Spill the T co-host Christyn Brewer posted on her blog about Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminists (TERFs). In her blog, she gave an in-depth description of who TERFs are and why they set back both the LGBT and the feminist movements. The topic of the week for December 22, 2019, focused on this blog.
The following questions were asked in our Discord community regarding the blog:
- Have you had any personal experiences with TERFS (feminist women who are only motivated to liberate cis women and not trans women)? Talk about your most memorable experience and how that shaped you and your views on feminism and the transgender community.
- Why do you believe trans women are attacked by men and cis women? What can be done to establish a more safe and inclusive society for trans women?
- In your own words (you may use sources to support your definition), what is gender dysphoria, and how is it separate and distinct from being transgender?
- Is there a such thing as men who pretend to be a woman as a means to make fun of gender identities and reinforce the gender-sex binary and congruency? If so, how are they distinctly different from trans women?
- Should men be welcomed in women’s spaces? Why or why not?
- Overall, what do you agree and disagree with in terms of Chrissy’s message?
Our Discord community is still very new with only a few members outside of the main Spill the T staff. Despite this, there have been a few responses on the matter.
A majority of those who responded expressed they have not had any in-person experiences with TERFs, though one of the Spill the T crew members mentioned she has to work with a couple of people who would be considered TERFs. They stated those people were conservative mothers with several children. When confronted, they judge based on the genitalia of the person (such as those who inaccurately equate gender with sex). They have been known to change the subject as well when confronted.
Another crew member mentioned the TERFs they met online act similarly to patriarchal people; they believe only in the 2-gender model, are often highly devoted to religion, and judge gender by genitalia.
Overall, the consensus is that TERFs are feminists who believe in the rights of women, but remain old-school and non-inclusive to LGBT issues. Feminism encompasses a broad range of different people beyond just those who identify woman. Women Healthcare, for example, is still applicable to a man who was assigned woman at birth but has not undergone sex reassignment surgery. It is important as feminists that we focus on the big picture and be inclusive of everyone who is affected by the patriarchal system.