Another mass shooting happened in the United States on Tuesday. Shooter is a YouTube personality who has, allegedly due to a perceived slight, picked up a gun they legally owned, shot people and shot themselves. This occurred in a country where gun control is almost non-existent and where mass shootings occur an order of magnitude more often than anywhere else in the world.
I won’t be mentioning the perpetrator’s name or posting their pictures in this article, because the notoriety that results from committing these crimes has been identified as one of the motivating factors for others to commit similar crimes. I also won’t be discussing the issue of gun control.
I’m not here to speculate on this perpetrator’s motives either. A short experience I had working in forensic psychiatry taught me that it’s almost impossible to ascertain these without conducting detailed psychiatric and police interviews with the perpetrator, and people who knew them, analysing histories of their lives and behaviour preceding the event and the crime scene itself. It is always best to await a forensic psychiatric report in order to move from speculation to understanding why.
However, twenty years ago, I never imagined that there will come a time when we won’t be able to ascertain the sex of the perpetrator. Not because I couldn’t imagine people not conforming to gender expectations of physical appearance, or that women are, albeit extremely rarely, capable of perpetrating this kind of crime, but because I couldn’t imagine that the news outlets will systematically and unapologetically report crimes committed by biological males as “women’s crimes”. That this is being done in the name of an unscientific concept of gender ideology is clear. It is also clear that this constitutes gaslighting (I will explain why this is so further into the article). The response to this mass shooter, especially by women and feminists, has exposed this in a predictable yet illuminating ways. And that is what this article is about.
In case you’ve just come from Mars and haven’t read any news for the past five years (lucky you!), let me just quickly get you up to speed. Today, any man, regardless of what he looks like, whether he has male genitals, whether he is a sex offender in prison, whether he has ever “lived as a woman” (whatever that means without gender stereotypes), whether he just committed a violent crime such as rape or murder where victims were women and children, can simply “identify” as a woman and media will refer to him not even as transgender but as a woman. Some of these men hold Gender Recognition Certificates, which allow them legally to erroneously claim to be of the opposite sex. I say erroneously because there is no medical or surgical procedure that can actually change people’s sex, they can only alter their bodies to more or less resemble it.
So these media reports are reinforcing the dogma that with one simple, unsubstantiable claim any man can magically override all biology, observation and common sense, and do the scientificaly impossible – become a woman. And before you ask, yes, women can claim to be the opposite sex also, but as women, they do not contribute to male violence the way men do and as such, trans-identified women will not be discussed in this article. Moving on.
Canada already has a law in place that makes “misgendering” a criminal offence, which means Canada criminalises people for stating the obvious, easily verifiable facts. California, in my recollection, does the same, and there’s is a disconcerting, unified push by all political parties in the UK to engineer the same conditions there. While ignoring submissions of women’s groups and a wide variety of professionals who warned the legislators about the ease of abuse of such laws, Maria Miller considered mainly submissions by trans activists to generate a highly biased report, and the UK government is now attempting to steamroll gender self-identification into law, based on that report.
Anyone, and especially a woman, who challenges or questions the dogma of gender identity, who wants to talk about how allowing gender to trump sex could negativelly impact women who are known to be at risk of male violence, or who just wants to discuss the absence of any scientific evidence for existence of “gender” as an “inner feeling” that can lead to a gender “essence” being housed in a “wrong body”, is routinely dismissed, accused of “transphobia”, screamed at using hateful slurs, threatened with violence, attacked, silenced and censored, while our media enables an endless parade of men performing womanhood to indoctrinate general public into transgender ideology, in the absence of critical voices.
Systematic lying about sex of male criminals, together with persistent conflation of sex with gender and all the other ways in which the public is instructed to disregard biological reality for the sake of ideology, has had a predictable effect of jeopardising sex-based protections women have fought for. Men are now self-identifying as women to gain entry into women’s changing rooms, where they often act as voyeurs or exhibitionists and in other ways make women and girls unsafe. Men are also gaining access to women’s shelters, either as unwanted, political correctness mandated employees or even perpetrators of sexual crimes, ditto for male sex offenders being transferred to women’s prisons, mediocre men colonising women’s sports and utterly dominating them, and of course, men abusing affirmative action policies such as women-only shortlists and positions, which were designed to address sex (not gender!) imbalance. Furthermore, indoctrination that asserts transgender people are “born in the wrong body” has become compulsory in schools, universities, workplaces and at every administrative level of society.
When ideology proliferates via media, who consistently misrepresent the sex of trans-identified male criminals as “female”, thus skewing not only crime statistics but public perception, all the while undermining women’s rights and protections, we have evidence of systematic gaslighting.
This article won’t deal with why this gaslighting is occurring in the first place, who is behind it or how we can resist it. What I want to discuss here is the predictable response to media reports about the latest mass shooter.
There’s only been less than a handful of women mass shooters in US history, while there have been hundreds of incidents perpetrated by men. Certainly anyone, a forensic psychiatrist, a police officer or a member of public, when they first hear there’s been a mass shooting, is justified in assuming the perpetrator was male. And when the reports say that the shooter was a woman, most are justified in reacting with astonishment. “How unusual for a woman to do such a thing!” is not evidence of “reverse sexism”. It is simply evidence of pattern recognition.
Twenty or even six years ago, however, the surprised reaction would’ve been limited. How unusual for a woman to do such a thing. Indeed, very unusual. Let’s speculate about motives, after all, this is what we always do in the aftermath of these crimes. However, in a climate where male crimes are systematically reported as female crimes by the media, who refuse to add the much needed description of “transgender”, and based on research that shows trans-identified males have the same rate of violent behaviour as all men, one would be entirely justified to wonder whether the perpetrator was, in fact, a trans-identified man, rather than a woman.
In this instance it certainly didn’t help first impressions that the shooter’s physical appearance could be consistent with a trans-identified male. As we’ve seen time and again, due to high visibility of typically “feminine-passing” trans-identified males in the media, there are men who have had a lot of surgery and hormones to make them resemble the stereotypical idea of what a woman is supposed to look like. That particular sexism of gender ideology has been discussed before. Not only are gender non-conforming men forced, by society’s stigma, to mutilate their bodies in order to “pass” as women, but women are reduced to a pornified male idea of what a woman looks like – thin with big breasts, revealing clothing, pouting, tons of make up and self-objectifying behaviour. This is not to say that the shooter doesn’t look like a woman. There are as many ways a woman can look as there are women, and some of them are tall, thin, with intense gaze, angular features, perceived as “masculine”, and the thinner the woman is, and the longer her neck is, the more likely her own “Adam’s apple” is to be externally observed.
So. We have a shooter who committed a typically male pattern crime, who looks like a lot of trans-identifying men, and media who erroneously refers to these men as women. The shooter’s online behaviour – the sexualised performative womanhood, the entitled rages, the intense interest in weapons – are at best unequivocal but realistically, also consistent with male behaviour.
What rightfully concerned many women as well as trans activists is the bias in this. Why do we jump to conclusions? Do we have any right to jump to conclusions? Fight or flight has been mentioned a few times too, as the only circumstance in which people are justified to make rash assessments based on patterns. But it was asserted that outside of imminent danger, or being in the state of fight or flight, we have a moral obligation to fact-check meticulously before we react. Because our own eyes and several documents findable online and even a few articles which all suggested, early on after the tragedy, that the perperator was a trans-identified male, wasn’t meticulous enough.
It’s been stipulated that trauma, and especially psychological abuse such as gaslighting, establishes patterns in the brain and body that generate fight or flight states. This is the fundamental change that underpins post-traumatic stress responses such as hypervigilance and flashbacks. This is especially important in the context of massive scale, prolonged gaslighting which targets mainly women, who are already disproportionately traumatised by violence.
Abusers typically pepper the abuse with some truth in order to appear credible to those outside of the abuse cycle. They also readily use any unusual situation where the lies they normally tell their victims are incidentally true, in order to use the victim’s response of incredulity, confusion and questioning to publicly discredit them as paranoid, confused or malicious. That some news outlets that have been most heavily involved in gaslighting women about this issue are doing exactly that is unsurprising.
So the question is, should every victim of gaslighting be expected to fact-check every claim their abuser makes, in order to avoid being smeared, accused and her credibility destroyed? Or is this the case of obliquely blaming the victim for her own abuse by holding her to a much higher standard of behaviour than the perpetrator?
Should anyone, in the climate of news stubbornly reporting that trans-identified male criminals are women, be condemned for wondering whether a shooter whose appearance is consistent with being a trans-identified male and who committed a male-pattern crime, is in fact possibly not a woman?
Should we reflect on the fact that until unscientific gender ideology started exerting almost authoritarian hold on the society, we trusted that sex of criminals was reported truthfully, and that now that trust is destroyed? Can we acknowledge that in the absence of gaslighting, we would now be reacting with surprise, rather than speculation and incredulity, at reports of this perpetrator’s sex?
At the very least, we need to recognise speculations about sex of the shooter as what they are – not evidence of women’s internalised sexism, or transphobia, but an example of victims of gaslighting being unintentionally complicit with sexist scrutiny, in self-defence. After all, if we could trust media, and people in general, not to lie about biological sex, there would be no need for such speculation.