The writing below has been sitting in my drafts folder for about six weeks, I had a choice of either publishing it or deleting it, I went with the former as this contains stuff I hold to be true and/or important. I’m sorry it’s so badly argued.
Somewhat hastily I suggested on Twitter that someone not fall for the ‘transgender lie’. I feel compelled to explain what I mean by this.
Since I started tweeting in a more than facile way I’ve become aware of the use of the word TERF by transgender individuals. On the face of it this acronym attempts to represent what is meant by ‘trans exclusive radical feminism’.
Although the meaning of this term is hardly tightly defined (e.g. Transadvocate’s ‘You May Be A Terf if…’ see also A Feminist Roar’s counter-piece which takes the points in the former and applies to to women) I’ve yet to find a definition that represents the apparent meaning of this word better than ‘you are a terf if you don’t believe trans women are women’.
Well, I don’t believe transwomen are women: I have blogged on this and employing ordinary usage of the word ‘woman’ show that transwomen are not women. There’s a much better critique of this here. There is a fair amount banded about in trans circles about sexual dimorphism, an example being from foetal exposure to hormones in the womb meaning ones finger length indicates one is female, to even on the other extreme positing the existence of a female ‘lady brain’.
The former is the subject of a scientific paper but the fact remains: if you are genetically XY, have male reproductive organs, the ability to grow facial hair, the comparative length of your middle finger does not magically make you a woman. Note also the use of the word ‘possible’ in the paper title, and that correlation does not equal causation.
To extend this a little further, transition does not make you a woman either: no matter what chemicals you pour into your body or surgical or other alterations you make, you were still born and remain biologically male. To state ‘I have always been a woman’ after being born, socialised and raised a family as male is self-delusion of the highest order. I’m baffled how individuals manage to keep this idea in their head.
It is important as well to accept that men are socialised differently to women. Boys are raised to be dominant, girls to be there for the comfort of their man. Women, as a class, are socialised from birth as an oppressed class and the dominant class, men, are the oppressors. This means that men have male privilege.
So, girls are raised to perform a societal role as second class citizens. From a young age they are sexually objectified, men’s clothing is designed to convey function or power, women’s to emphasise sexual characteristics (hence the fetishisation and assorted paraphillias associated with female garments: the festishisation of oppression). Girls have the worry of their first period, of pregnancy, of having to carry a rape alarm: men do not. This ‘shared girlhood’ is common to women across the planet. Transwomen are not part of this.
Transwomen do not have a shared girlhood, to pretend they do or that it is shared with women is deceit and to claim exclusion because of this is disingenuous in the same way white people complain of reverse racism.
Terf is a word that is used as a target for abuse: women (and transwomen!) are routinely called ‘terf’ simply for disagreeing with someone. Terf is an object at which scorn, derision and contempt is thrown at. This is hate speech. It is also a distortion and a misrepresentation, a tool that is used to silence dissent, to prevent you from hearing, and coming to terms with, the truth.
Do not fall for the transgender lie.