Shellenberger: Why Trans Activists Attack Women

Authored by Michael Shellenberger, Leighton Woodhouse, and Madeleine Rowley via 'PUBLIC' Substack,

Beware false claims of "genocide"...

Shellenberger: Why Trans Activists Attack Women
Trans activists (left) incited violence against women’s right’s activist Kellie-Jay Keen (center), who was assaulted just minutes later at a New Zealand “Let Women Speak” event last month. Organizers of the “Trans Day of Vengeance” (right) canceled their event after a trans person murdered six people at a Christian school in Nashville.

For years, transgender activists have claimed there is a genocide being waged against transgender people. As evidence, they point to the murders of trans victims. In 2022, at least 32 transgender and gender-nonconforming people were killed in the United States, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

But 32 trans killings is a decline from 40 in 2020  and 59 in 2021 and researchers do not know if trans people are being killed disproportionately compared to non-trans people.

There remains a prejudice against trans people. Some trans people are, without question, victims of violence. But there is no “genocide,” nor even strong evidence that the trans people being killed are targeted for being transgender rather than for some other reason. For example, transgender people are disproportionately represented in the sex trade, which is an extremely dangerous criminal enterprise.

By contrast, we have seen a wave of transgender rights activists attacking women for ideological reasons. Consider recent events. In New Zealand on March 25, a mob of angry trans activists assaulted a British women’s rights advocate, Kellie-Jay Keen, at a “Let Women Speak” rally. In Nashville on March 28, a trans male killed three adults and three children at a Christian school. Last December, a group of women in Oakland protested the potential placement into a women’s prison of a self-identified trans woman who had murdered a lesbian couple and their son. They were assaulted with a bicycle, an umbrella, eggs, and pies.

And on April 6, a mob of trans activists trapped women’s collegiate swimming champion Riley Gaines in a room for three hours, and somebody punched her in the face. On Instagram, trans student activists denied that Gaines was trapped or anyone hit her. “Nobody put a finger on you white girl,” posted a black trans youth. But Gaines told Public she was hit by “a man wearing a dress.”

The University Police Department (UPD) at San Francisco State University said, "We are conducting an ongoing investigation into the situation. The disruption occurred after the event's conclusion, which made it necessary for UPD officers to move the event speaker from the room to a different, safe location.”

Transgender people should no more be held responsible, as a group, for the actions of a small number of activists, any more than non-trans people should be held responsible for the vast majority of crimes and violence by non-trans people.

But there’s no doubt that we’ve seen an increase in physical violence by trans activists  — not all of whom are trans themselves — in recent years, and we should try to understand it in the same way we try to understand violence and radicalization by other social groups.

In 2018, a mentally ill trans female shot six of her coworkers at a Rite Aid distribution Center in Maryland. In 2019, a trans teenager in Denver shot one student dead and injured eight more. In 2022, a natal male identified as a “trans gamer girl” tried to assassinate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his home. And a trans person killed five people at a Colorado nightclub that same year.

While Keen and Gaines survived, both women feared for their physical safety and their lives.

“I genuinely thought if I fell to the floor,” said Keen, “I would never get up again, my children would lose their mother and my husband would lose his wife.” 

Video from the event shows a trans rights activist punching an elderly woman, who was later identified as being 70 years old, in the face multiple times.

“It was terrifying for me,” said Gaines.

In yesterday's interview, she said she was “pushed and shoved into the podium. I had no idea where the police were or even if the police were there. I was struck twice, hit in the shoulder and face. And this was closed-fist.”

At that point, Gaines was effectively kidnapped for three hours.

“This is when a woman came up to me and grabbed me. We were forced into a classroom where I was ultimately barricaded for three hours. They yelled, ‘We deserve to be able to look at you and yell at you and hit you.’”

There is an obvious double standard at play.

Said Gaines’ representative, Eli Bremer, “Imagine if it had been a black or trans student kidnapped in that room by white supremacists. Would the campus police have stood by for three hours and let it happen?” Trans activists, noted Gaines, “claim they're being persecuted… but in my experience this past year, I've always been on the receiving end of the violence.”

Where is this alarming radicalization coming from? Why are a growing number of trans activists attacking women? And what can be done to protect them?

The Psychopathology of Gender Theology

There are no doubt individual psychological reasons behind such aggression. Many aggressive trans activists may suffer from co-occurring mental illnesses and gender dysphoria. A friend of the Maryland Rite-Aid trans shooter said they suffered from bipolar disorder and depression, in addition to gender dysphoria.

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas and Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines react after finishing tied for 5th in the 200 Freestyle finals at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on March 18th, 2022 in Atlanta Georgia.
University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas and Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines react after finishing tied for 5th in the 200 Freestyle finals at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on March 18th, 2022 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


The trans activists at San Francisco State University were similar to other fanatics. They are true believers, like Christian Puritans who persecuted women as supposed witches in colonial American history. They are like the Maoist students of the Cultural Revolution in China, taking control of physical spaces and intimidating the university administrators, who become too cowardly to take control. They are intoxicated by their feeling of power and in that sense, hedonistic.


A broader change is needed in the culture, led by the media, educational, sporting, and health institutions. We can acknowledge that people who identify as trans may in some instances be victims of discrimination but have also, over the last 10 years been celebrated as much if not more than any other minority, and that the trans movement has embraced a dangerous victimhood mentality, starting with the Big Lie that there is a genocide against them. History shows that such a persecution complex is often pretext for aggression, violence, and totalitarianism. 

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