When I came out as a lesbian, it was during the time of inclusion, when more and more letters were being added to the LGBTQ alphabet soup because every sexual minority needed representation. It seemed obvious that we should include everyone—since we face ostracism ourselves we know how awful it is to be excluded. We wanted social justice, we wanted love and respect for all minorities. No matter what new letter was added to the “queer” acronym, we included them without question. I met people of all sorts during my time in university—gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, asexuals, gender fluid people, etc. I believed in us working together and gaining acceptance from straight people. During this time I also started learning about feminism. At first, the various feminist bloggers I was reading didn’t seem so different from each other. But over the last few years, we have become divided by a wide gulf. The issues separating us are the sex industry and transgender politics. I’ve never bought into the idea that prostitution is a job that needs to be unionized—I was able to see right away that it is violence. But I bought into transgenderism for quite a while. I believed, as we are taught to believe, that transgender people are just another sexual minority like gays and lesbians who need to fight against discrimination. I was all for helping any minority group to overcome oppression. I was taught that transgender people were born in the wrong body and had to change their body to match their internal image of themselves. I am an open-minded person and I had no problem believing this. But a lot of my feminist sisters were not open to it. I started getting into online fights with other feminists. I wanted them to see that they were being hateful towards a persecuted minority, and that this wasn’t compatible with feminism. I was against “TERFs.” I thought I was doing the right thing.
It was impossible not to do research into transgenderism because it kept coming up over and over and a lot of questions were difficult to answer. I was asked, “What is a woman?” by feminists who challenged me in discussions. I found that I could not answer the question. I read books on transgenderism and finally decided that “woman” is a social category, but this was never easy to explain. I got into bitter fights in comment threads. I called other women transphobic. It felt really, really terrible. We women should have been working together and instead we were ripping each other to pieces. I thought the things radical feminists were saying were exaggerated. It didn’t seem possible that trans women were trying to get into women’s spaces to hurt us because I thought they were just another persecuted sexual minority like gays and lesbians. I thought they were women who just happened to be born with the wrong parts. Any attack on any letter from the acronym GLBTQ felt like it was also an attack on me, because I was in that acronym, too. I thought that all the people represented in the queer umbrella were the same—innocent people facing discrimination.
Trans activists are constantly on the lookout for anything they should condemn as transphobic. At first it was obvious stuff. Trans people should have the right to employment and housing and health care and should not be subject to violence. Of course! But the things that were condemned as transphobic started to get less obvious. Calling people by the wrong pronouns became phobic, too. Then, failing to put trans people in the center of every conversation became phobic. Then, talking about biology and anatomy became phobic, too. I used to be against “TERFs” until one day I read on Twitter that to imply that females menstruate is transphobic, and I realized—according to this, I am a TERF. I know that females menstruate and that to menstruate is female, and that’s all it takes to be a TERF. The whole thing started to unravel from there. If everyone who knows that females menstruate is a TERF, then everyone is a TERF. Everyone in the entire world. That makes no sense, since most people are not radical feminists.
Knowing that anyone can be called a TERF for even the littlest thing, and that they don’t even have to be a radical feminist in order to be slandered as such, made me take the acronym a lot less seriously. I started getting more curious about what the so-called TERFs were saying. Trans activists claim that radical feminists feel hatred toward trans people, but every time I’ve read a blog post by a radical feminist it has been well-reasoned, clearly explained, backed up with facts, nuanced and compassionate. I have never actually found the phobia that radical feminist writing was supposed to contain. What a lot of radical feminists are actually saying is that they do not agree with transgender politics because transgender politics are often harmful toward women, but they wish no harm upon anyone who is transgender. They are merely looking out for females, which is something that feminists have always done.
When I was arguing against so-called “TERFs” online, they would send me newspaper articles about trans women who had committed crimes against women. I dismissed these at first, thinking they were either exaggerated stories or they were just a few isolated cases. But over time, the isolated cases started to pile up. It started to become a pattern. After a while I couldn’t deny that trans women can be violent toward women, same as men are. Then, reading the words of trans women themselves, on Twitter and other social media, made something very clear: trans women behave exactly like men. Some of them make no attempt to behave the way women do or to understand women at all, and are openly hostile toward us.
The fact that some “trans women” are violent, misogynist men who make no attempt to try to blend in with other women really destroys the “brain sex” theory and the “born in the wrong body” theory. These men are clearly not women. It doesn’t make any sense that such men try to convince everyone that they’re women. The only explanation possible for violent, misogynist men claiming to be women is so they can get into women’s spaces to prey on us and so they can get cookies and attention. It’s obvious their real goal is to infiltrate when you look at their activism. They make no attempt to create spaces for trans women or to advocate for shelters, employment and housing for trans women. All they do is try to get into women-only spaces. And they are indeed getting lots of attention from the media, the medical profession, and from gender activists.
I’ve seen people get into trans ideology and lose their minds completely. I’ve come across people who truly believe that biological sex doesn’t exist and that they cannot access health care unless the doctor validates their gender identity. Imagine that, being in a rich country with available health care, and refusing it just because the doctor wants to treat your physical body based on your actual biology, instead of treating you based on your inner feelings? How ridiculous and nonsensical is it to claim you do not have health care available when you actually do, and when there are other people in poor countries who actually don’t? I’ve come across men who serve in the military, have fantastic STEM careers, father several children, and then claim to have been female all the time. What?! And I’ve seen lesbians who do lesbian activism, participate in the lesbian community, have lesbian weddings, and then all of a sudden say they were men the whole time. A lot of this stuff is pure nonsense, but if you question it you will be called a TERF and told you’re oppressing people. It’s sort of like creationism: inventing false facts that don’t stand up to scrutiny, claiming that science is hateful toward your beliefs, claiming to be persecuted when you can’t force your beliefs on other people, and attempts to silence and destroy non-believers. Transgenderism is a religious cult.
The effect transgenderism has had on feminism is that of a Trojan horse. It slipped quietly in over the years and then exploded in the 2010s, and now feminists are all split up and fighting each other. We spend half our time arguing about whether trans women are women and whether a given bit of feminism is “transphobic” and that means we are no longer fighting for women’s liberation. Feminism is supposed to liberate female humans from oppression. We should be spending zero time worrying about the gender feelings of abusive men. And the fact that transgender activists are usually pro-prostitution should tell you something. These people are fighting for MEN’s rights. Now that I’ve seen everything I’ve seen, I’ve come back to real feminism, the kind that is for women. I’m no longer confused about what a woman is. A woman is an adult female human, same as it’s always been. I’ve learned something very important: my sisters should always come first. I’m very sorry for the hostility I used to express toward women who know that trans women are men. I wish I could take that back. I’ve been using a tag on certain blog posts called “peak trans.” Peak trans is the point at which trans activists finally get so ridiculous that even previous supporters can no longer support them. This is what happened to me and I know it will happen to more of us.