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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.
Gender Critical | ContraPoints