Originally posted on A Feminist Roars
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.