How I became a TERF

When it was announced that Julie Bindel had been shortlisted for the Stonewall Journalist of the Year award in 2008, the trans-activists went wild. Julie had written an article four years earlier in which they claimed she’d made some transphobic comments. Even though she’d apologised, they demanded Stonewall drop her from the shortlist.

It seemed a chilling assault on freedom of speech. Sure Julie wasn’t perfect. But who is? And she’d worked tirelessly for women for more than a decade and had written many ground-breaking articles that brought a feminist analysis to a mainstream audience.

Stonewall was under wiser leadership then and it held firm. So the trans-activists organised a protest outside the Victoria and Albert museum where the award ceremony was taking place. Finn Mackay, founder of the London Feminist Network (LFN), organised a counter demo. She hand-stitched a huge purple satin banner emblazoned with “Julie Bindel fanclub” in white satin letters.

It was a cold November evening and I went to the demo straight from work. The trans-activists were on the left of the steps up to the imposing museum entrance, the fanclub on the right – all behind metal barriers the police had set out earlier. Although there were more of them than us, the numbers were not as unbalanced as we’d feared.

There was shouting but I never felt afraid. Julie arrived and whirled past with her entourage, giving us a royal wave and stopping briefly to thank Finn.

Looking back now, after seeing the physical and verbal assaults that trans-activists have delivered to feminists over the past year, it all seemed good natured, very British, practically middle-aged in its decorum.

Once all the guests were inside, we hovered around, wondering what to do. Should we wait for the ceremony to finish, to show solidarity with Julie when the guests came out? Or should we adjourn to the pub? We were relaxed and there was some mingling of the two groups.

It was nearly 10 years ago now and I can’t remember exactly how I came to be talking to three trans-activists. Very obviously male, they were dressed in a parody of women’s clothes and makeup, and towered over me in huge sequinned high heels. They told me I didn’t understand what it meant to be a woman but they would be happy to instruct me.

I laughed at the absurdity of it and said, “But I am a woman.”

But they were serious. Deadly serious. They insisted I didn’t understand what being a woman meant. They scrunched up their faces at my androgynous haircut and shabby clothes, my lack of makeup. In a flash it became clear to me what they meant. Their image of woman was as worshiper of penis and the male godhead. They had no conception of woman as force, as being, in her own right.

I told them I was a mother, I’d given birth, breast fed. But they had no interest in listening to me, an actual woman, so convinced were they of their own rightness.

I went away feeling deeply disturbed. Their insistence that they were not only women, but a superior kind of woman, was almost too bizarre to take seriously. But they would entertain no dissent. Perhaps it was this that made me feel sick.

I thought of my mother, my grandmothers, of all the women who came before me, who gave me life and love. I thought of how their lives had been constrained and constricted by the system that granted the men in their lives more or less absolute power over them. I thought of their tough struggles to survive, of their determination that their children would have a better life than they did.

I thought of my own life and my defining struggle to crawl out from the Stockholm Syndrome of femininity and to find myself as actor on my own terms, not in relation to any man.

Gradually I came to see the trans-activist movement as part of the backlash to the gains women had made over the previous decades. I saw their goal with startling clarity: to return females to their place in a Stockholm Syndrome relationship with their true masters, men (as whom, in spite of their claims to be women, they clearly identified).

The trans-activist movement is not a progressive movement. At its heart it is regressive. And that is why it appeals to so many with nefarious interests.

To Big Pharma it is a gravy train – as a significant percentage of the population gets trapped into expensive lifelong cross-sex hormone medication. To some less-than scrupulous surgeons, therapists, policy makers and other specialists, there’s the prospect of becoming well-paid experts in a cutting edge field. It suits the neoliberal capitalists intent on siphoning off the world’s resources into their private luxury pockets, that the people are distracted and at each other’s throats. To the porn-soaked leftist men, there’s the delicious anticipation of getting rid of those humourless feminists with their obsession with closing down the sex industry and replacing them with men who purport to be women and who love porn just as much as they do. To certain narcissistic misfits, it’s a way of placing themselves at the centre of the frame and of threatening anyone who disagrees with hate crime. It’s such a neat way of shutting up all women, any woman.

It is not possible to change sex. I do not accept men as women. Feminism is a movement by and for women. For the ultimate benefit of everyone.

So I am a TERF – a radical feminist who thinks that men – actual males, no matter how they identify or present themselves – do not belong in feminism. This is a legitimate ideological and philosophical position.

I wish all people well and I long for the widening of how we can be as men and women. I long for a truly egalitarian world. But we will never achieve that unless we renounce the cult of the masculine and learn to love and honour women too.

Further reading

9 thoughts on “How I became a TERF

  1. I think it would be great to have a myriad of feminists share their stories too?!
    My 2 cents:
    I’ve supported the LGBT community since I was born. My mom’s closest childhood friend was a gay male. He and his partner were like uncles to me. I never questioned their love, being gay wasn’t an “issue”in my home, it was normal. Due to the nature of my upbringing I’ve made friends with many gay & lesbian couples throughout my adulthood. I’ve fought for marriage rights, signed petitions, shared stories and have donated time & money to various local LGBT organizations.
    I never questioned the LGBT movement until last year. I read a few articles about boys on hormones getting to play female sports. It stopped me in my tracks because it made me think of my own daughter who is an athlete. Her male peers were much bigger & stronger than her… how is this fair? and then I watched Kaityln Jenner get awards & accolades all while he destroyed his marriage and his family (on reality television no less).
    So, I started researching & reading up on gender dysphoria, transvestism, biology & sexual attraction.
    Most LGBs and heteros identify with their biological sex. Also, there isn’t much differentiation when it comes to sexual attraction. Each one of us selects (a partner) for different reasons. (IE: Looks, personality, hygiene and intelligence etc.). Heteros often select more for breeding purposes though. (Pheromones- reptilian brain type stuff). Sexual attraction is VERY different from gender dysphoria/transvestism!
    In order for my next claim to make sense, I will 1st share a story: I had a very good friend in college, (let’s call him “J”). J was eccentric, a writer and started descending into madness our freshman year. One day “J” freaked out in the art room, luckily, I happened to be working that day and was able to keep him calm until the paramedics came.
    You see, J was a paranoid schizophrenic (most are diagnosed in their early 20’s) and was not taking his medication. His parents, friends, family members and doctors absolutely could not convince J to take his meds. Why? Because he was convinced that the government was putting cameras, poison and microphones in his pills. NO ONE (and I mean NO ONE) could convince him it was not true.
    I can’t help but to make that same observation about the trans community. Trans-people are mentally ill, suffering from gender dysphoria/transvetisism. NO ONE (and I mean no one) can convince them they are not the opposite sex. You can present science, DNA data, biology and still, due to their mental illness cannot be convinced otherwise.
    The difference though is that J went into a residential treatment facility and trans persons are getting a free pass. In fact, we are being told to “go along” with their delusions. Women especially are being forced to make concessions (even when we bring up statistical evidence about sex-based violence, a need to feel safe and a right to exclusively gather to discuss women’s issues). I can’t wrap my mind around how less than 1% of the population is forcing us to go along with their delusions… change laws, language and what it means to be a particular sex? WTF? Really?
    IMO, there is something sacred… almost goddess-like about being a biological women. Every 28 days our bodies cycle with the moon, we grow humans & can nourish them with our amazing bodies, we’re more verbal, nurturing and emotional… I could list a million reasons why I love being a woman. Trans-people feel like an invasion into our sacred spaces, there is no need to challenge the female collective experience and it’s beyond offensive that we have been asked to go along with their delusions (and calling it equality? Again, WTF?).
    So, I don’t advocate, donate or volunteer for the LGBT community anymore. I will never support big pharma, surgery and stereotyping as an effective psychiatric treatment. (Conversion therapy is horrible but somehow it’s okay to invert a man’s penis, put him a dress, insert silicone into their chests and jack him up on hormones and call him a woman? That’s not therapeutic- that’s just as abusive as conversion!!!) I also do not want boys on my daughter’s sports teams or a man showering with my granny at the YMCA. I want trans people to live their lives however they want to but will absolutely never recognize them as a biological male/female because it’s delusional… there aren’t cameras in your pills J… and hormones, silicone, inverted penis pouches & high heels doesn’t make you a woman either.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you, I had a friend make a post on fb recently which said trans women are women. If you don’t agree with me then delete me as a friend like the garbage you are. She was particularly angry at a feminist page that she said had TERF ideologies and if anyone followed them then they agreed with this. I can understand her but I followed the page so that I could hear all sides to an argument, be informed. I actually do agree with them that trans women are not women but have been bullied into unfollowing their page because I don’t want to upset my friend. I am feeling very angry now and upset at this bullying.

    Liked by 1 person

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