A leading lesbian activist Miriam Ben-Shalom, was originally invited to serve as grand marshall for the upcoming Milwaukee Pride Parade but has had the invitation rescinded after event organisers became aware of her vocal opposition to transgender rights.
Despite having a history of fighting for gay rights, including making history as the first gay military service member to be reinstated after having been discharged for being gay, as well as having twice chained herself to the White House fence to protest ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ rules, Ben-Shalom has expressed criticism of the transgender community, having claimed that transgender women are not ‘real’ women and a threat in bathrooms.
The invitation to lead the upcoming Pride parade was revoked when it was brought to the attention of the event organisers that Ben-Shalom had posted several messages on her social media accounts condemning trans-rights, as well as making accusations that trans-women could pose a threat to ‘women born women’ and girls if given access to women’s bathrooms.
The Milwaukee Pride Parade organisers wrote to her to inform her of their decision. ‘It was brought to our attention that your Facebook page contains a number of posts asserting that transwomen are a danger to young girls in public bathrooms and locker rooms. We cannot have a Grand Marshal who has publically and repeatedly denigrated trans women.’
Ben-Shalom responded by referring to the organisers as a ‘bunch of moral reprobates’ as well as stating that she believes that ‘women born women have the right to safe spaces of their own’.
‘I see that Milwaukee Pride cares more about men than it does about women,’ she said, further insulting transgender women by denying their gender. ‘My fight is ensuring that women are safe from the pretenders who might use the trans issue to get in and hurt somebody.’
‘If trans women were real women, they would get it!’
This is not the first incident in which Ben-Shalom has made a point of ignoring or excluding the trans community, having been a co-founder of the ‘Gay, Lesbian and Bi-Sexual Veterans of America’ group, a group that from the very name excludes transgender servicemen and women.
She has invoked women’s safety as her primary reason for trans-exclusion, referring to herself as a PERF, penis exclusionary radical feminist. Launching into a tirade she claims that trans women threaten to kill cis women over trans issues and cites that as her reasons for condemning trans people.
‘When I consider what the trans community did to the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival and the threats that were made there that I personally saw and heard and when I consider the threats directed at women who stand up to speak out about women’s safety, I became firmer in my estimation of who these people really are and what trans means to – it appears – a great many people. No woman I know would threaten to kill another woman because of an opinion No woman I know would call others who differ in opinions the nastiest words in the English language.
‘Therefor, Pride Parade Committee: You are no better than those who threaten to hurt women born women simply because they wished to be in a nurturing environment with others who were likeminded. One may hope you take the so-called Trans community to task for all of the threats and nastiness heaped on women as you took me.’
— Milwaukee Pride (@mkepride) June 10, 2016
Two years past and there remains some confusion about the removal of Miriam Ben-Shalom as Grand Marshall. Milwaukee Pride offered this to Planet Trans on 11/2/2018 in hopes of clarifying their position:
The Milwaukee Pride Parade is a separate organization, with its own board of directors and budget, and has existed independently of Milwaukee Pride since 2005. We were in no way involved with the selection of Miriam Ben-Shalom, but we strongly supported her removal as Grand Marshall …
Various transphobic individuals have shown their support for Ben-Shalom, sharing similar views as her in articles filled with transphobic language, misgendering and denials of transgender identity.