On 21 March 2023, Green Ideas, a Substack adjacent to the Victorian Greens and curated by Andrew Conley, published an article, “A short history of Nazi enabling in the Party,” by Linda Gale (2023).
The article has several problems.
I am climbing out of my well to name a few.
- “if predatory men were able to enter women’s spaces“
- “if … ‘Trans Women are Women’ is given its literal meaning“
- “Women’s rights can conflict with those of … trans men“
- “the right of women to discuss certain issues“
- “‘affirmation only’ is a problematic therapeutic approach“
- “significant psychological factors leading to body dysmorphia“
- “a medical pathway with irreversible consequences“
- “‘transing away the gay’“
- “same-sex attraction in a rampantly homophobic society“
- “Questioning … was shouted down“
- “making a low key Facebook post simply raising the concern“
- “it was said to be transphobic to ask questions“
- “the Greens have adopted a position of ‘no debate’“
- “Even asking questions … is described as ‘genocidal’“
- “merely knowing … would lead to deaths“
- “on the claimed basis that … any discussion … is inherently hateful“
- “The science, we are told, is settled“
- “The politics is settled“
- “Anyone who questions that is a dinosaur“
- “a witting or unwitting agent of far-right extremists“
- “said to be ‘dog whistles’ for transphobia“
- “Where … do people go to discuss ideas?“
- “Perhaps the hope is that people will just shut up“
- “Silence will be consent“
- “they will start having those conversations outside the Greens“
- “Not all of those spaces are confined to people of good will“
- “Not all of those spaces are … sensitive to the feelings of others“
- “Progressive people looked for space … but were rebuffed“
- “That doesn’t mean they abandon their politics“
- “nor that they fail to challenge … reactionary … views“
- “Nor do they embrace the views of religious fundamentalism“
- “Nor do they embrace the views of social conservatism“
- “Nor do they embrace the views of … the far right“
- “These are Greens members we are talking about“
- “conservative MPs and firebrands … far from Greens-friendly“
- “she argues that all women should be allowed to speak“
- “The Party does not allow them … to speak“
- “This is hardly surprising“
- “given the pluralist and inclusive nature of the format“
- “Nor … does … that … imply their personal endorsement“
- “My personal history includes … death threats … by Neo-Nazis“
- “strategically confronting progressive groups“
- “They have been emboldened by … social media“
- “Presumably, they intended to gain maximum publicity“
- “posts decrying the … event for ‘standing with Nazis’“
- “being ‘on the side of Nazis’“
- “and being ‘protected by’ Nazis“
- “described the women protesting … as … linked to the Nazis“
- “This has been echoed by the other parties“
- “vilification … as being … Nazis, Nazi allies and Nazi enablers“
- “all parties … are declaring them to have broad community support“
- “asserting that they ae supported by … the women present“
- “The opportunist effort of the trans lobby“
- “concerned feminists“
- “You know those women are not Nazis“
- “You know they hate Nazis“
- “You know they are arguing for ideas Nazis hate“
- “you know they are not standing with Nazis“
- “they are standing with women, for women“
- “the public response … actively enables … the Neo-Nazis“
- “Neo-Nazis … should be treated with the contempt they deserve“
- “the Greens should not elevate them“
- “Women … concerned with women’s rights should be engaged with“
Where would the safe spaces be if predatory men were able to enter women’s spaces simply by asserting that they were women?Gale (op. cit.)
Banning trans women from women’s spaces on the basis that they might be predatory men would not actually stop predatory men. It would not stop them because when predatory men enter women’s spaces, they universally do so without asserting that they are women first (Barnett et al., 2018).
In a strange coincidence, however, such a ban would effectively keep trans women out of public life. I’m sure this was unintentional.
Similarly, some women questioned what the term ‘woman’ means if the Party’s policy position that ‘Trans Women are Women’ is given its literal meaning.Gale (op. cit.)
If trans women aren’t literally women, then what are they? Go on, Linda. Share with the class.
Women’s rights can conflict with those of men, including trans men, for example by excluding men from eligibility for certain spaces or opportunities.Gale (op. cit.)
Hang on a second. There are three propositions here and they can’t all be true. Linda asserts:
- that trans men are men (I agree!);
- that men and women have separate rights;
- that the scenario described represents a conflict of rights.
But, given that trans men are men, if rights are assigned based on whether one is a man or a woman, then no conflict of rights can exist — trans men, being men, don’t have a woman’s right to women’s “spaces and opportunities” in the first place.
The most obvious answer here is that Linda didn’t notice this because she was evaluating a version of the argument in which (i.e., she actually believes that) one of these assertions is not true. Which one Linda believes is not true (in this hypothetical scenario) is left as an exercise for the reader.
the right of trans people to have their gender identity accepted and affirmed in all circumstances can conflict with the right of women to discuss certain issues.Gale (op. cit.)
Yes, this is normal. Society and its institutions already limit “discuss[ion]” which interferes with the civil rights of others. I would be interested to know if Gale opposes all such limitations on discussion, or just this one.
This despite growing international evidence that ‘affirmation only’ is a problematic therapeutic approach.Gale (op. cit.)
One way it is problematic is that it can result in the under-diagnosis of, and failure to address, significant psychological factors leading to body dysmorphia.Gale (op. cit.)
Another is that it can encourage people down a medical pathway with irreversible consequencesGale (op. cit.)
This is just the argument of Bell’s Christian Right (Trans Safety Network, 2021) legal team in R (Bell) v Tavistock all over again. That’s been rebutted enough times, most notably by HM Court of Appeal in England overturning it. I’m not going to bother to rebut it again.
At the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service in the UK, this was referred to as ‘transing away the gay’”Gale (op. cit.)
Actually, the origin of the phrase “transing away the gay” is UK anti-trans astroturf group LGB Alliance in circa February 2022. The earliest mention of it I could find was from English poet Jay Hulme mentioning an email blast to Church of England clergy:
Dear, all the clergy following me — the organisation emailing you about “transing away the gay” is an anti trans hate group that is not representative of the Queer community and their ONLY concern is stopping trans people existing. Please ignore their nonsense.Hulme (2022)
The next item I found was September 2022 coverage of LGB Alliance in The Telegraph, a Press Holdings paper which is sympathetic to them, which repeatedly frames “transing away the gay” as a belief originating from and held by LGB Alliance and their representative Akua Reinsdorf:
LGB Alliance believes that treatment at the NHS’s Tavistock Clinic is “transing the gay away”. …
The consequence of “transing away the gay” at the NHS Tavistock is “possible sterilisation and loss of sexual function of a disproportionate number of lesbian children”, she said.Dixon (2022)
We are not presently able to deny LGB Alliance the ability to promote whichever narrative they wish. What Gale is doing here is attempting to extend them final authority on the objective facts.
even if the underlying reason for questioning their own gender identity is the challenge in coming to terms with same-sex attraction in a rampantly homophobic societyGale (op. cit.)
This doesn’t really make sense, since, as has been known for some time (e.g., LGBT Youth Scotland & Green Light, 2009, p. 37), cis people just assume trans people are some sort of Ultra Gay anyway.
Questioning of this policy amendment within the Greens … was shouted downGale (op. cit.)
I hope it will not be taken amiss if I point out that, yes, people will usually get sick of you repeatedly asking the same question because your prejudices didn’t agree with the actual answer.
or, as one local government representative did, making a low key Facebook post simply raising the concern that this might lead to unintended negative consequencesGale (op. cit.)
That’s not quite what Cr Rohan Leppert did, is it. In remarks he made on a public Facebook post (Moreton, 2022), Leppert
- argued against Victoria’s conversion therapy on the grounds that it “may have been constructed in a way that will result in an excessive diagnosis of gender dysphoria and prescription of puberty blockers, HRT and surgery”
- said that “Women are identifying out of lesbianism in significant numbers, while trans women are identifying in, and there are consequences for that”;
- framed “a transition pathway” as something you “escape”;
- defended “women who raise concerns” about the existence of trans lesbians as not being “hateful”.
Of course, it would not be to Gale’s political advantage to mention exactly what Leppert said, or indeed even mention his name — one doesn’t want to make it easy to verify or disprove one’s claims against sources if one knows one is lying — so it’s no surprise that she doesn’t.
Once again, it was said to be transphobic to ask questionsGale (op. cit.)
I am reminded of an excellent TikTok by Last Week Tonight writer Ryan Ken (2022):
Look: You cannot say that trans people are gross. Not anymore! But shouldn’t we be saying it? I dunno. I’m just asking questions. […] Just need to know what someone’s genitals look like so you know how to treat them! It’s not weird! You’re weird! … I’m just asking questions.Ken (op. cit.)
Instead of engaging with these concerns and allowing room for respectful discussion within the membership, the Greens have adopted a position of ‘no debate’Gale (op. cit.)
Even asking questions or raising concerns is described as ‘genocidal’Gale (op. cit.)
on the claimed basis that some trans people have suicidal ideation and that merely knowing that the Greens allowed such questions to be asked would lead to deaths.Gale (op. cit.)
It is described as ‘hate speech’ on the claimed basis that, because trans people are subject to discrimination and vilification in daily life, any discussion of any issue that touches on the position of trans people is inherently hateful.Gale (op. cit.)
Wow. Any discussion? At all? So do I understand correctly that the orthodoxy within the AGV is that it’s not okay to, e.g., speak out against conversion therapy, or support trans people interstate in their efforts to have surgery requirements for legal change of gender removed, or whatever, because it’s hateful? That would be very concerning if that were the case. I’m shocked I somehow haven’t heard about it.
Or is it actually the case that it’s only certain ways of discussing certain issues? Because that could be very different.
The science, we are told, is settled.Gale (op. cit.)
Objectively it is (Padula et al., 2015; Schmidt & Levine, 2015; Bar et al., 2016; Cardoso da Silva et al., 2016; Glynn et al., 2016; van de Grift et al., 2017; Bauer et al., 2021; What We Know Project, 2018; Coalition for the Advancement & Application of Psychological Science et al., n.d.; etc.).
The politics is settled.Gale (op. cit.)
Unlike the sciences being called upon here, politics isn’t a field of empirical investigation; it’s the interaction of different sets of subjective personal values. Politics can’t be “settled” any more than art or music. That having been said, it’s certainly true that the available data about the world define the range of stances that are progressive with respect to that world. If you want to position yourself against those stances and still be considered progressive, that honestly seems like a you problem.
Anyone who questions that is a dinosaurGale (op. cit.)
What does “dinosaur” connote here? It seems to me that it could connote one of two things: “age,” or “being ill-adapted to the conditions that currently exist”.
If people are attacking these “questions” with nothing more than “these views are old” and that was treated as legitimate critique, then, as someone whose decision to transition was clinched by the Gospel according to Matthew, I’d be very upset. Is that what’s happening?
Alternatively, if people were attacking these “questioning” views with “these views are ill-adapted to the existing conditions,” then … isn’t that actually fair enough? Or would you prefer a party that belonged in a museum?
a witting or unwitting agent of far-right extremistsGale (op. cit.)
The far-right extremists certainly consider the anti-trans activists, whatever their nominal political affiliation, to be their “witting or unwitting” agents, as the media statement by NSN leader Thomas Sewell makes clear:
Today in Melbourne, the National Socialist Network acted as a vanguard for a protest against the constant paedophilic agenda being forced upon our children and our people.Sewell, via Hiscox (2023)
Further, the perception that anti-trans activists have common purpose with Nazis is certainly shared and positively regarded by a number of nominally “non-Nazi” or “anti-Nazi” anti-trans activists, for example Angie Jones:
Nazis and women want to get rid of paedo filth. Why don’t you?Jones (2023)
So what ought we to believe?
The questions themselves are said to be ‘dog whistles’ for transphobia.Gale (op. cit.)
Someone who wasn’t dogwhistling transphobia would deny it and be offended by the very idea. Of course, someone who was dogwhistling transphobia would act the same way. It is therefore not really meaningful that Gale implicitly denies the questions are dogwhistles here — of course she does.
Where, then, do people go to discuss ideas?Gale (op. cit.)
The obvious answer here is that Gale seems to be having no trouble.
Perhaps the hope is that people will just shut up.Gale (op. cit.)
The hope is certainly that the the discussion will eventually subside. The hoped-for path to that point is that people will assess the actual solid, peer-reviewed evidence and ensure that they only make objections which are based on the evidence, as opposed to their current policy of making shit up.
Silence will be consent.Gale (op. cit.)
This is a pretty obvious attempt to associate trans allyship, advocacy, and indeed existence, with the pro-rape fascist position against the ethical and legal fact that sex requires affirmative consent (Pullar, 2022). Weren’t we just discussing dogwhistles a moment ago?
Instead, they will start having those conversations outside the Greens.Gale (op. cit.)
Good! Let them!
Not all of those spaces are confined to people of good will.Gale (op. cit.)
If Gale chooses people not “of good will” over trans “people of good will” because she would be obliged to show basic respect to the latter, that seems to me like her problem, not mine.
Not all of those spaces are particularly sensitive to the feelings of others.Gale (op. cit.)
Isn’t the whole point of this article that the level of politeness and sensitivity that Gale is expected to show to trans people in the AGV is too high? In that case, how is this a legitimate complaint? “Sensitivity for me, not for thee”?
Progressive people looked for space for respectful and sensitive discussion within the Greens, but were rebuffed.Gale (op. cit.)
The AGV State Council couldn’t pass a motion against transphobia the day after Nazis showed up to support transphobes on the steps of the Parliament of Victoria. I have a suspicion that Gale and friends will be fine (although see “P.S.,” below).
That doesn’t mean they abandon their politicGale (op. cit.)
No, it doesn’t, does it? I rather suspect that it means they simply keep having the politics they’ve always had.
nor that they fail to challenge the reactionary aspects of the views they encounterGale (op. cit.)
Absolutely true! They challenge them by standing — per one member of the Let Women Speak (LWS) contingent, Holly Lawford-Smith — “ten metres” (Lawford-Smith, 2023a) away from them and do nothing.
Nor do they embrace the views of religious fundamentalismGale (op. cit.)
This is absolutely extraordinary for two reasons. The first is that, as mentioned earlier, Gale’s canard about a “medical pathway” is identical in substantive content and a close paraphrase in wording to the argument made by the claimants’ legal team in R (Bell), who were literal, actual, credentialed, professional members of the institutional Christian far right (Trans Safety Network, op. cit.).
The second is that the following passage appears in Gale’s article:
The right of some trans women to unfettered access to women’s spaces can conflict with the right of some religiously observant women to not share intimate spaces (such as changing rooms) with those they consider to be male.Gale (op. cit., p. 3)
So Gale has literally just suggested that individual religious observance is valid grounds for secular authorities to restrict other, trans individuals’ civil rights, and now she says this. What exactly does she believe religious fundamentalism to be?
Nor do they embrace the views of social conservatismGale (op. cit.)
Then how is it that social conservatives have the same views (Laco, 2022; Martin & McGowan, 2022; Walker et al., 2022)?
Nor do they embrace the views of … the far rightGale (op. cit.)
Then how is it that the far right have the same views (Factora, 2021; Amery & Mondon, 2023; Karp, 2023)?
Oh wait, I get it — is this like: the views aren’t far-right unless the people who have them identify as such? What would you call that, some sort of … self-ID?
These are Greens members we are talking about: basically progressive people of conscience and good intention.Gale (op. cit.)
I am a former Queensland Greens member. I consider myself a basically progressive person of conscience and good intention. The thing is, the Greens didn’t make me that way; I joined the Greens because I was that way already. Unless the Party plans to subject its members to mandatory courses in ethics, party affiliation does not and cannot confer moral character.
On her Australian tour, she has associated with conservative MPs and firebrands, about as far from Greens-friendly as you can get.Gale (op. cit.)
I will certainly have to recalibrate some aspects of my leftism if it is to be understood that “firebrands” and “conservative MPs” are equallly “far from Greens-friendly”.
Nonetheless, she argues that all women should be allowed to speak, including women she doesn’t agree with on many issues.Gale (op. cit.)
Actually, Keen-Minshull is on record saying, “Each and every one of you women who stand in my way will be annihilated” (Chudy, 2023). Hope this helps.
The Party does not allow them any opportunity to speak about their genuine and deeply-held concerns,Gale (op. cit.)
I am reminded of this excellent contribution from Barry Deutsch (2019):
Seriously though, the Party clearly does allow such speech. The article itself is literally Gale engaging in such speech and, given that that speech is directed to an audience — per Green Ideas‘ landing page/login wall — of “members of The Australian Greens Victoria,” she clearly doesn’t believe the Party will impose consequences on her for it (although see “P.S.,” below).
What she is stating is the expectation that her speech will be prioritised — that even though these shapeless fears (I will charitably pretend that they are fears) can’t be shown to correspond to reality, they should still take priority over things which verifiably do.
so they take the opportunity presented by Keen. This is hardly surprising.Gale (op. cit.)
It’s actually very surprising to me. Keen-Minshull has suggested that men with guns should station themselves in women’s spaces on the pretext of “defending” those spaces from trans women (Milton, 2021). Wasn’t predatory men coming into women’s spaces for the purpose of hurting women supposed to be the kind of thing Gale, Keen-Minshull and their co-ideologists were against?
given the pluralist and inclusive nature of the formatGale (op. cit.)
Pluralist and inclusive how? Is this just in the sense that it included a grammatically plural number of speakers, i.e., greater than 1?
Nor … does taking that opportunity imply their personal endorsement either of Keen’s views or of the views of other speakers.Gale (op. cit.)
This is untrue. If you sign up to speak at an event you know to feature multiple speakers, you accept that any audience you attract to the event will see the others, too. You are stating that you consider it acceptable that your presence will attract people to see the other speakers. You are endorsing them.
My personal history includes having car tyres slashed and death threats made to my immediate family by Neo-Nazis.Gale (op .cit.)
Ideological alignment with fascism and individual or group enmity with specific fascists are compatible, as Ernst Röhm, Gregor Strasser, Ferdinand von Bredow, and a number of other individuals discovered on the Night of the Long Knives.
They have recently stepped up their public activities, including strategically confronting progressive groups in public demonstrations.Gale (op. cit.)
And yet when it came to the “feminist progressives” in the LWS contingent, the Nazis didn’t show up to confront them. In fact, they showed up as a “vanguard” to protect them (Hiscox, op. cit.). They did attack the Campaign Against Racism & Fascism (CARF)/Trans Queer Solidarity Naarm (TQS Naarm) contingent, though (Melbourne Activist Legal Support, 2023). Wonder why?
They have been emboldened by the way social media will spread their image and magnify their activities, making them look bigger and more impressive than they are.Gale (op. cit.)
One slight problem: the platform on which I wrote the original version of this piece, Twitter, was a decade and a half old (15 on the date of publication, 21 March, actually — feliz quinceañera, hellsite). If the proximate cause of this incident was social media, then why was the incident newsworthy? Shouldn’t we have seen a gradual building to this incident, and thus shouldn’t we have seen plenty of similar but smaller incidents before now?
Presumably, they intended to gain maximum publicity by inserting themselves into the mix.Gale (op. cit.)
We don’t have to “presume” their intentions; they stated them.
While we know fascists lie, we also know that they lie instrumentally to gain power and avoid punishment — the meaning captured by the colloquialism “hide your power level,” which is heavily embedded in the vocabulary of the alt-right (Know Your Meme, 2015/2019).
We also know that when fascists do lie, they often incorporate twisted, warped versions of the truth as essential elements. For example: During and after the First World War, the Ottoman Empire and its successor, the Republic of Turkey, carried out the Armenian genocide, the systematic obliteration of the Armenian people, including the outright murder of circa 1 million Armenians.
The international academic consensus is now that the Armenian genocide took place (Suny, 2009; Smith, 2015; Kasbarian, 2016; etc.), but only a minority of sovereign states have acknowledged it, owing to concerns about their relations with the Republic of Turkey (Öktem, 2011). However, Hitler as German chancellor referred accurately to the Armenian genocide as fact in his Obersalzberg speech of 22 August 1939 — and framed it as a positive precedent for his program of, in his words, unbarmherzig und mitleidslos Mann, Weib und Kind polnischer Abstammung und Sprache in den Tod zu schicken — “send[ing] to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language” (Lochner, 1942, p. 12).
Whether fascists outright lie and fabricate, or selectively tell and twist the truth, is a matter of political convenience. It is necessary to assess fascist claims of fact against the current and historical consensus reality compiled by actually reliable and good-faith witnesses. In this case, the claim by the National Socialist Network (NSN) regarding their motives for showing up to the Melbourne protest is consistent with core fascist ideology and the historically attested actions of the Nazi Party (Cohen, 2018; Joaquina, 2022; Jordans, 2023) and other fascist groups (Megaloudi, 2013; Rouner, 2021; Deutschen Presse-Agentur, 2022) worldwide.
There is no evidence-based reason to suggest that the Nazis claiming to be transphobic, which is usual and normal for Nazis, are lying. Certainly they probably intended to get publicity, which they did, but suggesting their sole motive was publicity is an obvious desperate attempt by Gale to extract herself from the essential problem that Nazis approve of, agree with, and materially support her ideas.
I have seen Twitter and Facebook posts decrying the Let Women Speak event for ‘standing with Nazis’Gale (op. cit.)
They literally did.
being ‘on the side of Nazis’Gale (op. cit.)
and being ‘protected by’ Nazis.Gale (op. cit.)
Our Greens parliamentary leaders have described the women protesting as dangerous and linked to the NazisGale (op. cit.)
Given the wording, this is likely referring specifically to a statement by one specific Greens parliamentary leader, Samantha Ratnam MLC, leader of the AGV in the Parliament of Victoria:
To see neo nazis join the anti-trans rights hate rally at Parliament in Victoria today tells us everything about these movements.
They are dangerous and they are linked to each other.
Both are intolerant and hateful and have no place here.Ratnam (2023), emphasis mine
Of course, Gale’s position here would be slightly more defensible if not for Jones (2023). Angie really let the cat out of the bag on that one.
This has been echoed by the other parties … there has been a lazy and unjustified vilification of womenGale (op. cit.)
Gale suggests here that the other parties “echoed” Ratnam’s statement (Ratnam, op. cit.), i.e., that the other parties voiced similar sentiments because Ratnam voiced them first, and therefore it’s Ratnam’s “fault”. From available evidence the pretext for doing this appears to be that Ratnam’s Tweet was the first major party statement to be published, on 18 March at 17:15 AEDT (16:15 AEST).
Suggesting that the other parties are taking their discursive cues from the AGV implies a power relationship between the media, the other parties, and the AGV (a party with 4 of 40 seats in the Legislative Council and 4 of 88 in the Legislative Assembly) that does not exist. As someone who has previously acted (albeit illegitimately) as AGV Convenor and appears to serve as an eminence grise donor for Rohan Leppert and possibly other politicians aligned with her views, Gale would be among the best placed people to know this in the whole AGV. It is therefore not plausible that she doesn’t in fact know it.
In reality, plenty of other, non-party sources with greater media influence made the link, including an Australian Associated Press wire piece by Tara Cosoleto carried by multiple outlets owned by Australian Community Media, McPherson Media Group, and Seven West Media (Cosoleto, 2023a, 2023b, 2023c & 2023d; AAP Newswire, 2023a & 2023b; etc.), published at 5:25 pm, preceding Labor’s statement linking the two (Andrews, 2023),1 as well as a News Corp Australia (NCA) NewsWire piece published by multiple NCA outlets on 19 March starting at 3:51 pm AEST (Anderson & Brennan, 2023a & 2023b; etc.).
They made the link because it was extremely obviously there to make. Unless Gale is suggesting that the AGV and the Australian mass media are in cahoots — a proposition whose probability Gale should have a fairly good idea of — Ratnam cannot be blamed (at least, not without intentionally lying) for simply acknowledging what everybody could clearly see.
… a lazy and unjustified vilification of women protesting for women’s rights as being themselves Nazis, Nazi allies and Nazi enablers.Gale (op. cit.)
Enabling is “seeking to avoid confrontation and conflict by absorbing … abuse without challenging it or setting boundaries” (Davis, 2019). If a group of people is standing “ten metres” (Lawford-Smith, 2023a) away from the Nazis, not visibly objecting to their presence, not moving away, and later explicitly agreeing with them on certain points (Jones, op. cit.), is that enabling? Or is it outright intentional collaboration? Those are the options.
now all major parties, including the Greens, are declaring them to have broad community supportGale (op. cit.)
I could not find any statement from any major party federal or Victorian state leader (or any other state leader, for that matter) declaring this or anything similar to it.
asserting that they are supported by and linked to the women present on the same day who were speaking about women’s rightsGale (op. cit.)
If this is meant to support the clause in #51, which immediately precedes it, then it does a very poor job. To the best of my ability to determine, no party has asserted that Nazis have “broad community support”. What those parties who have mentioned the link have asserted is that Nazis have support from a small segment of the community on the basis of views they have in common. Gale appears to have taken exception to this primarily because that segment includes her.
The “broad community support” contention may be a reflexive ad lib — it isn’t unusual for comfortable members of the Australian professional managerial class to assume that of course everyone shares their views. What Gale should take away from the fact that the only “everyone” who shares her views are the National Socialist Network is, of course, not for me to determine.
The opportunist effort of the trans lobbyGale (op. cit.)
This is a pretty common trick, of the same variety as calling any trans person who doesn’t enjoy being the target of transphobia a “trans rights activist” (TRA).
In this case, Gale is framing literally any mobilised trans people as the “trans lobby” likely for the same reason her ideological ally Michael Bachelard would do the same in The Age a couple of days later2 — to suggest wealthy hired guns of no fixed principles with privileged access and power, making marginalised trans people into the corrupt status quo institutionalists, and their opponents (the LWS contingent, and, covertly, the NSN contingent) into the plucky underdogs.
Of course, using the word “lobby” to describe the demographic who object to you because you want to squash them also serves another purpose — it reframes them as a political faction, which means your visceral antipathy toward them is no longer bigotry, but a principled, reasonable, legitimate form of politics.
concerned feministsGale (op. cit.)
You know those women are not Nazis.Gale (op. cit.)
Do I? I know that even aside from the NSN contingent, the LWS audience included, for example, Felicity Sharpe (Alternate Media Watchers, 2023), self-professed fascist and open neo-Nazi (Fleming, 2015). I know that Gale was spruiking the politically “pluralist and inclusive” format of the LWS event as a key strength only a moment ago (#39).
If I am to believe Gale’s own words, the fact that the rally included people of every political persuasion — which would include Nazis — is a core part of the appeal.
You know they hate Nazis.Gale (op. cit.)
They don’t quite hate them enough to move more than “ten metres” (Lawford-Smith, 2023a) away from them.
You know they are arguing for ideas Nazis hate.Gale (op. cit.)
And yet despite this fact, the rally attendees “were safe … the threat to our physical safety was from the trans activists” (Lawford-Smith, 2023b). This is odd given that Nazis’ response to ideas they hate is typically to attempt to maim or kill the people expressing them.
It could be argued that the neo-Nazis weren’t free to engage in violence because of the presence of Victoria Police — which is dubious at best, as the legal observers’ report (Melbourne Activist Legal Support, op. cit.) indicates — but they still chose to engage in “highly distressing, provocative, prejudice-motivated behaviors and messaging” toward the CARF/TQS Naarm contingent (ibid.). I could not find any record that they paid the LWS/NSN contingent any negative attention at all.
Nazis respond to ideas they hate with murder. What is it that Gale believes made her and her friends’ idea different?
You might not agree with those women, but you know they are not standing with Nazis.Gale (op. cit.)
First, they were quite literally standing with Nazis (#45).
Second, I’ve had this kind of repetitive, rhythmic verbal beating over the head before — it’s a pretty common feature of seething, desperate attempts at gaslighting (Hanlon, 2023) — and the thing is, no matter how many times Gale says “you know …,” it’s not actually possible to make people “know” things that aren’t true.
They are standing with women, for women, and the fact that some thugs playing at being Nazis turned up and tried to hijack their event doesn’t change that fact.Gale (op. cit.)
First, interesting choice by Gale to downplay the Nazis by calling them “thugs playing at being Nazis”. In part, her decision to distinguish “thugs” and “Nazis” suggests she sees them as separate groups. In part, the words “playing at” suggests she sees the “real” Nazis — the National-Socialist German Worker’s Party and so on — as the more prestigious of the two. Personally I try not to afford Nazis any prestige at all, but I can’t do anything about whatever beliefs Gale might have.
Secondly, you can make “standing with women, for women” and palling around with Nazis perfectly compatible if only you define “women” and “standing for” in just the right way.
Annette Kuhn points out “that in 1933 the majority of the female population showed no resistance to the Nazi takeover of power” (daß es 1933 von Seiten der Mehrzahl der weiblichen Bevölkerung keinen Widerstand gegenüber der NS-Machtübernahme gegeben hat; Kuhn, 1993, p. 5). This was effected because, with “the willingness to cooperate … highlighted by the leaders of the middle-class women’s movement” (die Kooperationsbereitschaft mit dem NS-Staat von den Führerinnen der bürgerlichen Frauenbewegung hervorgehoben; ibid., p. 6), the Nazis were able to redefine “women” as “the non-persecuted, German, ‘Aryan’ women who did not place themselves in recognisable opposition to the unreasonable demands of the NS [National-Socialist] system” (die nicht-verfolgten, deutschen, ‘arischen’ Frauen, die sich in keinen erkennbaren Gegensatz zu den Zumutungen des NS-Systems brachen; ibid., p. 4).
And after all, all they were really asking for was the preservation of spaces for the dominant group of women — and it only meant that it was necessary, for example, that “the meetings of individual traditional women’s associations opened with the words: ‘Now we ask the Jewish members to leave the premises’” (die Sitzungen einzelner traditioneller Frauenvereine mit dem Worten eröffnet: “Nun bitten wir die jüdischen Mitgleider das Lokal zu verlassen”; ibid., p. 6). Such a small thing — and so charmingly and politely asked (!)
And after all — as we know courtesy of Eva Sternheim-Peters, psychologist and repentant member, as a child, of the NS-Frauenschaft, the women’s wing of the Nazi Party — it was possible to have “experienced the Nazi years as a youth revolution — and female liberation” (erlebt die Nazijahre als Revolution der Jugend — und weiblichen Befreiung; Hasel, 2015).
Nazi women were “standing with women, for women,” and Gale’s enraged desperation to erase the fact that the Nazis of today agree wholeheartedly with her movement’s ideology — and that, as vision from the rally shows, the feeling is clearly mutual — doesn’t change that fact.
But the public response of the party and the trans lobby actively enables and emboldens the Neo-Nazis. … It rewards them … It encourages them …Gale (op. cit.)
The standard TERF routine (Faolain, 2021): DARVO — deny, attack, reverse victim and offender (Scott, 2020). Every time. It’s not me doing it that made it happen, it’s the fact that you pointed out that I did it! That means that actually you did it!
Neo-Nazis are abhorrent and should be treated with the contempt they deserveGale (op. cit.)
Presumably by standing quietly “ten metres” (Lawford-Smith, 2023a) away from them while your mates pat them on the back.
the Greens should not elevate them in the way that it isGale (op. cit.)
Women who are concerned with women’s rights should be engaged with and listened toGale (op. cit.)
They were! It just happens that the group of women who are in fact concerned with women’s rights didn’t include any of Gale’s mates, or, for that matter, Gale herself.
The Australian Greens Victoria By-laws in the version current at 18 August 2022 include the following provisions:
s 3(b) — A member must not bring, or seriously risk bringing the AGV into disrepute in a manner contrary to the charter of the AGV;
s 3(j) — A member must not make an intentionally misleading or deceptive, or recklessly false and damaging, statement about another member, a volunteer, or the AGV, its policies or its decision;The Australian Greens Victoria (2022, p. 4)
Gale’s choice to describe the Party as “actively enabl[ing] and embolden[ing] the neo-Nazis” is a pretty obvious and glaring breach of both provisions.
In the original publication of this piece, the passage following here was an attack on the AGV for taking no action. However, earlier today, 25 March, the AGV released a statement, Victorian Greens condemn anti-trans and Nazi rally. The statement calls out Gale by name and details a number of actions the AGV says it is taking, which should all have been completed by the end of June 2023. Should circumstances change significantly I will come back and amend this piece to reflect.
1 — The Victorian Liberals’ statement (Southwick & Battin, 2023) mentions the Nazis, but carefully avoids linking them to the LWS contingent or, indeed, mentioning the LWS contingent at all.
2 — This is in reference to another Several Problems piece which has been published to Twitter but not here yet. This footnote will be removed when it is.
As usual, if you got any use out of this article, please consider helping me eat by donating to my Ko-fi or joining my Patreon.
AAP Newswire (2023a, March 18). Protesters clash in Melbourne over transgender rights. Country News. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
AAP Newswire (2023b, March 18). Protesters clash in Melbourne over transgender rights. Shepparton News. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Alternate Media Watchers [@altmediawatch] (2023, March 21). Hey mate, just some advice when you cut to a clip of the women while trying to distance them from … [Tweet] (archived 25 March 2023). Twitter. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Amery, F., & Mondon, A. (2023, March 13). How transphobic moral panics fuel authoritarian politics. Jacobin. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Anderson, A., & Brennan, A. (2023a, March 19). ‘Not welcome’: Dan Andrews slams neo-Nazi protesters after violent Melbourne clash. The Australian. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Anderson, A., & Brennan, A. (2023b, March 19). ‘Not welcome’: Dan Andrews slams neo-Nazi protesters after violent Melbourne clash. news.com.au. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Andrews, D.M. [@DanielAndrewsMP] (2023, March 19). I won’t share a photo because they simply don’t deserve the attention. But yesterday, anti-trans activists gathered to spread hate. … [Tweet] (archived 19 March 2023). Twitter. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
The Australian Greens Victoria (2022, August 18). Australian Greens Victoria by-laws. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Bar, M.A., Jarus, T., Wada, M., Rechtman, L., & Noy, E. (2016, February 22). Male-to-female transitions: Implications for occupational performance, health, and life satisfaction / Les transitions homme-femme : Conséquences en matière de rendement occupationnel, de santé et de satisfaction face à la vie. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 83(2), 72–82. doi:10.1177/0008417416635346. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Barnett, B.S., Nesbit, A.E., & Sorrentino, R.M. (2018, June). The transgender bathroom debate at the intersection of politics, law, ethics, and science. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, 46(2), 232–241. doi:10.29158/JAAPL.003761-18. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Bauer, G.R., Lawson, M.L., & Metzger, D.L. (2021, November 15). Do clinical data from transgender adolescents support the phenomenon of “rapid onset gender dysphoria”?. The Journal of Pediatrics, 243, 224–227.E2. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2021.11.020. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Bell v Tavistock  EWCA Civ 1363, .
R (Bell) v Tavistock  EWHC 3274 (Admin), , , .
Cardoso da Silva, D., Schwarz, K., Fontanari, A.M.V., Costa, A.B., Massuda, R., … & Rodrigues Lobato, M.I. (2016, June). WHOQOL-100 before and after sex reassignment surgery in Brazilian male-to-female transsexual individuals. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 13(6), 988–993. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.03.370. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Chudy, E. (2023, February 4). Anti-trans activist Posie Parker says women who stand in her way will be ‘annihilated’. PinkNews. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Coalition for the Advancement & Application of Psychological Science (n.d.). CAAPS position statement on rapid onset gender dysphoria. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Cohen, J.A. (2018, December 19). The eradication of “Talmudic abstractions”: Antisemitism, transmisogyny, and the National Socialist project. Verso. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Cosoleto, T. (2023a, March 18). Protesters clash in Melbourne over transgender rights. The Canberra Times. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Cosoleto, T. (2023b, March 18). Protesters clash in Melbourne over transgender rights. The Daily Advertiser. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Cosoleto, T. (2023c, March 18). Protesters clash in Melbourne over transgender rights. PerthNow. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Cosoleto, T. (2023d, March 18). Protesters clash in Melbourne over transgender rights. The West Australian. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Davis, S. (2019, September 9). Glossary of terms for complex PTSD (CPTSD). CPTSD Foundation. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Deutsch, B. (2019, November 29). Silenced!. The Nib. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Deutschen Presse-Agentur (2022, February 17). Beatrix von Storch empört mit Aussagen über Transgender. Zeit Online. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Dixon, H. (2022, September 12). Tavistock clinic ‘putting young gay people at risk by treating them as trans’ (archived 12 September 2022). The Telegraph. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Factora, J. (2021, October 25). Judith Butler correctly says TERFs are fascists, angering TERFs. Them. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Faolain, C. (2021, July 23). The DARVO of TERFism. tranosaurus.net. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Fleming, A. (2015, June 22). Felicity Sharpe, neo-Nazism, United Patriots Front … and xyz.net.au. slackbastard. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Gale, L. (2023, March 21). A short history of Nazi enabling in the Party (archived 21 March 2023). Green Ideas. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Glynn, T.R., Gamarel, K.E., Kahler, C.W., Iwamoto, M., Operario, D., & Nemoto, T. (2016). The role of gender affirmation in psychological well-being among transgender women. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 3(3), 366–344. doi:10.1037/sgd0000171. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Hanlon, R. (2023, February 7). 35 common gaslighting phrases in relationships and how to respond, according to therapists. Parade. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Hasel, V.F. (2015, April 30). Eva Sternheim-Peters über die Nazizeit: “Ich bin nicht mitgelaufen, ich bin begeistert mitgestürmt”. Tagesspiegel. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Hiscox, D. (2023, March 18). Australia says no to groomers. XYZ (via Archive Today). Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Hulme, J. [@JayHulmePoet] (2022, February 8). Dear, all the clergy following me — the organisation emailing you about “transing away the gay” is an anti trans hate … [Tweet] (archived 24 March 2023). Twitter. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Joaquina (2022, September 19). Analysis: Transphobic social terror and its Nazi origins. Trans Safety Network. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Jones, A. [@angijones] (2023, March 18). Nazis and women want to get rid of paedo filth. Why don’t you? [Tweet] (archived 18 March 2023). Twitter. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Jordans, F. (2023, January 28). Germany recalls overlooked LGBT victims of Nazi persecution. AP News. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Karp, P. (2023, March 23). Senator Lidia Thorpe knocked to ground in struggle with police at anti-trans rally in Canberra. Guardian Australia. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Kasbarian, S. (2016, October 4). One hundred years later: the personal, the political, and the historical in four new books on the Armenian Genocide. Caucasus Survey, 4(1), 92–104. doi:10.1080/23761199.2015.1129787. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Ken, R. [@ryan_ken_acts] (2022, December 6). The New York Times covering trans issues (parody) . TikTok. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Know Your Meme (2019, September 3). Hide your power level. (Original work published 23 May 2015.) Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Kuhn, A. (1993). Die Täterschaft deutscher Frauen in NS-System — Traditionen, Dimensionen, Wandlungen. Polis, 7, 2–19. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Laco, K. (2022, May 19). Republicans introduce ‘Women’s Bill of Rights’ to protect accomplishments, ensure safety of biological females. Fox News Digital. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Lawford-Smith, H. [@aytchellesse] (2023a, March 19). you’re trading on an ambiguity in “stand with”. we were standing about ten metres away, having a separate event. [Tweet] (archived 25 March 2023). Twitter. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Lawford-Smith, H. [@aytchellesse] (2023b, March 19). we were safe though. that’s the point. the threat to our physical safety was from the trans activists. the police … [Tweet] (archived 25 March 2023). Twitter. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Lenton, P. [@PatrickLenton] (2023, March 19). I’d say the police created the dividing line of “distance” here: one side terfs and Nazis, the other side the … [Tweet] (archived 25 March 2023). Twitter. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Leveille, L. (2021, September 26). When ex-trans worlds collide. Health Liberation Now!. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
LGBT Youth Scotland & Green Light (2009). Coming out: A coming out guide for trans young people. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Lochner, L.P. (1942). What about Germany?. Dodd, Mead & Company.
Martin, S., & McGowan, M. (2022, April 19). Katherine Deves claims key role in controversial bill to ban trans women from women’s sport. Guardian Australia. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Megaloudi, F. (2013, January 25). Gay people living in fear in Greece. HuffPost. (Original article published 25 November 2012.) Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Melbourne Activist Legal Support (2023, March 20). Statement of concern: Policing of opposing anti-trans & trans rights rallies. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Milton, J. (2021, January 30). ‘Gender critical feminist’ Posie Parker wants men with guns to start using women’s toilets. PinkNews. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Moreton, I.C.B. [@epistemophagy] (2022, April 2). “Greens councillor Rohan Leppert’s comments on gay-conversion therapy laws,” referenced in talking point 1, are available here. To ensure access, … [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Öktem, E. (2011). Turkey: Successor or continuing state of the Ottoman Empire?. Leiden Journal of International Law, 24(3), 561–583. doi:10.1017/S0922156511000252. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Padula, W.V., Heru, S., & Campbell, J.D. (2015, October 19). Societal implications of health insurance coverage for medically necessary services in the U.S. transgender population: A cost-effectiveness analysis. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 31, 394–401. doi:10.1007/s11606-015-3529-6. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Pullar, J. (2022, September 1). A guide to the new affirmative consent laws in Australia. Elle Australia. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Ratnam, S.S. [@SamanthaRatnam] (2023, March 18). To see neo nazis join the anti-trans rights hate rally at Parliament in Victoria today tells us everything about these … [Tweet] (archived 25 March 2023). Twitter. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Rouner, J. (2021, September 20). Opinion: The time-tested practice of using transphobia to seize power. Houston Press. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Schmidt, L., & Levine, R. (2015, December). Psychological outcomes and reproductive issues among gender dysphoric individuals. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America, 44(4), 773–785. doi:10.1016/j.ecl.2015.08.001. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Scott, E. (2020, June 13). A guide to DARVO, the gaslighting response people give when they’re called out for bad behaviour. Metro. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Smith, R.W. (2015, Spring). Introduction: The Ottoman genocides of Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks. Genocide Studies International, 9(1), 1–9. doi:10.3138/gsi.9.1.01. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Southwick, D., & Battin, B. (2023, March 18). Joint statement on neo-Nazi incident. Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division). Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Suny, R.G. (2009, October). Truth in telling: Reconciling realities in the genocide of the Ottoman Armenians. The American Historical Review, 114(4), 930–946. doi:10.1086/ahr.114.4.930. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
Trans Safety Network (2021, January 16). Religious right linked law firm receives £314k from “gender critical” causes. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
van de Grift, T.C., Elaut, E., Cerwenka, S.C., Cohen-Kettenis, P.T., & Kreukels, B.P.C. (2017, June 12). Surgical satisfaction, quality of life, and their association after gender-affirming surgery: A follow-up study. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 44(2), 138–148. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2017.1326190. Retrieved 24 March 2023.
Walker, P., Stacey, K., & Brooks, L. (2022, December 24). Rishi Sunak confirms UK could block Scotland’s gender recognition bill. The Guardian. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
What We Know Project (2018). What does the scholarly research say about the effect of gender transition on transgender well-being?. Cornell University. Retrieved 24 March 2023.