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January 20, 2013
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January 21, 2013

RadFem Speak Out Against TERFs!

So, who’s heard of Julie Burchill and her “censored” article?

Coming to the defense of her maligned feminist friend, columnist and author Julie Burchill wrote an article about trans women. Apparently, her friend Suzanne Moore’s latest article contained a faux pas. In Burchill’s words:

She wrote that, amongst other things, women were angry about “not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual”.

At best, this is simply a poorly constructed byproduct of the aged-out argument that idealized beauties are expected to be voluptuous in ways white women can’t achieve (Brazilian!) and skinny in a way that cis women can’t achieve (transsexual!) simultaneously. It juxtaposes the hyperfeminized (big boobs!) and masculinized (skinny hips!) to demonstrate the absurdity and impossibility of beauty ideals.

[pullquote]But when you’re calling yourself a voice for equality and social justice, there are some basic rules that people will generally expect you to follow, if for no other reason than to demonstrate that, while you may mess up, and may not always practice what you preach, you at least have some kind of idea of what you’re preaching.[/pullquote]It’s aged out because modern feminists can generally agree that however rare these body types are, shaming the women who possess them as plastic and/or masculinized is just repackaging the same old worms. Moore’s statement was poorly thought out. It was also a microaggression. It was clearly not intended to upset or dismiss transsexual people, but to make a cheap and thoughtless argument. The problem was that she completely disregarded trans people in doing so. She decided that their opinions or their audience was not worth acknowledging and that their identities were therefore free and available to use as a brazen and absurd example of what not to be.

Not surprisingly, some trans people didn’t like this. Moore was apparently harassed quite a bit on Twitter and felt forced to delete her account. Julie Burchill to the “rescue!” I won’t bother going into the specifics of the article, because it’s all ugly. There’s some stuff about bed-wetting and bad wigs and a hilariously sophomoric display of Burchill’s feeble grasp of How Words Work. For example:

having recently discovered that their lot describe born women as ‘Cis’ – sounds like syph, cyst, cistern; all nasty stuff

Why but Burchill rhymes with Churchill, so if I call her Burchill, am I calling her a wrinkly old white guy who hates Lady Astor? What an idiot.

It was originally published in The Observer, but the editor didn’t take long to realize their mistake and took it down. Of course, any editor worth their salt wouldn’t have published it to begin with, but don’t tell that to Toby Young! Why he was so offended at this “censorship” that he chose to republish this snot on The Telegraph, proving that British and American conservatives have at least one thing in common: they really have no grasp of the concept of censorship at all.

[li]Continue reading at FreeThoughtBlogs.[/li]

TERF?!?

Definition: Acronym for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. That group of feminists that claims that trans women aren’t really women, as biological determinism is only a fallacy when used against them, not when they use it against others.

Usage: Isn’t it mindboggling that the Royal College of Psychiatrists would invite a TERF like Julie Bindel to come talk at a study day on transgenderism and transsexuality? That’s like inviting Fred Phelps to come deliver the keynote at a gay pride.

Queer Dictionary

Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams
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 the social justice sites TransAdvocate.com and TheTERFs.com, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group.