Imitation, Infiltration, and Invasion at Radfem Rise Up! 2013

I am writing this as an attendee of Radfem Rise Up! 2013 held in Toronto, Ontario. These are my observations as an attendee, and not an organizer.

This past weekend I attended RadFem Rise Up! in Toronto. The scheduled speakers included a survivor of prostitution and domestic violence, a presentation on reproductive justice, and a discussion regarding the case of rape and suicide victim Rehtaeh Parsons, among other topics.

This conference was held as woman only because under patriarchy, women are uniquely targeted with violence and rape. Many attendees have been victims of incest, male violence, and rape, and wanted to discuss these experiences as women together. We believe we have a right to female-only safe space for such purposes. We also believe in the rights of trans people to organize and hold their own conferences if they so choose, but we expect them to respect our right to do the same.

The conference went ahead and was powerful despite ongoing attacks from trans and their allies who do not believe women who have shared girlhoods have a right to meet together.

The first trans activist attack came in the form of imitation. The official website for the radical feminist event was located at radfemriseup.wordpress.com. However, trans activists and their allies created a cloned version of the website at radfemSriseup.wordpress.com and allege that their website is in fact the correct one. Their website goes on to claim that the purpose of the conference is to discuss exterminating trans people, and even uses surgical porn language when it states, “we will also be doing some group activities that will allow us to get to know each other better in ways trans can’t possibly do. Speculums will be provided.” That such a website would be set up to undermine us by imitating us and saying outrageous things goes to show how difficult it is to discredit us based on our actual positions. It also tells us that these trans activists and their allies are liars without integrity.

In order to discover our venue, at least one trans activist/ally signed up and paid for conference entry with the intention to infiltrate and prevent us from meeting.

Thus, this/these persons received an email stating the location of the venue and released this information on the internet. Trans activists mobilized their allies via social media to contact the venue and request that they cancel the booking.

Conference organizers were told that the venue received over 200 emails requesting that they drop the booking. Venue staff revealed to conference organizers that some of these emails contained threats, and that they were afraid for themselves and their children.

This is the reason conference organizers were given by the venue for cancelling the booking.

Given this cancellation, conference organizers moved the venue to the location where some attendees were staying.

On the first day of the conference, trans activists and allies sent an infiltrator ally to the new event location. This person sat among us as we discussed radical feminist politics, and shared intimate stories in our ostensibly safe space. This violation of our safe space affected all of the attendees, including those of us who are survivors of the sex industry, domestic violence, and rape.

This trans ally infiltrator leaked the second venue to trans activists. This exposed the fact that our space had been violated– the space where many of us were sleeping (including one ten month old infant).

Trans activists and allies then organized a protest of our event ~200 m from the venue location. transpark The original venue that cancelled the booking had told conference organizers that the reason they cancelled was because they felt unsafe. Given the boundary violations exhibited by these trans activists and allies on the previous day, as well as the long list of violent threats previously made by trans activists towards radical feminists, it is clear that this invasion was done in order to intimidate us.

The conference went ahead as planned despite these imitations, infiltrations and invasions.

If you support trans activism, please consider whether the above noted violations are appropriate methods to use in trans activism, or whether they did in fact cross the line as I am alleging here. The people targeted by these attacks are women– many of whom have already had their boundaries violated by men in the past before. Disagreement is appropriate– intimidation through imitation, infiltration, and invasion is not.

About smash
Women's liberationist.

31 Responses to Imitation, Infiltration, and Invasion at Radfem Rise Up! 2013

  1. nuclearnight says:

    Thanks for sharing all this smash. It is really disturbing that not only these people come after radical feminists online and attempt to force themselves on women who define ourselves apart from them (because DUH) but that they would take it to the level of such infiltration and harassment is really disturbing. How utterly violating.

    • smash says:

      I totally agree. It’s very disturbing.

      Women only space is special. It’s a place for women to share our experiences.

      Trans issues were not even on the agenda to be spoken about at the conference.

  2. Sam Berg says:

    The fools who made the imitation website have now updated their page to mock of us for trying to tell people the truth about which page is which. I could tell myself they don’t really think people comparing the two will be fooled, but I can’t begin to fathom how a mind that came up with that extermination and speculum creepiness operates.

    • smash says:

      Great point. They not only cloned the website– they are deliberately deceptive in claiming that theirs is the official representation of the conference.

      Their pornsickness and lack of integrity are evident. That speculum bullsh*t is repulsive.

  3. justbunny says:

    This is the first I’ve heard of the cloned blog. And then claiming that with us??

    I’m so sorry I missed the conference but reading about all the crazy shit they pulled really does make my blood boil. I’m not sorry I missed that part!

    • smash says:

      Pretty much, huh. My next post will talk about the awesome presentations we witnessed, and the amazing sisterhood we fostered. I made some new friends, and met up with some old ones!

  4. Brigitte Lechner says:

    MF Trans may have a female brain but a male socialization clearly continues to operate within it. Patriarchal norms of aggression, force, competitiveness, arrogance and an inability to accept ‘no’ works well within male groups; they are unacceptable to women-socialised women, and particularly so at events where we come together to plan for a future free of patriarchal norms. It is most interesting, though, that ‘ allies’ are clearly co-opted in much the same way women are co-opted to do the dirty work for patriarchy.

    • smash says:

      Hey Brigitte, thanks for stopping by.

      Cordelia Fine has debunked the idea of brain sex in her neuroscience book *Delusions of Gender*, but I don’t want to get too far afield on that point.

      Thanks for reminding us about male socialization and how it does impact trans M2F socialization.

  5. Mary Sunshine says:

    This points to the necessity of keeping radical feminist organizing off of the public internet.

  6. FeistyAmazon says:

    Nothing new here. They’ve done this shit to Michfest FOR YEARS. At least a decade if not two now. Infiltration, cooptation, intimidation, threatening, silencing, shouting over and trying to get the event closed down. Thank goodness it’s OWNED space by Lisa Vogel who runs the Festival. And a strong core of womyn who feel strongly about WBW space. All the same tactics, and they’ve been ratcheting it up year by year. I fear that there will be real violence again, like happened at the Portland conference, and threats of which happened at Michfest. I don’t know the exact details but the same kinds of sexual and physical threats for not allowing in ‘trans women’ where both trans ‘women and trans ‘men’ have infiltrated MIchfest.

    Thanks for reporting. So much for First Amendment rights and the right to gather freely. Also it smacks of the censoring of the 15 minute film ‘The Gendercator’ done by Catherine Crouch by Frameline after 150 supposed trans activists called or wrote in on how ‘transphobic’ this short film was because it explored in a futuristic scenario what would happen if you didn’t fit into the male sex role or female sex role(Butchy), and how the young ’70′s Butchy Lesbian who woke up 2000 and some odd would be turned into a ‘man’, and ‘Gendercated’. It was Lesbian social commentary on the PRESSURE for so many Butch dykes to transition to male, become FTM.

    Come to find out, those 150 reports all said the same words, and could have been the same people writing in over and over again, rather than 150 separate people. I have refused to go to Frameline movies(the LGBT Film Festival in San Francisco right before SF Pride in the month of June), since.

    Thanks for your honest report! We must find ways to counter these tactics!
    -FeistyAmazon

    • smash says:

      Thanks for visiting, FeistyAmazon. It’s so true that this has been happening at MichFest for years. Trans activists really need to leave women’s space alone.

  7. As I watch these events unfold, I keep thinking it will become obvious to people outside the feminist discourse how dangerous/inappropriate/violent/destructive these people are. I keep thinking they are shooting themselves in the foot. But unfortunately I apparently give way too much credit to the public. Libfems and all the rest keep supporting this virulent horseshit. It’s violent, disgusting, and horrific.

    I wish I had been there to support all you lovely sisters. I love you all and have been fuming every since this began.

    Is that stupid website still up?

    • smash says:

      I think some folks are waking up bit by bit. Others simply deny that these actions occurred, or that they weren’t done by the folks we know did them, etc. But we know the truth, and we refuse to be silenced by intimidation.

      Yes the site is still up as of today if you click the link.

      Love you too sis :)

    • I’m a straight, non-trans male. I’ve no intention of invading the thread. I’m commenting only because I think your question, wwomenwarriors, deserves an answer from someone “outside the feminist discourse”.

      Yes, I think some of us are beginning to notice the danger of trans activism. It’s partly incidents involving Suzanne Moore, Julie Burchill and Julie Bindel, partly the counterproductive propaganda of trans activists themselves (one of whom said online how “awful” GenderTrender is, which made me have a look for myself).

      I’m by no means a perfect ally, far from it. But a by-product of my concern about trans activism is that reading more about women’s liberation makes me want to be a better ally if I can.

      Thanks for tolerating my comment, if you want to publish it.

      • Sundazed says:

        A bit late of a reply here perhaps but I want to second this post, being a male myself.

        • oopster74 says:

          I’m not going to defend anyone who makes threats to others, but Julie Burchill and Suzanne Moore are professional writers, and they know what they’re doing when they write an article. They know (or they should know) what is going to upset or stir people up. Again, nothing can justify threats against anyone regardless of what they do or say. The 2 aforementioned people use words as their weapons, (bad choice of words on my part maybe), so that’s what you should fight back with should you disagree. What happened last year with the Brazilian transsexual comments got way out of hand way too quickly. Cooler heads would have backed down on all sides, but I don’t think cool heads exist on the internet, where it’s far too easy to become a keyboard warrior.

  8. Reblogged this on when women were warriors and commented:
    These are my sisters and I am livid. <3 to you all.

  9. KittyBarber says:

    What cowards. What ugly, freaking cowards these men are.

  10. hearthrising says:

    Isn’t this kind of misrepresentation legally actionable?

  11. sipiy says:

    I note their event went off without a hitch, no harrassment, terrorizing or invasions from us.

    And it was “accessible”!

    It was a public park.

  12. sipiy says:

    I am very angered by the theft of First Nations culture by these people who have no respect for boundaries. I see they wrap themselves in a cloak of appropriation to give their stance valildity. It can’t stand on it’s own, so they steal others.

      • sipiy says:

        No one can say exactly what was done at the time of settlement, because that varies from about 1500 to 1800 depending on location. It also differs by culture, as has been documented at culturally bound gender wordpress (most accessibly). And we know what loss of land and residential schools have done to native culture. Why would we believe this one segment was handed down intact, when FN have had their culture torn from them, and something very pomo/new agey handed back in its place.

        First Naitons peoples treated homosexuality pretty much the way sexist white society approaches homosexuality: they both find ways to erase it, set it aside. “Other” it.

  13. pantypopo says:

    Contact the Candian Civil Liberties Association, describe what happened. Specifically indicate that the Toby Act was used to enact discrimination against women. Ask them to investigate. http://ccla.org/contact/

    “CCLA is not a community legal clinic and does not generally provide members of the public with legal advice or direct legal representation. In some instances, we are able to provide individuals with general legal information and/or referrals to appropriate agencies or organizations. If you would like to make us aware of a civil liberties issue:

    Please send us an email at: publicenquiries@ccla.org or contact us by phone at 416-363-0321 ext. 257″

    Call, email or write! You have to be vocal to be heard….

  14. Pingback: Sam Berg’s Statement on Radfem Rise Up! 2013 « JohnStompers.com

  15. This is horrible, you need to get the police involve, the police is a disgrace for women and good people in general BUT they can be useful sometimes, even if only as a warning, this are serious issues.Call the police let them know they are threatening ur attendees, have the “protesters” show police their permits, etc

  16. padawanrfboy says:

    I remember seeing this come up, came across it from your blog. I was like awesome, (I am Canadian and live 2 hours from Toronto) that there was going to be a conference in Toronto. You hope that Women can simply come together and discuss whatever they wish in a safe environment, free from men and others that pretend not to be. As always so not the case, men have this need, in whatever guise, to invade Women spaces. Trans infiltration is just Patriarchy wearing a wig, the agenda is the same. Women need and have the right to meet, organize and be able to do so freely and without threats by men. This shit happens all the time, because men are scared of Radical Feminist voices, but those are the voices that have to be and need to be listened to! The only voices that have a true understanding of Patriarchy and are in a position to end it and provoke thought. I am pretty young, I can only hope that before I die the silencing of Women’s voices by men will cease, but I am not hopeful….

  17. druidwinter says:

    Reblogged this on winterdominatrix and commented:
    Notice how important it is to them to have prostitutes & pimps there infringing on women’s rights? If you reject prostituting women, and the concept of men pimping women, they go nuts. They are hoping to make trafficking all women a legal ‘right’ Regular p0rn doesn’t do it for these guys anymore. They must be cringing under new anti-trafficking laws and prostitution laws getting repealed in places where it use to be legal. The Trans person that asked me to do prostitution has sent two prostitutes to threaten me so far, one is drugged up and the other wants to please to get a higher position in that industry. Bringing in prostitutes is a major step to controlling and taking over feminism. The M to Trans do not want to get in trouble for physical violence, so they do alot of pitting women against each other in true pimp fashion. Not all trans are like this. There are still many trans that are embarrassed about this, and are speaking out. To them, I say thank you for restoring my faith that there are trans people that just want to live as women and not fight with women, or destroy their culture.

  18. Choixpeau says:

    I’d like to emphasize the “There are only 14 people present at this conference”. Fourteen !

    Fourteen women, somewhere in Canada, represent such a threat that they need to be harassed as much as possible.

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