TERFs are misogynists? Say it ain’t so

File this under “I am so surprised by this news I literally died.”

In the grand scheme of Women Having Opinions About Things In Public, I have it really easy. The tireless harassment, often escalating into abuse and even threats, that many women (especially but not exclusively Black women and other women of color) deal with online, is enormously well-documented. The worst that’s ever happened to me is an exhausting days-long barrage of messages on all my social media profiles calling me every misogynistic or homophobic insult under the sun. It comes in waves; there are days—and I know this is unimaginable to many women writers—when nobody trolls me at all.

Most of the people who have sought me out to denigrate my character (rather than criticize my work, which is an entirely different kind of exchange) are right-wingers, anti-feminists, conservatives, anti-queer ideologues, or just open and unabashed misogynists. But because I believe transgender people exist and deserve safety and dignity, I also have more experience than I’d like being harassed (again, distinct from criticized) by people who describe themselves as feminists.

I’m still learning how to respond to trans hatred from ostensible feminists, though I’m well aware that the vitriol they direct my way is infinitesimal compared to what trans people have to contend with. It’s disorienting to encounter someone who claims to share your goal of liberation, but espouses reactionary hatred for your most deeply held ideals. But if anything, I’ve spent more time being harangued by trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) than by men.

Read more here.



  1. says

    TERFs take the millennia old definition of woman as “someone who can probably make me more humans” as valid, run with it and claim it’s feminism.
    Alternatively they go for the “shared girlhood” bullshit. Last I read a terf claiming that trans women can never be women because they don’t understand what it’s like to be assaulted by old men for being a beautiful young girl.
    Now, I don’t know that either, so apparently I’m not a woman either…

  2. Silentbob says

    I know! I does my head in.

    People must be put in classes based on their genitalia.

    No – people can be who they want regardless of genitalia.

    Trans people:
    I reject the gender class imposed on me because of my birth genitalia.

    No wai!!! – People must be put in classes based on their genitalia!

    But seriously, there is so much sexism in TERFism even I find it extraordinary they think of themselves as “feminist”. The cis male sexism in Blanchard’s ludicrous “autogynephilia” shit is so obvious you’d be forgiven for thinking he came up with it in a strip club (wanting to be a woman = wanting to be a fucktoy), but TERFs devour that shit. The typical TERF taunt to trans women that they “cut their dick off” is just so obviously steeped in sexist notions of emasculation (that a penis symbolises a man, and to not be a man is to be lesser (like a woman), and the loss of the penis is therefore shameful and degrading*) that I’m astonished it doesn’t ring alarm bells with anyone remotely aware of feminist thought. But Germaine Mother-Fucking Greer will invoke sexist shit like that. I mean I’m just some cisgender bloke, but if the sexism is so obvious it leaves me gobsmacked, I can barely imagine what women, let alone actual feminists, make of it.

    * I’m aware GRS doesn’t actually involve severing the penis. (Unlike TERFs. :-( )

  3. blf says

    (This is a somewhat related cross-post from poopyhead’s Political Madness All the Time here at FtB.)

    Unsurprisingly, some TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) are objecting, insisting gender is strictly binary, Women-only Cambridge college to allow students who ‘identify as female’ (Grauniad edits in {curly braces}):

    Murray Edwards admissions policy change welcomed by gender diversity campaigners but decried by some feminists

    A women-only Cambridge college has changed its admissions policy to allow it to accept transgender students who identify as female.

    The decision by Murray Edwards College, formerly known as New Hall, has been attacked by some feminists as illogical but welcomed by campaigners for gender diversity.

    The college […] said it sympathised with the idea that gender is not binary and will support those who do not wish to define themselves as either female or male.

    [… A]fter a decision by its council, Murray Edwards will now be open to students who identify as a woman and have “taken steps to live in the female gender”.

    Annoucing [sic] the change Dame Barbara Stocking, the president of the college, said: “We are a college that is open to all outstanding young women and so it is absolutely right, both legally and within our set of values, for anyone who identifies as female to be able to apply to study with us.

    “There is now a greater understanding of the complexities of gender. In order that we remain true to our mission of being open to all outstanding young women we recognise that it is right for anyone who identifies as female, regardless of their born gender, to be able to apply to study with us.”


    Germaine Greer […] described the decision as ridiculous.

    If they {Murray Edwards} really don’t believe that gender is binary, then they really shouldn’t be a single sex college […]

    I’m a bit disappointed Murray Edwards only “sympathises with the idea that gender is not binary”, rather than simply flat-out stating “gender is not binary”. That is perhaps a quibble?

    The quoted loon, Ms Geer, has previously expressed transphobic views. She also (admittedly conditionally) supports genital mutilation; her arguments in support (broadly, “historical culture”) seem to also support, say, chattel slavery.