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.