You may call me a TERF but I am not transphobic

How many times a day do I get called a TERF? Too many to count. How many times have I seen ‘You’re a TERF your opinion is irrelevant?’ Too many to count. Let’s not pretend that TERF is an objective description of a theoretical standpoint. It’s an insult. A term of abuse meant to undermine, dismiss and erase radical feminist women’s voices.

TERF is an acronym for ‘Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists’. But what does this mean? The emphasis is meant to be on exclusion – an intentional act – and the implication is that this is based on prejudice or willfull discrimination. A bad thing. But a closer look exposes the flaws in this definition. Excluded from what? Feminism? Womanhood? Radical feminist analysis maintains that feminism is the movement of women to liberate women from oppression, and that female biological reality is a defining aspect of women’s experience of oppression. This does not exclude transwomen on the basis of prejudice or discrimination any more than it does men. TERF also obfusticates the fact that the vast majority of radical feminists believe that ALL people should work together to end the oppression of women and that many believe once transwomen transition they experience much of the same prejudice and discrimination that women born women do.  In reality, TERF is a meaningless term based on the desire to silence radical feminist voices. Ultimately it’s misogynistic.

So, why can’t we all just get along?

1 ) Insults, lies, silencing & demonisation

So, we’ve covered that every time TERF is used it’s meant to insult. We know you know this. Not a good start to productive dialogue, eh? You’d think that trans people who identify as women would be understanding and open to women analysing the oppression they face even if they disagree. Instead we are shut down. A woman only has to be designated ‘RadFem’ for anything she says to be valued as worthless or for her to be told she is unwelcome in conversations. How can this not be interpreted as mirroring the behaviour of patriarchal men who seek to silence us?

Jokingly, many RadFems have started using the term ‘radfemphobia’. In actuality it’s not a joke. RadFems are consistently exposed to true prejudice and bigotry – that is being ignored, excluded or written off just because they are known to be RadFem. Cliques form just to stand against them. Lies are told constantly that are swallowed up by the readily waiting baying crowds. I’m yet to see another group face such hostility from either men or other women.

The demonisation goes so far that the accepted narrative is radical feminist’s purpose/motivation is to attack transwomen. But the clue’s in the title. Radical feminists want to end women’s oppression, this is the ONLY purpose or motivation. We see women’s oppression and work backwards in figuring out the actions needed to take to counteract it or the beliefs that underpin it that need challenging. Again, you might not agree with the analysis but misrepresenting the motivation is both disingenuous and manipulative. Maintaining that the analysis exists to oppress ‘you’ says more about your self-obsession than radical feminism.

 2) Gender

Radical feminists started using ‘gender’ in the 1960’s (before this it was rarely used). The purpose of distinguishing sex and gender was to illustrate ‘that the social condition of being a woman or being a man is not the same thing as, and does not follow ‘naturally’ from, the biological condition of being female or male’ (http://www.trouble.myzen.co.uk/?page_id=37). Note that doesn’t mean that males can become women or vice versa. It means that the social role ‘woman’ is imposed as a result of a person being female, as Simone de Beauvior encapsulated in her ‘one is not born but becomes a woman’ quote. So woman/female and man/male are inseparable, although enlightened and/or empowered individuals may be able to throw off some of the social impositions. But what this really means is that ‘gender’ is a hierarchy telling us how we ‘should’ behave based on our sex and with all things ‘feminine’ devalued it serves as the patriarchy’s greatest tool to keep women subordinate.

Claims of a female brain, essence, feeling or gender identity are essentialist. They appeal to the idea that there is a ‘woman’ beyond her experience of oppression based on her sex and back up age-old patriarchal beliefs of woman as ‘other’. The latter, gender identity, is oft proposed as a subjective experience. In reality, it is the most dangerous proposition because denying it is an affront to the dominant belief in liberal individualism. But an appeal to gender identity strongly relies on a preconception of what it means to feel like/be a woman. What else can this be based on other than cultural influences? This is the result of stereotypes and misogyny.

3) Essentialism

By promoting transition whether operative or not (excluding those experiencing BDD) trans reifys the connections between gender and sex rather than subverting them. Revolutionary would be throwing off the gender shackles and being whoever the fuck you wanted to be regardless of the body you find yourself in.

When transwomen change the way they wear their head hair, remove their body hair, have cosmetic surgery, breast implants or a cavity they name a ‘vagina’ created they are reducing women to their bodies and the social norms imposed on those bodies.

By insisting they are or need to become women, transwomen validate archaic ideas about the female sex. It is true that many women also do this to function within the world but that does not negate the impact. Wanting to end women’s oppression demands an acknowledgement of this, as RadFems do. Many transwomen also seek to find ways to express their experiences that do not negatively impact on women. It can be done.

4) Erasing women

Women have been oppressed for as long as we have recorded history, and at 54% of the population it’s the most widespread oppression of them all.  Our foremothers fought over the last century for all the rights and advances that we have made. So when we’re told that reproductive rights etc. are not women’s issues it hurts. Not just on an individual level but the movement itself. It puts huge (inaccurate) obstacles in a path that still has a long way to go.

In recent days the name of the ‘Vagenda’ blog and talking about periods has been labelled exclusionary and transphobic. Women have fought for centuries to not only have a voice but to be able to talk about issues that affect females openly, without being perceived as unimportant  or taboo.  As someone far more sensible than me said “If 99.9% of the people affected are women it’s pretty safe to call it a woman’s issue.” These are women’s issues. They are issues that the feminist movement *needs* to focus on. Because if feminists don’t then no-one else will. That’s kinda the point of feminism. Silencing women on these issues, which includes excluding them from feminist discourse, is misogyny.

Women are being silenced. The new ‘rallying cry’ of transphobia serves only to push us back, erasing all the progression that has been made. The oppressed, those who are socialised to believe ‘everyone else first, me last’, are being told that again. And many of them are buying it. Worst still women talking about their female experience and analysis of their oppression are targeted for attack whilst the true transphobes are ignored. “All the transphobia I have experienced has been from TERFs”. So are you suggesting radical feminists are the ones who beat, rape and kill transwomen? No, I thought not. Why are a small group of women with little or no influence the target of such a campaign?

So. To be honest I don’t care how you live your life. I don’t care what you want to call yourself or how you dress. I don’t care if some women’s groups or spaces welcome you with open arms. I’m happy to stand next to you to fight for your legal rights, appropriate healthcare and safety, which I believe all human beings are entitled to.

Where I start to have issues is where you shut down discussion when the needs and interests of women and transwomen become complicated. Where you insult me and say that your needs matter above all else. Where your words and beliefs silence women’s voices, erase women’s reality and contribute to women’s oppression. Which in all honesty, whether transwoman or liberal feminist, I would have thought you’d understand.

183 thoughts on “You may call me a TERF but I am not transphobic

  1. Libby

    People used to believe in such thing as a “Negro Brain” too you know, we all accept that as racist now, when will the world see the mysogyny of the exact same thing being posited to oppress women?
    God these commenters you have mis the entire point that gender is not inherent.

    1. blackwomanist

      Please please please do not add being black into this. Being black is something you are born with. Its a physical. Put it this way. If a black transgender walked down the street, she will have struggles and stereotypes inflicted upon her for first being black. Second being a woman and third being transgender if a person found out. The struggles are completely different. As a black woman, it infuriates me when the lgbt community compares their struggle to being black. Why? Its it because you believe being black is degrading? Its never compared to any other race or cultural background but black.

      Also, noticing how feminist are towards black woman: you can relate on being woman. However, the second you add that being black and a woman is socially and emotionally oppressive, it is invalidated, because being a woman matters more than being black. For instance , the woman’s feminist movement was purposely started to detract and take black woman away from the civil rights movement. Much like the lgbt movement is today. I’m sorry, f being a woman is oppresive than its fair to say being a black woman is even more. We have to face racism and sexism. Where as our counterparts deal with sexism

      1. helloanonme

        “the woman’s feminist movement was purposely started to detract and take black woman away from the civil rights movement”

        Actually, America came very late to the Womens Liberation Movement which began in New Zealand where there wasn’t a Civil Rights Movement.

        I’ve heard other Americans voice this sentiment also but it completely ignores the rest of the world. I’m an Australian who has lived half my life in NZ. We have our fair share of sexism and of racism and I would neber claim any superiority on these issues. But we have a history wholly separate from America with similarities and differences and these issues cross boarders.

  2. Libby

    I mean, think about it, if gender were inherent then such people as gender nonconformists (including transgendered) wouldn’t exist to begin with. People actually still believe in 2014 than femininity and masculinity are born traits? WTF

  3. Libby

    Transgenderism isn’t a disease which needs to be fixed by surgically altering ones body to match the gendered characteristics a person may display, although if someone differs from their imposed gender to such a degree and have more traits society claim to belong to the other gender and they decide their life would be easier/better if they undergo transitional surgery and hormone treatments I can certainly understand that. Gender oppresses transgendered people aswell. It oppresses homosexual and bisexual people aswell. Gender IS oppressive. Radical feminism – opposing the constructs of gender is not oppressive, is not transphobic, it is Radical liberation.

  4. Piper

    So, are you presuming that transgender issues are not real issues as well, or those issues are less important than your issues? Personally, I think anything with the word radical in it basically mean extremism. Like Radical Christians, or Muslim Extremists. I am a transgender woman. I am intersex specifically., but even if I wasn’t intersex, your point of exclusion would still be mandated. More transgender women are killed or commit suicide than any other demographic on this earth, and that is something you have failed to acknowledge, something you will never acknowledge, no matter what you think or say. I fucking hate people that only want to dictate the difference between male and female, whether it is a man doing it, or a woman. I hate it! Love your body because your a woman, because I guarantee, if you were a man, you would want to be a woman too. And if you were transgender, you would want to kill yourself too.

    1. Piper

      On another note. Feminism is just as guilty of the sexist bullshit in this world as misogyny is.

    2. Heather

      This is a little late, but I’d like to comment on the Trans* “rage” above. I’m pretty sure “Women’s Issues” include the way our bodies are treated when we become reproductive, meaning how women are marginalized because they can birth babies, rather than in spite of it. There is a sexual consequence that arises when a “woman-born-woman” (a phrase I despise as much as you “fucking hate people who…”) decides to have sex with, or is raped by, a man. You, and EVERYONE ELSE ON THIS PLANET WHO IS NOT BORN FROM A TEST TUBE, is a result of the sexual consequence a transwoman could never, ever understand. The fact that fertile women are reproductive, which means in no uncertain terms that they can conceive a baby in their uterus, is something that I never see as a feature of the “being-ness” of a woman when described by people who are transgender. Why do transwomen seem to be confused about reproduction? I think it is because in reality, there is no way for a person who is born with a penis to even fathom what it is like to anticipate the spark of life within them when a pregnancy occurs. And they will also never feel the real and true fear, which has been essentially programmed into our spiritual DNA, of being helpless while “lying in” or having to choose abortion, or having a man take your baby. An infertile woman doesn’t start out knowing she can never have a child, never conceive. She finds out. Does a transwoman share that experience even if they’ve known about their difference since childhood? Can a transwoman feel the Moon in “her” blood, feel the rising tide of the ocean, feel the fertility in nature that “she” corresponds to? Please answer, because I cannot imagine that the essence of my sexuality and gender has nothing to do with my ability to reproduce. In the same way that my image has nothing to do with reproducing. It’s not the only thing, but it is a major reason why the stereotypes are still so pervasive. Am I inaccurate? I don’t understand the hostility. It seems Freudian and somewhat narcissistic, to be perfectly honest. Not trying to offend, and you can call me a TERF if you like. Peace.

  5. Asha

    “No. People are most definitely not born ‘trans’. They are born female or male (with a tiny percentage amibiguous intersex).”

    And being gay is a choice. Jesus fucking christ.

    1. blackwomanist

      OK. I’m a womanist. We have different views on things naturally. That being said. I think we need to come together and realize that we have a crop of males turning themselves into females. I have serious issue with this. Still, they are men.. “no! They are women! After surgery its hard for a Dr to tell!” They can’t produce children and their breast cannot nurture and raise a healthy intelligent child. I think no matter your race, political stand points or ideologies, this should infuriate us as the beautiful creatures we are born as. Our belly’s and breast create human beings that thus go fourth and create civilizations. Im sorry, I am not sympathetic to the plight of transgender men. Yes, they are men. And its an abomination to all women for these created women to think they are like us, can be more woman than us, and put their rights above ours. One of the reason the murder rates are so high is because transgenders can border on deceitful(male female transgender all humans can be). How would you women feel if your son or husbands, brothers, where dating a woman later to find out it was a man? Its no more wrong to feel staunchly against transgenderism as it is to be supportive. The difference is, if you speak out against it you are quickly labeled a “phobic” or primitive!

      1. Carol

        So what you are saying is that a woman is only valued for the “. . . healthy intelligent children,” that they can nurture and raise. That a woman’s only value lie in her breasts and reproductive organs. That women are only good for conceiving children. That, my friend, is a mysoginistic view point that I hope you retract one day. Your comment it full to the brim misogyny and transphobia. I wonder and anticipate what would happen if you were to ever voice the opinion above to a cisgender women who is incapable of conceiving, nurturing, and raising “healthy intelligent children.”

      2. Blackwomanist

        I’m a woman, but I’m misogynistic? Really. And yes. I stand by what I said firmly. I’m not going to allow you to intellectualize the idea of feeling a woman is being. So I don’t fit into the stereotype of a “black” woman…i feel, Asian. Does that make me Asian!? Bitch please

      3. helloanonme

        Hi. I partially agree and partially disagree with your viewpoint.

        I’ve been battling uterine fibroids since I was 18. I’m now 42. I can conceive, though carrying to term holds great risks. My womanhood cannot be divorced from my sexual and reproductive organs. It is not possible for a man or a transwoman to begin to comprehend the physical pain every month, the flooding and subsequent nausea and fatigue, the surgeries, the fight with surgeons to keep my organs, the negotiation of workplaces where I must have access to a toilet every 1.5-2 hrs each month and the need for the worst day off. Try explaining any of that to a person without a uterus, fallopian tubes and eggs! Simple things like music festivals don’t even bother mentioning personal hygeine facilities, train stations without facilities, bus tours without adequate stops etc etc etc My body is inescapably a part of my womanhood. Even here, is it appropriate for me describe the difference between flooding and heavy bleeding? Or is that female topic deemed inappropriate/nasty/gross/oversharing etc? This is where I agree that transwomen have no business saying they are the same as us. They’re not and can’t be. They have no business calling themselves real women, and no right whatsoever saying they’re ‘more’ woman than us.

        Where I disagree- If they want to give up male privelege, so be it. I’ll call them women. They’re male-born-women. Well, here’s what comes with that. You get less speaking rights. You lose 1/3 of your income. You get harassed on the streets, your body gets scrutinised, you have to deal with men treating you like a sex toy, your odds of getting raped significantly increase, your odds of being beaten significantly increase, your concerns get belittled and if you shout too loud for equal rights you get put down as a bitter, ugly screaming banchee bitch. Welcome to the fold.

        They’re not female but they are women. They’re angry at what it means to be a woman in society becsuse all they’ve eber known before is male privelege. Do now, instead of fightomg patriatchal structures of inequality, they’re fighting us. I suppose we’re an easier, weaker target.

  6. Susie

    Same old, same old. It’s all about men. Women are supposed to be the accepting, nurturing creatures, men of course can be anything they want. Women are being stripped of their identities, their shared experiences as biological females in your ugly patriarchy. We’ve only been able to vote for less than 100 years, so back off, there is still a long way to go. Funny, I NEVER see transwomen fighting for bio women’s rights, instead they sulk about not being welcomed with open arms. Have just ONE period in your life, then you’ll know the difference between a vagina and a penis turned inside out and shoved into your body.

  7. J.

    Thank you for this article.

    A lot of trans* people are unimpressed with the obviously hostile/hateful attitudes demonstrated by self-proclaimed ‘radfems’; I am glad that you have taken a more rational approach. I hope you can continue to do so despite the apparent enmity between the two camps right now.

    I am a trans* individual, and I agree with the following:

    – The concept of a ‘female brain’ is not well-defined and not scientifically useful

    – Medical transition is a choice. This does not imply that trans*-related health care is not ‘medically necessary’, as the choice may be one between death and medical transition.

    – Transitioning can be a ‘coping strategy’ for victims of a patriarchy (whether male- or female-assigned at birth). At least some trans* folks are non-binary, and choose one particular gender because it is the less painful (to them) of the two choices available. At least some trans* folks would choose to not undergo medical transition if they lived in a post-gender society instead of the present, gendered one in which they find themselves.

    – The cause of gender dysphoria is social, not biological. This does not imply that there are no biological consequences (compare to conditions in which the patient’s belief in the presence of some non-existent pathogen results in the manifestation of a physical rash). This also does not imply that one cannot be biologically predisposed for gender dysphoria in some particular social configuration (a biological configuration that predisposes an individual for some condition is not the same as a biological configuration that causes the condition)

    I don’t understand the following:

    – Why are men and/or trans* folks not allowed to attend so many radical feminist events? If the issue being discussed is irrelevant to men and/or trans* people, then restricted access is justified for economic reasons. This, however, is not the case for most events. It is also totally fine for a number of women to create a FAAB-only space, and their freedom of association should be respected, but the FAAB-only space should not claim the radical feminist movement; ‘FAAB-only space with radical feminism as a frequently discussed topic’, perhaps, or ‘FAAB-only group that supports the cause of radical feminism’, but most certainly not ‘FAAB-only group = radical feminism’.

  8. Kristine McClain

    I am a transgender woman and very proud to be a female and a feminist. I have been accepted by so many women and they are genuine in there acceptance.

    My view of the TERF controversy is that the two sides do not understand each other. The Radical feminists can never understand the pain and suffering transgender endure to be accepted as female. Transgender women do not understand the fight women have endured to just have equality to men.

    I will discuss issues and support LGBT causes. I also will fight for women’s rights especially when it comes to rampant sexual violence.

    I do not want to limit the rights of women. That would be counterproductive to me. What I will fight against is any group that wants to limit the rights of transgender people. I don’t care if it right wing Christians or radical feminists.

    If we continue this war of words we all fail. I hope we can talk and realize we share more in common that not.

    1. Hashimi

      You aren’t female, you were born either a male or intersex. But I’m going to assume you were born and assigned boy at birth.therefore you are a male(sex) and a woman(gender). You can never be or will be female. That’s one thing transgender people never understand, you can’t ever change your biological sex and no amount of surgery, hormones or clothing change that. Henceforth transGENDER

  9. oopster74

    That boy that was raised as a girl because his penis was badly damaged during a circumcision is proof if any was needed, that you know you’re own body. He was raised as a girl from 1 year old, socialised as a girl from 1 year old, yet he never felt right as a girl, he knew something wasn’t right. I don’t know the exact spelling but he was called Michael Rheiman (pronounced Rye-man). He ended up committing suicide in his 30’s, but so did his brother afterwards, which to me would suggest a depression that ran in that family.

  10. helloanonme

    People are misunderstanding the difference between humanism, equalitism and feminism.

    Humanism has a long history and came about in response to religion. It is thr belief that all human problems can be solved without resorting to theology.

    Equalitism is the belief that all inequalities need addressing amd stand on par in terms of suffering. That no inequality is more urgent than another.

    Feminism is the belief that women deserve equality with men and unless womens isdues are specifically given time, energy and voice to, these issues will be swept to the side in favour of every other group.

    And this, in a nutshell, is the attack feminism is under. Read the comments, the responses and articles in response to EVERY feminist issue and you’ll see, ‘what about men’, ‘what about race’, ‘what about sexual orientation’, ‘what about trans’, ‘what about ableism’, ‘what about age’, ‘ehat about intersex’…

    Germaine Greer warned of this. There were two categories once; male and female. The category male is sacrosanct. None of these issues have impeded male identity. But the category female has been and is being attacked to the point that woman now stands for other. Male and other.

  11. Gerry

    It’s interesting how close this argument is to classical reactionary politics (‘I’m being silenced!’, ‘You’re the _real_ bigot’, ‘_____ are not like us’) with some standard binary thinking and political correctness (‘I’m being Otherized by the Patriarchy!) and so on. Essentialism, the intellectual basis for TERFism, is a deeply conservative notion — perhaps the guiding principle of anti-egalitarian thought in the scientific age.

  12. Mostly Harmless

    I first saw TERF used a few months ago. The context was clearly intended to be an insult the same as calling a person a racist, bigot, a means of engaging in a personal attack rather than discuss the issue at hand.

    Then is see talk as if TERF label has been around for decades and supposedly trans inclusive feminists. I am not knowledgeable in the feminist movement, but it seems to me that the use of the label TERF in a pejorative fashion, to shut down dialog, regardless of how accepting one is of trans one is going to find oneself labeled TERF cause of failure to recognize some of the absolutely ridiculous positions pushed.

    As a trans person, as someone who has living in the real world much longer than most trans people out there these days, I recognize how limited my experience as female is. How my birth creates a barrier that no matter how I wished I can’t cross. I have had many advantages most women don’t have, haven’t had to deal with the sorts of fears and experiences most women have growing up. All I know, whatever re-socialization I have gone thru, and experiences I have as a woman, is that the more experience I have the more I can appreciate just how different I am and how I must respect and understand the sensitivities of women.

  13. Question for Trans MTF

    Aren’t there rites of passage involved in between girlhood and womanhood? If someone has been raised male they haven’t gone through those. If you say you are a female just because you feel like one on the inside, aren’t you invalidating my rites of passage and life history and experiences?

  14. Thoughts

    I’d also like to say: The attacks toward women who want a gyno-centric space in which to hold meetings feels a lot like the early attacks by males and even some females, against feminists at all. People growing up today are attacking the same feminists who won you as many rights as you have, if you are anyone other than a white cis male. Simply put, you don’t know your own roots, if you are calling people ‘TERF’ or attacking women who want to be with others who were ‘born women’ inside and out.

    It reminds me of a group of children stamping their feet. “We WILL go anywhere we want!” No one has a right to go *anywhere* they want. No one.

    Does it occur to some of you that some girls and women don’t want to see a penis in a changing room or bathroom when they didn’t expect that? Or even, at all? Some might be abuse survivors and that could trigger PTSD.

    I’d also like to know how someone can be a woman without living even one day as a woman in society? There are people calling themselves women who live as males with all the privilege that entails. They look male, dress male, interact with others as male, take all privileges afforded males (especially white males) in Western society, and then still wish to be called females and included in feminine spaces and groups. Some will even disparage women to fit in with their macho cis male colleagues or acquaintances.

    Just look at the history of feminism if you want to know why some are suspicious of anyone in a male body.

    Lastly, just calling names, and attacking those who do not understand your position or do not agree with you only makes your side look vicious. Not everyone is obligated to be your best buddy or let you into their changing room to strip nude beside them. I’m all for equal rights in society but I think there should be a third gender, and I also think realistically any democracy is ruled by its majority.

    But if you are going to live as a male and deny the life experience of girls and women who have lived as women – with all the denial of privilege and bodily risk that entails – while availing yourself of both sides of the coin – then I think you have no room to call anyone any names, you are denying their existence as much as you say they are denying yours.

  15. Thoughts 2

    Can’t help but notice a lot of the slurs used here were used against early feminists as well. To me it just sounds like males bashing feminists. No difference at all.

    People growing up today or in their 20s or even 30s have no idea what feminists went through, or fought for. What it really used to be like, how little women could take for granted at all. Also, feminists have historically also fought for the rights of other disenfranchised groups, without benefit to themselves.

    All of that goes by the wayside if anyone even questions how a person living in a male body, dressing as male, refusing to go through gender reassignment surgery, can claim to be female without ever living in society as female, or who, without going through any rites of passage girls have historically acknowledged are valid to becoming a woman, can become a woman.

    There is a cognitive dissonance there, and I don’t mean transgenderism itself. I mean the total lack of knowledge or respect for women’s lives. If you call yourself a feminist, you should respect women’s history, not just collectively but socially and individually as well.

    But what I see and hear coming from the trans community as a whole are slurs against women, especially against older feminists. I see disrespect. I see and hear total rejection of anything cis women say constitutes their idea of being a woman. How can you ask for respect, trans community, if you won’t give any?

    Also understand, if you have any wish to understand those who don’t understand you, that the very definition of ‘trans’ used to be ‘becoming’ – in other words, gender reassignment surgery (top and bottom) was always considered part of being trans, in a past generation. This is what trans people wanted, fought for, and traveled to achieve. Then the battle was being accepted legally and socially as their ‘new gender’ – the outward one.

    I do agree there is such a condition as transgenderism, however, why anyone would feel extreme dissonance with their physical body and then never want to change it – that, I do not understand. Again the definition I knew for decades was a trans person is in *the wrong body* and wants the inside and outside to match.

    So I believe this is where some confusion and negativity might surround those younger trans people who now want to be called a different gender than they present as, when they not only do not want to change their physical body (ever), but don’t want to change anything else about their outer selves, either.

    Why should people NOT be confused by that?

  16. susannunes

    The term “gender,” which in fact IS identical to the term “sex,” really needs to be thrown in the garbage can because LGBTs have completely twisted it. Sex roles are sex roles and should be called such. What is called “masculine” and what is “feminine” are socially constructed, hence the term “gender roles” or “sex roles.” THAT is what second wave feminism was talking about, so don’t twist the definition of what “gender” was originally called. It very soon got perverted by the LGBT crowd. “Gender” by itself doesn’t denote a socially constructed sex role.

  17. susannunes

    Transsexuals do not belong in the feminist movement. Period. They are men trying to crash groups designed by and for women. Ts are a tiny, tiny, tiny minority of people who have a mental problem and want the rest of us to accept their delusions as truth. Well, I am not going to play “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and nobody else should. It’s really long overdue to call them out on their bullshit.

  18. vera

    Methinks the whole thing is simply bullying. Not point justifying our position that women’s spaces are to be respected as women’s spaces. No point explaining about TERF. It’s just another way for women to be bullied. Same old same old. If trans people are behaving, talk with them, absolutely. If they get abusive, get out of that discussion, cuz it’s not really a good faith discussion at all. Arguing with abuse just validates the abuse. (Thank you for this blog!)

  19. Joy Sturgess

    I am 57, a woman, born that way, and a lesbian, and I have to say that all my life I have struggled against and suffered from the behaviour of men. I have been abused sexually, emotionally, psychologically by men at home in the street and at work. My experiences are nothing unusual- most women have had the same experiences- our mothers, our daughters, our sisters and our friends- being abused by men is the usual lot of women, the whole world over. And- I do not hate men, I have men in my life that are gentle and loving and I do dearly love them. I have experienced the monthly ebb and flow of hormones, the periods, the pre menstrual tension, the menopause with all it means. Listen, transgender people- I am not about to call myself ‘cis’ for you. I am not about to put your struggles ahead of mine, and that you want these things of me hurts me deeply. I look forward to the world being where Sweden is- gender neutral in school, in the bathroom, even in names and pronouns, freedom and equality between male and females. But the rest of the world is not there yet. And so I ask you to accept that you are not ‘woman’, and do not deserve any kind of an easy ride into our spaces.

  20. Pingback: Trans genderists are harmful to women. | The Prime Directive

  21. mshimmer

    I’m sorry, I know that I’m replying to a pretty old entry. I’ve read this piece several times and have spent a lot of time thinking about it. This may sound odd coming from a trans woman, but I am a gender abolitionist as well (although I cannot count myself as a RadFem I suppose, because I’m not completely anti-essentialist). You said, “Many transwomen also seek to find ways to express their experiences that do not negatively impact on women. It can be done.” I was wondering if you could elaborate on that and possibly offer some advice, please? I find myself continually struggling to not fall back on and reinforce stereotypes of what a woman “should” be. The gender abolitionist in me is keenly aware that reinforcing such stereotypes can be damaging to all women, and I’d like to do my best to avoid that.

    You are obviously intelligent and well-spoken. I enjoy hearing your point of view and learning from it. I am truly sorry to hear that some trans women (or perhaps, men posing as trans women?) seem intent on derailing you and trying to defeat feminism. We may not be able to agree on everything, but I hope that we can still consider each other friends and allies in a common cause. I can only speak for myself, but I consider myself a guest in biological womens’ spaces (when I am invited to them) and I try to be the most courteous guest I can be. Thank you for reading.

  22. Agender person

    I am an agender person. I know this because I have never felt like I identify as either male or female. What gives you the right to tell a trans woman that her feelings of being a woman are invalid, or to tell me that my feeling agender is invalid? You do not know me, do not feel my feelings, have not experienced my life. Gender policing is transphobic. Lie to yourself as much as you want, but if you are saying that you get to determine whether a trans* person is the gender they identify or not, or that you get to judge us for living in the way that keeps us from feeling suicidal like Leelah Alcorn, you are being transphobic. Or if you prefer, you can just call it “hateful”. That’s frankly more to the point.

    1. feministroar Post author

      Er, I know it’s invalid because there’s no such thing as ‘agender’. ‘Gender’ is not a quality someone has – it’s a hierarchy they are forced into. Also being a woman isn’t a feeling or an identity, it’s a description of material reality. The material reality of being an ‘adult human female’. Someone who is born male cannot become female, a transwoman is not a woman. That’s not transphobic, that’s reality.

      Sorry you’ve bought into the big old patriarchal lie. I feel for you. But asking you to live your life in a way that doesn’t hurt women is far from hateful. Maybe you should stop demanding others buy into your self-centred delusions and open your eyes.

      1. blackwomanist

        Thank you!! For a trans woman to demand to be viewed and treated as a woman is asking an individual to alter reality to fit into their altered perception of reality is wrong. Wrong. I’m refuse to be labeled as phobic just because I refuse to view a person born with the anatomy of a man, a woman. Really, lets stop intellectualizing the idea that a man is a woman born in a mans body. That gender is an ideology. Please.

  23. Layla

    I can’t thank you enough. I just had my roommate (cis male who calls himself “butch,” which offends me) and a friend (who identifies as non-gendered) make me cry because I said that as a bisexual female with a severe history of sexual abuse, I would feel uncomfortable with a transwoman at a lesbian sex party. They both became so enraged that my roommate threatened to kick me out for my viewpoint!! They also said I was discriminating against “women,” and that having a penis doesn’t make you non-female. How ironic that people who claim to stand up for the oppressed have no empathy for someone’s legitimate thoughts, feelings, and opinions.

    1. blackwomanist

      Why in the fuq, would a transwoman want to be at a lesbian party? That’s straight confusing. Like the couple where the man became a woman and the woman a man and then they marry? That’s almost making a mockery of sexuality.

    2. stacielle

      Layla, I agree with you. I am bisexual and I would never want to be with a transwoman. Being bisexual doesn’t mean that I have to accept that. Everyone has a right to be safe but not everyone has a right to have sex w me.

      ** Find a new place soon, your roommate is scary!

  24. oopster74

    You both need to respect each other’s right to their opinion, freedom and their space. You don’t think trans women are women, fine, but they do, and there’s no need to be an asshole about it. You’re a transwoman and you don’t like that someone who’s opinion shouldn’t matter a thing to you? Get over it.

    Don’t be an asshole, don’t think that taking away someone else’s rights will make you any better off, there’s only one situation where that’s true, and that involves slavery.

    1. blackwomanist

      You don’t think trans women are women, fine, but they do, and there’s no need to be an asshole about it. You’re a transwoman and you don’t like that someone who’s opinion shouldn’t matter a thing to you? Get over it.—— call both parties assholes. Not just the party who refuses to alter reality.

      Don’t be an asshole, don’t think that taking away someone else’s rights will make you any better off, there’s only one situation where that’s true——what rights are being denied?

  25. oopster74

    I meant to call all / both sides assholes if they’re being assholes.

    You don’t think that me being a transwoman means I’m a woman? Fine, I could care less, don’t be an asshole about it, it’s nothing to do with anyone but me, I don’t need reminding that I’m trans, it’s not as if I’m going to forget, and it’s not something I’m ashamed of or should be made to feel ashamed of, it’s as much a part of me as being right handed or being ginger. If I were to point out things about them I might consider “flaws”, then I’d be an asshole for that, but I keep my opinion to myself as how someone else lives their life is bugger all to do with me.

    Ie the slavery reference, by freeing slaves and giving them their freedom / rights, then you’re taking something away from the slave owner, but that’s the right thing to do, as no one should be in slavery in the first place.

    1. blackwomanist

      How are you being enslaved? What right is being taken from you? How are you being denied the right to live your life? How are you being called flawed? How am I being asshole?

  26. oopster74

    Let me put it another way, as I do have a habit of explaining badly. I’m not trans to piss anyone off, but if people are going to be assholes to me or others because of it, then that’s a bonus, but not the reason.

    1. blackwomanist

      I do not treat anyone bad unless they’ve been bad to me. I am not one to call out tease abuse or make a mockery of anyone. But I must ask…if gender is an ideology. And that woman and men are not defined by body parts, but a state of mind…why the need to alter ones body parts and/or change ones ornamentation to be able to project the ideology of gender?

  27. oopster74

    I’m not enslaved, ready earlier post regarding that.

    If you’re being an asshole, I think I’ve already explained how and why.

  28. oopster74

    I wish I knew, all I can tell you is that this is the way I feel, and I spent far too many years trying to figure out and understand why. I don’t have (all) the answers, but I have enough answers for me.

    1. blackwomanist

      I definitely can admit respect for you. You have not asked anyone here to alter their perceptions. But you have also stood firm in your own personal convictions and have not been swayed. This is exactly how it should be.

  29. Some guy

    I came here via the typical convoluted internet way and I must say I had no idea that this TERF thing is such an issue for some. On either “side”.

    I’m some guy, and if I have to label and categorise myself, I’m what is typically known as a hetero blah blah. I don’t define myself by my gender, sex, sexuality, my theories, my spiritual beliefs (I don’t have any btw, not that it matters), my nationality, my skin colour, my musical interests, my age, or whatever else.

    All I know, is that I am a human being and I try to define myself by what type of person I am to myself and to others. Am I being fair, am I being good, am I being an asshole? I don’t differentiate my behaviours due the other person’s sex/gender/clothes/whatever.

    I think we need a little bit more emphasis on how we treat each other as one human being to another and “ignore” the categorisation of people by one, or more, “qualities” or “terms”. As soon as we categorise we lump them with theoretical world views that we often we think are more valid than theirs, or others’.

    As everyone knows the world, and in particular “modern society”, is a highly complicated and complex one. With billions of people around, all sorts of positions are held, theories espoused, and wildly varied experiences are experienced.

    I’ve learnt along the way that it’s best to not try and think on someone else’s behalf no matter how different they are to me. Live and let live, in a very broad sense, seems to make the most sense to me.

    Of course if someone is trying to rape, murder and pillage and then try to say “hey, just let me live and let live” we have some sort of problem. A kinda serious one.

    But more specifically to this TERF thing and feminism and gender stuff, this talk of including/excluding, accepting/not accepting, and taking stances that are argued to be universal truths is pretty much more damaging to better human to human relations.

    Granted, there is something to be said that we can have the conversation but sometimes I wish we placed more emphasis on practically treating each other well, as human to human, rather than getting caught up the gender/sex/body/frikking whatever labyrinth.

    Please be aware, that I realise that for women in particular, it’s not as simple as that. Being a woman, with so much male violence and oppression against them, means you can’t escape the reality of the matter. So the female gender/sex/boobs/whatever basically defines how men relate and treat you. And by f*ck, it shouldn’t be this way and there is a frikking long way to go for men to be “gender/sex/whatever” blind to a woman in the way they treat her and interact with her.

    Just some thoughts :-)

  30. Tyler Dewey

    hello, first id like to say thank you for sharing your point of view! i have heard the term TERF and was curious as to what it is, and only saw negative stuff from people in the opposition(understandably as they do not feel the same way you do and people who disagree tend to do that.) but wanted to hear from someone who, i guess not identified as that but have been labeled that. now, i agree and disagree with this opinion. You want women rights to be focused upon women who are clearly women based upon a biological standpoint, what does a man who has “decided” they are a woman know about being a woman? and i think thats an excellent idea. there are things as a man i can never understand, child birth and menstruation being two very obvious things. a woman bodied is just that, her body. no one can dictate what can be done to it but that woman. thats why i am vocal about it, it is YOUR body, not mine, not even the woman’s standing next to you, as her experiences and perceptions are different from yours. and thats where i don’t understand, the idea that basing gender, an idea forced upon us, purely upon biological facts. that idea is understandable, since well thats what we’ve been doing for centuries. but, we are at a point in our psychological understanding that we should be more comfortable with the fact that someone who feels like a woman and acts like a woman(whatever that means) may just be a woman in their experience. biology should still define certain arguments, abortion being the most obvious, but when someone talks about being oppressed because they are woman, but are biologically male, yet have the mind set and behavior patterns that would indicate they are female, i feel that their experience should be considered valid. again, i am a male my opinion on this subject isn’t as informed because of that. and i understand that you have to stand by what you believe, im not trying to change your mind, i believe we should all stand as firm as you do in our beliefs. thanks for taking the time to read this, and best wishes for everything you do! keep fighting that good fight all.

  31. Amanda

    What I’m trying to figure out is what label I’m supposed to put on myself. I’m neither feminist or into erasing femininity. Everyone wants what they don’t have. I just want to be a woman. Is that going to be illegal soon?

  32. fgabriel

    I think all conflicting sides that just scream incessantly at one another, trying to be the loudest, forget that we’re all fighting, in our own ways, to be accepted. It’s so easy to look at someone who is different from you and claim social supremacy over them because you don’t take the time to remember that we’re all fighting our own wars, men, women, trans, gay, lesbian, etc. And all those wars only exist because of us, as a result of us, and if we all stopped screaming and just shut up and allowed each other the same rights we expect for ourselves without having to fight all the time for them, but give them because they are just deserved, life would be so much more enjoyable for everyone. It doesn’t matter your skin color, or your gender, whether you’re gay, or lesbian, or bi, or transgender, or your social status, or how much money you make, or where you live, or who your parents were, when you peel off the skin we’re all the exact same underneath. We should be standing up for one another instead of always trying to tear each other down.
    Why does it always have to be a contest, or a conquest of explaining why OUR INDIVIDUAL opinion is the right one, or the most important? We’re all the same, and should be treated that way without question. That’s the beginning of equality and that’s where it should end, for everyone.
    I’m a transgender guy and I’m jumping in just because I never hear anything about peace anymore. Like, real peace and acceptance. I just hear everyone trying to win a war that only exists because we created it in the first place.

  33. radfem

    A black female rad fem sister where have you been all my life alternatively did you leave liberal feminism because you felt it didn’t represent black women enough or

    1. Blackwomanist

      Feminism was a strategic political move to take black women from the civil rights movement to support white females. It weakened our community(for the record…my grandfather is a German immigrant.). Let me ask you something. If sexism is designed to keep white men in control of both black and white women, and racism to control both black and white women…white women have to only battle their men right? But we have to battle both sexism and racism. It leads us battling our own men, white men, and white women..
      No?

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  36. Pingback: You may call me a TERF but I am not transphobic | Critiquing Transgender Doctrine & Gender Identity Politics

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