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March 14, 2014
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March 16, 2014

TERF: what it means and where it came from

By Cristan Williams
@cristanwilliams

 

Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERF) are quick to make fact assertions about the term, TERF. According to TERFs, the term is a slur and use of the term makes one a misogynist.  

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Others assert that the term is insulting, hyperbolic, misleading, and ultimately defamatory.

Allen actually calls for more people to recognize radical feminists as a hate group and then pointedly adopts the term Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) to refer to them throughout the article. Make no mistake, this is a slur. TERF is not meant to be explanatory, but insulting. These characterizations are hyperbolic, misleading, and ultimately defamatory. They do nothing but escalate the vitriol and fail to advance the conversation in any way.

– Elizabeth Hungerford (2013), TERF attorney and opinion leader

Within feminist and trans discourse, the term refers to a very specific type of person who wraps anti-trans bigotry in the language of feminism. A hallmark of TERF discourse is that it tends to sound a lot like the anti-trans rhetoric coming out of extreme right-wing groups.

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Gender Identity Watch (GIW) is viewed as a hate group by thousands and has a history of working with a known hate group. Keep the above assertion made by GIW in mind as you read the following interview I did with one of the cisgender feminists who are responsible for popularizing TERF as a feminist concept.

Defining TERF: interviewing the feminist who popularized it

Cristan Williams: From what I can see, yours is the earliest use. The term has become fairly common in trans discourse.

TigTog: Lauredhel and I are pretty sure that we started using trans-exclusionary radfem (TERF) activists as a descriptive term in our own chats a while before I used it in that post.

C: TERFs have made some assertions about your lexical contribution to feminist discourse. For instance: “TERF is not meant to be explanatory, but insulting. These characterizations are hyperbolic, misleading, and ultimately defamatory.”

T: It was not meant to be insulting. It was meant to be a deliberately technically neutral description of an activist grouping. I notice that since TERF has gone out into the wild, many people seem to use trans-exclusive rather than  trans-exclusionary or  trans-excluding, and I think that leads to some exploitable ambiguity. It is possible to interpret trans-exclusive as “exclusively talks about trans* issues” (which could quite rightly be considered a slam on the rest of their feminism), while trans-exclusionary is more specific that their exclusion of trans* voices and bodies from being considered women/feminists is the point.

C: I find it interesting that this term originates in the feminist community and was popularized by a cisgender woman. I think the assumption has been that a trans person had coined the term in the last year or so. Was there a specific incident – or a culmination of incidents – that lead you to advocate for the use of this term?

T: We wanted a way to distinguish TERFs from other radfems with whom we engaged who were trans*-positive/neutral, because we had several years of history of engaging productively/substantively with non-TERF radfems, and then suddenly TERF comments/posts seemed to be erupting in RadFem spaces where they threadjacked dozens of discussions, and there was a great deal of general frustration about that. It is possible that one of us picked it or something similar up from an IRC discussion elsewhere and then we both adopted/adapted it for ourselves, perhaps transforming it from some other initialism into an acronym, because we both appreciate the utility of acronyms in simplifying discourse.

C: You seemed to take personal offense over the colonization of the RadFem identity by an anti-trans group. Was this because you identified as a RadFem and/or have friends that were RadFem who were frustrated by a colonization of their feminist identity – that RadFem became synonymous with being anti-trans?

T: Not so much personally offended as pointedly pedantic, although I certainly sympathised with various RadFems I knew who felt that mAndrea and her fellows did not speak for them and were disrupting other discussions with anti-trans* derails. I was still quite actively writing FAQs for the Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog then, so being pedantic about what various strands of feminism were and were not saying was pretty much second nature at the time.

C: Some TERFs have asserted that others do not have a right to make a distinction between TE RadFems (TERFs) and RadFems.

T: The idea that any group can deny others the right to make distinctions between opinions/positions voiced by different members in that group seems utterly absurd. Obviously, nobody can force anybody who voices what others consider TERF stances to self-adopt the TERF label for themselves, but they can always choose another name for their stance which is not held by all other RadFems. After all, RadFem itself is a label chosen by some feminists to distinguish themselves from other feminists, and those feminists felt insulted that what they were doing was not considered sufficiently radical to fall under the RadFem label, see also the womanist/feminist distinction – distinguishing between different arms of activism is what social activist movements do as they grow and develop and react to change within and without.

C: Others assert that the TERF is a slur. How would you respond to such assertions?

T: It was not originally intended as such. Initially the TERF acronym didn’t seem to gain much traction at all, so I never really kept track. Since it’s become in more common usage, no doubt there are some people that use it as a slur. The same thing happened to “radical feminist” and also to “feminist” – any group-identifying word can and will be used as a slur by those who find that group challenging, but that doesn’t mean that the word is fundamentally/always/only a slur.

C: How do you feel about the impact you’ve had in feminist discourse (re: your lexical contribution)?

T: I don’t really know. The acronym was something Lauredhel and I found useful for some of the discussions we were having at the time (and as mentioned above, we aren’t really sure that we invented it as such anyway rather than adopted/adapted it). We thought it might be useful for some others having similar discussions, so we and our co-bloggers shared it around in some of those discussions. That it did eventually catch on and people still find it useful after five years, and that it’s now a label that TERFs feel the need to push back on? It’s certainly intriguing, but I don’t really feel any strong sense of ownership over the term (language is a collective construct which evolves with variant usages, after all). I wanted to communicate something clearly at the time, and it worked for that. That it’s still working for people engaging in that ongoing trans*-inclusion/exclusion debate is certainly satisfying on several levels, definitely.


Unlike tracking transgender as a term, tracking TERF was easier since the term is quite young and was popularized on the internet. What follows is a record of the term’s early usage and uptake:

8/17/2008, "sfsdffs"

8/17/2008, “implicitly aligning all radfems with the trans-exclusionary radfem (TERF) activists, which I resent”

A few days later, TigTog clarified her position:

Many many radical feminists are trans* accepting and often are active allies. It’s just a small minority who are very vocally trans-exclusionary, particularly online.

Grammatically, the “trans-exclusionary” placed before “radical feminist in the TERF acronym means that it modifies “radical feminist”, describing a subset. Just the way that the term Italian-American doesn’t mean that all Americans are ethnically Italian, it’s just describing a subset of Americans.

TigTog, 8/20/2008

And from there, the term spread to other feminist blogs:

UF

Unapologetically Female (2008)

The following conversation is illuminating:

TigTog:

Thank you for the praise for my post, Tracey. I just wish that this post of yours had a different title and introductory sentence – I’m calling out the trans-exclusionary radfems (TERFs), and I certainly don’t assume that all radfems agree with them. I have a pretty strong radical streak myself after all, and I certainly don’t agree with them.

Tracey:

Point well taken, tigtog. I actually did think twice about that title before I posted this, and I see now that I probably should have followed my instincts. I’ll change it now.

TigTog:

Thanks for the prompt response. I’ve added a clause to my post as well to make this clearer right from the introductory paragraphs.

Thanks too for the link to the post at Womanist Musings – that’s a wonderful post.

Please feel free to adopt and spread the TERF acronym, by the way, if it appeals to you.

TigTog:

Oh, I see you’ve already leapt upon TERF – excellent.

 Tracey:

No problem — thank you for pointing it out that it wasn’t clear that I don’t mean all radical feminists. I didn’t want for it to come off that way or to make it sound like that’s what you were saying.

And I loved “TERF”. I was having a hard time finding a way to make that distinction, but that word works perfectly. Thanks again.

TERF-re

The FinallyFeminism101 blog (2008)

2013

Feministe (2013)


TigTog said, “Since it’s become more common [in] usage, no doubt there are some people that use it as a slur. The same thing happened to ‘radical feminist’ and also to ‘feminist’ – any group-identifying word can and will be used as a slur by those who find that group challenging, but that doesn’t mean that the word is fundamentally/always/only a slur.” This insight seems to be generally lost on TERFs. I am sure some people do use TERF as if it were slur in the same way that some TERFs use trans woman as if it were a slur:

Back in 2008, TigTog talked about the colonization of RadFem discourse by TERFs when she said that TERFs were “implicitly aligning all radfems with the trans-exclusionary radfem (TERF) activists, which I resent.” The feminist community named the problem and  TERF as a term came into common usage.

I can understand why it’s important to TERFs that people to believe that TERF ideology represents feminism instead of its own ideology:

because the fact of the matter is that unlike born-women, who have everything (literally, everything) to lose from rape culture, transwomen have at least something (everything?) to gain. to a transwoman, cutting off her dick and turning it (inside out) into a fuckhole between her legs makes her feel better. from transwomens own mouths, we know that these fake fuckholes alleviate transwomens suffering. turning their dicks into extra-large condoms for other men to penetrate (or not, whevs…thats my hat-tip to the internet “lesbian transwomen”) actually tamps down their anxiety, and feelings of dysphoria. – TERF blog [Strong TW]

TERF  ideology doesn’t speak for women, feminists or RadFems. Now that the feminist community named this specific ideology, it’s more difficult to pass it off as representing anything but itself.

“Transwomen” are not and can never be women or Lesbians – they are simply men, trying to steal our identity and culture… One way to begin to fight their oppressing Lesbians and women is to refuse to give them what they want. At the very least, PLEASE stop calling them “women” in any form, and stop using female pronouns for them… they act like typical men and intimidate and guilt trip – everything is about them. And the hell with any Lesbian who gets in their way. Some have also learned what to say to sound believably female, but if you question a bit further, they revert quickly to male bullying techniques. As for those who do have surgery, men do a lot of bizarre things for sexual gratification, such as strangling themselves to have more exciting orgasms, which has resulted in some unintentional suicides (such as that by David Carradine.)

As Janice Raymond says, “All transsexuals rape women’s bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating their body for themselves.”  It’s actually reminiscent of the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” – Early TERF leader, author and activist [Strong TW]

When feminists named the movement that spends its time promoting this type of worldview, they acted to stop the colonization of feminism by self-identified RadFems who were fixated on attacking trans people. TigTog said the RadFems she knew felt that TERFs “… did not speak for them and were disrupting other discussions with anti-trans* derails.” TERF isn’t a slur; it’s the feminist community’s response to an unwanted colonization of their feminist space and identity.

To quote the popular feminist group Guerrilla Feminism, “Our feminism is trans inclusive or it is bullshit.”  


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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.

34 Comments

  1. […] contemplate the time period TERF to be a slur that demonizes their views, the time period was popularized by radical feminists who needed to separate themselves from their anti-trans […]

  2. […] some radical feminists consider the term TERF to be a slur that demonizes their views, the term was popularized by radical feminists who wanted to separate themselves from their anti-trans […]

  3. […] some radical feminists consider the term TERF to be a slur that demonizes their views, the term was popularized by radical feminists who wanted to separate themselves from their anti-trans […]

  4. Melanie says:

    I find it fascinating that TERFs can regard the term “TERF” as derogatory!
    If you are a feminist, do you regard the term “feminist” as derogatory, or is it a label that you wear with pride?
    If you are a radical feminist, do you regard the term “radical feminist” as derogatory, or is it a label that you wear with pride?
    So if you are a trans exclusionary radical feminist, why is that different? Why aren’t you proud to be recognised as someone fighting for what you believe in?
    Could it be that TERFs know, deep down inside, that what they are doing is fundamentally wrong? That the reason they rely on lies is because the facts do not support their case, and that their abuse is based on nothing more than bigotry and unjustifiable hate? And that by joining with the extreme right wing and religious fundamentalists, they are underminingthe credibility of all feminists, and jeopardising everything that has been achieved by feminists in the past century or so?

  5. Mila Madison says:

    The Trouble with the TERFs

  6. Napišem “žena” i bude žena
    lana pukanić | 04/07/2015 12:45 | feminizam, LGBTIQ, vivisekcija

    1. Život je izašao iz mora tako da je tu početak: nalazimo se pored puste, stjenovite obale mora. Sunce blješti. Procijenite želite li dlanom zasjeniti oči ili škiljiti (nemate sunčane naočale). Procijenite intenzitet vjetra, s obzirom na to kad vam kosa izgleda najbolje i koliko ste dramatični. More je ovdje možda metafora za više stvari.
    2. Metafore su oruđe feminističkih tekstova jer teorijske koncepte čine opipljivima. Crna američka feministkinja Kimberlé Crenshaw piše o raskrižju u kojem promet dolazi iz svih smjerova. „Diskriminacija, kao promet na raskrižju, može teći u jednom smjeru i može teći u drugom. Ako se na raskrižju dogodi nesreća, mogu je uzrokovati auti koji putuju iz različitog broja smjerova, a nekad i iz svih. Slično tome, ako je crna žena ranjena jer je na raskrižju, njezina ozljeda može biti rezultat spolne ili rasne diskriminacije“. Tako njen pojam intersekcionalnosti (eng. intersection – raskrižje) dobiva slikovitost.
    3. „Intersekcionalnost“ nastaje 1989., no crne su žene od vremena ropstva u SAD-u koristile brojne pojmove kako bi opisale presijecanje spolnih, rasnih, klasnih i drugih opresija u vlastitim životima. Slaba prisutnost crnih žena i njihovih teorija u središnjem ili mainstream feminizmu, koja se u nešto manjoj mjeri događa i danas, u prvom valu pokreta bila je posljedica njegova besramnog rasizma. Američke sufražetkinje, uključujući perjanice Susan B. Anthony i Elizabeth Cady Stanton, većinom su zagovarale bijelu nadmoć („Bijeli će suprematizam biti osnažen, ne oslabljen, ženskim pravom glasa“).
    4. Od svojih začetaka, feminizam je teoretizirao o „ženi“ kao nježnijoj, osjećajnijoj i slabijoj od „muškarca“, vezanoj uz dom/obitelj i seksualiziranoj unutar patrijarhata, te izvodio svoja rješenja iz tih kritiziranih postavki. Premda potpuno validna za bijele žene srednje klase, ta su se teoretiziranja ženskosti pokazala nedostatnima da obuhvate iskustva drugih žena.
    5. Uzmimo u obzir da je more prozirno kad ga stavimo u bocu iako uvijek mislimo da je plavo.
    Autor svih fotografija: Eric Cahan
    6. Na skupu u Akronu 1851., Sojourner Truth rekla je: „Onaj muškarac tvrdi da ženama treba pomagati da uđu u kočije i podizati ih preko rupa, i da svugdje moraju imati najbolje mjesto. Meni nitko ne pomaže s kočijama, ni blatnim lokvama, niti mi daje najbolje mjesto! A nisam li ja žena? Pogledajte me! Pogledajte moju ruku! Mogla sam orati i saditi i nositi to u štagalj i nijedan muškarac nije bio ispred mene! A nisam li ja žena?“. Truth je bila glas ženskosti nevidljive u tadašnjem feminizmu i utjelovila ono o čemu piše crna marksistička feministkinja Gloria Joseph: crne se ropkinje nikad nije vidjelo kao „ženstvene“. „Na poljima i na plantažama, kad su radile i kad ih se kažnjavalo, bile su tretirane jednako kao muškarci“.
    7. Pojmovi feminizma koji uvijek (prešutno) govori o bijelim ženama s vremenom doživljavaju prilagodbu. Moya Bailey prije pet godina skovala je termin „misogynoir“, koji Trudy s bloga Gradient Lair definira kao „specifično anti-crnu mizoginiju“. Trudy piše da crne žene „kroz nasilnu maskulinizaciju“ i istovremenu „hiperseksualizaciju koja crnu ženskost svodi na seksualni objekt bez statusa osobe“ rod doživljavaju kao „ne-žene“. Pojam misogynoir prema njoj je „konceptualiziran kao način da se objasni da je to više od rasističke mizoginije ili čak objektivizacije“: radi se o potpunoj dehumanizaciji crne ženskosti, kao suprotnosti i opreci bijeloj.
    8. Neke feministkinje, pogotovo bijele feministkinje srednje klase koje još uvijek dominiraju pokretom, takvo bujanje sve preciznije terminologije i postojanje feminističkih skupina koje su odvojene i izrazito kritične prema mainstreamu vide kao nepotrebno dijeljenje i slabljenje sestrinstva, a nerijetko i kao za feminizam destruktivnu silu (o „Toxic Twitteru“ čitajte u sjajnom tekstu Shaadi Devereaux). Propuštaju prepoznati da slabljenje sestrinstva nekad znači tek slabljenje potpune prevlasti jedne njegove struje. „Patroniziranje crnih žena bilo je jedno od sredstava koje su koristile da nas podsjete kako je ženski pokret ‘njihov’ – da možemo sudjelovati jer su nam one to dopustile“, piše bell hooks1 o iskustvima crnih žena u feminističkim prostorima. Zbog vlastite potlačenosti, neke feministkinje ne mogu ili ne žele vidjeti svoje opresivno djelovanje prema ostalim skupinama s ulozima u feminizam. Među tim skupinama želim posebno istaknuti trans žene.
    9. Odjednom, u daljini vidimo ogroman val.

    10. Trans aktivizam i transfeminizam („transrodni pogledi na feminizam ili feministički pogledi na transrodna pitanja“2) proširili su dotadašnje feminističke razgovore o rodu i spolu. Za manje upućene čitatelje, ponovimo neke osnovne pojmove. „Riječ ‘transrodno’ opći je termin koji se se koristi kako bi se opisalo osobe koje se ne poklapaju ‘s društvenim očekivanjima i pretpostavkama o muškosti i ženskosti; uključuje ljude koji su transpolni (koji žive kao pripadnici roda različitog od onog koji im je pripisan po rođenju), interspolni (koji su se rodili s reproduktivnom ili spolnom anatomijom koja ne odgovara tipičnim definicijama muškog ili ženskog) i genderqueer (koji se identificiraju izvan binarne opreke muško-žensko), kao i one čije se rodne ekspresije razlikuju od njihovog anatomskog ili doživljenog spola (uključujući transvestite, drag izvođače, maskuline žene, ženstvene muškarce, itd)’. Osobe koje su u životu proživjele samo poklapanje svog ‘podsvjesnog’ i tjelesnog roda nazivaju se cisspolnima, tj. cis osobama“3. Da bismo razumjeli kako će ti pojmovi zakomplicirati feminističke diskurse, moramo nakratko ući u špilju gdje obitavaju dva tajanstvena bića, spol i rod.
    11. Drugi val feminizma donio je podjelu na spol kao biološku datost (= spolne organe) i rod kao poimanje spola u društvenom kontekstu, odnosno društvena očekivanja od muškaraca/muškosti i žena/ženskosti u obliku različitih ponašanja, praksi i obaveza koji su pojedinom rodu pripisani (= rodne uloge). Tu je distinkciju bilo bitno napraviti jer su joj prethodila stoljeća seksističke znanosti i medicine; profesora, doktora i filozofa koji su ženinu inferiornu društvenu poziciju objašnjavali kao rezultat njene biološke inferiornosti. Biologija, tvrdili su, žene sprečava da se približe mogućnostima muškog roda. U jednom od bezbrojnih primjera, žene nisu smjele studirati jer je taj mentalni napor u njih mogao izazvati „anorexiju scolasticu“. Tojest, pokušaj učenja kod ljepšeg i slab(oumn)ijeg spola doveo bi njegove pripadnice do rapidnog mršavljenja i slabljenja. Možemo zamisliti njihova onemoćala tijela na podovima fakulteta, gdje kao ribe na suhom zure u muškarce koji virilno utrčavaju u učionice – sve zbog nesposobnosti da probave taj napor za koji su muškarci stvoreni. Feminizam je stoga čvrsto postulirao da je rod, za razliku od (biološkog) spola, kulturni konstrukt koji usvajamo socijalizacijom i internalizacijom poruka o primjerenom rodnom ponašanju, kojima smo bombardirani od rođenja. Drugim riječima, ništa od onoga što prepoznajemo kao „ženskost“ ne proizlazi iz onoga što se nalazi u ženskom tijelu – bila to maternica ili mozak.
    12. U odličnoj knjizi Delusions of Gender, Cordelia Fine hvata se u koštac s ogromnim brojem pop-znanstvenih knjiga i znanstvenih članaka koji iz sitnih razlika u strukturama mozgova izvlače velike zaključke o biološkim razlikama između muškaraca i žena i tako objašnjavaju njihove rodne uloge, te takvu šlampavu znanost naziva „neuroseksizmom“. „Zasad, sve razlike u mozgu za koje se mislilo da objašnjavaju odnose spolova na kraju su bile odbačene. No, prije no što bi se to dogodilo, spekulacije bi postale činjenice, posebno u rukama nekih popularnih autora. Stigavši u javnost, ove bi takozvane činjenice o muškom i ženskom mozgu postale dio naše kulture, češto plutajući njome i nakon svog roka trajanja. Tu bi davale potporu i legitimitet rodnim stereotipima koji su u dodiru s našim umovima, tako pomažući u stvaranju upravo onih rodnih nejednakosti koje neuroznanstvene tvrdnje žele objasniti“.
    Rodnu nejednakost neprestano učimo iz svog okruženja, nesvjesno i implicitno (putem „implicitnih asocijacija“), jer sve što vidimo i čujemo utječe na naše umove, ali i mozgove. Kauzalost geni –hormoni – mozak – okruženje, piše Fine, danas se smatra reliktom, jer su naša biologija i društvo u neprestanoj interakciji – mozak se doslovno mijenja pod utjecajem naših misli i ponašanja te našeg okruženja. Zahvaljujući tome, rod nije fiksan – „savitljiv je, prilagodljiv i promjenjiv“.
    13. Šum je sve glasniji i s prvim kapljicama na licu shvaćamo da je udar neizbježan.

    14. Kad je Caitlyn Jenner rekla Diane Sawyer da je „njezin mozak više ženski nego muški“ i zato se u 65. godini života odlučila na tranziciju, neke su feministkinje morale reagirati. Elinor Burkett napisala je za The New York Times tekst „What makes a woman?“, koji započinje nezadovoljstvom izjavom Jenner, kao i njenom ženskošću: „korzet koji podiže dekolte, erotične poze, puno maskare“. No Cailtlyn je bila tek povod za ispisivanje šire kritike trans aktivizma, kojeg Burkett, doduše, gotovo pa poistovjećuje s Jenner. Tako trans pokret optužuje za rodni esencijalizam, zbog lociranja ženskosti u ženskom mozgu, za antifeminizam, jer trans žene utjelovljuju sve seksističke stereotipe o ženskosti, i za ugnjetavanje žena zahtjevom da rekonceptualiziraju same sebe, zbog inzistiranja trans zajednice na rodno osjetljivijem jeziku. Burkett zaključuje da će feministkinje „sretno, s ljubavlju“ prihvatiti trans zajednicu u svoju borbu, ali to neće moći uključivati utišavanje, brisanje i preimenovanje ženskih iskustava i identiteta.
    15. Taj tekst, koji je čak i naš Centar za ženske studije podijelio na svojoj Facebook stranici, tendenciozno i pogrešno predstavlja trans žene i trans aktivizam, bez dobre namjere da zaista uspostavi dijalog sa zajednicom. Njena analiza može djelovati objektivno ljudima koji se nikad nisu susreli s onime što se naziva „trans debatom“4, ali Burkettičin je položaj u njoj očit onima koji jesu. Za detaljnu analizu preporučit ću (toplije od vrućeg ljeta) ovaj tekst Caryja Gabriela Costella, no on je u najkraćim crtama ovakav: Burkett ne vjeruje zaista da su trans žene – žene. Govori o njima kao o osobama „koje nisu živjele cijeli život kao žene“ i „muškarcima koji su zbacili plašt muškosti“. Osim toga, znakovito, skraćenicu „TERF“ („trans-exclusionary radical feminist“) naziva „novom trans uvredom“.
    16. TERF je izraz koji se koristi za radikalne feministkinje koje isključuju trans žene iz ženskih (feminističkih, lezbijskih) prostora i zajednica. Iste radikalne feministkinje izraz vide kao uvredljiv i pogrdan, nekad i kao govor mržnje, i uvijek kao izraz delegitimacije feministkinja čiji su stavovi, njihovom terminologijom, „rodno-kritični“. (Ironično je stoga što je skraćenicu TERF smislila cis radikalna feministkinja, kako bi se radikalne feministkinje koje nemaju negativne stavove o trans osobama odvojile od onih koje imaju.) Želja trans žena da sudjeluju u ženskim prostorima prema ovim je feministkinjama tek pokušaj muškaraca da uđu u ženske prostore i prisvoje ih kao svoje ili dobiju seksualni pristup ženama. Jer trans žene, da utvrdimo, za njih nisu žene već muškarci. Jer su TERF-ovke, da se ne zavaravamo, esencijalisti – muškarca i ženu za njih definira spolni organ (a nekad i misteriozna muška ili ženska energija).
    17. I samo tako, nos nam je pun zapjenjene slane vode koja peče za grlo.

    18. Ni da se postavim na glavu, ni s nogama na stropu, ni da se nebo prevrne, ne bih mogla u idejama rodno-kritičnog radikalnog feminizma pronaći išta osim isključivosti, transfobije i lošeg osjećaja u trbuhu. No prijeđimo sad s riječi na tijela i natrag u mozak Caitlyn Jenner. Njena je izjava o ženskom mozgu promašena jer ženski i muški mozak ne postoje, no Jenner nije ni znanstvenica ni filozofkinja, nego žena koja vlastitim riječima pokušava objasniti (dijelom zato što cis većinu uvijek zanima ZAŠTO KAKO ZAŠTO) svoju osobu, svoje osjećaje, svoje želje i svoj identitet žene kojoj je pri rođenju pripisan muški spol. Vokabular za to, koji nije medicinski, još uvijek je u nastajanju. U knjizi Whipping Girl, Julia Serano predlaže ranije spomenuti pojam „podsvjesnog spola“: „možda najbolje mogu opisati kako osjećam svoj podsvjesni spol time da mi se čini da, na nekoj razini, moj mozak očekuje da moje tijelo bude žensko“.
    20. Izbacili smo biologiju kroz vrata i vratila se kroz prozor. U sljedećoj knjizi, Excluded, Serano (biologinja po struci) piše kako su je zbog te izjave optuživali za esencijalizam, a problematični su bili i opisi utjecaja hormona koje je uzimala. Serano je itekako svjesna da feministkinje i queer aktivistkinje imaju dobrog razloga sumnjati u sve što smrdi na biološki determinizam, no ističe kako se ta skepsa pretvorila u a priori negativan stav prema biologiji. Svaki spomen toga kako biologija može utjecati na rod nekome će donijeti etiketu seksista, jer seksisti su ti koji redovito (zlo)upotrebljavaju biologiju. Zbog štete koju je njeno seksističko i neispravno korištenje učinilo, biologija kao znanost za feminizam je tabu.
    21. Serano pak predlaže vlastiti holistički model roda i seksualnosti koji počiva na tri postavke. Prvo, svi smo biološki slični na mnoge načine, ali smo isto tako proizvod biološke varijacije – nitko ne dijeli naš jedinstveni genetski i psihološki ustroj. Iako dijelimo istu kulturu ili društvena očekivanja i norme, svi smo i jedinstveno društveno pozicionirani – nitko ne dijeli naš specifični set životnih iskustava ili okruženje. Stoga, iako naša zajednička biologija i kultura mogu stvoriti određene trendove, trebamo očekivati da varijacija naših biologija i životnih iskustava generira raznolikost naših rodova i seksualnosti. Drugo, sva su ljudska ponašanja, pa tako i ona vezana za rod, spol i seksualnost, kompleksne osobine – što znači da se pojavljuju kao rezultat zamršene interakcije bezbrojnih bioloških i društvenih faktora i okruženja. Treće, biološko se nikad ne može odvojiti od društvenog i od svog okruženja. Najbolji je primjer njihove isprepletenosti razvoj mozga. Iako naši mozgovi dijele određenu temeljnu arhitekturu, nevjerojatno su plastični – i kao rezultat naših jedinstvenih okruženja, iskustava i biološke varijacije postaju vrlo individualizirani, što smo već čuli i od Fine.5
    Zaključuje da „seksizam ne proizlazi iz opservacija da neki ljudi imaju različite sposobnosti i obilježja, nego iz primjenjivanja dvostrukih mjerila na te sposobnosti i obilježja – iz pretpostavki da su neke osobine superiorne, prirodnije ili normalnije od drugih. Kao feministkinje, trebamo osporavati seksistička dvostruka mjerila, a ne trošiti sav trud na uzaludno negiranje bioloških utjecaja na rod i seksualnost“6.
    22. Duboko udahnemo.

    23. „Očito smo multispolna vrsta čija se spolnost/seksualnost proteže duž ogromnog fluidnog kontinuuma, gdje elementi koje zovemo muškima i ženskima nisu suprotni“. Ovo nisu riječi transfeministkinje niti queer aktivistkinje, nego radikalne feministkinje Andree Dworkin7. Dworkin to zaključuje nakon nabrajanja 14 točaka (o hormonima, gonadama, kromosomima, itd.) koje pokazuju da binarnost spolova (biološki) nije nimalo jednostavna i očita. Da parafraziram onu rečenicu o pištoljima, biologija ne proizvodi seksizam – seksisti proizvode seksizam. Biologija nas ne hijerarhizira, biologija (+ društvo) proizvodi varijaciju kompleksne ljudskosti u svim kombinacijama svih varijabli – koju kao društva, zajednice i pojedinci proglašavamo više i manje vrijednima, boljima, lošijima, čudnima, normalnima i nenormalnima, iako je jedina realna distinkcija: ono što je često i ono što je manje često.
    24. Svi su naši rodni identiteti – naše definicije, izbori, osjećaji i izrazi roda – validni, i bili bi to i da nemaju potporu biologije. Biti skeptičan prema nečijem rodu, osporavati ga ili pak eksplicitno negirati znači staviti se u položaj suca za tuđe svijesti i živote – dehumanizirajuće je, bolno, opasno i izrazito bahato. Naše ljudskosti nisu ni na koji način uvjetovane našim rodom i tijelima.
    25. Naša je borba za ravnopravnost zajednička i naša je borba skup mnogih borbi.
    26. Ok, more je ful lijepo, ovako veliko i plavo, i drugačije plavo na svakom milimetru i svaki milimetar neodvojiv od drugog.

    27. Završimo s ovime. Stereotip trans žena kao hiperfeminiziranih upravo je to – stereotip koji ne odgovara stvarnosti. No čak i da ga se utjelovljuje, puno maskare, dekolte i minicu Caitlyn Jenner možemo vidjeti kao „(p)održavanje rodnih uloga“, „groteskno glumljenje ženskosti“, „podrivanje feminističke revolucije“ i „otežavanje položaja (cis) žena“ (zaista ironično, jer su trans žene jedna od najugroženijih društvenih skupina) jedino ako na stvar gledamo iz vrlo uske cis feminističke perspektive.
    Trans žene vjerojatno ne misle da žene definiraju šminka i suknja. Naše mizogino društvo misli. Cary Gabriel Costello piše kako se trans osobe uvijek nalaze pred nemogućim izborom kad su u pitanju rodne norme: ako ih slijede, „često nas se vidi kao hodajuće stereotipe: ‘O, svi ti trans muškarci s njihovom regresivnom muškošću (…). A trans žene su još gore, nose šminku i pete u dućan i puštaju muškarce da ih nadglasavaju kao da feminizam nikad nije izumljen!’. Ali ako prekršimo norme roda s kojim se identificiramo, možemo platiti užasnu cijenu toga da se naši rodni identiteti negiraju i ismijavaju. ‘On je nakaza—lik u suknji koji ni ne zna kako se prave žene ponašaju’“. Costello to naziva kvakom 22 cisseksizma, uvjerenja da su rodni identiteti trans ljudi inferiorni i manje autentični od onih cis ljudi.
    Razlog zašto je letvica viša za trans žene nego muškarce taj je da je ženskost uvijek inferiorna muškosti. No za razliku od cis žena, kojima se nesreća ženskosti dogodila, trans žene su je izabrale prigrliti – njihova odluka da budu slabe, a mogle su biti doživljavane kao muškarci, čini ih ne samo inferiornima, nego i devijantnima. To je transmizoginija.
    28. Dok trans ženama nećemo tolerirati isti raspon ženskosti koji dopuštamo cis ženama, njihovo ćemo ponašanje ocjenjivati strožim kriterijima. Laverne Cox i ‘seksi, objektificirano tijelo iz crtića’, povikat će bijela cis feministkinja, ne osnažuje nikoga! Nikoga, vikat će, jer ne može shvatiti da je za crne trans žene javna afirmacija ljepote i seksualne privlačnosti radikalna. Jer riječ „transmisogynoir“ predstavlja još jedan dosadan klip pod noge jedine prave Borbe – one bijelih cis žena protiv patrijarhata. Kirijarhat, kao intersekcionalni termin8 koji označava umrežene strukture dominacija, moći i svih postojećih -izama, čini se sve privlačniji.
    29. Povijest kaže da je Sojourner Truth rekla „Pogledajte moju ruku!“ i ogolila svoju crnu, mišićavu ruku do ramena. Iako vi to ne znate, i ovo je ženskost, rekla je njena ruka, poruka koja putuje do nas već 160 godina.
    Feminizam je rad na pretvaranju postojećeg u nepostojeće kako bismo otkrili kako izgleda nezamislivo. „Moramo zaboraviti naučeno o konstelacijama da bismo vidjeli zvijezde“. Zaboraviti i ponovno naučiti: ženskost nije manja od muškosti. Nijedna ženskost nije manja ni od čega.

    Naslovna fotografija: Eric Cahan, fotografija neba. Naslov teksta parafraza je stiha iz pjesme “Šuma” Anke Žagar.

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    Citirano iz knjige Excluded Julije SeranoJulia Serano,Whipping GirlCitat iz teksta http://muf.com.hr/2014/10/03/feminizam-transfobija-svojeglavost/ prema Juliji Seranou kojoj se zapravo debatira o nečijem pravu na postojanjeFine je posvetila knjigu demantiranju tendendioznog rodnog determinizma, što ne znači da je negirala postojanje i djelovanje biologije, gena, hormona – poput Serano, ona naglašava da su stvari neusporedivo kompleksnije nego što se obično tvrdi.Sve citirano iz Excluded.Iz Woman Hating.Skovala ga je Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, više npr. ovdje: http://www.deeplyproblematic.com/2010/08/why-i-use-that-word-that-i-use.htmlCaitlyn Jenner Gradient lair kirijarhat laverne cox misogynoir Sojourner Truth terf trans

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    Autor⁞ica
    lana pukanić
    dražesni pupoljak

    Vidi i

    Glazba i ironični seksizam

    „Mislim da mnogo ljudi oklijeva prozvati seksizam u glazbi

    Žena. Mjera: majčinstvo

    Prije par godina nabasala sam na jednu sintagmu koja

    Ženske genitalije: tamni kontinent

    Žensko tijelo i njegove funkcije često mogu biti izvorom

  7. […] This article discusses the clash of ideology and lived experience as exemplified by a recent BBC radio program in the UK. This article uses the term Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) to distinguish between the trans-supportive Radical Feminism of Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, The Olivia Collective or the West Coast Lesbian Conference and sex essentialist anti-trans feminism of Janice Raymond, Sheila Jeffreys and/or the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. The feminist origins of the term TERF can be found here. […]

  8. […] exclusionary radical feminist Social Justice Warrior TERF Portlandia | Spyke Gets a […]

  9. […] as a survival tool. [Edit: It looks like we were incorrect that the term was coined by trans women: it appears as if it was actually coined by Radical Feminists.]  TERFs, on the other hand, intentionally misgender other women, advocate to strip them of basic […]

  10. […] an email was sent from a TERF (trans exclusionary radical feminist) who provided specific identifying information about Shanko. […]

  11. […] We tried the best we could but always worth keeping this in mind. – TERF infestation A group of trans exclusionary radical feminists (known as TERFs for short) undertook a long-term plan to undermine the event. They had one of […]

  12. […] Williams, the official schism between TERFs and mainstream Radical Feminists came recently. “In 2008 2008, the feminist community noticed that there was a real difference between the ‘radical […]

  13. […] discrimination. The designation “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist” was created by other radical feminists who are not transphobic, and who were upset that the name “RadFem” […]

  14. […] In 2008 the non-transgender Feminist/Radical Feminist community popularized the term Trans Exclusionary […]

  15. […] Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism, which seems to be explained fairly clearly in this article: TERF: what it means and where it came from from The TransAdvocate website. The people who coined the term were trying to identify entities […]

  16. […] The Guardian today published a piece entitled “If we get bogged down in the TERF war we’ll never achieve anything“. This piece of writing is cissexist in its own right, so keep that in mind before clicking through. Also if you are unsure on what a TERF is then I highly recommend reading this. […]

  17. […] About a decade ago, the feminist community came up with the term Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) as a way to halt the default colonization of Radical Feminism and feminism itself by TERFs (and this, of course, is claimed this to be an insult). Now, under a wave of new awareness of the hate group hiding among them, feminism is becoming more vocal about its recrimination of TERFs. Old TERFs and TERF allies like Sue Hyde and Gloria Steinem have openly recanted their TERF rhetoric and other TERFs, like Max Feldman came out as trans. […]

  18. […] lesbian and radical communities. It is about opening up a dialogue of how TERFs aggressively colonized the Radical Feminist identity and aggressively (sometimes violently) claimed control of feminist […]

  19. […] TERF: what it means and where it came from: […]

  20. […] Exclusionary Radical Feminists a lot over recent times because they fascinate me, they really do. TERFs are the anti-vaxxors of the feminist world. Completely incapable of seeing outside their worldview […]

  21. Susan B Journey says:

    The most amusing thing about this revisionist history is that you are actually hoodwinking some people. LMAO! Gullible kids.

  22. […] You can read the full interview, here. […]

  23. Chelsea Solis says:

    Feminism has failed me and my sisters and brothers. Considering abandoning it entirely. They are no better than the bullies they claim transpeople and MRAs are.

  24. DarlieB says:

    Some could consider lesbianism a fetish.

  25. MersennePrimaDonna says:

    Those quotes from so-called “feminists” were horrible. I’ve read that some early feminists tried to distance themselves and the feminist movement from lesbians, insisting “We don’t represent them! That’s not the kind of woman that we mean when we say ‘women’s rights’!” How do these people not see that they sound exactly like them?

  26. christian_transgender says:

    That’s a very dishonorable history, if accurate. Wow……….I understand moments of anger and losing control to the point of violating human dignity where an apology barely made things whole. If this history is accurate and given how we catch hell from basically everyone, including family I am not surprised. TERF sounds much more insulting and malignant as an acronym than saying the words in their entirety.

    Breaking it down:

    Radical feminists: yeah they exist and apparently they take no issue with gender identity, perhaps from positive personal experiences.

    Trans Exclusive: trans persons (both male and female I presume) stay away!

    So far OK. As trans one of the first things we must accept is that many exclude us: employers, friends, family. Nothing new here. Trans Exclusive Radical Feminists: sounds better than “turf”, at least to me. No insult on its face there, however if “you look nice today” can be construed as insulting, as sexual harassment, then anything can and will be misconstrued (sounds like Miranda).

    So, we are back at intention. How is TERF intended to be used? Well, like any word with dual meanings, context, like size, matters greatly ;). Ooops, how Un-Christian of me but confession is good for the soul I am told. Ok, like most words when used, context will serve to define TERF. If used for example “those who subscribe to TERF ideology”, that is a clearly a reference to the ideology. If used “you are a screwed-up TERF!”, that clearly could be misconstrued as malevolent.

    Our journey is a gauntlet. No matter our personal characteristic (humans), we will not be loved by all, but hated by some. The lust or quest for power is not solely a human pursuit, it is observed in the animal kingdom. I accept as a given that love will elude us equally from males, females, gays and lesbians. For me, a member of the Hispanic race, I am already acclimated to this. As soon as I speak in fluent Ingles and kick ass academically, all pre suppositions about me flee faster than a TERF from a transfemale…just kidding!!!!

    So, we catch hell from basically everyone who has never experienced our gender angst and who could expect anyone to truly understand how testosterone creates male angst in a female brain? Already just stating “female brain” will garner stiff opposition, however again how could they know? We catch hell, especially me with “Christian Transgender” viewed as an oxymoron, from holier-than-thou let-me-cast-the-first-stone fake Christians.

    What comforts me is the level of intelligence found in our community that is more than qualified and blessed with inordinate courage to repel any animus we receive. Those opposed against sex/gender changes stand alone, unsupported by medical fact, whilst it is wind for our sails. Our adversaries, whomever and wherever they may be, have only psychological warfare to support anti-trans equality, and history is replete with examples of such. Fortunately, such is easily exposed and debunked for what it truly is: much, much more than mere disagreement, it is vehement and often verbally combative propaganda based on the perception that a sex change is a threat to [ ].

    What me must do is maintain credibility by maintaining our composure, take lessons from our adversaries on what not to do (foul language, ad hominem, etc.) and be even more fervent ourselves because we know ourselves and our gender angst. Sure, it’s easy to lose our composure and most of us have and will again. Just remember that when there is a conflict, either verbal or physical, and a mediator must respond to solve it, it is the person who remains calm and composed that generally wins out because human instinct tells us that it is the person that loses control that typically is the “violator”.

    • Friesjones says:

      Guest, in writing, often less is more. Flinging a wall of words at us that sound fancy but parse into generalized platitudes is a waste of everybody’s time.

  27. “Many many radical feminists are trans* accepting and often are active allies.” – TigTog

    Some trans folk are radical feminists.

    Or were: “That would be me.”

    R.I.P. Shulamith Firestone, visionary

    Sincerely,
    – bonzie anne

  28. Dana Taylor says:

    Fantastic article!

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