Trans Tuesday: Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism (TERFs)

Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists. Feminists.

I don’t know quite how to put this, but how are they feminists? Feminism to me is fighting for equality for people’s gender (at least at the most basic level) and respecting people’s identities, which is seen especially in intersectional feminism. A few weeks ago I was in an online debate with a few aforementioned TERFs, after one I followed (I don’t know how that happened) posted a disgusting post about trans men and binding. She referred to the men as women and, when challenged, chose to attack myself and the other trans people who tried to defend ourselves, rather than defending her own points.

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I was called ‘a woman hater’, told I was betraying myself, I was really just in a lesbian relationship (which, not even factoring in the blatant transphobic comment, was incredibly biphobic to assume) and Tyler and I were lying to ourselves.

The blog owner had also posted an article about what she called ‘baby dildos’. I rolled my eyes in disgust when I read the post. It was the product of a mother in America who’s trans little boy had expressed his worry about going to school without anything down below. His mum had created a packer, a soft, pliable phallus-esque item that was there to create the illusion of a penis for the little boy’s mental wellbeing. It was so far from a dildo that it was ridiculous.

When I was challenged on what I thought about the idea (clearly thrown at me in spite to trip me up), I explained how I thought the packer was a good idea and if they thought it could be used for sex they were gravely mistaken. I was then told that I loved baby dildos and that was good to know.

The whole situation reeked of schoolyard bullying, someone stands up for someone else and then next thing you know they are being attacked themselves. At first I was infuriated, but later I came to feel bad for the people saying these things. I know a lot of trans men and other FAAB trans people who were once TERFs themselves, and perhaps the author was struggling with her own gender identity. I did point this out on one of my last correspondences and was told I was disrespecting other people’s identities.

I just had to laugh there.

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If I have learnt one thing from my experience, it is to double check who I follow! Some people clearly can’t be changed, but if I made one person question their attitudes who was reading the comments I will be happy.

The fact is, a lot of people do share this opinion. There is a good portion of society who see trans men as betraying their ‘fellow’ females, and who see trans women as perverts, fetishists or just ‘too gay’. It is awful and people who buy into it and spread such awful content as the TERF did spread dangerous words. These are not always the people who will throw the flame that lights the fire beneath our murders, but everyone has teachers, preachers and educators. The more vile tripe like the blog of the so-called feminist I mention above, the more these transphobic attacks (and other hate crimes) will keep happening.

Today’s post goes out to all of those with strong opinions about anything. Do me a favour, research some more before you preach, I know I always find myself needing to do the same. One little bit of education could ultimately save someone’s life, and I know that sounds far fetched but it is true.

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