T.E.R.F.TERF is shorthand for “trans-exclusionary radical feminists” and are sometimes simply referred to as ‘radical feminists’. This is terminology that has become synonymous with a minority of feminists who are vocal about their particular views and opinions that other feminists would consider transphobic and inappropriate. This is feminism that intentionally excludes trans people and has actively contributed to hatred and violence against the trans community simply for being who they are. In short, they believe that by giving rights and equality to trans women, society is taking away the rights of other women. You may even see some of them refer to trans women as “not real women” – largely because they can’t naturally give birth to children. Newsflash, there’s a lot more to being a woman than reproduction! Plenty of cis-women either can’t or don’t want to have babies and that doesn’t make them any less female.
What do they believe?TERFs believe that the sex they are assigned at birth is what determines a persons gender and there is no changing that. They believe that gender identity cannot change. They believe that only women can have vaginas and only men can have penises; similarly ‘men’ are oppressors and ‘women’ are the oppressed and this is why women need more protection of their rights. They see trans men as women, trans women as men and non binary people are whatever gender they were assigned at birth. This is, amongst other reasons, problematic at best and dangerous at its worst as it is ignoring the fact that race, sexual orientation and disability can also lead to people being oppressed. Oppression is more complicated than just genitals.
Is it a slur?To some, yes. It’s important not to confuse feminists with TERFS – TERF-ism is an extreme branch of feminism. A slur is typically something that discriminates against race or gender etc, whereas TERF is a descriptive term that describes their beliefs. What they believe excludes trans people, hence the term ‘trans-exclusionary’ TERFs don’t like to be called this as they disagree with the ‘trans-exclusionary’ aspect as they don’t see trans people as being valid at all. They may call themselves “rad-fems” or “gender critical”. They ultimately see themselves as being superior to trans women.
What Were They Doing at Manchester Pride This Year?These anti-trans protesters hijacked the start of the parade this year and their messages left some women fearing for their safety. They were part of the group GetTheLOut and handed out a number of leaflets on their way round causing more concern and upset among attendees, especially since they appeared to have a police escort.
CW: Transphobic materials and TERFs— Jacob 🚶 (they/them) (@ItsJacobEdward) August 24, 2019
I'm fuming #TERFs were allowed to spread hate in #ManchesterPride parade today
I hope they get booed outta there. Hate groups don't belong in pride and @ManchesterPride should have removed them from the parade.
LIKE WTF literal hate speech! pic.twitter.com/XU0ypA1Q3s
Urgh. I see the TERFS are out at Manchester Pride handing out leaflets saying "Lesbians do not want to have sex with men identifying as Trans Women" as if someone is making them. #TransRightsAreHumanRights— Marc Burrows (@20thcenturymarc) August 24, 2019
Frustration for many was compounded by the fact that it took Manchester Pride days to respond to the actions of these TERFs and the lack of action and responsibility on their part. Standing up for trans rights does not take away from cis-rights, it simply makes the world a better place for everyone in it. Disapproving of TERFs is actively supportive of trans women and therefore women as a whole.
As the terf minority decided to try to blemish Manchester pride with their harmful rhetoric as they did Leeds pride, I’d like to galvanise now what I asserted then:— 𝔜𝔲𝔫𝔤 𝔒𝔯𝔞𝔠𝔩𝔢 🔮 (@nuvoliss) August 24, 2019
FUCK TERFS. FUCK TRANSPHOBIA. STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH YOUR TRANS SIBLINGS.
Take your transphobia elsewhere! 😊