Keep Your TERF; We’ll Make Our Own Movement

There can be no space for TERFs in either feminism or the queer rights movement

Content note: discussion of violent transphobia

Trans exclusive radical feminists (or TERFs) are a plague on both the feminist and queer movements. Their argument boils down to the idea that trans women are men and, what’s more, are pretending to be women to be in a position to commit assault. This vile lie has seen TERFs try to resist every attempt for trans people, particularly trans women, to be safe. That has included pushes against allowing trans people to use the correct toilet facilities matching their gender.

Those who stand up to TERFs are often labelled lesbophobes. It is not lesbophobic to support trans women. Transphobic feminists have co-opted the identity and oppression of lesbian women, who are targeted because of their exclusive attraction to other women. Lesbianism is a sexuality. It is not an ideology of hate. It does not deserve to be corrupted by those seeking to oppress other queer people. It’s a disservice to all lesbians in the queer community who simply want all queer people to be supported.

The only way to deal with TERFs is to block, mute and report. The queer and feminist movements can offer no space to transphobia. We cannot allow trans people to feel unsafe. Their identities are not up for debate. We have a duty to work to support all trans people.

“The queer and feminist movements can offer no space to transphobia”

We must shut TERFs out of any movement that claims to want to support all women and all queer people. Our spaces must be safe or they have failed.

To achieve this, we must centre trans rights in all of our activism. When we talk about access to healthcare, then trans people’s access to healthcare must be at the heart of any discussions. Our language must respect all genders and all pronouns, readily. We must not wait for people to ask that we also include non-binary identities in our signs, literature and talks.

We cannot tolerate false and binary science arguments. Trans people know their own lives and their own experiences. These must be respected.

Some may argue there’s no need for this. Perhaps they don’t know any trans people. Trans people though aren’t always out, precisely because it is often too dangerous to be. If we create an environment that is trans inclusive from the beginning then all trans people, whether out or not, will be able to feel safe. We must do it because it’s right. All people should feel they can partake in activism and the queer movement cannot be truly queer if it isn’t also trans.

The famous slogan “queer as in fuck you” should be proudly reclaimed by all. Trans is queer and if that is not accepted then fuck the transphobes. They have no place in our community.

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