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TOP 30 OF 2018 - 8. TERFs make feminism unsafe

First published on Tuesday the 28th of August, 2018, this piece comes in at number 8 in the top 30 most read Villainesse stories of 2018.

Trigger warning: This article contains anti-trans hate speech.

Glossary: TERF – Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist. See here for further explanation. 


TERFs have officially given up the cause.

They’ve realised their beliefs were disgustingly misguided and are apologising unreservedly for the harm they’ve caused.

Lol-sob. Kidding. But they should have – the minute that Breitbart agreed with them. You know Breitbart. The alt-right online publication, formerly run by that (in my opinion) toad Steve Bannon.

On the 20th of August this year, the website ran an article entitled ‘Sorry But Women Don’t Have Penises’, in which columnist James Delingpole explains, “On the principle of ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ it’s quite refreshing to find, for a change, in the foxhole next to me a bunch of TERFs. […] The TERFs are right of course. Women don’t have penises. It’s a scientific fact. To argue otherwise is to deny biological reality.”

That’s right, TERFS are “in the foxhole” with Breitbart – the publication responsible for such headlines as ‘Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?’ and ‘Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy’.

TERFs have been moaning about made-up problems for years but seem to have reached an abrasive fever pitch of late. All at once, the TERF movement is making news around the world. There were the disgusting anti-trans protests that took place at the recent London Pride Parade. And in Liverpool, where an anti-trans group has been plastering public spaces with phallus-shaped stickers reading “women don’t have penises”. Somehow they don’t see the irony in shoving penises in people’s faces – something they “fear” will happen if trans people are allowed to use the bathroom of their choice.

But I will focus on Aotearoa.

A recently released report from the Governance and Administration committee has recommended that people be allowed to ‘self-declare’ the gender displayed on their birth certificate.

What that means for trans people is that, rather than going through a long and expensive Family Court process – in which they will be forced to bring evidence of medical gender reassignment (something not all trans people can or wish to do, especially as there are no surgeons in New Zealand performing gender affirmation surgeries and only a tiny number of people funded by the Government to access such surgeries overseas) – they will simply be allowed to state their correct gender and be done with it.

The change will represent a huge human rights win and will come as major relief for a lot of trans folks. But it hasn’t made TERFs happy.

A group calling themselves the Lesbian Rights Alliance stated in a press release, “While this issue is being cast in the media as ‘LGBT’ legislation, we as Lesbians firmly disagree with it. This move will make it impossible for females to retain the right to female-only or lesbian-only spaces, services and provisions – as any male can simply declare he is female and have every legal right to use them.”

Much like the TERFs who are “in the foxhole” with Breitbart, the Lesbian Rights Alliance is in the ideological foxhole with Family First. National director Bob McCoskrie has stated, “It is disturbing that politicians want to ignore biological reality and, in the process, bring about confusion and ambiguity. A birth certificate is a historical record based on fact – not a political tool to further an ideology.”

This is the same group that staunchly opposed marriage equality, opposes reproductive choice, and endorses abstinence-based sex education. As far as I’ve seen, Lesbian Rights Alliance is yet to denounce the support.

The Lesbian Rights Alliance HAS been denounced, however, by both the NZ Lesbian Social Group who state “they do not speak for us”, and Louisa Wall, who says “they do not speak for me”. As a cisgender queer woman, allow me to co-sign.

Let’s be absolutely clear here: trans women are not a threat to women. (And by extension, neither are trans men, non-binary folks, intersex folks, or people who are genderqueer.)

The threat to women, statistically and overwhelmingly, is men.

Anti-trans protests that relegate personhood to genitalia are disgusting, juvenile, and hateful.

TERFs are a loud minority. They do not represent a feminism I subscribe to. They certainly do not represent me. 


  • LGBT /
  • Trans Rights /
  • TERFs /
  • Breitbart /
  • Family First /
  • Lesbian /
  • Louisa Wall /
  • Feminism /
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Comments ( 2 )

  • M-train's picture

    M-train - Tue, 2018-08-28 17:37

    Just to quote you again: "trans women/people are not a threat". A powerful and much needed article <3
  •'s picture

    abigail.johnson... - Tue, 2018-08-28 21:22

    Thank you!
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