A feud between gay rights activists has exploded underneath the LGBT umbrella.
Cathy Brennan, a Maryland based attorney with the blog, Gender Identity Watch, is being accused of inappropriate and insensitive acts. Brennan maintains she has done nothing wrong.
“I’m a 43-year-old woman,” said Brennan in a telephone interview on Monday. “I’m very comfortable in who I am.”
Brennan is openly a lesbian and has represented people who have identified as LGBT. She says she has a 20-year professional career in the gay community.
“I am not a bigot nor a homophobe,” Brennan said.
A feminist group called Secular Woman is promoting a petition to have Gender Identity Watch monitored and labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Southern Poverty Law Center has been aware of the Gender Identity Watch Petition from the beginning,” Kim Rippere, president of Secular Woman, Inc. told SFGN.
Heidi Beirich is the director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Beirich said the center does not track blogs.
“We don’t list them (GIW) as a hate group because it’s a blog and we don’t compile a list of hate websites anymore, largely because it was becoming impossible to track what was happening on the Web,” Beirich said.
The Web is where this feud appears to have escalated with Brennan trading barbs between journalists and advocates from the transgender community who claim Brennan and her blog are insensitive.
“I believe the petition served to clearly demonstrate that many thousands of feminists view the GIW team to be a hate group,” said Cristan Williams, editor of Transadvocate.com. “I think that it also offered a chance for Brennan’s victims to connect with many others and understand that they were not alone.”
Brennan discounted Williams’ accusations as “nuts” and said “Cristan has an axe to grind and let her grind it.”
Meanwhile at the Southern Poverty Law Center, where the Intelligence Project has been heralded by the National Review as “one of the most respected anti-terror organizations in the world,” Beirich acknowledged there have been some issues with Gender Identity Watch, but refused to deem it a hate group.
“It’s not that we don’t consider some of the things that have happened there to be really ugly,” Beirich said. “It doesn’t qualify as a hate group under our definition because a hate group has to have some membership, like a group.”
Brennan said the definition of Gender Identity Watch is “horrendously overbroad” but assured there is “nothing hateful about it.”