You might be a TERF if…

I’ve noticed that there seems to be some confusion about what a TERF is so, here’s a quick guide to help you figure out if you’re a TERF. Chances are that you’re a TERF if you believe that you’re a feminist when you…

1.) Claim that transwomen are cismen, that transmen are ciswomen* and purposefully misgender transpeople.

2.) Out transpeople to employers.

3.) Tell trans women their surgery is about supporting rape culture*.

4.) Assert* that lesbian-identified transwomen can’t be lesbian.

5.) Claim that a world without trans people is preferable.1

6.) Find that your anti-trans arguments and the anti-trans arguments of far rightwing groups match.2

7.) Assert cisprivilege isn’t real; that non-trans people aren’t privileged* in a society that’s hostile to trans people.

8.) Claim that gender isn’t real, but the MAAB/FAAB binary is.

9.) Claim that trans surgeries were pioneered by men in service of the patriarchy.3

10.) Lie about rape and death threats you’ve received from trans people.

11.) Fearmonger about the rape/violence threat transwomen pose to ciswomen in the womens restroom.

12.) Assert that trans people transition to satisfy their sexual urges.

13.) Degrade and dehumanize the genitals of trans people.

14.) Work to overturn trans equality protections.

15.) Work to halt access to trans medical care.

16.) Appeal to the Klan Fallacy.

17.) Compare transition to a disgustingFrankenstein-like process.

18.) Claim that trans people transition due to political or social pressures.4

19.) Claim that when you work to halt the propagation of anti-feminist stereotypes it’s empowerment, but when trans people work to halt the propagation of anti-trans stereotypes it’s censorship .

20.) Assert* that trans women transition because they’re actually gay men and that transmen transition because they’re lesbians wanting to escape the patriarchy.


Over the past year or so, much of the trans community has stopped referring to TERFs as RadFems. We’ve done this because there’s a number of radical feminists/2nd wave feminists/lesbian feminists who find the above demonstrated behavior abhorrent to feminism. Out of respect for actual RadFems, the trans community has stopped supporting the appropriation of the radical feminist identity by what is essentially a hate group. Thus, we instead use Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs).

 

Self-identified RadFem TERF meets a ideological peer.

Progressives have noticed the similarity for some time: Self-identified RadFem TERF meets an ideological peer.

 

1.) They expect we’ll be shocked to see statistics about them being killed, and don’t realize, some of us wish they would ALL be dead.

– BevJo, TERF opinion leader, author and speaker

While there are many who feel that morality must be built into law, I believe that the elimination of transsexualism is not best achieved by legislation prohibiting transsexual treatment and surgery but rather by legislation that limits it and by other legislation that lessens the support given to sex-role stereotyping, which generated the problem to begin with. Any legislation should be aimed at the social conditions that initiate and promote the surgery as well as the growth of the medical-institutional complex that translates these stereotypes into flesh and blood.

– Janice Raymond (1980), Technology on the Social and Ethical Aspects of Transsexual Surgery, TERF opinion leader, author and speaker

2.)  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 Tebbitt… Tebbitt also says that the savage mutilation of transgenderism, we would say if it was taking place in other cultures apart from the culture of Britain, was a harmful cultural practice, and how come we’re not recognising that in the British Isles. So he makes all of these arguments from the radical right, which is quite embarrassing to me, but I have to say, so called progressive and left people are not recognising the human rights violations of transgenderism or how crazy the legislation is.

– Sheila Jeffreys

3.)  [Transsexual surgery] could be likened to political psychiatry in the Soviet Union. I suggest that transsexualism should best be seen in this light, as directly political, medical abuse of human rights. The mutilation of healthy bodies and the subjection of such bodies to dangerous and life-threatening continuing treatment violates such people’s rights to live with dignity in the body into which they were born, what Janice Raymond refers to as their “native” bodies. It represents an attack on the body to rectify a political condition, “gender” dissatisfaction in a male supremacist society based upon a false and politically constructed notion of gender difference… Recent literature on transsexualism in the lesbian community draws connections with the practices of sadomasochism.

– Sheila Jeffreys, TERF opinion leader, author and speaker

It should be noted that Jeffreys’ own community – Australian lesbians – pioneered both FTM and FTM transsexul surgery in Australia.

4.)  My main conclusion is that transsexualism is basically a social problem whose cause cannot be explained except in relation to the sex role and identities that a patriarchal society generates. Through hormonal and surgical means, transsexuals reject their “native” bodies, especially their sexual organs, in favor of the body and the sexual organs of the opposite sex. They do this mainly because the body and the genitalia, especially, come to incarnate the essence of their rejected masculinity and desired femininity. Thus transsexualism is the result of socially prescribed definitions of masculinity and femininity, one of which the transsexual rejects in order to gravitate towards the other.

Thus I will argue, in Chapter III, that the First Cause of transsexualism is a gender-defined society whose norms of masculinity and femininity generate the desire to be transsexed…. I believe that the primary cause of transsexualism cannot be derived from intrapsyic attitudes and/or behaviors, or even from family conditioning processes. One must begin with the roles of a gender-defined society, as the First Cause of transsexualism (that which, in the Aristotelian sense, sets all other causes in motion.)

– Janice Raymond (1979), The Transsexual Empire, page 16

A significant number of transmen are lesbians who report that they want to transition in an attempt to escape misogyny – their own internalized version as much as society’s. A significant percentage of transwomen are homosexual males, pressured into transitioning by conservative society that hates gender non-conforming gay men.

– There is no T in Lesbian*

Lesbian feminists have noticed TERF behavior for a while now.

1993: Lesbian feminists have been critical of TERF behavior for a while now.

Lesbian Feminist DTWOF author: Noticing the logical inconsistencies of TERF trans bathroom meme since 1995.

Lesbian Feminist DTWOF author: Noticing trans lesbians as part of radical feminism while scoffing at the trans bathroom meme since 1995.

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Article written by

Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter in the South and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable healthcare for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at TransAdvocate.com, chairs the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group, is the jurisdictional representative to the Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services (UCHAPS), serves on the national steering body for UCHAPS and is the Executive Director of the Transgender Foundation of America.

3 Responses

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  1. katherine
    katherine at |

    Thank you for this website. I was with a group that kept getting referred to as Terfs and couldn’t understand why. I was against a lot of things that they said but agreed on a few points. But mainly after a few weeks of being around them, I became uncomfortable because I felt they were being hateful. Mainly I agreed on the separate bathrooms because I once had a bad experience in the bathroom with a man chasing me. He only stopped when I when into the women’s bathroom. That’s why I considered it my safeplace. But your website made me think about the issue a lot more deeply. I think it would be possible to have an all inclusive bathroom but for now our bathrooms are divided by male and female. And it would be silly to try to control who goes where.

    Keep up the good work!

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  2. Grey – Why do rad-fems hate trans* people? | The Enby Diaries

    […]   http://www.theterfs.com goes into much more detail I highly recomend their posts on TERF myths, signs someone is a TERF,  and TERF […]

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  3. Chris
    Chris at |

    Not forgetting thinking that the word “cis/cisgendered” is an insult

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