What Renee Gerlich and Lauren Southern have in common

Full disclosure: This year I asked New Zealand feminist and activist Renee Gerlich for permission to republish an article from her blog Writing by Renee. She said no. Actually, to be precise she said “hell no” and made it clear that she thinks that our editor  “is the devil.”


Renee Gerlich                                                                                       Lauren Southern

Renee Gerlich is at war at the moment. She is ideologically on the left but she has fallen out with politically correct feminist activists like list MP and Green co-leader Marama Davidson. The issue that has put Renee at odds with the sisterhood is transgenderism. Renee writes…

it is fast becoming blasphemous for a woman such as myself to even infer a connection between ‘femaleness’ and ‘sex,’ since trans activists now insist that femaleness must be viewed as an internal ‘essence,’ not a biological fact. end quote.

On this issue, Renee has the support of we ‘old fashioned’ feminists on the right but has been shunned and attacked by third wave feminists on the left.

So what does left-wing Kiwi activist and writer Renne Gerlich have in common with right-wing activist and journalist Lauren Southern?

In a nutshell…

  • Both are up against left-wing groups who want to silence them because they disagree with their message.
  • Both have had a harmless message labelled ‘ hate speech’

Lauren Southern wore a T-shirt with the harmless message ‘It is okay to be white.’ The message did not attack any identity or minority group of people it simply said that there was nothing wrong with being born with white skin. This is a harmless message that hurts no one and that is a very gentle, tongue in cheek pushback against all the anti-white rhetoric that is in the world today. Despite that, the left lost their collective minds over the message and incomprehensively labelled it both racist and hate speech.

Lauren Southern wearing an It’s okay to be white t-shirt

Renee Gerlich, on the other hand, created a series of posters to commemorate 125 years of Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand this year and was astounded by the reaction to her harmless messages.

Not only were Renee’s posters ripped down, but the company she had paid to make them and put them up refused her business when she put in her second order. She was accused of being transphobic.

Renee in her article on Quillette explains what happened. quote.

It is not so much the cause of feminism to provide a shining walkway for a female leader, as… to arrive at a governance that takes issues that affect women seriously.

Rae Story

In the quote above, writer and activist Rae Story offers a stark warning of the dangers of tokenism and co-optation in an era where ‘feminism’ has been commercialised and enmeshed with many a politician’s personal brand. Story’s statement also functions as a timely reminder of the suffragists’ objective: governance that takes women’s issues seriously. This is why I included the quote in a recent poster campaign I started in Wellington, New Zealand as a way to be heard in the current climate that has become increasingly hostile and repressive towards women’s views.

I created three posters: one featured Story, another featured Iranian activist Masih Alinejad stating, “In all religions and in all societies, first they come for the women.” A third featured local feminist Chelsea Geddes asking, “If you think women are wrong, how do you know the only way to win the argument is to silence them?”

Ironically, publishing these quotes about silencing women would lead me to once again be blacklisted for promoting women’s issues. I had hired Phantom Billstickers, a nationwide postering company, to display the posters through the streets of Wellington and for two weeks I happily spotted them on pillars and buildings around the city. This month marks 125 years since women won the vote in New Zealand, so to simultaneously promote current women’s issues and pay tribute to this important anniversary, I sent them another set of homemade posters specifically commemorating women’s suffrage.

Rather than accepting my order as normal, the postering company phoned to interrogate me about what sort of dangerous figure I was, why my posters had been torn and if I could explain my politics to them in light of the complaints they received alleging that I was transphobic. They told me they were nervous about taking my order and in the end, refused to handle it.

One of the posters in a series put up by Renee

[…] Trans activist organisations InsideOut and RainbowYouth […] claimed that my posters communicated “a subtle transphobia.” This ‘transphobia’ was found in the slogan “The suffragists fought for the female sex.” To be absolutely clear here the words they found objectionable, and which led a company to blacklist me, were “the female sex.”

In today’s repressive climate,  it is fast becoming blasphemous for a woman such as myself to even infer a connection between ‘femaleness’ and ‘sex,’ since trans activists now insist that femaleness must be viewed as an internal ‘essence,’ not a biological fact. […]

The response to my posters shows that the phrase ‘female sex’ is on its way to being classified as ‘hate speech.’ Indeed, when prime minister Jacinda Ardern recently gave birth, liberal commentators like Robbie Nicol boasted their refusal to acknowledge the baby’s sex or even that she has one, to signal their approval of these “progressive” trends.

Back in July, I also appeared in a television Q&A segment just long enough to state: “The suffragists fought for the vote so that women could make political demands that pertain to our sex. We can’t do that if the definition of what a woman is, is fundamentally changed.” end quote.

As a result of Renee’s statement, New Zealand’s National Council for Women contradicted her claim that the suffragists fought for women as a ‘sex.’

In the same week that Renee’s posters were refused the Lesbian Rights Alliance Aotearoa (LRAA) was formally established. Their first press release challenged government proposals to implement one-step sex-self identification in New Zealand, which would allow men to change their sex on their birth certificates which are supposed to be factual documents.quote.

The coverage of my poster fiasco and the announcement of a lesbian collective with clearly stated goals of advocating for women’s rights proved too much feminist action for a New Zealand week, so government representatives weighed in […] Labour MP Louisa Wall issued a direct statement in response to the formation of the LRAA, in which she called the organization “ugly and intolerable.” Then Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson wrote on Twitter “Trans women are women. The men who are threats to women’s spaces, are men. Trans women who are so acutely oppressed, marginalised and dehumanised—are my sisters. Not my enemies.”

It is cringingly clear that these statements, like the rewriting of suffrage history, are nothing but concessions of a weak position that furthermore undermine each leader’s claims to respect minority groups. However, we all know too that it is possible even for a minority of one to wield power simply by speaking the truth. Indeed I can think of no other reason why government representatives would target a newly formed lesbian collective, unless that lesbian collective had truth on its side.[…]

For my own part, the backlash I have endured comes after a mere three years of activism, but in that time I’ve been the target of an online bullying pact that helped drive me out of my job and city; I’ve been banned from a zine fair, had articles surreptitiously censored, an interview ‘lost,’ had a radio presenter who scheduled me for an interview receive a warning from his station manager for doing so, and of course I’ve had my posters ripped down and been told by a poster company that they cannot accept my latest work commemorating suffragists.

Even blogger Martyn Bradbury has noted, “The way Woke Twitter hate Renee Gerlich is something to behold—I’ve never seen such hatred from any other faction in politics.”[…]

If holding “transgender exclusionary beliefs” means I don’t accept that a man in a dress with a penis is a woman, then I guess I’m that new 4-letter acronym I just learned the other day. The world’s gone […] mad. end quote.

I have to agree with Renee that the world has indeed gone mad. Even Whaleoil’s editor AKA ‘the devil’ agrees.

 


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