A Look Back: Blood Boils Over Brennan

Cathy Brennan

Maryland woman draws ire of transgender activists

One of the more controversial stories to erupt in 2014 year came from the transgender community and its response to the organization, Gender Identity Watch. Headed by Maryland attorney Cathy Brennan, Gender Identity Watch was accused of harassing transgender people and Brennan was called out by trans activists for being insensitive and inappropriate.

“I am not a bigot,” Brennan said in a telephone interview with SFGN.

Many others disagreed, flooding the newspaper’s website with accounts of Brennan’s actions.

“She hates an entire class of people, that’s what a bigot is,” wrote one commentator, under the name Jess Tea. Another commentator, Lisa Harney, wrote how Brennan contacts physicians of transgender people to “deny them medical care” and “contacts their workplace to get them fired.”

Harney also noted Brennan’s ties to the conservative Pacific Justice Institute, which promotes reparative therapy. “Catherine Brennan is a extremely prominent and active transmisogynist who does her level best to harm trans women.”

SFGN reached out again to Brennan for comment via email, but she refused to answer any questions. On Twitter, under the handle @BadhbhCatha, which shows a picture of what appears to be Brennan, the account user says they are “Anti-Sex Positive, Anti-Gender, Anti-Prostitution and Anti-Porn and Pro-Woman.”

Following last year’s article in SFGN, Gender Identity Watch donated money to the Southern Poverty Law Center in what appeared to be effort to avoid being labeled a hate group. A group called Secular Women started a petition to have Gender Identity Watch designated as a hate group and gathered thousands of signatures.

SPLC said that Gender Identity Watch was nothing more than a blog and not technically a group.

Mark Potak, senior fellow at SPLC, in an email obtained and published by the Transadvocate.com website, confirmed SPLC “would not be accepting any further donations from Ms. Brennan.”

In last year’s article which ignited a firestorm in the LGBT community, Brennan, 44, dismissed the Transadvocate’s attempts to label her organization a hate group, calling Transadvocate editor Cristan Williams, “nuts” and saying Williams “has an axe to grind and let her grind it.”

More recently, Gender Identity Watch has come to the aid of reality television star and conservative Christian Michelle Dugger, posting on its website that MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists) should back off attempts to condemn the family’s role defending an Arkansas municipal ordinance regarding gender separate bathrooms.

“We encourage gay and lesbian people to stop hitching our efforts for anti-discrimination protections to overbroad gender identity bills that do not take women and girls into account.”

Brennan has publicly stated she is a lesbian feminist.

Others are not so sure.

Harney writes Brennan is "one affluent cisgender white woman using her privilege and her power to harm an entire community while insisting that somehow we magically oppress her."

Adds, Tea, “She’s an evil sack of crap, simple."


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