Rejecting Anti-Trans bigotry from Rachel Ivey and the DGR

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susan davis
Rejecting Anti-Trans bigotry from Rachel Ivey and the DGR

i was unsure where to post this link but i am disturbed by what is going on with this speaking tour...i received this in my email today and was shocked to learn of a leaked "secret agenda" as follows;

  • uterine social purity for our liberation from patriarchy
  • making rainwater “sis-terns” from reclaimed materials
  • eliminating the trans like Drew Deveaux and Susan Gapka from
    Toronto womyn-born-womyn spaces
  • rooting out trans from the internet (how to find, expose, and
    prosecute them)
  • eco-cultivation of private properties and abandoned fields (with
    how-tos by Orla Hegarty)
  • making the case that trans = rapey in rape culture
  • why “cis” is hate speech: a comparative roundtable on how “cis”
    is the new rape
  • winning over Canadian “liberal” feminists like Sarah Nicole
    Prickett and Stephanie Guthrie
  • making a drum circle to synch our cycles with La Luna
  • the “Cotton Floor”: we set the rules for who we sleep with (guest
    keynote by Cathy Brennan)

this agenda is for a meeting set for friday and to be followed by the rad fem conference. vancouver rape relief and other abolitionist groups seem to be aligning themselves with these people....unbelievable....

here's a snip it of the article..

http://www.autostraddle.com/im-not-a-gender-zombie-and-neither-are-you-rejecting-anti-trans-bigotry-from-rachel-ivey-and-deep-green-resistance-177735/

Word has quickly spread on the web in the last week or so that Rachel Ivey, a member of the Deep Green Resistance environmentalist movement that holds openly transphobic views as "core" principles, is putting together a speaking tour consisting of a few relatively high profile events in June and July. This speaking tour supposedly includes events at City College of NYC as well as the University of Toronto.

Of course, in their own words, Deep Green Resistance (DGR) is not transphobic, they are merely "Critic[al] of the politics raised by the transgender movement." They like to couch this 'criticism,' for example, in terms of simple-minded race-gender analogies that are not only non-sensical but probably a bit racist.

You can see the webpage for Rachel Ivey's online fundraiser for her speaking tour here. Up until recently, several planned dates and speaking venues appeared on the page, including two events scheduled for NYC and a July 4 engagement at the University of Toronto. However, the list of dates and venues were recently removed from the page, apparently because some of those venues have been persuaded to cancel Ms. Ivey's appearance (such as NYC's Bluestockings Bookstore).

As a trans woman with strong ties to Toronto, it disturbs me to consider who or what organization might be so misguided as to invite this woman to speak at the University of Toronto. I'm also guessing that it's no coincidence that the July 4 event occurs right before the radical feminist RadFem Rise Up conference, which is scheduled for Toronto on July 5-7. My guess is that Ms. Ivey will be be speaking at the conference as well (and indeed, her fundraiser page had until recently stated that further events would be announced in Ontario).

It's worth pointing out that while 'trans politics' (i.e. the existence of trans people) will almost certainly be questioned at RadFem Rise Up, all trans people are banned from attendance. Indeed, Ms. Ivey has stated herself that she's "...not presenting this topic for debate. Not in the slightest."

Regions: 
onlinediscountanvils

Quote:
Of course, in their own words, Deep Green Resistance (DGR) is not transphobic

Aric McBay wrote:
My name is Aric McBay. I'm the primary author of the book Deep Green Resistance and was (rather briefly) one of the original people behind the organization

Aric McBay wrote:
what you probably don't know is that I left the organization at the beginning of 2012 after a trans inclusive policy was cancelled by Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith. Many good people and good activists left the organization for that reason.

I find these transphobic attitudes to be disgusting and deeply troubling, and it bothers me a lot to have any past association with people promoting transphobia.

For me, trans rights and trans inclusion are fundamental to building effective movements and to building a world worth living in. Speaking as the main author of the book that inspired the organization in the first place: they are most definitely my core values.

And transphobia--like racism and sexism and classism and homophobia--is a poison that those in power use to destroy movements and ruin lives. When faced with such poisons, who needs COINTELPRO?

Solidarity between movements is the only hope we have. I would appreciate it if you would mention this as an addendum on your piece, because I want to make it clear to people that I, and the vast majority of radical environmentalists, fully support trans rights and trans inclusion. I don't want to allow a few outliers to drive wedges between movements that can and should support each other.

[url=http://www.aricmcbay.org/2013/05/14/dgr-and-transphobia/]DGR and Transphobia[/url]

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I have found this zombie story baffling. Why is the internal political dispute of a small regional activist association being held up as a representative example of how radical feminism treats Trans issues? How does anyone treat Trans issues? Why are Trans issues gaining so much traction in social media and other discursive spaces with this particular slant, when widespread transphobia still runs rampant in mainstream society -- this despite the equally inexcplicable legislative wins for Trans rights in the political realm? How is this story taking up so much space, and for so long?

My answers to most of these questions are answered by instinct: because the story itself is far more divisive and damaging to radical, feminist and transpositive politics than the parochial musings and alleged bullying of this or that local activist.

6079_Smith_W

This is kind of an old story; I ran into it awhile ago over a local store deciding whether or not to carry DGR material. Around that time I watched one of the videos by a member of DGR explaining their gender analysis.

Personally, I find DGR interesting as a radical philosophy, though I reject them as completely out to lunch in terms of practical application. Ultimately, they don't have a clue what they are talking about. As one assessment put it, they are at the core misanthropic, and I would agree with that.

As for the decision by some of their members to hitch their cart to this issue, I can't really figure out why, and the 30-minute video didn't really help. To be honest, it doesn't specifically target trans people, but the entire notion of gender, though I get that as a vulnerable group, trans people might be far more threatened than the rest of us.

Personally, I don't care about their gender analysis, because I honestly don't think they will ever get enough traction for it to matter, and their real philosophy is based on something completely different.

Also, I was surprised to see in the thread where I initially talked about this to see someone holding up Andrea Dworkin as an anti-trans criminal. I just find drawing these lines of division to be really sad and counter productive. It's bad enough that the adherents of some of these philosophies are already small and isolated. That they spend so much of their time putting up even more walls gets in the way of any positive effect their ideas might have.

 

6079_Smith_W

Here it is if you want to see it. And it is 39 minutes and change.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ot8cBm0YmXo

Also, The first site I visited on this used up a lot of space blaming the whole thing on "radical feminists". I think DGR and its members are responsible for their own actions and policies. To use someone else as a scapegoat is nothing but side-stepping the real issue.

 

 

Unionist

This is great. Any other suggestions for dividing our forces to the maximum?

 

6079_Smith_W

Until everyone has their own personal closet, I think this is the best option so far.

 

onlinediscountanvils

6079_Smith_W wrote:
As for the decision by some of their members to hitch their cart to this issue, I can't really figure out why

Yeah, that's what I find baffling.

6079_Smith_W

Indeed. In the video the best she comes up with is that it is an issue over which some people have joined, and others have left the movement, and that it is a system of oppression.There is no real connection to DGR's environmental philosophy.

And if she imagines that a utopian hunter-gatherer society would not have some division of labour based on which genderless people happened to be bearing and nursing children, she is dreaming.

susan davis

i guess my reaction was strong to this... i see how its being used to divide however. sorry if it seemed like a "jab" or something but i have never encountered anything like this before. its just really shocking and overwhelming and i suppose that it was meant to be.

living in vancouver, things are really open. i guess i'm a bit insulated from these kinds of attitudes.

Unionist

susan davis wrote:

living in vancouver, things are really open. i guess i'm a bit insulated from these kinds of attitudes.

Well, back in 2009, we pretty well massacred each other because of this brilliant Vancouver innovation:

[url=http://rabble.ca/babble/feminism/new-womens-pharmacy-vancouverexcludes-t... women's pharmacy in Vancouver... excludes trans women[/url]

And we tried a meta-discussion:

[url=http://rabble.ca/babble/feminism/trans-inclusion-and-feminism]Trans Inclusion and Feminism[/url]

We didn't do very well. I think society has a ways to go on this front. And I think having unity as a starting point, rather than sectarian guerrilla warfare, isn't a bad approach.

 

susan davis

i remember that, and yes, i guess you're right.

i have numerous close friends affected by these attitudes but am generally only with them in safe environments, like my home or my business (i bought a butcher shop). i purposely surround myself with enlightened people i guess and so am rarely exposed to it.

 

6079_Smith_W

Plus, this stands out more because it is a small group with a rather narrow focus, coming from an already radical position.

We don't see it in the same way as we would if it was a larger organization. I might totally disagree with a union's stance on nuclear power, or a political party's foreign policy, and still support them in other things.

Likewise here, I think DGR should be held to task for this policy; I think it is wrong. That doesn't mean I think they should be boycotted, or not heard on other issues. And I really have a problem with most of the blame being directed (as some have done in this case) at a third party, as if DGR isn't responsible for their own actions.

 

 

pookie

Unionist wrote:

susan davis wrote:

living in vancouver, things are really open. i guess i'm a bit insulated from these kinds of attitudes.

Well, back in 2009, we pretty well massacred each other because of this brilliant Vancouver innovation:

[url=http://rabble.ca/babble/feminism/new-womens-pharmacy-vancouverexcludes-t... women's pharmacy in Vancouver... excludes trans women[/url]

And we tried a meta-discussion:

[url=http://rabble.ca/babble/feminism/trans-inclusion-and-feminism]Trans Inclusion and Feminism[/url]

We didn't do very well. I think society has a ways to go on this front. And I think having unity as a starting point, rather than sectarian guerrilla warfare, isn't a bad approach.

 

Ugh.  What an awful trip down memory lane.

onlinediscountanvils

Reading those threads, I actually found the discussions quite interesting and informative. They didn't seem particulary acrimonious by babble standards. Sometimes it's good to just hash this stuff out rather than pretend these tensions don't exists. Not that I'm saying that needs to happen here. I can't recall anyone here aligning themselves with DGR, and for all I know, there may not even be any trans identified babblers left.

But it is rather easy to prioritize unity above other concerns when you're not part of a group that's under attack.