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Deep Disappointment in Derrick Jensen's Transphobic DGR
by Former Jensen Supporter (moth)
Sunday Aug 10th, 2014 8:19 AM
It really disturbs me that my once favorite "eco-warrior" author Derrick Jensen has turned on the trans community and is now promoting hatred against them instead of forging new allies to protect the wilderness. All that political energy directed against the trans community by Jensen et. al. is wasted, he could have used that voice to save forests from clearcutting, protect desert aquifers and many other needed battles. Now instead Jensen's "Deep Green Resistance" (DGR) is walking hand in hand with the religious right (Opus Dei, Pat Robertson, etc...) in attacking trans people.
As an eco-activist, I missed this change in thought by Derrick Jensen who was once my role model and teacher in deep ecology studies. Guess I was too busy trying to protect desert aquifers from being overdrawn to notice what was happening elsewhere. Am sad to know that instead of trying to save ecosystems from destruction by corporations Derrick Jensen was preoccupied trying to tear down already limited civil rights for the trans community.

Though I am not a pro-trans activist, I am not against trans people and certainly would not spend the few free minutes of any day/night forming arguments against them. As a bisexual male I love my penis and testes dearly, and would not consider having them removed or otherwise altered. However, I believe in freedom of choice for all and for others who feel differently they should be able to be whomever they feel like being.

My sincere advice for Derrick Jensen and his TERF followers is to;

1) Renounce, revoke and apologize for your earlier trans-phobic statements as being a mistake in thinking. We all make mistakes in our thought processes from time to time, forgiveness is always possible if the apology is sincere.

2) Return to your original anti-corporate methods of deep green resistance, focus your legitimate anger on the corporate entities currently destroying the many remaining ecosystems of Earth (desert, forest, ocean, etc...). There is no shortage of needed protests to protect the environment.

3) Stay away from the trans community with your opinions. They can fight their own battles with the medical industry and don't need to be directed towards/away from surgery by paternalistic know-it-alls. Try to understand the two-spirit concept of bisexuality found in indigenous cultures.

4) If you want to include the human body in deep ecology, focus on the chemo/pharma-complex monopolies, the refined sugar industry correlating with diabetes, factory farmed GMO-corn fed beef promoting heart disease, etc... As with the attacks from corporations on ecosystems the list here is also endless. There are more protests needed than there are activists to organize them. Especially when the prominent ones are wasting their time attacking the trans community.


Thanks for listening, hope that logic and reality can conquer irrational stubbornness.

IF not, myself and many others who were once your supporters will distance ourselves from your ideology and reclaim deep ecology for ourselves, minus the introduced trans-hatred.


background on Derrick Jensen's trans-phobic shift;

Trigger Warning: Contains Transphobic Content Below


"In case you didn’t already know, some of the most hurtful and hateful speech against transgender people comes from radical feminists. Not radical in the sense of radically inclusive, rather they are radically exclusive. Led by lesbian separtists these groups say really awful things about trans people. Many believe the only reason a man would transition to a woman is to rape women, while any woman that would transition to a man only does so to escape sexism and assimilate into patriarchy. Entire websites are dedicated to the discrediting, dehumanization and shaming of trans people and the queer movement. This undoubtedly contributes to the culture of violence, suicide and harassment that trans people face on a daily basis. Fortunately, these extremist views are shunned within the feminist movement at large. However, as a vocal minority they certainly make their presence felt. What you may not have known is that the organization that acclaimed author Derrick Jensen co-founded and is the figurehead of, Deep Green Resistance (DGR), is one of the more vocal and prominent supporters of the radical feminist and anti-trans agenda. In addition to referring to trans women as men and denying the existence of transphobia they’ve also posted links on their Facebook page to the most hateful transphobic websites. Even more, the transphobia and bigotry known to many activists within the organization was publicly confirmed on Saturday when DGR released a video that they claim represents their “official policy and position towards gender.”

- See more at: http://www.decolonizingyoga.com/how-derrick-jensens-deep-green-resistance-supports-transphobia/#sthash.6JXwGE7u.dpuf


It’s important to note here that while Aric McBay co-wrote the Deep Green Resistance book with Jensen and Keith he left the organization in 2012 due to their transphobic policies. He writes:


I left the organization at the beginning of 2012 after a trans inclusive policy was cancelled by Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith. Many good people and good activists left the organization for that reason.

I find these transphobic attitudes to be disgusting and deeply troubling, and it bothers me a lot to have any past association with people promoting transphobia.

For me, trans rights and trans inclusion are fundamental to building effective movements and to building a world worth living in.

See his full statement here.

Rachel Ivey, the 23-year old activist who gives the newly released Deep Green Resistance presentation on gender, acknowledges that their position is controversial. It’s their only perspective that has caused them to be banned from speaking at events she states. Deep Green Resistance factions have defected over it. She also explains that “there is no debate” acceptable within the organization about their policy on gender. Further evidence of DGR’s unwillingness to engage in dialogue or conversation about gender comes from an incident where they were banned from the Flying Brick Library. They state,


When we responded to DGR, we made it clear that we were willing to host them as a group – as long as they were willing to discuss these issues and how environmental and anti-civ work are intrinsic to resisting gender oppression – and vice versa.

Sadly, Deep Green Resistance made it clear that they are not willing to let anybody but themselves guide the conversation, and that as we insisted on such, that we are not ready to fight the (so-called) “real fight”.



Further evidence of the absolutist position DGR takes on gender comes from a former member who is trans. In addition to being denied access to female spaces she highlights how Jensen and Keith played central roles in spreading the anti-trans message.


I was told that in wanting access to women’s spaces I was implementing the male violation imperative. Saba Malik, Lierre Keith and Derrick all sent emails to my chapter and one other chapter that supported trans folks with the usual rad fem attacks. Gradually my group and the other chapters were presented with a choice: put up with trans phobia or hit the road. To be in DGR was to be rad fem in the exclusive sense.

Trans-TextIn the 40-minute video Rachael reads the words of DGR co-founder Lierre Keith. Keith is the author of the provocative book “The Vegetarian Myth” and editor of the “Derrick Jensen Reader” in addition to co-author of the book “Deep Green Resistance.” What exactly does Keith believe? Among other things, that the “phenomenon of trans” was created from porn culture and “that men insisting they are women is insulting and absurd.” Rachel not only celebrates Keith’s position but she labels it as DGR’s official stance and states that she can’t understand why people were bothered by it. After hearing Keith’s statement those in attendance break out in applause.


- See more at: http://www.decolonizingyoga.com/how-derrick-jensens-deep-green-resistance-supports-transphobia/#sthash.6JXwGE7u.dpuf


Any flack that Keith has received for her transphobic statements is “unfair” according to DGR. This isn’t surprising given that Keith’s statement reflects the core of the organizations beliefs. I’m not going to respond to Keith’s entire statement, but we know that people have deep felt experiences of gender throughout life which of course differentiates it from things that aren’t biological like an experience of race or class. This is why Rachel’s question “Why is being a trans woman acceptable when deciding that I’m trans black is not?” is ridiculous. Gender is influenced by both biology and society. And of course trans or gender variant people existed long before the advent of “porn culture,” in a wide variety of societies. I’m also not going to write about the entire 40-minute video but there are a few other things I wanted to touch on. Deep Green Resistance claims that the term “Cis Gender” or “Cis Woman” is deeply oppressive and offensive on many levels. Furthermore, like other radical feminist groups, they deny the existence of cis gender privilege. However, here is a list of 30 cisgender privileges. And of course cis privilege means, at the most basic level, trans women being denied access to much needed housing, health or medical services that would be granted to cis women. Another astounding claim (see video below) of Jensen’s Deep Green Resistance group is that a trans woman retains all of her male privilege despite being female appearing. Why? Because for some length of that persons life they were socialized male. This socialization, no matter how small, means they retain male privilege and socialization for life. Thus, Kim Petras, the youngest person to undergo sex reassignment surgery still retains her full male privilege because for some part of her life she was socialized as male. It’s simply stunning how someone could look at Kim Petras and believe she hasn’t lost male privilege now that she is female appearing. - See more at:

http://www.decolonizingyoga.com/how-derrick-jensens-deep-green-resistance-supports-transphobia/#sthash.6JXwGE7u.dpuf


http://www.decolonizingyoga.com/how-derrick-jensens-deep-green-resistance-supports-transphobia/