an acronym for Trans-exclusionary radical feminist.
Although TERFs consider “TERF” a slur, and prefer to be known as “gender critical”, the views they espouse are evidently transphobic, often denying transgender and nonbinary identities on the basis of the sex binary, and to insist that the recognition of Trans women is an attempt to erase lesbian identity (with rhetoric often similar to Bi-exclusionary discourse too).
As with other forms of bigotry, such arguments often (but not always) rely on worst-case scenarios, slippery-slope arguments, hearsay and extreme examples; such arguments that once upon a time (and still are) in homophobic discourse to deny rights to lesbian and gay people, and are arguments that they’d object to on much the same grounds as transgender people and their allies do with their rhetoric.
For example, there is a painting of Trans women as predators who are seeking on gaining access to women’s bathrooms, domestic violence shelters and prisons in order to harm them: something that is eerily similar to the portrayal of gay and lesbian people as predators by homophobic people during Gay Liberation; as are the arguments made on the basis of “protecting children” from an “ideology” and “agenda” that we still see today, a particular example is the discourse surrounding Marriage Equality and LGBT+ Inclusive Education, where lesbian, gay and bisexual were painted as people out to ‘convert’ children.
Originally published: 7th December, 2020
Last modified: December 7, 2020