The Dangers of Detrans TERF Entryism: Lessons for Organizers from OH HB 68

By Ky Schevers and Lee Leveille, co-developers of Health Liberation Now!

This report serves as a follow-up to the previous report by Zinnia Jones, “Counterpoint: Ohio trans youth care ban veto was a victory for a gatekeeping surveillance state targeting trans adults”, which initially reported on the TERF entryism into legislative testimony and liberal press during the fight against Ohio bill HB 68. We strongly recommend reading Zinnia’s piece as it goes into the individual testimonies submitted in more detail as well as the original proposed regulations by Gov. DeWine to replace HB 68.

Over the past winter and early spring, Ohio bill HB 68 brought out a force of LGBTQ+ organizations, trans people, their families, and other allies to defend access to trans health care for trans youth. Joining them was Carey Callahan, a detransitioned woman who presents herself as being moderate and an ally to trans people compared to anti-trans detransitioned activists. Gathering testimony from nearly twenty detransitioned and desisted people, liberal press like the Washington Post celebrated the action as a brave, trans-supportive coalition against the Christian Right. Yet further investigation reveals that these supposedly pro-trans detransitioned people are not as supportive as they seem. Indeed, the majority of the testimonies were collected and submitted by Max and Kitty Robinson, two self-identified extremist TERFs. As will be shown, Callahan is still in contact with the same anti-trans detrans/desisted radical feminists she has organized with for nearly a decade, whom actually oppose trans health care, not support it. That contact led to the laundering of their testimony into legislature and press, making up the majority of the opposing testimony to HB 68 without acknowledgment of their opposition to trans health care. In contradiction to her public appearances, it’s evident that Callahan is still connected to anti-trans actors and willing to call upon them when organizing.

Below we lay out how we came to this conclusion and what Callahan needs to do if she truly wishes to make amends for her past anti-trans organizing. Until this is met, we caution activists or trans-led organizations against working with her to protect their spaces from entryism of anti-trans actors.


On October 19, 2021, Rep. Gary Click filed OH HB 454, a.k.a. the Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act, following several similar bills filed by Republican legislators across the United States and the previous failure of OH HB 513. HB 454 functioned as a form of TRAP laws targeting gender affirming care for trans adolescents under 18, imposing legal penalties on providing or funding care and extending the statute of limitations for malpractice suits for up to 20 years. The bill ultimately failed in committee hearings following community pushback. However, Rep. Click later combined the bill with a sports ban into HB 68, filed on February 27, 2023.

Noting the Republican strategy of bringing (frequently out-of-state) anti-trans detransitioned activists to testify in favor of the bills, local organizers began reaching out to detransitioners in Ohio who would be willing to oppose HB 68. They ultimately reached out to Carey Callahan, who worked with them to testify against the bill both in writing and during legislative hearings. HB 68 eventually passed but was overridden by Gov. Mike DeWine and replaced with proposals for administrative rules that amounted to a de facto ban on gender affirming care. The proposed rules not only restricted gender affirming care for minors (and, to our knowledge, still do), but also called for mass collection of data on trans people seeking gender affirming care to report to the state. Since then, the executive order overturning the bill was overturned by the Ohio House and Senate and the regulations revised to remove the de facto ban on gender affirming care for adults. Two families of trans youth filed a suit with ACLU on March 26, 2024. HB 68 is currently blocked from going into effect by an extended temporary restraining order until the end of the trial.

Health Liberation Now! (HLN) immediately became concerned about Callahan’s involvement in trans organizing in Ohio in large part due to our past organizing with her and not seeing enough evidence of change. We found it troubling that her accounts of her past left out important information about her past activist work. Lee Leveille, one of the authors of this piece, co-founded Gender Care Consumer Advocacy Network (GCCAN) with Callahan and served as its first vice president but resigned in early 2020 due to foreseeing the threat they posed to trans communities. At the time, Callahan had also resigned for unrelated reasons and continued to support the organization by promoting it and soliciting donations on Twitter. The other author, Ky Schevers, was previously a leader in the detrans/desisted radical feminist community and met Callahan in 2015 when Callahan came into contact with the community through joining a support group created by Devorah Zahav. This group, Gender Identity Drop-Outs, was for detrans women who saw themselves as “recovering from ‘gender identity’” and framed transition and acts like packing, binding and trying to pass as male as “self-harm”. Schevers, Callahan, Zahav and other detrans women worked together on a variety of activist projects, including working to influence members of WPATH. Schevers broke contact with Callahan in 2020 while disengaging from the detrans/desisted TERF subculture and the larger anti-trans movement. Both of us have been monitoring anti-trans detrans organizing since late 2020 and thus have witnessed who has been active or supporting anti-trans organizing, including from Callahan herself during the time the Washington Post claims she has changed.

Carey Callahan presents herself as having left behind anti-trans activism. She claims to be supportive of trans people of all ages, and the Washington Post presented her reappearance in 2022 as feeling “she had to undo what she’d help set in motion.” However, she has not been forthcoming about her previous connections and work with anti-trans feminists. For example, there is no mention in the Washington Post of her past attendance at TERF gatherings, including attending the last Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival to participate in a workshop on detransition that was co-led by one of the authors (Schevers). But then it doesn’t appear that she has completely broken with TERFs or sees them as a serious threat. The solicitation of testimony from known detrans/desisted TERFs she had previously worked with indicates that she maintains ties with her old community. This is in clear contradiction to her public statements attempting to distance herself from anti-trans activists. She’s willing to denounce right-wing transphobes but still works with detrans/desisted TERFs who seek to influence the left. As will be shown, this is a longstanding pattern.

While we held room for the possibility Callahan had indeed recanted her anti-trans stances since she left Twitter and distanced herself from some anti-trans activists, her organizing efforts against HB 68 shows that she is still in contact with detrans/desisted TERFs that are active in anti-trans activism. This makes continuing to work with her dangerous for trans organizers. Her ongoing connections to detrans/desisted TERFs could also potentially draw other detrans people into those networks, including the pro-trans detransitioners who had also submitted testimony to HB 68 (and thus, unfairly put on the same level as anti-trans actors without necessarily realizing it), posing a danger to their well-being as well.

Where things went wrong with the OH HB 68 testimony

Suspicions were raised that Callahan was still in contact with detrans/desisted TERFs when Max Robinson’s testimony mentioned knowing someone from Ohio and her descriptions of the Ohio pediatric trans health care system resembled Callahan’s almost word for word.

This was an immediate red flag for several reasons. Max Robinson and Carey Callahan had worked together for years. In 2016, both of them along with one of the authors (Schevers), Devorah Zahav and other detrans/desisted women attended a neopagan TERF gathering put on by Ruth Barrett, editor of the anti-trans anthology Female Erasure. Both Robinson and Callahan were featured in Jesse Singal’s Atlantic article When Children Say They’re Transgender. In February 2017, Callahan was part of a panel on detransition at the first USPATH conference where she showed short videos of detrans TERFs, including Robinson and one of the authors (Schevers). After the presentation, Callahan privately confided to the group that her presentation was “decidedly un-radical” to make it more palatable for liberal, trans-affirming clinicians.

Additionally, Callahan’s testimonies repeatedly rely on her past organizing among detransitioned women—which includes with people from the Are You Asking Why? collective such as Max and Kitty Robinson—to credentialize herself. Similarly, in TikTok videos and in the Washington Post article, she makes positive references to these detransitioned women without noting their anti-trans politics or organizing that she also participated in. Her testimonies referencing this past organizing do not acknowledge their connection to anti-trans radical feminists seeking to restrict or abolish gender affirming care, nor does she appear to acknowledge it in her social media or press outreach.

Finally, Callahan’s public call for calls or emails to Gov. DeWine to oppose OH HB 68 states “[f]or many years I had friendships and working relationships with other critics of trans healthcare who consistently called for “nuance” in ethics discussions about pediatric gender affirming care. I still believe in nuance.” (emphasis added) In this context, “I still believe in nuance” is a euphemism for “gender critical” beliefs that she had or, given this admission, still holds when calling upon other “gender critical” or TERF friends to oppose the bill.

HLN has since received confirmation that the Dec. 6th testimony from Are You Asking Why? was solicited by Callahan. Callahan got mad at Rep. Click for not meeting with her and called up detrans/desisted TERFs she knew to submit testimony as a show of force. There weren’t enough pro-trans detransitioned testimonies to outsize the anti-trans detransitioners supporting the bill. Are You Asking Why?’s testimony appears to have been put together by Max and Kitty Robinson, whom Callahan has previously worked with. Kitty Robinson posted the call for co-signing a statement on Tumblr, and Max Robinson submitted the testimony to the Ohio legislature.

Screenshot of Max Robinson (weary4u) reblogging a Tumblr post by Kitty Robinson (kittyit) calling for signatures on what would become the Are You Asking Why? testimony opposing HB 68. Tumblr/November 30, 2023

Screenshot of some of the testimonies submitted to the Ohio Legislative Committee on Government Oversight opposing HB 68. Max Robinson’s submission representing Are You Asking Why? is highlighted. Another submission by Max Robinson, representing herself, is visible at the bottom. 6, 2023

Are You Asking Why? is a project created by a group of detrans/desisted TERFs to oppose collaboration between anti-trans feminists and the Right. Their name is directed at other TERFs, urging them to ask why right-wing Christians and fascists would seek to work with them. They believe that TERFs who work with the Right are being used as pawns who will be discarded when they are no longer useful to the Right’s goals of taking power. Instead they encourage TERFs to focus on building up their own independent movement and influencing liberals and leftists when possible. Their website features both past writing by members of the collective opposing the Right and writing by other TERFs who consider themselves left-wing, such as Elizabeth Hungerford and Jayne Egerton.

On September 10 2023, Kitty Robinson, speaking as a representative of Are You Asking Why?, participated in a webinar for left-wing TERFs who oppose working with the Right organized by Katherine Acosta (a radical feminist who previously co-chaired the steering committee of Women’s Human Rights Campaign USA, now Women’s Declaration International USA, before resigning). Kitty read a short statement about the collective and their stated goals for organizing. She said that the collective “rejects the idea that the only people who care or will listen to our stories of damaging ideology and medical abuse are those in the right wing or that legal representation and coverage must come at the cost of compromising our left-wing values.” In her statement Kitty talked about right-wing detrans women as “traumatized” and “vulnerable to lovebombing”, framing them as victims being taken advantage of instead of recognizing their agency and choice to weaponize their trauma to attack trans people and further right-wing political goals. This perhaps explains why Kitty and other detrans/desisted TERFs have not been more vocal opposing right-wing detrans women, even though some such as Chloe Cole and Laura Becker present at far-right events such as TPUSA’s AmericaFest and hang out with Jan 6 insurrectionists like the Q Shaman. One can be excused for having doubts about Are You Asking Why?’s ability to oppose the Right when they can’t even hold other detrans women accountable for their right-wing activism.

While in her statement, Kitty outlined Are You Asking Why?’s goals of engaging in activism and creating resources for detrans/desisted women who oppose working with the Right, their testimony collection, which made up the bulk of the detransitioned opposition to HB 68, seems to have been the first—and only—collective action they have done since forming in mid-2023. The only time they have ever shown up as a group is when Callahan called for help.

Liberal press—including independent trans-led press—began circulating the testimony as evidence that there was more detransitioned opposition to legislative bans than in favor. While this is technically true, said liberal press left out the TERF politics of Are You Asking Why? and how they are not opposed to restrictions on gender affirming care, they just prefer them through medical channels instead of legislative. This laundered their views into something more palatable for the larger public, ultimately contributing to their entryism strategies used to influence the social atmosphere against gender affirming care for all ages in favor of anti-trans feminist conversion practices. This is the same strategy they have been using with Callahan for years.

This particular group of detrans/desisted TERFs have opposed right-wing collaboration ever since groups like Women’s Liberation Front started working with conservative Christian groups like the Heritage Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom in the late 2010s. In 2017, one of the authors (Schevers) co-wrote a statement with Callahan and Devorah Zahav urging detrans people not to work with the ADF. In 2018, detrans TERFs publicly objected to Ryan Anderson, then of the Heritage Foundation, using their stories in his anti-trans book When Harry Became Sally. Detrans/desisted TERFs are part of a faction of the TERF movement that consider themselves left-wing and see such collaboration with the Right as harming their own political goals and threatening their interests.

Such TERFs are interested in influencing and recruiting liberals and leftists. More specifically, detrans/desisted TERFs seek to infiltrate and recruit from queer and trans communities. Such entryism is much harder to pull off when one of the most visible TERF organization brags about their alliances with the Right and many of the most visible detrans activists are right-wing (She’s Right You Know podcast, May 20 2024, 8:10-8:32). They also recognize that the Right is a threat to their own freedom, safety and well-being. They see how the Right is seeking to strip not only trans people but also gay people and women of their rights and autonomy and is using attacks on trans people as a way to impose their patriarchal authoritarianism on the US and the rest of the world. None of this means that they truly support trans people’s freedom and well-being, only that they are in conflict with conservative Christians, other right-wingers, and the TERFs who work with them.

Beaver, a desisted Canadian TERF and spokeswoman for Are You Asking Why?, recently appeared on Katherine Acosta’s podcast in an episode titled Feminism & Consciousness-Raising as Antidotes to Gender Identity Ideology. Aside from speaking of her own conversion to anti-trans feminism and her belief that “consciousness raising” can cure gender dysphoria, Beaver admitted to Acosta that some members of Are You Asking Why? do want to legally restrict pediatric transition. She stated that the group has “a very diverse, um, membership. So like one of the things that we disagree on within the group is some people do think it would be good for government in whichever area to restrict access to pediatric transition, and others think that it shouldn’t be restricted at all. That’s not the purview of the government.” She went on to say that “I personally think that access to medical transition should be the purview of medical ethics, that it shouldn’t be a left-right political issue. It should be a medical policy issue.” Acosta then asked her “[s]o then if people wanted to have activism around it, they would campaign and direct their activism toward medical governing bodies rather than legislative” to which Beaver answered in the affirmative. (She’s Right You Know podcast, May 20 2024, 12:10-13:05)

This exchange is a good illustration of how detrans/desisted TERFs still want to restrict or eliminate medical transition but many are opposed to legally banning it. Rather they seek to influence medical professionals and organizations to make it harder to access transition and favor “psychological interventions” and “alternative treatments” grounded in radical feminist theory. The resources page on the Are You Asking Why? website links to an article by Helen Lewis that decries healthcare bans but praises European countries that impose psych assessments and other forms of gatekeeping on trans youth seeking care. Lewis states:

“A proper systematic review of child-transition care by the American medical establishment might well uncover the same blurry picture now agreed upon by doctors in England, France, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Clinical guidelines would have to change as a result, stressing the importance of assessment and therapy, and clinics would have to get better at collecting long-term follow-up data. In the meantime, the United States should take after Europe.”

As witnessed by increasing restrictions on trans health care in the UK, this approach is just as much a threat to trans people’s autonomy as the bans being passed by Republicans in the US. An enemy of our enemies is not our ally, just different kind of enemy to watch out for and oppose.

The realities behind Max and Kitty Robinson and the testimonies they gathered against HB 68

Max and Kitty Robinson are self-described extremists based out of Klamath Falls, OR who’ve been involved in anti-trans activism for close to a decade. They draw inspiration from the likes of Valerie Solanas, author of the SCUM Manifesto (Women Talking About Their Lives, Episode 4, Part 1 12:20-12:27), and TERFs like Janice Raymond and Mary Daly (Detransition: Beyond Before and After Chapter 7). Max wrote an anti-transition book called Detransition: Beyond Before and After which her partner Kitty helped her edit. When she was seeking to publish her book, she got in touch with Janice Raymond who helped her get published with Spinifex, an Australian SWERF/TERF press (Women Talking About Their Lives, Episode 4, 35:54-37:17). Raymond also cited and consulted Max and Kitty for her most recent anti-trans book Doublethink and thanks both in the acknowledgments. Max was interviewed by UK TERF journalist Julie Bindel when her book came out. In another book interview on Women Talking About Their Lives, both Max and Kitty shared “we have extremist hearts.” (Women Talking About Their Lives, Episode 4, 35:20). She also helped Tina Minkowitz draft the Theydon Bois Principles alongside Devorah, the document that eventually became the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights from the transeliminationist organization Women’s Declaration International (then known as Women’s Human Rights Campaign).

Kitty Robinson is a rabid transmisogynist who is fixated on attempting to prove that trans women are more prone to commit rape and abuse while framing such harm as “male violence”. She self-published an anthology called You Told Me You Were Different that’s composed of stories of violence and assault committed by trans women and transfeminine people, supposedly written by the victims. This is not unlike how white supremacists gather real or invented stories of violence committed by people of color, which is then used as “evidence” that people of color are inherently violent. She was interviewed and provided background information to Catherine Lowery, a UK journalist who wrote a BBC article about how trans women were allegedly pressuring cis lesbians to have sex with them. Among the cis lesbians interviewed for the piece was Lily Cade, an ex-porn star who had committed numerous sexual assaults herself and released a manifesto calling for trans women to be murdered. Kitty’s story wasn’t featured in the article but she still celebrated it after it came out.

Kitty has been known to stalk and harass trans women, including trying to get them fired from their jobs. She picks on trans women who she views as abusers or otherwise dangerous based on their social media posts. In one instance she collected these social media posts and attempted to share them with the trans women’s place of employment to get her fired. Another trans woman Kitty went after was indie musician Ethel Cain, again for the “crime” of making edgy social media posts. This is obviously not a good faith effort to stop abuse but a way to rationalize her aggression and hatred towards trans women.

One of Kitty’s most recent projects is editing another anthology called What Must be Done about “women killing men”. Trans women would be included in Kitty’s definition of “men” along with cis men. In the call for submissions, Kitty says that “[o]ne intention for the anthology is a focus on women’s reasons and inner worlds when they choose to kill, not on the violence itself” and that “this is women doing what must be done for practicality’s sake, a measured decision”. Kitty has previously encouraged the idea that men must be removed or eliminated to end male violence against women. At a gathering for detrans/desisted women attended by one of the authors (Schevers) in 2019, Kitty engaged other attendees in a “thought experiment” where she asked them if they would push a button to remove all the men from the earth. She said that if you weren’t willing to push that button then you were “choosing men over women”.

Both Max and Kitty Robinson are anti-therapy and anti-psychiatry. In her book, Max has lambasted journalists and clinicians for misrepresenting her position: “Journalists or therapists always assume that I believe that better therapists or therapeutic guidelines are the best response to the existence of women who stop transition, and I am tired of it. It’s a defanging of my actual position which I have often already clearly stated: I am deeply hostile to the concept of paying a professional to act as an authority figure regarding my inner life.” (Detransition: Before and After, Chapter 5). Kitty has defended Max’s criticisms of therapy and argued that they are part of a lesbian feminist theoretical tradition of critically examining psychiatry. As people opposed to things like therapy and assessments, this makes them a strange choice to ask for help when Carey Callahan stresses the need for more assessments. Indeed, Callahan knows of their positions and acknowledges them in videos, but dismisses them as a collective “mental health concerns” that are uncontrolled. (TikTok, Detranslightful, March 13 2024) This is in direct conflict with Max Robinson’s position, ironically placing Callahan herself into the category of therapists misrepresenting Max’s position despite having been friends. According to Max, “[i]nstead of relying on well-paid, thoroughly credentialed professionals, lesbians in crisis should be able to rely on ourselves and those close to us—and “to the extent that we are not, that is an indictment of our movement” (Kitzinger and Perkins, 1993, p. 105)”. (Detransition: Before and After, Chapter 5)

The Washington Post describes the supposedly “pro-trans” testimony by detrans people against HB 68 as victory for Callahan and evidence of trans/detrans collaboration:

“As they strode into the Statehouse, Callahan beamed. Callahan had contacted dozens of detransitioners, and asked whether they would join her in testifying against Ohio’s ban. Nineteen submitted testimony — nearly triple the number who’d testified in favor of Ohio’s bill. It was more than had ever testified in one state.”

But were these testimonies actually helpful or did they encourage Gov DeWine’s own attempts to regulate and restrict medical transition for minors and adults? Examining the testimony of Callahan as well as that of Max Robinson and other members Are You Asking Why? complicates the narrative of detrans people coming in to defend trans people access to healthcare. Both Callahan and the collective statement from Are You Asking Why? praised Ohio clinics for their conservatism in treating trans youth, holding up how they rarely prescribe hormones and never perform surgery as an example for other states to follow. Without providing evidence to support their statements, they claim that this approach prevents detransition while implying that states where pediatric transition is more accessible have higher rates of detransition. In her op-ed against HB 68 Callahan emphasized how Ohio clinics “prioritize counseling over medical interventions” for trans youth and claim that such youth “receive skilled guidance that resolves their gendered distress without surgery”. Later, when DeWine proposed his regulations, his press secretary Dan Tierney justified these regulations using similar arguments, saying that “two-thirds of those who receive therapy for gender dysphoria” at clinics in Ohio serving trans youth “do not go on with further treatment”. Is it that much of stretch to wonder if the supposedly “pro-trans” testimonies of Callahan and the Are You Asking Why? Collective encouraged the DeWine Administration to restrict access to medical transition using regulations instead of an outright ban?

In any case, we don’t need help from TERFs who believe we should be “morally mandated out of existence” in line with—and while working with—Janice Raymond herself, who has targeted trans rights worldwide for decades. We don’t need help from TERFs who harass and stalk trans women, accusing random trans women of being sexual predators, when trans women are already constantly under attack just for existing. It doesn’t matter if the TERFs are opposed to the Religious Right, people who do not want us to exist are not our allies and should not be presented as such or brought to the table when we’re fighting for our lives.

Since Max and Kitty Robinson are self-described extremists whose anti-trans views have only deepened over time, we have little hope of them changing. Thus action should be taken to limit their influence and ability to do harm. While they have nothing like the reach of right-wing Christian groups like the Heritage Foundation or pseudo-scientific organizations like SEGM, they’ve still managed to cause damage by spreading anti-transition propaganda and attacking trans women. We’ve exposed their role in generating false “pro-trans” detrans testimony in order to combat their efforts at TERF entryism into our movements.

Is Carey Callahan also worth writing off as an ally? That’s up to her own actions and what she decides to do next.

What Carey Callahan needs to do

Carey Callahan has already laid out the problem in her own words: “Unfortunately, your proximity to those viewpoints lends them credibility. So, in the end, that is what you end up having to be accountable for. The credibility you gave other people who ended up being really radical and really transphobic.” (TikTok, Detranslightful, Sept. 12 2023)

This has been the main problem with Callahan’s organizing work over the past 9-10 years. In places like the first USPATH conference, the Atlantic, and GCCAN, Callahan has repeatedly worked with and therefore presented anti-trans detransitioned organizers as potential allies to liberals. This lent them credibility in ways that enabled entryism and caused long-term harm to the public and professional perception of gender affirming care and detransition. Yet in her case, it isn’t just being in proximity to transphobes, it’s continuously facilitating their reach to a broader audience while washing away the extreme anti-trans politics that would identify them as TERFs or “gender critical”.

According to the Washington Post, Callahan plans on continuing to organize with trans people. Therefore, if she truly wishes to make things right, she first needs to:

  • Acknowledge publicly and formally apologize to the larger trans and detrans communities for her own role in the creation of anti-trans detransitioned movements. Some members of which are still active and she defends or relies on them for support. Distancing herself from rightwing detransitioned organizers is not enough. By her own acknowledgment, Callahan has been organizing with detransitioners for close to 10 years, during which she has held leadership positions and had clear public sway through her social media and media appearances. Which means that she needs to own up to the harms that she herself has contributed. Stop deflecting all responsibility onto the actions of others, stop being vague about the specifics of what she’s been involved with, and actually say “I’m sorry for the harm I’ve caused.”
  • Account for how her “outreach” has contributed to the hostile political climate for trans youth and adults. This ties into the previous bullet. Jesse Singal’s Atlantic article When Children Say They’re Transgender did enormous damage to the public perception of gender affirming care for trans youth and has been repeatedly cited by conservative legal teams to target trans rights. Her networking with clinicians providing care for trans youth, such as with the Ohio hospital clinics that she continuously praises for their conservative approach, contributes to gatekeeping models that can prevent them from accessing puberty blockers or hormones when they need them.Her role in co-founding GCCAN is also key to acknowledge: she was not just a peer in the process, she was the one who put out the original organizing call, ran the organizing meetings, and was the organization’s first president. She did this to establish the path for future leadership of GCCAN, of which then went on to target trans rights in media, legislation in multiple states, “gender critical” panels, and elsewhere.

    In order to formally apologize to the broader trans and detrans communities, Callahan needs to recognize both privately and publicly the power she held in shaping these narratives instead of merely presenting them as her being used, taken out of context, or being out of sync with other group members.

  • Completely cut ties to TERFs and any other anti-trans individuals/groups she’s still in contact with. The fact that she still maintains contact with them is part of how TERF testimonies were uncritically laundered into legislature and liberal press. Seeing as this is a strategy she has used in the past to influence trans health care, to undo that risk she would need to remove herself entirely from TERF and “gender-critical” activist circles.
  • Commit to unlearning transphobia/transmisogyny and takes full responsibility for her past actions. If she still thinks it’s appropriate to work with people like Max and Kitty Robinson, she still has a lot of work to do on herself. She needs to reckon not only with the transphobia and transmisogyny of our old group, but also her own transphobia and transmisogyny over the course of the past decade. She needs to be honest about her ties to detrans/desisted TERFs instead of burying it under vagueness and acknowledge how being involved with that network contributed to her own bigotry towards trans people that contributed to her anti-trans activism over the years. And stop pushing corrections on media articles to claim no affiliation when there is clear evidence of the contrary. To be a true ally, identity doesn’t matter—behavior does.
  • Turn over evidence she has to trans hate researchers and/or antifascists. This could include, but is certainly not limited to:
    • Communications with and documents worked on alongside anti-trans conversion therapists and researchers like Lisa Marchiano, Lisa Littman, and any others now connected to anti-trans groups like Genspect or SEGM, which use their work to target trans youth and adults in legislature, media and academia.
    • Communications and information of actions done with detrans/desisted TERFs, such as media appearances, information given to affirming clinicians to sway their practices, responses to bills filed or passed, and panels presented to liberal audiences.
    • Communications surrounding the organization of and support given to GCCAN, both during and after her resignation as president.
    • Communications with julie graham and other clinicians about the detransition panel to USPATH 2017 that included detrans/desisted TERFs while leaving out their political views.
    • Communications with anti-trans (“gender critical”) feminists such as Heather Brunskell-Evans, who edited an anthology Callahan’s writing appeared in. Brunskell-Evans went on to found Women’s Declaration International, which has been targeting trans people in collaboration with the Religious Right across the globe.
    • Communications with “anti-cult researchers” such as Steven Hassan, who now use detransition as a way to portray trans people as part of a cult.
    • Communications and actions done with anti-trans parents such as 4thWaveNow to contribute to propaganda continuously used to target gender affirming care for trans youth—and, now, adults.

Until she does this, she needs to pull back from all trans and detrans activism. There are too many conflicts of interest, hidden connections, and lack of personal accountability or transparency for her to be a useful ally. Additionally, her impulsive behavior—which is what led to the seeking of TERF testimony during HB 68 in the first place—makes her a liability in terms of political strategizing.

We are sensitive to the fact that Callahan views these anti-trans detrans/desisted TERFs as helping her in the early stages of her detransition when she needed support. This creates a particular kind of emotional bond that is hard to reconcile with their harmful politics towards trans people. Which is why it is even more important to do the work of recognizing how their politics are harmful, what it means for trans people, and how to build true solidarity when working with people. You can’t say that you support trans people while still maintaining contact with anti-trans actors that are working to eliminate our health care, particularly if they are going to submit to things you ask for help on our behalf. It’s also necessary to truly acknowledge the harm of the past work done and take extra steps to make up for it.

While it is certainly possible that she is in denial about her own role in the current political crisis and believes that she truly meant well, the fact of the matter is that her public statements and her actions run in contradiction to each other in ways that put organizing against anti-trans actors at risk. Callahan needs to step back from detrans activism in any capacity until she has accounted for her own contributions and worked through her issues. During this time other organizers should steer clear of working with her to protect their own movements and people.

Read more research into anti-trans movements at Health Liberation Now!

This entry was posted in Anti-trans detransitioners, Are You Asking Why? Collective, Influence groups, Ohio, Politics, Regret and detransition, TERFs. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *