Magdalen Berns

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The topic of this article may not meet Wikipedia's general notability guideline. But, that doesn't mean someone has to… establish notability by citing reliable secondary sources that are independent of the topic and provide significant coverage of it beyond its mere trivial mention. (September 2019)Template:Infobox YouTube personality

Magdalen Berns (6 May 1983 – 13 September 2019)[1][2] was a British software developer and YouTuber. Berns, a lesbian radical feminist, came to prominence as a result of a series of YouTube vlogs focusing on lesbian politics, free speech, women's rights on the basis of sex and the gender identity debate.[3] Some of those commenting on her views have described them as anti-trans.[4]

In 2018 Berns co-founded the women's rights group ForWomen.Scot,[5] which grew to become the largest organisation of its kind in Scotland.[3]

Life and career

Education

Berns attended the University of Edinburgh, where she was a 2010–2011 recipient of a Doris Gray Scholarship Award.[6] However, in 2016 Berns was banned from the feminist student society for opposing the decriminalization of sex work.[7]

Work

Berns taught herself to code.[8] In 2013–2014, she participated as a software developer in the Google Summer of Code programme,[9] working on implementing the FFTW3 library for Ruby.[10] She went on to work as an intern in the Outreach Program for Women of the GNOME Foundation.[11] She worked on the Java ATK Wrapper, a module to translate Swing events for the Accessibility Toolkit.[12]

Radical feminism

In 2016, Berns created a YouTube channel to which she uploaded vlogs setting out her views on gender. By 2019, she had approximately 30,000 followers[8][13] and published 64 videos.[14]

In July 2016, Berns spoke at Thinking Differently: Feminists Questioning Gender Politics, a conference in London focusing on "the implications of transgenderism for women’s rights".[15] Other views held by Berns included her criticism of the concept of the "cotton ceiling", which refers to the belief of some transgender activists that lesbians eschewing sexual contact with trans woman denies their status as women.[2] She was also known for her arguments against the concepts of gender self-identification and gender itself. Speaking on the subject of gender and sexuality, Berns stated: "You don't get 'assigned' reproductive organs...males are defined by their biological sex organs. Likewise, homosexuals are people who are attracted to the same biological sex.[13] She has also described trans women as "blackface actors" and "men who get sexual kicks from being treated like women"[16].

In June 2019, British author J.K. Rowling followed Magdalen Berns on Twitter, bringing her more visibility and prompting criticism towards Rowling from Berns' critics.[17][18][19][20][21]

Berns was described as a "hateful and aggressive anti-trans radical feminist" by trans woman and self-described "opinionator" Phaylen Fairchild;[4] and a "TERF" (trans-exclusionary radical feminist),[20][19] a transphobe,[17] and a "self-professed transphobe"[18] by her critics. In August 2019, transgender activist and philosophy professor Rachel McKinnon drew criticism after describing the celebration of Berns' impending death as "ethically justified" in light of Berns' positions on gender.[22][23]

In contrast, Berns' obituary in the UK left-wing daily Morning Star praised her "determined defence of women’s sex-based rights and the rights of lesbians to assert their sexuality in the face of relentless demands to redefine sex as gender".[3]

Personal life

Boxing

Boxing Scotland, the sport's governing body, described Berns as a "pioneer" for women's and university boxing in Scotland. She was a member of Scotland's first female boxing squad in 2011 and was the first Scottish boxer to compete in, and win, the Haringey Box Cup in 2010 and the Golden Girl Championship the following year. She also won the British Universities Boxing Championship in 2011, and boxed in the finals of the Scottish Elite Championships. Most recently, Berns was a boxing coach for the University of Edinburgh.[24][14]

Health

Assault

In May 2018, she was assaulted on the street by an unidentified assailant and serious injury was thwarted by a defender.[25]

Medical

In April 2017, Berns informed her YouTube subscribers that she had been diagnosed with a brain tumor that was affecting her left frontal lobe.[26] In July she announced that she had an astrocytoma that could not be completely reduced.[27] She was diagnosed with glioblastoma in October 2018.[28][13] Irish comedy writer Graham Linehan, a critic of the "transgender movement",[29] voiced vocal support for Berns on Twitter and other platforms,[30] and visited her in palliative care. She was also visited by fellow radical feminist activists Julie Bindel and Rachel Moran.

Death

Magdalen Berns, aged 36, died on 13 September 2019 from glioblastoma at Edinburgh Marie Curie Hospice in Edinburgh.[31][1] Scottish Parliamentarians Joan McAlpine and Ruth Maguire expressed condolences following her passing.[32][33]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 McCarty, Meghan (13 September 2019). "What’s Current: Lesbian feminist shero Magdalen Berns passes away at 36". https://www.feministcurrent.com/2019/09/13/whats-current-lesbian-feminist-shero-magdalen-berns-passes-away-at-36/. Retrieved 14 September 2019. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Celebrating Magdalen Berns, a Lesbian Feminist Warrior". 13 September 2019. https://www.afterellen.com/general-news/571815-celebrating-magdalen-berns-a-lesbian-feminist-warrior. Retrieved 19 September 2019. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Lavin, Deborah; Chynoweth, Susan (20 September 2019). "A feminist with a vivid love of life, gone too soon". Morning Star. https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/f/feminist-vivid-love-life-gone-too-soon. Retrieved 20 September 2019. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 MacGuill, Dan (27 June 2019). "Did J.K. Rowling 'Confirm Her Stance Against Transgender Women'?". https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/jk-rowling-transphobia-transgender/. Retrieved 16 September 2019. "...She has followed one of the most hateful and aggressive anti-trans radical feminists on Twitter, Magdalen Berns. – Phaylen Fairchild" 
  5. "Pride Glasgow". 18 August 2019. https://forwomen.scot/18/08/2019/pride-glasgow/. Retrieved 23 September 2019. 
  6. "Current recipients of the Doris Gray Scholarships". Women's Engineering Society. https://www.wes.org.uk/content/current-recipients-doris-gray-scholarships. Retrieved 15 September 2019. 
  7. Peters, Charlie (2 April 2016). "University Feminists Are Betraying Their Movement's Liberal Past". https://quillette.com/2016/04/02/university-feminists-are-betraying-their-movements-liberal-past/. Retrieved 24 September 2019. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Benjamin, Shereen (8 September 2019). "Lesbian strength march". https://forwomen.scot/08/09/2019/lesbian-strength-march/. Retrieved 15 September 2019. 
  9. Deshmukh, Sameer (13 January 2018). "Google Summer of Code 2018 Application". GitHub. https://github.com/SciRuby/sciruby/wiki/Google-Summer-of-Code-2018-Application. Retrieved 15 September 2019. 
  10. Berns, Magdalen (6 June 2014). "Introducing the FFTW SciRuby GSoC Project". http://sciruby.com/blog/2014/06/04/introducing-the-fftw-sciruby-gsoc-project/. Retrieved 15 September 2019. 
  11. "GNOME Outreach Program Yearbook 2013". GNOME Foundation. August 2013. https://www.dgsiegel.net/talks/gnome-outreach-yearbook-2013.pdf. Retrieved 15 September 2019. 
  12. "Magdalen Berns present her work with improving the Java-ATK-Wrapper". GNOME Foundation. August 2015. https://www.gnome.org/news/2015/08/pictures-from-guadec-2015/attachment/magdalen-berns-present-her-work-with-improving-the-java-atk-wrapper/. Retrieved 15 September 2019. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Kearns, Madeleine (4 September 2019). "Magdalen Berns, a 'Shero' Among Women". National Review. https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/magdalen-berns-a-shero-among-women/. Retrieved 19 September 2019. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Parker, Posie (25 September 2019). "In memory of Magdalen Berns". https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/09/25/in-memory-of-magdalen-berns/. Retrieved 28 September 2019. 
  15. Blunden, Mark (15 July 2016). "'Medical threat' to transgender children on puberty-blocking drugs". Evening Standard. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/medical-threat-to-transgender-children-on-pubertyblocking-drugs-a3296471.html. Retrieved 17 September 2019. 
  16. Kane, Vivian (25 June 2019). "J.K. Rowling Leaves Little Doubt About Her TERFdom". https://www.themarysue.com/jk-rowling-transphobic-follows/. Retrieved 28 September 2019. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Zatat, Narjas (25 June 2019). "JK Rowling criticised for following 'transphobe' Magdalen Berns on Twitter". indy100. https://www.indy100.com/article/jk-rowling-twitter-transphobe-magdalen-berns-terf-lgbt-8974041. Retrieved 14 September 2019. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Smith-Engelhardt, Joe (28 June 2019). "J.K. Rowling faces backlash for allegedly displaying transphobic behaviour". altpress.com. https://www.altpress.com/news/j-k-rowling-transphobic-behavior/. Retrieved 15 September 2019. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Gordon, Lewis (3 July 2019). "'Wizards Unite' turns the world into a branded 'Harry Potter' hellscape". https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/d3n9mz/wizards-unite-turns-the-world-into-a-branded-harry-potter-hellscape. Retrieved 17 September 2019. "...the most recent development of which is her following of the TERF Magdalen Berns on Twitter..." 
  20. 20.0 20.1 Schulze, Charlie (14 September 2019). "Den Kopf hinhalten" (in German). Der Freitag. https://www.freitag.de/autoren/charlie-schulze/den-kopf-hinhalten. Retrieved 17 September 2019. 
  21. Maurice, Emma (25 June 2019). "JK Rowling under fire for following a 'proud transphobe' on Twitter". PinkNews. https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2019/06/25/jk-rowling-under-fire-following-transphobe-twitter/. 
  22. Schiferl, Jenna (29 August 2019). "The tweet heard 'round the world: Charleston professor sparks global Twitter debate". The Post and Courier (Evening Post Industries). https://www.postandcourier.com/news/the-tweet-heard-round-the-world-charleston-professor-sparks-global/article_4a462cda-c9c7-11e9-8134-d32dc721835d.html. Retrieved 15 September 2019. 
  23. Flaherty, Colleen (3 September 2019). "College Supports Trans Scholar Under Fire". https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2019/09/03/college-supports-trans-scholar-under-fire. Retrieved 19 September 2019. 
  24. "Boxing Scotland". 18 September 2019. https://www.facebook.com/boxingscotland/posts/2614746321917415. Retrieved 24 September 2019. 
  25. Robertson, Julia Diana (29 May 2018). "Vocal Lesbian Feminist Magdalen Berns Assaulted, Suspect at Large". https://www.afterellen.com/general-news/559717-vocal-lesbian-feminist-magdalen-berns-assaulted-suspect-at-large. Retrieved 5 October 2019. 
  26. Berns, Magdalen (23 April 2017). "My Lady-Brain...". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFSXcGPkZ3I. Retrieved 5 October 2019. 
  27. Template:Cite tweet
  28. Berns, Magdalen (7 October 2018). "My ladybrain update #2 | Glioblastoma". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-brCJkXxzaM. Retrieved 5 October 2019. 
  29. Andersson, Jasmine (12 December 2018). "Father Ted writer Graham Linehan compares the trans movement to Nazism". i. https://inews.co.uk/news/graham-linehan-father-ted-writer-trans-activism-nazism-187701. Retrieved 19 September 2019. 
  30. Linehan, Graham (13 September 2019). "Magdalen Berns 1983–2019". https://glinner.co.uk/stunning-and-brave-magdalen-berns-1983-2019/. Retrieved 19 September 2019. 
  31. "Magdalen Berns". Edinburgh Evening News. 19 September 2019. https://announcements.johnstonpress.co.uk/obituaries/edinburghnews-scotsman-uk/obituary.aspx?n=magdalen-berns&pid=193941171. Retrieved 5 October 2019. 
  32. Template:Cite tweet
  33. Template:Cite tweet

External links