‘Straight person’ can’t be a lesbian
A prominent transgender activist falsely claimed to have gotten a critic “fired” from her university, according to the critic.
Louise Moody left her postdoctoral philosophy position at the University of York this summer for health reasons, not because she was fired in response to Lily Madigan’s complaints of bullying, Moody told The College Fix in a series of Twitter messages.
She still serves an unpaid “research associate,” meaning she “retains an official affiliation and e.g. e-mail/library access” at York, though she is not employed by York, Moody said.
Her specific problem with Madigan, the first transgender person to serve as a “women’s officer” in the United Kingdom’s Labour Party, is Madigan’s repeated self-declarations as “gay” or “lesbian.” Madigan’s Twitter handle is “lesbianleftie.”
As a biological woman who is attracted to other women, Moody identifies as a lesbian, and has mocked Madigan as a “straight person” who “diminishes the experiences of actual lesbians” by claiming to have a coming-out experience. She also uses the plural pronoun “they” to refer to Madigan.
She treats the term “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” as a slur used by transgender people against critics like her. While Moody recently used the term to refer to herself, she told The Fix that was not a “serious tweet.” Moody’s pinned tweet compares belief in “gender identity” with belief in “fire-breathing dragons.”
She told The Fix that she hasn’t heard from the university about Madigan’s complaint.
Their dispute “is part of a wider issue,” which is “the implications of self-identification becoming law in the U.K.,” Moody said. Her public opposition to this legal possibility “has naturally led to pushback. [But] Madigan has not been targeted nor harassed.”
Misgendering is said to occur when someone uses language that does not reflect one's gender identity; I lack a gender identity (in the sense that I lack a belief in fire-breathing dragons); calling me 'cis' thus misgenders me, & uses will be reported in line with Twitter policy.
— Dr. Louise Moody (@Godstopper1981) November 24, 2018
‘Dad, I’m heterosexual. It’s the new gay!’
The question of Moody’s status at the University of York began when Madigan tweeted at the university on New Year’s Eve, citing a mocking tweet by Moody.
Madigan had said she “came out as gay” to her father the day after Christmas. Moody tweeted a screenshot of the thread, reinterpreting Madigan’s declaration as “Dad, I’m heterosexual. It’s the new gay!”
“[T]his person employed by you bullies me relentlessly, mocks my gender identity and sexuality, all because I’m trans,” Madigan wrote to the university. “I’m a 1st year and this type of behaviour obviously impacts my mental wellbeing.. please do something? People like them make me wish I wasn’t me anymore.”
Madigan attends Goldsmiths College, not the University of York. Another commenter noted that Moody had never tweeted directly at Madigan before the activist complained to York, meaning Twitter would not notify Madigan of Moody’s criticisms.
Madigan’s supporters – many of whom know the activist from the Teen Vogue “21 under 21” list – offered to complain to York about Moody, and some were told that Moody isn’t an employee.
Alan Thomas, the head of Moody’s philosophy department, told one person that Moody is not covered by the university’s social media policy and did not have contact with students before leaving her postdoctoral research position. Thomas did not mention why Moody left her position.
In a post Thursday that included a screenshot of her complaint to York, Madigan said Moody was “no longer employed” by the university. “Fantastic.” In a later comment in the thread, Madigan said the university told her that Moody “wasn’t employed directly by them but that she’s now gone. Vague, but I’m not too concerned.”
.@UniOfYork this person employed by you bullies me relentlessly, mocks my gender identity and sexuality, all because I’m trans. I’m a 1st year and this type of behaviour obviously impacts my mental wellbeing.. please do something? People like them make me wish I wasn’t me anymore pic.twitter.com/jVdtpWA4uq
— ✊🏻Lily!🌹Madigan🤝☭ (@lesbianleftie) December 31, 2018
— ✊🏻Lily!🌹Madigan🤝☭ (@lesbianleftie) January 3, 2019
‘Convenient prop for their raging homophobia and misogyny’
University of Sussex philosophy professor Kathleen Stock, another critic of Madigan, brought the dispute to the attention of free-speech activists on Twitter by asking the university if it had really dumped Moody.
Moody cleared up confusion in a series of tweets Thursday after Madigan’s supporters publicly discussed getting York to punish Moody.
She has never claimed to be “employed” by York, making Madigan’s tweet “extraordinarily disingenuous,” Moody wrote. In a longer thread, she said her research associate position exempts her from the university’s social media policy, and that she withdrew as a postdoc for health reasons that are “now fixed.”
“And part of not being answerable to anyone includes not giving a fuck about HETEROSEXUAL ppl. who claim to be lesbians,” Moody continued:
What I DO care about though is how such statements from someone with a fairly large following diminishes the experiences of actual lesbians – many of who will have struggled to accept their sexuality.
To them, I want to say: it is FINE to be same-sex attracted. Celebrate your orientation! Do NOT be fooled by someone trying to redefine who you ARE because it is a convenient prop for their raging homophobia and misogyny.
In another tweet, Moody called Madigan “A. Fucking. Liar” because Madigan did not share who told her that Moody was no longer employed by the university or evidence of correspondence.
Note how Madigan has not stated who they allegedly spoke to nor posted details of said correspondence (which is not exactly confidential). They. Are. A. Fucking. Liar (Except for when they came out from a non-existent closet as heterosexual). https://t.co/UVDNgF3Cy5
— Dr. Louise Moody (@Godstopper1981) January 4, 2019
— Dr. Louise Moody (@Godstopper1981) January 3, 2019
CLARIFICATION: Moody disputed how The Fix characterized her view of the term “trans-exclusionary radical feminist,” which is often used by transgender women against feminists who do not accept their claims to be women. While she described herself as a TERF in a recent tweet, she believes the term is a slur and said the tweet was not “serious.”
IMAGE: Teen Vogue/YouTube