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By Jason Michael

MS MARION MILLAR (50) is currently on trial in Scotland. She is charged with [allegedly] posting homophobic and transphobic content to her social media pages, with [allegedly] hanging a ribbon to a fence and photographing it, and with [allegedly] publishing personal details and homophobic comments about the female police officer who arrested her. Trans-exclusionary radical feminists across the United Kingdom and around the world have rallied behind her, seeing her as a martyr to the cause of defending women’s rights. In Scotland, her supporters are keen to frame her arrest and trial as a conspiracy, the crux of which is that the Scottish National Party — the party in government — has been captured by ‘woke’ transgender allies who are determined to undermine social stability and destroy women’s rights with their ‘trans ideology.’

Her innocence or guilt with regard to these charges is a matter for the court, so we will not speculate on the outcome here — save to say that, personally, I have no desire to see this woman, a working mother, sent to prison. Yet, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence — and not much at all has been presented as evidence to back-up these claims of government conspiracy. What I would like to do here, then, is unknot some of the claims of the anti-gender movement and ask whether or not this is a legitimate front in the Feminist campaign for women’s rights. I would like to know if people like Marion Millar are good faith actors in a rights-based struggle or if they are being used as instruments in a more nefarious and reactionary far-right effort to push back LGBTQ+ rights.

In the first instance we must take an honest look at the substance of the charges against her and how they have been portrayed to her supporters on social media. These charges can be divided into three categories; i. homophobic and transphobic communication, ii. threatening communication, and iii. the publication of the personal details and homophobic abuse of a police officer. Secondly, we want to consider the language used by Millar and the movement in order to find relationships and connections to other activist movements and their tactics. Lastly, we will interrogate the idea of a government conspiracy to weaken the fabric of society to harm women and girls in particular.

It is difficult to say what communications the prosecution is referring to when it speaks about her alleged homophobic and transphobic communication, although, given the general nature of its accusation, it is likely the prosecution will work to accumulate a bouquet of evidence from her social media posts. The likelihood of this allows us to examine a small handful of her content — much of which is rather spicy — in order to get a rough feel for her general attitude towards LGBTQ+ people. In early February this year, Stephanie Hayden, a London-based lawyer and a trans-woman, highlighted a tweet from Ms Millar which included a picture of Hayden that read:

I had to block this big munter because every time I read a tweet either written by the big man or about them, well let’s just say it triggers the shit out of me, this big fucker will end up suing me ending with him sitting on my big chair at the fire in my house, fuck him.

Gender critical feminists, many of whom equate their use to rape, take issue with the use of female pronouns by trans-women. This may explain the use of ‘him’ in this tweet, but it cannot be denied that ‘the big man,’ ‘this big fucker,’ and ‘fuck him’ are unnecessary and beyond the pale. That Ms Hayden says she has never met with or interacted with Millar makes this all the more concerning. Hayden ‘triggers the shit out of’ Millar, it would certainly seem, because the latter is a trans-woman. This is the only reason that explains Marion Millar’s assault (unless we are missing something).

We must assume the vast majority of transgender women and men have never clapped eyes on Marrion Millar. Most transgender people don’t know who she is and certainly wouldn’t be inclined to go out of their way to cause her any grief. Yet there is a theme that runs through all of her descriptions of trans-women; the congenital badness of men and the ugliness of people who do not conform to her gender-based assumptions and expectations:

He’s a horrible ugly cunt, looks like a man and shaped like a man, because he is a man.

While I may in part understand the reluctance on the part of gender critical feminists to extend feminine pronouns to trans-women — it does follow a certain biological essentialist logic (with which I disagree), what is on show here is not reservation, but spite. At the very least, this is a spiteful thing to say to another person. It is laced with overt misandry and positively dripping with loathing for trans-women — men, as she would see it, in dresses. But it gets worse. With all of this unresolved rage at men comes the horrible insinuation. Discussing Veronica Ivy (formerly Rachel McKinnon), a Canadian professor and transgender rights activist — a trans-women, Millar wrote:

… he is nothing but a fraud and a cheat and a creepy bastard.

According to Marion Millar, Veronica Ivy is a fraud and a cheat because she presents as a woman and competes in cycling competitions as a trans-woman. But what is all this about being ‘a creepy bastard?’ We all know what ‘creepy’ means in this context, but we will let the Urban Dictionary spell it out for those who will inevitably cast ambiguity on its use:

An overused slang term for sexually inappropriate or perverted or for attempting to derive sexual gratification through dishonorable means. Unfortunately, the word has become an abused favorite of melodramatic people who try hard to use the word wherever possible, to the point of rendering the word almost meaningless.

For no other reason than for being a trans-woman, Millar sees Veronica Ivy as ‘creepy.’ This is a person she has never met, and no doubt Veronica Ivy has never heard of her (well, maybe she has now). She is creepy for being transgender, and so, by extension, it is reasonable to conclude that Millar and trans-exclusionary radical feminists like her see all transgender women as men who are sexually inappropriate, perverted, and who attempt to gain sexual gratification by using women’s toilets and getting their nails done in beauty parlours. This is prejudice by definition; that is, it pre-judges the motives of complete strangers based on a negative and biased set of assumptions.

What about the charge relating to her threatening behaviour? This is one of my favourites simply because of the somersaults gender critical activists did to reduce it to farce. What could be more farcical than being arrested by the police — police who could be arresting rapists and child molesters — for attaching a Suffragette ribbon to a wire fence, photographing it, and posting it to social media? Ask any number of her followers and they will tell you this is what happened. Some will even tell you that it was because the ribbon somehow looked like a noose. But this isn’t what happened.

Marion Millar went to River City actor David Paisley’s (an outspoken supporter of transgender rights) place of work and attached a ribbon to the perimeter fence, snapped a picture of it, and posted it online. This is ‘doxxing’ — the publication of private information (or ‘docs’), including identity documents, national insurance numbers, street and email addresses, and telephone numbers — and it is a crime (a serious crime). This is online bullying and harassment at its worst. It didn’t matter what the ribbon symbolised. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the ribbon or with Millar’s gender critical beliefs. What mattered here was the publication of details revealing a targeted person’s home or place of work — and the threat it implied.

Sure, David Paisley is a big man and Marion Millar is a poor wee defenceless woman! What of it?! This isn’t the Wild West, we do not operate within a legal framework where a big muscular chap can simply thump a woman — or anyone else for that matter. This was a serious threat, and in Scotland — where we expect to live safely and without harassment under the rule law — this is a criminal matter. We pay our taxes so that the police and the courts can deal with this obnoxious behaviour. That is what’s happening, and it doesn’t matter a jot what your opinion is about Marion Millar or David Paisley.

Then there is the further doxxing of the arresting officer and the deliberate and spiteful focus Millar and others put on the officer’s sexuality. Largely due to best practice procedures, Police Scotland, like other national policing bodies, tries to send LGBTQ+ officers to cases involving suspected hate crimes. This is what happened in the case of Millar. The officer who chapped her door was a lesbian, and Millar was keen to publicise this nugget of information. What followed was a frenzy of gender critical activists investigating the officer’s social media and other online footprints to reveal everything they could about her — you know, to prove some kind of police Masonic Jesuit Illuminati anti-woman conspiracy. Gemma Stone puts this in context:

Amongst the doxxed information surrounding the police officer was the fact that she’s gay; complete with coming out post. The post itself is quite sweet, actually. Just your general “I’m so happy to be me and it’s great” kinda thing. It even includes a picture of her looking pretty chuffed with herself indeed. So of course, transphobes have squatted right over it and dropped trousers to spew their bile filled shit all upon it.

As said above, I do not want to see Marion Millar go to prison over this. I don’t know the woman, and still have the idea in my head that she has done all this sincerely believing she is in the right; that she is the advanced guard in a fight against a massive international conspiracy against women. Still — and frustratingly — this has led to her and others doing some pretty nasty things. The road to hell… and all that. And there are clues as to where this is coming from. The language and phraseology used by gender critical activists shares some striking parallels with conservative Christian groups and elements of the alt- and far-right. More than a few academics have been discussing these links and relationships over the past decade and only this month the European Parliamentary Forum published a report on the coordination of these groups in an international campaign against LGBTQ+ rights.

We will return to this in the next post.

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25 thoughts on “This is Not Women’s Rights

  1. A well written article and food for thought.

    I have my own views on the gender issue. However, the subject is now so toxic and open to either genuine misinterpretation or sometimes willful and maliciously deliberate misinterpretation I will not express my opinion as the risk of some kind of backlash makes it not worth it.

    Now there is surely something wrong with that.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Sorry Jeggit. You have this all wrong. I was there today and you were not. (I assume).
    It was a mixed bunch. Some gay men, some much older, presumably supporting wives, daughters and granddaughters. There is a real issue here and first and foremost it’s about free speech. No-one has the right NOT to be offended but unfortunately in Scotland offence is now being transposed to Hate.
    You may be seriously offended by anything anyone has posted online or elsewhere but question is is it their right to do so.?
    I believe it is. You may disagree. But one thing is obvious and that it Marion Millar’s case is the first in a long line of test cases for Scotland’s Hate Crime Bill.
    Be afraid.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. ‘No one has the right not to be offended’ is a favourite line of the racist far-right. Of course things are offensive and ought to be legislated against in a tolerant society (see Karl Popper). We do not tolerate the intolerant and intolerance. We cannot complain about the bigotry of the Orange Order, for example, and give a free pass to other bigotries. Being there does not make someone an expert, understanding it does. And free speech has qualifications. You cannot shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre. You cannot speak and say what you like without consequence. With every freedom there are responsibilities. Marion Millar broke the law. I would suggest you take some time to think this over. Do not be afraid!

      Like

  3. Jason, I’m surprised that you, being a Roman Catholic priest disagree with “biological essentialist logic”. A Twitter Thread by Rebecca R Helm, an assistant professor of biology at the University of North Carolina Asheville, where she studies the development, evolution, and ecology of jellyfish, is being used by trans activists to argue against biological sex being a category for which rights are protected. She argues that the only gene that matters to sex is the SRY gene which during embryonic development turns on male associated genes. She questions whether this is biological sex.. Biology Professor Explains What “Biological Sex” Really Means, Starts A Heated Debate On Twitter | Bored Panda.

    Dr. Miriam Grossman, a psychiatrist who specialises in treating children, wrote, “Over 99.98% of us are normal XX or XY, females or males in terms of chromosomes, hormones and cellular function. Helm’s argument is often used by gender activists – take the rare exceptions, normalize them, then claim there’s a “spectrum”. Well, 1:100 people have schizophrenia: hallucinations and delusions. Shall we say there’s a spectrum of perception, including seeing things that aren’t there? its true the SRY is the important part of the Y chromosome. So what if it very very rarely, due to an abnormal cell division ends up on an X chromosome? All sorts of genetic accidents occur. The exceptions prove the rule. To deny the binary is to deny 21st century science.”

    There is reasonable argument about the use of the word Gender, which until the 1960s was used to refer to words, nouns and pronouns which could be masculine, or feminine, or neuter, about the appropriateness of using it to refer to people, who have a sex, male or female. This transference of use was popularised by Dr. John Money, who had been an associate of Alfred Kinsey, whose notions about sex and sexuality came from experiments using child abuse. At first Gender was used as synonym for Sex, but its use was transferred to people who had problems of the mind and emotions accepting their sex, and thus became a replacement for the word Sex, then became something disassociated from the body.

    The suffixes Phobe, Phobic, and Phobia, are used as bully suffixes to shut down reasoned discussion on the basis of Scripture, theology, philosophy and science, when discussing issues surrounding “gender” and sexual attraction and behaviour. Written into law they make arguing against the new orthodox gender ideology a crime.

    I have been acquainted with some Transwomen, and listened to them speak about the mental and emotional agony of feeling that their “gender” dysmorphia causes. One gained relief by transitioning, the others continued to be unhappy with themselves. I empathise with them. It’s not for me to judge the rightness or wisdom of transitioning. Transwomen and transmen have rights, but a Transwoman is not a biological woman and should not have the rights that are appropriate only for biological women, and a Transman is not a biological man, and should not have the rights that are appropriate only for biological men. The fact that we also have Fluid-gender persons, and that the BBC is teaching children that there are 100 genders raises the question as whether there may be 7.8 billion genders. In other words, are we really talking about personalities? Should we talk about the sex of persons rather than gender and accept people living their personality?

    The video is a caricature of a Transwoman, and her arguments both pro and con are caricatures.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Steelewires, thanks for the comment. I am not a biologist. I am a theologian and a philosopher by training. Neither Christian theology nor practical reason leave much room for biological essentialism. Christ was male, yet by his death and resurrection saved women too. According to the Fathers, ‘that which has not been assumed cannot be redeemed.’ In his maleness Christ did not assume the body of a woman. How then can he save both men and women? Because his masculinity was not the point of his incarnation. His humanity was. He saves because he is fully human and fully God, and to be ‘fully human’ is to be male and female (you did bring up my faith). As for philosophy, humanity is not in essence material. We are human because of our narratives. Of course, biology deals with this strictly materially. But I am not a biologist. This said, it is not necessarily this essentialism I disagree with. Of course there are real differences between women and men. What I do disagree with is the refusal to extend gendered pronouns to people who wish to be referred to by them. This is no skin off my nose.

      Since we are on the subject of my faith, I feel it important to reiterate that my disposition towards people is one of Love, meeting people ‘where they are’ with compassion and kindness. I’m really not into denigrating others and dehumanising them because of who they are. And I’m certainly not a fan of using science – or religion – in order to do that. I do hope this makes things a little more clear.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you for replying to my comment. I affirm your attitude of love, and accepting people’s humanity. Theologically, I agree with your belief that Christ’s humanity is what’s important for the salvation of the world. I wonder if your rejection of biological essentialism is really a kind of modern Gnosticism that separates the self from the body. Humans ARE bodies and the ARE souls. They are two ways of looking at the human person. I think you are partly correct in saying “As for philosophy, humanity is not in essence material.” It is not immaterial either. It’s the person in his or her narrative which includes body, sex, relationships, environment etc. The bible’s teaching that God made humanity as male and female is important here.

      It seems to me that what Pope Francis said about homosexuals is important and applies here. He affirmed the Roman Catholic Churches traditional teaching, and also refused to condemn. While my arts degree was in philosophy, specialising in philosophy of religion, my pastoral training for my theology degree was in a Roman Catholic hospital. Long before Pope Francis’s time, the attitude that was taught and demonstrated was what was to be his. I do think that if what is alleged Marion Millar said and did is true, then it’s cruel and wicked.

      My concern about gender arose from my 10 year old grandson coming home from school and telling his parents that a boy in school was attending dressed as a girl and claiming to be a girl, and saying that some girls in his class had been saying that they can be boys if they want to be. We had a family discussion about chromosomes, which cannot change, and which make us male or female. Also the Relationship and Sexuality Education curriculum which is being adopted is teaching children vary harmful notions about “gender”. Stonewall has produced curriculum content which tells children from 3 years old that girls can choose to be boys and boys can choose to be girls. It teaches them that there are many genders and encourages them to experiment with different genders. This is creating the conditions where children doubt their sexual identity, and promotes the development of sex dysphoria. It’s one thing to treat Trans-people with compassion and respect; it’s another to attempt to turn our children into Trans-people.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Some *very* useful material here.

    My experience of Trans people is that they became aware that something was not adding up when they were little, long before they had started to develop any sexual feelings. Clearly, there is a need for the rest of us, not having such an experience, to *try* to understand, and certainly to look for ways in which Trans people’s rights can be respected and accommodated.

    At the same time, it’s vital to protect the rights and protections that women have at last begun to acquire. They took a long time to win. Women anxious about them have the right to a listening.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A useful contribution to the debate. I have spoken to a number of women on the issue and been surprised how strongly they support transmen and women. It has made me re-examine my own thoughts. I have worried about the intrusion of ‘men in dresses’ into female spaces, mainly because of the number of pro-indy blogs that have gone on about it in the last year and a half. But if the women in my life are fine with it, then I am too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good article, absolutely right. This is nothing to do with women’s rights!
    This case has been totally misrepresented by those supporting a woman who, regardless of outcome of case, is guilty of homophobic and transphobic abuse and targeting individuals.

    Like

  7. Agree with steelewires. Issues around identity, belonging and erasure generate intense heat and there is an urgent need to lower the temperature here. This means each side recognising the extent to which genuine fear is driving the conduct of the other. I am happy to use preferred pronouns, respect gender identity and accept trans women as women, it costs me nothing in most situations. But in a few specific situations – eg spaces where women and girls are vulnerable to voyeurism and exhibitionism – it’s just unrealistic to think that predatory males will not take advantage of any opportunity offered them, and the exclusion of all male-bodied people is an important first line of defence. In elite sport, competitions are won by the smallest of margins – unless and until we see trans men winning at the same rate as trans women, a category of people will be disadvantaged as a result of their birth sex. It’s easy to understand why society feels guilt and shame for the way trans people have been treated down the years, but ignoring and belittling the sensibilities and fears of the substantial section of the population who haven’t yet got with the Queer Theory programme is not a way forward.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. .. interesting thoughts and analysis from Jeggit there. Much of what I didn’t know (I did realise I had knowledge gaps) about the Marion Millar case, may have been answered here by Jeggit. Or maybe not. It’s just one persuasively argued case ‘for the prosecution’, and informative although not necessarily definitively so.

    But this statement worries me:

    “I would like to know if people like Marion Millar are good faith actors in a rights-based struggle or if they are being used as instruments in a more nefarious and reactionary far-right effort to push back LGBTQ+ rights”.

    But who does Jeggit thinks could be ‘using’ Marion Miller? Why can’t she have the views she has as an individual, rather than as some puppet in a far-right conspiracy? Her views may be obnoxious and wrong (although for now I think it would be wise to reserve judgement), but can’t individuals be obnoxious and wrong, just on their own account?

    Does Jeggit hold his gender-sympathetic views as part of a far-left (or some other) conspiracy, or just as an individual who has done some serious thinking? The answer doesn’t need spelling out.

    In his previous posting Jeggit mentioned:

    ” .. the endless vitriol from gender critical activists online — people who imagine it is acceptable to describe transgender people as ‘repugnant,’ ‘narcissistic,’ ‘disgusting,’ and ‘imbecilic’ [etc]” .

    I challenged this as a generalisation at risk of tarring everyone who is gender-critical with the same brush, noting that Jeggit fails to mention any reference to “the bile directed at gender-critical folk from some [including from folk convicted of criminality] in the trans-supporting community. Which makes (Jeggit’s) criticism appear selective”.

    But Jeggit has undoubtedly taken sides in this fiercely divisive trans issue, and in the narrower matter of the Marion Millar case too, as he is entitled to do.

    But is that wise?

    Both sides hurling abuse at one another, and implying that all the hate emanates from one side only, just not theirs, gets us nowhere.

    I’ll repeat what I’ve said before: only one political party has suggested a constructive way forward on this, and that’s ALBA, which has proposed taking the heat out of the debate by referring the issue to a Citizens Assembly. If anyone’s gut reaction to that idea is ‘no way, because that’s the ALBA way’, then perhaps they’re not so interested in a respectfully negotiated way forward. Maybe, for them, the row, and the hatred, is all that matters.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The word now is that straight men should date trans women or risk being called transphobic. Men. Straight men. Now the sh*t will hit the fan. Women? Yeah, sacrifice them. Children, ditto. Lesbians, hell yes. Gay men, they can fend for themselves. But straight men!

      Liked by 3 people

  9. I agree with lorncal when she says “I have no objection to trans people except that I do not want trans women to appropriate my hard-won spaces and rights as a biological woman, and which are entirely sex-based, and necessary or they wouldn’t exist.”, and I think this is what’s at the heart of most females who object to the new Gender Recognition legislation.

    Liked by 5 people

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