The ‘gender critical’ feminist movement is a cult that grooms, controls and abuses, according to a lesbian who managed to escape “TERF is hate speech and it’s time to condemn it,” gender-critical writer Amy Dyess announced in October 2018 – words she now regrets. “TERF is a slur used to sexually harass, threaten, and silence lesbians,” continued Amy’s viral Medium post, which was liked more than 4,300 times. Back then, Amy was connected to an international network of powerful lesbians. She believed, like many people in the “gender critical” feminist movement do, that the lesbian community to which she belonged was under attack from trans-rights activists. She believed that lesbian identity itself was being infringed on and erased by trans women, and that the media didn’t care – more than that, she believed that the media was being controlled by trans people. She believed that she was part of the fight back against trans-rights activists – part of the fight back against homophobia. Amy, who is based in Seattle, doesn’t believe those things any more. Looking back on her time in the “gender critical” feminist movement, she is unequivocal: it’s a cult. A cult that groomed her when she was vulnerable and sleeping in her car; a cult that sought to control her, keeping tabs on her movements and dictating what she could and couldn’t say; a cult that was emotionally and sexually abusive towards her. As Amy began to notice more and more red flags about the GC movement – like how it defended abusive women, how it wouldn’t let lesbians speak out about sexual assault perpetrated by women, and how it was forming alliances with homophobic groups – she started asking questions. Last year, she began speaking out against what she saw as increasingly blatant homophobia in the gender-critical movement. The cult tightened its grip. Lesbian journalists who are household names “lovebombed” her, she says, trying to keep her in the movement. British “gender critical” feminists invited her to come to the UK in February, to be a headline speaker at the conference of a prominent organisation that campaigns against trans rights in the name of women’s safety. After this, the plan was that she’d go on a tour of the country, attending GC meetings and linking up with women in the movement that she’d previously only spoken to online.