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Dec 1, 22

How Transphobia Built a Coalition of Eco-Radicals, White Nationalists and Right-Wing Think Tanks

Last month, antifascists and members of the LGBTQ+ community, mobilized against a group of TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists), holding events across the US, under the banner of “Let Women Speak.” While these rallies were small, drawing only a few dozen and opposed by much larger crowds, they also brought out far-Right anti-trans activists and members of fascist groups like the Proud Boys. This far-Right/TERF crossover highlights a growing alliance that’s been building over the past few years, as anti-trans radical feminists have built relationships and begun to work openly with everyone from far-Right media personalities like Tucker Carlson, right-wing think-tanks like the Heritage Foundation, and even open white nationalists.

Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) Member Kara Dansky on Tucker Carlson Tonight

These alliances are creating a growing cross-over in the streets, as we saw with the violent clashes in Los Angeles last summer, when both TERFs and far-Right activists organized protests outside of a local spa, following a flurry of anti-trans conspiracy theories. Moreover, some TERF groups such as WoLF, or Women’s Liberation Front, have also become involved in pushing for anti-trans legislation and even working to elect Republicans.

Members of WoLF Speak on an Anti-Trans Panel Put on by the Right-Wing Heritage Foundation

As the Washington Post reported in 2020:

Mainstream progressives have long shunned the organization, calling it a discriminatory, right-wing group disguised as feminist. But the Women’s Liberation Front, also known as WoLF, has found an increasingly influential platform by teaming up with conservatives who disagree with their support of abortion rights and the “reproductive sovereignty” of women.

WoLF’s leaders have become frequent guests on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and at Heritage Foundation events. The group received a $15,000 grant from the Alliance Defending Freedom to help fund a legal fight against the Obama administration over transgender bathroom policies. It also filed an amicus brief in one of the most consequential Supreme Court cases of the year, arguing that sex-based discrimination protections in the workplace should not apply to transgender people.

Now, WoLF is even helping shape legislation in places like South Dakota, which last month became the first state to advance a wave of state bills nationwide banning medical interventions for transgender youth. Kara Dansky, a WoLF board member from the District, plans to travel to South Dakota on Monday to testify in favor of the bill in a Senate committee hearing.

…members of WoLF, many of whom are lesbian, claim they are the victims of exclusion and “cancel culture.” They say they’ve been kicked off Twitter, excommunicated from social circles and fired from jobs for expressing their views on gender identity.

As a report from Trans Safety wrote:

A recent submission to the UN by WoLF in collaboration with the Christian Right anti-LGBT rights organization “United Families International” showed the breadth of trans-Atlantic collaboration between religious fundamentalists and feminist activists (and the aforementioned Deep Green Resistance).

Another report from Workers’ Liberty went even deeper:

In 2017, our own newspaper highlighted WoLF’s collaboration with another evangelical Christian group, Focus On The Family, in opposition to including trans women in Title IX (legislation against sexist discrimination).

That same year, WoLF contracted Zachary Freeman and his Imperial Independent Media to do their fundraising. Freeman is a director in the anti-abortion Family Policy Institute of Washington. He is known for his efforts to get the names of workers in a foetal tissue research lab released, so that anti-abortionists could target them for harassment.

Keen-Minshull is a special advisor to WoLF’s board. In 2021, Keen-Minshull talked about travelling to the US before the 2020 election and advising Republican strategists to focus on anti-trans agitation as a campaign issue. She argued that Trump was a lesser evil compared to Biden, because of the latter’s support for including trans women in anti-discrimination law. She called on (cis) women to put aside the left-right divide and abortion rights, in favour of an alliance against trans rights – which she believes “destroy” women’s rights. Keen-Minshull justified this alliance on the basis that if forced to choose, she would rather see women subjected to a “conservative family unit”, forced to wear “uniforms” and do housework.

Ironically, as we discuss on this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, in many ways, WoLF is in fact a front group for Deep Green Resistance (DGR), which is an organization founded by authors Derrick Jensen and Lierre Kieth. In the 2000s, Jensen was a popular writer who critiqued industrial civilization and his books such as A Language Older Than Words and The Culture of Make Believe, were popular in anarchist circles. In 2011, Jensen, along with Kieth, most known for her book, The Vegetarian Myth, published Deep Green Resistance, which called for the bringing down of industrial civilization and the creation of a political vanguard led by DGR which would work in concert with an underground, guerrilla resistance movement.

Clockwise from top-right, white nationalist Keith Woods speaks with Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith on “Louder with Crowder,” Derrick and Lierre speak alongside white nationalist Keith Preston, Richard Spencer and Kieth Woods

Anarchist currents and publications, such as Earth First!, were very critical of the politics of DGR and also rejected the group’s attacks on trans people, as many mobilized to push DGR out of movement spaces and events. As the Institute for Anarchist Studies wrote:

While DGR provocatively addresses many pressing social and ecological issues, its opportunistic, loose-cannon theoretical approach and highly controversial tactics leaves it emulating right-wing militia rhetoric, with the accompanying hierarchical vanguardism, personality cultism, and reactionary moralism. By providing a negative example, DGR does us the service of compounding issues into one book. Take it as a warning. As we grasp for solutions to multiple and compounding social and ecological crises, quick fixes, dogmatism, and power grabbing may grow as temptations.

DGR’s organizational body (distinct from the book, but modeled after it) leads us to agree that they have been rightly accused by former members of acting like a cult rather than as part of a larger movement. They seem much more interested in lionizing their leadership than in taking direct action.

Our ultimate conclusion is that DGR’s goal of “civilization’s” destruction through “underground” attacks against infrastructure manifests both an ideological and strategic misdirection, foreclosing the potential for participatory democracy and direct action as it veers into intellectual dishonesty and irreconcilable political contradictions.

Last year in Portland, Oregon, a friend who is an Earth First!er, trans activist, and professional doula was “outed” on a transphobic website linked to DGR, forcing her to flee town due to fear of both personal and professional reprisals. This is in keeping with the tactics proposed by Keith since at least the late-1990s, when she published an article in the RadFem newspaper, Rain and Thunder, calling for taking “direct action” against trans women attempting to use the ladies’ restroom.[13] We take violence seriously enough to call DGR’s bluff on their oscillating ethical apparatus of concerns regarding violence.

Members of DGR and by extension WoLF, have gone on to make connections with the far-Right and white nationalists. Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith have been guests and been interviewed on a variety of far-Right publications and livestreams. These include the white nationalist website, Counter-Currents, the white nationalist Keith Woods, who works directly with Richard Spencer, and both Jensen and Keith have appeared on a far-Right YouTube channel along with Keith Preston, known for speaking at white nationalist conferences.

Former Deep Green Resistance activist Jennifer Bilek

As Gizmodo reported:

An episode [of Deep Green Resistance’s YouTube show]…featured blogger Jennifer Bilek, who, on Facebook, said she’s “often wondered why so many of the men involved in the transgender/transhumanist agenda are jewish,” positively citing a video by Keith Woods, a frequent guest on white nationalist Richard Spencer’s livestreams…Jensen had appeared on Keith Woods’ podcast in 2020.

Jensen hosts a separate radio show, Derrick Jensen Resistance Radio, with a similar pattern: alternating between interviews with people working on various environmental issues with figures who hold famously transphobic views. Some of his recent guests have included Graham Linehan, a former TV writer who was permanently suspended from Twitter for “hateful conduct” and has compared transgender youth medical care to Nazi experiments.

Jensen also hosted [WoLF and DGR member] Kara Dansky (as did The Green Flame), who recently appeared on Tucker Carlson, claiming that trans health clinics were “eugenics centers” and saying that “words like gender identity don’t have any meaning.” Dansky authored a book titled The Abolition of Sex: How the “Transgender” Agenda Harms Women and Girls and has publicly identified herself as “#TeamTERF.” Though appearing on the podcast episodes uploaded to the DGR YouTube channel, neither Linehan nor Dansky appear to have any public association with environmental causes or efforts.

Clockwise from top-right, Lierre Keith and Posie Parker, Lierre Keith (left) and Kara Dansky (right) and other members of WoLF on panel, Posie Parker speaks with white nationalist Jean-François Gariépy, Posie Parker speaks with ex-Trump official and ultra-nationalist troll Sebastian Gorka

One key link in this crossover has been Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, who also goes by “Posie Parker,” a long-time member of WoLF, and also a British anti-trans activist. Parker, along with Lierre Keith, played a leading roll in putting together the recent anti-trans ‘Let Women Speak’ rallies. Parker has also built extensive links with the far-Right, praising activists like Tommy Robinson, appearing on livestreams with white nationalists, and taking photos with Proud Boys.

As Jezebel wrote:

Trans-exclusionary radical feminists (or TERFs) have in recent years partnered with right-wing groups in the United States in an effort to rollback and restrict the rights of trans people, and in particular trans women. And if an interview with a prominent British TERF and a well-known white nationalist is any indication, some are now also attempting to build alliances and find a sympathetic audience for their bigotry among white nationalists. This isn’t new or particularly surprising, but it’s disgusting all the same.

Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull (better known as her pseudonym Posie Parker), who is known in the United Kingdom for her strident anti-trans activism as well as in the United States for harassing the trans rights advocate Sarah McBride, recently appeared on the YouTube channel of French-Canadian far-right nationalist Jean-François Gariépy. Gariépy, for his part, believes in the need for a “white ethno-state” and regularly features the noxious Richard Spencer on his show. And while the two, during the 80-minute interview, debated and disagreed about women’s role in the family and gender disparities in the criminal justice system, their anti-trans bigotry united them.

As anti-trans hatred continues to be a rallying cry for the far-Right, we should be on guard for elements on the Left who are attempting to make common cause with fascists, far-Right political parties, and white supremacists.

More Info: The Mechanisms of TAnon, The Mechanisms of Tanon: Where It Came From, The Environmental Movement Isn’t Ready for Transphobia

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