Fox Business ran deposition-esque segments on the shows of the three anchors now sued by Smartmatic — Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro — downplaying the evidence for such claims. Newsmax read a statement on air saying pretty much the same thing, and it has since awkwardly tried to shut down MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell when he made such claims. One America News has resisted retracting claims made on its airwaves and has ridiculed its far-right competitor for “censoring” Lindell, but it has quietly removed several stories about Dominion from its website. And the station carrying Giuliani’s radio show on Thursday played a disclaimer distancing itself from claims made on the show, to Giuliani’s chagrin.

We disavow our lies! They were never ours! It was all those weirdos who work for us! Sue them, not us!

Also reinforcing the potential legal jeopardy: Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel recently acknowledged that, during a particularly far-flung news conference held by Giuliani and then-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell at the RNC, “I certainly was concerned it was happening in my building.” She added that she was specifically worried about “what is the liability of the RNC, if these allegations are made and unfounded?”

Lie down with dogs get up with fleas and libel suits.


Feb 6th, 2021 5:53 am | By

It just always has to be misrepresented. From a Guardian piece on the sacking of Joanna Cherry:

Some SNP MPs described a “palpable sense of relief” within the Westminster group this week, along with a degree of frustration that action had not been taken sooner. As one MP said: “The party has a hard-won reputation for being socially liberal, pro-equality, and any perception that our politicians are not has a terrible effect on younger supporters in particular, and with that comes the fear that they will go to the Greens at the next election.”

So the implication is that Cherry, and the rest of us pesky feminists who don’t agree that men can become women, is socially conservative and anti-equality.

What a grotesque, destructive, loathsome thing to say. We are not anti-equality. Feminists who want to hang on to women’s rights are not anti-equality – women are half (or slightly over half) the world population and we’re pro-equality for them, so how can we be anti-equality? We think women should have equal rights along with men; how is that anti-equality? We also think trans people should have equal rights along with women and men, we just don’t think men who identify as women should take rights away from women.