Recently, I’ve been made aware of a little Facebook group called Gender Identity Watch, founded and run by Cathy Brennan. Those of you who are unaware, Cathy Brennan is a TERF (Trans* Exclusionary Radical Feminist). As a feminist, I find myself appalled to use TERF because it’s so divisive and I simply didn’t want to believe that such a feminist could exist. Feminism is all about unity: a collection of women of all walks of life and experiences. I was taught under third wave feminists, though. Some feminists never got out of the 70s. Some still think that The Transsexual Empire is a good source for information. I still believe there’s hope for everyone, though. Even people who are misinformed can be informed and change their mind. I refuse to believe otherwise because I know there’s good in everyone.
Now, the problem with Gender Identity Watch is that it’s under the guise of a transgender news and support group—a lot of trans* people have mistaken it for one, at least. I’ve spoken with the admin, which I assume may be Cathy Brennan herself, because she seems to have nothing better to do than google people. That’s what inspired this post. She googled me and found my Tumblr. She used it as leverage to try to scare me away, except I’m not ashamed of my Tumblr. She used the knowledge that I was a trans woman as ammunition against me, but again: not ashamed. I’m not in the closet and nor am I stealth. I am open about being transgender. I pointed out that this basic form of terrorism simply won’t work on me. My employer, all of my friends, and all of my family know that I’m both transgender and a lesbian. They won’t care. Aside from her making up lies, which I wouldn’t be surprised if she did; she isn’t above name calling, insults, and dominate, patriarchal behavior. She tried shaming me, calling me a racist, and a homophobe. She called me a racist because I pointed out how most of her posts on Gender Identity Watch revolved around rich, white women—which they do and shows that she’s stuck in the second wave. Somehow that makes me a racist. And how am I a homophobe? I simply talked to her. It’s a common insult she throws in the face of anyone who tries to talk to her on Gender Identity Watch.
But here’s some truth: Cathy Brennan, while vocal and toxic to the transgender community, is one woman with very little support in the feminist community. Most of them openly shun her. Her group has been labeled a hate group and has been banned at most feminist events. Third wave feminism included the poor, minorities, and queer people into the mix. Even though Cathy is a lesbian herself, she often uses her sexual orientation as a crutch than a source of agency—another herald of second wave feminism. I’m proud of who I am. I’m a trans woman. I speak for the trans women who are scared to. All of the women in the closet. My gender identity isn’t a crutch, it’s the source of my strength. I’m not ashamed of who I was because I wouldn’t be the strong woman I am today without growing up as I did. Nothing I do will change that I was born male, but nothing Cathy Brennan can say can deny my womanhood.