The Cult of TERFism: By the BITE Model

TERFs love to call being transgender (or even just supporting our human rights) a “cult”. However, I don’t think that this is an accurate assertion. Not only that but I think this is a matter of projection, and I intend to prove it.

Steven Hassan created a model that people use to determine whether an organization or a group of people engages in destructive mind control. This is referred to as the BITE model and the acronym stands for:

  • Behaviour control
  • Information control
  • Thought control
  • Emotional control

In this series, I intend to prove that not only is being transgender not a cult but that TERFism is a method of destructive mind control. I’ll see you tomorrow with the first post on this series.

(Photo in header by pestbarn on Flickr, used in accordance with Creative Commons)

A Response to Laura Nixon on Quora

So, in the comments section to an answer I wrote to the question “Do you think that LGB and T should be different communities?” on Quora, a user wrote a comment. She wrote one ginormous wall of text that is a real pain in the ass to parse. So, I made an effort to try to address her Gish gallop here, because I have better formatting options here.

All the LGB want is marriage equality?

Marriage equality also known as a lawful marriage is all the LGB wanted, we wanted to be seen as normal people who happen to sleep with the same sex

Pretty sure most LGBT people don’t want to be terminated from their job just because they’re who they are. Also, they don’t want to be denied housing or service at a restaurant (or any other “public accommodation”, for that matter). The objective goal for the LGBT community is equal rights, and while marriage does make strides in that field, it doesn’t sort it out completely.

How about protection for LGBT youth against “reparative therapy”? A dangerous, pseudoscience practice that still persists in several states. While Colorado just criminalized “reparative therapy”, it is still legal in other states. Not to mention, there is nothing keeping parents from taking their children out of the country to a programme that will torture them (like in Kidnapped for Christ).

You darn LGBTQs and your desire for equal rights!

the whole direction of the the LGBTQ ect ect ect movement disintegrates the LGBs fundamental argument for access to the same lawful rights as hetrosexual couples.

Actually, it doesn’t. Because marriage didn’t give “access to the same lawful rights as heterosexual couples” because even though the relationship is protected under law, the people in that relationship still lack critical protections in several areas.

Argument Ad Anne Lister

The finding of Anne Lister’s diaries totally transform what we know about the lives of lesbians at least, 200 hundred years ago, Anne didn’t shout from the rooftops that she was a homosexual, but it was widely known, she even “married”/not im the eye’s of the law or the church but to her and her “wofe” and shared her home with her partner.

Okay. So? Why the hell should I care what Anne Lister’s diaries say? Like said, that was at least 200 years ago and we live in a different world now. No one should be forced into silence about who they are. Nor should we bullied to be silent.

A cowed population means we shouldn’t pursue equal rights?

There were many other lesbians who did the same thing, thus proving the LGB movement was built on the foundation of seeking legal recognition to ensure money, homes ect were lawfully left to the partner upon death.

No it doesn’t. Firstly, assuming your point about Anne Lister was even remotely correct, she’s only one person with one perspective. Not to mention, they were in a time when full civil rights for LGBT people (let alone women) was unthinkable. I imagine that comparatively, their goals and objectives were much more modest than what we know is possible now. Which is why, even if you’re right that marriage was the sole and solitary goal of the LGB movement back then, that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to that now.

Freedom of expression be damned, amirite?

In the case of Ann her will was disregarded and her wife thrown out of the home that Ann left to her in her will. We now have the legal rights Anne so desperately wanted, we are now being accepted by the majority as no different to them, just because we’re attracted to the same sex, we’re nothing to be feared and the majority of us who lay silently getting on with lives, proving to hetrosexuals, that indeed we are no different in day to day life and the fact we do share our beds with the same sex makes absolutely no difference to the way we behave in society.

The thing is, though, there is a time to be silent and a time to take a stand. And we are still in a time that requires us to take a stand for basic human rights. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our differences, we should embrace them in both ourselves and each other. I don’t want to be “tolerated” just because I’m trans.

We have everything in common, except not.

Homosexuals and hetrosexuals have everything other than the orientation in common, both love, both feel happiness when they find “the one”, they both experience heartache when a relationship fails, they both have to work at relationships to make them last and function well. As already stated aside from the sex of the people we are sexual and emotionally attracted too, we are the same and we desire the same things in life; someone to love, to create a home with and live a life with till death do we part.

Because these are two groupings of people based solely on sexual orientation. The diversity of these groups in racial, religious, socio-economic, and other areas makes it easy to say they have “everything other than the orientation in common” because these groups are only grouped because of their orientation.

Comparing apples to oranges

Transgender people who are shouting the loudest about trans rights and gender non conforming/identity ect, share nothing in common with either the hetrosexual or homosexual population.

Well, as a trans person, I can tell you that:

  • I love,
  • I would feel happiness when I find “the one”,
  • I experience heartache when a relationship fails, and
  • I have to work at relationships in order to make them last and function well.

So, based on your last point, as a trans person, I share those traits with homosexuals and heterosexuals.

They seek things and feel and need and desire, totally different things to both homo groups. The basis of the ideology and movement isn’t in line with both homo groups foundations,

Considering the fact that we want human rights, I would say that it’s totally “in line with both homo groups [sic] foundations”.

which are both based on science, and backed up by studies on other mammals and birds, especially chimps and bonobos, who all exhibit both hetrosexual behaviour (obviously) and homosexual behaviour, the homosexual behaviour, just like humans, is seen in a minority of each species, but it does prove that homosexuals is just as natural as hetrosexuals. There are no other species on this planet other than us humans that exhibit transgender/gender non conforming/identity behaviours, that proves that the LGB are two totally different things, one is scientifically proven (there are studies at moment underway to see if homosexual is natures population control, thats been an idea for some time now), the other is an ideology built on social ideology and constructs, that totally goes against what the VAST majority of people feel/see/behave like. The transgender movement has zero to with the LGB, the two movements and groups have totally different end goals.

Wow. You’re just factually wrong on so many levels.

Firstly, being transgender is something that just is… like being gay is. The goal of science is to study the world as it exists and refine our understanding of this world (or rather, the discipline in which it studies). Transgender people exist and even if we don’t find species that exhibit behaviour that may lead us to speculate about gender nonconformity or incongruence (we have, by the way), transgender humans still exist.

Also, studies have been done showing that certain neurological structures (such as the BSTc) that trans women have are more in common with those of cis women than those of cis men (both heterosexual and homosexual). Or that trans women have female neuron numbers in a limbic nucleus. These were both peer-reviewed journal articles. So, to say that being transgender “is an ideology built on social ideology and constructs” is simply wrong.

United we stand… so we should divide?

The trans movement needs to go off on it’s own now, the LGB can and most lik would still support trans folk, but at this moment the two are not working well at all together, and it’s becoming increasingly clearer by the day, to ma y LGB folk that we’re not on the same page.

We still don’t have basic human rights, Laura.

We want different things, and to be honest most of the support for LGB folk such as stonewall, have got so heavily involved in the trans movement that they’re forgetting gays, especially lesbians, these organisations were set up to give homosexuals and bisexuals the space to air their concerns, debate openly and constructively, then working on a solution to our problems.

Do you have any evidence for this claim, Laura?

Nowadays LGB folk can’t talk about the things on that affect them specifically, this idea trans women are women, feels like a slap in the face to many biological women,

Trans women are women. It’s not just “an idea”, it’s a fact. And no, it’s not “a slap in the face to many biological women”, it’s a slap in the face to transphobes. They don’t like the idea that we’re finally getting close to being seen for who we actually are.

especially now we have near equality for the first time ever, we have womanhood being taken up by males, who claim that they are women, scooping up awards and taking spots reserved for women because they feel like a woman.

No, you don’t. Because trans women aren’t “males, who claim that they are women”, we are women. We are female. We “take” those “spots reserved for women” because we ARE women. So, they were reserved for us. It sounds like you just don’t want to accept the reality that trans women are women.

And as stonewall says trans women are women and we have to accept that.

Yes, because it’s a fact. Just like you have to accept that the earth isn’t flat and that it wasn’t created around 6,000 years ago. I mean, you could choose to ignore facts, but in doing so, you’d really look like a nutter.

My other concern and is this growing trend of trans lesbians, followed by workshops and articles on LGB sites and even MSM sites too, explaining to us lesbians we are close minded and need to broaden our minds, accept that trans women and women and some women have penises, and are lesbians, we shouldn’t just disregard them as a sexual partner because of genitals or biological sex.

How is it a “growing trend”? Trans lesbians have existed for as long as cis lesbians. And no, you’re not closed-minded because you’re a lesbian. You’re closed-minded because you’re a transphobe that erroneously refers to trans women as somehow being male.

We should broaden our sexual or to accept trans lesbians with penises, pre op or post op, despite the fact that as lesbians we are biologically wired to be sexually attracted to the same sex, biological females.

And trans women are biological females, regardless whether we’ve had SRS or not. Also, it feels like a nit-picky point, but given your tone thus far, I get the feeling it would be important to establish this up front. Typically, when a trans woman is post-op, she isn’t a trans lesbian with a penis. She had the surgery to turn it into a vagina.

The shape of a woman, the size of a woman, the difference in the skin and hair texture, the everything about at biological woman, a lesbian finds attractive, obviously we don’t find ever woman attractive, but thats the basis of our sexual preference, thats the foundation. I like many other lesbians who are solely attracted to females (yes there are some lesbians who are a little more bisexual, preferring females, but on odd occasions finding themselves attracted to men) but on the whole they’re not the many, physically cannot find trans women sexual attractive,

Why not? You just said that “the shape of a woman, the size of a woman, the difference in the skin and hair texture, the everything about at [sic] biological woman, a lesbian finds attractive”. Are you now saying that you “cannot find trans women sexual [sic] attractive” despite the fact that you described all the ways in which you would find her attractive? Which is it?

due to the fact no matter what someone feels inside, thats not what others see, and i do not mean to sound cruel, but i don’t find trans women attr because of the difference in body shape and size, the skin texture, the hair texture, the everything about their biological make up that is determined by their genitals.

Even though it’s not. And this also contradicts the point you made earlier about “obviously we don’t find ever [sic] woman attractive”. Trans women aren’t a monolith. We come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with differing skin and hair textures. In fact, some (or all) of these things improve after starting hormone therapy.

So to see articles on LGB sites reporting how to have sex with a trans lesbian, how as trans woman you have sex with lesbians, things like the cotton ceiling workshops, that were funded by LGB groups. That totally disregards homosexuals especially lesbians,

No, it doesn’t. In fact, it takes lesbians into account. You said it yourself, they’re workshops on how to have sex with a trans lesbian and how trans lesbians have sex with cis lesbians. These articles and workshops address informational gaps in order to help lesbians, both trans and cis, have better, healthier sex lives. How you could possibly claim that it “totally disregards homosexuals especially lesbians” is beyond me.

Because a relationship is totally like pseudoscientific abuse

yet I’m a bigot for stating this, for saying “hey, im not ok with this”, this goes against our history as lesbians and our fight to live and be who we are withou fear of persecution, lawfully or socially and to be afforded the same lawful rights to marry the person you love. Especially given the history of lesbian correction experiments, were lesbians and gays were forced to sleep with the opposite sex to rid the deviant behaviour, to fix us. To me the trans movements current ideology and visions reek of the same situation just dressed, decorated and delivered in a different way.

You know, when I was a little girl, I was afraid of the typography on a building near my home. I had no reason to fear it. It was an industrial parts supply store. You’re absolutely entitled to your irrational fear, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is irrational. Transgender women loving cis women (and vice versa) is, in no way, comparable to forcing lesbian and gay people “to sleep with the opposite sex” because they aren’t. They’re sleeping with someone of the same sex. Because they’re both women.

The thing is, you claim you want to be able to live and be who you are “withou [sic] fear of persecution” but you won’t afford trans lesbians (and the cis lesbians who date them) the same thing. You want to persecute them, attack their relationships as being akin to reparative therapy and “lesbian correction experiments”. And with no evidence to substantiate these claims.

But I’m a transphobe for even thinking this, I’m close mined, I’m a bigot, I’m a disgrace to the LGBTQI++++++ community,

Yes, you are. Because the things you said are bullshit and attack trans women, along with cis lesbians who date them.

despite the fact I’m stating fact and airing real concerns.

You’re not “stating fact” nor are you “airing real concerns”. You falsely claimed that trans women engaging in consensual, healthy relationships is somehow akin to reparative therapy and “lesbian correction experiments”. At the beginning of your comment, you stated a list of things that both homosexuals and heterosexuals want. However, you seem to be eager to deny these same rights to trans women and the cis women who love them based on your erroneous notion that a loving lesbian relationship is remotely comparable to “lesbian correction experiments”.

The worst part? The women speaking up about this are being silenced by biological males who feel internally female,

If they’re “internally female”, then they’re not “biological males”. Would it be too much to ask for you not to contradict yourself? Also, I imagine that the facts and the incredulity of the nonsense you spout would do more to “silence” anyone who thought to speak this claptrap more than I ever could.

thus also enraging some biological females who feel this goes against everything women have worked to achieve, socially and lawfully.

Despite the fact that there is no evidence to claim that equal rights for trans women “goes against everything women have worked hard to achieve, socially and lawfully. I mean, unless you want to talk about the things misogynistic women like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann have been working towards.

But the trans activists who are shouting loudest about this totally disregard these folk who speak out if line of the gender movements status quo, even shouting down other trans people who agree with lesbians and women,

If by “lesbians and women” (which is a curious distinction, given that lesbians are a subset of women, with the only differentiation being women who have an exclusive sexual attraction to other women), you mean transphobes, then sure. Just like there are black people who shout down black people who hurt other black people. Hell, as a Jew, I’ve shouted down other Jews that are hurting Jews.

the trans/gender movement isn’t seeking access to the same privileges we all share, they’re after ripping up our entire social structures and law systems to aid their feelings.

No, the reason why the “entire social structures and law systems” need to be retooled is because we are being denied the same rights as cis people. Same way the LGBT community was “ripping up our entire social structures and law systems” to achieve marriage equality.

Things like self ID are beyond a terrible idea,

How so?

the age children are been given hormones most certainly needs to be discussed, first and foremost.

I agree, which is why we should continue what we’re doing now, which is not giving them hormones but instead, giving them puberty blockers. That way, we kick the can down the road until they are of age and are able to make their own decisions about hormones. This allows trans girls and boys to avoid enduring physical and psychological damage caused by going through the wrong puberty.

Yet again parents speaking are demonised, despite the fact no one really knows what such drugs do to a human body in the mid to long term.

The people demonizing the parents speaking out against your bigoted claptrap is you.

These real justified concern need to be discussed and it’s not happening,

Because you refuse to stick to one topic. You machine-gunned a lot of bullshit points that are either flagrantly untrue or a little untrue. You falsely accuse trans women of being “males”, which makes it impossible to have this discussion because you refuse to treat us with even a basic modicum of respect.

the trans move has taken over and we all must stand in line and accept than trans women are women and trans men are men.

By your logic, it’s just like how the gravity “move” has taken over and we all must “stand and line and accept” that you won’t float if you jump off a tall building.

The sex of the gaps argument?

This not only shatters our understanding and workings of our society,

No it doesn’t. There’s no evidence to substantiate the claim that it does.

but also our basic global understanding of sex, male and female.

Wouldn’t that indicate that “our basic global understanding of sex, male and female” needs to be refined in light of these facts so that it is more accurate? You know, the way science works?

If sex isn’t determined in our genitals how are we to function?

The fact that we know sex isn’t determined by someone’s genitals doesn’t answer the question of “how are we to function”. But if you need guidance on this, here it is: accept the facts and stop trying to mismash a bunch of nonsense together so you can deny the fact that trans women are women and, like cis women, trans women can be lesbians too.

How are hospitals to prepare financially and staffing wise for specific sex based diseases?

With the most reliable data instead of a flawed understanding of sex? You know, like science would dictate.

How are we to determine animals sex if it’s a feeling?

It’s a bit more complex than “it’s a feeling”, but I think studying it instead of just shoving your head in the sand and denying the fact that sex isn’t determined by genitals gets us closer to a real answer.

If children are reading such things as some men can get pregnant how on earth are they to understand how we as species breeds?

Accurately, since they will have the facts to know that some men can get pregnant. This is also why we should have comprehensive sex ed in schools, which also teaches on important concepts such as gender, consent, and a bunch of other stuff that people need to know in order to be functioning adults.

A false assertion isn’t made true by reassertion

The T needs and must move in from the LGB because our goals, our being are beyond different, to trans and gender neutral folk.

They aren’t, and I’ve demonstrated that here.

And we LGBs are being demonised by the very organisations built to have our backs.

Well, you’re not being demonized because you’re LGB. You’re being demonized because you falsely accuse women of being “male” and attack trans and cis lesbians. In short, you’re being demonized because you’re acting like an asshole.

Even one of stonewalls founders agrees, the T needs to move on now, it’s not working anymore.

Just because you don’t like the idea of trans people getting equal rights doesn’t mean that we “need to move on now”. This is our movement just as much as it is yours and I fought for marriage equality alongside other LGBT people, both as a T and as a B.

If my bigoted words make me a bigot, so be it.

If these views make me a TERF so be it, I won’t be bullied into silence,

Silence? Hah! Your arguments are so laughable, I’m worried that even bringing them over to my site (which I pay the hosting bill for) will make me be falsely accused of creating a strawman when Quora inevitably deletes your comment for being hate speech.

To silence you would be like to silence Kent Hovind. You make our argument for us and it doesn’t take too much to debunk your nonsense. But yes, your transphobic views likely make you a TERF… but calling you a TERF isn’t bullying you. In fact, it’s being too nice, as the term assumes that your point is either “radical” or “feminist” and it is neither.

and I’ve been called waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay worse, and had to deak with far worse intolerance,

Facing the consequences of your actions isn’t “intolerance”.

than the intolerance from a bunch of activists who don’t care about anyone else feelings or goals but their own,

Just because we rebut your nonsense doesn’t mean that we “don’t care about anyone else feelings or goals but [our] own”. Hell, on my birthday next week, I’m going to be volunteering to put together backpacks for Realities for Children. I also work to raise money for the Jim Collins Foundation, which helps trans people pay for surgeries and other trans-related care. That’s far from just caring about my own feelings.

who bully people and destroy lives,

Again, holding you accountable for your actions isn’t “bullying”. If you don’t want to face the consequences for your actions, you shouldn’t perform those actions. If you don’t want to be exposed for the bigot you are, stop saying bigoted things.

simple to silence dissenting views, because it hurts peoples feelings…

Oh trust me, I don’t want to silence your views. I want people to know how batshit crazy they are.

i won’t begin to go into the violence exhibited by trans women against biological females….

Again, trans women are biological females. Also, you can’t begin to go into it because if you give any of the few examples, looking into the details undermines your point.

these concerns need to be spoken about because burying them won’t get rid of them, they won’t die they grow with frustration at the fact folks feel they cannot speak up about these concerns for fear of physical violence or having their entire lives destroyed by keyboard warriors who get the smear campaigns rolling.

Yes, they need to be spoken about, because looking at them with an analytical eye proves that they aren’t legitimate concerns. Silencing your points gives them undue legitimacy but addressing them and thoroughly debunking them is a better strategy. I doubt I’d convince you, but at least I can inoculate another person from the bullshit you spout.

Parents, TERFs, women, the LGB, are willing to debate in a respectful and civil way these issues and concerns, the trans activists most prominently pushing the trans movements ideology however aren’t willing to do so, they’re happy simply shouting people down and intimidating folks.

First of all, parents aren’t all bigots. There are some parents who support their trans kids.

Secondly, TERFs are incapable of debating this issue “in a respectful and civil way” in the same way that Neo-Nazis can’t have a nuanced discussion on the rights of people of colour.

Thirdly, you have shown that you can’t have a civil nor respectful discussion because you falsely accuse trans women of being male.

Not all trans folks are like this, and those who dissent from the cult like ideology of the current trans movement also agree, the T needs to go it alone now, it’s time to fly the nest.

You mean the people who agree with your cult like ideology? You see, if we look at Steve Hassan’s BITE model, TERFism is a cult. And I’ll get into that later. But I want to wrap this up because I want to showcase what this whole long-assed comment was, which is:

The Gish Gallop

Now, with that last bit of her comment finally being addressed, I want to elucidate what you just witnessed and why I deigned to address it at all. Ladies and gentlemen, this was a prime example of what is referred to as “the Gish Gallop”. It is a rhetorical technique used by bullshit artists like Kent Hovind, Ben Shapiro, and the technique’s namesake, Dwayne Gish.