Published on April 30th, 2014 | by Rayne2
When hate becomes ideology: TERF highlights from #genderweek
Trigger Warning: Trans*phobia, transmisogyny, cissexism, rape, assault, violence, harassment. Photo created by: destroyedforcomfort
Earlier this week, the Feminist Times decided to drop the ball on the trans community under the guise of attempting to foster respectful discussion between the transgender community and Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists. The original article penned by known TERF Elizabeth Hungerford (signatory to the letter to the UN calling for legal protections for gender identity to be abolished) signaled that #genderweek was going to be a let down from the get go. Like moths to a bright light, TERFs converged on the Twitter hashtag in a glorious display of bigotry, conspiracy theories and general brain melting verbal diarrhea.
As many of you know by now – TERFs are a fringe group of pseudofeminists who worship such authors as Janice Raymond who is famous for saying this sort of synaptic exploding word salad that leads me to conclude she really needs to be gifted with a dictionary for her birthday:
Yes dear readers, Janice Raymond, author of the Transsexual Empire – a woman who dislikes trans women to the point she thinks and writes about them (and mentions their genitals a lot) for a living. She’s made quite a cult following and not too mention an authors salary off marginalizing and vilifying an entire community of people.
This is a common trope among TERFs and the basis of their ideology. Trans women are men because they were born male, this ideology is taken to the extreme in the letter to the UN which states that giving protections for gender identity under law means any man can dress “like a woman” and what’s to stop those men walking into a womans space (such as a public toilet) and raping them? People from planet logic and reasoning call this a scaremongering conspiracy theory.
RAPE! I don’t think that word means what you think it means in the context you’re using it. This is another common trope TERFs like to parrot. Trans women equal rape. Trans women are attempting to force cisgender lesbians to sleep with them (TERFs ingnore heterosexual trans women). Consensual sex with trans women equals rape and since TERFs are generally only worried about cisgender lesbians, their ideology states that if a cisgender lesbian has consensual sex with a trans woman (seeing as TERFs believe trans women to be heterosexual men), that act of intimacy is considered to a be a heterosexual man having sex with a lesbian in order to change her sexuality to straight (corrective rape). Another trope spewed forth by the depths of TERFdom is the idea that the existence of trans women erases cisgender women. This idea features heavily in the TERF cult movement – TERFs reject the term cisgender (meaning “non transgender”) because it somehow erases non trans women.
Yeah, I don’t get it either. It’s kind of like saying “I love tea” erases people who only love coffee – those who love tea and those who love coffee can exist simultaneously together in the world. Besides cisgender women make up approximately 50% of the world population (ratio 1:1 (approx) for men and women) and trans women make up approximately 1 in every 30,000 people. Cisgender women aren’t in any danger of being forgotten or erased.
Trans women sleeping with cisgender lesbians is disrespectful towards lesbians? (Wendy identifies as a lesbian). This statement is confusing on its own but combined with some of the other statements Wendy has made – her thoughts become a little clearer but sadly not more rational.
What Wendy is saying is:
1. Trans women equal penis (regardless whether they’ve had any surgeries or not).
2. Sexuality equals attraction to body parts.
3. Wendy speaks for every lesbian.
While I get that some body parts (especially vaginas) maybe important for some gay identifying women, it isn’t for everyone. Indeed some people care more about the person than their genitals because a person genitals doesn’t determine sexuality, a persons feelings do. It’s okay to find vagina important because shaming people for who they are attracted to isn’t acceptable however on the flipside – completely disregarding a community of people as undateable based on trans status is equally unacceptable. There really isn’t any winning here apart from – if you’re not attracted to someone that’s fine but don’t be a dickbag to people because you aren’t attracted to them. Don’t be a dickbag if people aren’t attracted to you and don’t police who others can be attracted to and how they can identify.
Ah yes, yet another TERF trope: Sexuality is a choice. Innate feelings don’t exist and in the case of trans people – biology is the be all, end all. We’re a prisoner of our own biology.
Some TERFs advocate that any woman (translation: cisgender woman) can become and should become a “political lesbian” in order to smash the patriarchy and end male rule and oppression. In fact some TERFs believe it so adamantly that one lesbian TERF aligned herself with an ex-gay organization that promotes gay conversion therapy in the pursuit of getting a transgender student expelled from her school. Way to throw your fellow lesbians under the metaphorical bus.
Despite the fact that psychological organizations the world over have come to the consensus that sexuality cannot be changed which is why ex-gay conversion programs don’t work. TERF still like to think that being gay is a choice. On one hand – who gives a shit if someone chooses to be gay, that’s not a justification for bigotry. I personally don’t subscribe to the choice argument because for myself, I never chose to be gay. I never made a conscience choice to be a gay person – it just is. I finally figured it out when I was 16 but I never woke out one morning and said “Yep, I’m totally going to be into women from now on”. Attraction simply isn’t something you can control, you can only choose whether to act on that attraction or not. On the other hand, promoting sexuality as a choice to further your political ideology is – for a lack of a better word – shit. My sexuality and sexuality in general should not be political.
What TERFs are advocating for (as mentioned above) in regards to the choice argument is that women should choose to become lesbians to get away from men and should either choose lesbianism or celibacy as an act of rebellion against men and the patriarchy. TERFs don’t like the patriarchy, that is quite clear. They also don’t like what they consider “compulsory heterosexuality“. Some points I get – like the widespread acceptance of being heterosexual over homosexuality, bisexuality or any other sexuality and the pushing of the heterosexual life-script (marriage, babies, grandkids etc), I even see their point that some people think there is nothing more than the heterosexual life-script. That it’s just the “done thing” and is expected especially when it comes to children. Parenting seems to be seen as an expectation and not a choice if you identify as heterosexual but even if I understand one point – shaming people for choosing that way to live or for the choices they make will never be acceptable. And our society is slowly becoming more accepting of diversity particularly in the Western world.
I disagree, being a porn star or a housewife or a lapdancer is feminist because it’s all about a womans right to choice.
If anyone is interested in reading the non-psychologist psychobabble article, you can read it here. Too sum up the article “If scientists found a gay gene, it would be a license to terminate gay babies due to homophobia therefore being gay is a choice except when I say at the bottom of the article that being gay isn’t really a choice”.
Actually is this is incorrect. “Kyriarchy” is a word used to define the levels of privilege within society that keeps the privileged being privileged and the oppressed being oppressed. It also outlines that people can be both privileged and oppressed at the same time based on aspects of themselves.
I don’t really know what I expected of #genderweek but I’m not surprised it was taken over by TERFs attempting to spread their cult movements incredibly convoluted ideology. I know this post has been brain meltingly mind numbing so I’ll leave you with everyone’s favorite transphobic racist misogynist. Roseanne:
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