By Cristan Williams
Tumblr TERF, radfem-momma apparently thinks it’s okay to threaten trans kids with murder as long as you lie about the reason.
This post has to do with Tumblr TERFs trying to make the abuse a trans kid experienced by adult MichFest TERFs seem somehow okay. The abuse was witnessed by multiple individuals, specifically members of the Lesbian Avengers and a MichFest performer and member of Sister Spit, Nomy Lamm. The account of what happened to this trans kid is located here (under “The Cycle Continues” section). However, here’s what eyewitnesses said happened at MichFest:
In 1999, Camp Trans was largely facilitated by two chapters of the Lesbian Avengers and as part of the group’s action, they brought a 16-year-old trans girl to the MWMF ticket booth and informed them that everyone in the group was from Camp Trans. Moreover, they explicitly stated that some of their group was trans. While the MWMF sold everyone in the group tickets, the moment the group of Avengers entered the gates, TERFs began trailing the group shouting, “MAN ON THE LAND!” This continued until the TERF group turned into a mob that had surrounded the trans youth, yelling and shouting at her until MWMF security moved everyone to a tent where the trans youth was made to stand in front of the large group of TERFs who spent the next two hours berating her. One adult TERF openly threatened the life of the trans kid without consequence. Afterward, the youth was marched to the gates of the festival and expelled. I interviewed the Lesbian Avengers about their experience:
[Lesbian Avenger]: About 10 TERFs were waiting for us when we came in. The whole ‘MAN ON THE LAND!’ started as soon as we walked in. I mean, at the time, we’re kids, we’re teenagers and these are all adults. I mean, when I think about it now, it was just so fucked up. We were trying to give out t-shirts and stickers about being inclusive. But, it was getting bad.
[Trans girl in the group]: A huge crowd of yelling people formed around us and I started crying at that point. It got so loud that Nomy Lamm, who was performing there as part of Sister Spit, came over and stood up for us… The crowd and me were walked over to a tent area. The way that it worked was that there was a queue of people who were going to get to say whatever they wanted to say. I remember, specifically, one woman looking right at me and telling me that I needed to leave the Land as soon as possible because she had a knife and didn’t know if she would be able to control herself if I was around her.
Cristan Williams: WHAT? How did people react to that death threat?
[Trans girl in the group]: Because of the way they were queuing, as soon as one person stopped speaking, another would start, so nobody said or did anything about the death threat. At that point, I checked out. At first, I was sobbing and [B] was holding my face close to hers, telling me that it would be over soon, but then I just checked out.
[Lesbian Avenger]: The moderator did nothing. It was just a mud-slinging, hatred pouring out. It was just like one by one by one being like, ‘You’re a rapist! You’re raping the Land! You’re destroying womanhood! I don’t know what I’m going to do to you!’ – it was just violent, hatred, and I know that most of it was geared at [the trans girl in the group]. I was up there being attacked, but I wasn’t getting the brunt of it. This went on for at least two hours. At least 30 people were allowed to speak at us, but there were around 75 under the tent, and if you included the people around the tent who were watching and listening, well over 100.
I asked Lamm about what she had observed before the trans kid was forced to stand before the TERF mob to be publicly threatened and castigated. Lamm said that she had known the Lesbian Avengers were going to be there and found them as the TERF mob began to assemble.
Lamm: I was all ‘Oh I’m so happy to meet you’ and then all the sudden it was like we were surrounded by people screaming at [the trans girl in the group], this one woman in particular was going “What is your point? Why are you here?” and I remember standing in front of her and spreading my arms to keep people away from [the trans girl in the group] and I was like “She doesn’t have to talk to you! She doesn’t have to answer your questions! She’s doing a workshop tomorrow, go to the workshop if you want information.” [T]hese women came screaming towards us yelling “We are being raped right now! Penises on the land!” and shit like that.
Williams: Can you talk about how you felt in that moment, standing there with your arms out protecting her from these people?
Lamm: I think I just felt really protective. I was like, “No way! Huh uh! You’re not gonna fuck with this brave [kid] who put herself on the frontlines here!” I felt angry that people couldn’t see that this was a person, a vulnerable young person… I can’t imagine how traumatic that must have been for her.
Lamm’s courage didn’t evaporate once the trans girl in the group was physically safe. During her set on the MWMF stage, she publicly took a stand against the woman-born woman Intention.
Lamm: When I was on stage I said, “I just want to say that including trans women in this space is not going to take anything away, it’s going to add to it. I’ve been in women-only spaces that include trans women and that’s been my experience.” I was surprised that a bunch of people stood up and cheered. It made me feel hopeful.
In a press release dated August 24, 1999, MWMF organizer Lisa Vogel addressed what occurred to the trans youth thusly:
A number of spontaneous gatherings developed where participants discussed and debated the presence of the Son of Camp Trans activists and their actions. Volunteer facilitators helped to structure discussions so that various viewpoints, including those of the Son of Camp Trans, could be heard. The Son of Camp Trans activists scheduled a workshop session for Saturday at noon in the workshop area, and various Festival participants announced their intention to hold community meetings at different locations on Saturday.
Apparently, some TERFs on Tumblr are trying to figure out how to justify their long history of actual violence against trans people. Tumblr user radfem-momma wrote and fuckyeah-radicalfeminism reblogged:
“[A]bout the horrible ‘harassment’ of the 16-year-old at Michfest. The kid was participating in a march of trans women onto the land stark naked, but, yeah, it’s radfems who were harming that kid, not the adult trans women who endorsed sexual exploitation of a minor.”
According to these TERFs, this 16-year-old trans kid – for some inexplicable reason – was nude in the middle of the group of fully clothed Lesbian Avengers she arrived with. Note that in the above TERF historical account, the trans kid was supposed with a “march of [adult] trans women.” I guess it better fits the TERF narrative about trans women if adult trans women are portrayed as marching a nude trans kid around MichFest. Consider for a moment the animus that animates both the above-quoted lie and the gleeful consumption of this lie by TERFs. How much hate is needed to predispose TERFs to accept – on faith alone – that the above-quoted claim about the morality of trans women is plausible?
I want you to think about the ethical collapse it takes for an adult to A.) lie about a traumatized trans kid; B.) gloatingly sexualize this traumatized trans kid; and, C.) promote this falsehood in an effort to justify the actions of an adult TERF who stood up in front of a mob of other TERFs and threatened this trans kid’s life. Consider too that TERFs want – need – you to believe that this macabre ethic represents “radical feminism.” Moreover, I find how eager TERFs are to openly embrace and spread this ethic by liking and reblogging this libelous falsehood chilling.
To set the record straight, I contacted the trans kid (now an adult) and asked her why she had supposedly stripped nude before entering MichFest with the rest of her Lesbian Avenger group. For the record, she replied:
No, I was at no point nude and everyone you spoke to can verify that. I did not shower or remove my clothes at any point outside of a tent (where I changed for bed and in the morning).
I also checked with Nomy Lamm, asking her if she observed the trans kid in question in a state of undress. For the record, she replied:
Absolutely not. That is not what happened. Thanks for checking in about that. [The trans kid] was absolutely wearing clothes.
At this point, it should be clear that one of two things is true. Either:
A.) Everyone who witnessed what happened – including a MichFest performer – are all part of a conspiracy to silence the truth that adult trans women – and not the Lesbian Avengers – brought a nude trans kid to MichFest and for some nefarious reason, paraded the kid’s naked body around the festival; or,
B.) TERFs lie.
Here’s the fact claim TERFs are passing back and forth to each other on Tumblr:
For the record, I am not now, nor have I ever been an “MRA.” Since I transitioned before the internet was a thing, I’d be curious to know how radfem-momma came up with this fact claim. Personally, I think that if one’s ethics will allow one to sexualize and monster a trans kid in order to justify a TERF threatening to murder that kid with a knife, I don’t think it would be a stretch for this TERF to lie about why I find the behavior of people like radfem-momma repugnant.
Here’s a list of the other fact assertions radfem-momma et al make:
- Tweeting that vacant property a well-known TERF activist was selling online is really fancy and expensive is the same thing as a man stalking a woman in real life.
- For years I’ve been a “Men’s Rights Activists” because I document TERF history on TheTERFs.com.
- TheTERFs.com doesn’t provide any evidence to prove that TERFs act to harm trans people.
- I supposedly wrote an article by Zoe Brain.
- TERFS didn’t disrupt the 1973 West Coast Lesbian Conference when:
- They issued a death threat to the trans woman who helped organize the Conference 
- They instructed TERFs to “deal with” the trans woman who helped organize the Conference while at the same time monstering her   
- They attempted to bash this very trans woman on a Conference stage or that they physically assaulted radical feminists for protecting the trans woman from the beating
- Making the claim that a TERF organized a physical assault against Sylvia Rivera isn’t supported by evidence. 
- The evidence proves that Janice Raymond didn’t have anything to do with the study that leads to the revocation of public and 3rd party funding for trans medical care and it doesn’t matter anyway because people on the internets say stupid shit.
 “Then, when she trashed me in her speech, she referred to my having been ‘begged’ not to attend the conference. That had taken place in a phone call much earlier in the week that began with a request to speak to ‘Mr. Elliott’ and ended with a death threat.” – Nettick, Geri, and Beth Elliot. Mirrors: Portrait of a Lesbian Transsexual. Rhinoceros ed. NY: Masquerade Books, 1996. 256.
 “I charge [Elliott] as an opportunist, an infiltrator, and a destroyer—with the mentality of a rapist. And you women at this Conference know who he [sic] is. Now. You can let him [sic] into your workshops—or you can deal with him [sic].” – Blasius, Mark. We Are Everywhere: A Historical Sourcebook of Gay and Lesbian Politics. New York: Routledge, 1997. 429.
 “Did I hear [Robin Morgan] right. I did. She said that rather than call for unity, she chooses to call for polarity. I’m confused. I’m still confused. Especially since the announced purpose for the conference is UNITY… I’m angry. I somehow feel betrayed… Now she’s trashing Kate Millet. Now she’s trashing us over the transsexual thing. Now she’s trashing EVERYONE. I can’t believe she ever wrote anything about “sister-hood.” – McLean, Barbara. “Diary of a Mad Organizer.” The Lesbian Tide, May 1, 1973.
 “It was like an earthquake – at first, a little earthquake. Then an 8.5…” – Faderman, Lillian, and Stuart Timmons. Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians. New York: Basic Books, 2006. 191.
 “Women in the GLF were uncomfortable referring to Rivera – who insisted in using women’s bathrooms, even in City hall – as ‘she.’ Pressure mounted. The year 1973 witnessed a clash that would take Rivera out of the movement for the next two decades… As they passed out flyers outlining their opposition to the ‘female impersonators,’ Rivera wrestled for the microphone held by emcee Vitto Russo, before getting hit with it herself. Rivera explained, ‘I had to battle my way up on stage, and literally get beaten up and punched around by people I thought were my comrades, to get to that microphone.” – Benjamin Shepard, That’s Revolting!, pp 126 – 127
 Sylvia Rivera recounted the event: “Jean O’Leary, a founder of Radicalesbians, decided that drag queens were insulting to women… I had been told I was going to speak at the rally. And that’s when things just got out of hand. I’m very militant when it comes to certain things, and I didn’t appreciate what was going down with Jean O’Leary stating that we were insulting women… She told Vito Russo to kick my ass onstage… but I still got up and spoke my piece.” – Susan Glisson (Ed), The Human Tradition in the Civil Rights Movement, p 325
 “[T]his incident precipitated yet another suicide attempt on her part… the events of that day in 1973 ultimately took something out of Sylvia Rivera. In the succeeding years, Sylvia Rivera’s participation in ‘the movement’ waned. Although she attended every Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade (with the exception of two) until her death, Sylvia’s formal participation in organizations like the GLF and the GAA came to a halt.” – ibid.
A version of this article first appeared on TheTERFs.com