Letter to a “TERF”

Originally posted at Bauhaus Wife

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It’s interesting to me that you seem to take offence to my pointing out biological facts about my son’s body.  He does indeed have a penis and testicles, that will, at some stage in his life (I assume, as all signs point to his body being healthy and functional) produce sperm.  My understanding of science is admittedly rudimentary, but he is clearly a male human and as such, he will never become pregnant through sexual intercourse, or give birth spontaneously to a child.  How could such a simple observation be contentious?

And I’m really not sure what you mean by “TERF-Y”.  I have heard that this is an acronym for “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist”. Who exactly am I “excluding” by observing the material reality of biology? I cannot fathom.

I agree entirely that the body does not always dictate our gender–this is, in essence, the underlying point of my original article: “Gender” is simply a set of social conventions and societal attitudes that inform, suggest, and sometimes even enforce, through subtle and not-so-subtle pressures, notions of masculinity and femininity.  “Gender” conventions shift and change from era to era and from place to place–that which is considered masculine at one time or in one culture, may be considered feminine in another.  “Gender” and what this means also varies greatly among individuals.  There is no metric to measure or quantify “gender”, and every human is “gender-fluid”–incorporating elements of that which is considered masculine and feminine, to some degree or another.

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The right way for women to disappear

Originally posted at Glosswatch

For a long time I have felt a parallel can be made between eating disorders and gender confirmation surgery as forms of self-harming body modification. It’s not a comparison I make lightly, just for the hell of it. Indeed, every time I’ve made it, I’ve had to put up with the ritual public Shaming of the TERF, alongside the trivialisation of a condition which led to several long-term hospitalisations against the “realness” of true gender dysphoria. It’s been suggested to me that anorexia is an attempt to “express your feels” as opposed to the real suffering of “having a skin that metaphorically itches all the time” (as if anyone who’s ever had anorexia would not understand that!). A piece I wrote about the inappropriateness of positioning female body hatred within the context of “cis-ness” got me to Level 2 on the Blockbot. According to the official narrative, anorexia is at best mental illness, at worst vanity; transness, on the other hand, is politically radical, unquestionably authentic and quite incomprehensible to “the cis”.

A woman who starves puberty into remission is sick, so sick you can section her, decree her officially incapable of knowing what her own body needs.  One who drugs puberty into remission is not sick; she is, on the contrary, a mystic emissary from Planet Gender. Her – his, their – word is law. A woman who, like me, tries to kill herself because no amount of starvation will make her breasts fully disappear is considered mad. One who merely threatens to kill herself should no surgeon be willing to slice off her breasts for her – well, that person is merely a victim of medical gatekeeping.

Why is this?

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The Value in People

Originally posted at Jaqueline Sephora Andrews

People are important.  When you value life, you can honor and respect opposing view points.  Some might not like that I’m a transsexual, or feel that I too appropriate other realities. I can disagree with other opinions, but their lives matter regardless of how their comments make me feel.  The world doesn’t revolve around my feelings.  The lack of respect for people, especially women, is why it was necessary for me to leave the trans movement.  I saw that it was a misogynistic movement that expected women to be obedient.  Women who don’t obey are labelled Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) and targeted with abuse.  Regardless of how you feel, transwomen, radical feminists are people and entitled to their analysis.  If what they are saying isn’t true, then why do you work so hard to try to silence their voices?  You have fallen for your political agenda that you fail to see the value in people.  People deserve safety.  Women are entitled to their safe spaces.

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The last thing we need is ‘transgender days’ for primary pupils

Originally published by Jemima Lewis at The Telegraph

Have you had The Conversation with your children yet? Not the one about the birds and the bees, but the one about how some bees feel they are actually a bird trapped in a bee’s body, or a bee trapped in a bird’s body, or neither bee nor bird but somewhere in the middle of the bee-bird spectrum?

I have. It didn’t go that well, to be honest. “But you can’t just change like that!” protested my six-year-old son, thereby marking himself out as the worst kind of TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist). “I’d hate to be a girl anyway,” mused my eight-year-old son. “They can’t fight and their toys are rubbish.”

“Well I’m a princess and you’re a bum-bum,” retorted his four-year old sister. So much for liberal parenting.

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Women Saying ‘No’

Originally posted at Gender Apostates

Women have always been called names for saying no. Frigid, bitch, prude. These words are meant to shame us into saying yes.

Women are supposed to be available, welcoming, obedient, and it has been the aim of the women’s movement since its inception to challenge these preconceptions, to say no to men’s definition of us.

It is thanks to feminism that since 1991 wives can say no to their husbands and have that ‘no’ backed up by law. It is thanks to feminism that women no longer have to accept dismissal if they marry or become pregnant. It is thanks to feminism that women in the West are beginning to feel confident in saying no to men in myriad different situations.

Prude, bitch, frigid don’t sting like they used to. Misogynists in the west are losing society’s assumption that women should say yes. Increasingly, it is they who are shamed for insisting. As feminists we applaud this.

However, when it comes to transgender males, men who wish to call themselves women – or more to the point want us to call them women – the story is very different. If we say no to the appropriation of our name, our bodies, our struggle, it is we women who are shamed. We’re being re-named: TERF, cis, transphobe. We’re being re-named by men who wish to try on the costume ‘woman’; they think it doesn’t fit us any more, us no-sayers are not the pliable girls of their dreams, and we must share.

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Primmest of Trolls

Originally posted at tiny gamete

This post is about the primmest of trolls, Aoife Assumpta Hart. Their conduct has been atrocious, they have severed relationships with friends who were nothing but supportive, they have burned bridges it was assumed they worked on in good faith, and they have utterly embarrassed themselves by showing a lack of regard for other people, and for the politics they claimed to have a genuine interest in. Don’t trust Aoife. Don’t trust someone who finds it so easy to switch from one political movement to another whenever it seems most convenient to their swollen ego. Their self-description seems innocent enough, I suppose.

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Fighting these battles for decades

Originally posted at Butterflies and Wheels

How DARE you! How VERY dare you, you entitled little shits‽

Your grandmothers, mothers, sisters, ftm cousins, and older transwomen, have been fighting these battles for decades before most of you decided that you’d like to wear dresses and make-up. Did you have no idea, when you discovered your feminine internal person, that by joining the underclass you would automatically lose all the privileges that being born with a penis gave you, whether you asked for or expected such or not? And that by privileging those women born with a penis over all the billions of women who weren’t, you are perpetuating the patriarchal constructs that gave all queer people, including trans people like us, such a fucking hard time until feminists fought for us to have rights?

And then you have the sheer unmitigated gall to accuse people who say “Stop trampling over women” of being TERFs or ‘transmisogynistic’?

And to think I mulled over this for two days, because I was worried that my following initial response was too strong to post. And instead, I decided that it wasn’t strong enough.

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Reclaiming Women

Originally posted by Stephanie Davies-Arai at Wales Arts Review

There’s a strange thing happening to the distinct group formerly known as ‘women.’ The change in meaning of the word has crept up on us but it has become so established this past year across the media, government, public institutions and women’s groups that I find myself wondering ‘Who is International Women’s Day for?’ I don’t know anymore, I’d have to check with the organisers: ‘When you say ‘women’ who do you mean?’ The only answer permissible would be ‘anyone who self-identifies as a woman’ because anything thing else would be exclusive of transsexual males and therefore ‘transphobic.’

Already I can hear the sharp intake of breath from those shocked at that term ‘transsexual males;’ already I have declared myself ‘transphobic’ by not using the term ‘trans women.’ I do use that term sometimes out of courtesy, but I use accurate terminology here because that’s what this piece is about. A ‘trans woman’ is a male who identifies as the opposite sex, that’s all, no judgment. ‘Transsexual male’ is accurate and facts in themselves are neutral.

Clarity of language is important, words and their meanings influence thought; it matters to be factual.

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Analyzing the terms TERF and SWERF

Originally posted at The Fifth Column

Let’s unpack these terms, shall we? Because I see them everywhere now, and mostly in the context of attempting to shut down a conversation and label someone as anti-feminist. But what do they mean? Well, the literal definition of the acronyms is:

  • TERF: Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism/Feminist
  • SWERF: Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminism/Feminist

It’s first important to note that the women who are being called this do not want to be.

That’s an important distinction, not only because these terms have been used as slurs, but because the people using them insist that they be able to self identify gender and/or sex: male/female/nonbinary/etc. Radical feminists have been pointing out this hypocrisy to the liberal feminist community with no avail. The irony has reached a comical level.

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Why I no longer hate ‘TERFs’

Originally posted at Feminist Current

I used to hate so-called TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists). I thought they were mean, vicious, horrible people — an affront to feminism, to social justice, and to political purity. They were no better than puppy-kickers and kitten-killers in my mind. But, while I continue to fully embrace my transgender sisters in the fight against patriarchy, I will no longer vilify my feminist sisters who don’t, and beyond its convenience in writing this article, I will no longer use the word “TERF.”

Women are socialized to be caretakers. We learn to put everyone else’s needs before our own and, likewise, we are socialized to believe that everyone else’s oppression is more important than ours — especially the oppression of biological males. The oppression of men of colour by whites, for example, has always been taken more seriously than the oppression of women of colour. Police violence against women of colour receives far less coverage than police violence against men of colour.

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