The TERFening: attempting to document a convoluted online silencing campaign


A few years ago, when I shared this article about Caitlyn Jenner and another one  about Rachel Dolezal, many angry liberal friends called me “transphobic,” and told me to “educate myself.” They apparently didn’t know I had spent many years deeply involved in various queer scenes in San Francisco, and had trans friends, and was gender dysphoric myself (it resolved in my mid-20’s, which is not unusual.) Since I couldn’t “educate myself” much more on trans people and queer theory, I considered what I really hadn’t educated myself about: radical feminism. Like everyone else, I had been denouncing “TERF“s without reading anything they’d written. So I started reading, and quickly realized I was a gender-critical radical feminist. (If you’re wondering why, I suggest you “educate yourself” about radical feminism. This video is a good place to start.)

Saying you’re a gender-critical radical feminist in public is like saying, “I’m a witch! Burn me!” So I spent about a year and a half in seething, cowed silence. But finally, on February 25, 2017, I “came out.”

The TERFening

In late February I noticed my liberal friends were sharing this “meme”:


So I posted this on Facebook (which I now call fecebook):


You can try to read all 1000+ comments here, although fecebook organizes them so poorly they’re hard to navigate.

Now it gets rather convoluted. Some of the comments have been documented anonymously here, along with annotation. I am “user J.”

Meanwhile a friend took this screenshot of a fecebook page devoted to stalking and harassing “TERF”s like me:


(This stalker page was since removed, which is unfortunate because no one should be censored online. When “activists” seek to ban pages like this, they actually help harassers by covering their evidence.)

Shortly thereafter, I was blocked from fecebook due to this offending comment I made, also to someone named “Chris,” just like the “Chris” named on the stalker page above:

Screenshot 2017-02-27 06.47.08

That comment was in response to this (“User C” is Chris):


(More screenshots and annotation here.)

Screenshot 2017-02-27 06.47.19

When that ban was over, I returned to fecebook to document the first ban:

Screenshot 2017-03-03 12.45.52

See at the top it says FB thought it “looks like spam”? That’s because I took that screenshot the following day, when I was once again banned from fecebook (I could still read, but not post, comment, or use messenger). My harassers/stalkers presumably mass-reported it as “spam” so fecebook would automatically remove it and ban me, with no investigation.

Screenshot 2017-03-03 SPAM

(The very first comment, on a post documenting my online harassment and silencing, was from a woman chastising me for being “transphobic and harmful”):

Screenshot 2017-03-02 12.11.46

This time the ban was 3 days:

Screenshot 2017-03-03 10.23.40

Meanwhile, on reddit….

Since I was banned on fecebook, I posted about it on a gender-critical feminist forum on reddit. This subreddit has it’s very own “stalker sub,” and a friend sent me this screenshot:


The “polite email expressing your disappointment” consisted of my new account getting permanently banned from reddit on a technicality. I tried to fix it:

N_to_Mod 2017-03-03

And was sent this response from the moderator responsible:

Mod_to_N 2017-03-03

“Witch hunting and harassment,” yeah.

A week after that I was dis-invited to a $2,000 speaking gig at a college. They’d already sent me the paperwork but I hadn’t signed it yet – lucky for them I guess. I can’t get a straight answer as to what happened. I asked if it was because of my politics, and was told, “It’s more about the pressures involving my job than anything else. I hope to speak to you more about it in the future but right now I am not able to. I hope you can please understand.” It’s called no-platforming, and it’s been silencing feminists for a few years now.

4 comments to The TERFening: attempting to document a convoluted online silencing campaign

  • Will Shetterly

    Welcome to the brave new world where the alt-center rules by silencing criticism. My take on bathrooms is it’s practical to let people pee where they want to, but either there are so many genders that it’s ridiculous to say a person whose sex and gender are female is the same as a person whose sex is male and gender is not, or it’s time to say gender theory was useful when it began in the 1950s, but now it’s as relevant as abolitionism. In any case, I’m sorry you were silenced.

  • Gender Atheist

    If we are to ever abolish sexism and male violence against women, we’re going to have to eliminate the notion of “gender”. Gender is a set of stereotypes, nothing else. Male and female is simply our reproductive potential, and SHOULD have no other incidence in our lives other than statistical record keeping to make sure our governments and businesses are providing fair life outcomes.
    So many girls grow up with dysphoria when viewing the amount of sexist expectations await us. We reduce dysphoria by reducing “gender”.
    Thank you for “coming out”.

  • Jerzy Kaltenberg

    Dear Nina,

    First, a personal disclaimer: I couldn’t care less about imaginary genders. As i see it, ‘trans’ simply means mutilated & confused. I’ve been a fan of your art for years and I don’t care for OR about your politics.

    It is a pity that fecebook is so easily manipulated, but then it is pretty much the lowest common denominator of social media. You took a mildly unpopular stance on an issue lionised and dominated by social justice warriors (They can have it, btw, and good riddance) and you have now experienced just a touch of what non-readicalised centrists such as I receive in abundance from your erstwhile fellow travellers – Intolerance of the progressives. The problem here is that you expect to be treated fairly. You won’t get that from folks who see anything but the extreme position as anathema. This is why revolutions eat their own children, and why reflection and reason are not to be found where identity depends on repudiation of commonly accepted norms.

    You won’t find reasonable behaviour amongst people so uncomfortable with their identity, they’re willing to mutilate themselves. Certainly you will not find it amongst folks who blame their problems on half the population, or our evolved nature. You won’t find it amongst folks who, for ideological or lifestyle/fashion/ radical chic reasons, embrace these views.

    You also will not find acceptance there as long as you are critical of them. You are, for lack of a better word, a Trotskyite. You’ve farted in the elevator. You pointed out the turd in their punchbowl. You’ve said “thus far, and no further”. You are now more of a problem than the stereotype Archie Bunker represented. You are a _heretic_.

    P.s. i always wondered why the attitude. Now_ i know.

  • Kris

    On the meme “It’s not about bathrooms, as it was never about water fountains”….

    The apt analogy to the civil rights movements here would be if white people were demanding access to the blacks only segregated areas.

    Really though, analogies to history are never going to be truly analogous because this is so unprecedented. We have a group of males claiming they are oppressed because we have “assigned” them to the privileged class. Then calling us bigots because we advocate for getting rid of the class hierarchy altogether.

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