Intent to Oppress

The following rolled into my inbox today. It was written in response to my essay The Letter, which told the story of a letter which I and Jamison Green sent to Francis & Taylor Publishers, which will soon be publishing a book on transgender by separatist feminist Sheila Jeffreys.

The anonymous author declares war on me and for that matter on all transpeople. He or she and his or her six compatriots will raise an army of graduate students who will opress me and others like me and render us impotent and invisible– in the name of academic freedom. It’s a peculiarly-worded and most impolite declaration of war based upon an irrational philosophy of who I and others like me are. Happily, he or she is not the arbiter of who I am. I get to say who I am.

The Letter appeared first here in Chrysalis on 22 July, 2012 and was published on TG Forum the following day. It was reposted last week on the TransAdvocate website.

Source: Dallas Denny. (2012, 22 July). The letter. Published on Chrysalis Quarterly, and 23 July 2012 on the TG Forum website. Read the Chrysalis version here and the TG Forum version here.  Reposted 20 July, 2013 on the TransAdvocate website (read here)

Subject: Letter
To: [Dallas Denny]


I am writing to let you know that we were all sent a copy of your recent letter to Rutledge Press in reference to Sheila Jeffreys’ forthcoming book, Gender Hurts, and have organized a small but growing group to address the issue. We realize a corrective is urgently needed. We have held preliminary discussions to ensure that as academic women we will confront the questions beginning in the fall semester 2013 and again in the spring semester 2014. Currently, we are in the planning stage of developing correctives that both counter and point up the dangers revealed in the letter to Rutledge Press. In order to highlight the numerous incidents designed to deny women and feminists the right to express critical theories we decided it best to focus on Ms. Jeffreys’ theories specifically.  Her analysis will then serve equally as a touchstone for discussions, and as a frame for historical and political trends.

In researching this situation we have found a deeply disturbing pattern of lies and manipulations coupled with threats and other unsavory tactics, all of which are documented, some even on video. As academics, as researchers and as writers we assert that this tyranny carries us right back to McCarthyism. The letter, a prodigious example of arrogance and bullshit sounded a warning and rallied us from across the curriculum. We recognize the telltale signs of a dangerous movement that feigns legitimacy in postmodern pseudoscience and meaningless jargon—, you catchin’ my cis drift? 

We will continue to coordinate our efforts so that our classrooms will be at the forefront of questioning transgender as a valid political movement—or perhaps that is just a veil for a misogynist hate group.  We will take a holistic approach and posit the distinct possibility of a fatuous diagnosis designed to camouflage less sympathetic and socially accepted issues. Students after they sift through the death and rape threats sent by Transgender “activist” to women and feminists will understand why the syllabi are not posted on-line or on the blackboard, and our decision to procure texts from other than usual sources will make clear sense to them. Such measures are also taken to ensure that we are not personally harassed, threatened or slandered. Needless distractions make it difficult to serve our students, write our research, and apply for grants.

Ideologically, as educators and women, some feminist, others not, we see the classroom as an open space designed for the investigation of controversial ideas and a forum to embrace our commitment equally to academic freedom, women’s rights and free expression.  Our students deserve no less from us. These freedoms that we exercise (even if it really pisses you off) are above all sacred. But so too is teaching, and helping students to make sense of what is going on in the world. We highly doubt any student is so profoundly unsophisticated or uncritical as to accept the canard of hate speech that you attempt to make.  Students know bullshit when it presented. These undergraduates will arrive at more honest and apt conclusions simply by drawing facts into the conversation. In other words you do not get an opportunity to lie like a rug on our watch. We will dismantle the basic claim of “transgender” oppression. Once exposed the list of fraudulent claims that follow falls apart.

The questions students will invariably ask is: why? Why the distinctly male rage? Why the threats and why the attempts to silence women and other academics?  In order to illuminate these questions we will turn attentions toward Michael Bailey’s The Man That Would Be Queen and Dr. Anne Lawrence’s notions on transgender narcissistic rage, as both may serve to posit alternate theories of equal merit that students can understand. An added dimension will be the story behind the entire attempt to silence, harass, menace and threaten Dr. Bailey and then level threats against his children and post their pictures on the internet. Perhaps finally, a critical analysis will reveal not a new civil rights cause but a movement that has unhinged itself from the conventional expected social mores of honesty and integrity so completely as to now only be read as anti-social and unscrupulous—and a danger to women and not above threatening children. We will keep questioning, what would cause this particular pathological compulsive behavior?  Bailey alongside Jeffreys may offer up theories that undergraduate students can make sense of.

In the classroom the first order of the day will confront the ever ubiquitous over used manipulative claim of “transphobia”—which sounds hollow when students see that the primary victims are natal women who happen to hold opinions and write things that you and others do not happen to like. Again we will address, why? The claim of transphobia, once undressed and parsed is revealed as a bullying and shaming tactic used specifically against natal women. A point-by-point analysis of all the false analogies will speak to the ever-worsening manipulations of a misogynistic movement.  The classroom will be a platform to pursue truth, and students will have opportunities to check facts and question the use of statistics and finally realize that movements lie and some are bigger bullshit masters than others.

Be cognizant that any reasonable undergraduates will question a movement that lies and plays fast and loose sans accepted ethical considerations. As educators, researchers, and theorists we value critical thinking and cherish the opportunity to enable our students to ask hard questions even when those questions risk making people uncomfortable. That’s called education. It will not go over students’ heads that certain forms of contemporary thought push toward Orwellian conformity and can be understood best as tools of the privileged, by which they manipulate the uninformed into imagining the victimizer is the victim.  Even the least critical undergrad will have at least one “ah ha” moment and that’s what education is all about.

We are not using anything by which any our identities are accessible to you or any other person that has demonstrated a past inclination and criminal like pathology to threaten or slander women. You both have demonstrated this pathology clearly. This is not only a logistical decision; the choice is made in consideration of our physical safety—yes “die cis scum” has a kind of scary ring to it. Simply put, we’re “stealth”. We’re confident that you realize this piece of correspondence is not meant in anyway to be interpreted as part of dialogue. It is meant to let you know that you just secured Sheila Jeffreys another generation and your attempts to censor her are a case study in:  the reach exceeds the grasp. By the time we are done the transgender movement and those names attached will be more accurately seen as like carnival hucksters and boss man thugs and Sheila Jeffreys will drop a note on personal stationary thanking you for the spike in sales.

Thank you for your time and attention, and most specifically for the inspiration and the opportunity to show another generation what academic freedom really means on the ground and in the classroom. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors to delude people, and yes we’re flippin’ you the bird. Take this as the “fuck you” it is intended to be.


Women For Academic Freedom





M.S. -IN