A PDF file has been circulated in WhatsApp groups last week, containing a list of 20 women who “contribute to turn trans people’s lives much worse,” it has emerged. The document properties reveal the date of its creation - March 15, 2023 - and the author of the file as an individual called Bruna G Benevides.
The name of the alleged author, Bruna Benevides, is listed as a “political articulation secretary” at organization ANTRA, a Brazilian trans rights group. “Bruna”, according to official Brazilian documents, is also “Bruna Gurgel Batista” but was registered at birth as a male called ”Jhonison.” The document contains a picture of each woman listed, next to a short “biography” over a background in pink or in blue.
The document urges the reader to notice the “similarities” between the speech by “left-wing feminists and TERFs/RADFEMs” and the “extreme right and religious fundamentalists.” The author or authors of the PDF file also claim that, even though these women “apparently” disagree on issues like abortion or sexual and reproductive rights, they are “cisgender women” who are “united against trans rights… hand in hand in the fight against trans rights and their existence.”
Among the non-Brazilian women listed in the document are longlife feminists like Sheila Jeffreys, Janice Raymond and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. J. K. Rowling is also mentioned as “allied with anti-trans groups” and “funding campaigns against trans rights around the world.” Ms Jeffreys is accused of “disseminating the anti-trans narrative” used in masculinist groups like “4Chan,” while Ms Adichieis accused of having supported J. K. Rowling after she refused to retract from her views that “women are women and transwomen are transwomen.”
The file, which contains typos and badly constructed sentences, also mentions a leftist philosopher Djamila Ribeiro, who faced backlash in December 2022 for challenging the use of terms such as “people who menstruate” to refer to women. In the document, Ms Ribeiro’s description claims that she “came out in defense of arguments disseminated by ‘transphonive’ feminists.” The original wording in the file was ‘transvónicas’, which was an attempt to write “transfóbicas” (transphobes).
Other feminists included are Carmen Alves, a WDI Brazil member, and Raquel Marques, a former politician who lost her mandate after she posted to Facebook that she wished that the “lack of respect for kids would gain the same indignation and fervor among leftists as “transphobia” does.” Another city councilor, Verô Moraes, is accused of “writing articles directly attacking trans people in sports or in prison.” Journalist Patricia Lelis is mentioned as an “anti-trans campaigner funded by extreme far-right americans.” Lelis came under trans activists’ fire when she shared on her Instagram account the video of a woman who challenged the presence of a trans-identified male in the female changing rooms at WiSpa, in Los Angeles. Lelis is a member of the Brazilian Labour party and has stated in a recent podcast that she allies with radical feminism.
Strangely, the document lists women like public prosecutor Tatiana Dornelles, who wrote a book about trans-identified men in female prisons, and right-wing women like psychiatrist Akemi Shiba, Janaina Paschoal and former minister Damares Alves, who became the source of controversy in 2020 after evidence emerged of her alleged involvement in an attempt to prevent a 10 year old girl from having an abortion after rape.
Brazilian trans activists have been creating “Terf Lists” for years
Feminist “Aline Coelho” told 4W she has appeared in TERF lists several times over the years. Coelho recalled that the first time she saw a “terf list” was in 2012, written by an individual called “Hailey Kaas”. “I always considered it a bit of a ‘clownery’ and never gave too much attention to these lists,” Coelho said.
Several other women featured in previous TERF lists, that 4W spoke with, have confirmed that women have been targeted in this way for years. Some feminists said that they even joked about “making” - or not making it - to the “Uni Terf” list, as these listings resembled University website lists of approved students.
“We ‘nicknamed it [these lists] as “I was approved at UniTerf”, told another feminist, Daiane Novaes. “Yes, I have made these lists”, she said, “And we turned the fear we had from these trans activists into a big internal joke among us, a way to unite us and also a way of celebrating great women from the second wave of feminism, because we were being named alongside Simone de Beauvoir, Sheila Jeffreys.”
“But now this [the PDF file] is more serious. They use pictures of these women without permission and are defaming them. One of the women featured, Eloisa Samy, wants to sue them.”
Two of the leftist women targeted in the file spoke to 4W about this type of targeting. Journalist Eugenia Rodrigues, from campaign “In The Right Body”, warning about the danger of hormonal and surgical transition in minors, said she has also been named in previous “terf lists” and was “not surprised” to make the PDF file. “I live a normal life and people know my face.” She has been questioning trans politics since 2013, denouncing the pimping lobby luring boys and men into prostitution, at a time she still thought there could be some form of “reconciliation” between women’s rights and trans rights.
“I was wrong,” Eugenia said. “We have to speak the truth.” Regarding the file, she says that she still tries to “take things with humor” but there's always a concern because she is a woman and men have always been violent toward women since the creation of patriarchal systems. She recalled a saying by Brazilian female farmers: “When they are asked if they are afraid, they say ‘afraid we are, we do have fear, but we have no use for it’.”
Another woman, Anne Rammi, a mothers' rights activist, says she “woke up one morning with dozens of messages” telling her she had been included in a PDF file called “Some examples of cisgender women who have contributed to make trans people’s lives much worse.”
“People were showing great concern with my safety and I couldn't understand why," Rammi said. "What I saw was a list of women who disagree with the concept that biological sex doesn't exist. I thought it was only logical that the list would have women from different political spectrums. I wasn't offended but I know the intention was to defame."
"It shows in a very clear way how women are always persecuted. What we have in common is not that we're all 'transphobes',” says Rammi, “what we have in common is that we're all females. I've never seen a list publicly accusing criminal men who physically assault or kill trans-identified males. The feminist women named are legit activists for women's rights and I was honored to be in a list with them.”
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