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Jeffrey Marsh is wrong: Trans rights, parent concerns both matter

Shumirun Nessa, a British Muslim Tiktok comedian and mother of young children, has received death threats and online harassment after criticizing American TikToker Jeffrey swampwhich identifies as non-binary.

Marsh, who has 680,000 followers on the platform, addresses children in several videos. In others, they speak to parents of children. In one particular video – in which Marsh doesn’t specifically mention children – they say, “Your parents screwed up. It’s okay to say that.”

In that video, Marsh also says, “That’s why I made a Patreon so we can talk about it, so we can connect in a way that’s more private, so we can talk to each other in a way that’s more open. .” Patreon is a platform where people can pay a monthly fee to view content.

Nessa responded to Marsh in her video demanding that she “Stop telling kids to go on your Patreon and chat with you privately without their parents knowing”. Nessa made it clear she was concerned about the specific style and content of Marsh’s videos, pointing out a tactic often used by groomers to “isolate” children from their guardians to make them dependent on predatory individuals.

In at least half a dozen other videos — where they don’t specify who they’re specifically targeting — Marsh encourages people to “have no contact” with their families. In one, they say those who do will “love it”. In anotherthey say, “If you don’t have a family that loves you, I’ll be your family.”

Yet another very disturbing video sees Marsh arguing against protecting women and girls. Just to be clear; Marsh talks about women trying to protect women from biological men who identify as trans women.

“‘We must protect the women and children’ has been used against marginalized people throughout most of human history,” they say. “These comments upset me because of course it’s anti-trans, but it also strikes me that it’s anti-your own daughters.” Marsh then tells women to tell those concerned about their safety that they “don’t need protection”.

In her video, Nessa did not refer to Marsh’s trans identity and used the pronouns “she/it” which the TikTok influencer prefers. While she pointed out that Marsh’s videos were disturbing, she didn’t accuse them of being a trimmer in the conventional sense.

Still, she was bullied by trans rights activists into taking the video offline. Nessa then shared a second video in which she tearfully revealed the threats and insults she had received from these activists.

“I just received an email saying they know where I live and what scares me the most is that they have my daughters details in the email,” said Nessa, who seemed very upset, saying that her car was also damaged. Some of those who attacked her online also found old photos of Nessa without a hijab and shared them on TikTok, Nessa said in tears.

Feminists, human rights activists, Muslims and empathetic people from other communities immediately stepped forward to support Nessa online, and soon #IStandWithShumirunNessa was trending.

However, the response we’ve gotten – for supporting Nessa – has been amazing as well.

Women who are concerned about women’s vulnerability to male violence are accused of being transphobic. Why? Because we raised the issue of how dangerous it is to isolate potentially confused and vulnerable children from their parents and potentially encourage them to begin a process of transition that could be harmful. And that this behavior could indicate some form of grooming – even if it is not always sexual in nature.

I understand all too well what it feels like to be attacked in this way. In 2004 I wrote one article criticizing transgender activists who tried to shut down a rape crisis center that wouldn’t take male-bodied trans women as counselors, and since then I’ve been pursued by so-called progressives who see me as “transphobic.”

As a result, some college students go public protest when I have to give a speech about some aspect of feminism or male violence against women. Never mind that I have supported female victims of male violence for decades and still do.

Even 19 years later, the bullying continues, despite the fact that in most cases I don’t address trans issues at all. Under the guise of “protecting trans rights”, I am routinely attacked when I speak about the disadvantages of prostitution, one of my focuses, and told that I “obviously hate trans sex workers” as if everything pertains to trans women.

This issue has come to dominate the cultural landscape over the past decade, in part because well-meaning liberals have been convinced leftist feminists like myself who speak out against extreme transgender ideology are bigots and “transphobes” as opposed to women’s rights defenders.

Nessa appears to be intimidated by the mob. Bullying and harassment have indeed become common features of this vicious row. It’s not uncommon in recent years to see crowds of young men in black balaclavas swear misogynistic abuse at women who speak out against extreme transgender ideology and in favor of women-only spaces.

In a sequel video, Nessa begged, “Everyone stop threatening each other, please. I don’t want to talk about this subject anymore, and I hope you respect that.” This is a ghastly indictment of the fear instilled in those who dare to speak up, and how effective the silent tactics of trans rights activists can be.

This is not a debate held on a level playing field, with a number of feminists taking jobs, colleges, reputations and their upright freedom of opinion. I have yet to hear of a trans rights activist receiving the same treatment.

Yet there is clearly a need for nuance in this debate. It’s a classic example of how two wrongs don’t make right.

It is unacceptable for trans rights activists to dox a woman with young children, or any other woman for that matter, for pointing out safety issues. It is also wrong to label all trans-identifying people as “groomers” and “pedophiles”. Bullying and threatening behavior are never the solution.

There are genuine concerns about the vulnerable children when it comes to certain aspects of transgender ideology, and it is perfectly reasonable for these concerns to be raised publicly. Transgender ideology is a hugely contentious issue, especially when mantras like “trans women are women” tossed around with little public disagreement.

While I passionately support a person’s right to live outside the sex stereotypes imposed on them, it is hugely problematic to argue that there is no difference between women who have been raised as girls under the patriarchy and men who choose to be women to live. Sexism has consequences, from domestic violence and sexual assault to unequal pay and discrimination in the workplace.

While the rights of trans people should be respected, the answer is not to silence or silence the genuine concerns of parents, whether it be about trans people or the growing number of children presenting at gender clinics and about puberty blockers and sex hormones asks.

Let me be very clear: trans people are not the problem.

The problem is a brand of extreme activism that claims to represent trans rights. In reality, this is a men’s rights movement that grew out of a backlash against feminism, especially those feminists who focused on eradicating male violence against women and girls. Feminists who call for nothing but to preserve our hard-won sex-based rights, such as women’s domestic violence shelters, locker rooms and hospital wards, are censored as bigots and fired.

Nessa did not address the trans ideology or Marsh’s identification as non-binary. Instead, she raised a red flag about the impropriety of an adult potentially persuading children to cut themselves off from their parents. Trans rights activists’ successful attempts to silence Nessa by accusing her of “transphobia” serve as a warning to others. But those of us concerned about the danger to children must resist the demands to capitulate.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial view of Al Jazeera.