Ovarit and transphobia

“Ovarit” is a forum set up to hate on trans people. It has very strong rules: the “gendercritical” circle is the place for hating trans people, the “women’s liberation” circle is for feminist topics, and the “Activism” circle for calls to action. There is a stern warning about the things which belong in other “circles”. There are also rules about abuse:

We also do not allow slurs used against trans-identified people such as “tranny” and “troon.” Additionally, we do not permit the use of dehumanizing language used against any group of people, such as “pigs in wigs,” “frankenwomen,” or calling groups of people subhuman. Truly degrading descriptions of people’s bodies or body parts, such as “axe wound,” are not allowed.

They do not allow racism or ableism, but have to specify particular types of transphobia they oppose. For them, insisting that trans women are men, or trans women should not be in women’s spaces, is not transphobic. They object to slurs. I had to look up “troon”- it mixes the words “tranny” and “goon”, used to mean violent man. If haters are tempted to use it, soon every trans woman who ever expressed mild irritation will be labelled a troon. They object to dehumanising language, and that’s a mercy, because it leads to violence.

Descriptions of bodies- this is “It’s not you, it’s me”. Someone may be disgusted by the long curving scars after chest surgery, but the disgust is in them, not caused by the trans man.

However they are happy with “trans-identified males” as a term for trans women, unlike Mumsnet which banned it as a slur.

“Trans identified males”, or “TIMs”, is as much a slur as “tranny”, because it denies our very selves. The Ovarit rulemakers have a deficient ontology, or understanding of what is. They think their being as females, because they have ovaries, is more real than my being as a trans woman. But I am as much a woman as they are. Their womanhood comes from their genes, gonads and genitals (3G)- or if they have variation of sexual development, from their desire and societal acceptance. My womanhood comes from my being a trans woman.

If I were not trans, I would not exist. It would be a different human being in my place. Transness is no more excisable from me than womanhood from them. I could no more be a “normal man” than I could be Miles Davis. The proof of this is our desperation to appear to be normal men, and our long interactions with doctors. Until very recently, the name the psychiatrists used was “gender identity disorder”, seeing our gender as a medical problem. They would cure us of it, if they could, and would have found out how, by now, after decades of interactions with us. I remember a sense of intense weariness in my psychiatrist when he told me I was “not psychotic”- for if I were deluded in a psychotic way, I could be cured or managed by anti-psychotics. My weight might balloon, and I might lose all energy and motivation, but at least I would not think I was a woman.

Because my womanhood is as much a part of me as any trans-excluder’s is of her, it is transphobic to make a distinction in order to treat me differently.

Trans women are in women’s spaces already, but trans excluders pretend that we are not, that there is some change foreboded when we might gain access to women’s spaces. It’s just a lie, which they insist on out of transphobia. It may be a blind-spot, they are not conscious of lying, they look blank and disbelieving when you point out the truth- and that again shows their irrational fear.

They want it to be normal that women are upset and offended when there is a trans woman in women’s space, or even the theoretical possibility that one might be. That is, they want to normalise transphobia.

So it is good that they don’t want to dehumanise us, but the language rules they have made are not enough.

What about their claimed “right to organise as a sex class”? A group of 3G women are happy to include intersex women, but not trans women. Why ever would they organise without trans women? Because they want to exclude trans women permanently. As well claim a right of whites to organise as a race-class. They might conceivably hire a hall and admit only 3G women, but should not make a law of it for others.


Ovarit started a thread about this post. T-Central linked to it too. If you come from either, Welcome. Please comment. My comment policy is “don’t bore me”- don’t go on too long or be too repetitive. Don’t abuse other commenters. If you want to be abusive at me, try to be witty with it.

“As soon as I read the first line I thought liar, idiot, or both.” Is Ovarit set up to hate on trans people? I read about it on The Atlantic. It started when a “Gender Critical” (anti-trans) Reddit was banned. The three latest posts as I type are about objecting to “cis”, JK Rowling, and GC folks passing their beliefs to their children, and several others on that first page are about trans, from their headlines. Yes, Ovarit deals with feminist topics as well, but there are lots of spaces where you can discuss feminism. Ask yourself why feminists disapprove of your trans exclusion. It can’t just be they are all idiots.

“This blogger-I’ve-never-heard-of’s opinion doesn’t matter to me.” Absolutely fine. You can read these arguments in all sorts of places, and need not spend too much time with them. Reading too much just gets depressing. “zzzzzz oh sorry” says someone, and I said “zzzz” on facebook yesterday when a trans woman linked to yet another hate screed.

“3G women- is that the people who identify with old cellphones?” I got the term from Cordelia Fine, Testosterone Rex. It means people who are by genes, gonads and genitals women.

“No poop in my soup.” It’s an analogy for no trans women in women’s spaces. That’s about as dehumanising as you can get. Avoiding particular dehumanising words is a good start, but not enough, because the start of dehumanising is contempt. There’s contempt in “this guy” or calling me “bro”.

“You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity… but you are not female.” That’s a bare denial that my argument above has any weight. She needs women’s spaces, and I need women’s spaces too, so arguments from “need” can’t be used to exclude me.

“TIM prostitutes [are] the only part of the demographic in any danger.” We suffer hate crimes.

One quoted this post and said “This blog is unhinged”. I would not have thought it difficult for this audience to find something they objected to.

One asks, how they can tell me apart from someone who claims to feel like a woman in order to enter women’s spaces, but doesn’t really. I don’t think that’s the main threat from violent men. If a woman dodges into a women’s loo, a violent man can just push the door open, he does not need to go to the trouble of getting a gender recognition certificate.

25 thoughts on “Ovarit and transphobia

  1. I hope you are okay after wading into that world. While slur words may be (mostly) off the table, the bigotry seems alive and flourishing, only with the charming faux smile of respectability. It makes me think of the homophobic nonsense and racism I’d hear from more senior relatives. That was wrong then and this isn’t right either.

    As pointed out, trans folk – including part timers (waves hello) – have been using various facilities for some time and without incident.

    At least we know the sort of thing they are likely to say.


    • Welcome, Emanuele. Thank you for commenting, even without reading.

      Perhaps that is putting it a bit strongly. However, Ovarit was set up when the “Gender Critical” reddit was banned, for- how would you put it? At its best, promoting women’s rights by arguing that trans women are men. And a lot of what Ovarit does is arguing just that. The gender critical circle is a major circle there. A lot of the radfemmery jokes are about trans. The thread there about my blog post was on the “hot” list of threads, for a few days.

      To me, when trans women are in women’s spaces, and number about 0.1% of the population, behaving as if “single-sex” spaces (excluding trans women) are the most important feminist issue is pretty close to hating trans people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Our rape centres are being defunded. Women are losing their jobs for disagreeing with self-id, and when they disclose their own history of male violence/rape (i.e. with a penis) as a reason for needing penis free space that too is used against them. That’s why it’s our issue. For years there hasn’t been an issue with sharing some spaces, because the violent campaign to destroy every boundary around all women’s spaces wasn’t underway.


        • If you’re in Britain, rape centres and women’s refuges are defunded because of Tories. Mere disagreement is not sufficient to lose your job. There was always some opposition to transition, but it took off after Rupert Murdoch’s organs started encouraging it, after Theresa May’s speech to the Pink News Awards in 2017. Let us unite against the Tories. The Greens should not be spending their time on trans inclusion. They voted for it, but have an obsessive minority who would derail their environmental campaigning.

          Liked by 1 person

            • I hope Allison Bailey loses her claim against her chambers, which never employed her. If she succeeds, she will defund Stonewall, the biggest lesbian-run charity working for lesbian rights in the UK. Fortunately, other actions to defund Stonewall, such as the action against the Crown Prosecution Service, have failed. Bailey’s alternative, LGB All Liars, is basically a series of twitter accounts, so similar as to resemble bots, which act as if the only problem lesbians ever have is trans women saying we’re lesbians.

              Tell me about RISE.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. So you approve of the hounding of a black lesbian survivor of childhood sexual abuse for wanting to be able to define her sexual boundaries. That’s your side. Great work.


    • One problem between us is that we are both on the side of victims. You see a black lesbian survivor being hounded. I see a barrister. Barristers, in my opinion, are highly intelligent, expert at analytic thought, and not easily cowed. Bailey remains a member of her chambers, so she has not lost her job. You see a “violent campaign to destroy every boundary”, I see individual trans folk and our allies, mostly peacefully working for greater understanding so we can live our lives with less fear and abuse. Yes there is violence, and the individual perpetrators are responsible, and that does not characterise most trans people’s occasional activism. JK Rowling has an extremely powerful voice, and she insinuated horrible things about trans people to make others fear us. That feels violent, to me. It is an incitement to violence. Violent people will use it as their excuse.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I see a black lesbian survivor who has a job as a barrister. Of course one doesn’t cancel out the other. Just as JK Rowling’s success doesn’t cancel out her right to talk about her own experience of abusive violence as a woman at the hands of a man. I see an institutional attack on Allison’s job made because of her advocating for herself and others with similar experiences and identities – the idea that this shouldn’t count somehow because it hasn’t yet succeeded is bollocks. I think you know that really. And if you want to talk incitement to violence then have a look at the hate shown to survivors of prostitution in Paris by supposed ‘trans rights activists’ on IWD. That is violence, driven by a violent campaign. Lots of other examples. Funny how all the feminist ‘incitement’ hasn’t led to similar violence by a load of older left wing women eh.


    • Well, speaking as a woman who has experienced actual sex-based violence as a woman, I understand violence is bad even if it is directed against trans people. Rowling’s experience with her husband does not justify her inciting violence against all trans women, just because we are trans women.

      Bailey is not advocating for lesbians. Bailey is comparing trans women to sex predators. Bailey is inciting fear of trans women, which produces violence. That is why the lesbian-run charity Stonewall objects to her actions. Stonewall knows that if the campaign against trans women succeeds, lesbians are next in the firing line.

      One problem I have is your language assumes the rightness of your position. On International Women’s Day, did some trans people oppose the Norway model? Where? I don’t know enough to have a position between decriminalisation of sex work and criminalising the users of sex workers. Can you give a link?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So we’re not even allowed a word for the use of a larger penis-endowed body to violently damage a smaller and weaker vagina-endowed body because it’s more important for you to rid the word ‘sex’ of useful meaning than to ‘allow’ the use of a concept for discussing rape, FGM and femicide. You have not experienced that violence, how dare you not only claim it but justify the hounding of people who have for wanting the words to describe it. Bailey wants the right to say that she does not want to have sex with people with male bodies and/or penises. She was raped as a child. She is a lesbian. It is absurd that your position has any support, and I think it’s because up until recently people didn’t really understand what that position was. Thank god they are starting to.


    • I tell you I have experienced sexual assault and you say that does not matter. Or that I have not. Or that the difference between your experience of sexual assault and mine is such that anyone is entitled to incite fear of people like me.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Allison Bailey wanting the right to female only space, as in penis free space, as the survivor of violence done with a penis to her female body, and the right to define her sexuality in terms that exclude penises, is something you should empathise with if you are a fellow survivor of sexual violence. Sexual violence against women born and raised as women is part of global systems of oppression that see us earning less, having fewer rights, being subject to different and greater levels of violence within families and relationships. It is not the prerogative of someone born in a body that does not place them in that category to tell us that we may not fight for our own rights, in our own language. Like many feminists I am a natural ally of others who face violence and oppression, and I think it’s a shame that you will not respect our right to autonomy so that we could challenge patriarchy and transphobia together. Instead of you attacking us instead of violent men. I will not be responding further.


  6. This is why trans extremists have no credibility. They want to stifle legitimate debate with claims that it is “hateful”, transphobic and so forth. Biological women have very good reasons for not wanting transwomen, particularly those who have not had bottom surgery, in spaces such as prisons, rape shelters, etc. There are very good, valid arguments that transwomen and transgirls should not compete in female-only sports events. The more trans extremists push on these issues, the more they are going to lose the narrative and the support of the general public.


    • I am not sure what you mean by “extremist” or “legitimate debate”. I know trans people exist, and always have. It is unhealthy to “debate” the truth. I know that trans women are welcomed and accepted in women’s spaces, mostly. I know that some people want to exclude us: calling their position “legitimate debate” does not make it any less extremist.

      I know that nonbinary people exist, and stretch the boundaries of gender, demolishing stereotypes and making everyone more free. This advances feminist causes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I applaud your efforts to reason with these people. They clearly came here in bad faith, not at all surprising for TERFs, and promptly left when they realized their fragile beliefs were being challenged. She even dared invalidate your experience with sexual assault -then she calls herself a feminist, laughable-, none should have to put up with this. Even though I find this largely pointless, I want to thank you.


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