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#TERFweek

#TERFweek Redux

By Cristan Williams
@cristanwilliams

 

In the post announcing #TERFweek, we specified goals for the week. These goals were:

  1. Raise awareness about this movement of hate and the groups it forms.
  2. Educate people about its tactics.
  3. Collectively speak out against its bigotry.
  4. Encourage the Feminist, Radical Feminist and Lesbian communities to speak up about the aggressive colonization their communities have faced at the hands of this movement.

#TERFweek has accomplished this and so much more. Actual Radical Feminists stepped forward to share their painful history with the TERF movement. Several instances on TERF violence (and even terrorism) were uncovered and the actual history of the TERF movement has become clearer:

  • Even though the largest gathering of Lesbian Feminists ever voted to be trans inclusive, TERFs threatened to disrupt the conference unless trans women were excluded. This culminated in the TERF opinion leader, Robin Morgan inciting a TERF mob to violence. Real Radical Feminists were beaten by TERFs while attempting to protect a trans women from TERF violence.
  • Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival owner, Lisa Vogel participated in targeting the Radical Feminist, Lesbian-Separatist music collective called Olivia because they were trans-inclusive. This TERF action culminated in armed TERFs announcing their intention to murder Sandy Stone, a trans women, for being a member of the Radical Feminist, Lesbian-Separatist music collective.
  • We also learned how Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival owner, Lisa Vogel’s fist inspired trans-inclusive women’s music festivals.
  • We also learned how TERF violence at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival inspired Camp Trans. We also learned the fact that even in 1992, most of the women attending the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival wanted the festival to be trans inclusive.
  • We reviewed the way in which Lisa Vogel has used dishonest equivocations in her messaging around her so-called “womyn-born- womyn” policy.
  • Reviewed the manipulative rhetoric of TERFs.
  • What it’s like being trans and attending the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival at the cost of hiding who you are.

Additionally, #TERFweek took on the fallacious ideology Sheila Jeffreys is attempting to push in her new anti-trans TERF book, Gender Hurts.

  • We look at what “gender” actually means and noted that it isn’t a physical substance or essence.
  • We reviewed the equivocation TERFs engage in when they assert that sexing bodies and behavior is different than gendering bodies and behavior.
  •  We looked at the way TERFs appeal to an imaginary sexed essence and noted how this view of the world stands in contract to Radical Feminist concepts.
  • We reviewed the way that TERF rhetoric supports, protects and promotes rape culture.
  • We reviewed the truth that TERFs are not, in fact, critical of gender.
  • We conceptualized the demonstrable violent and sadistic behavior of TERFs as a type of obsessive sadism.

More that, we:

Several other outlets wrote about TERFs during #TERFweek and many people were made aware of this anti-trans hate movement.  Moreover, the #TERFweek tag served two purposes:

  1. Create a cross-network link that makes media and discourse easily available; and
  2.  Draw out TERFs so that people unfamiliar with this group can see and even experience the hate that motivates this group of anti-trans ideologues.

On both of these counts, the tag worked well.

#TERFweek has created a historical record of systemic TERF violence and aggression while providing a nuanced and critical review of TERF ideology. We heard from only sources that that they felt that #TERFweek was unnecessary. Alternatively we received many thanks for having a week of consciousness raising that culminated in a body of work that factually documents and critiques the TERF movement.

TERFs will never again be able to claim that theirs is a nonviolent movement. In fact, their movement has a history of happily embracing real acts of violence and even armed terrorism. We’ve debunked numerous myths and, in the process, showed that TERFs, far from being a benign group of internet trolls, have a long and painful history of doing real harm to those they target – be they trans or actual Radical Feminists who resist being colonized by TERFs.



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Written By

Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of underserved communities. She started the first trans homeless shelter in Texas and co-founded the first federally funded housing-first homeless program, pioneered affordable health care for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. She has published short stories, academic chapters and papers, and numerous articles for both print and digital magazines. She received numerous awards for her advocacy and has presented at universities throughout the nation, served on several governmental committees and CBO boards, is the Editor of the TransAdvocate, and is a founding board member of the Transgender Foundation of America and the Bee Busy Wellness Center.

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