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Nina Paley vs. transgender people

Nina Paley is an American animator and anti-transgender extremist.

Paley is involved in the free culture and “gender critical” movements.


Nina Carolyn Paley was born May 3, 1968 in Urbana, Illinois. Paley’s parent Hiram Paley was a mathematician.

Paley graduated from University High School in 1986 and attended University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for two years before dropping out.

Paley began publishing comics at a young age before moving into animation in 2002 following a divorce.

Paley directed the animated features Sita Sings the Blues (2008) and Seder-Masochism (2018). After having many problems navigating legal clearance for music recorded in the 1920s by Annette Hanshaw, Paley got involved in the free culture movement. Paley releases work under a copyleft license and has created work supporting intellectual property reform.

Paley has been active in debates about overpopulation and has done work for the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.

Anti-trans activism

Paley identifies as gender critical and has made a number of controversial comments about gender identity and expression.

In 2020, Paley was one of 58 signatories to an open letter defending author and anti-transgender activist J.K. Rowling. A number of the signatories have been involved in gender critical activism.

In 2021, Paley and Corinna Cohn started the podcast Heterodorx to discuss gender controversies. In 2023 Paley created a set of playing cards featuring extremists and outliers in recent gender controversies.


Merli, Melissa (May 18, 2008). First movie ‘a full-time job’ for Uni High grad, illustratorThe News-Gazette

Merli, Melissa (October 21, 2012). Studio Visit: Nina PaleyThe News-Gazette

Merli, Melissa (June 13, 2013). Urbana artist Paley putting quilt art on displayThe News-Gazette

Merli, Melissa (August 10, 2014). Paley’s ‘This Land Is Mine’ a viral hitThe News-Gazette

Ramanathan, Lavanya (September 25, 2008). An Ancient Tale, Newly AnimatedThe Washington Post

Scott, A.O. (December 24, 2009). Legendary Breakups: Good (Animated) Women Done Wrong in IndiaThe New York Times

Bell, Melissa (April 6, 2012). Online leaders look to create offline experiencesThe Washington Post

Dey, Jim (May 7, 2019). Furor over gender issues puts Urbana artist’s film in crosshairsThe News-Gazette

Hellen, Nicholas (September 27, 2020). Literati rally to JK Rowling’s defence in row over Cormoran Strike bookThe Sunday Times


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