Gender Colonialism

Last week I posted on fecebook “If a person has a penis he’s a man,” which led to my widespread denunciation as a “transphobe.” I’ve written about this before, and anyone paying attention should know better, but I nonetheless commented this:

No matter how many times I state that I have trans friends, was standing up for trans people before the current crop of MRA “transactivists” was even born, and continue to defend the human rights of trans people, people accuse me of the opposite. I tire of defending myself, and it makes no difference anyway. I hated seeing the trans movement get taken over by misogynistic men’s rights activists; I hate seeing the misogyny of the “left” growing. I am witnessing a new, deeper, “postmodern” colonization of women. I bear no ill will towards trans people and like and love several; my concern is for WOMEN, especially those who aren’t white liberal middle-or-upper class, and especially lesbians. When an aggressive white male comes here and declares “I’m a dyke!”, and other liberal men gather round to support him, I see this colonization in action.

Do stick around, it takes a while to see, but I promise you I didn’t get to this place out of ill will. It’s so easy to just say “trans women are women!” and not deal with anyone’s hate. I’m resisting for a reason.

What do I mean by colonization? I mean the literal occupation of women’s spaces – rape shelters, prisons, locker rooms, bathrooms, swimming holes, and women-only events that women have fought very hard for. By men. Physically. But a huge component of this colonization is mental, existing in the realm of ideas and “identity”. What is a woman? 

A sex without a people for a people without a sex

In American Liberal thought, colonization is bad. But immigration is good. And taking in refugees is doubleplusgood. This is why Americans backed the Zionist colonization of Palestine. Israelis weren’t regarded as colonizers; they were refugees! And Palestine wasn’t even inhabited, not really. It was a land without a people for a people without a land. The only reason you could possibly object was if you were ANTISEMITIC. Even if you were Jewish yourself, you self-hating Jew!

Taking in trans “refugees from masculinity” is also doubleplusgood. This is why Liberals back the modern transactivist colonization of womanhood. “Transwomen,” who I will henceforth refer to as trans-identified males, or TiMs, aren’t regarded as colonizers; they’re refugees! And womanhood isn’t even inhabited, not really. Womanhood is a “land without a people,” because women aren’t viewed as people. We’re an open space for men to define.

What is the difference between a refugee and a colonist?

A colonist has guns and the backing of another state.

Unlike yesterday’s transsexuals – those “refugees from masculinity” – today’s TiMs have penises and the backing of Liberal Patriarchy.

My trans pals of the 90’s didn’t have today’s backing of Patriarchy. It was riskier to be trans then, even among Liberals. They more resembled refugees, and I welcomed them. They also either didn’t insist they were women, or if they did insist they were women, they ‘disarmed’, if you will, by actually going through genital surgery. Today’s TiMs proudly keep their penises and testicles and demand to have them acknowledged as “female body parts”.

Obviously, times have changed.

Men’s Rights Activists eventually figured out they could eliminate the middleman – transsexuals – and colonize women themselves. This fits nicely with regular old run-of-the-mill male dominance. Heterosexual men “identify” as lesbians, and patriarchal Liberals enforce women’s compliance. Women are not to resist or even question this program. To write, “if a person has a penis he’s a man” is an act of resistance so powerful, it will get you widely denounced and blacklisted.

You know what else would get you denounced and blacklisted in recent decades? Questioning or criticizing the State of Israel. The thought-terminating memes, the refusal to discuss, the disproportionate outrage are all familiar to my anti-Zionist activist friends.

Under the spell of American Zionism, no right-thinking Liberal believed atrocities were happening in and on behalf of Israel. No matter how much evidence activists produced, Zionist Liberals always downplayed it, or ignored it, or justified it because whatever the Palestinians were doing was surely so much worse. Likewise, no matter how much evidence feminists produce, of death threats and rape threats, of actual physical violence, of blacklisting and purging and no-platforming, we are dismissed as “transphobic.” Even when the people presenting the evidence are trans, such as Miranda Yardley and Jenn Smith.

Simultaneous marginalization and support

Of course no males would be “refugees” if they had a home in the male sex class. But it’s in Patriarchy’s interest to simultaneously marginalize and support trans people, just like it’s in Europe’s and America’s interest to simultaneously marginalize and support Jews. The marginalization drives the pressure of expansion. When people are secure in their homelands, they don’t emigrate. It’s the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free that up and move to a new land. Without antisemitism, the “west” would have no colony in the Middle East. Without patriarchal gender enforcement, TiMs wouldn’t be spearheading the further colonization of women. So men simultaneously threaten TiMs, and demand the protection of TiMs as “the most oppressed.” That male-imposed marginalization is what drives the whole project.

Trans people themselves are a tiny fraction of the population. So why are language, laws and institutions being changed just for them? Because it’s not just for them, it’s for all men. TiMs are the “settlers” of the latest patriarchal colonization project.


Both Zionism and transactivism have a religious component. In Zionism it’s the Torah/Old Testament, which simply states that God gave the land to the Jews, His chosen people. In transactivism it’s gender identity, as summarized by Miranda Yardley:

  • We all have a ‘gender identity’ which is innate. This ‘gender identity’ can be at odds with the physical embodiment of our sex;
  • This ‘gender identity’ has more weighting to our sex than the  physical embodiment of our sex; and so it follows that
  • ‘Trans women are women and trans men are men’.

…for transgender individuals, personality determines sex.

Philosophical analysis aside, the reality is that the concept of gender identity collapses into the statement ‘trans women are women’, and this is the foundation of most of their other claims to rights, spaces and validity. It is also the single most defended claim in transgender ideology, so much so that no debate is allowed.

I support freedom of religion, and everyone is free to believe whatever they want. I oppose forcing everyone else to believe what you believe. Everyone is welcome to their “gender identity.” If a male believes he is a female, that’s fine with me. If I have to believe he’s female, that crosses the line.

I oppose gaslighting. I oppose requiring others to deny the evidence of their own eyes and identify someone else as a sex they are not. Not because trans-identified males don’t “deserve” to be called women. But because they aren’t women. “Woman” is not a club or a prize or a reward. It’s a sex.

But it’s treated like a club and a prize and a reward. And like anything of value intrepid males “discover,” it is being colonized.

Women are not a land without a people. Women have always been people, even if men don’t acknowledge that. The trans colonization project is essentially misogynist, and is popular among male Liberals for this reason.

Why do I care?

Believe me, if I could not care about modern transactivism, I would. I think it’s my Muse’s doing, because my film Seder-Masochism is about the same story: the colonization of women.

God used to be female. All of Her attributes were taken over by the male God. Creation, fertility, vegetation, the bringing forth of food, life and death – all that was once the Goddess’s is now God’s. It’s like the male God put on Her clothes, and then “identified” as Her, and there’s no Goddess any more.

Our connection to ancient goddess worship is completely broken. There’s some art, and some ruins, and some echoes in myths and fairy tales, but we have no idea how these religions were really practiced. Modern western goddess-worship is re-built, re-invented, and re-imagined; it is immature, instead of building on thousands of years of tradition. 

The establishment of YHWH as the One, Male God effectively erased the Goddess, and most don’t even know enough to grieve. We sense there’s something missing, but most can’t even name it.

Gods and Goddesses are fictional, of course. What’s happening now is a continuation of the erasure of the Goddess: the erasure of womanhood itself. The erasure of biological reality isn’t only of concern to biological women, but to everyone who values science and some relationship to reality beyond individual “identity.”

Woman means adult human female.

Womanhood is a biological reality. That’s it. It’s not an identity, a prize, an “exclusive club”, or a land to be conquered. The more men regard womanhood as any of those things, the more inclined they are to colonize. Patriarchy regards women as property already, with disastrous consequences.

I am a reluctant feminist. I don’t particularly enjoy being a woman. I don’t “identify as a woman.” I AM a woman. It’s not a choice, it’s biology. It’s not a special club I’m trying to keep men out of.

Biology is the beginning and end of “womanhood,” the alpha and the omega. If I wear pants, I’m a woman. If I wear a dress, I’m a woman. If my hair is long or short, I’m a woman. If I take testosterone, I’m a woman. If I cut off my breasts (don’t think I haven’t thought about it, I have fibrocystic breast disease and they can be very painful) I’m a woman. If I identify as a man, I’m a woman.

And if a person has a penis he’s a man.

If you think that’s “hate speech,” the colonist is you.

Further reading:

The Colonization of Womanhood

Liberals and the New McCarthyism

Vancouver Women’s March becomes opportunity for misogynist threats against women

On Trans-identified Females: binders and misogyny

Current state of discourse on gender in the UK

Online harassment of women


Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

61 thoughts on “Gender Colonialism”

  1. Hey there, great article. I would recommend though..reading up a bit about the jews…i mean, they are indigenous to the land of (what is now) israel…it is proven with geneology, historical record, and archeology <3 I would also suggest you revisit your assertions about colonization etc, by reading up on the entire history of the jews, the history of the arabs in the area, and the many attempts at peace that have fallen apart because of bad actors on both sides. It is a sad but very nuanced conflict that you have not represented fully here <3

  2. I think your core misconception here is that you are conflating gender and sex. To trans activist, they are independent. Sex is biological, whereas gender is the sum of all of our collective biases that come up when we hear the word “man” or “woman”. Furthermore, the EXPERIENCES (and abuses) of cisgender females in America is exclusive to them, just as the experiences and abuses of trans women are exclusive to them. This is the point of intersectionality. Trans activists, on the whole, do NOT suggest that just because a male identifies as woman, doesn’t mean that she automatically inherits the all the traumas and all the sexism that comes with being a biological female, as you seem to think that trans activists are suggesting. The conflation of gender and sex is a fantastic and effective means of pitting two marginalized groups against one another (make no mistake, trans women can be some of the most persecuted people in this country.) I think that if you internalized these points, you would realize that you can indeed NOT be a t.e.r.f. and yet STILL acknowledge and fight for space for women and women’s rights.

  3. Aren’t there more young females transitioning to male (TiFs, I guess, in your terminology) at this point in time? Are they colonizing manhood? Or is that an impossibility since there’s no such thing as the Matriarchy and colonization is not something women do? If they’re not doing it to satisfy a deep-seated masculine desire to own everything, then where is the necessity that all or even most men are transitioning for this reason? I know a young wannabe TiM and I have trouble seeing him as motivated even on an unconscious level by anything resembling what you’re describing. If anything, I’d say more relevant is the current portrayal of traditional masculinity as “toxic.” (Of course that fails to explain why so many girls want to be boys.) Do you think a conscious or unconscious desire to colonize female spaces and womanhood is what motivated your friend Corinna?

  4. Hi.

    Your pedagogical otherization of trans bodies muddles the entire article! I was physically cringing reading this dog-whistled article, and I am not kidding. Sorry to break the echo chamber you live in, but this article has countless flaws.

    I’ll clear up a few!

    Your ontological claim regarding the status of women and immediate response to transgender people are bizzare. Sure, you can make an ontological claim about women not being seen as people. Not the problem. Your hypocrisy of overkill towards transwomen is. You equate sex to gender. That affects ALL trans people, as it insinuates transmen or non-binary people are not valid either because they are not the gender they were born as. You, quite literally, are only looking at trans people as their genitalia, which (at ~57% in the US) are most commonly a female at birth. That’s dehumanizing at best. You, then, are categorizing A.F.A.B people who are transgender as not human, even though you consider them as women. Why do they not matter?

    Also, a piece of advice, authoring articles about ‘just transgender women’ that warrant around a concept all transgender people have is quite contradictory.

    Transgender identity is beautiful, you accuse transgender women of colonizing femaleness as you colonize the transgender body yourself. You colonize the transgender body when you use your friends as a scapegoat for “not being transphobic”. (You are super, super transphobic, by the way. Delegitimizing a transgender person who says they are a woman and then writing an article about why they are wrong is incredibly transphobic.)

    In the words of Paul Preciado,
    “The trans body is a colony. Every day, on some street in Tijuana or Los Angeles, Saint Petersburg or Goa, Athens or Seville, a trans body is killed with the same impunity that a new occupied settlement is built on one bank or the other of the River Jordan. Medicine and clinical psychology are waging a war to impose and standardize the organs of the trans body. The migrant has lost the nation-state. The refugee has lost their house. The trans person loses their body. They all cross that border. The border is part of them and cuts through them. Usurps and overthrows them. The trans body is to the epistemology of sexual difference what the American continents were to the Spanish empire: a place of such richness and culture that it beggared the imperial imagination. ”

    You colonize the transgender body when you ascertain it as a threat to you, and decide to destabilize it in every instance you can. The mindset of othering a marginalized group as a threat to you irrationally is a colonizing mindset. Oh, and yes, you are threatened. You did not have to write this article, but a suspicion that transgender bodies were threatening the ‘sacred’ power of being a woman has led you to type it. This threat, which makes you feel that a minority is going to take away your power or significance, is the verbatim mindest of things like white tears and (of course) TERFs.

    This is not feminism. This is not post-modern feminism. This is not radical feminism. You can have your opinion on transgender women, but don’t get confused about why you have to defend yourself so often that you are not a transphobe. Also, don’t be confused about why so many transgender people hate you, even if your gaslit trans friends don’t.

  5. Dave,

    The vast endogenous complexions of this topic are simply too much for this blog. Or any blog. Or any human, except you. You are so wise. You have lit a candle, a candle that burns at two ends, or perhaps even four ends, and enlightened us all with your vast wisdom. You must have many teeth in your face, for you are so smart and we are all so dumb.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us all.

  6. Here by way of your Pointer Sisters video for “Believe Something” (dancing goddesses). So delightful. A particular interest of mine…

    …and then I find out all this TERF-y shit. Honest question: how TF can you hold all these cognitive dissonances in your head w/o it exploding? So disappointing. Bye now.

    Last thing: if you’re appearing on Newsmax, YOU’RE ON THE WRONG SIDE. Period!

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