What is a TERF and why should you be worried?
You may have heard of the term TERF in the last few months, and you may just be wondering what exactly it is.
TERF is an acronym for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, in other words – a transphobic bigot. It sounds extreme, but recently examples of TERFs have been creeping up everywhere.
Examples that might stick out include the leading feminist writer, Chimamanda Adichie, who appeared on Channel 4 and denied that transgender women could be women because they had “experienced male privilege”.
Dame Jenni Murray, host of BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour also made the same suggestion in a column for the Sunday Times Magazine that was titled “Be trans, be proud – but don’t call yourself a ‘real woman’”.
Germaine Greer joins Adichie and Murray with her trans-exclusionary rhetoric, facing criticism and protest before appearing at an International Women’s Day event in Brighton.
Greer, Murray and Adichie are just three voices projecting a derogatory and discriminatory message which denies the identity of trans women across the globe.
TERFs claim that trans women are rapists waiting to happen, that they have mental health issues and that fundamentally they are not women.
Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminism is a collective with a simple message of hate. It denies trans women basic rights such as access to health care, women’s support groups and bathroom facilities on the basis that it should be reserved for “real women”.
Some TERFs, more radical than Murray or Adichie, entirely deny trans womanhood and label trans women as “self loathing gay men”. This is problematic at best, and at worst it is dangerous.
2016 saw an unprecedented amount of violence against trans women, with a record number of 26 women being killed in the US. In Brazil last month a trans woman was forced to beg for her life before she was brutally murdered.
Just like being gay, being transgender is not a choice – it is a reality, and it is very real.
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