#TERFweek starts now!

National justice orgs say: End trans exclusion policy at Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival
August 8, 2014
Intro to the ‘Sexing the Body is Gender’ Series
August 11, 2014

#TERFweek starts now!

What it is

#TERFweek is a week of education, raising awareness and openly talking about the abuse our communities have endured at the hands of the Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist movement. From Monday, August 11 to the 17, we invite everyone to share their experience with the TERF movement using the #TERFweek tag. We hope that all our diverse communities will take this opportunity to speak with one voice, united in standing in opposition to the hate and very real harm this group has caused.

Why

With the uptake of TERF rhetoric within the mainstream media and academia alike due to the publication of Sheila Jeffrey’s new anti-trans book, Gender Hurts, we felt that it was time for the voices of those who are often targets of TERF malice to speak up about their experiences. Far from being a benign group of bombastic blowhards, the TERF movement impacted the lives of every trans person in America for generations. They’ve driven trans people to suicide, outed trans kids to their schools, outed trans adults to their employers, attempted to interfere with direct medical care their targets receive, and have proven that they will even work with anti-gay groups if it means furthering their obsession in targeting transgender people.

#TERFWeek is about education and empowerment through naming a shared history of oppression, pain and suffering. It’s about openly grieving the lives lost to the TERF movement and talking about the suffering TERFs have inspired over the last 40 years within not only the trans community, but within the feminist, 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 spaces.  It is about clearly articulating the fallacious nature of the claims TERFs continue to make within all forms of media.

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Our Goals

For more than 40 years, what amounts to a hate group has been hiding out within progressive movements, targeting trans people and their allies in the name of women, the lesbian community and feminism itself. Therefore, #TERFWeek seeks to:

  • Raise awareness about this movement of hate and the groups it forms
  • Educate people about its tactics
  • Collectively speak out against its bigotry
  • 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.

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#TERFWeek on the TransAdvocate

In addition to a detailed critique of the foundational falsehoods of TERF ideology, we will feature the stories of those affected by TERF hate. You will hear a mother talk about how she and her young daughter became targets of TERF hate, you will hear from cis women who became targets of TERF hate because they dared support trans people and you will hear from Radical Feminists who are tired of having the RadFem identity automatically associated with a  group obsessed with targeting the trans community and its allies.


We encourage other sites, blogs and news outlets to stand in solidarity with those targeted by the TERF movement over the past 40 years by sharing new (and old) content regarding the TERF movement with the #TERFWeek tag. We encourage members of the diverse communities affected by the TERF moment to begin to talk about how this group has affected your community and share the #TERFweek tag on your social media.


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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.

26 Comments

  1. Thank you. This needs to be open and discussed. I am a feminist who supported transgender people before I knew about my feminist peers’ disapproval. Naively, I thought feminism supported all people who believe in equality. The signatories on the “Forbidden Discourse,” letter are so disturbing. August 12, 2013, I was reading names of people I admire. Now I am separating from women my own age who are holding this terrible, harmful position. I want my cherished term, radical feminist back.

  2. Zoey Tur says:

    I completed the final steps in my very public transition 6 weeks ago with SRS and FFS. TMZ broke my story 16 months ago and it didn’t take long before I learned about the Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists. I was called a killer-A man posing as a woman who would use his “lady stick” to rape and kill women. Then there were those TERFs that vomited pseudoscience to say that I was suffering from autogynaphillia, an invention of a discredited quack named Blanchard. If transitioning isn’t difficult enough, with coming out, losing family, friends, employment, the hormonal ups and downs, threats, attacks, these people are just pure evil. Thank you for your work!

  3. Ginnheim says:

    I really don’t see why you’re doing this. TERFs deliberately post inflammatory things to get our attention, so this sort of thing only gives them what they want. Everyone knows the TERFs are hateful – it’s glaringly obvious for everyone to see. There is no need to do something like this to “expose” them.

    • Please see the “Why” and the “Our Goals” sections.

    • Dana Taylor says:

      Actually, shining a light on them is a good thing. Nobody ever heard the words TERF or Cisgender until the last year or so. Now this is actually in the main stream. When you search Google or Youtube, when you type TERF and space the first hit is TERF feminism. Once people search for the word they discover the horrors of this group and actual pain they cause our community.

    • You are right about deliberate posting but you are not about who knows. I am asked constantly (no exaggeration) what does TERF mean. Most feminists my age have no idea about this which means there is almost no peer pressure to get off the TERF. TERFs are carrying on as if they are a majority.

  4. Shawn says:

    I shared on my facebook and twitter account @smithottawa

  5. Amanda Hunter says:

    thank you for posting this i first found out about them about 1.5 years ago. there ideas are just plain nuts with no basis in fact. thankfully people see more of us out there now i live north of Toronto in a smaller town i have no problems here. keep it up you are doing a great job

  6. […] From the TransAdvocate: […]

  7. Leigh Walsh says:

    What needs to be said with regards the idea that “Gender Hurts”, that the transition of transwomen somehow hurts cisgender women via enforcing gender roles, is that the people most affected by “gender” in the first place are transgender women. We suffer the most, and our sufferng is alleviated by transition, so clearly it’s doing something right. So clearly, whatever issues is caused by us supposedly reinforcing gender roles are secondary to how it sets a precedent for people to defy the concept of biology as destiny in spite of that.

  8. fakecisgirl says:

    Can’t wait for the sequels, MRA Week, HBSer/True Transsexual Week, and Religious Fundamentalism Week.

    If you’re gonna address patriarchy, address all its enforcers, not just one particularly internet-hateful kind of enforcer. When we focus on radical fauxminists and ignore people who want us just as dead (MRAs and fundamentalists) or believe trans women’s bodies should be just as hated and policed (HBSers and their hateful kin in many guises), we look like we’re obsessed with radical fauxminists. They use this monomaniacal focus against us, because we don’t criticize our hatred from within or other sources of hatred, just radical fauxminists.

    To slay the hydra, and the hydra here is patriarchy, you have to stab it in the heart, not just cut off one head and wonder why it keeps growing back. I’m saying this in the strong hope that at some point there will be some focus on all the people who hurt us and hate us, not just on a small band of white cis women an their 500 sockpuppets who are one part of that large interlocking patriarchal hate in enforcing it and being its bagman.

    I’ll look forward to all these other callouts. In the meantime, I will respectfully point out that calling radical fauxminists “feminist” is playing into their rhetoric because they’re people who call for violence against women, and there’s nothing feminist about that. It takes crushing the entire patriarchy to get womankind, and by extension trans women, free.

    • Sami says:

      If those groups were regularly defended and supported by people who claim to be our allies the way TERFs are there would probably be more focus on them.

      Though it would be nice to see an article about the ‘True Transsexual’ twits some time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one who wasn’t vile and bitter.

    • Anon says:

      With all due respect, TERFs are some of the most visible anti-trans crusaders – and are part of the reason trans people have been marginalized. Calling them “fauxminists” is an example of the No True Scotsman fallacy. These people ARE feminists, because while feminism says that men are equal to men, it does so without defining what makes a man or woman.

      Also your statement about stabbing patriarchy in the heart is a bit disingenuous. MRAs and religious fundamentalists are not exclusively transphobic the way the TERFS are, and have enough hatred and bigotry for almost any opressed minority to turn against them. In contrast, TERFs target trans women, (and women who disagree with them, but that’s the equivalent of the white supremacist targeting “race traitors”). Minimizing the harm TERFs cause is disingenuous and dangerous, especially when other oppressed minorities are not the ones being targeting by TERFs.

      Ending religious fundamentalism will not end transphobia, as transphobia is not limited to religious people. And it is pointless to end the patriarchy if the equality of women is built upon the backs of those who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. All you’d be doing is changing the oppressor.

      • fakecisgirl says:

        But MRAs are by their nature misogynist, so how can you be misogynist (or a woman complicit in encouraging misogyny) and not be transmisogynist? It’s not like there’s a special exception for trans women from MRA hate, no matter how much trans woman MRAs like Valerie Keefe will tell you so. It’s about pushing women back to glorify the cis white man, and anything that does that is going to run over trans women whether or not they’re actively transmisogynist, and most MRA leaders seem to be actively transmisogynist. I don’t see what makes for a difference between the hatred preached by Paul Elam and the hatred preached by Germaine Greer.

        At no point did I “minimize” the harm done by radical fauxminists, and while we’re throwing around the term “disingenuous”, it’s totally disingenuous to claim that’s what I’m saying. I do think that all patriarchal organs and their support staff (like HBSers) need to be addressed. That’s not “minimizing” a thing, it’s expecting all of those forms of hate, including radfaux hate, to be held to accountability. There’s nothing disingenuous about expecting patriarchal BS that actively hurts trans women to be held accountable, and that goes for HBSers/True Transsexuals who harm us from within or radfauxs and MRAs that harm us from without. I will grant you that some religious fundamentalists aren’t transmisogynists, but there’s a strong correlation within that and much of the theological arguments against us actively harm in the same manner as MRA theology and radfaux theology.

        As for No True Scotsman, I’d rather pursue the avenue of not ceding that moral high ground. Radfauxs actively harm trans women, women who are sex workers, and sometimes disabled women or women who are cis, married, and don’t work outside the home. I don’t think it’s NTS to say it’s not feminist to attack women: in fact I think it’s quite antifeminist to attack women and to work to plough us under and that slapping the word “feminist” on it is akin to putting dubs and spinners on my Kia and swearing to everyone it’s a Cadillac. If that’s No True Scotsman so be it, but the feminism and womanism I was taught doesn’t include hurting women, enforcing white supremacy, or insulting women’s bodies, all things radfauxs do.

      • Anon says:

        fakecisgirl, I can’t seem to figure out how put a reply comment to your post so I will reply to this one and hope you see it.

        “It’s not like there’s a special exception for trans women from MRA hate, no matter how much trans woman MRAs like Valerie Keefe will tell you”

        I mean something else. MRAs hate both cis women and trans people. TERFs hate trans women while trying to pretend tans men don’t exist…and they insist that they do it all for the sake of “real” women. Thus, TERF aggression is exclusively directed toward trans people and their supporters (as opposed to the less exclusive hate that comes from MRAs).

        To put it another way, cis women (and cis men) have the privilege of ignoring TERFs. Trans people, particularly trans women, do not. It’s hard to ignore someone when they’re out to make your life a living hell.

        And I must say that I do not believe TERFs are fringe movement within feminism. As Cristan’s article indicates (http://www.transadvocate.com/intro-to-the-sexing-the-body-is-gender-series_n_14019.htm), TERFs have been a part of and influence on the feminist movement for many decades, and they are still trying to influence it even now. I suspect that many uninformed people consider trans-exclusional feminism a mainstream school of thought…which is all the more reason for their danger to be highlighted.

      • ZAP says:

        I have personally never seen hatred against trans women from MRAs. IN fact the men’s human tights movement is mostly run by cis women who understand modern day feminism for what it is a bunch of history and biology falsifying propaganda. there are several trans women who also identify as MRAs and its only in radical feminist circles that MRAS are thought of as exclusively straight white cis and misogynists.

      • Renate Richter says:

        Fakecisgirl – If you are transsexual yourself, this honestly leaves me horrified. No, MRAs don’t have an exception for transsexual women. They’re so to say equal opportunity misogynist bigots wanting their 50s back, and if someone tries to tell me they’re not – their leader, Paul Elam, is a clear case to prove my point. But they have no special beef with transsexual women and it is hardly likely they could wind back time to the 1950s. Feminists otoh could enlist the resident bigots (dudebros and fundies) of mainstream – everyone else being indifferent – to get their final solution for transsexual women. It will not happen but unlike turning Earth into Stepford Wife territory it is conceivabnly possible. I can and will kill for my gf and we’re going down together – and i am proud to be a traitor to your cause, kid.

  9. Dee Omally says:

    I just heard about TERFs sometime last year, thanks to Cristan Williams. That’s when I was stirred to motion, and began to speak up, sometimes far too lengthy in fact. I changed my original “Christian transgender” so as not to alienate others and became more active here. The very first thing I noticed about TERFs is that they are drop dead serious about the nonsense they espouse. The next thing was the ubiquitous use of expletives and vulgarity, typical male behavior from the mouths supposedly of females. When I found out that this movement had been engaged for almost 1/2 a century, one that began with the ousting of trans females from the company of lesbians, one word immediately came to mind: obsession. The next thought was that submitting to despots, even if lesbian, was a colossal mistake, in hindsight of course.

    This colossal mistake was repeated by the self-eviction of Sandy Stone from Olivia Records. Of course it did seem to be the “right thing to do” for the greater good, however it set the tone for this conflict for the next 40 years, a tone that I am doing my utmost to change. Stated otherwise, the lesbian TERFs discovered that all they had to to chase the “trans bug” out of the kitchen was to release the bug spray, and release they still do. Like that viral video showing a cat chasing a dog which attacked a boy on a bike, it’s past time to chase the dog, metaphorically speaking of course.

    Nowhere in the past 36 years, many as a public safety servant, had I ever heard about or a body of persons whose sole existence revolved around the anti-American premise of criminal culpability (rapists, predators, etc.) without well, criminal culpability. Nowhere had I ever ran across a group whose sole mission was to, in an intoxicated rage, target another group, particularly when the target group was engaged in a legal process of sex transition. It played havoc with my mind, accustomed to stopping at nothing to subdue a perpetrator, but only after he or she had perpetrated.

    Then I heard about Janice Raymond’s weapon of literary mass destruction, and despite her being an obvious trans antagonist, the government had actually accepted her “expertise”, which impacted medical care for trans person for the next 33+ years, recently rescinded of course. It defies basic understanding how a lesbian, with a life experience as lesbian and not trans could have been so keenly deceptive such that her non-expertise expertise could have been given even a modicum of credence, but credence is what it did get. Like any weapon released on the masses, this too resulted in untold numbers of hapless females (trans) being left outside of medical care, and no one will ever know how many paid with their very lives as a result. Imagine if the federal government had accepted the expertise of a KKK member in explaining the A-Z of a black’s experience…how ludicrous this would be and yet this is precisely what it did in 1980.

    Now, obviously to coincide with the 2014 “year of the trans woman”, Sheila Jeffreys releases a weapon of literary mass destruction. Once more it employs the most potent tool ever known: deception. Once more it is a lesbian hiding under the innocuous “feminist” label. Once more it’s vitriol is concealed in “academic-speak”. Two weapons released (Raymond and Jeffreys) against trans females and persons by two lesbians. This year is not 1980. It is far different and yet Jeffreys still tries to peddle her filth. It’s time for class-action unity against this hard core group of paranoid lesbians whose life’s passion is to effect the demise of an entire group of people: trans persons. Harassment doesn’t stop itself, especially when it satisfies the lust of psychopathic minds.

    • Dee Omally says:

      ADDED:

      Lesbian & trans females had mutually coexisted, apparently cordially, based on a female identity—until that corrupter of ancient days, power, arrived in full force. Rather than adopting it as a catalyst for positive female advancement, militant lesbians used power as a weapon, better stated—abused it by banishing trans females from their midst—thus began a 40 year exile for a segment of the female population. This exile is finally coming to a rapid close as 2014 brings us within sight of the promised land. Positive trans advancements started arriving once we refused to hide in the dark like vermin and invoked our inalienable right to be loud, proud, and open. Sexual deviants need the cover of darkness, not trans females engaging in NO illegalities.

      I recall a discussion elsewhere about militant groups imposing their religious will across the world. Someone stated the obvious: it’s not about religion; it’s about power. Of course it is, and so too is this TERF campaign, forty years in duration, about the wielding of power over others. It began when some unsuccessfully tried to mute Sylvia River’s trans voice in 1973 followed by the “voluntary” expulsion of trans singer Beth Elliott and Sandy Stone from the militant lesbian community. In 1973, I was but a teen living in the desert wilderness on Highway 66, outside of TV range. Resigned to a male physique despite identity, I had no idea of this violent usurpation of power playing out around me that would have a direct impact on me years later. One thing that is very, very certain—had the Internet been around to enlighten me, I would have been a trans teen child just like those we read and hear about, but we can only live with the chronological context that we were destined for.

      Despite hearing about Dr. Renee Richards, I was far too young to know that it was far more than mere surgical alterations. I remember thinking that if one couldn’t be a woman the very next best thing is to look like one. I had no idea that both male & female cell receptors that we all have could be activated by hormones. Many years later I woke me up to the realization (Christine Jorgensen) that since 1950, 23 years before the power grab in ’73, sex was officially no longer considered immutable. This hasn’t been credibly disputed since, although many try. The ultimate objective of TERFs of course is to retroactively turn back the sex-change clock. In 1980, they did just that, spearheaded by TERF 4-star general Janice Raymond, who wielding academic prowess sharper than any 2-edged sword, in essence convinced the federal government that trans females remained men, never deserving of transition medical care. It took 33 years but the federal government corrected this mistake (Medicare). No one will ever know how many lifeless trans bodies forever lay silent on the lesbian vs. trans battlefield, no one. Fool me or fool others, but never fool yourselves into truly believing that this TERF movement is innocuous and nonviolent. Far from it. A death blow is a death blow, whether the lethal result of the power of the pen or of the sword. I truly wish this statement was an exaggeration, but history will forever record that it is not. The only exaggeration comes from Janice Raymond herself, as she delivered her toxic porridge to the masses concealed within an academic-speak alphanumeric package cloaked as a “book”.

      One would wonder, “What does a lesbian, who is living out her sexual and partner preference without impediment, care about another group of females—trans females—such that she must, like Janice Raymond before, seek their annihilation as a group?” When someone steps out of their realm to take time out and write a book about a group outside of her lived experience, excepting vicarious knowledge, it is for one of two primary reasons: (1) leave the reader with a pleasant aroma as intended by the book’s thesis (2) leave the reader with a repugnant odor as intended by the thesis. No persuasive book is ever written with a thesis intended to advocate for neutrality. Of course it not need be said that Sheila Jeffrey’s book of infinite defamation falls under (2) above. Janice Raymond and Sheila Jeffreys are the faces of militant lesbianism that wishes to share power with none but themselves.

      Forever running away from any vestige of a male shadow, perhaps a fear based on past trauma, over their dead lesbian bodies will any man or former “man” once more “rule over them”. The right to dispute the validity of a sex transition is theirs as it is anyone’s, however institutionalized harassment that targets individual trans leaders and trans persons is far from a right, particularly when it results in psychological trauma from incessant defamation, libel and slander. Playing dirty is a choice many mistakenly make, but will backfire, as it always does.

      In conclusion, the unquenchable lust for power knows no sex, no gender. It has a sole requirement: unbridled lust. History reflects that not all clans are led by male virility, but at times by females who take lessons from the male playbook and forcibly take power for themselves, no matter whose bodies they step over to acquire it. In 1973, lesbian militants, sensing the timing of history, did precisely that, and this gender civil war has waged since. Recent trans victories however, reflect who is winning this war and Sylvia Rivera isn’t turning over, she is dancing the macarena! Sensing defeat, history shows, many groups resort to physical violence as a last resort, and I hope that this is an option that, although we are fully prepared for, is never used. The only option that is viable is for TERFs is to lay down their “arms”, concede victory for ALL females and join forces with us to combat the real threat: physical violence against ALL females, violence that is far from just hyperbole in written discourse. We are fully capable of extending forgiveness, and let bygones be bygones. As females, much work still remains, and a united body is vastly more effective than one made frail by division.

      Once again I have written far too much, however there is much to say, because trans lives matter, as do lesbian and all lives. The TERFs tried to eat Sylvia’s lunch in ’73, and they did eat Beth’s and Sandy’s. As far as the militant lesbians are concerned, we submitted then and they can force us to submit now. Ask yourselves, “Do we want to keep wandering in this desert wilderness for another 40 years or do we want to complete this last day of an 11 day journey?” Remember, they are quick to accuse us of “male exertion of power” for standing tall and strong as females that we are, but they are even quicker in exerting such power against us, and have been for almost 1/2 a century. This is mee, Dee, and I approve of this message for TERFWEEK 2014! *** My sisters, be nice, be kind, be gentle, but under no circumstances EVER but EVER be WEAK.*** I no longer need wear a bulletproof vest, for it absorbed into my body, creating the rhino skin I have now. 🙂

      • Renate Richter says:

        I would agree with your sermon, Dee – save you insistently trying to shift the blame on lesbians. Being a gay woman to your further knowledge is about being sexually attracted to women not hating men. It is telling your two long posts never once mention feminism – an ideology one of the fundamental interpretations of which is opposing men or so called ‘patriarchy’. How in your opinion did this become virtually synonymous with enjoying female company in bed? How did someone’s rights to have a same-sex partner get bait-and-switched to a messianic political ideology strongly believing in the ends justifying the means and opposing every form of checks and balances? Think about this. What right do believers in this have to speak for lesbians or even all women. ‘Women’s events’. ‘Women’s community’.

        Or alternatively, just go on like before, blame lesbians in everything up to and including 9/11. Thank you for implicating me in cultural genocide programme.

  10. […] marks the beginning of #TERFweek – a week of education, awareness and diologue about the Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist […]

  11. Tao says:

    you don’t deserve a safe place to pee is a far cry from you don’t deserve our safe place to pee.

    it is not women’s responsibility is a far cry from it’s not women’s concern

  12. Renate Richter says:

    I would say Anon is the only worthwhile person in these comments. No other unsavoury hate group has a viable programme, documented in writing, to erase a minority group from the surface of earth. MRAs can hate sun and moon on the top of 4 billion women and turn blue but they have neither means nor even a coherent intent to wipe out women. Feminists on the other hand have a documented programme to ‘mandate transsexual women out of existence’, and a history of actual persecutions and marginalisation efforts in every available (legal, personal, social, financial) way carried out on random transsexual women civilians, not even activists. Listening to feminists (i presume many of them tramnssexual women themselves) and protecting them even in the comments of this article is sickening – and calling the perpetrators fauxminists is a lie and a derail, as they still are a legit and respected faction of the feminist movement with a considerable academic and political pull. Stay in denial, enjoy.

    Zoe Nicholson, you have your term. It was never taken from you. You have been part of a movement silently endorsing a cultural genocide for decades. Be proud of yourself and your heroes the ‘people you admire [present tense]’. I do, however, majorly and sincerely thank you for a witness statement ‘Most feminists my age have no idea about this which means there is almost no peer pressure to get off the TERF. TERFs are carrying on as if they are a majority’. This is because they ARE a majority. This is because the silent supporters – like the silent supporters of white power include those not wanting to live next to a POC neighbour – will close their eyes and pretend cultural genocide does not exist and then blame it on their uninformed ignorance. You can have all the feminist terms, they’re equally tainted with blood.

    I do not like MRAs one bit (i do think they’re mostly a bunch of whining, self-pitying, entitled misogynists dreaming about 60s suburbia) but have no other choice but to support them on the side as a lesser evil. Ironically outwardly i have to be a feminist, because it is de rigeur in lesbian community of my age – yet i cannot do anything but despise them for what they have done to my transsexual girlfriend (evictions, depression, suicide attempts, sexuality doubts and trying to change in order to distance herself from harm) and now am what Chaucer would call ‘a smiler with a knife under her cloak’. Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.

  13. […] the post announcing #TERFweek, we specified goals for the week. These goals […]

  14. […] week there was a hashtag assault on gender critical women called #TERFweek enacted by a handful of transgender activists on the Internet which resulted in the usual series of […]

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