The recent post by Erik Dupree giving voice to the hateful TERF viewpoints of Ruth Barrett has caused quite a stir in our blessed community. It has been great to witness the collective reactions of my co-religionists. It seems we have finally arrived at a place where voices of hate are confronted, discredited and given no quarter in our public discourse.
It has taken a long time to establish that voices of TERF transphobic hate deserve the same treatment that those of the KKK and white supremacists get. It does seem that we have coalesced around a healthy community ethic of confronting bigotry and that’s great news!
Frankly, I was going to sit this one out, the voices of the transgender community have been strong, empowered and on point. There seemed little point in adding the views of another old white guy. Mr. Dupree’s extremely flaccid “half apology”, however, brings me to a place where I realized the truth in the saying that:
“Those who are silent in cases of oppression have chosen the side of the oppressor”
His evoking of my name in his rambling, self-justifying post leaves me little choice, but to respond. Below is my open letter to Erik; my intent is to call him in as he seems oblivious to the anti feminist, transphobic rhetoric that he has swallowed hook, line and sinker!
Its been awhile since we have spoken, from time to time I have read your work and have been moved on occasion, yet I stopped reading your blog regularly when it became clear that you have a great interest in validation from the community. My Paganisim, in contrast, tends to seek to confront injustice, attempt to speak truth to power and generally rile up forces that are more than happy to seek to discredit me if they can.
For me, following the Goddess is not a popularity contest but a life long effort to manifest some small scrap of her compassion upon the face of this planet. It seems that you are aware of this considering your reference to me as an “Infamous” Pagan in your recent attempt to explain yourself to the community.
As to that statement, it seems you dug your self quite a hole and can’t seem to stop digging in a vain attempt to justify your actions. Here is a hint; apologies are most effective when they contain just two words!
Bigots around the world have, for generations, laced their arguments with half-truths and supposed facts to make their positions sound reasonable. Always accompanied with a call for “so called” discussion and freedom of speech. They seek to get people to believe that they deserve a chair at the table of reasonable discourse. Nothing could be further from the truth. What you have done is no less than if you had invited the KKK to a discussion on justice for People of Color.
Frankly, I am stunned you were seduced by such a tactic. While I have drifted away from being a fan out your writing, I have always considered you a well-meaning person. I urge you reverse course, acknowledge having been duped into misogynist and anti feminist actions, commit to correcting your mistakes and move on.
Your original post makes clear how out of touch you are with Feminist thought, millions of Feminists have disavowed TERF views and do not consider them Feminist in any way. Feminists do not oppress others! Your framing of Ruth as a respected Feminist is outlandish!
Over the past few days you have been called many hurtful names, the community outrage is justified, those doing so cannot be blamed for their actions. I support them and their expressions of tanagable anger. As for me, I believe you were used by Ruth and duped into believing a bigoted narrative laced with seductive language. The only ethical choice you are left with is to renounce the idea that such views deserve consideration and declare your total and complete commitment to transgender rights.
Long ago I witnessed your drift towards the seductive pull of popularity, maybe as I noticed the movement I should have followed the sage advice of a path you follow:
“If you see the Buddha along the road, kill him”
Yet, it is your path, so I just moved away. Today you are at a crossroads, it is my sincere hope you find the courage to choose the path of social justice and immediately stop your attempts to justify your actions and simply and honestly apologize to the community.
Today Erik responded to me and the community with the following words:
I can not imagion the courage and painful self evaluation it took to really listen to what I was saying to him, especilly considering the personal insults he has endured the last few days.
I choose to accept his statement at face value, In fact,it is my hope that our collective community has the ability to do so also. You have my respect Erik, that was hard to do!