Why is British media so transphobic?
What is a TERF, exactly? Quite simply: exactly what the term stands for, which is trans-exclusionary radical feminist (or, more simply still, anyone who calls themselves a feminist but does not care to include trans people in their political considerations). Viv Smythe, the cis woman who is credited with popularizing the term through her posts on in the early 2000s radical feminist blogosphere has explained that she intended it as a neutral descriptor meant to distinguish radical feminists who believe feminism pertains only to biological women from radical feminists in general: “Grammatically, the “trans-exclusionary” placed before “radical feminist in the TERF acronym means that it modifies “radical feminist,” describing a subset. Just the way that the term Italian-American doesn’t mean that all Americans are ethnically Italian, it’s just describing a subset of Americans.” The application of the term has shifted somewhat over time to encompass most people espousing trans-exclusionary politics that follow a particular “TERF logic,” regardless of their involvement with radical feminism.
That logic boils down to a very basic refusal to accept that trans people are the gender that they say they are rather than the one that they were assigned at birth. For the self-styled “feminists” who follow it, this manifests in a refusal to accept that trans women are women, and thus that their presence in “women’s spaces” such as changing rooms, rape crisis shelters, and gender segregated hospital wards, is not a threat.
It’s alarming the extent to which, in the U.K., transphobia has taken hold among people who understand themselves to be left-wing — with virulent streaks present in the trade union movement, the center left media, and in the Labour party. Trans people looking to take up positions within their local Labour party groups now have to run the gauntlet of small but vocal factions intent on their removal, a case in point being Lily Madigan, a talented young organizer who happens to be a trans woman and has become a pet target of obsessive TERFs within the party.
The main focus of transphobes’ ire in recent months has been the possibility of self-identification-based gender recognition being enshrined in law. Last week saw the closure of the British Government’s consultation on this possibility, a set of proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act. These changes would have given more weight to self-identification in the process of attaining a document legally recognising the holder’s gender (known as a Gender Recognition Certificate) in place of the current system, which is a complicated process of “proving” your gender to a panel according to a long list of criteria including a mental health diagnosis for dysphoria, proof of having “lived in the acquired gender throughout the period of two years ending with the date on which the application is made” and, if the applicant is married, I kid you not, spousal consent for their gender to be recognized in the eyes of the law.
In response to a very reasonable suggestion that we remove some intentional obstacles to gender recognition, many in the British press lost their fucking minds. Some sample headlines from The Times, the paper of record in the United Kingdom, include: “Trans extremists put equality at risk,” “Trans movement hijacked by bullies and trolls,” “Women are right to have concerns over trans reforms,” and “Trans rapists are a danger in women’s jails.”
Over the weekend, some notable American contributors to the Guardian felt compelled to publish an op-ed disavowing their British colleagues’ stance toward transgender rights.
American Dream » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:43 pm wrote:Why MRAs, radical feminists and Christian fundamentalists agree with each other about transgender rights
All three groups hate transgender people for the same reason – and that has important implications for trans activists .
Conservative Christians have become the go-to bogeyman for LGBTQ activists, and for good reason. There’s no doubt that in churches and “conversion clinics” across the country religious doctrine is used to justify transphobia. But let’s be clear: religion never made anyone do anything. From the Crusades to 9/11, zealots have done whatever they wanted – looted, killed, lashed out in fear – and used religion as an excuse, not an inspiration. God doesn’t tell Christians to hate transgender people any more than Allah told bin Laden to destroy the Twin Towers. There are transphobic atheists and trans-inclusive Christians.
What really drives conservative Christian opposition to transgender rights? The answer becomes clear once you realize what Christian fundamentalists, radical feminists and sexist men have in common.
By rejecting the gender that society assigns to them at birth, transgender people are also rejecting the social norms that oppress women.
So-called Men’s Rights Activists, abetted by the Internet and driven by the ever-burning engine of male insecurity, have become known for their hatred of feminism; but they also tend to be antipathical to transgender people. When Facebook started allowing users to identify themselves as transgender, genderqueer and other non-binary genders, MRAs pitched a fit, surmising that the “retards” at Facebook had caved to feminist and transgender pressure.
Writer Stephen Marche has done a fantastic job of showing that MRA antipathy towards women and feminists is rooted in fear and insecurity. Now with Facebook’s change they fretted about which of the new gender categories “are safe to approach” (note to MRAs: none of them bite). They lashed out with the frustration of boys who didn’t know the answers to a test they thought they were prepared for. “Have we been invaded by aliens trying to confused the fuck out of us?” [sic] one wondered.
In their confusion and anger MRAs, ironically, joined a longstanding and odd subgroup of radical feminists, known by their critics as TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists). TERFs have opposed trans rights ever since transgender women started trying to join the feminist movement, cloaking their hatred in the language of gender theory but essentially saying, “Ew gross, get away from me.” Soon after transgender women began trying to join events for “womyn-born-womyn only,” such as Michfest, founded in 1976, radical feminist Janice Raymond wrote 1979’s The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male. Today notable TERFs include Cathy Brennan, founder of a group called Gender Identity Watch, who has outed transgender people online, including at least one adolescent.
TERFs assert that transgender women are “men in dresses” who suffer from “autogynephelia,” a discredited, made-up disorder in which men derive sexual pleasure from viewing themselves as women. They believe these “men in dresses” are attempting to insert themselves into everything feminine – including the feminist movement and feminists themselves – and to make women’s issues “all about men.” When TERFs see a transgender woman complaining about abuse they see an entitled man playing the victim card, pretending he’s endured something that only happens to cis women.
As with MRAs, a strong subcurrent of fear runs through TERF writings – TERFs believe cis men support the trans agenda because, by blurring the line between women and men, the existence of transgender people hides the facts that cis men oppress and abuse cis women. They don’t explain why the cis men who oppose transgender rights tend to be the same guys who deny sexism exists and seek to roll back women’s rights, whereas cis men who support trans rights are more likely to condemn sexism.
More at: https://socialworkedblog.wordpress.com/ ... er-rights/
Damien Costas Presents : Gavin McInnes & Tommy Robinson Live in Australia (December 2018)
Posted on November 21, 2018 by @ndy
“We will kill you. That’s the Proud Boys in a nutshell.” “Can you call for violence generally? ‘Cause I am. Fighting solves everything. We need more violence from the Trump people. Get a fuckin’ gun. Get ready to blow someone’s fuckin’ head off. ~ Gavin McInnes
Three False Ideas That Anchor Anti-Trans Attacks
Trans activists and allies rally in support of transgender people on the steps of New York City Hall, October 24, 2018, in New York City.
Attacks on Trans People Hurt Cis Women and LGBQ People
Anti-trans advocates want us to believe that trans existence and cis women’s rights are in tension. But women, LGBQ people, intersex people, gender nonconforming people, and trans people get hurt by the same systems, and we can only win gender justice together. This is true in many arenas; employment discrimination is one example.
Anti-trans advocates in and out of the Trump administration push the idea that trans people in the workplace are a threat to cis women, because trans women and nonbinary people may use a restroom at the same time as cis women. The administration deploys this idea not only to exclude trans people from discrimination protections, but also to exclude cis LGBQ people from those protections, and to narrow what sex discrimination means overall.
Consider Zarda, a case the Supreme Court may take up soon. While this case is about an employer who fired a cis male employee for coming out as gay, arguments from the Department of Justice (DOJ), if adopted, would sweep much further. The DOJ lawyer argued that even if firing someone for being gay were discrimination on the basis of sex, it would still be legal:DOJ attorney: Unlike Jews and non-Jews, where there are no factual differences and the law does not recognize differences between Jews and non-Jews, there are real differences between men and women, and the law recognizes real differences between men and women. And this is vividly illustrated by the situation with the bathrooms.
Judge Lynch: So sex discrimination is sort of okay because there are real distinctions between men and women but racial discrimination and religious discrimination are not?
DOJ attorney: That is absolutely the case…. Discrimination requires treating people who are similarly situated differently…. Men and women are not similarly situated in all respects…. The same exact physiological differences that are relevant to bathrooms are the same exact physiological differences that an employer is allowed to take account of when they’re regulating their employees based on their off-the-work sexual relationships.
When taken together with the possible regulations redefining sex from the Trump administration’s recently leaked memo, the implications are extreme. First, DOJ says “sex” only refers to genitals at birth, so if it isn’t about genitals at birth, it isn’t sex discrimination. Then, DOJ says sex discrimination is permissible so long as it is based on real physical differences, like genitals at birth. That does not just mean that trans people, intersex people, and LGBQ people wouldn’t be covered by existing civil rights laws, although that would be devastating enough. It means sex discrimination would no longer be illegal at all. (The statement from the DOJ attorney that religious and racial discrimination really is against the law should reassure no one, given the religious and racial discrimination committed and defended by the Trump administration.)
If the argument that trans people pose a threat to cis women was out of place in a case about a gay cis man, it is even more bizarre in another case the Supreme Court may take: Harris Funeral Homes, involving a transgender woman funeral director named Aimee Stephens. Thomas Rost had owned Harris Funeral Homes for 35 years. In all that time, he had never intentionally hired a woman as a funeral director in any of the funeral home’s four locations. When he hired Aimee, he believed she was a man. Almost six years later, she told him that she was truly a woman and planned to begin living openly as a woman. Rost fired her. In his testimony, Rost said he requires women to wear skirts to work even though it is not an industry standard, believes gender is immutable, thinks it is wrong to reject the gender one was born with, believes men should look like men and women should look like women, thinks women are a “strange breed,” and considers some workers “key employees” and others “lady attendants.”Trans and gender nonconforming people are not new, but others seem to “discover” us every few years, professing a great deal of shock each time.
But that’s not all. Under Obama, when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigated Aimee’s claims, it discovered that Rost also discriminated on the basis of gender in compensation. He bought suits for his male employees (and Aimee, before she came out at work as trans) at the business’s expense but didn’t compensate cis women for their clothing. After the EEOC sued, Rost began offering women a small stipend toward their clothing, but much less than what he spent on clothing for men.
The federal appeals court ruled for the EEOC on both claims — the court said the funeral home discriminated against Aimee when it fired her for being a transgender woman, and discriminated against all the other women employees when it failed to compensate them for their clothing on the same terms as men. Materially, the decision benefits all women who worked for Rost, whether cis or trans, and harms no women. And yet, the people defending the funeral home claim that this decision pushes women out of the workplace: they reason that if trans people are allowed to work, then cis women will quit their jobs rather than risk running into a trans woman in a restroom. But the only woman pushed out of the workplace here was Aimee.
Richard Spencer’s wife files for divorce, alleges abuse
Nina Kouprianova details how her white supremacist husband abused her.
OCT 23, 2018, 5:03 PM
Nina Kouprianova has filed papers to divorce her neo-fascist husband Richard Spencer. In the past, Kouprianova has written for Spencer's white supremacist journal.
Nina Kouprianova, Richard Spencer’s wife, has filed for divorce from her white supremacist husband.
First reported by BuzzFeed, the filing details Kouprianova’s allegations of emotional and physical abuse by Spencer, which include instances in which Spencer beat her while she was pregnant with one of their two children. At one point, Kouprianova said, Spencer “had me down on the ground smashing my head into the floor.”
While Spencer has denied the allegations, the divorce filing comes on the heels of a series of setbacks for the young white supremacist. After watching his planned college tour implode earlier this year, Spencer has been kicked off numerous fundraising platforms, and had his website removed from GoDaddy’s network. Spencer has denied the allegations.
Kouprianova, originally from Moscow, has managed to keep a lower profile than her husband, but her views often appeared firmly in line with her husband’s neo-fascism and white supremacy. While she has never claimed to be a white supremacist, she wrote for Spencer’s white supremacist Radix Journal. She’s also defended her husband from public criticism, claiming last year that Spencer’s critics were akin to the people behind the Stalinist purges in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Last year, she co-authored at least one additional article with Manuel Ochsenreiter, a neo-Nazi.
Kouprianova also did as much as she could to defend the Kremlin at every turn. While Spencer was claiming that Russia was the “sole white power in the world,” Kouprianova was specifically promoting the works of Russian neo-fascist Alexander Dugin. In addition to translating Dugin’s work into English, she described the neo-fascist as one of the “greatest minds of our time,” and a man with a “rare intellectual caliber.”
Fox News marks Transgender Day of Remembrance by airing two anti-trans segments
Laura Ingraham and Shannon Bream give platforms to transphobiaLAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): Take us through these past few weeks. We first want to establish what happens. This is a student government kind of proclamation stating what exactly?
ISABELLA CHOW (BERKELEY STUDENT): Yes, so, the main bill that I abstained from opposed Trump’s proposed reform to Title IX and specifically one clause where a person's gender is defined as a person's biological sex. Now the bill that I abstained from, not only did it say, you know, we support freedom from discrimination and harassment for all individuals and especially LGBTQ individuals, but at the end there clauses that asked me to promote and LGBTQ identity and lifestyle and to promote organizations whose primary purpose is to promote the LGBTQ identity and lifestyle. And I said because of my Christian views and because I represent the Christian community on campus, I cannot fully support this bill.
INGRAHAM: OK, so and for that, being a Christian and being unapologetic, you were labeled some pretty terrible things. The Daily Californian said the following: “Isabella Chow made transphobic and homophobic statements during an ASUC meeting, publicly dismissing the identities of individuals on campus. Chow’s language erased and dehumanized individuals,” et cetera, et cetera. How do you respond to that? Did you dehumanize people because of your faith?
CHOW: Yes, I’d like to go back to my original statement on the senate floor on October 31. And what I said was, one, I think that discrimination and harassment is never ever OK. But where I cross a line between, you know, where I can protect you as an individual and where I can promote your identity is a very fine line for me to walk, right?. And so my response is, I don't see a conflict between being able to accept, love and validate you as an individual and yet not fully agreeing with how you choose to identify yourself sexually.
While Chow framed the issue as simply about her decision not to vote on the measure, The Daily Californian’s editorial board wrote:She chose to abstain from voting on the resolution — and then went beyond simply removing herself from the conversation. Chow, a former member of the Student Action party, also chose to voice her personal — and highly problematic — interpretation of Christian scripture, stating that any “lifestyle” outside of male and female and heterosexual identities was not “right or safe.”
The rest of the segment involved Ingraham lamenting the fact that people will call you a “hater” for saying that you disagree with who they are.
“I think where they are coming from,” Chow told Ingraham, trying to reflect on what her critics think, “is because we can't understand how you can love us and not accept our sexual identity, therefore, we’re going to say your words about love and acceptance are completely worthless. And we are just to take your words about not accepting us and twist that to mean you are a hater and a bigot.”
Sexing the body gender politics and the construction of sexuality - Anne Fausto-Sterling
Biologist Anne Fausto-Sterling sets out a developmental systems approach to gender, refusing false dichotomies of nature-nurture and biology-culture.
Why do some people prefer heterosexual love while others fancy the same sex? Is sexual identity biologically determined or a product of convention? In this brilliant and provocative book, the acclaimed author of Myths of Gender argues that even the most fundamental knowledge about sex is shaped by the culture in which scientific knowledge is produced. Drawing on astonishing real-life cases and a probing analysis of centuries of scientific research, Fausto-Sterling demonstrates how scientists have historically politicized the body. In lively and impassioned prose, she breaks down three key dualisms - sex/gender, nature/nurture, and real/constructed - and asserts that individuals born as mixtures of male and female exist, and as such, should not be forced to compromise their differences to fit a flawed societal definition of normality.
JackRiddler » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:39 pm wrote:The choice is not "trans-inclusionary" vs. "trans-phobic." Talk about false dichotomies.
One can be for the rights of all people to respect and safety regardless of their gender expression, and still find the actions of a transactivist minority who have leveled death threats against and actually assaulted women and lesbians highly, for want of a better word, problematic.
Donna Zuckerberg: ‘Social media has elevated misogyny to new levels of violence’
When the academic, sister of Mark Zuckerberg, began exploring online antifeminism, she discovered far-right men’s groups were using classical antiquity to support their views
Sun 11 Nov 2018
‘The manosphere see themselves as the guardians of western civilisation’: Donna Zuckerberg photographed at the Stanford University campus, Palo Alto, California.
Donna Zuckerberg didn’t expect to spend two years trawling through the corner of the internet defined as “the manosphere”, unpicking the grim alliance between pick-up artists, men’s rights activists, incels (involuntarily celibate men), the far right and the most ardent Make America Great Again advocates.
“It started as a curiosity,” she says, as we video call from her home in Silicon Valley, which she shares with her husband and two children. “But it took on a life of its own.” A classicist with a PhD from Princeton, Zuckerberg edits the online journal Eidolon, publishing scholarly essays on the Greco-Roman world from academics and students.
In the summer of 2015, she noticed an unprecedented level of traffic towards a piece entitled “Why is stoicism having a cultural moment?” and went down a rabbit hole to determine why. The results stunned her: men – or rather, misogynists – were using an armchair enthusiasm for the classics to justify manifestos of hate against women. The results were spreading online under a pseudo-intellectual guise, twisting ancient world philosophy to buttress a contemporary hatred of feminism. And it wasn’t a one-off.
“So, there are online communities that exist under the umbrella of what we know as the Red Pill, which are men connected by common resentments against women, immigrants, people of colour,” she explains. “What I was surprised to find was the extent to which they are using ancient Greek and Roman figures and texts to prop up an ideal of white masculinity.”
Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychology professor and author revered by the ‘manosphere’.
Red Pillers name themselves after a scene in The Matrix, in which Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) offers Neo (Keanu Reeves) the option of taking the red or blue pill and arriving at either gritty, painful truth (red) or blissful ignorance (blue). Jordan Peterson, the Canadian professor and YouTube sermoniser who rails against identity politics and feminism, is revered as one of the high priests of the movement, while incels have gathered much attention this year.
But in the case of stoicism’s sudden revival, Zuckerberg found that an active corner of Reddit was applying Hellenistic philosophy to explain the pain and hardship white western men were suffering in the 21st century. Except these men didn’t consider themselves angry – they considered themselves oppressed.
“The ancient world was deeply misogynistic – it was a time when there was no word for rape, feminism did not exist and women’s actions were determined by male relatives,” says Zuckerberg. But now the classical texts are being “distorted and stripped of context” online to lend gravitas to campaigns of misogyny and white supremacy. Not only is it toxic but, as Zuckerberg calmly outlines in her new book, Not All Dead White Men, it is deeply dangerous.
At 31, Donna is the third of the four Zuckerberg siblings and the only one to shun working in tech: her brother, Mark, is CEO of Facebook, which he co-founded; her older sister, Randi, joined Facebook in 2004 and has since developed her own media career; while her younger sister, Arielle, has worked for Google. The children of a dentist father and psychiatrist mother (who worked most of her career as office manager to her husband’s dental practice), the Zuckerbergs grew up in a village of less than 10,000 people in Westchester County, New York. In a rare family profile interview with New York Magazine in 2012, Donna described their upbringing as “tight-knit” and supportive. Her book, then, may come as a surprise.
“It is without doubt that social media has allowed this to happen,” she says of the toxic moment we’re in. “It has created the opportunity for men with anti-feminist ideas to broadcast their views to more people than ever before – and to spread conspiracy theories, lies and misinformation. Social media has elevated misogyny to entirely new levels of violence and virulence.”
A Classicist’s Guide to Misappropriated History
In the face of a crushing debt crisis, it seems unavoidable that students will stop reading great works of literature and instead spend their costly college education studying topics that are more likely to directly lead to financial rewards. Frank Bruni’s May op-ed in The New York Times1 is only one of many premature obituaries for the humanities published in recent years. But the value of studying the humanities has found an unlikely (and unwanted) group of defenders in the White nationalist “Alt Right”—or, more specifically, what is sometimes called the “Alt Lite,” a closely allied subgrouping that eschews outright neonazism in favor of coding White supremacist views as a celebration of “Western culture and civilization.”
These groups have become some of the most vocal proponents of reading classic works of (European) literature. In an August 2016 manifesto titled “A Normie’s Guide to the Alt-Right,” published on the neonazi site The Daily Stormer, Andrew Anglin wrote that one of the movement’s mandates was “Endorsement of White History.” Anglin, the site’s founder, wrote, “Rejecting revisionist arguments by modern social scientists which portray Whites as having wrought evil on the planet, we view Whites as the creators and maintainers of Western civilization.” Next to Anglin’s text was a photograph of the Colosseum in Rome.
Ancient Greece and Rome are an origin point of sorts for the Alt Right: an imagined golden age of White supremacist patriarchy they can idealize and aspire to recreate. Many classical scholars first became aware of this phenomenon in the weeks following the presidential election of Donald Trump, when the White nationalist group Identity Evropa papered college campuses with posters depicting vague White supremacist slogans alongside both classical sculptures and more recent sculptures in a self-consciously classicizing style.2 These images use classical art as a kind of visual shorthand for aesthetic ideals that were also leveraged by the Nazis, as classicist Sarah Bond has argued.3 (Famous ancient sculptures are also often used in the bizarre digital art that accompanies so-called “fashwave” music, a subgenre of electronic music that Anglin once deemed “the Whitest music ever.”4)
But even before the Alt Right entered the public consciousness in the summer of 2016, Far Right online communities were looking to ancient Greece and Rome for confirmation of their views. It doesn’t take much searching in their virtual fora to find articles glorifying ancient history and historical figures. These fascinations are widespread within different subgroups of “The Red Pill” community, as many men’s rights activists refer to their loose coalition. The Alt Right is particularly fond of Classical Sparta, a society that they believe exemplified both male virtue and ethnic purity. The first century CE Roman poet Ovid has been embraced as the original seduction guru5 by the pickup artist community—a splinter of the men’s rights world that, as writer David Futrelle has explained, is closely enmeshed with the Alt Right.6 Texts from Stoic philosophy, such as Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and Epictetus’ Enchiridion, appear on recommended reading lists on websites promoting masculine self-improvement.7 These ancient exemplars lend The Red Pill and Alt Right communities a sheen of intellectual credibility and lineage, convincing them that Western Civilization was founded on the very same values that they glorify.
In its idealization of ancient Greece and Rome as a golden age of “White culture,” the Alt Right overlooks the historical fact that ancient Greeks and Romans themselves were not actually “White” in any meaningful sense. Although ancient Mediterranean societies had a concept of race, it was very different from our own—different enough that many scholars prefer to use the less charged term “ethnicity.” Curricula have been developed for professors of the classics and other scholars seeking to incorporate these discussions into their cultural studies programs. Interested readers can find many useful resources in the bibliography prepared by Classics at the Intersections.8
The Alt Right, however, has brushed aside the complexity of scholarly discussion about race in the ancient world as little more than politically correct nonsense. Worse, they erupt with fury at scholars who attempt to infuse these discussions with some nuance, subjecting them to a virtual tidal wave of online abuse ranging from harassment on social media to emailed death threats to hacking and doxxing. The prominent British classicist Mary Beard incurred their ire last summer when she wrote in support of a BBC cartoon about Roman Britain9 that contained some dark-skinned characters. More recently, Alt Right websites and YouTubers have shifted their focus to the casting of David Gyasi, a Black actor, to play Achilles in the BBC miniseries Troy: Fall of a City (the backlash to which was documented thoroughly in the classicist blog Pharos.10)
It hardly needs saying that the Alt Right’s impassioned defense of the humanities isn’t one that most scholars of the discipline welcome. In addition to using the ancient Mediterranean to promote an ideology that is proudly racist and sexist, members of the Alt Right frequently refer to “facts” about classical antiquity that are misleading or flat-out wrong, like the canard that immigration caused the fall of the Roman empire.11 This talking point, popular among conservative politicians going back as far as Enoch Powell’s infamous 1968 “rivers of blood” speech, is taken as a statement of fact by the Alt Right, although the reality was considerably more complex.12
In spite of these inaccuracies, the Alt Right’s enthusiasm for ancient Greece and Rome is one that we need to take seriously. And in its own way, it makes an excellent case for saving the humanities. Not because we need to preserve and celebrate something called “Western civilization,” which, as Kwame Anthony Appiah has argued,13 is a deeply flawed and problematic construct, but because only by asserting the value of careful, nuanced scholarship on these issues can we counteract their pernicious misrepresentations of history.
About the Author
Donna Zuckerberg is the author of Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age (Harvard University Press, Fall 2018). She received her Ph.D. in Classics from Princeton in 2014. She is Editor-in-Chief of Eidolon, an online publication for longform essays about intersections between classical antiquity and the modern world, and her writing has appeared in the TLS, Jezebel, and The Establishment.
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