Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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Jeffrey Marsh controversy explained—Nonbinary activist videos spark concern

“Gender-critical” and conservative social media users have rallied behind TikToker Shamirun Nessa for her videos about Jeffrey Marsh.

United Kingdom-based Nessa “stitched” a video of her fellow TikToker where she accused them of encouraging children to privately message them on their Patreon account.

It comes amid a wave of backlash against LGBTQ people in the United States as around 26 states attempt to outlaw gender-affirming care for minors and redefine drag performers as “adult-oriented entertainment” to ban them from performing near children.

The February 22 video begins with Marsh saying through gritted teeth in one of their TikToks, “stop telling trans people that we’re inspirational.” Nessa “stitched” the video—a TikTok feature where users can combine their video with another user’s—and mimicked Marsh’s style of speaking.

“Stop telling kids to go on your Patreon and chat to you privately without their parents knowing,” Nessa said in the video, which had 4.6 million views at the time of writing.


Marsh, who is nonbinary and uses them/them pronouns, is an LGBTQ advocate who runs a viral social media brand. Through their social media, they teach “daily lessons in generosity and kindness, teaching the public about what it means to be trans nonbinary, an ally and a compassionate human,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Outside of social media, Marsh works as a “breakthrough and gender counseling coach, helping straight and LGBTQ people attain a lasting sense of peace and self-compassion,” and as a keynote speaker. They also provide exclusive content on their Patreon, a subscription-model website for content creators.

Subscribers must be 18+ to access Marsh’s Patreon let alone subscribe to it, but it is not known if that was a new feature added after Nessa’s viral video about them.

Newsweek reached out to Jeffrey Marsh and Shamirun Nessa for comment.

Nessa later followed up her original video with a TikTok clarifying that she was not transphobic and that she had received Islamophobic hate since posting it. She is Muslim and wears a hijab in her videos.

“I HOPE THIS CLEARS SOME THINGS! Also I made this video NOT because they are trans, I would have created the same video for anyone who is trying to harm kids! PERIOD!” she captioned her follow-up video.

In her second video, Nessa addressed some of the backlash that Marsh’s content does not target children by editing a series of their videos that start with them saying “hi kids.”

She also added a clip from February 10 that opened with Marsh saying “your parents screwed up,” and invited anyone who felt their parents had made mistakes to talk to them on Patreon so they could “speak more openly.” However, Marsh does not single out children in the video and never mentions people of a certain age.

Nessa then shared images of some of the content on Marsh’s Patreon where in one video they give advice on how to go “non-contact” with unsupportive family members and in another video discusses the topic of sex.

She then brought up a list of the tell-tale signs of a person being groomed which included “isolating” them from family. Newsweek is not suggesting Marsh’s intention is to groom their social media followers.

Nessa wrapped up her TikTok with another of Marsh’s videos where they invited people who are not able to spend the holidays with their family to join them over the festive period saying, “I’m going to be your family.” Again in the video, Marsh does not single out children or direct the invitation to minors.

“No, you can’t. You’re a stranger on the internet, you are not their family,” Nessa said.

Marsh may have been referring to the concept of “chosen or found family,” where people in the LGBTQ community lean on each other for support after experiencing family or social rejection, according to the media advocacy organization GLAAD. Researchers at the Pew Center found 4 in 10 LGBTQ individuals had been rejected by a family member or friend because of their sexuality or gender identity.

Support for Nessa came through quickly on social media where “gender-critical” people said she was “protecting children” from trans people. Those who are gender-critical believe sex is biological and cannot be conflated with gender identity. They are often referred to as trans-exclusionary radical feminists, or TERFs by their opponents as they do not believe trans identities are valid.

“SHE STOOD HER GROUND! She got an unfathomable amount of hate, and she stood her ground. This is what protecting children looks like. A million props to this brave lady” wrote one person on Twitter.

“Gender-critical” and conservative social media users have rallied behind TikToker Shamirun Nessa for her videos about Jeffrey Marsh.

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