Debunking "TERFs are not real feminists"
Feminists attacking trans people is not something new. It's the natural consequence of their ideology since they oppose gender norms/roles while also advocating for sex/gender-based policies (such as gender quotas). This leaves us with "gender identity politics" and "birth-sex" as the viable options since otherwise you would need to have a standard based on behavior or sex-characteristics.
But if you accept gender-identity politics then you will have to accept males identifying as female such as to get custody over their child
or in order to get diversity hired to a good job. This is why radical feminists cannot be trans-inclusive since that would end up compromising their ideology by having either embrace gender roles/norms or accept gender identity politics, this is why feminists keep coming out as TERFs, it's the natural conclusion of their already bigoted ideology.
TERF ideology is a continuation of the second wafe of feminism which is appealing to old, infertile and unattractive 'females'.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, corresponding roughly to the second wave of feminism
, there were several notable clashes between feminists (especially early radical feminists
) over the inclusion of trans women in feminist spaces. A significant early dispute occurred in 1973 during a scheduled performance at the West Coast Lesbian Conference by transgender lesbian folk-singer and co-organiser of the event Beth Elliott
Elliott had previously served as vice-president of the San Francisco chapter of the lesbian group Daughters of Bilitis
and edited the chapter's newsletter, Sisters
, but had been expelled from the group the same year on a 35–28 vote on the grounds that she did not qualify as a woman.
After a lesbian separatist
group leafleted the conference against her presence, a vote was held among attendees on whether to allow her to remain, with over two-thirds voting in her favor. Despite the results of the vote, Elliott chose to leave after threats of further disruption were made. The following day of the event, Robin Morgan
used her keynote speech to criticise Elliott, describing her as a "man" and "an opportunist, an infiltrator, and a destroyer – with the mentality of a rapist."
Later the same year, a conflict arose between Jean O'Leary
, a founder of lesbian advocacy organization Lesbian Feminist Liberation
, and Sylvia Rivera
and Lee Brewster
, after O'Leary said in a speech at the Christopher Street Liberation Day
event: "we support the right of every person to dress in the way that she or he wishes. But we are opposed to the exploitation of women by men for entertainment or profit."
O'Leary later regretted her stance against trans women and drag queens
, saying that "looking back, I find this so embarrassing because my views have changed so much since then. I would never pick on a transvestite
"It was horrible. How could I work to exclude transvestites and at the same time criticize the feminists who were doing their best back in those days to exclude lesbians?"
Another incident occurred in 1978 when a trans woman asked to join the Lesbian Organization of Toronto
(LOOT). In response, the organization voted to exclude trans women.
LOOT wrote: "A woman's voice was almost never heard as a woman's voice—it was always filtered through men's voices. So here a guy comes along saying, 'I'm going to be a girl now and speak for girls.' And we thought, 'No you're not.' A person cannot just join the oppressed by fiat."
Radical feminist Janice Raymond
published The Transsexual Empire
In it, she criticised contemporary medical and psychiatric approaches to transsexuality (medical aspects of gender transition
), arguing instead that "the problem of transsexualism would best be served by morally mandating it out of existence," and accused trans women of reinforcing traditional gender stereotypes. Several academics, researchers and writers characterized these views as extremely transphobic and/or hate speech
also included a chapter criticising "the transsexually constructed lesbian-feminist", devoting a section to Sandy Stone
, a trans woman who worked as a sound engineer for feminist record collective Olivia Records
The collective publicly defended Stone, but after continued pressure, including an incident where a trans-exclusionary group that issued death threats showed up to an Olivia event with guns, Stone resigned.
She later wrote The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto
a response to Raymond's Empire
and a foundational work in the field of transgender studies
Not every early radical feminist opposed trans acceptance. Andrea Dworkin
, for example, viewed gender reassignment surgery
as a right for transgender people.
She also wrote a letter to Raymond critical of The Transsexual Empire
, which commented that of the transsexuals she met in Europe (who she called a "small, vigorously persecuted minority"), she "perceived their suffering as authentic", and related their experiences to Jewish and female experiences.
Dworkin said that it was a myth "that there are two polar distinct sexes".
The notion that human sex is not a naturally discrete binary, and that this conception is the result of gendered cultural and political processes, was later taken up and developed by authors like Anne Fausto-Sterling
and Judith Butler
Concerning the oversight of the existence of these trans-inclusive radical feminist views, as well as of the role of trans women in the feminist struggle, historian Susan Stryker
remarked that "transsexual women were active in the radical feminist movement of the late 1960s, but were almost entirely erased from its history after 1973."