How TERF violence inspired Camp Trans
August 17, 2014
Smithsonian Adds Trans Items To Expanded LGBT History Collection
August 22, 2014

#TERFweek Redux

By Cristan Williams


In the post announcing #TERFweek, we specified goals for the week. These goals were:

  1. Raise awareness about this movement of hate and the groups it forms.
  2. Educate people about its tactics.
  3. Collectively speak out against its bigotry.
  4. Encourage the Feminist, Radical Feminist and Lesbian communities to speak up about the aggressive colonization their communities have faced at the hands of this movement.

#TERFweek has accomplished this and so much more. Actual Radical Feminists stepped forward to share their painful history with the TERF movement. Several instances on TERF violence (and even terrorism) were uncovered and the actual history of the TERF movement has become clearer:

  • Even though the largest gathering of Lesbian Feminists ever voted to be trans inclusive, TERFs threatened to disrupt the conference unless trans women were excluded. This culminated in the TERF opinion leader, Robin Morgan inciting a TERF mob to violence. Real Radical Feminists were beaten by TERFs while attempting to protect a trans women from TERF violence.
  • Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival owner, Lisa Vogel participated in targeting the Radical Feminist, Lesbian-Separatist music collective called Olivia because they were trans-inclusive. This TERF action culminated in armed TERFs announcing their intention to murder Sandy Stone, a trans women, for being a member of the Radical Feminist, Lesbian-Separatist music collective.
  • We also learned how Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival owner, Lisa Vogel’s fist inspired trans-inclusive women’s music festivals.
  • We also learned how TERF violence at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival inspired Camp Trans. We also learned the fact that even in 1992, most of the women attending the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival wanted the festival to be trans inclusive.
  • We reviewed the way in which Lisa Vogel has used dishonest equivocations in her messaging around her so-called “womyn-born- womyn” policy.
  • Reviewed the manipulative rhetoric of TERFs.
  • What it’s like being trans and attending the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival at the cost of hiding who you are.

Additionally, #TERFweek took on the fallacious ideology Sheila Jeffreys is attempting to push in her new anti-trans TERF book, Gender Hurts.

  • We look at what “gender” actually means and noted that it isn’t a physical substance or essence.
  • We reviewed the equivocation TERFs engage in when they assert that sexing bodies and behavior is different than gendering bodies and behavior.
  •  We looked at the way TERFs appeal to an imaginary sexed essence and noted how this view of the world stands in contract to Radical Feminist concepts.
  • We reviewed the way that TERF rhetoric supports, protects and promotes rape culture.
  • We reviewed the truth that TERFs are not, in fact, critical of gender.
  • We conceptualized the demonstrable violent and sadistic behavior of TERFs as a type of obsessive sadism.

More that, we:

Several other outlets wrote about TERFs during #TERFweek and many people were made aware of this anti-trans hate movement.  Moreover, the #TERFweek tag served two purposes:

  1. Create a cross-network link that makes media and discourse easily available; and
  2.  Draw out TERFs so that people unfamiliar with this group can see and even experience the hate that motivates this group of anti-trans ideologues.

On both of these counts, the tag worked well.

#TERFweek has created a historical record of systemic TERF violence and aggression while providing a nuanced and critical review of TERF ideology. We heard from only sources that that they felt that #TERFweek was unnecessary. Alternatively we received many thanks for having a week of consciousness raising that culminated in a body of work that factually documents and critiques the TERF movement.

TERFs will never again be able to claim that theirs is a nonviolent movement. In fact, their movement has a history of happily embracing real acts of violence and even armed terrorism. We’ve debunked numerous myths and, in the process, showed that TERFs, far from being a benign group of internet trolls, have a long and painful history of doing real harm to those they target – be they trans or actual Radical Feminists who resist being colonized by TERFs.

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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 and, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group.
  • *too corrected to [to] 🙁

  • My head is still spinning, flush with new and horrific information about a militant movement that began while I was yet a preteen. I couldn’t help but write about my fresh first-impression thoughts throughout this stellar TERFWeek dialogue. Too say that I am impressed is an understatement, by a wide margin.

    I come away with these thoughts:

    (1) under what rational thinking can those that are members of a group deemed to be such scourges of society elsewhere in the world (F who choose to have sex with F) that they live in fear for their lives justify putting others (F who choose to align their bodies) in like fear?

    (2) under what rational thinking can women, living in a same-sex haven (US), in defense of “female-dom”, choose to adopt, exercise, and inflict violent torment on others using behavior and tactics employed by the very males they so despise?

    (3) under what rational thinking can a movement, led by women who clearly express themselves as males, arrive at such an extreme and obsessive posture to despise their fathers, brothers, uncles, even the male organ that facilitated their birth?

    (4) under what rational thinking can a movement truly believe that forwarding the preposterous notion that “females are born, not made”, a notion identical to “royalty is born, not made” will ultimately prevail?

    (5) under what rational thinking can a movement truly believe “sand on a beach” propaganda…namely J. Raymond’s and S. Jeffries books that completely, utterly (and vainly) seek to refute medical fact and a 65 year history of legal corroboration…by positing that in fact “females are born, never constructed”?

    (6) under what rational thinking can such a movement presuppose that some females (trans) lack even basic intelligence to deduce and prove their bigoted lies? What gives birth to such a horrific insult of intelligence?

    (7) under what rational thinking can such a movement, knowing that other “upright fists” movements were ultimately derailed to historical irrelevance, choose to adopt the very same playbook?

    (8) under what rational thinking can they continue to believe that speaking with forked tongues, like car salesmen, snake oil salesmen, and many politicians will earn them credibility?

    (9) under what rational thinking can a trans-despising group of lesbians, housed in a Democratic Republic founded on presumption of innocence, continue to claim that an innocent and medically necessary gender transition is precisely identical to being a card-carrying practicing member of a criminal sexual deviancy–so horrific that even in prison they are at the very bottom of the food chain?

    (10) under what rational thinking can they continue to believe that an annual TERF pilgrimage to Michigan…that is one that espouses Lesbian supremacy will ultimately serve their greater good?

    ANSWER: under no rational thinking.