MacIver News Service | March 10, 2017
By Bill Osmulski
[Madison, Wisc...] Thistle Pettersen is not afraid to publicly question "gender identity" policies and politics - but it's come at a cost.
Transgender activists in Madison have been conducting campaigns to get Thistle fired from her day job and music gigs. She was even banned from performing at one event she organized herself. Thistle says she's also been the victim of constant online bullying.
"So much talking about me online and offline that I literally cannot walk into public without worrying that somebody is going to come up and punch me in the face because those are the types of threats that I'm seeing," she said in court.
On Wednesday she tried to get a restraining order against Wendi Kent, who Thistle believes is the one organizing the attacks.
Kent admitted that she asked people to contact Thistle's employer to get her fired. She said that she considered Thistle's beliefs to be violence and that there are social consequences to that.
The hearing revealed a couple terms that transgender activists use to insult women. "TERF" means Trans-Exclusionary-Radical-Feminist, and "'CIS" refers to a woman who was born as a woman. Thistle claimed that Kent once referenced her "CIS-privilege."
Kent said that TERF is simply an acronym, but went on to cryptically explain, "I see 'trans-exclusion' as being violence so in general I would usually use that term for someone that I find, that's their practice."
Thistle did not back down from her opinions on transgender activism.
"I don't believe in the term 'transphobia'. I don't believe that's a real thing. I feel that it is a made-up term to target women who have questions about transgenderism the ideology. And not just the ideology, but also the policies starting to be put into place, like Title 9, for example, which was put into place in 1972. Well they want to take away sex-based protection for women and girls and replace it with gender identity protection for anyone who identifies as a girl or a woman. And I have concerns about that," Thistle explained.
Thistle is not alone. Women all over the country are expressing similar concerns and being attacked for them. The bullying has gotten so bad that extreme liberal activists are partnering up with the very conservative Heritage Foundation hoping to put an end to it.
Last month the Foundation hosted a forum that included Miriam Ben-Shalom, a well-known liberal gay-rights activist from Milwaukee.
"I am in debt to the heritage foundation, because they have offered us something that no organization on the left did, which was a safe place to speak. So I don't feel too bad about being here because I'm not being yelled at or screamed at or threatened," she said.
Ben-Shalom also stated that she is a lesbian, that transgender issues are not lesbian issues, and that many gays and lesbians would like to see the "T" in "LGBT" go away. She said, "Biology isn't bigotry. Biology is the truth."
"I watch women at the Michigan Women's Music Festival be forcefully and forthrightly threatened with mutilation so that they would understand what it means to be transgender," Ben-Shalom explained at the Heritage Foundation.
Ben-Shalom also talked about Thistle's situation in Madison as another reason she's speaking out.
Unfortunately for Thistle, proving online bullying isn't always easy. She was unable to produce any specific emails or posts that would have proved Wendi was organizing the attacks against her. Therefore, the judge did not grant the restraining order.