Judith Butler & The Guardian

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This week (7th September 2021) an interview with Judith Butler was published in The Guardian. It created a bit of a furore on Terf Island twitter, for comparing Gender Critical feminists to fascists. In the midst of the backlash the article was significantly amended. For the record, I do not think her words should have been censored. As it happens many people had taken copes of the article and, as the interviewer (Jules Gleeson) boasted on twitter, it has been drawn to the attention of far more people. (Search ”Streisand effect” if you need context for this tweet).

About Jules Gleeson

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The interviewer is a self proclaimed intersex activist, with an interesting body of work.

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It is perfectly possible the above 👆is a factual statement and they do indeed have a difference in sexual development (DSD). There are a number of variations of sexual characteristics which fall under the term; though “intersex” is a label that has fallen out of favour for many people with DSDs. It is also worth noting that many people selfidentify as ”intersex”, which is a contentious issue in these circles. The self-identifying kind of “intersex” tend to use this term because it serves to undermine notions of sexual dimorphism. Its a loaded term for that reason.

The interviewer has undertaken niche research centred on cross-dressing monastic saints and ”explanations of eunuchs as a normalised-yet-contentious feature of late Roman life”. I would quite like to read it to see why we are normalising this, again, in the 21st Century. I am quite serious. I am not a theologian, I am a devout, atheist. I am curious about the recurrent references to the divine in pontifications on transgender issues. There also parallels with some Christian ascetic sects, which practiced castrations/mastectomy to mortify the flesh. (See the branch of Russian Orthodox Christians , The Skoptsy). It would be fascinating to see how these world views overlap. Note, I am not accusing Gleeson of being Skoptsy adjacent. 😂. That would be an association fallacy.

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Here are a few of the other pieces Gleeson published, in the New Socialist. This should give you a flavour of their preoccupations. 👇

Here are some more pieces. Suprise, Suprise, they were not a fan of the Lesbians who protested Pride to defend same sex attraction. They have also castigated The Guardian, previously, for transphobia.

I am not going to link to all the articles but I will include this one, re the Labour Party Leadership contest, for sheer devilry. I particularly enjoy the way Peter Stringfellow is wedged into a critique of, female centred, feminism. Thats a smear, by association, too far for this feminist 😂.

Trans Rights, Sex & Peter Stringfellow

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The Offending Article in The Guardian

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Here the Queen of Queer wades in with her obsession for re-categorising the female sex, to include males. While the male sex still commit 99% of all sex offences, overwhelmingly against women, this is a breathtakingly naive stance. Her pronouncements about pronouns do not address the concrete realities about women’s lives. So far the advantages, for women, seem to be, checks notes, male rapists in female prisons, males competing in women’s sports, and the normalisation of dehumanising language like ”chest-feeder” or ”cervix haver”. Noticeably public information campaigns, for males, retain the word ”man” for the prostate-havers /testicle-bearers. Tis almost as if there is some SEXism at play in the gender justice movement.

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She spouts the usual Butler Bollox about how we women just need to refuse to re-enact gender norms, as if nobody ever thought of this before. However, refusing to perform sex stereotypes, to liberate women, is not consistent with a choice to identify out of our sex category. In case you were not aware Butler now claims to be non-binary cos they is more enlightened than the rest of us! Are those of us claiming our womanhood deemed to be accepting the ”Gender performance” expected of us? Woman is a sex based category, this does NOT change; projections onto what being a woman means change, that is not the same thing.

Next up Judith demands that we accept a more expansive notion of womanhood which includes those who DO identify with the performance of ”Gender”. Surely this is reifying the notion of sex stereotypes and advocating carving them into flesh? If women reject them we can remove our breasts, if a man identifies with cultural norms associated with femininity he can modify his body to join the sisterhood. Doesn’t this leave us with medicalised closets for those who reject their sex, in favour of the physical embodiment of Gender Stereotypes?

Given that Butler also wishes to overthrow capitalism is she aware how much income is generated from the Gender Industrial Complex? CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 25% is considered at the upper end of pretty good. 👇

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Back to the Butler article 

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Would it not be more radical for men to expand the category of maleness to celebrate alternative variants of masculinity? We have challenged the straightjacket of sex stereotypes in many different ways, historically, without claiming that Boy George was literally a woman. Isn’t that more radical? The addition of trans men here also looks a bit tokenistic. Women tend to focus on issues raised by males invading the female sex class. Men need not have the same concerns about females invading their spaces because SEX Matters. It may be annoying to have a blue-haired, female, teen who thinks she is a gay man. It is unlikely to make adult males feel intimidated.

She also goes a bit terfy in this next clip. Could it be she knows males, socialised as males, don’t entirely learn to shed their learned behaviours when in ”Girl Mode”? Doesn’t an inability to identify out of their maleness have implications for actual women and girls?

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Notice Butler then moves on to describe a struggle against ”Gender Norms” which could sit comfortably within a Gender Critical argument. Rejecting sex stereotypes is integral to (my) “Gender Critical” feminism. We know women are real, our sex shapes aspects of our experience but biology need not be primary and controlling, in all circumstances. However we do have different bodies, to men, and sometimes that difference needs accommodating. Some of these may relate to our reproductive functions, some of them may be related to other, sex based, health needs. Others may be more prosaic in that simple product design, based on default man, often fails to meet the needs of women.

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Below she is on the way to a good, if not original, point. From the moment our sex is recognised and recorded assumptions are made about the position we will hold in society. Girl children are left to cry for longer and fed less, we may be put in flouncy dresses which we are supposed to keep clean. We may be given toys to inculcate expectations of domesticity. Women’s liberation depends on unpicking this earlier grooming /female socialisation. It’s also beyond regressive to see medicalised identities as a “liberation” , for men or women, depending , as they do, on a lifetime on cross sex hormones. 👇

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A couple of other observations. I am not a proponent of blank slate theory. I think both nature and nurture play a role in how the sexes are shaped. I am critical of the elements of female socialisation which encourage us to put our interests last. At the same time some of the qualities, nurtured by a female socialisation, are positive and it would be great if we inculcated them in our boy children.

ALL SEXES MATTER

This demand that feminism works to solve all the other problems Butler lists here, weakens women’s rights campaign. What other movement is asked to work on all the other injustices in the world. Can’t female people centre ourselves? We are half the population, except in countries that practice aborting female babies. This is the #AllSexesMatter for feminism.
Wry smile at Butler claiming to be against misogyny. She has lent credence to the biggest attack on women’s rights for decades. The ideology she embraces has unleashed a wave of misogyny unlike any I have seen in my lifetime.

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Here she says a white person cannot centre themselves in Black struggles but is simultaneously, maddeningly, blind to the obvious parallel in demanding women must centre males, in a movement for the liberation of women.

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Lol at the navel-gazing, non-binary, theybe calling out the danger of becoming self-absorbed. 😂

Vatican Adjacent

It can hardly be news that the Pope believes man and woman are Godly creations. This is a rather run of the mill observation. However, one does not have to be religious to believe biological sex is real. This is what is known as “Association Fallacy” and it is a bad faith argument designed to paint women, who know what a woman is, as religious conservatives. To be fair, religious conservatives also deserve the protection of single sex spaces and even they are not neccessarily down with the Pope’s sexual politics. If all Italian Catholics followed the Church’s teaching on contraception, for example, it would not have one of the lowest birth rates in Europe.

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Heaven help us we are Vatican adjacent apparently. Next up some guff about pronouns and the world of ”they”

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Here is the offending paragraph. The furore, for anyone who remains blissfully unaware, is about a male who exposed his genitals, to women and girls, at a spa. He was in the female section of a Korean spa, where going naked is the norm. A woman complained and was told the person was in that section because they identify as a ”woman”. This is legally correct under Californian law. Trans activists first claimed this was a right wing hoax. When it turned out to be true some, Laurie Penny (see below) pivoted “they should not have been looking because that is rude”. Finally it was revealed that this is a man with a history of sex offending going back nearly 20 years, Cue, tweet deleting or brazen double downs!

Again the lack of self-awareness from the Queen of Contradiction herself. She has not even come up with a stable definition of “gender” and yet wants all laws to give primacy to a nebulous concept over a material reality. Yet, apparently the Gender Critical movement is full of contradictions. 😳

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Below is how Butler characterises the women fighting to protect single sex spaces. I will give her this she is throwing every slur that comes to mind. This is a ridiculous mis-characterisation of the women fighting for women’s rights. Many of the women, and men, opposed to Gender Identity Ideology, are same sex attracted, many of the women have fought for reproductive justice, and the vast majority are in this fight because of the higher risk of sexual violence when we dismantle safeguards.

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Here is the part where she blatantly compares women, fighting for sex based rights to fascists: ”The anti-gender ideology is one of the dominant strains of fascism of our times”.

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I won’t revisit the issue of attacks on trans people. I covered the transperbole on murders of trans people (males) in this post 👇. In the UK the trans demographic is one of the safest and as a group they have committed more murders than have been victims. Globally the biggest risk factor for trans-id males is working in prostitution.

TRANS MURDER MONITORING

Butler & Ann Fausto-Sterling

Given that Butler recommends reading Anne Fausto-Sterling, in the above clip, here is detour to look at her work. She is best known for claiming there are 5 biological sexes.

She has since explained away as tongue-in-cheek prompting this memorable twitter exchange. Superb teacher voice coming through here. 👇

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Invariably when women are told to “educate ourselves” we do just that and it doesn’t end well for the sex-denialists.

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I would like to see Butler render her ideas in a more accessible format because her prose style seems designed to obfuscate, rather than illuminate. There is an ambiguity in her thought process that looks tactical in its evasiveness. I am not alone in making this observation, indeed twenty years ago the Guardian itself publicised an award made to Butler on her prose style.

Butler wins bad writing contest

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In conclusion.

So, ”gender” is performative and needs to be disrupted to liberate us. Saying “gender is a destructive fiction“ is beyond the pale and makes us fascists. Gender is a problem if it is performed by the sex that aligns with the associated gender identity. So, a feminine male, in Girl Mode, is cutting edge, radical politics but a female doing the same is a boring old Cis girl. A man repudiating his sex, and becoming dependent on Big Pharma, to validate his lady feelz is going to destroy capitalism. A woman who rejects sex stereotypes can become a theybe or identify as a man. Some of these identities may need hormones/surgery but it’s not a requirement. Women need to get over their genital phobia and realise that a Woman with a penis is no threat, even if she presents herself like a man because that’s just queering the binary.

I think I’ve got it!

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Researching the impact of Gender Identity Ideology on women & girls as well as the consequences for Lesbians, Gay males and autistic kids. I do this full time and have no income. All my content is open access and donations help keep me going. Only give IF you can afford. Thank you to my generous donors.

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Talcum X talks Butler Bollox

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Owen Jones talks to Judith Butler the Queen of Queer Theory. Full transcript attached. It was almost impossible to work out where the punctuation was intended. Apologies in advance to the Grammar police, I may have lost the will to live at some point. Transcription errors are mine. Failures of logic are Butler’s.

Owen Jones and Judith Butler

Here is the YouTube.

Owen Jones and Judith Butler

Who will rid me of these pesky transphobes?

OJ seems very keen to draw Butler into his public disagreement with Suzanne Moore. The piece starts, quite abruptly, with Butler criticising an unnamed woman who, we learn later, is Suzanne Moore. I would call this a response but it bears little resemblance to Moore’s actual writing on this topic. JK Rowling also comes under attack, as do feminists Janice Raymond and Sheila Jeffries. All women. When a man seeks to draw women, oops Non-binary persons, into criticising their fellow women, I am a tad suspicious of the driving motivation.

Plenty of men have expressed skepticism about Gender Identity Ideology, including Douglas Murray (Gay Man) and Piers Morgan. He could have also targeted Simon Fanshawe (Stonewall founder and Gay man) who gave his support to LGB Alliance. Why did Jones pass up an opportunity to skewer his, male, political opponents? Instead he has his sights trained on a bunch of left-wing, trade union, women. Could it be that Owen knows what biological sex is when it matters….to him?

Transphobia and Islamophobia. 

Owen asks Butler for her opionon on what is happening with British transphobia. Butler hesitates, for about a millisecond, to be the kind of American who comments on other countries. In her reply Butler hands Owen the answer he wants about British feminists, and simultaneously demonstrates her their complete ignorance about the U.K context. Butler is another U.S “feminist” who would be better concentrating on fighting for maternity leave and reproductive autonomy in their own country. U.K women will continue to fight for the sex-based rights these silly women are giving away. (Butler refers to UK women as silly and our arguments ridiculous so I make no apology for replying in kind).

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If you are looking for dazzling insights, into feminism, prepare to be disappointed. If you seek incitement to hate on women, you came to the right place: It’s full of bitchwhistles. Owen, “I am not a misogynist” Jones runs through the usual slurs.

Transphobic. ✅

Racist.✅

Dismissal of “Older” women. ✅

Homophobic ✅

Owen deliberately ignores the impact of Gender Identity Supremacy on Gay Rights. What happens to SEXual orientation if men can claim to be Lesbians? Nowhere does he mention that many of us are parents of Gay Males. Some of us find it hard to see why calling our sons “girl” in the playground is “bullying” but when the Tavistock and Queer Theorists do it it’s affirmation”. Why let the truth get in the way of a bit of performative misogyny?

In Butler Land sex, is of course, assigned at birth. The way Butler talks about the inside of the delivery room is reminiscient of the bonkers group Action for Trans Health. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this group, let me remind you, they argued that identifying biological sex was a violent act of State coercion. Butler continues in this vein with the inevitable guff about chromosomes making sex so, so, complicated to determine. Butler’s ham fisted attempt to deny biological reality echoes an average day, playing intersex bingo, with the Queer Theory twitterati.

I expected she would have enough in her arsenal to make me second guess myself. Nope. Turns out What the Butler Saw was not much.

 The Trans person’s burden. 

The idea that “transphobic” feminists are responsible for the deaths of “trans” people is  how   Owen chooses to frame the interview. The  reference to suicide, at the outset, is grossly irresponsible. To promulgate the False suicide narrative, knowing people who identify as “trans” are among his most devoted acolytes, shows a reckless disregards for the dangers of fostering suicide ideation. Not only is this contrary to Samaritan’s guidance, on media coverage, it is cheap, emotional blackmail.  This is Butler’s response to Suzanne Moore’s purported stance. 18E90194-A10D-43EE-B2D3-74A3D81E368B

This is quickly followed by more transperbole. Women.  Look what you made me do!  Failure to recognise the preferred name/ identity of trans-identifying people means they will be unable to eat and breathe! 

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Later Butler depict’s Moore defending of women’s rights as based on a deep, subjective feeling that women wish to deny others. 

F99D7FE0-7634-4948-B627-AE37816F553F You have just spent ages saying there is no right way to be a woman. Yet, here you are, saying being a woman is defined by  this  inner, subjective, feeling that we are woman. I don’t have this “genderfeelz” thing. I just am a woman. On the basis of this argument I will have to kick myself out of my own sex class… and see Butler in the non-binary section.  

After the diatribe on Moore’s failure to understand trans peope etc Butler makes an astonishing attack:

Now, when someone like Suzanne Moore says “Oh transwomen just think they’re women because of a feeling they have”, That’s a deeply dismissive, transphobic… I’m sure she would be proud to be transphobic I don’t think it’s a falsehood to call  her transphobic.  I think she values transphobia. She wants more of it in the world.

No wonder Jones felt obliged to insert this slide..

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Next up Butler bastardises feminist thought. They/Them repurposes centuries of work questioning the social construction of “femininity”, to better serve our Trans overlords.  UK feminists have long argued that Gender Identity appears to be based on regressive, sex stereotypes. Butler bollox twists this to lend credence to the foolish notion that we  have no idea what a man or woman is!   Queer Theory does not, in fact, deconstruct “femininity”, or “masculinity” , it merely reassigns the sex of anyone who doesn’t successfully perform sex stereotypes. Queer Theorists also throw in a veritable smorgasboard of other identities like a post-modern pick and mix.  Butler has, we later learn, opted for Non-binary, something inbetween. Sigh. 

What is a woman?

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This might fool a neophyte, like Jones, it ought not to have fooled so many others. Of course we should deconstruct societal expectations, of both femininity and masculinity. That should not mean reifying sexist stereotypes to assign flamboyant males, or butch women a new sex designation! Note the failure to conform to uber pornified “femme” presentation covers many more of us than Butch lesbians. It’s the stereotypes. Stupid!

More on the same theme. Who are these Women who do a thing and then immediately think, the doing of the thing, means they are “not really a woman”. When I was the person paying the mortgage one of the banks we applied to only had the option for MAN:Yes or MAN:No. This was twenty years ago, in England, not Afghanistan! Who exactly was telling me this was not something a woman should do? Could it be that the computer system was designed by a bloke still shocked that women had their own bank accounts? Why would this make me question my sex, rather than note the sexism?

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What is “gender”?

The current trend for asserting the primacy of “Gender Identity”, over biological sex, is doing the EXACT same thing as rigid enforcement of sex appropriate roles. Are you are girl who likes short hair, trains, playing with boys, computer games? Are you really a “boy”? Same for boys who are bakers not fighters. It’s so utterly regressive. Before all this Queer Theory bollocks we were making some headway fighing to liberate females and males from these constraints. NOW? Oops I seem to be a great scientist and I fancy women: I must really be a man.

Butler’s arguments are so full of hesitation, deviation and repetition. They are also hard to follow. We are informed that, after Butler publishing her book,Gender Trouble, she had some negative feedback from the Trans community and how she learned to listen to trans people. They were were at pains to dispute the idea their Gender Identity was not innate. Butler offers up trans theorists who claim an innate Gender Identity and advises this is an area of much debate within “trans-studies”. She is abject in her desire to learn at the feet of the great trans theorists and scold’s transphobic feminists for not reading her recommended gurus. (We have, Judith. We just thought it was regressive claptrap, but, hey, maybe if it were not for my #LadyBrain I could grasp how this is meant to be progressive).

Butler concedes that there is a vast difference in expections of 1950’s women to modern day expectations. She understands the formation of “Gender Identity” varies according to historical context but still claims “Gender” is so deeply seated it is not really a choice.

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So it’s not chosen. It’s not innate. It’s historically changeable but also deep seated. These are the kind of intellectual acrobatics required to include Bearded Lesbians, like Alex Drummond, under the trans umbrella.

Butler also takes issue with the misunderstandings about Gender which she patiently explains, obfuscates. Gender is performative but not a performance, its deep-seated but not innate, it is performative but it’s not artificial, it’s a powerful social and historical reality but it isn’t just based on sex stereotypes. Keep up on the back benches. Are you really going to legislate based on this nebulous concept?

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Here is how Butler experiences their “gender”. Seeing so many drag queens in gay bars helped Butler understand that some men could out perform her in “femininity”. Yep. People. This is what passes for progressive thinking. Women who don’t perform in the s expected way are somehow failing at being women and therefore must be non-binary? Men? #NobodyDoesItBetter apparently.

Stonewall and Historical Revisionism

Below Owen reminds us that Stonewall only added campaigning for the T in 2015. It has taken just five years to destroy an organisation once remarkable for it’s work defending gay rights. As we can see from this clip they justified this by the historical revisionism which claims Transwomen were key players in the Stonewall Riots. This is an egregious lie. In fact the Stonewall Riots were started by a Lesbian and supported by Gay men. Transsexuals /Transwomen played a minor, to non-existent, role. To see OJ cravenly thanking trans people for their liberation, as a gay man, is cringe-making. Later in the piece both Butler and Jones criticise historical revisionism and completely overlook this example of their own. In the same section Butler claims that post-modernists are not in the business, as far as she knows, of denying facts. Pull the other one.

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RUTH HUNT

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(Ruth Hunt now has a seat in the House of Lords. For swelling the Stonewall coffers with Trans Lobby cash and, in doing so, destroying the reputation of a once venerable organisation. Interview with Ruth Hunt , below, on Hard Talk makes it clear she measured success by revenue. Looking forward to how Ruth Hunt revises her history when the damage to young lesbians becomes clear. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csy97p)

Next up. This is how Butler characterises writers like Janice Raymond and Sheila Jeffries and women who are campaigning for penis free spaces. This argument would not be out of place on a Men’s Rights Forum, because this is exactly what this movement is. Butler below doing the classic #NotAllMen so beloved by MRAs and TRAs.

Once again. We exclude ALL men to safeguard women and girls from the FEW. We exclude ALL men not just for safety but for privacy and dignity. It is perfectly reasonable for women and girls to wish to undress, shower and acccess the toilets in FEMALE ONLY spaces.

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Here she is on JK Rowling. Women talking about a history of domestic abuse are leveraging their trauma in order to persecute others!

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Here are JK Rowling’s actual words.  Trigger warning.  They are PERFECTLY REASONABLE!

JK Rowling Statement   

Owen commits and unpardonable faux-pas! 

To end.  Well worth watching this snippet to see Owen spluttering an apology after making a capital error and failing to respect Mx Butler’s identity!   OJ decides to ask a question from one of his viewers and …

He, of course, blames the questioner..another woman and Butler makes her their feelings perfectly clear.  

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Lol!

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Agreement?

I didn’t disagree with Butler on everything.  She gives a creditable account of why the work of Kimberle Crensaw is important. Not withstanding the reputation of intersectional feminism is now utterly ruined by the parasitic leeching of Gender Identity Ideology.  It is certainly true that women could have made common cause with refugees from masculinity  IF they had not turned out to be neo-colonialists.  Certainly those of us who are not willing to give up our sex based rights are not, as Butler mischaracterises us, unconcerned with structural racism.  Once again the hijacking of #BlackLivesMatter by the obsession with trans issues has haomorrhaged respectability for that campaign, but the initial aims were laudable.

I also wholly endorse this statement though for rather different reasons than Butler 

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