Dave Chappelle and Daphne’s Daughter
Dave Chappelle’s last special for Netflix, ‘The Closer’, has created much controversy. At time of writing, some Netflix employees have walked out and issued demands that Netflix hire lots of trans people and give them tons of money to make content. Chappelle has courted controversy for a while over the trans issue and this special is, he says, his final word on the subject. Chappelle deliberately made some jokes that trans activists would find offensive in order to make a point. These included supporting JK Rowling, calling himself ‘Term Terf’ and noting that a transgender ‘pussy’ wasn’t real pussy: ‘That’s not blood, it’s beet juice.’ Just like in many previous sets, Chappelle says outrageous things which, if you are paying attention, often lead to a wider, more profound point. Here he was using the way people privilege themselves under the ‘trans’ identity while punching down on African Americans.
In true trans activist style, the protestors come across as humourless bullies unable to engage in anything they see as challenging their identity. Critics also raced in to virtue signal. But if they stepped back for a moment they would see that Chappelle has given them a public relations gift in a story of a trans friend of his, who also happens to be a father.
Daphne’s dream is to be a comedian. He worships Dave Chappelle. Chappelle uses Daphne to open for him in San Francisco and he absolutely bombs, but is redeemed by talking onstage with Chappelle and being funny and honest. Chappelle offers to mentor him. Daphne defends him on trans forums and has an awful experience from trans activists. Not long afterwards Daphne commits suicide by jumping from a building (which, as Chappelle points out, is a very male way to do it). Chappelle’s huge empathy for Daphne is apparent and the story is very sad. His reaction to Daphne’s death, his sadness and his anger, is apparent. Chappelle has a college fund waiting for Daphne’s daughter. Daphne’s words, as quoted by Chappelle, are very moving: “I don’t need you to understand me. I just need you to believe that I’m having a human experience.”
Chappelle finishes his story with this:
“I was reading her obituary and I found out she was survived by a daughter … I got in touch with her family and I started a trust fund for her daughter because I know it was all she really cared about … her daughter is very young but I hope to be alive when she turns 21 because I hope to give her this money myself because then I will be ready to have the conversation that I am not ready to have today. But I’m going to tell that girl, ‘Young lady, I knew your father. And he was a wonderful woman’. Empathy is not gay. It is not black. Empathy is bisexual. It must go both ways.”
Children with a trans dad may feel a familiarity in the description of Daphne, the messy AGP whose emotional issues are so strong he abandons a young child. The story is heartbreaking. But at least this one daughter has a college fund and a memorial for her dad from the GOAT.
I attended the Filia feminist conference in Portsmouth, where I was able to thank Maya Forstater for her support and listen to Helen Joyce talk about her important new book, ‘Trans’, which I highly recommend. Someone in the audience asked her about the families of transitioners, particularly the children, and I was able to confirm how happy I was with Joyce’s coverage of families of transitioners, which focused on the wonderful Tinsel Angel and her work empowering trans widows to speak on their experiences. Joyce’s book is incredibly well edited and concise.
There was a huge amount of support for feminist academic Kathleen Stock (she wasn’t in attendance) at the conference. Stock has experienced the most awful harassment at her workplace, Sussex University, for her feminist stance on transgenderism. But there has also been criticism in feminist circles for her coverage of autogynephilia and the insensitivity towards trans widows in her book “Material Girls.” Stock writes that “The phenomenon of autogynephilia is played up, hyperbolised and stigmatised.” She also criticises feminist academics Sheila Jeffreys and Julia Long for their stance on transgenderism. In particular, Stock talks about Julia Long writing ‘contemptuously’ about trans identified men speaking in feminist meetings. Stock is referring to a piece that Long wrote in support of trans widows, arguing that the presence of men such as trans husband and father Debbie Hayton can make trans widows feel unable to speak:
So these were interesting undercurrents in discussion at Filia. Stock is concerned that autogynephilia is overly stigmatised and this contributes to the problems of male transitioners. For others, talking about autogynephilia honestly, about our experiences of it and the damage it does to women, is more important.
- It was after seeing Julia Long speak at a meeting that I stopped using the term “trans women”. Talks like this are what changed my mind about the language I use:
2. I recently listened to Katie Herzog interviewing Meghan Murphy on the Blocked and Reported podcast. Herzog feels that feminists come across as bullies when we don’t use terms like ‘trans women’ or use the pronouns we have been asked to. It makes it easy for people to not listen to feminists and cancel us. Murphy sees this more as a principle, much like Long does, of using the right language. It’s very difficult. Herzog is in many ways right – Murphy is banned from Twitter, has lost writing jobs and has experienced the most awful treatment from trans activists. On the other hand, what price honesty? Is it worth ditching some of your principles to gain a wider audience? It’s an issue for feminists engaged in debate around transgenderism. Is it enough just to write for each other, when people won’t read work that doesn’t use the term ‘trans woman’? Murphy has interesting things to say and deserves a wider audience.
There was a protest by trans activists outside Portsmouth’s Guild Hall, organised by a local trans campaigner “Steph”, a late-stage transitioner and father. Signs held by trans activists included the words, ‘Suck my dick you transphobic cunt’ and similar. Amnesty International supplied placards with slogans like “I am who I say I am” in the trans flag colours and “Love is a human right” in pink. Amnesty has since distanced itself from parts of the protest and acknowledged that it was inappropriate for protestors to use such terms around victims of sexual violence.
Inside, women shared heartbreaking and inspiring stories. Outside, people celebrated sexual violence against women. At the end, “Steph” seemed triumphant that the offensive drawings in chalk the trans activists made (telling women to suck various things) had been washed away and “nor was there any violence.” So at least his supporters didn’t actually attack any women and only Filia attendees, and a few bypassers, saw their threats. Small mercies.
Steph blames a student contingent for the signs, and talks a bit about a possible ‘set up’. I know that it was chaotic and threatening and seeing signs like that was just awful. It’s interesting to see in Steph’s account of an argument between a Filia attendee and a ‘lesbian trans ally’:
“The only other incident to note was that one lesbian trans ally from the uni team who was helping me distribute leaflets had “words” with a lesbian who had opposite views and who had started shouting at her. The GC lady was determined to talk about penises!
Their “row” was witnessed by a senior man from Portsmouth City Council.
One of the problems of fighting the sexual violence of trans activism is often having to quote it – it’s so vile you get blamed for it just by reporting it. This is definitely something that happens to lesbians when we talk about the ‘cotton ceiling’ rhetoric. Or when we talk about sissy porn or anime porn. It’s disgusting that we are talking about it, it’s disgusting that we’ve seen it – therefore there is something disgusting about us. As always, it’s disappointing to see how women who protest against sexual harassment are belittled.
Steph was guarded by the local antifascists, “they kept me safe and looked after me exceedingly well”. What isn’t acknowledged is that people like local antifascists spent the year preventing the women from Filia from working locally with vulnerable women and girls:
Seeing a transitioner of my father’s generation helping to cause so much damage to women and girls is unsurprising, but as always disappointing. Toxic narcissism – the rage of the autogynephile denied acceptance from women – strikes once again.
The Mess We’re In – Ray Blanchard
Graham Linehan, Helen Staniland and Arty Morty have a regular podcast and recently interviewed Ray Blanchard, the doctor responsible for coining the term ‘autogynephilia’.
Blanchard discusses how he helped reduce the gatekeeping for sex reassignment as a treatment for autogynephiles – he typifies it as a treatment rather than a cure, rather like insulin for diabetics. “Sex assignment is not a cure for dysphoria … we can’t make these people accept their biological sex … we can’t find a way to help them convert this into a part time activity … it was initially given as ‘what have we got to lose with these patients?’ and … the majority of patients said, ‘Yeah! I feel a lot better, thanks.’”
Blanchard describes the strict gatekeeping that existed before surgery was allowed, such as living ‘in role’ for two years, with documented proof that you worked or studied in the opposite sex role. In the UK, my father had similar requirements. This gatekeeping has gone. This has vastly increased the number of autogynephile transsexuals. Blanchard says: “It used to be a big deal for a biological man who was married, who was maybe 40 years old, who had a wife that he might actually still love, who might have children. More than one child. It was a big deal to say well, I’m ending with all this and I’m going to live as a woman. They sometimes would have hopeful fantasies that the wife would say, ‘Ok dear, I love you just as much as a lesbian as I did a man, but most wives did not in fact take that attitude. It almost always meant the marriage would break up and in many, many cases it would end up with alienation from the children. Whatever the children might have thought privately about their dad now becoming Mary Sue, they didn’t want their classmates to know about it. So back in the day making this kind of decision, to move into the female role, if you were a married husband and father, was a big deal. It was going to turn your life on its head. Now you get valorised for it.”
Blanchard suggests that the prevalence of autogynephilia is probably only a little less than the prevalence of homosexuality in men. Blanchard talks about a spectrum of autogynephiles, from people unbothered by occasional crossdressing to AGPs so distressed by their condition that they seek transition.
Blanchard discusses the toxicity of trans rights activism, which he locates as something that began around 2010 where activists turned from asking the public for acceptance of their psychological problem, which required such an unusual solution, to recasting themselves as a minority. He notes that, for lesbians, it seems particularly toxic.
There is some discussion about pornography, and the violent, controlling and narcissistic behaviour of some trans husbands. Blanchard says not necessarily, but men have a ‘strong drive … and women become obstacles to that’. While women might perceive misogyny as the cause of autogynephilia, it’s more of a consequence. Blanchard adds: “A lot of … gender critical feminists make the mistake of because the effect on them of autogynephilia is like sexism or patriarchy they think it’s causing the behaviour in the man. I think that’s an error … they are confusing the effect with the cause.”
When asked about the rise of ROGD in girls, and the normalisation of being ‘trans’, Blanchard links AGPs and the support for child transition: “The enormous interest of autogynephilic men, who in many cases were living outwardly as ordinary men until they were 30 or 40 or 50 years old … their interest in gender dysphoria in children and teenagers, it’s spurious for them to point at these kids and say, ‘See, that’s how I was,’ because they weren’t. They are pointing at a diagnostic group that has a totally different life course than they did … but they politically feel that if they can make a connection between what they did as 40 year old men and what some cute little teenage girl does at 14 then somehow creates the illusion that they were always this way. It can’t have anything to do with sexuality because here we see this 14 year old girl who has never even thought about sex who is gender dysphoric. So I think it was being used by people from one diagnostic group to try and sell their desires to the public on the basis of appeal to a different diagnostic group who they see as more sympathetic. There is also discussion of the fact that the WHO is politicking by modifying the categories of autogynephiles away from a sexual fetish.
He finishes with this statement, said quite emphatically: “Sometimes I get weary of everybody blaming transsexuals and men for what has gone wrong … and that’s not true… some of the biggest supporters and enablers who have pushed the trans activist agenda have been cis heterosexual women. A lot of the people pushing the [trans activist agenda] have been women.”
Helen Staniland spoke in defence of women, who are always expected to be kind: “When a woman speaks up they are vilified so much more than men … we have talked about women who have pushed this agenda … women live a different life to men.” But surely Blanchard understands about female condition. I was disappointed by his lack of nuance.
There is a lengthy commentary on this from feminist YouTuber Karen, of ‘You’re Kiddin’, Right’, who rightly points out that it’s trans individuals who are preying on women in formerly single sex spaces. Blaming women for this is what she calls “Blanchard goes full MRA”. It’s an excellent feminist counterpoint to Blanchard’s interview and I enjoyed her point of view.
Personally, I would have appreciated more from Blanchard. His definition of autogynephilia has been helpful but it’s time for sexologists to understand that we need to arrest this condition before the late stage transitioner ends up shopping for clothes, wigs and surgeons.
[ Articles discussed in the podcast:
‘Conservative Men in Conservative Dresses’ from The Atlantic, 2002.
‘Gender dysphoria is not one thing’ by Michael Bailey and Ray Blanchard
Trans widow interview referenced by Graham Linehan:
The ‘Seahorse’ journalist Freddy McConnell, a trans-identified woman, is having a second baby and is crowdfunding to give birth in Sweden in order to obtain a birth certificate listing her as the ‘father’. This is after failing in a bid to have her first baby’s birth certificate changed. I’m glad that the UK insisted on accurate documentation for her first child, but am sorry to see that other countries make it easy to have misleading information on birth certificates. After all, birth certificates are for your child, not for you. They aren’t a vanity document. At time of writing, £5,562 has been raised by Freddy’s mother. The crowdfunder says that the new baby “will soon face the same situation as SJ: no birth certificate, or one that opens them up to discrimination and abuse later in life, because it inaccurately lists Freddy as their ‘mother’.” Except that Freddy is the mother.