The thesis of this article is that there are significant similarities in beliefs between Trans Rights Activists (TRAs) and what have been jokingly called Branch Covidians (BCs).
What is a TRA?
A Trans Rights Activist (TRA) is someone that has specific certain beliefs. The core belief among TRAs is that every human being has an innate ‘gender identity’. This gender identity is considered to define whether one is a man or a woman (or non-binary or any other possible ‘identity’) rather than biological sex. This leads to the assertions that ‘Trans Women are Women, Trans Men are Men, Non-Binary people are Non-Binary’. It follows from this that laws should be changed to get rid of biological sex and replace it with gender identity and that all women’s toilets, changing rooms etc. should be open to ‘trans women’ under all circumstances. Any evidence raised by women that this policy harms them is dismissed, and the women are called ‘transphobic’ ‘TERF’ etc.
What is a BC?
A Branch Covidian (BC) is someone who fully and uncritically supports the Official Covid Narrative. This narrative states that Covid 19 is an extraordinarily deadly virus and the only way to deal with it is endless lockdowns, masks, and social distancing. The efficacy of lockdowns, masks, and social distancing is assumed as a matter of fact, and anyone who raises evidence, even from official sources, that these measures do not work is dismissed as a ‘crank’, ‘conspiracy theorist’, and ‘granny killer’. As a note, I did not coin the term ‘Branch Covidian’ I simply stole it from someone on Twitter.
1. Science Denial – While Claiming Science Supports Them
Both TRAs and BCs endlessly invoke ‘scientific evidence’ for their position.
The TRA generally tries to undermine the concept and relevance of human sexual dimorphism i.e. the blatantly obvious statement that there are two biological sexes in the human species, male and female. They do this by attempting to invoke flawed biological arguments relating to intersex conditions. A small number of people have medical conditions which mean that their biological sex is not obvious at birth. TRAs use this point in order to try to argue that therefore biological sex is a spectrum and not binary. In reality this is not the case and intersex people are either male or female.
BCs are also fond of faux scientific arguments for their position. This applies to lockdowns but it’s most obvious in the realm of mask wearing. In terms of lockdowns, they argue that lockdowns ‘control the virus’ and thus prevent deaths. In reality this is not the case. As I argued at Off Guardian, Belarus had fewer excess deaths than England and Wales during Apr-Jun 2020, despite the fact that Belarus did not have a lockdown. This is hardly the only evidence against lockdowns: The American Institute for Economic Research compiled a list of studies about lockdowns showing that they do not work.
Masks deserve their own separate analysis. The BCs like to post memes about how masks work, claiming that masks significantly reduce the risk of infection. In reality, pretty much every study prior to 2020, when the issue became politicised, showed the ineffectiveness of masks. Independent journalist Ryan Cristian has complied a list of mask studies – many from bodies such as the American National Institute of Health – showing the lack of efficacy of masks in preventing viral infection and the harmful effects of wearing them. Going through these studies (I have looked at some of them) it is clear that the evidence for masks is extremely weak at best. I can only cite a couple of examples for length. This study on pregnant healthcare workers states:
Breathing through N95 mask materials have been shown to impede gaseous exchange and impose an additional workload on the metabolic system of pregnant healthcare workers, and this needs to be taken into consideration in guidelines for respirator use.
This is from a study that looked at another 14 studies, from the available abstract:
Compared to no masks there was no reduction of influenza-like illness (ILI) cases (Risk Ratio 0.93, 95%CI 0.83 to 1.05) or influenza (Risk Ratio 0.84, 95%CI 0.61-1.17) for masks in the general population, nor in healthcare workers (Risk Ratio 0.37, 95%CI 0.05 to 2.50). There was no difference between surgical masks and N95 respirators: for ILI (Risk Ratio 0.83, 95%CI 0.63 to 1.08), for influenza (Risk Ratio 1.02, 95%CI 0.73 to 1.43).
This scientific evidence is ignored.
2. Endless Mantras and Virtue Signalling
Both these groups have mantras that one is supposed to repeat and intone endlessly. For the TRAs, the main mantra is ‘Trans Women are Women’. ‘Trans Men are Men’ and ‘Non Binary people are who they say they are’ also score as important mantras, but not as highly as TWAW does (because trans activism is about the feelings of men). This is stated by politicians, journalists, and trans activist lobby groups endlessly. The main mantra used by the BCs is ‘Stay Safe’, duly placed at the end of every email and tweet. There are of course endless government approved mantras, which the likes of Johnson and Hancock promote and that appear on every piece of government advertising.
Both of these groups are also very fond of virtue signalling. Virtue Signalling can be defined as when one states a position purely because of the pats on the back one gets on social media. This is generally done instead of actually doing something to help people. This is rampant among both TRAs and BCs. A significant virtue signal is the ‘pronouns in bio’, where a ‘cisgender’ person puts ‘their pronouns’ (i.e. how anyone looking at them would probably refer to them) in their bio in order to ‘be inclusive of trans and non binary people’. The BC equivalent is the ‘mask selfie’: using a profile picture of oneself wearing a mask. There is absolutely no rational need to use a profile picture with a mask on. The only reason is to pat oneself on the back for how great one is for wearing a mask.
3. Male Entitlement Vs. Furlough Entitlement
One of the key similarities between these two groups is that they both ignore the harms inflicted by their ideological belief because they do not belong to the groups that are harmed. Obviously, this section involves generalisation.
Women are the group that are most harmed by gender identity ideology, due to men ‘identifying’ as women invading women’s spaces, such as changing rooms and sports. Women in prison are physically put at risk by males who claim to be women in their prisons (in some cases these males commit rape.) Lesbians are particularly harmed due to the pressure on them to include trans-identified males in their sex life. Girls, who are often lesbian and/or autistic, are the primary target for puberty blockers, cross sex hormones and surgery at a young age. Gay men are also harmed due to being pressured to sexually include trans-identified females in their sex life and also at gender clinics as many effeminate boys grow up to be gay if left unmedicalised.
Women who object to this do not get a voice or opinion and are shouted down as bigots and TERFs. The shouting down of women (and it is generally women – men who disagree with gender identity ideology generally get less hassle) is an example of male entitlement. In transgender ideology, males can demand that they belong in women’s spaces, women’s sports, rape crisis & domestic violence shelters and if they are excluded the women in question are bigots. The people calling for the laws to be changed to admit males are not the ones being harmed by the ideology.
The working class are the group that are most harmed by lockdowns. Workers in industries like hospitality, who were generally already on low wages, have seen their livelihoods decimated. Job losses caused by lockdowns will affect these people the most. For the working class it is also a major problem that they may be stuck in small council flats/houses with children who are not allowed to go to school. Self-employed people and small business owners are also heavily affected by lockdowns, due to the closing of businesses and loss of work. Children are also harmed by lockdowns by having their education destroyed and this affects working class children and disabled children the most as specialist services have been cancelled. NHS care being cancelled also mostly affects the working class because private care is unaffordable. Disabled people are harmed by mask mandates and worrying every time they go in a shop they will be subject to abuse for being exempt.
Working class people and disabled people who have been harmed by lockdowns do not get an opinion. They are shouted down by BCs. Anyone who even raises any questions whatsoever about lockdowns is called a ‘Covid denier’ (even if they believe the virus exists, which the majority of lockdown sceptics do in my experience). Disabled people and rape survivors who cannot wear a mask due to trauma are told endlessly they shouldn’t be allowed in shops without a mask, even by people who claim to be horrified by discrimination.
I have called this endless call for more and harsher lockdowns ‘Furlough Entitlement’. Middle class people on furlough seem to be the demographic group most supportive of lockdowns, presumably because they do not have to work but the 80% they get from the government is still enough to be comfortable. We can add the professional class in our media to that list, the likes of Piers Morgan, who isn’t going to miss a meal because of lockdown. Though I’ve called it Furlough Entitlement it also applies to those who are in no danger of losing their jobs because of lockdowns. Expecting working class people to lose their jobs and have their finances decimated because you are afraid of a virus is extremely entitled.
Both of these groups also promote the idea that they are not the establishment, despite the fact that this claim is fraudulent. One of the most interesting cases of this is Stonewall, gender identity ideologues extraordinaire, claiming that the likes of Keira Bell and Maya Forstater are ‘bullying’ trans people by scraping together money for legal cases. Of course Stonewall has far more money and influence than any gender critical or radical feminist organisation but that part gets left out of the narrative.
The same applies to BCs. They claim that ‘Boris Johnson didn’t want lockdowns, the establishment want us all back at work, Johnson wants to murder us with herd immunity’. The claim that Johnson never wanted lockdowns has been expertly demolished by Neil Clark. Quoting Clark:
The ‘liberal-left’ narrative that the UK Tory government wanted to pursue Covid-19 ‘herd immunity’ instead of a lockdown has been shattered by official filings which appears to show the opposite was the case.
The phrase ‘smoking gun’ is oft-overused, but it is surely appropriate in relation to the report in the Daily Telegraph newspaper that the UK government struck a deal worth £119m with an American advertising company, OMD Group, urging people to ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ a full three weeks before Boris Johnson ordered a lockdown.
Think about what this means. It’s safe to assume that if this big money deal was struck on 2nd March, the preparations began a lot earlier – in February, or more likely, even earlier than that. You don’t just set up an advertising campaign with a major US agency in a couple of hours.
Another point worthy of note is that the wealth of billionaires has soared during the ‘pandemic’. This contradicts the narrative that the billionaires want us working but again, this point gets ignored by BCs.
4. Disembodiment Vs Death Denial
Both of these groups (implicitly or explicitly) are engaged in reality denial. The TRAs deny the second most fundamental fact of human existence, which is that you can’t change sex, while the BCs deny the most fundamental fact of human existence, which is that all human beings die.
Both of them perversely obsess over the body while denying it. TRAs reject the human sexed body while obsessing over looking like the other sex, constantly trying to achieve ‘passing’ (at least, for those TRAs that ‘transition’). BCs obsess over ‘health’ (redefined as ‘avoiding Covid’) and death statistics while implicitly denying death: as if a genuinely vulnerable 90 year old in weak health magically would not die if we just locked down hard enough.
Both these groups also glorify big pharma. TRAs call taking the wrong hormones for your body empowerment, while BCs implicitly dismiss natural based solutions to increasing immunity (such as Vit D) and glorify vaccines as the only answer. The worship of doctors and nurses by BCs is also prominent. ‘The NHS’ (the same NHS that refuses to do cancer screenings and treatment) is practically deified as a glorious institution that we should all ‘protect’ by sacrificing our mental wellbeing by staying at home.
5. ‘Literally Killing People’ & Wanting to Censor All Disagreement, No Moderation
Another key similarity is that both TRAs and BCs think that you should not ever express an opinion different from theirs, and not only that, if you do so you are ‘literally killing people’.
TRAs state that ‘trans people will kill themselves’ if they encounter any criticism of gender identity ideology and call disagreement ‘bullying’. This applies double to ‘trans kids’: gender identity ideologues insist that if ‘trans kids’ aren’t immediately given the puberty blockers they will kill themselves. BCs, on the other hand, claim that any ‘breaking of lockdown rules’ will kill people. A good example is ‘wear a mask in a shop or you are going to kill people!’
Both of these claims of course are false. The ‘puberty blockers or death’ narrative promoted by the likes of Mermaids has been debunked by studies on puberty blockers (including from the UK Gender Identity clinic Tavistock) that show the puberty blockers do not reduce mental distress. The ‘affirmation or suicide’ narrative more generally has been shown to be false by the reliance on flawed studies and even Tavistock has stated that ‘trans kids’ are at no more risk than any other child with mental health issues. The BC narrative only requires a touch of common sense to be applied to it to fall apart. Walking past an unmasked face in a shop – a 1 second ‘interaction’ – has a zero percent chance of killing you. That’s without taking account the rarity to non existence of asymptomatic transmission (someone in a supermarket is unlikely to have symptoms because most people would apply common sense and stay at home if they actually had such symptoms if at all possible).
Both TRAs and BCs want to censor everyone who disagrees with their opinion. TRAs claim women who disagree with them are ‘TERFs’ and should be banned from social media. Lockdown supporters argue for the view that ‘careless talk costs lives’ – literally stated by George Monbiot as a reason why anyone who questions the Covid narrative should be censored.
Another quality both these groups share is the way they see anyone who opposes their position in the same light, regardless of their actual views. Anyone who thinks that, for example, transition is a positive thing for some people but that we need to be careful when applying this to children, is called a TERF in exactly the same way as someone who thinks transition has no benefit and isn’t evidence based. In the same way, someone who believes that we need to balance different health interests more and pay more attention to cancer, like Prof. Karol Sikora, is dismissed in the same way as someone who believes that there is no virus at all as a ‘granny killing murderer’. The lack of understanding and willingness to separate out views and engage critically dependent on the individual perspective means that they are incapable of debate [as a note, I do not mean to imply that the ‘more extreme’ position listed is necessarily invalid. FWIW I tend to support the position that transition is not proven science and my anti-lockdown views are ‘more extreme’ than Sikora’s].
The main difference between the two groups is that TRAs are genuinely more aggressive and are more likely to issue death threats and the like. BCs generally don’t, although occassionally they might say that they hope you die of Covid. Otherwise though, arguing with either of them is an exercise in utter ridiculous frustration.