As the site admin of TERFisNotaSlur.com, not to mention a human being with deeply-held ethical standards, I was extremely disappointed to hear of the doxxing incident that occurred Thursday to Dr. Rachel McKinnon of the College of Charleston, who has been a particular target of attacks from TERFs and transphobic Internet users over the past week (not to mention in the past).
The latest attacks against Dr. McKinnon were prompted by blatant misinformation spread after she posted a Mother’s Day video on YouTube speaking about the complex situations that all too often arise in families where a child or young adult comes out as trans. For her recognition of the emotional effects of rejection and abuse, as well as her advocacy for communities and resources to be built up to support abused and rejected trans people, she has faced egregious, blistering attacks accusing her of such things as pedophilia, attempted child abduction, and other similar serious issues.
TERFs and those affiliated with them have also made attempts to convince Dr. McKinnon’s college or department to punish or fire her for her video, plans which were thwarted by her department’s public statement affirming support for her academic freedom. Faced with this failure, the people attacking Dr. McKinnon decided to amplify the situation by releasing private information about her personal life, including details about people unrelated to the situation. This type of attack is commonly referred to as “doxxing,” and is designed to instill fear in the victim.
I wish to make this extraordinarily clear: Doxxing, as a fear-promoting tactic, is never an acceptable action in order to advance your arguments. There is literally no other purpose to this action than to implicitly or explicitly encourage harassment and, in many cases, even violence against the victim. As human beings in society, we will never agree on everything, and sometimes those disagreements will rise to the level of involving excessive anger. This anger, however, should not be channeled into exposing people to violence through actions such as doxxing.
At this stage, preliminary reports seem to indicate that the doxxing of Dr. McKinnon was organized by a prominent TERF. This sort of violence is exactly why I set up TERFisNotaSlur.com in the first place, after a period of months observing TERFs and other transphobic Internet users, and noting their extreme levels of harassment and violent rhetoric towards the vulnerable population of trans people, especially trans women. Such violence should not be occurring in our society, and yet is encouraged far too often in pursuit of a misguided goal.
Even if the initial reports of the doxxer’s affiliations turn out to be inaccurate, that does not change the fact that TERFs and their allies have taken extreme steps to punish Dr. McKinnon for her trans identity and views on transphobic people. This is not how we should function, even in the face of extreme disagreement over ideologies. We should engage as rational people, and we should accept that human rights for vulnerable populations, including trans people, should be protected even when some people disagree on certain positions.
Turning briefly to a somewhat-related issue, it has come to my attention in recent days that certain members of the online TERF community have made statements suggesting that I am Dr. McKinnon, or that she is involved in the creation or running of this site. I want to make this unambiguously clear: I am not Dr. McKinnon, I have never met Dr. McKinnon, and she has no role in this site in any capacity.
As previously mentioned, the idea for this site has been in my mind for a number of months, and I only recently had the time and energy to create it. During the development of the site, I became aware of the attacks against Dr. McKinnon, and instantly recognized these attacks as the sorts of egregious situations that the site should cover. I, therefore, saw it as that much more important to make the site public as soon as possible, in order to provide an additional competing voice against TERF (and allies) harassment of trans people.
In conclusion, I unequivocally and directly state that the recent attacks against Dr. McKinnon, especially the doxxing incident, are antithetical to debate in society. I personally believe that the transphobic side of this debate is blatantly denying the human rights of trans people, but I will never resort to implied or explicit violence against those who disagree with me. Doxxing is never an acceptable substitute for debate, and it is extremely disappointing that this has been employed against Dr. McKinnon.
If you have any reasoned feedback to this statement, I encourage you to contact me by email at email@example.com.
In solidarity with those who are oppressed for being who they are,
-The TERFisNotaSlur.com Site Admin