“I’m not a TERF but…”

This morning I woke up to a comment that started off with “I’m not a TERF, but….” and then she basically agreed with the problem I have with Danielle Muscato.

“I’m not a TERF, but I do find that it is a bit disingenuous of D. Moscato to have made this pronouncement two years ago and, in glancing at their FB page, see no difference in their presentation to date. Curious. It is not difficult to shave or to modify clothing style, and yet I see none of that. Perhaps giving up male privilege is more difficult than they originally anticipated.”

It’s interesting that she just denied Muscato’s gender identity and yet she feels the need to say “I’m not a TERF.” I have several things to say about that.

First of all, nobody is actually a TERF. This is not actually a descriptive acronym, it’s a slur. The way it is used in speech is the same way people use bitch, whore, cunt, or feminazi. Nobody identifies as a TERF and this isn’t an accurate description of anyone’s politics. For a really excellent analysis of why the word TERF is not an accurate description of anyone’s politics, see this post by Rebecca Reilly-Cooper.

I know that I joke about being a TERF. When I call myself a TERF I’m being sarcastic, the way I’m being when I call myself a kink-shaming shitlord, or when I say I want to start a rock band called The Goddamn Feminazis. It’s just me making fun of the people who say these kinds of words. I don’t actually “exclude” trans people though. I read the words of trans people, I watch their videos, I talk with them, they comment on my blog, and I have not excluded any trans people from anything in real life.

Now that I’ve just asserted that no one is a TERF, I’m going to turn it around and say that everyone is a TERF. You see, anyone who disagrees with any trans activist on anything is a TERF. This is just a silly slur that trans activists throw around whenever someone disagrees with them. This slur can be applied to absolutely anyone—you don’t have to be radical or even a feminist and you can even be trans and get called this slur. The only criteria for being called a TERF is that you happen to be someone who pissed off a trans activist.

The criteria for pissing of a trans activist gets sillier all the time. The Tumblr and Twitter community comes up with bullshit so stupid that you’re sure it will bring about the end of civilization. You’re a TERF if you know that women menstruate, you’re a TERF if you understand how babies are made, you’re a TERF if you know that lesbians aren’t interested in dick, you’re a TERF if you even say the words “female” or “biology.” Since reality itself is transphobic, everyone who understands reality is a TERF. All humans the world over know the difference between male and female, so all of us are TERFs.

The comment “I’m not a TERF, but…” followed by a statement agreeing with a so-called “TERF” reminds me of the women who say “I’m not a feminist, but…” This phrase is uttered by a woman who agrees with a feminist position on something but still wants to distance herself from feminism, because she doesn’t want to be associated with those nasty, ugly, hairy, man-hating feminazis who are ruining the whole world by saying that women are a distinct class of people who should be free from oppression.

I hate to break it to ya, but if you know that Danielle Muscato is not a woman, then you’re a TERF, because he identifies as a woman so anything less than full acceptance of his identity makes you a TERF. And if you don’t think that word describes you, welcome to the club! Maybe instead of trying to distance yourself from the people who are fighting for women’s rights, you could realize that we actually have a point and you actually agree with it.

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13 thoughts on ““I’m not a TERF but…”

  1. Reblogged this on A butterfly's diary and commented:
    None of us are TERFs but we are all TERFs. It’s a term that doesn’t describe anyone or anything, used as a slur to dismiss and discredit people in order to shut down discussions and silence/smear those who understand biology. And it works: people will distance themselves from you once they hear/read someone call you a TERF.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Pingback: Yes In Fact You Are a TERF | transphilosopher

  3. It is interesting to me that my honest comment turned me into cannon fodder.

    “…This phrase is uttered by a woman who agrees with a feminist position on something but still wants to distance herself from feminism, because she doesn’t want to be associated with those nasty, ugly, hairy, man-hating feminazis who are ruining the whole world by saying that women are a distinct class of people who should be free from oppression.”
    Amazing how you choose to judge me, to define me without knowing me as a person or knowing my life experiences. I was merely pointing out things that were curious to me, as I had never heard of that person before. But this is your sandbox, after all, and I leave you to it.

    Like

    • Just for clarification, it’s the phrase “I’m not a feminist, but…” that is uttered by a woman who agrees with a feminist position on something but still wants to distance herself from feminism. You didn’t say that, but you reminded me of it. I think you are trying not to get labelled a TERF while believing I am one, based on what you said. If I am wrong you are welcome to clarify.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Everyone is a TERF because even if they don’t acknowledge it and even if they say the correct rote language we all know that a male is a male and a female is female and they are not identities but realities. The males certainly don’t let you forget what they are, that’s for sure.

    “Perhaps giving up male privilege is more difficult than they originally anticipated.”…this person is too kind, it’s more likely that he’s just gone one step further than your average ‘non-binary’ male knowing that once you adopt an identity you are untouchable. We can see this in this community, the only surprise is that this person said it outright because previous to this I’ve only ever seen one other person address this that is involved with scepticism and then only in an oblique way, complete with this guy appearing in the comments to insist that he too, despite being trans in name only, deserved to get in the ladies. Pretty much everyone is tip toeing around that issue.

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  5. Yeah, well I’m a “terf” just because I was proud about being a lesbian on certain websites and I acknowledged that because biology is a thing, I only love other females and any person with a dick isn’t a female. I don’t pretend that biology isn’t real for creationists so I’m not going to pretend that sex doesn’t exist.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve heard of elderly, rather conservative women being called “TERFs” just because they asked honest questions like “Why are we supposed to use female pronouns for someone with male sex organs?” It’s ridiculous how many otherwise intelligent, skeptical people have bought into this nonsense hook, line, and sinker, particularly the folks running Rational Wiki.

    Liked by 2 people

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