Brennan Answers Critics


Baltimore OUTloud, MD, USA

Friday, 12 August 2011

Brennan Answers Critics
Veteran Lesbian Activist Answers Criticism Over United Nations Letter

Written by Rev. Mother Meredith Moise, SPSA

Cathy Brennan is a seasoned lesbian activist who has lived through
some controversy. She is currently embroiled in a debate involving a
letter she penned to the United Nations (UN) with another lawyer
regarding the use of gender identity inadvertently causing harm to
females born female. She has been the target of death threats as trans
activists pounced on the letter as trans-phobic and racist. In the
following interview, Brennan offers her view on the letter and her
outlook on transphobia and feminist idealism.

Rev. Meredith Moise: What is your position on anti discrimination
legislation in general and gender identity legislation in particular?

Cathy Brennan: I support rational anti-discrimination protections for
people of transgender and transsexual experience. As you know, I
actively supported HB 235 in Maryland last spring, which would have
banned discrimination in housing, employment and credit.

MM: Why did you and Elizabeth Hungerford write to the United Nations
about gender identity legislation in the US?

CB: All anti-discrimination laws have an exception built in them to
permit discrimination based on sex in certain public accommodations –
this is why we have sex-segregated bathrooms, showers, locker rooms,
and the like. The definition of gender identity that the LGBT
organizations keep putting forth is overbroad, and allows males who
are not transgender or transsexual access into female only space. This
is bad for women.

MM: Some have titled your vocal opposition to the gender id
legislation radical feminist and racist. What is driving your passion
for this issue?

CB: In 2011 it is incredible to me that people who oppose what we are
saying as “radical feminist” – as if that is a bad thing! As if, God
forbid that someone dares to advocate for a female perspective. Yes,
we are advocating a radical feminist position.

With regard to racism, we understand that advocating for a definition
of gender identity that requires some proof of medical intervention is
causing some concern among poor people; that include people of color.
The way medical care and treatment is financed in our society – a
patriarchical society that favors white males – disproportionately
disfavors women and people of color. Racism in the way heath care is
provided to people in this country, and in the priorities that are
established and in the way health care is distributed, is real, and we
abhor it.

Feminist legal arguments advocating for female reproductive safety in
sex-segregated spaces do not CAUSE systemic racism. And please also
remember that women of color are women. Women make up 50% of the
world’s population. The LGBT movement’s insistence on eviscerating
sex-based protections for women is also racist – and SEXIST!

MM: How can the law balance the need for sex-based protections along
with gender-based protections for transgender people?

CB: We fully support anti-discrimination protections for transgender
and transsexual people that do not run roughshod over laws that
protect females. We support the following definition of “gender
identity – a person’s identification with the sex opposite her or his
physiology or assigned sex at birth, which can be shown by providing
evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or
treatment of a transsexual medical condition, or related condition, as
deemed medically necessary by the American Medical Association.” Such
a definition would protect the classification of sex, while
simultaneously providing a cause of action for discriminatory
practices on the basis of a persistent and documented “gender
identity.” We welcome people who fit into this definition into space
segregated by sex in recognition of their perceived need for access
and in the fervent hope that we can achieve such protection for
identifiably transgender or transsexual people without harming

MM: What particular concern does your letter raise?

CB: The LGBT organizations are pushing this definition of “gender
identity,” with some variation:

“Gender identity”means an individual’s actual or perceived gender
identity, or gender-related characteristics intrinsically related to
an individual’s gender or gender-identity, regardless of the
individual’s assigned sex at birth.

We are concerned with two basic things – that this overbroad
definition of “gender identity” completely overrides rational
sex-based protections and that it codifies sex stereotypes about men
and women into law and elevates those stereotypes to the level of an
actual identity.

We encourage people to actually read the letter. It is here:\

MM: Are there any documented incidents of crimes against females born
female committed by men dressed as women?

CB: Why yes! They are legion. There are many reported incidents of men
videotaping women in restrooms. There are also numerous incidents of
men dressing in drag to peep in women’s restrooms. This has very
little to do with the trans* community. It really is a male vs. female

MM: Ultimately, many folks view you as an adversary to the trans
community. How do you answer these critics?

CB: I appreciate and respect that women of transgender and transsexual
experience struggle to be accepted and recognized as women. I
personally accept women of transgender and transsexual experience as
women. Meanwhile, females in 2011 continue to struggle to be accepted
as human. I would encourage women of transgender and transsexual
experience to help us in our struggle as well.

Copyright © 2002-2011 Pride Media, LTD.\


  1. lauren f · · Reply

    I wish this was the more visible side of you, the side that affirms and encourages unification, the side that says “I appreciate and respect that women of transgender and transsexual experience struggle to be accepted and recognized as women. I personally accept women of transgender and transsexual experience as women. Meanwhile, females in 2011 continue to struggle to be accepted as human. I would encourage women of transgender and transsexual experience to help us in our struggle as well.”

    Do you think it would hurt to spend less time copypasting information on transsexual surgery that is more than 30 years out of date and ever-so-subtly encouraging people to get reparative therapy (which has never been medically proven to work) on your blog?

    I don’t think dedicating your time to negative trans-related texts is furthering the cause you care about.

    1. First of all, start your own blog if you don’t like how I am doing things.

      Second of all, you are as able as anyone else to read everything on this blog. The only people who seem to have a hard time actually reading what I write are certain trans people who don’t want to hear Female perspectives. Your comment reeks of “be nice,” which is – guess what – what dudes tell women all day long. I am not trying to win a “be nice” contest.

      Third, if you think “copypasting information on transsexual surgery that is more than 30 years out of date” ever-so-subtly encourages reparative therapy, maybe I should start my own cult.

    2. Also and btw, I get threats regardless of what I say or how I say it.

    3. lauren f, do you know the DIFFERENCE between sex and gender? Yes? Good.

      Now, do you know the difference between transGENDERed “women” and transSEXual women?

      If so, WHYYYYYYY would you ask Brennan to say: “I personally accept women of transgender and transsexual experience as women.”????

      Sex does not cause gender; gender does not cause sex. If so-called “transGENDERed women” weren’t desperately trying to delude me into thinking that gender actually CAUSES sex, we wouldn’t be having this dum ass conversation.

      1. LOL! I love you. I do accept trans women as women because women is a social construct (and lots of people disagree about this, yes I know, pronouns, etc.).

        I don’t accept trans women as Female. This does not mean I dislike trans women. This means Difference Exists.

        Sex IS NOT Gender. That’s exactly right. Visuals also help:

      2. Also, I really don’t care how people feel Deep Inside unless they are my people.

  2. lauren f · · Reply

    In that case I sincerely apologize for asking you to consider being nice. I’m sorry for wasting your time, Cathy.

    1. Spoken like a true supporter of females.

      BE NICE!

      1. lauren f · ·

        So there’s actually a reason you shouldn’t be nice to those who generally support your causes or want to in some way assist in your community?

        No wonder there are only a few dwindling bloggers left to represent radical feminism as people like you understand it.

      2. Lauren, it’s been a long day. No, it’s been a long year. I am tired. I am not here for your entertainment or to make you feel better. I am here to fight for Females and our reality. You can choose to be a prick or not. It’s your life.

      3. GallusMag · ·

        Yes lauren, because nice smiling ladies is what people are looking for when they delve into radical- or any- politics. Nice, smilin’ ladies.

        Oh, and if there were only a “few dwindling bloggers” espousing the view that FEMALES are centrally located in the politics of FEMALE liberation, you wouldn’t be here telling ladies to smile more.

        Why can’t YOU be nice lauren? Why can’t YOU be nice to women and feminists? Why can’t you HEAR what they are saying regardless of whether they are kissing your female-hating ass.

    2. GallusMag · · Reply

      “In that case I sincerely apologize for asking you to consider suckling me at your teat while you hold me and feed me a bottle while outlining your political position to me. I’ma so sorry for wasting your time, mean mommy.”

      Seriously lauren where do you get off trotting around telling feminists- or ANY female- they’re not “nice” enough. And ya just can’t UNDERSTAND them if they aint “nice enough”. When the female gas station attendant speaks to you do you understand her or does she have to “smile, hon” to jog your brain that the lowly female is speaking.

  3. lauren f · · Reply

    “Why can’t YOU be nice lauren? Why can’t YOU be nice to women and feminists? Why can’t you HEAR what they are saying regardless of whether they are kissing your female-hating ass.”

    I don’t hate females. I don’t hate feminists.

    I am just confused as to why this group of rad fems seem to blog almost exclusively about a group of people who are by no means the greatest enemy of womenkind.

    What does this group hope to achieve by blogging about how all transgender people are women-hating, mentally ill rapists? I’d love to know.


    1. “What does this group hope to achieve by blogging about how all transgender people are women-hating, mentally ill rapists? I’d love to know.”

      I have never said that. Learn to read. Also, there is no “group.” There are females with brains and an ability to communicate. We need more of that, not less.

      Also, stop telling FEMALES what we should prioritize. I talk about Gender Identity because it matters to Females not to be trapped by this bullshit. So, yes, if you perpetuate this bullshit, you kind of are the worst enemy of womankind – oh and we can decide that for ourselves.

  4. Hi Cathy, I was just wondering since I am writing a blog post on the trans community attacking WWDO (Women with different opinions) i was wondering if you view yourself as radical lesbian since someone told me that you do not see yourself as feminist……

    1. There are a number of online radical feminists who made it very clear to me that I “cannot be a radical feminist” because of my positions on gender identity. As I don’t do identity politics, i don’t actually care. My work speaks for itself. I would say I am a feminist, and not the fun kind. LOL at WWDO!

  5. Justin · · Reply

    Hi Cathy.
    I am a pre-HRT trans person. It is my own self-given Christmas present, because if the world is going to end anyway, why go through the trouble? In addition, as it stands if I do transition now I would look like your latest nemesis (a real dead ringer), and I therefore have to go back to the gym.
    I probably should keep quiet since I do not have any personal stake in this game yet. However, everybody who thinks it is a good idea to set random stuff/people on fire refuse to so why not?
    Anyway, I must be stupid because I am sure the only reason I agree with you about 75-85% of the time is the fact you use words my feeble intellect can process. You say “trans women are NOT biologically women”, and I’m like, WHAT SORCERY IS THIS?!?! Until I crack open an anatomy book and OH MY GOD IT’S TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I find this CONSTANT insistence on trying to remake the wheel insulting about as much as MRAs claiming Agent Orange has found THE PROOF that Radical Feminists are constructing a testicle-seeking shoulder mounted guided weapon in their basements. Okay nobody implied that, but I thought it sounded cool.
    Honestly, Jesse Lee Peterson is saying WOMEN are the reason we are all going to hell in a hand basket. Those others preachers are saying we all need our own little separate electrocuted fenced in enclosures, or our parents should have slapped us around more growing up. It is abundantly clear (to me at least) the world desperately needs the Lesbian Avengers.
    I just wanted to tell you I support what you do. I pity the fools that try to step to Cathy B. This all reminds me of the first Neo vs. Mr. Smith fight in Matrix 2. One alone against 500 and I remember eating my popcorn thinking, “can we just wrap this up PLEASE!”
    Lastly, being of sound mind and body I hereby pledge that once I do start taking hormones, I’m not going to demand access to woman space or make myself a Die Cis Scum jacket. In solidarity, the next time you all hold a conference; I will stay at home and read the Wheel of Time.
    It must be difficult contending with random internet ass hat #1456 24/7/360, but I have faith that this is a fight worth having and in the end; it will be beneficial to everyone. I hope you have a good day.

    1. LOL, thanks troll.

  6. Isabelle · · Reply

    Hello Cathy. “I talk about Gender Identity because it matters to Females not be trapped by this bullshit”. Do you really think gender identity is bullshit? I am myself a trans woman and I know that gender identity is no bullshit, is otherwise real, actual and REALLY EXISTS. I am on HRT because I NEED to match my body with my feminine gender identity. And how it is harmful to women (born female)? Bathroom issues? I’ve never seen in my lifetime a single case of rape, abuse, stalking or harassment perpetrated by a trans woman against a woman in a sex-segregate space. Google the news about abuse and rape against women and you’ll only find cis men (dressed as men) commiting these horrible crimes. In my country a woman was raped in a female bathroom by a MACHO CIS MAN DRESSED AS A MAN that didn’t need any pro-trans legislation for doing that (by the way they were outside the bathroom and he forced the victim to enter there). Rapists and abusers do not need any “bathroom bill” to commit these atrocities, likewise a murderer doesn’t need any loose firearm law or a license to get a machine gun for exemple. Please do not insult transgender people calling us “rapeys” as you did in other article, don’t blame us for these crime. This is discriminatory. In fact I am a feminist myself, a misogynist cis man is a transphobe as well. Don’t partake transphobia along with the misogynistic patriarchy and religious fundamentalists.

    1. Men who wave their dicks in women’s spaces harass women.

      Good luck with your journey.

    2. Lurid photos were shown one by one in court as Col. Russell Williams, 47, pleaded guilty to murdering two women, sexually assaulting two others and committing dozens of break-ins in which he stole underwear. Russell Williams wearing a 12-year-old girl’s cartoon-decorated underwear. Prosecutors said Williams often photographed himself in their underwear. Many of the pictures showed a serious-looking Williams masturbating in the stolen lingerie. In one picture, he appears to be wearing his military uniform with his trousers dropped to expose pink panties. In another, he has the same pair of stained underwear wrapped around his head in various shots.

  7. Isabelle · · Reply

    Right wing organizations (like religious fundamentalists) are homophobic (lesbophobia included), transphobic, sexist, racist, as in the KKK exemple and patriarchal ones, that’s why they exclude, denigrate, and even mock transgender people. “They stand for women and girls in this inquiry”. Yes, despite they despise lesbians, feminists and non- religious people. They want women subject to patriarchy . Trans women are not men, I don’t identify as man whatsoever. What man would take tons of hormones to grow breasts (or put implants), suppress totally male hormones, undergo facial feminization surgery (for the fewer ones who can afford it) and so on? This wouldn’t be a man’s who identifies as man behavior. I don’t approve of trans people showing genitals in women’s locker rooms, saunas, but in restrooms there are individual stalls and no one “need” to see any naked person. As I said, I’ve never seen any case of sexual harassment committed by trans people against cis women. Not trans woman, but cis macho men that are the ones who objectify women. When you say 95% of all (sexual) violence against women are perpetrated by males you’re right. Perpetrated by cis macho males, be certain of it, not trans people. Otherwise, we, trans people especially trans women are the victim of machismo, prejudice, religious bigotry and so on having as exemple Latin America with it’s appalling stats about trans murder, discrimination and harrassment of trans women even perpetrated by our parents and relatives. Thank you for the opportunity of commenting here and for you wishing me good luck in my journey, I interpreted this seriously (regarding fullfill my transition, and be happy as a trans woman I suppose).

    1. I just linked you to one case – of many – and you hand wave it away.

  8. Isabelle · · Reply

    I read your link and I didn’t hand wave it away. I apologize for leaving that impression. It’s about Colleen Francis showing her male genitals in a school pool locker room. I classify it as a blatantly wrong, improper behavior. As I said above, I do not approve of trans women showing genitals like in this case and I, myself, would never do it. Francis should be aware that non / pre-op trans women are not in the same genital or body status as the cis population and should be discreet regarding this and avoid this whole situation. I totally agree that girls and women should not being put in a unconfortable situation like this. I don’t know how you call this in the US, but I think the Francis incident was a case of indecency for improper public genital exposure. It was wrong and improper, but Colleen Francis did not abuse, harrass or rape any girl or woman specifically in the locker room. Think about it: if a woman go out showing her breasts in public she is arrested and jailed. It’s because she sexually harrassed or raped any person specifically? No. What I said above is that I’ve never seen a case of rape or personal sexual harassment committed by a trans woman, and this was not the case. On the other hand, calling Francis by male pronouns is deeply discriminatory, she is living as a trans- feminine person now and her new status must be respect. It doesn’t matter whether she is out as trans after retired from the military or since she was a kid. Military service (or age) doesn’t invalidate anyone’s transgenderism the same way it doesn’t invalidate the womanhood of a woman who is a soldier.

    1. No it’s not. He’s a man. Penis is male. So are you.

  9. Isabelle · · Reply

    Even after I have made such balanced comments, showing I stand for women, being polite and explained a bit about the condition of being a trans-feminine person you’re still rude to me saying “so are you”. You really hate us transwomen and wish we all drop dead literally? You despise me for being trans, is it? Humanity must try to live in harmony, not in based on hate, it is counter productive.

    1. No, you have a skewed view of reality.

  10. Isabelle · · Reply

    Cathy I wholeheartedly respect you as human being / woman. I just wish you and other radical feminists could view us transwomen, gender variant persons, etc, as respectable human beings, including addressing us using pronouns we identify with, at least not promoting prejudice against us, an act that does’t cost that much. Please don’t judge us as a monolithic group that speaks in unison. I, myself, would never offend or be aggressive toward any women.

    1. Good for you.

    2. You have just met the basic requirements of being a decent human being.

  11. Isabelle · · Reply

    I like your reply, thank you. I just want full human rights and equality for all people. I am from Brazil

    1. We probably don’t want the same things.

  12. Miss Rita · · Reply

    It sounds to me that the thought of being in an enclosed space with any human with a cock absolutely terrifies you. Trust so broken is rarely mended, but not impossible. To love.

    1. To love cock?

      You’re pretty focused on making sure all women love cock. That’s odd.

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