Trans-exclusionary radical feminism
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“”doing the patriarchy’s work and calling it feminism: the TERF
Trans-exclusionary radical feminism (TERF; also Trans women exclusionary feminism or TWEF[note 1]) is a subgroup of radical feminism characterized by extreme transphobia, especially transmisogyny,[note 2] and hostility to the third wave of feminism. The more biologically essentialist currents assert that the only real women™ are those born with a vagina and XX chromosomes, and that anyone born with such an arrangement is always a woman.[note 3] Those currents which are more oriented towards theories of social development tend to couch their opposition to trans individuals in the notion that a lifetime lived as someone who socially codes as a women is intrinsic to the definition of 'womanhood,' and thus that male-to-female trans individuals are 'interlopers' who cannot know nor represent the feminine experience. While the lifetime of experiences many woman have accumulated in being treated as women are undoubtedly important, how and why this should translate into opposition for trans rights is unclear at best, and quite often stoked by blatant appeals to transphobia and transmisogyny.[note 4] Regardless of explanative framework, TERFs/TWEFs in general seek enforcement of a gender binary that is directly predicated on gender essentialism (though it is often pushed in the name of destroying the gender binary).
The term was likely invented by Hoyden About Town writer Viv Smythe (aka TigTog) in 2008 and is rarely used in reference to the self, typically considered a slur by those categorized as such, who are far more likely to claim themselves "gender critical". (Mostly for the same general reasons that white supremacists claim to be "race realists" and tankies try to rebrand Stalin apologetics as "anti-revisionism.")
Even sub-branches of feminist thought known to house individual TERFs, including second wave feminists and political lesbians, have spoken out against this exact transphobia and transmisogyny within their own ranks, further demonstrating the distance between TERFs and mainstream feminism.
Their doxxing, trolling, picketing,[note 5] and generally abusive behaviour has earned them the title of "Westboro Baptist Church of feminism"; because they are to feminism what the WBC is to Christianity. They are, in short, a hate group that by no means represents mainstream feminism. By virtue of these facts, the TERF movement can actually be understood as being overtly anti-feminist.[note 6]
- 1 Against feminism
- 2 TERFs and wingnuts
- 3 Sex worker-exclusionary radical feminism
- 4 TERFs and misandry
- 5 TERF as a slur
- 6 TERF lingo and culture
- 7 Notable TERFs
- 8 TERFs in the UK
- 9 More sensible viewpoints
- 10 The bottom line
- 11 See also
- 12 External links
- 13 Notes
- 14 References
Broadly speaking, there are two major points on which TERFs and feminists vehemently disagree — on the question of gender, and on the nature of the third wave of feminism.
Towards binary gender
Transphobic radfems seem to almost universally reject the concept of cisgender privilege, and even the term "cisgender" itself, as somehow demeaning to "women born women" (another controversial term in LGBTQ+ circles that is usually understood as a transphobic shibboleth). In other words, TERFs go so far as to reject any terminology models (for words such as "woman" or "man") that are not based on biological organs, gametes, or chromosomes.[note 3] Thus (re)defining their own movement as that "of women to liberate women from oppression, and that female biological reality is a defining aspect of women's experience of oppression."[note 7]
Unlike run-of-the-mill conservative transphobes, TERFs generally accept a distinction between gender and sex, at least in theory. However, they believe that gender ought to become completely irrelevant and that sex is crucial when it comes to how we classify people. They defend the act of misgendering by claiming that they are simply referring to biological sex, and while they are theoretically opposed to gender roles, some TERF bloggers speak of the completely different concept of "sex roles." When they don't have any biological evidence for a particular point, they turn to socialization based on sex instead. The fact that GC holds sex as a be-all-and-end-all system just brings them right back to the gender binary and essentialism.
Academic radical feminism is premised upon the idea that gender, as the assignment of bundles of default personality stereotypes to genital shapes, is entirely a social construct that must be destroyed. Presumably, in this sort of post-gender world, everybody would be encouraged to identify nonbinary and present fluid, leaving genitals for the bedroom. Some transgender people maintain, on the other hand, that gender is to some extent intrinsic: even though they were raised as one binary gender, they have always identified as the other,[note 8] and further, trans people often, but not always, want bodies to match. As frequently happens when ideology runs up against someone else's lived experiences, ideologues respond by trying to hammer the problem flat until it fits with what they already believe. As such, there has been, and continues to be, a rich current of anti-trans bigotry underlying much TERF ideology on the issue of gender and transgender people in general. The obvious conflict between the notion that "gender is entirely a social construct" and the slogan "women born women" seems to escape them, except perhaps in the context of gynecological health care.
While mainstream feminists would disagree, TERFs who critique — "I'm not transphobic, I'm trans critical!"[note 9] — transgender people's existence maintain (generally contrary to both what trans people themselves have said about their own identities, and the medical consensus on gender dysphoria) that trans women are nothing more than "effeminate men" who have been relegated by the patriarchal gender binary to the status of women (whereas trans men, when they bother to mention them at all, are just women trying to claim 'male privilege' for themselves). Thus they slam transgender people in general for "reifying the gender binary." Considering the transgender population is about 1 in 300, accusing the transgender community of reifying nearly any oppressive construct is patently absurd and this is obvious to anyone with the most basic understanding of math and group dynamics. There is no out, however, for transgender people who do not embody the stereotypes of their adopted genders either; lesbian trans women, for example, are dismissed as men who only transitioned in order to infiltrate women's-only spaces.
transgender woman are in fact men using an artificialy constructed feminine apperance to exert patriarchy from the inside of feminism and believe it or not, to gain access to womans bathrooms in order to rape them.
Because no logical argument can be made that maintains their beliefs, they instead make memes.[note 10] All of this is highly ironic, since by doing all this they are objectifying women's bodies and saying men are not to blame for their actions because "instincts". Never mind the actual numbers, of course, which show that trans women are one of the groups most likely to be abused and raped.
Against the Third Wave
TERFs loathe the third wave of feminism. For a number of reasons, partly their own authoritarianism, partly their own demographic myopia, and partly because they themselves represent a partial embodiment of every stereotype thrown at feminists over the last century and a half, this particular group of radfems have been roundly rejected by nearly every demographic they claim to represent, including, but not limited to, women of color, sex workers, kinksters, virtually all male allies (with the exception of a few masochists who spend their time shitting on their gender and downplaying genuine men's issues), and, at long last, most every feminist who has come after them. This is in part due to their inability or unwillingness to understand intersectionality.
They also seem to deeply resent that the third-wavers have taken their best ideas — understanding and fighting patriarchal structures and rape culture, the fight for reproductive rights and women's health care — and carried them forward, while leaving the dogmatism and one-size-fits-all theorizing behind, rendering the majority of them irrelevant.
For sex workers, the reason for rejecting that form of feminism is, in large part, because although all sex workers around the world can be said to be exploited (especially in developing countries and anywhere with a strong culture of machismo) and some are indeed held in the industry forcibly against their will (as opposed to economically, in the same vein as minimum wage workers), they nevertheless find the conflation of sex work and slavery to be insulting both to themselves and historical victims of slavery, not to mention counterproductive for helping actual victims of sex slavery (who often, upon freeing themselves, resort to sex work in absence of other opportunities). Sex educators generally agree and in addition feel that such attitudes deny the agency of people to seek their own pleasure, hiding an underlying puritanism behind concepts like false consciousness.
Back in the 1980s, TERF ideas were at the absolute pinnacle of the tree of ideological soundness and political correctness (early enough that that term was only used approvingly by those supporting it). During this period, transgender people were only beginning to become the subjects of political awareness. They can't quite understand how the same ideas — let alone their actions — in the 2010s are considered odious bigotry.
TERFs and wingnuts
Wingnut rhetoric and tactics
“”In the 1980s, TERFs successfully brought an end to trans health care access. One TERF operative wrote the government report which led the the revocation of trans medical care under government programs and soon thereafter, private insurers followed suit.
The particular transphobic rhetoric used by many TERFs owes a lot to wingnut homophobia in its structure, showcasing the same homosexuality-as-a-choice. When Sheila Jeffreys noticed RadFem2012 was cancelled and labelled a hate group, she said:
Criticism of the practice of transgenderism is being censored as a result of a campaign of vilification by transgender activists of anyone who does not accept the new orthodoxy on this issue. (emphasis added)
The bolded part is eerily similar to what the radical right have said about homosexuality. Specifically, it resembles the following quote about such by neo-Nazi Paul Fromm in its framing of gender identity as choice instead of something a person is, as well as its massive persecution complex; additionally, the language downplays the bigotry, insinuating that people's existences can be merely "criticized":
Despite being a Catholic, Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty of Ontario forced even Catholic schools to promote the homosexual agenda in the schools and have Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs, even though the practice of homosexuality violates Catholic teaching. (So much for religious freedom!) (emphasis added)
Nonsexist counseling is another direction for change that should be explored. The kind of counseling to “pass” successfully as masculine or feminine that now reigns in gender identity clinics only reinforces the problem of transsexualism. It does nothing to develop critical awareness, and makes transsexuals dependent upon medical-technical solutions. What I am advocating is a counseling that explores the social origins of the transsexual problem and the consequences of the medicaltechnical solution.
This is exactly the same rhetoric used by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH),[note 11] an anti-LGBT group dedicated to lobbying reparative therapy.
TERF communities have also been accused of racism. TERFs will oftentimes repeat Islamophobic comments and oftentimes engage in racist behavior, frequently stereotyping certain ethnicities of men as more sexist than others. TERFs are 'overwhelmingly white and economically privileged, evidenced by the fact the entire editorial staff at TERF-central Feminist Current is white with the exception of one Latina. Many men, even male TERFs, have noted the movement's complete inability to address the very gendered aspects of racism that oftentimes disproportionately affect men and to which TERF rhetoric oftentimes implicitly contributes. Angela Davis and bell hooks [sic], two black third-wave feminists, famously called out Susan Brownmiller's treatment of Emmett Till's lynching in her book Against Our Will as bordering on tacit approval, as she suggested Till's wolf-whistling was tantamount to the greatest possible humiliation. This was claimed to have been due to Brownmiller's subliminal racism.
Finally, TERFs' incessant use of euphemisms to conceal their transphobia is comparable to the alt-right's heavy use of fascist dog whistles.
Collaborations with the far-right
|This section requires more sources.|
TERFs have been known to collaborate with the American Religious Right. Notable instances include Cathy Brennan's collaboration with the right-wing Pacific Justice Institute in order to harass a trans woman via death threats, and generally acting as their mouthpiece, Janice Raymond working with conservative leader Jesse Helms to deny health coverage to trans people, and Sheila Jeffreys stating that she aligned with the "radical right" on the issue of transgender legislation:
Now one of the things I find puzzling about it is that, when I look at the House of Lords debate on this legislation, those I agree with most are the radical right. Particularly the person I find that I agree with most, in here, and I’m not sure he will be pleased to find this, is Norman Tebbit.
Julia Beck, a self-proclaimed "lesbian radical-feminist" became a darling to right-wing media (even appearing on Tucker Carlson's show!) in 2018 after she was invited to speak out against trans protections in the Equality Act .
Many anti-feminists, including Milo Yiannopoulos, have praised TERFs, with Milo going as far as calling Julie Bindel, who has called for putting men into reeducation camps, as being his favorite feminist alongside faux-feminist Christina Hoff Sommers. Prominent TERF Posie Parker did an 80-minute video with French-Canadian white nationalist Jean-François Gariépy in 2019. She was also ejected from TERF organisation 'A Woman's Place' due to her views on Muslims, which were deemed racist. 
The Southern Poverty Law Centre has tracked an explicit plan by far right groups and activists such as Meg Kilgannon to use feminist rhetoric to undermine the LGBT movement. She states "If we separate the T from the alphabet soup we’ll have more success.” Kilgannon also suggested specific tactics to "divide and conquer":
Explain that gender identity rights only come at the expense of others: women, sexual assault survivors, female athletes forced to compete against men and boys, ethnic minorities who culturally value modesty, economically challenged children who face many barriers to educational success and don’t need another level of chaos in their lives, children with anxiety disorders and the list goes on and on and on.
There is an argument that TERFism is in itself a far right position as it attempts to enforce colonialist policies that banned different sexual orientations and genders; indeed Irish feminists rejected a planned TERF event explicitly due to their experiences with colonialism. It is telling that after receiving this criticism, supposed feminist Venice Allan / Dr Radfem (who was evicted from a Christmas party for stalking a trans teenager and suspended from the Labour party for transphobia) dismissed the pro-choice campaigners by saying that abortion was only there to "make sex easier for men".
Founder of anti trans group Transgender Trend (a group that targets children), Stephanie Davies-Arai has also expressed 'concerns' about Drag Queen Story Time, alongside groups like One Million Moms and Warriors for Christ. The group has also sent harmful information packs to schools (with content that has been likened to 'ex-gay' literature) and has released an anti-trans book aimed at children. 
Cartoonist Barry M Deustch ably lampooned the similarities between the two groups
Sex worker-exclusionary radical feminism
Sex worker-exclusionary radical feminism (also known as SWERF) is yet another offshoot of feminism, one that opposes women's participation in pornography and prostitution. The term was coined to match that of TERF, as their memberships overlap. Their ideology also overlaps as both subgroups follow a prescriptive, normative approach to feminism; i.e., telling women what to do — TERFs with their gender, and SWERFs with their sexuality.
SWERFs criticize the objectification and exploitation of women within pornography and the sex industry, as well as the violence and abuse that sex workers frequently suffer.[note 12] If this was all they did, that wouldn't be a problem. This is also a position held by other feminists, not exclusive to SWERFs.
In practice however, unlike other feminists, SWERFs typically go completely overboard and dump on sex-workers who chose their profession freely, even in places where it is completely legal and safe, claiming that the sex workers are nothing more than deluded victims (and co-perpetrators) of human trafficking. Much like white supremacists might insist that adoption agencies helping children from the third world find parents in the west are nothing more than deluded extinctionists. This dogmatic hostility to voluntary sex work is known as whorephobia.
TERFs and misandry
There is a very strong undercurrent of man-hating to TERFism as a whole. Their criticisms of men go above and beyond what is necessary (or even acceptable). They regularly engage in hasty generalizations of male behavior that oftentimes eerily resemble the crass misogyny of the manosphere, albeit in reverse. For instance, after Tara Wolf's assault on Maria Maclachlan in Hyde Park, Maclachlan and her supporters repeatedly intentionally misgender Wolf to paint her as a stereotypical male thug and claim her actions as male violence.
TERF as a slur
“”"Terf is a slur" is just their version of "Anti-racist is code for anti-white".
Many TERFs claim that "TERF" is a slur — indeed, the website terfisaslur.com is aimed at claiming solely that. Feminist Wiki argue that the term TERF is "usually understood to be an anti-feminist, sexist and misogynist slur"  an assertion rejected by many feminists and women. As Tassia Agatowski says "It’s like suggesting that ‘homophobe’ or ‘racist’ are both slurs when they’re clear, dictionary-definition words to describe someone’s discriminatory views."
In Feminist Current, Meghan Murphy wrote that "'TERF' isn’t just a slur, it’s hate speech. The term 'TERF' is not just used to smear and deride, but to incite violence." Similarly, in New Statesman, Sarah Ditum suggested that the TERF label encouraged pro-trans feminists to "think it is OK — more than OK, laudable — to hit a 60-year-old woman if she thinks the wrong thing, because thinking the wrong thing is understood to be an act of aggression in itself." The 60-year-old woman in question was Maria Maclachlan. At Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, while she was waiting and filming to hear about the venue for a meeting to discuss proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act, she was struck by a trans activist who tried knocking off her camera, and it eventually escalated to a fight involving three activists including Tara Wolf, where Maclachlan held Tara Wolf's girlfriend while being struck on the back and the shoulder and eventually hitting the ground. Tara Wolf was convicted later in court and was ordered to pay a £150 fine, a £30 surcharge and £250 toward costs, though the court also refused to compensate for Maclachlan because according to the judge, Maclachlan was continuing filming despite being told to stop and that she inappropriately tweeted a close-up of Tara Wolf with the caption "Hiya, got any hair restorer while I'm in hiding? Love Tara."
TERF is a label intended to describe someone as an anti-trans feminist (rather than a full reactionary). It is particularly ironic that TERFs — who dedicate their efforts to proving that trans women aren't women — react so harshly to being mis-labelled themselves. Moreover, some TERFs are seen labelling themselves as "AFAB transwomen", in an apparent attempt to create confusion.
Marina Watanabe, the biracial, bisexual senior social media editor for feminist publication Bitch Media wrote an excellent primer on what constitutes a slur, pointing out that it necessarily involves power dynamics. As there is no dominant ideology or social system that privileges trans people, suggesting that 'TERF' is being used as a mechanism to silence Cis people - the powerful majority - is nonsensical.
many movements centering bigoted ideas will take social justice ideas that are rooted in history/sociology and haphazardly apply them to fit their narrative.
TERF lingo and culture
“”Trans women are males. They do not bear children, breastfeed, hail from a divine feminine, house a sacred passage, sacrifice blood, sync w phases, flow in flux w universe. They just want the superficial benefits of a social construct but don’t bear the stripes.
|—A rather extreme example of Poe's law from Wahidizm[note 13]|
TERFs have a number of...colorful...euphemisms for transgender people. For a while, they used "MTT" and "FTT" (Male/Female to Trans) as substitutes for "MTF" and "FTM" respectively. They have referred to trans women as "SCAMs" (surgically and chemically altered males)  and compared them to Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs. Nowadays, TERFs use "TIM" and "TIF" (Trans-identified male/female). They claim to prefer the terms because they mock the trans identity and emphasize that being trans isn't real; some also like them because they sound like nicknames for Timothy and Tiffany.
On the surface, sentences like "Men shouldn't be in women-only spaces" and "Men shouldn't appropriate lesbianism" sound progressive and reasonable, but TERFs use "men" as a dog-whistle for trans women. When TERFs are upset at a trans women, they may accuse her of "hating women," as if TERFs speak for every cis woman in the observable universe. In short, TERFs tend to view trans women as invasive men and use feminism as an excuse to be transphobic. They even call trans activists "TRAs," a subtle comparison to MRAs.
TERFs also like to call cis women who support trans women "handmaidens", and should you reply by pointing out that Margaret Atwood has specifically said that she is not a TERF,[note 14] they will say they were referring to the Bible and not The Handmaid's Tale. This has nevertheless led to discussions in TERF circles about whether Atwood herself is a "handmaiden".
Of course, some TERFs might "tone down" their transphobia with "compromises", which trans YouTuber Riley Dennis has referred to as "Terfism 2.0". For example, instead of saying "trans women are men", they might say "trans women are trans women," "trans women are women, but they're male," or "trans women are men, but I'll respect your name and pronouns if I like you." The same goes for saying that someone is a "biological man" or "biological woman" as a workaround way to misgender someone.
Terms for themselves
Sometimes, TERFs refer to the catchphrase "adult human females" as the definition of a woman, to imply that transwomen are not women. It's a curious choice of phrase, since a number of women object to being referred to as "females."
TERFs have also referred to themselves as 'gender free', a Mumsnet originating 'joke' based on a heterosexual cisgender woman pretending to be 'genderfree' to win an LGBT award at her workplace. Heterosexual women appropriating minority awards is apparently a tremendous wheeze to TERFs, one of whom said she was 'laughing her socks off'
TERFs use the phrase #peaktrans to refer to experiences that 'made' them transphobic. In essence, it's their term for things that make them think trans people / rights have 'gone too far'.
The latest neologism that TERFS use is gender critical another word for anti-trans activism.
Blaming a group, or individuals, for the hate you have or the violence you inflict on them is absolutely nothing new. - Hailey Heartless
- Janice Raymond, author of the 1979 book The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male who said that "the problem of transsexualism would best be served by morally mandating it out of existence.”
- Julie Bindel is a prominent feminist writer, including many years for The Guardian. However she has been attacked for her hostility to trans people, with CL Minou accusing her of "dangerous transphobia" that denies trans women their bodily autonomy and ignores misogyny against trans women.
- Ophelia Benson, an American author and columnist
- Magdalen Berns (1983-2019), a Scottish YouTuber whose videos include "There is no such thing as a lesbian with a penis", "Gender is NOT a social construct", and "Non binary bullsh*t". She founded campaigning group ForWomen.Scot, which has been accused of an anti-trans sticker campaign.
- Cathy Brennan, an American lawyer known for doxxing trans women.
- Julie Burchill, a "columnist" who writes provocative screeds and also whines about trans women.
- Sarah Ditum, who has sympathised with Leelah Alcorn's abusive parents, has suggested that trans children are defacto a risk to cis girls and promotes the bathroom risk fallacy.
- Germaine Greer, author of the 1970 book The Female Eunuch; also criticizes other female politicians' physical appearances, the very action most feminists fight against.
- Sheila Jeffreys, author of the 2005 book Beauty and Misogyny
- Graham Linehan, an Irish comedian and outspoken male TERF
- Meghan Murphy, a journalist who runs the website Feminist Current
- Posie Parker, who launched a sticker campaign claiming "trans women are men". She was described by Sophie Lewis in the New York Times as at the forefront of British TERF campaigning.
- Jess Phillips, prominent Labour Party politician who stood as a leadership candidate in 2020. Also a SWERF.
- LGB Alliance, a British organisation launched in October 2019, whose supporters include lawyer Allison Bailey, Bev Jackson (co-founder of the Gay Liberation Front), former comedian Simon Fanshawe, and anti-trans campaigner Miranda Yardley, their T-less name makes their stance pretty clear. Despite claims to be "Asserting the right of lesbians, bisexuals and gay men to define themselves as same-sex attracted" they don't wish to extend this right to trans people. Some media sources inaccurately claimed it had split from the LGBT charity Stonewall, but despite one or two former Stonewall people (like Fanshawe) being involved, none of Stonewall's staff or trustees left to join LGB Alliance. Their co-founder, Kate Harris, explicitly stated intersex people 'necessitate medical treatment'.
- Women's Liberation Front, (WOLF) a supposed radical feminist organisation (chair Natasha Chart) which has campaigned against trans rights. It opposed the Barack Obama administration's Title IX directive allowing school students to use the bathroom of their choice. It teamed up with the Family Policy Alliance (closely linked to Focus on the Family) to litigate against this. Members have appeared on right-wing media such as Tucker Carlson's show, and it received money from Zachary Freeman's Imperial Independent Media (who advocate against abortion) and $15,000 from the conservative Christian nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom. This group literally advocate for conversion 'therapy', and the return of anti sodomy laws.. Their founder advocates for shooting trans women, and likens equal marriage supporters to Hitler.
- Fair Play for Women, a supposedly grassroots anti trans group run by Zooologist Dr Nicola Williams. They expanded rapidly in 2018, literally going from a blog to TV appearances overnight. This happened after mysterious, unexplained donations . They proceeded to delete their older tweets that hoped trans women got cancer, or joked about exterminating trans people. They have bizarrely been met by members of the Equality and Diversity committee of the UK Government, who apparently think meeting with hate groups is part of diversity.
- A Woman's Place UK, another trans exclusionary group co-founded by noted TERF academic Kathleen Stock. They attempted to pretend they were part of the Labour Party Conference in 2018 by renting nearby space.  They have also - rather absurdly, and insultingly to survivors of domestic violence - stated that criticising TERF ideology was analogous to the behaviour of an abusive husband. For example they conflated criticising their prejudices, and letting the public know they held said prejudices, to stalking by an abusive spouse.  Of course, in reality it has rather more in common with someone committing bad behaviour then swearing the victim to silence, but TERFs are masters at DARVO.
TERF Library Controversy
TERF groups, usually including Meghan Murphy have been booking rooms at libraries, taking advantage of free speech laws after being refused rooms by other venues. There has been justified criticism for this 'reason', as, for example, Toronto Public Library allows for denying a booking to a group “promoting discrimination, contempt or hatred for any group or person on the basis of […] sex, gender identity, gender expression”. Their deliberate choice not to invoke this clause implies strongly that TPL and Toronto’s City Librarian Vickery Bowles tacitly approve of transphobia.
- Vancouver Public Library held a talk by TERF Meghan Murphy. This talk was widely protested by the local LGBT community, and led to VPL being banned from future Pride events. .
- Toronto Public Library, proclaiming that they were fully in support of LGBT rights and inclusiveness, supported a talk by TERF Meghan Murphy saying that it was acceptable to them under free speech laws, despite that they also stated they would prevent talks that would ‘promote discrimination’ - apparently, Toronto Public Library believes discrimination against trans people does not count. They emphasised that they’d already hosted a Neo Nazi group, because apparently two wrongs make a right 
- Seattle Public Library is holding a talk in February 2020 by WOLF, a TERF, anti LGBT organisation with links to evangelical Christians. So far, Seattle Library have also invoked the ‘free speech’ defence.. Meghan Murphy has come under fire from other TERFs, including Amy Dyess, for collaborating with WOLF. Julie Bindel, one of the few TERFs who actually engages in feminist activism (having campaigned for battered women) also criticised Posie Parker for taking WOLF's money. She was roundly criticised by her 'gender critical' followers for labelling Parker a bad feminist, even though Parker is associating with a group that colludes with anti-abortion, anti-LGBT groups.
TERFs in the UK
TERFs are a minority tendency in the American feminist discourse, concentrated primarily among older second-wave feminists who came of age amidst the women's liberation movement of the 1970s and '80s. It is a very different story, however, in the United Kingdom. TERFs hold a mainstream position within the British feminist movement, and serve as the main face of British anti-trans activism as opposed to religious conservatives, to the point where there has been friction between American and British feminists over the issue. In 2018, Sam Levin, Mona Chalabi, and Sabrina Siddiqui, three American journalists writing for The Guardian, publicly disavowed an anti-trans editorial published in the paper, citing its similarity to the rhetoric of American religious conservatives and the Donald Trump administration. In the other direction, in 2019 Posie Parker and Julia Long, two anti-trans British feminists, traveled to Washington to ambush Sarah McBride, a trans woman and the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, live-streaming footage of themselves hurling anti-trans invective at McBride. They said that they came to Washington because they saw the United States as the global heartland for transgender rights activism and "political correctness" in general, and wanted to challenge it on its "home turf".
The rise of trans-exclusionary radical feminism in the UK is for a variety of historical reasons. To start, while the cultural feminist tendencies that bred transphobia were born in the US in the '70s, in the UK they attained a far more commanding position, with lesbian separatists getting heavily involved in the anti-nuclear movement in the '80s due to them seeing the nuclear standoff of the era as a symbol of the patriarchy's worst excesses. Furthermore, without an organized Religious Right in Britain hostile to both feminism and transgender rights, the intersectional alliances between activists in both movements and others never emerged the way they did in the US. As such, post-Thatcher Britain saw relatively few of the broad, popular left-wing social movements that characterized the American left during that time; the movements against racism, police brutality, environmental degradation, and sexual harassment and assault were largely American-led affairs within the Anglosphere, to the point where some Brits came to see such movements as fundamentally rooted in American concerns that were of less relevance beyond American shores. The blind spots of the British skeptical movement in the '90s and 2000s, and the positions many figures from such would later attain in British media, also played an unfortunate role. Pushback against postmodernism and alternative medicine often took the form of a fetishization of the "hard" sciences to the point of biological determinism, and a dismissal of the humanities and social sciences as corrupted by nonsense pushed by people with an axe to grind and rooted more in ideology than science. This made queer theory into a target of ridicule, seen as postmodern junk undermining a "biological" understanding of gender. Finally, the parenting forum Mumsnet played a major role during the '00s and '10s. Mumsnet is a major online social space for young mothers in the UK, a demographic that is often quite feminist-leaning but also receptive to "think of the children" arguments, and they proved to be an easy market for rhetoric couched in feminist language calling trans people and rights a threat to their kids.
Centrist author JK Rowling definitively outed herself as a TERF by defending Maya Forstater after the latter lost an employment tribunal. Rowling claimed that Forstater had been forced out of her job for saying that ‘sex was real’. However if you read the legal documents that Forstater herself posted online, which were ably broken down by Dr. Pimenta you will see that she was a contractor and her employer simply declined to rehire her, based on her anti trans comments made on the company / charity Slack channel, and the fact that her Twitter comments, made publicly under her own name, had made full time staff uncomfortable. In a further plot twist, it turns out Forstater may have been in an unpaid volunteer position so in effect, a TERF has sued a poverty related non profit think tank because they didn’t want her as a volunteer.
Forstater recently became very excited that Posie Parker was supporting her and Rowling. Posie Parker is a TERF who was ejected from a TERF group due to her racism, has appeared on a neo Nazi YouTube channel , flew to America to harass a human rights activist , has posed for a selfie with an Islamophobic Holocaust denier , is against gay men engaging in surrogacy; seemingly is also against pride parades, and children being taught lgbt tolerance;.
Despite her claims to be an ordinary woman with ‘concerns’ about GRA, Forstater was recently revealed to be running the 2010Equality Twitter account, dedicated to spreading misinformation about the ECHR legislation. She also has 'media representatives' and has stated that period poverty is "not a real issue" despite being told otherwise by several women who have actually experienced poverty. She has also said that the tampon tax is 'not misogynistic', an extremely odd position for a so called feminist to take, and that "£20 per year is not a material amount to anyone's welfare," which suggests she doesn't understand poverty or money.
More sensible viewpoints
Despite being utterly horrible to trans people, many TERFs are remarkably level-headed when it comes to other issues.
Much of their work, when it doesn't have to do with transgender people, is actually quite good. Kajsa Ekis Ekman is known for her on-point criticisms of capitalism, prostitution and surrogacy. Julie Bindel was one of the first domestic violence and sexual assault campaigners in the UK. Meghan Murphy was also a major figure on the Canadian left, opposing anything from pipeline projects to free-trade agreements.
The fatal problem either lies in the method of propagation of the TERF message, or in the message itself. Given that TERFs often fall into very familiar scripts reminiscent of denialism and other dead-end positions,[note 15] and that people (especially academically oriented third-wavers) are very much familiar with the TERF argument cluster and reject it anyway, it's probably the message that is the problem here, not its method of propagation.
TERF: we are here to abolish the genders
Feminist: oh, so we won't use gendered pronouns anymore?
TERF: no keep those
Feminist: gendered clothing?
TERF: no that[']s ok
Feminist: segregated bathrooms?
TERF: no those are important
Feminist: so we're going to do something about the gender binary, yeah?
We're going to attack the idea that gender is intrinsically linked to one's anatomy,
and we're going to boost the visibility of trans and intersex people,
who face the most violent consequences of the sex and gender binaries - yes?
Feminist: then what are you going to do, exactly? What is your plan? How are you going to accomplish this?
TERF: abolish gender
TERF: abolish it
- You might be a TERF if... by Cristan Williams
- The TERFs — lots of resources, from a history of transphobia to a list of websites TERFs run
- Inflamed TERF Takes XX
- GenderCynical, a satire and mock-subreddit of /r/GenderCritical, /r/Gender_Critical, /r/GenderCritLesbians, and the farcical /r/GCdebatesQT. Check out their wiki for a long archive of TERF stupidity!
- TERF has a more general anti-trans connotation, while TWEF implies a specific anti-MTF (male-to-female) connotation. In reality, the two are indistinguishable.
- TERFs specifically act against trans women, women assigned male at birth, by, e.g., targeting their employers and doctors. Check out: A Review of Transmisogyny Embodied: Cathy Brennan
- They notably completely fail to acknowledge XY women with androgen insensitivity syndrome, people who are born intersex, genderqueer people, or people with various non-XX, non-XY chromosomes (e.g., X0, XYY, XXY, etc.). When pressed on the point, they will deny intersex is an issue, forcing them to choose a gender from the binary. Approximately 0% of chromosome obsessives have actually had their own karyotype tested.
- A notable result of all this No True Scotsmaning on the subject of womanhood is a tendency towards denying the lived experiences of trans people altogether - othering trans struggles so thoroughly as to simply ignore them rather than making any attempt at reconciling the theoretical framework at hand with the existence/general testimonies of trans people.
- For example, in 2014, TERFs picketed the appointment of transgender activist keynote speaker in London and abusively referred to her as a "man".
- See our article on antifeminism.
- You may call me a TERF but I am not transphobic... No, we will call you a TERF exactly because you are transphobic!
- This, of course, excludes people who identify as being outside the gender binary, e.g., genderqueer, but includes people who identify as being transsexual.
- Trans criticism is not transphobia... oh, wait, no! It bloody is!
- Examples: Memes that imply a trans woman is dangerous to cis women, that trans women are lying to the world or to themselves.
- "Unfortunately, the promotion of “sex change” operations has decreased investigation into prevention and therapy for those suffering from gender dysphoria. For example, in one case a Catholic, married man who had several children wanted to become female. In his therapeutic treatment, he came to understand the origins of his inability identify with his masculinity. In working with a spiritual director, he slowly came to experience God as loving father who could protect him, and to develop a relationship with St. Joseph as a role model of male love." - Richard P. Fitzgibbons, NARTH
- Warning: SWERF and TERF BS
- The YouTuber Natalie Wynn has since mocked the expression "sacred passage" in a few episodes on her channel ContraPoints.
- And indeed, The Handmaid's Tale contains the implication that that TERFS had a hand in helping the Religious Right to set up the oppressive Republic of Gilead.
- TERF debaters yield to no one, not even FEMA conspiracy fans, in coming up with creative ways to rephrase "You'll be sorry!"
- erica, ascendant (September 9, 2012). "doing the patriarchy’s work and calling it feminism: the TERF". Wordpress. http://inchoaterica.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/doing-the-patriarchys-work-and-calling-it-feminism/. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
- Viewpoint: Understanding Anti-Transgender Feminism, Discover Society, April 03, 2018
- Williams, Cristan (March 15, 2014). "TERF: what it means and where it came from". The Transadvocate. http://transadvocate.com/terf-what-it-means-and-where-it-came-from_n_13066.htm. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- Tigtog (August 17, 2008). "Carnivalia, transgenderism and the gender binary". https://hoydenabouttown.com/2008/08/17/carnivalia-transgenderism-and-the-gender-binary/. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- Williams, Cristan (October 11, 2013). "TERF: Where the term comes from". The TERFS. http://theterfs.com/2013/10/11/terf-where-the-term-comes-from/. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- Williams, Cristan (January 20, 2013). "RadFem Speak Out Against TERFs!". The Transadvocate. http://www.transadvocate.com/radfems-speak-out-against-terfs_n_8385.htm. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- Allen, Emma (August 9, 2013). "Unpacking Transphobia in Feminism". The Transadvocate. http://www.transadvocate.com/unpacking-transphobia-in-feminism_n_9964.htm. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
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- Gender-critical feminist Posie Parker in video with white nationalist YouTuber – and a lot of Mumsnet users are fine with it, Pink News, Oct 15, 2019
- On The Ingraham Angle
- Christian Right Tips to Separate the LGB and T
- You're Not Welcome Here
- Transgender Trend Follow in the Footsteps of other Anti LBTQ Orgs
- Easy Mistake to Make
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- Feminist Wiki
-  TERF is not a Misogynistic Slur]
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- Marina Watanbe's Profile
- Wahidizm (November 19, 2017). "Trans women are males. They do not bear children, breastfeed, hail from a divine feminine, house a sacred passage, sacrifice blood, sync w phases, flow in flux w universe. They just want the superficial benefits of a social construct but don’t bear the stripes.". Twitter. https://twitter.com/wahidizm/status/932168543914872834.
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- Allardice, Lisa. Margaret Atwood: ‘I am not a prophet. Science fiction is really about now’. The Guardian, January 20, 2018.
- Is Margaret Atwood a Handmaiden? Reddit.
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- Gender Critical Subreddit Explains the Gender Free Meme
- Pretending to Identify as Non Binary to Appropriate an LGBT Award
- The Thought Process Behind 'Peak Trans'
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- Janice Raymond Fictions and Facts
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- "Hateful" anti-trans stickers have been spotted in toilets and in public spaces around Edinburgh, Edinburgh Live, 5 Oct 2018
- Sarah Ditum wants you to stop being so mean to the parents who murdered their child
- Transphobe Posie Parker launches sticker campaign: 'Trans women are men', Gay Star News, 29 May 2019
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- UK’s first transgender hate crime case, feat Miranda Yardley; abusive transphobe, Cursed E, Medium, 20 Mar 2019
- Stonewall denies newspaper reports that it has split, Third Sector, 24 Oct
- LGBT charity hits out at split reports, Third Force News, 24 Oct, 2019
- The LGB Alliance, which claims to fight for lesbian, gay and bi people, has changed its logo and people are pointing out the obvious, PinkNews, Dec 24, 2019
- See the Wikipedia article on Women's Liberation Front.
- This Fake Feminist Front Is Secretly Run by Transphobic Conservatives, Hornet, June 08, 2018
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- G.G., by his next friend and mother, DEIRDRE GRIMM, v. GLOUCESTER COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, No. 15-2056, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, republished on ACLU website
- How TERF Groups are Funded
- Deleted FPFW Tweets
- Uk Government Meets Anti Trans Activists
- Thew Library Reserves the right to Deny or Cancel a Booking
- VPS Statement on VPLs entry in the 2019 Pride Parade
- Hosting Neo Nazis Justifies Hosting TERFs
- Controversial groups like these can test our limits as democratic centers of free speech
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- Forstater Case
- Dr Pimenta’s analysis
- Unpaid Consultancy
- Changes to Cornwall Meeting
- Forstater Claims Period Poverty is Not a Real Issue
- M Forstater on the Tampon Tax
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