What is a TERF?

First and foremost, she is a woman who says NO to men.

NO, I don’t have to cater to men’s feelings.
NO, I don’t have to create resources for men.
NO, I’m not responsible for protecting men from other men.
NO, I won’t have sex with men.
NO, I don’t owe men anything.

She is a woman who won’t give her time and energy to men.

NOT her emotional labor.
NOT her apologies.
NOT her admiration and fawning.

She is a woman who won’t ignore male violence.

She won’t pretend not to see what men do to women when they represent us as sex toys and porn fantasies.
She won’t pretend not to see men’s perversions and she’ll call them out when she sees them.
She has a sharp eye for identifying red flags in men’s behavior. She knows when she is being disrespected.
She doesn’t make excuses for men, minimize their abuse, or argue that #notallmen or “boys will be boys.”
She calls out sexual assault every time she sees it.
She recognizes when men want to consume women by appropriating our identities, invading our spaces, claiming to be better women than we are, taking our names for their own, and using us as props in their fantasies.
She will prevent male violence against women by separating the sexes in any context she sees fit.

She is a woman who won’t be gaslighted.

She won’t stop trusting what she sees with her own eyes.
She won’t believe that male organs are female organs.
She won’t believe that her female biology is oppressive or that it’s a social construct or a privilege or an identity.
She won’t believe the lie that women have privilege over men.
She won’t believe that her oppression is an identity that men feel they have.
She won’t believe that it’s violent for her to create spaces for women.

She is a woman who won’t shut up.

She talks about female biology, female reality, and female oppression, even when it’s taboo to do so.
She continues to speak even when being bullied.
When people shout over her, she shouts back.
She won’t back down even when she is told she is not being nice and inclusive.

She is a woman who is devoted to women.

She puts women first in her life, in her friendships, in her politics.
She considers what effect this will have on women.
Her political allegiance is with women.
She loves women both politically and personally.

She is a radical feminist, a lesbian feminist, an untamed woman, an emancipated woman, a witch, an Amazon, and a threat to patriarchy.

The patriarchy will do everything it can to destroy her, but she will plant seeds of rebellion and more like her will spring up from the ashes.

The Genderbread Person, radical feminist edition

We’ve all seen that horrid Genderbread person that attempts to teach nonsensical gender theory using primary school pedagogy style graphics. Well, here is a “corrected” version of that graphic, radical feminist edition. You have my permission to download, repost, and share. When someone posts the genderbread person in a social media argument, feel free to use this as an answer! Have fun!

The PDF version for download.

Video: Chris Hedges interviews Maya Dillard Smith and Mary Lou Singleton

This is an excellent video on the transgender issue. Chris Hedges is a real leftist (read: not a neoliberal) who understands radical feminism. He interviewed two women active in the feminist fight against trans politics: lawyer Maya Dillard Smith, who wants to balance everyone’s rights and is concerned about the lack of due process in legal changes being made in recent years, and Mary Lou Singleton, a radical feminist midwife active in the women’s liberation movement. I particularly enjoyed when Smith explained the difference between separate bathrooms for blacks and whites versus separate bathrooms for women and men. They have discussed the issue from an anti-capitalist perspective, which I really appreciate.

How to make a PC ‘queer’ party

Today in “What Does the Word Queer Mean, Anyway?” is this article by homosexual male transwoman Rose Dommu, entitled “A Party Has to Be More Than Gay to Qualify as “Queer.”

As you can see from the title, the article is about how to make your queer parties more queer. I am always fascinated by the ways in which today’s SJW liberals use the word queer, and this article provides lots of notable examples. Here are some quotes that reveal what “queer” means to this writer.

“The meaning of queer has evolved over time, resulting in a generational divide in how people perceive its meaning. Starting in the early 1900s, “queer” was used as a synonym—and slur—for “gay.” In the 70s, the word was reclaimed by LGBTQ activists and intellectuals in their fight for gay rights—hence, the still-popular chant, “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.”

So the author is aware that “queer” first existed as an insult used against homosexuals—I’m relieved to know that, because some “queer” writers don’t seem to be aware of that. However, he uses some more modern meanings too.

“In a 2016 New York Times Magazine article called “When Everyone Can Be ‘Queer,’ Is Anyone?”, writer Jenna Wortham detangled the nebulous definitions and political connotations surrounding the term, explaining how it came to be reclaimed by the LGBTQ community from a pejorative to its current status as a self-applied term of empowerment. Queerness, she wrote, derives its radical power from its inclusivity. “But that inclusivity,” she continued, “offers a false promise of equality that does not translate to the lived reality of most queer people.”

Ha! I’ve asked myself the same question. Now that queer has become so vague a term that anybody can call themselves that, the word has become meaningless. It’s the equivalent of “trendy” or “edgy,” basically. The queer cult likes to erase the meanings of words, something they consider to be revolutionary, but which I consider to be unhelpful, because we actually need meaningful words in order to communicate.

Anyway, here is the first modern meaning of “queer” demonstrated in this article: “a self-applied term of empowerment.” Yes, “queer” is a label that people apply to themselves to gain something—usually cool points that can be cashed in among liberal friends. Sometimes calling yourself “queer” can even get you material benefits, like giving you an edge when running for a political position or career position in a liberal establishment.

“Empowerment” is a term that comes from the media-led third wave “feminist” backlash against actual feminism. Empowerment™ is a feel-good lifestyle product you can buy from the companies that market it. The thing itself could be anything that capitalism sells—makeup, clothing, plastic surgeries, sexy photos, etc, but the advertising campaign surrounding the thing gives it an aura of Empowerment™. (This consumer product should not be confused with actual power, which is something one cannot earn by purchasing products.) Calling yourself “queer,” in liberal circles, can get you the same vaguely defined Empowerment™ feeling.

“Queerness derives its radical power from its inclusivity.” This is a word salad. Power is the ability to exercise control or influence. You don’t get power from “inclusivity.” I’m not sure what “radical power” would even mean. This is one of those phrases that people just write because the words look pretty when sitting next to each other like that. It doesn’t actually mean anything.

“Part of what’s driving the term’s adoption by the LGBTQ community is a pushback against the rigid ideas and definitions of sexuality that were prominent in the gay rights movement for so long. Essentially, “queer” has transcended sexual orientations like “gay” or “straight,” and become a self-identifier for those who choose to live in opposition to social norms of sex and gender.”

This is interesting because he actually comes out and admits that “queer” has nothing to do with being lesbian or gay anymore. It’s something anyone can claim if they think they’re being subversive in some way. The heterosexuals with green hair who think they’re “queer” don’t seem to consider that it might be homophobic to call themselves by a word that was historically used to insult gays and lesbians in order to seem cool.

“You don’t choose to be gay, but I believe that you do choose to be queer. That choice—to reject heteronormative, patriarchal standards—is the root of queerness. Not all gay people are queer, and the inverse is just as true.”

So being “queer” means making a choice to support a certain brand of politics. One can “reject heteronormativity” while being a heterosexual in a heterosexual relationship. Sadly, there is no detail offered here about how that could be possible. If it’s by switching gender roles among the man and the woman, so that she earns the money and he takes care of the kids, then what I have to say about that is that we used to call that feminist back in the day when feminism wasn’t passé. If it’s by “identifying” as not being heterosexual despite actually being heterosexual, then that’s a load of horse shit.

“Queerness is the intersection of the political and personal, a way to quantify how the personal becomes political. It informs who we vote for, who we socialize with, the music we listen to, and the art and media we consume.”

Indeed. He’s just proving all my points for me. Queerness is a consumer lifestyle choice involving choosing to consume certain things. Consuming the right things brings us Empowerment™. Listen, kids: late-stage capitalism has sold you the idea that choosing consumer choices and buying shit will bring you Empowerment™ on purpose so that they could sell you products. This isn’t a liberation movement, it’s a successful marketing scheme.

(I just want to thank Twisty Faster here because I’m totally just repeating everything she taught me back in the day when she was blogging.)

“But when you apply the idea of queerness to nightlife, things can get dicey. You can’t simply call a party “queer”; there’s actual work you have to do make a space welcoming, inclusive, and safe for queer people. Calling something “queer”—or using any number of queer buzzwords or aesthetic identifiers in your party promo—comes with a certain level of responsibility to live up to what the term encompasses. And there is no place where that tension is more visible than in nightlife.”

“Queer” is about aesthetic identifiers—a group of artistic signals conveying the brand of politics you have. It’s an artistic style, a decoration scheme. It’s rainbow-coloured crap made in China bought from the dollar store, destined for the landfill after the party is over. Liberation through consumption!

“How can a party claim to be “queer” if the lineup isn’t diverse, the cover is too high, there isn’t accessibility for those who are differently abled, or it takes place in a club where the staff and security might antagonize people of color or gender non-conforming individuals? LGBTQ nightlife is still primarily dominated by white cisgender gay men, so how can a party be queer when it’s exclusive of the whole rainbow?”

Okay…I agree that community events should be accessible. But it almost sounds like “queer” is being used to mean “good party planning.”

“And when it comes to nightlife, the major difference between a party being “gay” or “queer” comes down to choices as well.”

There it is again: “queer” = “good party planning.”

This is his ultimate conclusion:

“The bottom line is that queer women, trans people, people of color, people with disabilities, people who are neurodivergent, and people without access to capital or privilege—we’re at these parties. We’re paying the cover—OK, I’m not, I’m always on the list—we’re buying drinks, and we’re in the party photos. We’re not tokens or aberrations; we’re part of the community. That means we should be represented on the lineup, too—otherwise, nightlife will never be “queer.”

So, the customers who are the consumers of a “queer” product deserve to be catered to by the sellers of that product. True—that’s one of the laws of the marketplace—market to your customer.

The thing about the “queer” community is it’s not a liberation movement. If it was a liberation movement, then it would be doing the tiring, unglamorous, and thankless work of finding housing, medical care and a stable income for those people who have disabilities, who are from racial minorities, who are without access to capital, etc. But instead they’re just demanding that these communities be marketed to and represented in marketing campaigns.

Sheila Jeffreys explained in Unpacking Queer Politics that the revolutionary gestures made by practitioners of “queer” politics amount to acts of “transgression.” Transgression means going against traditional social customs in terms of sexual behavior or dress. Therefore homosexual behavior is “queer,” but so are antisocial and dysfunctional behaviors such as public sex and sexual abuse. Both healthy homosexual relations and abusive heterosexual relations can be considered equivalent in terms of their ability to transgress and therefore both “queer,” which is a politics that equates homosexuals with sex offenders, without any consideration for the inherent homophobia in this position. Wearing the clothing and appearance of the opposite sex is a transgression, but practitioners require traditional social customs to be intact in order for their transgressions to be shocking. If we were to actually eliminate sex role stereotypes, then their transgressions wouldn’t be transgressions anymore, so they actually have no interest in challenging traditional gender roles, because that would ruin their fun. Jeffreys calls “queer” politics a form of “night club activism.” As we see in this article, “queer” politics can be practiced simply by planning a good party.

Now that I’ve thoroughly demolished queer politics, let’s take a look at what we learn about this author from this article.

“I get a lot of flack for being vocally opposed to this kind of femme and trans erasure in nightlife. But as a trans woman, I often feel like if I don’t speak up, who else will? Sometimes, when I vocalize some kind of criticism about a supposedly “queer” party being too male-centered, I even face a backlash from members of the LGBTQ community. Often, someone will say, “Well, two years ago, you were a gay man, so who are you to talk?”

“Yet, for decades, a majority of trans women like myself have actualized their identities through gay communities, often within the space of LGBTQ nightclubs. For many of us who first identify as gay men and then go on to transition, our gay and queer social circles function as family, social group, and dating pool all at once. Once we transition, those bonds are the same, but the way we experience them is irrevocably altered. We still want to go dance with our sisters, but we don’t always feel welcome in the same way.”

“Recently, I went to a gay male-centered sex party at a queer after-hours spot to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and within an hour, my friends had abandoned me to play in the darkroom—a space where I felt not only unnecessary, but unwelcome. Going from being a fag to a fag hag is a fucking trip, man.”

I’m just going to rephrase some of this in my straight-to-the-point language. This is a gay man who has had the same group of gay male friends who party together over a period of several years, and recently he has decided to disregard the facts of human anatomy and call himself a ‘woman.’ His gay male friends still all know he is a gay male, but now they’re supposed to call him by female pronouns. Understandably, not all of them are buying this.

He says he actualized his transwoman identity through the queer community, and that other gay men do this too. He completely misses the fact that it’s a tragedy that the queer community encourages homosexuals to view themselves as something else.

This is a man who is complaining that parties that he is able to attend are too male-focused. Even though these parties are literally for men like him, he does not feel adequately included since they don’t specifically cater to his silly and nonsensical identity.

Can I just mention here that if you are spending lots of your energy worrying about how well people are including you at a party, then you probably are not experiencing much real difficulty in life.

He attended a gay male sex party, which goes to show that he still knows he is a gay male and doesn’t take his identity as a ‘woman’ very seriously. Even though he is a gay male who knows he is a gay male, he found gay sex play in a back room ‘unnecessary’ and felt that he was ‘unwelcome’ there, because of his ‘identity.’

I agree with him on one thing. He is definitely ‘tripping.’

I am sad to see the way ‘queer’ politics separates lesbians from lesbian communities and separates gay men from gay male communities. I am angry to see how ‘queer’ politics erases the facts of human anatomy and therefore our ability to organize for liberation for groups such as women and sexual minorities such as lesbians and gays.

It’s time for lesbians and gays everywhere to resist queer politics. Leave that for the heterosexuals with green hair who think they’re cool. What we need is lesbian and gay community, and radical, liberation politics to fight back against women’s oppression and economic class oppression.

A little writing prompt post

Hello readers!

I have been pretty quiet lately compared to usual, but no announcement of blog vacation. I’ve been dealing with anxiety again and I’ve got politics fatigue. Every time I try to write a post about something political I just decide it’s too dreadful and can’t do it. Politics, UGH. Maybe I’ve reached “peak politics.”

However, I did finish reading my introduction to Marx book and I was pleased to find out that I already knew lots about Marxist theory, I just didn’t know I knew it because I’ve never studied it officially, I’ve only picked up bits and pieces here and there. I’d say most of what I know about Marxist theory I’ve learned from feminist writing and Facebook memes. Although it seems obvious that one shouldn’t learn a political theory from memes, I have to say the memes I have been reading have actually done a pretty decent job. Thank you, leftist friends! (Don’t worry, I will still read print books, in case the memes get it wrong.)

Ah, the anxiety. After staying up all night having an anxiety attack last week, I thought the best thing to do would be to go for a nature walk. I did, and you know what, it was great. I walked slowly, and tried to breathe in rhythm with the swaying of the leaves. Several adorable woodland animals came to greet me. I watched a chipmunk filling its cheeks, and I saw a baby bunny that came out of a bush and chewed on some leaves. I saw a bird taking a bath in a puddle. The really good thing about taking the time to look at nature is that you learn to slow down. I always think I have to be busy doing something—either working at my day job, doing household chores, reading political theory, writing, etc. And I always think I have to be fast, efficient, and perfect at everything. It’s hard for me to slow down or do nothing. But I need time to slow down, or else I keep spinning right into an anxiety attack.

What I finally decided to write about today was a Pride writing prompt that someone posted on Facebook. The prompt is this: When did you first become aware of the existence of lesbians?

I think the first time I came across the word lesbian was when my parents gave me a puberty book, and there was one chapter on romantic feelings which had one paragraph on homosexuality. Luckily, it dealt with the subject in a neutral tone, just saying that some people are like this and not making any judgments. I would have been either 10 or 11 at the time.

The first time I came across any mention of homosexuality outside of a book was in the schoolyard at recess. Before I had any idea what the word meant, I heard kids call other kids “faggot.” I just knew this was a terrible thing to call somebody, probably the worst thing you could call somebody, and it seemed to be the equivalent of saying “fuck you.” When someone said this, they meant business. (It was usually boys who said it.) I think I was around 10 when I started hearing the word faggot, and then around 13 I started hearing the word dyke, which seemed to be an insult for a girl you didn’t like. I don’t remember when I found out that “faggot” was actually a pejorative word for a gay man nor when I found out that “dyke” was a pejorative word for lesbian. I was probably in my teens when I found this out.

I definitely met gay men before I met any lesbians. I had a distant relative who is a gay man and I heard my family members talk about him—they felt a little awkward but didn’t reject him. In high school I knew two guys who were dating. They were the first gay people to come out at my high school during the time when I was there. I remember going to a party and they were there, sitting together on the couch, one of them had his arm around the other. Everyone was pretty chill about it. I remember feeling a little bit of shock, just because I had never seen a man put his arm around his boyfriend before. (I say man, but I think we were all 15.) After I got over being surprised I was pretty chill.

The first time I met a lesbian I was in high school and I didn’t know she was a lesbian, but everyone called her crazy. I knew her as “Crazy Kim.” Years later I found out she was a lesbian. I also met a bisexual woman in high school. I remember being at her house once, hoping she would hit on me, but I didn’t have the courage to let her know I was interested. Sadly, she didn’t try anything. 😉

One time when I was a teenager I was at a restaurant with some of my extended family members and when we left the restaurant someone said “Did you see that table full of lesbians?” I really wanted to turn around to look, but it was too late, I couldn’t see any of the restaurant customers from outside. I wished I had seen them, I was curious about what lesbians looked like. I didn’t know how my aunt could tell they were lesbians.

The first time I actually sat and talked with someone who identified as a lesbian while actually knowing she was a lesbian was when I went to a lesbian/bi meetup in university. I was probably 20 or 21, and I was pretty nervous. But it didn’t take very long before “nervous” turned into “interested.”

Feel free to answer the same writing prompt! When did you first learn of the existence of lesbians?