#gamergate #NotYourShield bad faith gender policing reddit TERFs transmisogyny transphobia

Just some “GenderCritical” transphobes talking about using disability law to ban gender-inclusive language on college exams

Apparently the singular they is as deadly as giant radioactive ants

By David Futrelle

I have to give the inhabitants of the “Gender Critical” subreddit credit for one thing: they are endlessly creative in coming up with new ways to be assholes.

Today, the TERFs-who-don’t-want-to-be-called-TERFs on the subreddit are working themselves into a lather over a report from one college student who was shocked and stunned to find the singular “they” used on a college exam in a slightly confusing manner.

How to fight this terrible gender-inclusive menace? Several commenters thought they had an answer : with a bad faith Americans with Disibilities Act challenge.

“Imagine having dyslexia and having to deal with this absolute word salad,” wrote someone called strawlesbian.”Pretty sure it would not hold up to an ADA challenge.”

I’m not quite sure what dyslexia has to do with it; I mean, dyslexia makes everything hard to read, regardless of whether or not a singular “they” is present. But at least one GenderCritter thought this idea was hilarious — and possibly workable.

“Lol, we might have to get ourselves classified as disabled,” wrote someone calling herself sojourner_truth_.

“My little ladybrain is so broken that when I see a man in a dollar store wig and lopsided fake boobs, I don’t see a woman at all! Poor widdle me! You have to accommodate me or else!” Dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools.

In a followup comment, she made clear she wasn’t actually joking.

I joke around on here a lot and I know sometimes things don’t come out right. In all seriousness though, for my part I think it’s important to use any and all legal tools at our disposal to get the ship righted.

Of course I’m not suggesting violence or anything immoral here- but these protections were put in place to support the greater goal of making learning accessible for every student. This example fits that goal! OP said it was very difficult to understand and very frustrating as she was just trying to take her exam. Why should the TRAs get to make university exams harder for everyone else?

Just as I used a privacy law to shut down my university’s shitty racist program, I think it’s perfectly fair and good to use disability law to stop this compelled speech insanity.

You might want to check with some actual disabled people about that. Indeed, several other commenters called sojourner_truth_ out for being “demeaning to disabled students and students that need accommodations.”

But sojourner_truth_ was not dissuaded. Whet if, instead of simply presuming to speak for disabled people, they could find an actual disabled person to be the face of their bad faith challenge?

Are there any students in OP’s class who have a diagnosed disability, though? I think it’s much harder to prove without that key person involved.

I think this sub is onto a very valuable strategy for getting this trans nonsense out of school materials. If we can find the right person, one who has a doctor’s diagnosis already, then this could be a real victory!

It’s basically GamerGate’s #NotYourShield all over again.

NOTE: If your political strategies seem like they were directly cribbed from GamerGate, you’re probably not the progressive movement for justice that you’re pretending to be.

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79 replies on “Just some “GenderCritical” transphobes talking about using disability law to ban gender-inclusive language on college exams”


It is weird, though, how so many who claim to be “gender critical” (which, as I’ve said, seems to steelman to “gender roles are bad and we shouldn’t impose them”) instead seem to believe in very dimorphic sex/gender stereotypes and advocate for rigid, conservative gender roles on the basis of sex. They can’t even keep their own ideology straight.

Bigots are usually self-contradictory, so it doesn’t surprise me that they contradict themselves. Also, I’m pretty sure none of them actually believe that they’re trying to oppose gender roles. I think they really just want to hurt trans people, and that’s it.

And therefore I must conclude that, even if I’m right about how some of them arrived at the name, in practice “gender critical” is just a fig leaf because they realised TERF doesn’t sound good any more.

They also are currently trying to convince people that TERF is a slur (Meghan Murphy in particular seems to think this), so calling themselves TERFs would hurt their case. To them, “gender critical” makes it sound like they are researching something critically rather than simply being hateful. Sort of “race realism” or “racial science” vs “racism.”

Re cis by default vs agender:

Seems to me that most agender people have a pretty strong sense of NOT having any gender. Therefore it’s important for them that others get this, that people don’t mistakenly believe they have the gender they were assigned at birth etc.
in short, seems like agender people introspected and made SOME kind of discovery, whereas I ultimately just draw a blank.
That’s why I’d rather say cis be default.

I’m routinely labelled ”woman” and ”she”, but occasionally people have assumed ”man” afk (like service staff, and an old patient when I worked in nursing), or assumed I was a man online, and I’m fine with that. I’m not like ”no, this feels wrong”.

OT. In a big way.

Last night I said goodbye to my oldest kitty. She would’ve been 21 years old in March.

Most of our cats who’ve gone have pretty much zoned out once the catheter had been placed. Not my girl. There’s a reason one of her nicknames was Miss Bossy Boots.

She was quiet–which was a big clue that she was ready to go–but I started to pet her once they put her back on the table, and she looked at me, then lifted her head in that familiar lean-in gesture, as if to say, “Yes, you’re still my human and I am still your kitty.”

Then the vet started administering the final round of drugs. She left pretty quickly. A lady knows when it’s time to leave.

@Victorious Parasol
I’m so sorry about the loss of your cat. May you have peace, and may your cat rest in peace.


I’m willing to acknowledge there’s a distinction, but I think they’re closely related and there’s a lot of overlap between them (and I’m not sure they’re on exactly the same spectrum, either). I’m definitely going to have to think about it more, you are probably right that I shouldn’t use them interchangeably.

I do think my experience is at least slightly different from yours, in that I definitely have a sense that my assigned gender of “man” is wrong and would not self-describe as one, but I don’t feel like I’m anything else either, just not that. I just don’t care enough to correct people on it, and have no preferences as to pronouns (and if anything I take it as a compliment if someone accidentally uses female pronouns etc, even though I’m not female either). I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other agender people who feel more strongly about it than I do, and who are deeply uncomfortable with being assumed to be cis, but that isn’t how it works for me personally.

Regardless of which term is a better descriptor, I do still think it’s plausible for a person who lacks a strong/explicit gender identity to be more susceptible to or persuadable by certain transphobic arguments, and it might be useful to keep that in mind when considering how to refute them. I do want to make it clear, however, that as much as I’m trying to see where they’re coming from and/or make sense of their position, I have no sympathy for transphobes and am not trying to excuse them for failing to see past this predilection, if indeed it is how they came to their position.

I’m so sorry, Parasol.

McBender: Yeah all distinctions tend to be a bit blurry in the end. And I also think it’s probably easier to become a transphobe if you’re either super-strongly attached to your birth-assigned gender OR don’t have much of a gender identity to start with, like either of these extremes.

@Victorious Parasol

I’m so sorry to hear this. I hope that both you and your cat may find some measure of peace in such a hard time.


I’m so sorry about your kitty, she sounds like she was a lovely companion.

@Victorious Parasol, I’m so sorry. All my sympathies, and a virtual hug if I may. Wishing you comforting people and any non-human family who are around you to give you real hugs.


I’m sorry for your loss.

@Dvärghundspossen and others

Thank you so much for this “cis-by-default” discussion here. You helped me put into words what I’ve been feeling for a very long time. A few years ago I considered identifying as agender, but ultimately I decided against that, since it felt as if I was appropriating struggles that I didn’t really face.

I can only conceptualize of gender as something enforced on me from outside, and I don’t really like the societal ideas of masculine or feminine. I go with what I was assigned at birth, but for the most part because identifying as something else, including agender, would force me to contend with the idea of my “inner gender”, thinking of which makes me uneasy to be honest. And more than a little frustrated, as it seemed everyone “gets” what gender identity is without ever needing an explanation, and not getting it can be read as trying to invalidate non-cis folks, which I don’t want to do, so I don’t talk about this. It does sound a little TERFy.

But maybe that’s what being cis actually feels like? I wouldn’t know.

It feels good to know there are other people who feel this way and aren’t also TERFs spreading their hate.

Speaking of transphobia Raw Story had an article today about Ann Coulter getting upset when it was reported that Tulsi Gabbard had voted for the impeachment investigation of Trump. And, as it always does with Coulter articles, out came the usual talk in the comments section about how she’s actual Man Coulter, that you can see her Adam’s apple, and other comments along those lines. A lot of left wing folks sure aren’t as progressive as they think they are.

@tim gueguen
Ann Coulter’s actual personality and opinions are awful enough. People should critique and/or make fun of those rather resorting to transphobic jokes about her appearance. What do you want to bet it’s a skidmarxist who left those comments?

@tim gueguen, @Naglfar:

Way for them to bury the lede under all that bigotry, too. The most hilarious aspect of the story is that Coulter got the basic facts behind her outrage wrong, because she seems to have thought Gabbard was a senator rather than a representative and based her objection on that. She doubled down on this after being corrected, too: “What I meant is that she ought to be a senator!”. Sure, that makes perfect sense.

Coulter is a vile person but there are plenty of ways to express that without stooping to misogyny and transphobia. And yet, and yet. FFS.

@Victorious Parasol

Belated condolences on your loss. Losing pets never gets easier.

Of course I’m not suggesting violence or anything immoral here

If your system of morality doesn’t classify “faking a disability so you can abuse anti-discrimination laws just to be a dick towards an already-disadvantaged minority group” as immoral, you are not someone I have any desire to associate with.

@Victorious Parasol

So sorry about your kitty. Lost two over the past few years and it never gets easier.

Twenty years. You gave her a good long life, @Victorious Parasol. It’s hard to let them go, but you can be proud of that at least.

Vicky P – She was a pretty girl! They’re all hard to lose, though.

I still miss my Catbeast who was another black cat. And also pretty. Now I have yet another black cat who is such a sweet boy. Also an orange and white kitty boy who is a great big goofball.

Guess I’d much rather talk about lovely cats than nasty TERFs.

Yes, your kitty was gorgeous (but, then, I’m a sucker for black cats–always have been).

I’ve no doubt you gave her the best possible life, but, no, as the others have already said, helping them go always hurts, even when we know it’s for the best.

Please accept my deepest condolences, and I hope you find some measure of comfort in the memories of her.

Warning: brain dump in progress… reader discretion advised…

I kind of get the “cis by default” thing too. It feels to me sometimes that a lot of people simply don’t examine very closely the culture in which they are immersed, how it shapes them, and equips them with the assumptions they take for granted. For example, a lot of people, including friends and relatives of mine, feel they are religious; and while they probably wouldn’t consider themselves particularly devout, they imagine themselves at least in good standing vis a vis the precepts of whatever faith they claim to belong… Yet, if you sat them down and quizzed them on what they actually believed, you’d probably find most of it would be completely out of whack with the strict doctrines of whatever religion they identify as members of¹. They just kind of… go with the flow; and because they’re a bum on a seat in a church on Sunday, or knees on a prayer mat on a Friday, no-one really inquires too deeply. It’s often these people rather than the chapter-and-verse-quoting zealots that get more bent out of shape about troublemaking atheists like myself because it forces them to confront what it is they actually believe in, which can be frightening (especially if your faith is one of the believe-this-or-burn-forever types). Likewise, I think a lot of homophobia and transphobia is similarly rooted in a desire not to think too hard about it– they’re swimming so comfortably in a sea of cis-hetero-normativity that the idea of there being other options shakes them to their cores.

Also, speaking as a straight white cis dude, I recognise the accompanying privilege affords the luxury of allowing these issues to fade into the background of my life. When you’re having a core part of your identity being used as a stick to beat you day-in, day-out, I imagine it’s a very different experience. Actually, I don’t really have to imagine that hard, because I see it every day on the Internet 🙁

At the same time, I think about the “cis by default” thing a bit (and again, such thoughts are probably somewhat privileged). Probably inspired by a similar thought expressed in the Watchmen comic, I consider that at the moment of conception, there were tens of millions of possible “mes” that could have come about. By the law of averages alone, half of them would be women². How would my life have gone if another of my father’s spermatozoa had fertilised my mother’s egg? Would I be gay, straight, cis, trans? That I am who I am in the face of such astronomical numbers seems somewhat… arbitrary. At least at the biological level. And, again, that’s probably a thought that can only be entertained with a certain amount of privilege.

¹ Which is not altogether a bad thing: I think people are mostly kinder than a stricter interpretation of their religion would allow them to be, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant…

² I’ve seen some people claim that if you ever had a thought about being a different gender, no matter how theoretical or fleeting it is, you’re trans! Sorry, but I think that’s about as credible as the Freudian notion that everyone wants to bone their folks…


I wouldn’t be so sure. I’ve seen plenty of centrist liberals make similar remark about Ann Coulter.

I agree with you: liberals truly need to knock that shit off. It’s like Steve Martin in “Roxanne”: “you see this, and the best you could come up with is ‘Big Nose’?!” Ann Coulter is an odious thing crawled out of the darkest recesses of the American id who is (to steal a joke from Charlie Stross) probably in her burrow right now laying her eggs on a paralyzed immigrant, and the best put-down you can muster against her is, “she’s a man, baby! Yeah!”? Your lazy transphobia is almost as pathetic as your lack of creativity.

I mean, I get it, kind of: in her writing, Coulter has often made clear that she is vain about her appearance, regularly disparaging her women political opponents for failing to live up to her standards of feminine appeal, so turning it back at her is an easy shot. But that’s all it is, an easy, cheap shot that writes off any harm to trans women as acceptable collateral damage. They should all be made follow David Simon on Twitter to learn how to drag a conservative ideologue properly 😉.

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