Difference between revisions of "TERF"

(Created page with "thumb|300px|A typical tweet containing "terf" The word ''TERF'' (or ''terf'') is a slur that is used predominantly by transgender activists and thei...")
 
 
(81 intermediate revisions by 3 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
[[File:Terf-slur-01.png|thumb|300px|A typical tweet containing "terf"]]
+
{{PageSeo
 +
|description = TERF is a slur used by transgender activists to debase anyone who criticizes their movement on the basis of feminist concerns.
 +
|image = Sonicfox.png
 +
}}
 +
[[File:Terf-slur-02.png|thumb|300px|A typical tweet containing "terf"]]
  
The word ''TERF'' (or ''terf'') is a slur that is used predominantly by transgender activists and their allies against people who criticize the transgender movement on the basis of feminist concerns.  Since the slur is used for people with feminist concerns, the main target tend to be women.  As such, it's usually understood to be an anti-feminist, sexist and misogynist slur.
+
The word ''TERF'' (or ''terf''; pl ''terfs'' or ''terves'') is a slur that is used predominantly by [[transgender ideology|transgender activists]] and their allies against people who criticize the transgender movement on the basis of feminist concerns.  Since the slur is used for people with feminist concerns, the main target tend to be women.  As such, it's usually understood to be an anti-feminist, sexist and misogynist slur.
  
The original meaning of the word was ''Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist'', where the "trans-exclusionary" part referred to those holding the idea that transwomen should not be included under a political definition of woman, and the "radical feminist" part was meant neutrally, i.e. for people who would indeed describe themselves as [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_feminism radical feminists] in the true sense.  Over time, the acronym started to be used like any [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-letter_word four-letter word].  The capitalization is frequently omitted, and the original meaning ignored.  Still, users of the term tend to claim that it's a neutral description.  The "trans-exclusionary" part may now refer to those who think transwomen should not have unfettered access to female-only spaces (such as rape relief shelters, segregated hospital wards, changing rooms, public toilets, etc.), should not partake in women's sports where they have an unfair advantage, should not be considered a natural part of the lesbian dating pool, etc.  Although most members of the public would see these as rather sensible positions, especially considering a "transwoman" may have intact, unaltered male anatomy, transgender activists see these types of "exclusion" as unacceptable.
+
The word was invented as an acronym for ''Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist'', where the "trans-exclusionary" part referred to those holding roughly the position that transwomen should not be included under a feminist definition of womanhood, and the "radical feminist" part was meant neutrally, i.e. for people who would indeed describe themselves as [[Radical feminism|radical feminists]] in the true sense.
  
A closely associated term is ''SWERF'', which is supposed to stand for ''Sex-Worker-Exclusionary Radical Feminist'' and is used for those who see the sex industry (prostitution, pornography, etc.) as highly exploitative and sexistLike ''TERF'', the term is almost always applied as a slur, and to misrepresent of the political position of the person it's used againstIronically, some of those who have to face the term most commonly are women who worked in prostitution and became anti-prostitution activists as a result of their own experiences as so-called sex workers.
+
Over time, the acronym pretty much became a [[Wikipedia:Four-letter word|four-letter word]].  Nowadays the capitalization is frequently omitted, and the already ambiguous original meaning ignored entirelyStill, users of the term tend to claim that it's a neutral descriptionThe "trans-exclusionary" part may now refer to anyone who thinks transwomen should not have unfettered access to all female-only spaces (e.g. changing rooms), should not partake in women's sports where they have [[Transwomen in women's sports|unfair advantages]], should not be considered a natural part of the lesbian dating pool, etc.  Although most members of the public would see these as rather sensible positions (especially when considering that a "transwoman" may have intact male anatomy), transgender activists nevertheless see all of these types of "exclusion" as unacceptable.
  
== History ==
+
A closely associated term is ''SWERF'', which is supposed to stand for ''Sex-Worker-Exclusionary Radical Feminist'' and is used for those who see the sex industry (prostitution, pornography, etc.) as highly exploitative and sexist.  Like ''TERF'', the term is almost always applied as a slur, and to misrepresent the political position of the person it's used against.  Ironically, some of those who have to face the term most commonly are women who worked in prostitution and became anti-prostitution activists as a result of their own experiences as so-called sex workers.
 +
 
 +
== History and evolution towards hate speech ==
  
 
=== Origin ===
 
=== Origin ===
  
The oldest known use of the term is by Viv Smythe aka "tigtog" in a [https://hoydenabouttown.com/2008/08/17/carnivalia-transgenderism-and-the-gender-binary/ blog post] from 2008.  She defended the term as late as 2018, in [https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/29/im-credited-with-having-coined-the-acronym-terf-heres-how-it-happened an article] written for The Guardian.  Transgender activists frequently try to defend the term on the grounds that Viv Smythe is a woman who herself claims to be a radical feminist, and seems to have first used the term in a way that is not derogatory.  Of course, the benign origins of a term does not mean that it cannot evolve into a slur.
+
The oldest known use of the term is by Viv Smythe aka "tigtog" in a blog post from 2008.<ref name=terf-origin/> She defended the term as late as 2018, in an article for The Guardian.<ref name=guardian-smythe/> Transgender activists frequently try to defend the term on the grounds that Viv Smythe is a woman who herself claims to be a radical feminist, and seems to have first used the term in a way that is not derogatory.  Of course, the benign origins of a term does not mean that it cannot evolve into a slur.
 +
 
 +
=== Early years and first principled critique ===
 +
 
 +
The evolution of the term from 2008 into the early to mid 2010s is not well documented.  Mostly, feminists had to face the term on social media, where it began to be used regularly to debase their position.  In July 2014, [https://www.feministcurrent.com/ Feminist Current] published two articles referencing the term.  The first, written by C. K. Egbert and titled ''Defending the 'TERF': Gender as political'', explains and defends in length the political theory underlining the ideas supported by feminists who are slurred as "terf."<ref name=fc-egbert/>  The second, written by [[Sarah Ditum]] and titled ''How 'TERF' works'', shortly analyses a situation in which a woman is pressured to retract a statement opposing violence against women, on the grounds that the statement originally stems from a feminist who is considered a "terf".<ref name=fc-ditum/>  Since Feminist Current is highly acclaimed among radical-leaning feminists, its decision to support the women slurred with "terf" could be seen as a turning point.
 +
 
 +
In August 2014, Vice published an article titled ''I Am Now Officially a Transphobic Twitter Troll'' (subtitle: ''At least according to the 'Block Bot' I am'') by author Martin Robbins.<ref name=vice-robbins/>  In the article, Robbins talks about how the "Block Bot" project on Twitter, which is supposed to help people avoid abusive trolls, has included feminist authors and journalists such as [[Caroline Criado-Perez]] and [[Helen Lewis]] among the people who should be blocked.  Ironically, Lewis seems to have made it to the list for complaining about abusive trolls, as the "evidence" for the reason to ban her includes objections to tweets such as "kill TERFS", "burn TERFS", or hateful jokes such as "what's better than 1 dead terf? 2 dead terfs."
 +
 
 +
Another Feminist Current article defending those targeted with the slur was published in November 2015, written by [[Penny White]] and titled ''Why I no longer hate ‘TERFs’''.<ref name=fc-white/>  In the article, White explains how she herself used to be convinced that so-called "TERFs" are worthy of contempt, but changed her mind after starting to look closer into the issue.  This experience seems to resonate with many women and some socially liberal men to this day, who start out being supportive of the transgender movement, only to start becoming skeptical after negative experiences and observations, ultimately leading them to be also labeled "terf" and shunned by transgender activists and their allies.  After that, Feminist Current started publishing articles critical of the transgender movement with some frequency, much to the enragement of transgender activists.
 +
 
 +
=== The mainstreaming of hatred ===
 +
 
 +
[[File:Mya-byrne-punches-terfs.jpg|thumb|left|150px|Totally not a slur!]]
 +
 
 +
In June 2017, transgender activist [[Wikipedia:Mya Byrne|Mya Byrne]] came to the San Francisco Pride Parade with a t-shirt reading "I PUNCH TERFS", decorated with a large fake blood-stain.  Byrne uploaded a selfie of him wearing the t-shirt at the parade, captioned "This is what gay liberation looks like #pride #yesallterfs" which sparked many negative reactions.<ref name=fc-tra-violence/>  The t-shirt would later be displayed at an "art exhibit" at the San Francisco Public Library, set up by the trans activist group ''The Degenderettes''.  After complaints, the library removed the t-shirt from the exhibition, though similar items showcasing a violent mentality remained, such as baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire and painted in the colors of the transgender pride flag.<ref name=fc-tra-violence/>
 +
 
 +
[[File:Sonicfox.png|thumb|right|250px|Dominique McLean's tweet glorifying violence against women.]]
 +
 
 +
In April 2019, professional video gamer [[Wikipedia:SonicFox|Dominique McLean]] aka "SonicFox" uploaded a video on Twitter, captioned "what I do to terfs," in which a male video game character strikes a female character's neck so hard that her skin comes off, while the camera shows her agony-filled face.  McLean can be heard yelling "terf!" into his microphone with each blow dealt to the female character, reminiscent of a lynching.<ref name=sonicfox/>  The tweet garnered hundreds of thousands of views, and many thousands of retweets and likes.
 +
 
 +
McLean's tweet is made even worse by the fact that the hatred is not just directed at an imagined "terf" character, but at the voice actress behind the character, [[Wikipedia:Ronda Rousey|Ronda Rousey]].  Rousey, who is an MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter, is deemed a "TERF" for having stated, with blunt wording, that it's unfair for male MMA fighter [[Transwomen in women's sports#Fallon_Fox|Fallon Fox]] to compete against women.<ref name=rousey-fox/><ref name=rousey-marysue/><ref name=rousey-reddit/>  A year after Rousey's remarks, female MMA fighter Tamikka Brents had suffered a concussion and an orbital bone fracture during a fight with Fallon Fox,<ref name=fallon-fox/> but this does not seem to have changed the opinion of trans activists.
 +
 
 +
After McLean's tweet was reported for hate speech, Twitter initially decided that it [[:File:Sonicfox2.png|did not break their rules]].  Only after continued protest and many more reports did Twitter react, by removing the tweet and issuing SonicFox a mere 24-hour ban.
 +
 
 +
{{clear}}
 +
 
 +
<gallery caption="Aftermath of McLean's tweet" widths=300px heights=150px>
 +
File:Sonicfox3.jpg | McLean defending his tweet on the grounds that Ronda Rousey is a "TERF" and as such deserving of the violent contempt
 +
File:Sonicfox-copycat1.png | A copycat tweet showing another video game character dying brutally, with the caption "FUCK TERFS"
 +
File:Sonicfox-copycat2.png | Another copycat tweet.  The GIF is of [[Wikipedia:Mortal Kombat 11|Mortal Kombat 11]] character [[Wikipedia:Scorpion (Mortal Kombat)|Scorpion]] burning his opponent alive.
 +
</gallery>
 +
 
 +
=== New trend: Threaten women with your face attached ===
 +
 
 +
In late 2019, a social media trend dubbed "POV you're a TERF in my mentions" started, in which trans activists would pose with a weapon (baseball bat, sword, machete, or the like), sometimes preparing to strike or showing them mid-strike, taken as a [[Wikipedia:Point-of-view shot|point-of-view (POV) shot]] and captioned with the phrase "POV you're a TERF in my mentions" or variations thereof.<ref name=pov-terf/>  The pictures are supposed to represent the point-of-view (POV) of a "TERF" being assaulted by the depicted person.  In other words, women called "TERF" who look at the pictures are supposed to imagine themselves being violently assaulted.
 +
 
 +
<gallery caption="Some examples of the trend" widths=300px heights=150px>
 +
File:Pov-terf-1.webp
 +
File:Pov-terf-2.webp
 +
File:Pov-terf-3.webp
 +
File:Pov-terf-4.webp
 +
File:Pov-terf-5.webp
 +
File:Pov-terf-6.webp
 +
</gallery>
 +
 
 +
=== Political justification of physical violence ===
 +
 
 +
In May 2020, a blog post was published on Medium.com equating so-called TERFs with Nazis in a credible-sounding tone and explaining how various methods such as infiltration, censorship, property damage, and physical violence should be used against them.<ref name=medium-izaguirre/>  The account posting the article was suspended from Medium.com on the same day and the content re-uploaded on WordPress.com soon after.<ref name=wp-izaguirre/>  (Still online as of February 20th, 2021)
 +
 
 +
=== Not even pretending that this isn't a witch hunt? ===
 +
 
 +
[[File:Spain-witch-puppet.jpg|thumb|right|150px|Effigy of [[Wikipedia:Carmen Calvo|Carmen Calvo]] hanging from a tree.]]
 +
 
 +
In February 2021, Spanish news reported about the appearance of a puppet hanging from a tree, with its face made to resemble female politician, author, and vice president [[Wikipedia:Carmen Calvo|Carmen Calvo]] of the Socialist Workers' Party.<ref name=elcomun-calvo/>  Calvo had come under fire from trans activists for her opposition to a proposed [[gender self-identification]] law.  The puppet was hanging from a tree in Plaza 8 de Marzo in Santiago de Compostela, with a sign hanging from its neck saying "Me he perdido…por dónde queda el patriarcado" which could be translated as "I'm lost... where's the patriarchy again?" referring clearly to trans activist claim that it's not them who uphold patriarchal norms, but rather the feminists who oppose them.
 +
 
 +
{{clear}}
 +
 
 +
== Real-life assault, vandalism, and harassment ==
 +
 
 +
This section lists known incidents of real-life (offline) assault, vandalism, verbal abuse and other harassment against feminist organizations or women, by trans activists who are radicalized by the notion that so-called "TERFs" are after their human rights.  (The only case in which the motivation is not entirely clear is the triple homicide of a lesbian couple and their son, committed by formerly prominent trans activist Dana Rivers.)
 +
 
 +
=== Vandalism of Vancouver Women's Library ===
 +
 
 +
In February 2017, the newly opened Vancouver Women's Library was met with a small group of vandals, including a very obviously male person who claimed to be a female sex worker.  They ripped off a poster, poured wine on a book, and harassed those trying to partake in the opening celebration.  Their stated reason was that the library included books which they deemed to support so-called "TERF" and "SWERF" ideology.<ref name=vwl/>
 +
 
 +
<gallery caption="Images of the vandalism" widths=210px heights=175px>
 +
File:VWL-Vandalized-1.jpg | Crude graffiti sprayed at the entrance
 +
File:VWL-Vandalized-2.jpg | Close-up of some of the sprayed text
 +
File:VWL-Vandalized-3.jpg | Wine poured on one of the books
 +
File:VWL-Defamation.jpg | The supposed reason for the vandalism
 +
</gallery>
 +
 
 +
=== Physical assault at Speakers' Corner, London ===
 +
 
 +
In September 2017, Maria MacLachlan was physically assaulted by a transgender activist.
 +
 
 +
Initially, a group of feminists wanted to hold a meeting to discuss proposed changes to the [https://www.feministcurrent.com/2018/09/14/never-mind-reforming-gender-recognition-act-theres-no-need-gender-recognition-certificates/ Gender Recognition Act] (GRA) in the [https://newxlearning.org/ New Cross Learning] community Library in London.  The library had to cancel the event after harassment by transgender activists.  The organizers of the meeting then decided to meet at Speakers' Corner, before going to the newly chosen meeting place, which was not announced to protect it from harassment.
 +
 
 +
[[File:Tara-Flik-Wood-threat.webp|thumb|right|300px|Wolf going by the name "Tara Flik Wood" on social media, posting intent to assault prior to the event]]
 +
 
 +
At Speakers' Corner, the women were met with a group of transgender activists shouting slogans, notably "when TERFs attack, we fight back."  Maria MacLachlan, who was filming the protesters with her digital camera, was attacked by someone running out of the trans activist group, who then tried to grab her camera.  As the unsuccessful attacker ran back behind his friends, MacLachlan tried to get closer to the group to get his face on camera.  Several of the activists started assaulting her in that moment.  The whole sequence of events was [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_d3ozhSE-U caught on camera] thanks others at the place also filming what was going on.  MacLachlan's camera was broken and the memory card stolen.
 +
 
 +
One of the attackers, later revealed to be Tara Wolf, was ultimately charged with assault by beating.  Prior to the event, he had posted that he wants to "f*ck up some terfs" on social media.
 +
 
 +
The event could be considered a cornerstone in the escalating hatred transgender activists show against feminists, as no such clearly documented assault in relation to the slur "TERF" existed before, and the event gained widespread attention in the news, being covered by The Guardian,<ref name=guardian/> The New Statesman,<ref name=statesman1/><ref name=statesman2/> The Telegraph,<ref name=telegraph/> The Times,<ref name=times1/><ref name=times2/> The Evening Standard,<ref name=standard/> and The Daily Mail.<ref name=dailymail/>  Of course, it was also covered by Feminist Current.<ref name=fc1/><ref name=fc2/>
  
=== Recognition as a slur ===
+
In the aftermath of the event, many transgender activists online defended or even celebrated the assault, leading Meghan Murphy to publish the piece [https://www.feministcurrent.com/2017/09/21/terf-isnt-slur-hate-speech/ '' 'TERF' isn't just a slur, it's hate speech''].  Some publications in support of transgender activists have tried to claim that the assailant was really acting in self-defense, and tried to prove this claim by uploading carefully edited cuts of the recording showing the assault,<ref name=planettrans/> or by framing the assault as "standing up to bullies" who "provoke" transgender activists (by having opinions they don't like, we have to presume).<ref name=queerness/>
  
The evolution of the term from 2008 into the early to mid 2010s is not well documented.  Mostly, feminists had to face the term on social media, where it began to be used regularly to debase their position.  In July 2014, [https://www.feministcurrent.com/ Feminist Current] published two articles referencing the term.  The first, written by C. K. Egbert and titled [https://www.feministcurrent.com/2014/07/16/defending-the-terf-gender-as-political/ ''Defending the 'TERF': Gender as political''], explains and defends in length the political theory underlining the ideas supported by feminists who are slurred as "terf."  The second, written by Sarah Ditum and titled [https://www.feministcurrent.com/2014/07/29/how-terf-works/ ''How 'TERF' works''], shortly analyses a situation in which a woman is pressured to retract a statement opposing violence against women, on the grounds that the statement originally stems from a feminist who is considered a "terf".  Since Feminist Current is highly acclaimed among radical-leaning feminists, its decision to support the women slurred with "terf" could be seen as a turning point.
+
<gallery caption="Images" widths=300px heights=175px>
 +
File:Tara-Flik-Wood-attack.png | A frame from the video documenting the assault
 +
File:Tara-Flik-Wood-supporters.jpg | Some of Wolf's supporters outside court
 +
File:MacLachlan-supporters.jpg | For contrast, MacLachlan's supporters
 +
</gallery>
  
Another Feminist Current article defending those targeted with the slur was published in November 2015, written by Penny White and titled [https://www.feministcurrent.com/2015/11/10/why-i-no-longer-hate-terfs/ ''Why I no longer hate 'TERFs'''].  In the article, Penny White explains how she herself used to be convinced that so-called "TERFs" are worthy of contempt, but changed her mind after starting to look closer into the issue.  This experience seems to resonate with many women and some socially liberal men to this day, who start out being supportive of the transgender movement, only to start becoming skeptical after negative experiences and observations, ultimately leading them to be also labeled "terf" and shunned by transgender activists and their allies.  After that, Feminist Current started publishing articles critical of the transgender movement with some frequency, much to the enragement of transgender activists.
+
=== Verbal abuse and other harassment against Prof. Rosa Freedman ===
  
In June 2017, transgender activist Mya Byrne came to the San Francisco Pride Parade with a t-shirt reading "I PUNCH TERFS", decorated with a large fake blood-stainByrne uploaded a selfie of him wearing the t-shirt at the parade, captioned "This is what gay liberation looks like #pride #yesallterfs" which sparked many negative reactions.  The t-shirt would later be displayed at an "art exhibit" at the San Francisco Public Library, set up by the trans activist group ''The Degenderettes''.  After complaints, the library removed the t-shirt from the exhibition, though similar items showcasing a violent mentality remained, such as baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire and painted in the colors of the transgender pride flag.
+
In December 2018, human rights lawyer Prof. [[Rosa Freedman]] found her office door covered in urine after attending debates surrounding proposed changes to the UK's Gender Recognition ActShe also reported being called a "Nazi" (she is Jewish) who "should be raped" (she is a survivor of sexual violence) and receiving abusive anonymous phone calls.<ref name=freedman/>
  
=== Vandalism and assaults ===
+
=== Trans activist Dana Rivers commits triple homicide ===
  
<youtube dimensions=500 alignment=right description="The assault by Tara Wolf on Maria MacLachlan (September 13th, 2017)">
+
In 2016, transgender activist Dana Rivers (formerly David Warfield) committed triple murder on a lesbian couple and their son.<ref name=rivers/>  Rivers stabbed and shot the victims, before trying to set their house on fire.  It remains unclear whether Rivers was motivated by the hatred against feminists and lesbians promulgated by transgender activists.  Rivers was, however, a member of the group [[Wikipedia:Camp Trans|Camp Trans]], which was created to protest the women-only rule of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (aka MichFest).<ref name=camptrans/>  Autostraddle described Rivers as a "very well-known transgender activist."<ref name=autostraddle/>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_d3ozhSE-U
 
</youtube>
 
  
In February 2017, the newly opened Vancouver Women's Library was met with a small group of vandals, including a very obviously male person who claimed to be a female sex worker.  They ripped off a poster, poured wine on a book, and harassed those trying to partake in the opening celebration.  Their stated reason was that the library included books which they deemed to support so-called "TERF" and "SWERF" ideology.  Feminist Current [https://www.feministcurrent.com/2017/02/07/vancouver-womens-library-opens-amid-anti-feminist-backlash/ reported on the incident].
+
=== Trans activist lashes at Julie Bindel after speech ===
  
In September 2017, a group of feminists wanted to hold a meeting to discuss proposed changes to the [https://www.feministcurrent.com/2018/09/14/never-mind-reforming-gender-recognition-act-theres-no-need-gender-recognition-certificates/ Gender Recognition Act] (GRA) in the [https://newxlearning.org/ New Cross Learning] community Library in London.  The library had to cancel the event after harassment by transgender activists.  The organizers of the meeting decided to meet at Speaker's Corner, before going to the newly chosen meeting place, which was not announced to protect it from harassment. In Speaker's Corner, they were met with a group of transgender activists shouting slogans, notably "when TERFs attack, we fight back." Maria MacLachlan, who was filming the protesters with her digital camera, was attacked by someone running out of the trans activist group, who then tried to grab her camera.  As the unsuccessful attacker ran back behind his friends, MacLachlan tried to get closer to the group to get his face on camera.  Several of the activists started assaulting her in that moment.  One of the attackers, later revealed to be Tara Wolf, was ultimately charged with assault by beating.  The event could be considered a cornerstone in the escalating hatred transgender activists show against feminists, as no such clearly documented assault in relation to the slur "TERF" existed before, and the event gained widespread attention in the news, being covered by The Guardian,<ref name=guardian/> The New Statesman,<ref name=statesman1/><ref name=statesman2/> The Telegraph,<ref name=telegraph/> The Times,<ref name=times1/><ref name=times2/> The Evening Standard,<ref name=standard/> and The Daily Mail.<ref name=dailymail/>  Of course, it was also covered by Feminist Current.<ref name=fc1/><ref name=fc2/>
+
[[File:Joe-brennan-twitter.jpg|thumb|right|200px|"Cathy Brennan" encouraging physical violence against women]]
  
In 2018, transgender activist Dana Rivers was on trial for triple murder.<ref name=rivers/> The victims were a lesbian couple and their adoptive sonRivers stabbed and shot the victims, before trying to set their house on fire, in November 2016.  It remains unclear whether Rivers was motivated by the hatred against feminists and lesbians promulgated by transgender activists. Rivers was, however, a member of the group [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Trans Camp Trans], which was created to protest the women-only rule of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (aka MichFest).<ref name=camptrans/>  Autostraddle described Rivers as a "very well-known transgender activist."<ref name=autostraddle/>
+
In June 2019, [[Julie Bindel]] was physically attacked by a trans-identifying male person after holding a keynote speech about male violence against women at the Edinburgh University, together with Prof. Rosa Freedman.<ref name=edinburgh/>
 +
 
 +
Bindel recounted the incidence the following way: "He was shouting and ranting and raving, 'you're a f***** c***, you're a f****** bitch, a f****** Terf" and the rest of itWe were trying to walk to the cab to take us to the airport, and then he just lunged at me and almost punched me in the face, but a security guard pulled him away."
 +
 
 +
The male person, who calls himself "[[Cathy Brennan]]" (not to be confused with the lesbian and radical feminist lawyer who was born with that name) had previously stood out on social media for encouraging physical violence against feminists at Gay Pride events.
  
 
{{clear}}
 
{{clear}}
 +
 +
=== Harassment and vandalism against Vancouver Rape Relief ===
 +
 +
In August 16, 2019, the Facebook account of [[Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter]] reported that a dead rat had been nailed to their door frame.<ref name=vrr-fb/>  On August 26, their Twitter account followed up by reporting their door and windows were vandalized with phrases such as "FUCK TERFS" and "KILL TERFS" as well as "TRANS POWER".<ref name=vrr-twitter/>  The repeated harassment and vandalism garnered attention in local and national news.<ref name=vrr-vancouverisawesome/><ref name=vrr-nationalreview/><ref name=vrr-citynews/>
 +
 +
<gallery caption="Images of the vandalism" widths=300px heights=175px>
 +
File:Vrr-vandalism1.jpg | A dead rat nailed to the door frame of VRR
 +
File:Vrr-vandalism2.jpg | The text "KILL TERFS ... TRANS POWER" written on the window
 +
File:Vrr-vandalism3.jpg | The phrases "FUCK TERFS" and "TRANS WOMEN ARE WOMEN" written on the door and window
 +
</gallery>
 +
 +
=== Lesbians assaulted at Cologne Dyke March ===
 +
 +
[[File:Cologne-dyke-march-00.jpeg|thumb|right|350px|The lesbian protesters with their banners]]
 +
 +
In July 2022, a group of lesbians at a dyke march in Cologne, Germany, displayed banners with the words "lesbian: homosexual person of the female sex" and "lesbian: homosexual, not queer" in what could be seen as a protest against the concept of the [[cotton ceiling]] i.e. the notion that lesbians ought to consider males who identify as transwomen as part of their dating pool.
 +
 +
According to a witness who spoke to Reduxx, trans activists within the march started chanting slogans that included the phrase "f*ck you" and hurling insults at the lesbians.<ref name=reduxx-cologne/>  There is [[:File:Cologne-dyke-march-01.mp4|video evidence]] showing the lesbians being physically assaulted.  One of the women, Susanne, was reportedly attacked by a male person who put her in a choke.  Speaking to Reduxx, she said: "I guess I was anticipating it, but not how suddenly and violently it happened.  I was scared I could die when the guy put me in a headlock."  The banners they had displayed were also aggressively taken away from them.  The physical assault, damage to property, theft of the banners, and personal insults were reported to the police.
 +
 +
German gay magazine Schwulissimo also reported on the incident, and interviewed another one of the victims.<ref name=schwulissimo-cologne/>  She talked about the irony of not being allowed to display a banner with the dictionary definition of the word "lesbian" at a dyke march, and how aggressive and self-righteous the attackers were.  According to her, one of the victims suffered a minor wrist injury but otherwise there were no physical injuries.
 +
 +
=== (todo) ===
 +
 +
(These incidents were not yet analyzed in detail.  )
 +
 +
Feminists protesting against pornography and prostitution attacked as TERFs/SWERFs: https://twitter.com/radfmnst/status/1368678240127234050
 +
 +
Trans activists attack lesbians at Paris Pride: https://twitter.com/GetTheLOutUK/status/1408896814569472002
 +
 +
=== Threats of rape and murder at UNAM ===
 +
 +
[[File:UNAM01.png|thumb|right|350px|Left: "less abolition, more whoring" and "fewer terfs, more sex" <br/> Right: "rape and death to terfs"]]
 +
 +
[[File:UNAM02.png|thumb|right|350px|The "rape and death to terfs" writing seen next to the panic button]]
 +
 +
Original source with many more details: [https://reduxx.info/exclusive-trans-activists-stage-coup-of-womens-washroom-at-university-paint-whore-graffiti/ MEXICO: Trans Activists Stage “Coup” of Women’s Washroom at University, Issue Rape Threats]
 +
 +
In August 2022, feminist students of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) had to confront trans activists while they were painting a lesbian pride symbol, the Labrys, on a wall inside the campus.  According to an anonymous witness who spoke to feminist news outlet Reduxx, the activists started to verbally abuse the women because they didn't approve of that particular symbol.
 +
 +
After this event, trans students reportedly declared that they felt unsafe on campus and demanded the administration to establish a gender-neutral washroom near the related area.  While the administration agreed, some activists were apparently not appeased.  They took over a large single-sex women's restroom, painted its walls with anti-feminist and pro-prostitution slogans, and declared it a gender-neutral space.  According to the source that spoke with Reduxx, this restroom was previously seen as a safe space for women, as emergency buttons had been installed inside its cubicles due to the prevalence of sexual assault on the campus.  After the trans-activist takeover, it apparently began being used by men as well, as it had now been declared gender neutral.
 +
 +
According to Reduxx's source, the university's administration is continuously being lenient towards extremist trans activists, while condemning the feminist opposition.  A statement by the administration that was published two days after the unrest related to the Labrys symbol and the takeover of the women's restroom, openly expresses support for the trans activists.
 +
 +
Women who were unhappy with these developments began painting slogans in favor of single-sex women's spaces inside the restroom's cubicles, such as: "If you want a unisex washroom, take it from the men, don't violate women's spaces."  In apparent response to this, trans activists in turn began painting increasingly violent threats inside the cubicles.  One such threat reads "rape and death to TERFs" and is cynically painted right aside one of the emergency buttons that were installed due to the prevalence of rape on the campus.  Mexico already suffers from one of the highest rates of violence against women in the world.
  
 
== Analysis of the term ==
 
== Analysis of the term ==
  
The original acronym could be split in two halves: "trans-exclusionary" and "radical feminist."  Though many people targeted with the word do not see themselves as radical feminists, their ideals most often tend to align with [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_feminism radical feminism] anyway, making that part somewhat accurate.  The "trans-exclusionary" part however is rather ambiguously, and its meaning seems to change at the whim of the person using the term.
+
[[File:Theterfs-delusion.png|thumb|right|500px|Some of the extreme hyperbole used to justify hatred against radical feminists]]
 +
 
 +
The original acronym could be split in two halves: "trans-exclusionary" and "radical feminist."  Though many people targeted with the word do not see themselves as radical feminists, their ideals most often tend to align with [[radical feminism]] anyway, making that part somewhat accurate.  The "trans-exclusionary" part however is rather ambiguous, and its meaning seems to change at the whim of the person using the term.
  
 
When those using the term want to justify it as an objective and accurate description, they will use rather mundane and basic definitions of "exclusion" that applies easily to most people the term is used against.  Examples of this might include:
 
When those using the term want to justify it as an objective and accurate description, they will use rather mundane and basic definitions of "exclusion" that applies easily to most people the term is used against.  Examples of this might include:
Line 45: Line 187:
 
* Not considering transwomen to be ''literally'' women, by pointing at the dictionary definition that is "adult human female"
 
* Not considering transwomen to be ''literally'' women, by pointing at the dictionary definition that is "adult human female"
 
* Wanting to exclude transwomen from some political groups that want to focus on struggles unique to people born with female anatomy
 
* Wanting to exclude transwomen from some political groups that want to focus on struggles unique to people born with female anatomy
* Wanting to exclude crimes committed by transwomen from being recorded as female criminality, since the crime patterns of transwomen seem more in line with crime patterns of men, who commit the vast majority of violent crimes, especially sexual crimes
+
* Wanting to exclude crimes committed by transwomen from being recorded as female criminality, especially since the crime patterns of transwomen seem more in line with crime patterns of men,<ref name=dhejne/> who commit the vast majority of violent crimes, specifically sexual violence<ref name=wpcrime/>
 
 
[[File:Theterfs-delusion.png|thumb|right|500px|Some of the hyperbolic lies transgender activists use to justify hatred against feminists]]
 
  
 
However, once the term "TERF" is applied to someone on the basis of them holding these opinions (which many people including non-feminists would agree are sensible), the definition of "exclusion" is quickly sharpened to justify expressions of hatred.  Sometimes, the "trans-exclusionary" is even hyperbolically turned into "trans-exterminatory" to increase its panic-inducing effect.  The website (or should we say whacksite) [http://theterfs.com/ ''The TERFs''] goes as far as claiming that the people labeled "TERF" want to:
 
However, once the term "TERF" is applied to someone on the basis of them holding these opinions (which many people including non-feminists would agree are sensible), the definition of "exclusion" is quickly sharpened to justify expressions of hatred.  Sometimes, the "trans-exclusionary" is even hyperbolically turned into "trans-exterminatory" to increase its panic-inducing effect.  The website (or should we say whacksite) [http://theterfs.com/ ''The TERFs''] goes as far as claiming that the people labeled "TERF" want to:
Line 53: Line 193:
 
* Exclude trans people from housing (make them homeless)
 
* Exclude trans people from housing (make them homeless)
 
* Exclude trans people from employment (make them unemployed)
 
* Exclude trans people from employment (make them unemployed)
* Exclude them from education
+
* Exclude them from education (keep them uneducated)
* Exclude them from accomodation equality
+
* Exclude them from accommodation equality
* Exclude them from local, state, national and United Nations protections
+
* Exclude them from local, state, national and United Nations protections(!)
  
As such, the women labeled "TERF" are represented less as women who simply want to uphold women's sex-based rights, and more like fascist monsters, which is then used to incite hatred and violence against them.  It's also noteworthy how exclusion of transwomen turns here into exclusion of all trans people (from whatever).  As a matter of fact, women targeted as "TERFs" will frequently say explicitly that they welcome transmen in their groups, since transmen also face the sex-based oppression all women face from birth.
+
As such, the women labeled "TERF" are represented less as women who simply want to uphold women's sex-based rights, and more like fascist monsters.  This is then used to incite hatred and violence against them.  It's also noteworthy how exclusion of transwomen (from female-only spaces etc.) turns here into supposed exclusion of all trans people (from whatever).  In fact, women targeted as "TERFs" will frequently say explicitly that they welcome transmen in their groups, since transmen also face the sex-based oppression all women face from birth.
  
 
The strategy of transgender activists of using simple definitions of "TERF" to make the term look accurate, but then twist the definition to justify hatred, is quite similar to a "troll" strategy that has been noted by philosopher Nicholas Shackel, and dubbed the ''Motte and Bailey Doctrine'' in a paper titled [https://philpapers.org/archive/SHATVO-2.pdf ''The Vacuity of Postmodernist Methodology'']:
 
The strategy of transgender activists of using simple definitions of "TERF" to make the term look accurate, but then twist the definition to justify hatred, is quite similar to a "troll" strategy that has been noted by philosopher Nicholas Shackel, and dubbed the ''Motte and Bailey Doctrine'' in a paper titled [https://philpapers.org/archive/SHATVO-2.pdf ''The Vacuity of Postmodernist Methodology'']:
 +
 +
[[File:Motte-Bailey.png|thumb|right|500px|An illustration of the "motte and bailey" style of fallacious argumentation.]]
  
 
<blockquote><em>
 
<blockquote><em>
"Troll’s Truisms are used to insinuate an exciting falsehood, which is a desired doctrine, yet permit retreat to the trivial truth when pressed by an opponent.  In so doing they exhibit a property which makes them the simplest possible case of what I shall call a Motte and Bailey Doctrine (since a doctrine can single belief or an entire body of beliefs).
+
"Troll’s Truisms are used to insinuate an exciting falsehood, which is a desired doctrine, yet permit retreat to the trivial truth when pressed by an opponent.  In so doing they exhibit a property which makes them the simplest possible case of what I shall call a Motte and Bailey Doctrine (since a doctrine can be a single belief or an entire body of beliefs).
  
 
A Motte and Bailey castle is a medieval system of defence in which a stone tower on a mound (the Motte) is surrounded by an area of land (the Bailey) which in turn is encompassed by some sort of a barrier such as a ditch.  Being dark and dank, the Motte is not a habitation of choice.  The only reason for its existence is the desirability of the Bailey, which the combination of the Motte and ditch makes relatively easy to retain despite attack by marauders.  When only lightly pressed, the ditch makes small numbers of attackers easy to defeat as they struggle across it: when heavily pressed the ditch is not defensible and so neither is the Bailey.  Rather one retreats to the insalubrious but defensible, perhaps impregnable, Motte.  Eventually the marauders give up, when one is well placed to reoccupy desirable land.
 
A Motte and Bailey castle is a medieval system of defence in which a stone tower on a mound (the Motte) is surrounded by an area of land (the Bailey) which in turn is encompassed by some sort of a barrier such as a ditch.  Being dark and dank, the Motte is not a habitation of choice.  The only reason for its existence is the desirability of the Bailey, which the combination of the Motte and ditch makes relatively easy to retain despite attack by marauders.  When only lightly pressed, the ditch makes small numbers of attackers easy to defeat as they struggle across it: when heavily pressed the ditch is not defensible and so neither is the Bailey.  Rather one retreats to the insalubrious but defensible, perhaps impregnable, Motte.  Eventually the marauders give up, when one is well placed to reoccupy desirable land.
Line 68: Line 210:
 
For my purposes the desirable but only lightly defensible territory of the Motte and Bailey castle, that is to say, the Bailey, represents a philosophical doctrine or position with similar properties: desirable to its proponent but only lightly defensible.  The Motte is the defensible but undesired position to which one retreats when hard pressed.  I think it is evident that Troll’s Truisms have the Motte and Bailey property, since the exciting falsehoods constitute the desired but indefensible region within the ditch whilst the trivial truth constitutes the defensible but dank Motte to which one may retreat when pressed."
 
For my purposes the desirable but only lightly defensible territory of the Motte and Bailey castle, that is to say, the Bailey, represents a philosophical doctrine or position with similar properties: desirable to its proponent but only lightly defensible.  The Motte is the defensible but undesired position to which one retreats when hard pressed.  I think it is evident that Troll’s Truisms have the Motte and Bailey property, since the exciting falsehoods constitute the desired but indefensible region within the ditch whilst the trivial truth constitutes the defensible but dank Motte to which one may retreat when pressed."
 
</em></blockquote>
 
</em></blockquote>
 +
 +
In our case, the ''Motte'' is an easily defensible statement like: ''"You don't consider transwomen literally women, therefore you are trans-exclusionary, which makes you a TERF."''  Whereas the ''Bailey'' is: ''"You want to exclude trans people from housing and employment, therefore I'm justified in hating you with a passion!"''
 +
 +
It could also be called a "bait-and-switch" argument, where one is "baited" into agreeing with the claim that someone is a "TERF" by using a mundane definition of "trans exclusion," and then the definition is switched into something bad, to justify expressions of hatred.
  
 
=== Inspection of the claims on ''The TERFs'' ===
 
=== Inspection of the claims on ''The TERFs'' ===
  
[[File:Theterfs-logo.png|thumb|right|300px|Actual logo of TheTERFs.com: Evil black scribbles!]]
+
[[File:Theterfs-logo.png|thumb|right|300px|Actual logo of TheTERFs.com: Evil black scribbles]]
  
 
It should be noted that ''The TERFs'' offers little more than out-of-context quotes from several decades ago as "evidence" for its hyperbolic claims regarding so-called "TERF" ideology.  It also showcases a small number of cherry-picked tweets, half of which are from right-wing sources that also happen to oppose the transgender movement, which trans activists claim proves that feminists are secretly allied with them in a big conspiracy.  (This line of thinking is often ridiculed as: "Hitler was a vegetarian, therefore vegetarians are Nazis.")
 
It should be noted that ''The TERFs'' offers little more than out-of-context quotes from several decades ago as "evidence" for its hyperbolic claims regarding so-called "TERF" ideology.  It also showcases a small number of cherry-picked tweets, half of which are from right-wing sources that also happen to oppose the transgender movement, which trans activists claim proves that feminists are secretly allied with them in a big conspiracy.  (This line of thinking is often ridiculed as: "Hitler was a vegetarian, therefore vegetarians are Nazis.")
  
Regarding supposed evidence of "real-life violence motivated by TERF ideology," the website lists six examples.  The first three are several decades-old incidences in which groups of women tried to evict transwomen from female-only groups or spaces, using physical force.  (Since women are expected to be always nice and passive towards males, even when trying to form radical feminist groups, this is of course seen as unacceptable.) The other three examples don't include any "real-life violence" so it's unclear why they're there.  Two of those are about verbal threats (a run-of-the-mill experience for feminists opposing transgender activists), and one is about the deaths of trans people that are ''assumed'' to be related to lack of access to health care, which to be very blunt has fuck-all to do with feminist ideologies.
+
Regarding supposed evidence of "real-life violence motivated by TERF ideology," the website lists six examples, of which three don't actually present any violenceThose which do, relate to incidences from several decades ago, in which women tried to evict transwomen from female-only groups or spaces, using physical force or face-to-face threats.  Since women are expected to be always nice and passive towards males, even when trying to form radical feminist groups and keep males out of them, this is of course seen as unacceptable.  Two examples are about verbal threats, which is a run-of-the-mill experience for feminists opposing transgender activists, and the last one is about the deaths of trans people that are ''assumed'' to be related to lack of access to health care, which to be very blunt has fuck-all to do with feminist ideologies.
  
To summarize: there is not a single documented instance of a feminist group going up to a transgender group to assault or threaten them.  Any claims of "violence by TERFs" refer either to women trying to evict transwomen from female-only spaces, rarely verbal threats, and lots and lots of fabrication.
+
To summarize: there is not a single documented instance of a feminist group going up to a transgender group to assault or threaten them.  Any claims of "violence by TERFs" refer either to women trying to evict transwomen from female-only spaces, extremely rare verbal threats, and lots and lots of fabrication.  In comparison, transgender activists have gone to women's libraries to vandalize them,<ref name=vwl/> went to feminist meetings to assault women,<ref name=fc1/><ref name=fc2/> appeared with face masks at feminist conferences to intimidate women,<ref name=jamjar/> and the ubiquitous verbal abuse they send in the direction of women fills up [https://terfisaslur.com/ a whole website] set up solely to archive it.
  
=== The term 'SWERF' ===
+
== 'SWERF' ==
  
 
The word ''SWERF'' is a close relative to ''TERF'' and is applied in a similarly dishonest, misrepresenting way.  Women (and men who care about women's rights) who are critical of the sex industry for its exploitative nature are accused of being "sex-worker exclusionary" in an attempt to make them seem hateful towards an oppressed group.
 
The word ''SWERF'' is a close relative to ''TERF'' and is applied in a similarly dishonest, misrepresenting way.  Women (and men who care about women's rights) who are critical of the sex industry for its exploitative nature are accused of being "sex-worker exclusionary" in an attempt to make them seem hateful towards an oppressed group.
Line 85: Line 231:
 
In fact, the people slurred as "SWERF" tend to be supporters of the [[Nordic Model]] against prostitution, which sees a high-quality welfare system as a necessary component in tackling prostitution, and in alleviating problems faced by women who would otherwise choose to do prostitution out of economic desperation.  Further, many of those slurred "SWERF" tend to be women who worked in prostitution themselves.
 
In fact, the people slurred as "SWERF" tend to be supporters of the [[Nordic Model]] against prostitution, which sees a high-quality welfare system as a necessary component in tackling prostitution, and in alleviating problems faced by women who would otherwise choose to do prostitution out of economic desperation.  Further, many of those slurred "SWERF" tend to be women who worked in prostitution themselves.
  
Notably, one of the biggest anti-prostitution and anti-pornography feminists [[Andrea Dworkin]] was an ex-prostitute herself, and not ashamed of admitting so.  Another notable example is [[Rachel Moran]], who was in prostitution between the ages of 15 and 22, only to become one of the most notable anti-pornography activists in recent years.
+
Notably, one of the biggest anti-prostitution and anti-pornography feminists [[Andrea Dworkin]] was an ex-prostitute herself, and not ashamed of admitting so.  Another notable example is [[Rachel Moran]], who was in prostitution between the ages of 15 and 22, only to become one of the most notable anti-prostitution, pro-Nordic Model activists in recent years.
 +
 
 +
== Gallery ==
 +
 
 +
<gallery caption="Some examples of tweets using 'terf'" widths=300px heights=150px>
 +
File:Terf-gallery-1.png | "terf isn't a slur ... terfs don't deserve rights"
 +
File:Terf-gallery-2.jpg | "All terfs will be arrested on sight"
 +
File:Terf-gallery-3.jpg | "It's [[Wikipedia:Pride Month|Pride]] punch a terf"
 +
File:Terf-gallery-4.png | Putting "terf" right aside "nazi"
 +
File:Terf-gallery-5.png | [[Wikipedia:Arthur Chu|Arthur Chu]] supporting SonicFox's hate speech
 +
File:Terf-gallery-6.png | "Being a TERF is a choice.  Like being a Nazi."
 +
</gallery>
 +
 
 +
== See also ==
 +
 
 +
* [[Transgender ideology]]
 +
* [[Allison Woolbert]] (founder of "TERF Tracker")
 +
 
 +
== External links ==
 +
 
 +
* [https://www.feministcurrent.com/2017/09/21/terf-isnt-slur-hate-speech/ TERF isn't just a slur, it's hate speech | Feminist Current]
 +
* [https://www.feministcurrent.com/tag/terf/ TERF Archives | Feminist Current]
 +
* [https://speakupforwomen.nz/dont-call-women-terfs/ Don't Call Women 'Terfs' | Speak Up for Women NZ]
 +
* [https://terfisaslur.com/ terfisaslur.com - Documenting the abuse, harassment and misogyny of transgender identity politics]
 +
* [https://grahamlinehan.substack.com/p/the-myth-of-both-sides The Myth Of 'Both Sides']
  
 
== References ==
 
== References ==
  
 
<references>
 
<references>
<ref name=guardian>https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/26/woman-punched-in-brawl-between-transgender-activists-and-radical-feminists</ref>
+
 
<ref name=statesman1>https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2018/04/madness-our-gender-debate-where-feminists-defend-slapping-60-year-old</ref>
+
<ref name=terf-origin>
<ref name=statesman2>https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2017/09/trans-rights-terfs-and-bruised-60-year-old-what-happened-speakers-corner</ref>
+
{{cite web
<ref name=telegraph>https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/12/radical-feminist-warned-refer-transgender-defendant-assault/</ref>
+
|url=https://hoydenabouttown.com/2008/08/17/carnivalia-transgenderism-and-the-gender-binary/
<ref name=times1>https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/transgender-activist-denies-thumping-radical-feminist-wvzgq6fx7</ref>
+
|title=Carnivalia, transgenderism and the gender binary
<ref name=times2>https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/trans-attacker-tara-wolf-is-a-thug-says-feminist-maria-maclachlan-pq0bwvthv</ref>
+
|author=Viv Smythe (aka tigtog)
<ref name=standard>https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/transgender-activist-tara-wolf-fined-150-for-assaulting-exclusionary-radical-feminist-in-hyde-park-a3813856.html</ref>
+
|date=August 17, 2008
<ref name=dailymail>https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5613057/Model-punched-feminist-smashed-120-camera-violent-brawl-walks-free-court.html</ref>
+
|website=Hoyden About Town
<ref name=fc1>https://www.feministcurrent.com/2017/09/15/historic-speakers-corner-becomes-site-anti-feminist-silencing-violence/</ref>
+
}}
<ref name=fc2>https://www.feministcurrent.com/2018/04/27/trans-identified-male-tara-wolf-charged-assault-hyde-park-attack/</ref>
+
</ref>
<ref name=rivers>https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/03/07/transgender-activist-trial-oakland-triple-murder/</ref>
+
 
<ref name=camptrans>http://eminism.org/michigan/20000812-camptrans.txt</ref>
+
<ref name=guardian-smythe>
<ref name=autostraddle>https://www.autostraddle.com/more-bad-news-oakland-lesbian-couple-and-their-son-brutally-murdered-by-former-lgbt-activist-359026/</ref>
+
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/29/im-credited-with-having-coined-the-acronym-terf-heres-how-it-happened
 +
|title=I'm credited with having coined the word 'Terf'. Here's how it happened
 +
|author=Viv Smythe (aka tigtog)
 +
|date=November 28, 2018
 +
|website=The Guardian
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=fc-egbert>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.feministcurrent.com/2014/07/16/defending-the-terf-gender-as-political/
 +
|title=Defending the ‘TERF’: Gender as political
 +
|author=C.K. Egbert
 +
|date=July 16, 2014
 +
|website=Feminist Current
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=fc-ditum>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.feministcurrent.com/2014/07/29/how-terf-works/
 +
|title=How ‘TERF’ works
 +
|author=Sarah Ditum
 +
|date=July 29, 2014
 +
|website=Feminist Current
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=vice-robbins>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/7bap7y/whats-the-block-blot-martin-robbins-757
 +
|title=I Am Now Officially a Transphobic Twitter Troll
 +
|author=Martin Robbins
 +
|date=August 8, 2014
 +
|website=Vice
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=fc-white>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.feministcurrent.com/2015/11/10/why-i-no-longer-hate-terfs/
 +
|title=Why I no longer hate ‘TERFs’
 +
|author=Penny White
 +
|date=November 10, 2015
 +
|website=Feminist Current
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=fc-tra-violence>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.feministcurrent.com/2018/05/01/trans-activism-become-centered-justifying-violence-women-time-allies-speak/
 +
|title=Trans activism is excusing & advocating violence against women, and it’s time to speak up
 +
|author=Meghan Murphy
 +
|date=May 1, 2018
 +
|website=Feminist Current
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=sonicfox>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2019/05/welcome-age-ironic-bigotry-where-old-hatreds-are-cloaked-woke-new-language
 +
|title=Welcome to the age of ironic bigotry, where old hatreds are cloaked in woke new language
 +
|author=Helen Lewis
 +
|date=May 1, 2019
 +
|website=The New Statesman
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=rousey-fox>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1651451-ronda-rousey-vs-fallon-fox-head-to-toe-breakdown
 +
|title=Ronda Rousey vs. Fallon Fox Head-to-Toe Breakdown
 +
|author=Jordy McElroy
 +
|date=May 25, 2013
 +
|website=Bleacher Report
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=rousey-marysue>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.themarysue.com/ronda-rousey-and-transmisogyny/
 +
|title=When Role Models Become Problematic: Ronda Rousey and Transmisogyny
 +
|author=Teresa Jusino
 +
|date=August 3, 2015
 +
|website=The Mary Sue
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=fallon-fox>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://archive.is/yZfcs
 +
|title=After Being TKO’d by Fallon Fox, Tamikka Brents Says Transgender Fighters in MMA ‘Just Isn’t Fair’
 +
|website=Cage Potato
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=rousey-reddit>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.reddit.com/r/GamerGhazi/comments/ah4120/celebrity_terf_ronda_rousey_to_play_sonya_blade/
 +
|title=Celebrity TERF Ronda Rousey to play Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat 11
 +
|website=reddit
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=pov-terf>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20191019184351/https://radfemrebecca.wordpress.com/2019/10/06/terfinmymentions/amp/
 +
|title=“This is what I want to do to you” – Dissecting the ‘POV ur a TERF in my mentions’ trend.
 +
|author=Rebecca
 +
|date=October 6, 2019
 +
|website=radfemrebecca.wordpress.com
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=medium-izaguirre>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20200527135844/https://medium.com/@laura.izaguirre/resisting-terfs-and-transforming-their-organizations-95cd21714fc8
 +
|title=Resisting TERF's and Transforming Their Organizations (Archived from Medium.com)
 +
|author=Laura Izaguirre
 +
|date=May 26, 2020
 +
|website=Medium.com
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=elcomun-calvo>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://elcomun.es/2021/02/20/violencia-machista-ahorcan-a-una-muneca-con-la-cara-de-carmen-calvo-en-santiago/
 +
|title=Violencia machista: Ahorcan a una muñeca con la cara de Carmen Calvo en Santiago (English: "Sexist violence: They hang a doll with the face of Carmen Calvo in Santiago")
 +
|date=February 20, 2021
 +
|website=El Común
 +
}}
 +
 
 +
English translation by Google: https://2lovojqocmwrvggaapshhrg6yi-adwhj77lcyoafdy-elcomun-es.translate.goog/2021/02/20/violencia-machista-ahorcan-a-una-muneca-con-la-cara-de-carmen-calvo-en-santiago/
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=wp-izaguirre>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20200528035805/https://queeratxlaura.wordpress.com/2020/05/27/resisting-terfs-and-transforming-their-organizations/
 +
|title=Resisting TERF's and Transforming Their Organizations (Archived from WordPress.com)
 +
|author=Laura Izaguirre
 +
|date=May 28, 2020
 +
|website=WordPress
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=vwl>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.feministcurrent.com/2017/02/07/vancouver-womens-library-opens-amid-anti-feminist-backlash/
 +
|title=Vancouver Women’s Library opens amid anti-feminist backlash
 +
|author=Meghan Murphy
 +
|date=February 7, 2017
 +
|website=Feminist Current
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=guardian>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/26/woman-punched-in-brawl-between-transgender-activists-and-radical-feminists
 +
|title=Suspects sought after brawl between transgender activists and radical feminists
 +
|author=Press Association
 +
|date=October 26, 2017
 +
|website=The Guardian
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=statesman1>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2018/04/madness-our-gender-debate-where-feminists-defend-slapping-60-year-old
 +
|title=The madness of our gender debate, where feminists defend slapping a 60-year-old woman
 +
|author=Helen Lewis
 +
|date=April 20, 2018
 +
|website=NewStatesman
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=statesman2>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2017/09/trans-rights-terfs-and-bruised-60-year-old-what-happened-speakers-corner
 +
|title=Trans rights, TERFs, and a bruised 60-year-old: what happened at Speakers’ Corner?
 +
|author=Anoosh Chakelian
 +
|date=September 14, 2017
 +
|website=NewStatesman
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=telegraph>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/12/radical-feminist-warned-refer-transgender-defendant-assault/
 +
|title=Radical feminist warned to refer to transgender defendant as a 'she' during assault case
 +
|author=Victoria Ward
 +
|date=April 12, 2018
 +
|website=The Telegraph
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=times1>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/transgender-activist-denies-thumping-radical-feminist-wvzgq6fx7
 +
|title=Transgender activist Tara Wolf denies thumping radical feminist
 +
|author=Lucy Bannerman
 +
|date=April 12, 2018
 +
|website=The Times
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=times2>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/trans-attacker-tara-wolf-is-a-thug-says-feminist-maria-maclachlan-pq0bwvthv
 +
|title=Trans attacker is a thug, says feminist
 +
|author=Lucy Bannerman
 +
|date=April 14, 2018
 +
|website=The Times
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=standard>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/transgender-activist-tara-wolf-fined-150-for-assaulting-exclusionary-radical-feminist-in-hyde-park-a3813856.html
 +
|title=Transgender activist Tara Wolf fined £150 for assaulting 'exclusionary' radical feminist in Hyde Park
 +
|author=Martin Coulter
 +
|date=April 13, 2018
 +
|website=EveningStandard
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=dailymail>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5613057/Model-punched-feminist-smashed-120-camera-violent-brawl-walks-free-court.html
 +
|title=Transgender model who punched feminist and smashed her £120 camera in violent brawl at Hyde Park Speakers' Corner protest walks free from court
 +
|author=Bridie Pearson-jones
 +
|date=April 13, 2018
 +
|website=MailOnline
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=fc1>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.feministcurrent.com/2017/09/15/historic-speakers-corner-becomes-site-anti-feminist-silencing-violence/
 +
|title=Historic Speaker’s Corner becomes site of anti-feminist silencing and violence
 +
|author=Meghan Murphy
 +
|date=September 15, 2017
 +
|website=Feminist Current
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=fc2>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.feministcurrent.com/2018/04/27/trans-identified-male-tara-wolf-charged-assault-hyde-park-attack/
 +
|title=Trans-identified male, Tara Wolf, convicted of assault after Hyde Park attack
 +
|author=Jen Izaakson
 +
|date=April 27, 2018
 +
|website=Feminist Current
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=rivers>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/03/07/transgender-activist-trial-oakland-triple-murder/
 +
|title=Transgender Activist Ordered To Stand Trial For Oakland Triple Murder
 +
|date=March 7, 2018
 +
|website=CBS SF BayArea
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=camptrans>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=http://eminism.org/michigan/20000812-camptrans.txt
 +
|title='MICHIGAN EIGHT' EVICTED OVER FESTIVAL'S NEW 'DON'T ASK DON'T TELL' GENDER POLICY
 +
|date=August 12, 2000
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=autostraddle>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.autostraddle.com/more-bad-news-oakland-lesbian-couple-and-their-son-brutally-murdered-by-former-lgbt-activist-359026/
 +
|title=Oakland Lesbian Couple and Their Son Murdered By Former LGBT Activist
 +
|author=Riese
 +
|date=November 16, 2016
 +
|website=Autostraddle
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=edinburgh>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.scotsman.com/news/crime/feminist-speaker-julie-bindel-attacked-by-transgender-person-at-edinburgh-university-after-talk-1-4942260
 +
|title=Feminist speaker Julie Bindel 'attacked by transgender person' at Edinburgh University after talk
 +
|author=Gina Davidson
 +
|date=June 6, 2019
 +
|website=The Scotsman
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=planettrans>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://planettransgender.com/when-terf-attack-at-hyde-park/
 +
|title=Trans Activists Vilified For Defense against TERF Attack at Hyde Park
 +
|author=Kelli Busey
 +
|date=September 18, 2017
 +
|website=Planet Transgender
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=queerness>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://thequeerness.com/2017/09/29/trial-by-media-over-speakers-corner-fracas/
 +
|title=Trial by media over Speakers’ Corner fracas
 +
|author=Sam Hope
 +
|date=September 29, 2017
 +
|website=The Queerness
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=jamjar>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://twitter.com/magdalenberns/status/988003582250291201
 +
|title=Masked transactivists surround woman on stairwell
 +
|author=Magdalen Berns
 +
|date=April 22, 2018
 +
|website=Twitter
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=dhejne>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://fairplayforwomen.com/criminality/
 +
|title=Study suggests that transwomen exhibit a male pattern of criminality
 +
|date=September 8, 2018
 +
|website=Fair Play For Women
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=wpcrime>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_crime#Statistics
 +
|title=Sex differences in crime
 +
|website=Wikipedia
 +
|access-date=May 31, 2019
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=freedman>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-berkshire-46454454
 +
|title=Rosa Freedman: Professor's door 'covered in urine' after gender law debate
 +
|date=December 5, 2018
 +
|website=BBC News
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=vrr-fb>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.facebook.com/VancouverRapeRelief/posts/710603379412445
 +
|title=Vancouver Rape Relief & Women's Shelter - Facebook
 +
|date=August 16, 2019
 +
|website=Facebook
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=vrr-twitter>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://twitter.com/VanRapeRelief/status/1166426534321647616
 +
|title=VancouverRapeRelief on Twitter
 +
|date=August 26, 2019
 +
|website=Twitter
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=vrr-vancouverisawesome>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/2019/08/28/vancouver-rape-relief-centre-targeted-vandalism-threats-transgender-controversy/
 +
|title=Vancouver Rape Relief centre targeted with vandalism, threats over transgender controversy
 +
|author=Jessica Kerr
 +
|date=August 28, 2019
 +
|website=Vancouver is Awesome
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=vrr-nationalreview>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/08/women-only-rape-relief-shelter-defunded-then-vandalized/
 +
|title=Women-Only Rape-Relief Shelter Defunded, Then Vandalized
 +
|author=Madeleine Kearns
 +
|date=August 28, 2019
 +
|website=National Review
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=vrr-citynews>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.citynews1130.com/2019/08/27/vancouver-rape-relief-centre-vandalized-likely-over-restrictions-for-transgender-people/
 +
|title=Vancouver Rape Relief centre vandalized, likely over restrictions for transgender people
 +
|author=Jonathan Szekeres and Lauren Boothby
 +
|date=August 27, 2019
 +
|website=City News
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=reduxx-cologne>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://reduxx.info/lesbians-assaulted-by-trans-activists-at-dyke-march-in-cologne/
 +
|title=Lesbians Assaulted By Trans Activists at Dyke March in Cologne
 +
|author=Genevieve Gluck
 +
|date=July 4, 2022
 +
|website=Reduxx
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 +
<ref name=schwulissimo-cologne>
 +
{{cite web
 +
|url=https://www.schwulissimo.de/neuigkeiten/ausschreitungen-bei-dyke-march-koeln-queere-aktivisten-schlagen-auf-lesben-ein
 +
|title=Ausschreitungen bei Dyke March in Köln: „Der Angriff zeigt, dass die Community ziemlich intolerant gegenüber anderen Meinungen geworden ist!“
 +
|date=July 4, 2022
 +
|website=Schwulissimo
 +
}}
 +
</ref>
 +
 
 
</references>
 
</references>
  
=== Other links ===
+
<!-- Language links: -->
  
* [https://terfisaslur.com/ terfisaslur.com - Documenting the abuse, harassment and misogyny of transgender identity politics]
+
[[pt:TERF]]
* [https://www.feministcurrent.com/tag/terf/ TERF Archives | Feminist Current]
 

Latest revision as of 16:34, 12 October 2022

A typical tweet containing "terf"

The word TERF (or terf; pl terfs or terves) is a slur that is used predominantly by transgender activists and their allies against people who criticize the transgender movement on the basis of feminist concerns. Since the slur is used for people with feminist concerns, the main target tend to be women. As such, it's usually understood to be an anti-feminist, sexist and misogynist slur.

The word was invented as an acronym for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, where the "trans-exclusionary" part referred to those holding roughly the position that transwomen should not be included under a feminist definition of womanhood, and the "radical feminist" part was meant neutrally, i.e. for people who would indeed describe themselves as radical feminists in the true sense.

Over time, the acronym pretty much became a four-letter word. Nowadays the capitalization is frequently omitted, and the already ambiguous original meaning ignored entirely. Still, users of the term tend to claim that it's a neutral description. The "trans-exclusionary" part may now refer to anyone who thinks transwomen should not have unfettered access to all female-only spaces (e.g. changing rooms), should not partake in women's sports where they have unfair advantages, should not be considered a natural part of the lesbian dating pool, etc. Although most members of the public would see these as rather sensible positions (especially when considering that a "transwoman" may have intact male anatomy), transgender activists nevertheless see all of these types of "exclusion" as unacceptable.

A closely associated term is SWERF, which is supposed to stand for Sex-Worker-Exclusionary Radical Feminist and is used for those who see the sex industry (prostitution, pornography, etc.) as highly exploitative and sexist. Like TERF, the term is almost always applied as a slur, and to misrepresent the political position of the person it's used against. Ironically, some of those who have to face the term most commonly are women who worked in prostitution and became anti-prostitution activists as a result of their own experiences as so-called sex workers.

History and evolution towards hate speech

Origin

The oldest known use of the term is by Viv Smythe aka "tigtog" in a blog post from 2008.[1] She defended the term as late as 2018, in an article for The Guardian.[2] Transgender activists frequently try to defend the term on the grounds that Viv Smythe is a woman who herself claims to be a radical feminist, and seems to have first used the term in a way that is not derogatory. Of course, the benign origins of a term does not mean that it cannot evolve into a slur.

Early years and first principled critique

The evolution of the term from 2008 into the early to mid 2010s is not well documented. Mostly, feminists had to face the term on social media, where it began to be used regularly to debase their position. In July 2014, Feminist Current published two articles referencing the term. The first, written by C. K. Egbert and titled Defending the 'TERF': Gender as political, explains and defends in length the political theory underlining the ideas supported by feminists who are slurred as "terf."[3] The second, written by Sarah Ditum and titled How 'TERF' works, shortly analyses a situation in which a woman is pressured to retract a statement opposing violence against women, on the grounds that the statement originally stems from a feminist who is considered a "terf".[4] Since Feminist Current is highly acclaimed among radical-leaning feminists, its decision to support the women slurred with "terf" could be seen as a turning point.

In August 2014, Vice published an article titled I Am Now Officially a Transphobic Twitter Troll (subtitle: At least according to the 'Block Bot' I am) by author Martin Robbins.[5] In the article, Robbins talks about how the "Block Bot" project on Twitter, which is supposed to help people avoid abusive trolls, has included feminist authors and journalists such as Caroline Criado-Perez and Helen Lewis among the people who should be blocked. Ironically, Lewis seems to have made it to the list for complaining about abusive trolls, as the "evidence" for the reason to ban her includes objections to tweets such as "kill TERFS", "burn TERFS", or hateful jokes such as "what's better than 1 dead terf? 2 dead terfs."

Another Feminist Current article defending those targeted with the slur was published in November 2015, written by Penny White and titled Why I no longer hate ‘TERFs’.[6] In the article, White explains how she herself used to be convinced that so-called "TERFs" are worthy of contempt, but changed her mind after starting to look closer into the issue. This experience seems to resonate with many women and some socially liberal men to this day, who start out being supportive of the transgender movement, only to start becoming skeptical after negative experiences and observations, ultimately leading them to be also labeled "terf" and shunned by transgender activists and their allies. After that, Feminist Current started publishing articles critical of the transgender movement with some frequency, much to the enragement of transgender activists.

The mainstreaming of hatred

 
Totally not a slur!

In June 2017, transgender activist Mya Byrne came to the San Francisco Pride Parade with a t-shirt reading "I PUNCH TERFS", decorated with a large fake blood-stain. Byrne uploaded a selfie of him wearing the t-shirt at the parade, captioned "This is what gay liberation looks like #pride #yesallterfs" which sparked many negative reactions.[7] The t-shirt would later be displayed at an "art exhibit" at the San Francisco Public Library, set up by the trans activist group The Degenderettes. After complaints, the library removed the t-shirt from the exhibition, though similar items showcasing a violent mentality remained, such as baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire and painted in the colors of the transgender pride flag.[7]

 
Dominique McLean's tweet glorifying violence against women.

In April 2019, professional video gamer Dominique McLean aka "SonicFox" uploaded a video on Twitter, captioned "what I do to terfs," in which a male video game character strikes a female character's neck so hard that her skin comes off, while the camera shows her agony-filled face. McLean can be heard yelling "terf!" into his microphone with each blow dealt to the female character, reminiscent of a lynching.[8] The tweet garnered hundreds of thousands of views, and many thousands of retweets and likes.

McLean's tweet is made even worse by the fact that the hatred is not just directed at an imagined "terf" character, but at the voice actress behind the character, Ronda Rousey. Rousey, who is an MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter, is deemed a "TERF" for having stated, with blunt wording, that it's unfair for male MMA fighter Fallon Fox to compete against women.[9][10][11] A year after Rousey's remarks, female MMA fighter Tamikka Brents had suffered a concussion and an orbital bone fracture during a fight with Fallon Fox,[12] but this does not seem to have changed the opinion of trans activists.

After McLean's tweet was reported for hate speech, Twitter initially decided that it did not break their rules. Only after continued protest and many more reports did Twitter react, by removing the tweet and issuing SonicFox a mere 24-hour ban.

New trend: Threaten women with your face attached

In late 2019, a social media trend dubbed "POV you're a TERF in my mentions" started, in which trans activists would pose with a weapon (baseball bat, sword, machete, or the like), sometimes preparing to strike or showing them mid-strike, taken as a point-of-view (POV) shot and captioned with the phrase "POV you're a TERF in my mentions" or variations thereof.[13] The pictures are supposed to represent the point-of-view (POV) of a "TERF" being assaulted by the depicted person. In other words, women called "TERF" who look at the pictures are supposed to imagine themselves being violently assaulted.

Political justification of physical violence

In May 2020, a blog post was published on Medium.com equating so-called TERFs with Nazis in a credible-sounding tone and explaining how various methods such as infiltration, censorship, property damage, and physical violence should be used against them.[14] The account posting the article was suspended from Medium.com on the same day and the content re-uploaded on WordPress.com soon after.[15] (Still online as of February 20th, 2021)

Not even pretending that this isn't a witch hunt?

 
Effigy of Carmen Calvo hanging from a tree.

In February 2021, Spanish news reported about the appearance of a puppet hanging from a tree, with its face made to resemble female politician, author, and vice president Carmen Calvo of the Socialist Workers' Party.[16] Calvo had come under fire from trans activists for her opposition to a proposed gender self-identification law. The puppet was hanging from a tree in Plaza 8 de Marzo in Santiago de Compostela, with a sign hanging from its neck saying "Me he perdido…por dónde queda el patriarcado" which could be translated as "I'm lost... where's the patriarchy again?" referring clearly to trans activist claim that it's not them who uphold patriarchal norms, but rather the feminists who oppose them.

Real-life assault, vandalism, and harassment

This section lists known incidents of real-life (offline) assault, vandalism, verbal abuse and other harassment against feminist organizations or women, by trans activists who are radicalized by the notion that so-called "TERFs" are after their human rights. (The only case in which the motivation is not entirely clear is the triple homicide of a lesbian couple and their son, committed by formerly prominent trans activist Dana Rivers.)

Vandalism of Vancouver Women's Library

In February 2017, the newly opened Vancouver Women's Library was met with a small group of vandals, including a very obviously male person who claimed to be a female sex worker. They ripped off a poster, poured wine on a book, and harassed those trying to partake in the opening celebration. Their stated reason was that the library included books which they deemed to support so-called "TERF" and "SWERF" ideology.[17]

Physical assault at Speakers' Corner, London

In September 2017, Maria MacLachlan was physically assaulted by a transgender activist.

Initially, a group of feminists wanted to hold a meeting to discuss proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) in the New Cross Learning community Library in London. The library had to cancel the event after harassment by transgender activists. The organizers of the meeting then decided to meet at Speakers' Corner, before going to the newly chosen meeting place, which was not announced to protect it from harassment.

 
Wolf going by the name "Tara Flik Wood" on social media, posting intent to assault prior to the event

At Speakers' Corner, the women were met with a group of transgender activists shouting slogans, notably "when TERFs attack, we fight back." Maria MacLachlan, who was filming the protesters with her digital camera, was attacked by someone running out of the trans activist group, who then tried to grab her camera. As the unsuccessful attacker ran back behind his friends, MacLachlan tried to get closer to the group to get his face on camera. Several of the activists started assaulting her in that moment. The whole sequence of events was caught on camera thanks others at the place also filming what was going on. MacLachlan's camera was broken and the memory card stolen.

One of the attackers, later revealed to be Tara Wolf, was ultimately charged with assault by beating. Prior to the event, he had posted that he wants to "f*ck up some terfs" on social media.

The event could be considered a cornerstone in the escalating hatred transgender activists show against feminists, as no such clearly documented assault in relation to the slur "TERF" existed before, and the event gained widespread attention in the news, being covered by The Guardian,[18] The New Statesman,[19][20] The Telegraph,[21] The Times,[22][23] The Evening Standard,[24] and The Daily Mail.[25] Of course, it was also covered by Feminist Current.[26][27]

In the aftermath of the event, many transgender activists online defended or even celebrated the assault, leading Meghan Murphy to publish the piece 'TERF' isn't just a slur, it's hate speech. Some publications in support of transgender activists have tried to claim that the assailant was really acting in self-defense, and tried to prove this claim by uploading carefully edited cuts of the recording showing the assault,[28] or by framing the assault as "standing up to bullies" who "provoke" transgender activists (by having opinions they don't like, we have to presume).[29]

Verbal abuse and other harassment against Prof. Rosa Freedman

In December 2018, human rights lawyer Prof. Rosa Freedman found her office door covered in urine after attending debates surrounding proposed changes to the UK's Gender Recognition Act. She also reported being called a "Nazi" (she is Jewish) who "should be raped" (she is a survivor of sexual violence) and receiving abusive anonymous phone calls.[30]

Trans activist Dana Rivers commits triple homicide

In 2016, transgender activist Dana Rivers (formerly David Warfield) committed triple murder on a lesbian couple and their son.[31] Rivers stabbed and shot the victims, before trying to set their house on fire. It remains unclear whether Rivers was motivated by the hatred against feminists and lesbians promulgated by transgender activists. Rivers was, however, a member of the group Camp Trans, which was created to protest the women-only rule of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (aka MichFest).[32] Autostraddle described Rivers as a "very well-known transgender activist."[33]

Trans activist lashes at Julie Bindel after speech

 
"Cathy Brennan" encouraging physical violence against women

In June 2019, Julie Bindel was physically attacked by a trans-identifying male person after holding a keynote speech about male violence against women at the Edinburgh University, together with Prof. Rosa Freedman.[34]

Bindel recounted the incidence the following way: "He was shouting and ranting and raving, 'you're a f***** c***, you're a f****** bitch, a f****** Terf" and the rest of it. We were trying to walk to the cab to take us to the airport, and then he just lunged at me and almost punched me in the face, but a security guard pulled him away."

The male person, who calls himself "Cathy Brennan" (not to be confused with the lesbian and radical feminist lawyer who was born with that name) had previously stood out on social media for encouraging physical violence against feminists at Gay Pride events.

Harassment and vandalism against Vancouver Rape Relief

In August 16, 2019, the Facebook account of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter reported that a dead rat had been nailed to their door frame.[35] On August 26, their Twitter account followed up by reporting their door and windows were vandalized with phrases such as "FUCK TERFS" and "KILL TERFS" as well as "TRANS POWER".[36] The repeated harassment and vandalism garnered attention in local and national news.[37][38][39]

Lesbians assaulted at Cologne Dyke March

 
The lesbian protesters with their banners

In July 2022, a group of lesbians at a dyke march in Cologne, Germany, displayed banners with the words "lesbian: homosexual person of the female sex" and "lesbian: homosexual, not queer" in what could be seen as a protest against the concept of the cotton ceiling i.e. the notion that lesbians ought to consider males who identify as transwomen as part of their dating pool.

According to a witness who spoke to Reduxx, trans activists within the march started chanting slogans that included the phrase "f*ck you" and hurling insults at the lesbians.[40] There is video evidence showing the lesbians being physically assaulted. One of the women, Susanne, was reportedly attacked by a male person who put her in a choke. Speaking to Reduxx, she said: "I guess I was anticipating it, but not how suddenly and violently it happened. I was scared I could die when the guy put me in a headlock." The banners they had displayed were also aggressively taken away from them. The physical assault, damage to property, theft of the banners, and personal insults were reported to the police.

German gay magazine Schwulissimo also reported on the incident, and interviewed another one of the victims.[41] She talked about the irony of not being allowed to display a banner with the dictionary definition of the word "lesbian" at a dyke march, and how aggressive and self-righteous the attackers were. According to her, one of the victims suffered a minor wrist injury but otherwise there were no physical injuries.

(todo)

(These incidents were not yet analyzed in detail. )

Feminists protesting against pornography and prostitution attacked as TERFs/SWERFs: https://twitter.com/radfmnst/status/1368678240127234050

Trans activists attack lesbians at Paris Pride: https://twitter.com/GetTheLOutUK/status/1408896814569472002

Threats of rape and murder at UNAM

 
Left: "less abolition, more whoring" and "fewer terfs, more sex"
Right: "rape and death to terfs"
 
The "rape and death to terfs" writing seen next to the panic button

Original source with many more details: MEXICO: Trans Activists Stage “Coup” of Women’s Washroom at University, Issue Rape Threats

In August 2022, feminist students of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) had to confront trans activists while they were painting a lesbian pride symbol, the Labrys, on a wall inside the campus. According to an anonymous witness who spoke to feminist news outlet Reduxx, the activists started to verbally abuse the women because they didn't approve of that particular symbol.

After this event, trans students reportedly declared that they felt unsafe on campus and demanded the administration to establish a gender-neutral washroom near the related area. While the administration agreed, some activists were apparently not appeased. They took over a large single-sex women's restroom, painted its walls with anti-feminist and pro-prostitution slogans, and declared it a gender-neutral space. According to the source that spoke with Reduxx, this restroom was previously seen as a safe space for women, as emergency buttons had been installed inside its cubicles due to the prevalence of sexual assault on the campus. After the trans-activist takeover, it apparently began being used by men as well, as it had now been declared gender neutral.

According to Reduxx's source, the university's administration is continuously being lenient towards extremist trans activists, while condemning the feminist opposition. A statement by the administration that was published two days after the unrest related to the Labrys symbol and the takeover of the women's restroom, openly expresses support for the trans activists.

Women who were unhappy with these developments began painting slogans in favor of single-sex women's spaces inside the restroom's cubicles, such as: "If you want a unisex washroom, take it from the men, don't violate women's spaces." In apparent response to this, trans activists in turn began painting increasingly violent threats inside the cubicles. One such threat reads "rape and death to TERFs" and is cynically painted right aside one of the emergency buttons that were installed due to the prevalence of rape on the campus. Mexico already suffers from one of the highest rates of violence against women in the world.

Analysis of the term

 
Some of the extreme hyperbole used to justify hatred against radical feminists

The original acronym could be split in two halves: "trans-exclusionary" and "radical feminist." Though many people targeted with the word do not see themselves as radical feminists, their ideals most often tend to align with radical feminism anyway, making that part somewhat accurate. The "trans-exclusionary" part however is rather ambiguous, and its meaning seems to change at the whim of the person using the term.

When those using the term want to justify it as an objective and accurate description, they will use rather mundane and basic definitions of "exclusion" that applies easily to most people the term is used against. Examples of this might include:

  • Wanting transwomen with unfair anatomic advantages to be excluded from women's sports
  • Wanting transwomen with an obvious male anatomy (such as intact male genitals) to be excluded from sex segregated spaces of privacy, such as changing rooms
  • Not considering transwomen to be literally women, by pointing at the dictionary definition that is "adult human female"
  • Wanting to exclude transwomen from some political groups that want to focus on struggles unique to people born with female anatomy
  • Wanting to exclude crimes committed by transwomen from being recorded as female criminality, especially since the crime patterns of transwomen seem more in line with crime patterns of men,[42] who commit the vast majority of violent crimes, specifically sexual violence[43]

However, once the term "TERF" is applied to someone on the basis of them holding these opinions (which many people including non-feminists would agree are sensible), the definition of "exclusion" is quickly sharpened to justify expressions of hatred. Sometimes, the "trans-exclusionary" is even hyperbolically turned into "trans-exterminatory" to increase its panic-inducing effect. The website (or should we say whacksite) The TERFs goes as far as claiming that the people labeled "TERF" want to:

  • Exclude trans people from housing (make them homeless)
  • Exclude trans people from employment (make them unemployed)
  • Exclude them from education (keep them uneducated)
  • Exclude them from accommodation equality
  • Exclude them from local, state, national and United Nations protections(!)

As such, the women labeled "TERF" are represented less as women who simply want to uphold women's sex-based rights, and more like fascist monsters. This is then used to incite hatred and violence against them. It's also noteworthy how exclusion of transwomen (from female-only spaces etc.) turns here into supposed exclusion of all trans people (from whatever). In fact, women targeted as "TERFs" will frequently say explicitly that they welcome transmen in their groups, since transmen also face the sex-based oppression all women face from birth.

The strategy of transgender activists of using simple definitions of "TERF" to make the term look accurate, but then twist the definition to justify hatred, is quite similar to a "troll" strategy that has been noted by philosopher Nicholas Shackel, and dubbed the Motte and Bailey Doctrine in a paper titled The Vacuity of Postmodernist Methodology:

 
An illustration of the "motte and bailey" style of fallacious argumentation.

"Troll’s Truisms are used to insinuate an exciting falsehood, which is a desired doctrine, yet permit retreat to the trivial truth when pressed by an opponent. In so doing they exhibit a property which makes them the simplest possible case of what I shall call a Motte and Bailey Doctrine (since a doctrine can be a single belief or an entire body of beliefs).

A Motte and Bailey castle is a medieval system of defence in which a stone tower on a mound (the Motte) is surrounded by an area of land (the Bailey) which in turn is encompassed by some sort of a barrier such as a ditch. Being dark and dank, the Motte is not a habitation of choice. The only reason for its existence is the desirability of the Bailey, which the combination of the Motte and ditch makes relatively easy to retain despite attack by marauders. When only lightly pressed, the ditch makes small numbers of attackers easy to defeat as they struggle across it: when heavily pressed the ditch is not defensible and so neither is the Bailey. Rather one retreats to the insalubrious but defensible, perhaps impregnable, Motte. Eventually the marauders give up, when one is well placed to reoccupy desirable land.

For my purposes the desirable but only lightly defensible territory of the Motte and Bailey castle, that is to say, the Bailey, represents a philosophical doctrine or position with similar properties: desirable to its proponent but only lightly defensible. The Motte is the defensible but undesired position to which one retreats when hard pressed. I think it is evident that Troll’s Truisms have the Motte and Bailey property, since the exciting falsehoods constitute the desired but indefensible region within the ditch whilst the trivial truth constitutes the defensible but dank Motte to which one may retreat when pressed."

In our case, the Motte is an easily defensible statement like: "You don't consider transwomen literally women, therefore you are trans-exclusionary, which makes you a TERF." Whereas the Bailey is: "You want to exclude trans people from housing and employment, therefore I'm justified in hating you with a passion!"

It could also be called a "bait-and-switch" argument, where one is "baited" into agreeing with the claim that someone is a "TERF" by using a mundane definition of "trans exclusion," and then the definition is switched into something bad, to justify expressions of hatred.

Inspection of the claims on The TERFs

 
Actual logo of TheTERFs.com: Evil black scribbles

It should be noted that The TERFs offers little more than out-of-context quotes from several decades ago as "evidence" for its hyperbolic claims regarding so-called "TERF" ideology. It also showcases a small number of cherry-picked tweets, half of which are from right-wing sources that also happen to oppose the transgender movement, which trans activists claim proves that feminists are secretly allied with them in a big conspiracy. (This line of thinking is often ridiculed as: "Hitler was a vegetarian, therefore vegetarians are Nazis.")

Regarding supposed evidence of "real-life violence motivated by TERF ideology," the website lists six examples, of which three don't actually present any violence. Those which do, relate to incidences from several decades ago, in which women tried to evict transwomen from female-only groups or spaces, using physical force or face-to-face threats. Since women are expected to be always nice and passive towards males, even when trying to form radical feminist groups and keep males out of them, this is of course seen as unacceptable. Two examples are about verbal threats, which is a run-of-the-mill experience for feminists opposing transgender activists, and the last one is about the deaths of trans people that are assumed to be related to lack of access to health care, which to be very blunt has fuck-all to do with feminist ideologies.

To summarize: there is not a single documented instance of a feminist group going up to a transgender group to assault or threaten them. Any claims of "violence by TERFs" refer either to women trying to evict transwomen from female-only spaces, extremely rare verbal threats, and lots and lots of fabrication. In comparison, transgender activists have gone to women's libraries to vandalize them,[17] went to feminist meetings to assault women,[26][27] appeared with face masks at feminist conferences to intimidate women,[44] and the ubiquitous verbal abuse they send in the direction of women fills up a whole website set up solely to archive it.

'SWERF'

The word SWERF is a close relative to TERF and is applied in a similarly dishonest, misrepresenting way. Women (and men who care about women's rights) who are critical of the sex industry for its exploitative nature are accused of being "sex-worker exclusionary" in an attempt to make them seem hateful towards an oppressed group.

In fact, the people slurred as "SWERF" tend to be supporters of the Nordic Model against prostitution, which sees a high-quality welfare system as a necessary component in tackling prostitution, and in alleviating problems faced by women who would otherwise choose to do prostitution out of economic desperation. Further, many of those slurred "SWERF" tend to be women who worked in prostitution themselves.

Notably, one of the biggest anti-prostitution and anti-pornography feminists Andrea Dworkin was an ex-prostitute herself, and not ashamed of admitting so. Another notable example is Rachel Moran, who was in prostitution between the ages of 15 and 22, only to become one of the most notable anti-prostitution, pro-Nordic Model activists in recent years.

Gallery

See also

External links

References

  1. Viv Smythe (aka tigtog) (August 17, 2008). Carnivalia, transgenderism and the gender binary. Hoyden About Town.
  2. Viv Smythe (aka tigtog) (November 28, 2018). I'm credited with having coined the word 'Terf'. Here's how it happened. The Guardian.
  3. C.K. Egbert (July 16, 2014). Defending the ‘TERF’: Gender as political. Feminist Current.
  4. Sarah Ditum (July 29, 2014). How ‘TERF’ works. Feminist Current.
  5. Martin Robbins (August 8, 2014). I Am Now Officially a Transphobic Twitter Troll. Vice.
  6. Penny White (November 10, 2015). Why I no longer hate ‘TERFs’. Feminist Current.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Meghan Murphy (May 1, 2018). Trans activism is excusing & advocating violence against women, and it’s time to speak up. Feminist Current.
  8. Helen Lewis (May 1, 2019). Welcome to the age of ironic bigotry, where old hatreds are cloaked in woke new language. The New Statesman.
  9. Jordy McElroy (May 25, 2013). Ronda Rousey vs. Fallon Fox Head-to-Toe Breakdown. Bleacher Report.
  10. Teresa Jusino (August 3, 2015). When Role Models Become Problematic: Ronda Rousey and Transmisogyny. The Mary Sue.
  11. Celebrity TERF Ronda Rousey to play Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat 11. reddit.
  12. After Being TKO’d by Fallon Fox, Tamikka Brents Says Transgender Fighters in MMA ‘Just Isn’t Fair’. Cage Potato.
  13. Rebecca (October 6, 2019). “This is what I want to do to you” – Dissecting the ‘POV ur a TERF in my mentions’ trend.. radfemrebecca.wordpress.com.
  14. Laura Izaguirre (May 26, 2020). Resisting TERF's and Transforming Their Organizations (Archived from Medium.com). Medium.com.
  15. Laura Izaguirre (May 28, 2020). Resisting TERF's and Transforming Their Organizations (Archived from WordPress.com). WordPress.
  16. Violencia machista: Ahorcan a una muñeca con la cara de Carmen Calvo en Santiago (English: "Sexist violence: They hang a doll with the face of Carmen Calvo in Santiago"). El Común. February 20, 2021. English translation by Google: https://2lovojqocmwrvggaapshhrg6yi-adwhj77lcyoafdy-elcomun-es.translate.goog/2021/02/20/violencia-machista-ahorcan-a-una-muneca-con-la-cara-de-carmen-calvo-en-santiago/
  17. 17.0 17.1 Meghan Murphy (February 7, 2017). Vancouver Women’s Library opens amid anti-feminist backlash. Feminist Current.
  18. Press Association (October 26, 2017). Suspects sought after brawl between transgender activists and radical feminists. The Guardian.
  19. Helen Lewis (April 20, 2018). The madness of our gender debate, where feminists defend slapping a 60-year-old woman. NewStatesman.
  20. Anoosh Chakelian (September 14, 2017). Trans rights, TERFs, and a bruised 60-year-old: what happened at Speakers’ Corner?. NewStatesman.
  21. Victoria Ward (April 12, 2018). Radical feminist warned to refer to transgender defendant as a 'she' during assault case. The Telegraph.
  22. Lucy Bannerman (April 12, 2018). Transgender activist Tara Wolf denies thumping radical feminist. The Times.
  23. Lucy Bannerman (April 14, 2018). Trans attacker is a thug, says feminist. The Times.
  24. Martin Coulter (April 13, 2018). Transgender activist Tara Wolf fined £150 for assaulting 'exclusionary' radical feminist in Hyde Park. EveningStandard.
  25. Bridie Pearson-jones (April 13, 2018). Transgender model who punched feminist and smashed her £120 camera in violent brawl at Hyde Park Speakers' Corner protest walks free from court. MailOnline.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Meghan Murphy (September 15, 2017). Historic Speaker’s Corner becomes site of anti-feminist silencing and violence. Feminist Current.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Jen Izaakson (April 27, 2018). Trans-identified male, Tara Wolf, convicted of assault after Hyde Park attack. Feminist Current.
  28. Kelli Busey (September 18, 2017). Trans Activists Vilified For Defense against TERF Attack at Hyde Park. Planet Transgender.
  29. Sam Hope (September 29, 2017). Trial by media over Speakers’ Corner fracas. The Queerness.
  30. Rosa Freedman: Professor's door 'covered in urine' after gender law debate. BBC News. December 5, 2018.
  31. Transgender Activist Ordered To Stand Trial For Oakland Triple Murder. CBS SF BayArea. March 7, 2018.
  32. 'MICHIGAN EIGHT' EVICTED OVER FESTIVAL'S NEW 'DON'T ASK DON'T TELL' GENDER POLICY. August 12, 2000.
  33. Riese (November 16, 2016). Oakland Lesbian Couple and Their Son Murdered By Former LGBT Activist. Autostraddle.
  34. Gina Davidson (June 6, 2019). Feminist speaker Julie Bindel 'attacked by transgender person' at Edinburgh University after talk. The Scotsman.
  35. Vancouver Rape Relief & Women's Shelter - Facebook. Facebook. August 16, 2019.
  36. VancouverRapeRelief on Twitter. Twitter. August 26, 2019.
  37. Jessica Kerr (August 28, 2019). Vancouver Rape Relief centre targeted with vandalism, threats over transgender controversy. Vancouver is Awesome.
  38. Madeleine Kearns (August 28, 2019). Women-Only Rape-Relief Shelter Defunded, Then Vandalized. National Review.
  39. Jonathan Szekeres and Lauren Boothby (August 27, 2019). Vancouver Rape Relief centre vandalized, likely over restrictions for transgender people. City News.
  40. Genevieve Gluck (July 4, 2022). Lesbians Assaulted By Trans Activists at Dyke March in Cologne. Reduxx.
  41. Ausschreitungen bei Dyke March in Köln: „Der Angriff zeigt, dass die Community ziemlich intolerant gegenüber anderen Meinungen geworden ist!“. Schwulissimo. July 4, 2022.
  42. Study suggests that transwomen exhibit a male pattern of criminality. Fair Play For Women. September 8, 2018.
  43. Sex differences in crime. Wikipedia. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  44. Magdalen Berns (April 22, 2018). Masked transactivists surround woman on stairwell. Twitter.