A bit of a background: around 2015, when I was 30, I founded an online feminist magazine in Slovakia. My goal was to bring the booming international feminist scene closer to the Slovaks, by translating articles from English and publishing our own. I noticed that the local feminism had lacked accessible language prior to that. Our legacy feminists believed women’s rights happen when you sound like Judith Butler, and I saw there was a need for texts that were smart, but not pretentious. I considered myself an intersectional feminist then and for my very first article I chose to do an interview with a trans-identified female. A few years later, I reached some visibility, and relative prominence.
However, in 2018, I stumbled upon a picture on Twitter. You’ve probably seen it as well: a male shows almost all his teeth in a wide smile while wearing a fake-bloody T-shirt saying “I punch TERFs.” Although I spent three prior years in the belief that it is feminist to say “trans women are women,” I could still recognize male violence when I saw it. I started to investigate: what did the “TERFs” do to deserve such threats? I found out they “misgendered” someone. “Not cool,” I thought, but I found the response by trans activists very inappropriate. That’s when I started to follow more gender critical people, and after a year, I became a full-blown TERF.
Then, in Fall 2019, I became an open TERF. The usual backlash ensued and my reputation as a feminist organizer in my small Eastern European country was destroyed. As my Slovak platform was canceled, I found home in the international gender critical sphere. Thanks to the founder of this website, M.K Fain, I started remotely working at 4W in 2020 - first as a proofreader, then a writer, editor and graphic artist.
While I was purposely ignoring Slovak LGBTQA++/feminist events during the pandemic, when it ended, I was drawn back into the local mix. Venturing out to meet people, I noticed that the gender ideology mind virus has spread. One January day in 2023, I saw a cashier in my grocery store, a trans-identified female, sporting a male-name badge, while her colleagues called her “he.” This was the first time that I saw a trans-identified person outside of ideologically friendly events. Next, a neighbor told me his teenage daughter identified as nonbinary. I also noticed increased woke radicalization within the group of progressive journalists. To illustrate - around 2021, some started to call Christians “Christianists,” alleging they are as radicalized and bigoted as Islamists.
And then, in October of last year, a tragic incident happened. A nineteen year old man shot up an LGBT bar in Bratislava, Slovakia’s Capital. Juraj Krajcik killed two young men and injured a woman, then ended his own life. Before the horrific act, he published a manifesto in English, praising other mass shooters that had come before him in Western countries and exposing his white supremacists beliefs. “Terrorgram Collective,” Krajcik addressed his social network. “You know who you are…. Building the future of the White revolution, one publication at a time.”
As if this murder wasn't bad enough, the response of Slovak progressives, either in the media, politics or NGOs, made things worse. Instead of investigating the killer’s motives, they pointed the finger at Christians and conservatives. The LGBT bar owner addressed these groups after the attack, with a statement: “You have blood on your hands, all of you who have wished to ban us from the public space. You have sown hate and the death of two people is the fruit.” The outrageous and plainly wrong claim that Slovak conservatives are responsible for Krajcik’s terrorist attack was then repeated by many journalists, politicians and public figures.
This narrative resonated with the European Commission as well. In response to the shooting, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) sent a delegation to Slovakia to “investigate.” However, instead of truly looking at the source of Krajcik’s radicalization, they criticized the non-existence of registered partnership legislation, or same-sex marriages. They also blamed the “restrictive gender transition laws.” As a Slovak commentator poignantly wrote, “they probably meant to tell us that had minority members undergone sex-reassignment surgeries, they would have been better protected against terrorists.”
Following these events, the “rainbowization” of Slovakia accelerated - both literally, in terms of more rainbow and progress flags displayed in public and figuratively, with more space for LGBTQA++ in the media, more vilification of conservatives and less safeguards in gender transitions.
So who’s on the gender critical side here?
Since I’ve reacquainted myself with the local version of the gender wars, I noticed the weakness of our conservative political opposition. Not in terms of intensity, but a lack of sophistication. If it’s hard to imagine, picture what it would be like if Helen Joyce, Kara Dansky, Kathleen Stock, Meghan Murphy and all the other smart people argued for the trans activist side and the only gender critics you’d have left were Matt Walsh minus the intellect, Donald Trump and Seb Gorka.
I am not even concerned with the lack of atheists or former progressives speaking out against gender identity in Slovakia. I don’t care whether the opposition to the mutilation cult is Christian, conservative, Buddhist or gnostic - I simply need it to be smart.
Notwithstanding a handful of journalists and intellectuals, smart it is not. I’ll demonstrate by an account of a discussion broadcast recently on Slovak TV. Last Friday, three men and three women were guests of a moderator who called his show “They allegedly wish to make trans people’s lives harder.” This was an allusion to a bill banning all legal sex changes, recently introduced by two conservative politicians. The bill is itself a reaction to the update of the transsexuality guidelines that removes some gender transition safeguards, signed by a former minister into existence this year.
As the two female conservative MPs who introduced the bill were not part of the panel, two other conservatives took their place - member of the parliament Mr. Gymesi, and Mr. Chromik, a Christian NGO representative. While the discussion’s goal was to have a conversation about the meaning and effect of the proposed legislation, it all turned out quite differently.
The whole event was a dumpster fire from the beginning. The opening salvo was by a female progressive politician who deplored the fact that no trans people were part of the discussion and proceeded to read aloud a statement by a “trans woman.” The next speaker, conservative Mr. Gymesi, managed only to respond that “you cannot deny biology, and with that we could end this discussion. If someone is born with XX chromosomes, it’s a woman. If someone’s born with XY chromosomes, it’s a man.” The next conservative speaker’s contribution was actually painful to watch. Mr. Chromik, in a very out of context way, started his speech by mentioning the Nashville terrorist attack by a trans-identified shooter. In another contribution, he, out of the blue again, tried to pull a Matt Walsh and asked the woke side of the panel “what is a woman?”
Although I cannot deny that, further on, the men present had some good arguments while they were being unfairly and aggressively attacked by the opposing side (a woke politician accused them of “being obsessed with penises”), they left many trans activists’ talking points unaddressed.
If people who possess more skills do not soon join this fight, I worry that gender ideology and the Slovak version of wokism will become much more entrenched in the fabric of society than they are now. Currently, Slovakia can be still considered relatively diverse in terms of opinion. Although cancel culture is budding, the situation is nowhere near being as bad as in the Western World. Yet.
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