Olivia Palmer – Suspended

The Genderquake debate fiasco and the McCarthyism that followed.

In September 2017 I witnessed a 60 year old feminist being attacked by several transactivists, one of whom punched her in the face. I had not met the victim, Maria Maclachlan, prior to this although we have since become friends. Maria was unknown to her attackers and was targeted on the basis that she was attending a discussion on gender. Those who witnessed it could see how easily any of us could have fallen victim to this violence.

The incident was a turning point for many feminists. The translobby had shown us that they felt untouchable and were prepared to use violence to silence anyone who even wanted to discuss the topic of gender. In light of this attack a few of us founded an organisation called Mayday4Women. We wanted to show that violence will not silence us. We believe women have a right to know what the proposed amendments to the Gender Recognition Act are and where sex segregated spaces have been compromised.

Mayday4Women were specifically invited by ITN to attend the Genderquake Debate. We were initially invited to put across our opinions on the panel, later being told that although the panel was full they hoped we would be able to join in the discussion.

As you can see from the footage, the room was deliberately set up in an informal way with the ‘panel’ on a few sofas in the middle, and invited guests seated on sofas in a wider circle. There were two rows of seats at either side of the room for other members of the audience. We were all encouraged to participate ‘the only way people can tell what you are thinking on TV is if you are vocal’ the compere said ‘if you agree with something clap and if you disagree make that clear too’. There was no staged area, during the break we all got up and chatted, I was a stones-throw from Greer so was easily able to introduce myself and sit back down within a matter of seconds.

The programme was monopolised by Cathy Newman sycophantically  interviewing Bergdorf and Jenner, with occasional invitations for Greer or Ditum to contribute. One viewer helpfully documented the time dedicated to each guest.

Feminists are coloured in green and transwomen in red. The disparity is evident.
Genderquake Debate

One section of the programme was ring-fenced to discuss the feminist ideas. Newman initiated this by asking Bergdorf’s opinion. Bergdorf was unapologetic about his belief that women should not centre ‘reproductive systems’ in our feminism. Since it’s invention, feminism has been essential to women’s biological rights. We are globally still a long way from reproductive rights and even still fighting female infanticide! I had asked Greer to cite the aforementioned infanticide case, however she said she wasn’t able to as she’d not read the story.

I was appalled at Bergdorf’s suggestion that we should not talk about these issues. Talking about female biology and sexism IS feminism. The best comparison I can think of  to make is if someone like Rachel Dolezal were to express an opinion that the Black Rights Movement should not centre race.

It was clear the panel were either not prepared to, or not going to be given the opportunity to, refute this insulting notion that feminism shouldn’t centre female biology. I was compelled to point out Bergdorf’s misrepresentation of my cause.
‘You’re a man’ I said, ‘You’re a misogynist’. I did of course raise my voice to be heard. Even then you can hardly make out what I’m saying. All guests who had not been miked up had been raising their voices throughout. If I’d not spoken up, viewers would have witnessed Bergdorf’s opinions unchallenged.

Bergdorf has previously referred to a woman as ‘hairy barren lesbian’ and insulted another as a ‘butch lezza’. According to Bergdorf reproductive organs are out of bounds in feminism but alright to mention in sexist insults such as ‘your womb is broken’

Are these the words of a woman? Or are they, as I maintain, the words of a misogynist?

Within hours my photo was being circulated with the words “This f****** B*** needs shooting…”. It was only a matter of time before I was doxxed as a Green Party member. Considering other people in the room had been visibly and audibly raising their voices throughout. I’m not sure why Munroe picked on me, nor why various tweets attributed every comment made by the audience to me!

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The Green Party failed to notify me that there was an investigation. However they did invite a Labour Party activist who had not been present at the studio to comment!

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This happened at 10.23am. By early afternoon friends were messaging saying that I’d been suspended from the Green Party. I was shocked to read this on the Independent‘s website having not even been notified of this myself. I rung up the head office and was informed that I had been told by email about my suspension. I had not received this. I pointed out that even if they had the correct email address it might have been wise to call me before releasing it to the national press.

I was forwarded the email which assured me that this was a temporary suspension in order to ‘prevent possible harm to the Party’s reputation’ and  that they ‘would like to assure [me] that this the matter will be given full and fair consideration.’
This was totally incongruent with the statement issued by the LGBTIQA+ Greens who have a longstanding reputation for bullying lesbians and older women out of their group.

Most Trans people will agree that sex and gender are not interchangable terms. The feminist analysis of gender is that it is a social construct of behaviours and characteristics which are imposed upon us as individuals. Women do not have an innate desire to wear dresses, they are socialised to do so. Naturally, most of us do not fit happily into these stereotypes and we believe that women and men should be liberated from gender roles and free to act as they wish. For instance, I would support any man’s right to wear dresses and makeup, or any woman’s right to have short hair and become a physicist.

The main difference between the feminist and transactivist analysis is that feminists  believe that there are various biological differences between men and women but these do not impact on our desire to behave or dress in a certain way.  Whereas transactivists believe that gender is an innate characteristic, a man who wears makeup and dresses is, in their view, not merely rejecting gender stereotypes but literally a woman.

I don’t believe that a biological male can ever be a woman. My trans friends are aware of my opinion on this and not all of them agree with me. However, they do not consider me to be transphobic. Transphobia is not a rejection of the idea of ‘innate gender’ anymore than Islamophobia or Antisemitism is the denial of the existence of God. It is an absolute insult to my friends who have experienced transphobia or homophobia in the form of beating, spitting, and abuse to dilute the word ‘transphobia’ to mean ‘disagreeing’.

I attended a Green Party meeting yesterday in which everyone supported me. Whilst the LGBTIQA+ Greens like to imply that the entire party is awash with trans-activists they are in fact a tiny vocal minority. The active members i.e. the ones that do the all the legwork, the members who go to meeting after meeting, tirelessly deliver leaflets, knock on doors for other candidates; we are people who just care about the environment. Just ordinary people not gender extremists who spend all day tweeting.

So we’ll see how this plays out. Whether the extremists succeed in kicking me out of the party, will they pick us off one by one for believing in the scientific reality of sex? I wonder who will deliver all the leaflets for those too special to do so themselves!