Let’s Talk About TERF’s

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An ally of the transgender community gets an education on a new kind of hate speech. - Trans Partners

I grew up a child of the 70’s and had no knowledge of feminism at all. I didn’t even know it was a movement until I was a teenager and started learning about it in school. So it is safe to say, as a child my mother and the other women in my life were not at all part of this movement. Actually, they were a shining example of the opposite. My mother was at home raising us five of us and money got tight, so she went back to work. My grandmother worked in my grandfather’s shop when he needed an extra hand, and my Nana was a seamstress. It was a perfectly acceptable job for women at that time, so no harm done there.

Since high school I thought of myself as feminist, never an active member of any organizations, but I tried to teach our three girls about the evils of our society and the injustice that women face every day. The definition of feminism is; the doctrine advocating social, political, economic, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. Women earn less, have almost zero representation in politics, and are bound by the laws that men make. It is amazing that in the year 2018 we are still fighting this battle. I must say that election night 2018 has given me some new hope for this country. The US House of Representatives elected a record number of women this midterm. 90 women will be sworn into office in January 2019 and I am hopeful that this country will be better for it.


Years later I heard about radical feminism. This is a perspective within feminist movement that calls for a radical reordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts. Radical feminists view society as fundamentally a patriarchy in which men dominate and oppress women. I agree with their concept and ideology, however I do not like that word radical. It paints an image in my mind that is just unpleasant to think about. Still, I had more to learn about feminism. After my wife came out as transgender she told me she was being trolled on social media by a TERF.

TERF, is an acronym for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, however since the acronym became so popular you can now find it as a word in the Urban Dictionary.A more detailed definition would be; “individuals who sympathize with and support a brand of ‘radical feminism’ that is so rooted in sex essentialism and its resulting biologism, it actively campaigns against the existence, equality, and/or inclusion of trans people.” I was speechless. I cannot wrap my brain around the notion that a marginalized group of humans who’s message is equality, has the nerve to exclude an entire group of women all because they happen to be transgender.


This to me echoes nothing more than a hate group, determined to spread their transphobic views anywhere and everywhere they can. This coming from a group of women who strive for equality sounds totally insane to me, so I had to go some digging around on the internet to see what I could find out about them. They argue that because transgender women were assigned male at birth and had experienced male privilege, they cannot fully be women. They also subscribe to the same belief as the conservative Christians, that gender and sex are the same. They were very vocal supporters and backers of the far right’s introduction of “bathroom bills” in an attempt to keep transgender women out of all “women only” spaces. They have also been very involved in a letter writing campaign advocating against legal protections based on gender identity and gender expression. They protest that transgender women are “would be rapists” and that they are simply men in dresses trying to invade “women only” spaces.

Trans-exclusionary radical feminists have a simple message of hate. They wish to deny transgender women basic human rights such as access to health care, women’s support groups and the use of the proper bathrooms on the basis that they should be reserved for who they consider “real women.” It also pays to mention that they consider the word TERF a slur and hate speech, which I find totally comical coming from a hate group that likes to bully and harass transgender women on social media. This is anti-transgender rhetoric, hiding behind the banner of feminism and it turns my stomach.