Trans Exclusionary ‘Radical’ Feminists Aren’t That Radical

Radical feminists…:

Believe that society must be changed at its core in order to dissolve patriarchy, not just through acts of legislation…Radical feminists believe that the domination of women is the oldest and worst kind of oppression in the world. They believe this because it spans across the world oppressing women of different races, ethnicities, classes and cultures. Radical feminists want to free both men and women from the rigid gender roles that society has imposed upon them. It is this sex-gender system that has created oppression and radical feminist’s mission is to overthrow this system by any possible means. (Source)

Sounds pretty wonderful, I mean, it’s the basis of feminism and got its start in the 1960’s. Radical feminism is what started the push for women’s rights, especially the critical idea of patriarchy and how women are oppressed in society. While there are various subgroups and various definitions of radical feminism, they all believe in one thing; changing society and getting rid of the patriarchy thus, ending the oppression of women.

By most notions, any feminist could be considered radical if they wish to change society at its core and how it functions, especially in regards to how women are treated through gender stereotypes, gender roles, and how society views its definitions of gender. Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists, in summary, believe that trans women are men, trans men are women (and especially traitors), that trans women rape the bodies of cis women for existing, and that being a woman is not an identity. Many of them harbor the idea of shared girlhood, which is the notion that there is a universal narrative that is experienced by all female assigned at birth people, something that trans women will never understand. These women and their supporters actively lobby against trans-inclusive health care, protections, and basic rights. However, trans people are not the only ones they harm in their crusades.

However, when it comes to TERFs and their beliefs as well as their approaches, there is something unradical about them. In essence, they support the patriarchy and how it oppresses women.

TW: Rape, TERFs, transphobia, transmisogyny, misogyny, sexism

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Faces of Trans*Phobia: Victoria Brownworth

Trigger Warning: Trans*phobia, transmisogyny, cissexism

This piece will not be about how Brownworth exploited a minor to show her his genitals for journalism. This piece will not be about how Brownworth has been attacking trans women about calling her out on her pedophilia for profit either. This piece will focus on going into the very root of her beliefs and exposing her for the trans*phobic, transmisogynist that Brownworth is by virtue of her own writing, interviews, and views. Just like I did with the Brennan interview, I plan on doing the same with Brownworth. If you want to know more about the previously mentioned, the TransAdvocate and Sophia Banks have done very well for documenting this and her harassment. I may touch upon those in this article, but that is not my focus as two very prominent women have already covered that (and continue to).

Brownworth says she is an ally of trans women and trans* people. However, for an ally, she spends her time around people like Brennan and other TERFs. When called out on twitter, she falls back into these people for support against these ‘vicious’ trans* people. Often, she resorts to the same TERF tactic of saying anyone calling her out is harassing, stalking, and obsessed with her. She uses the same fear mongering tactics employed by those who wish to keep trans* people, usually trans women, from peeing in peace (as an example). I feel nothing better suits this and proves this point than her piece on the Michigan Womyn’s Music Fest (Michfest/ MWMF), minus all of the stuff on Twitter of course.

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Cathy Brennan & TERFs Hate Women

Trigger Warning: Trans*phobia, transmisogyny, cissexism, rape, assault, violence, harassment

“I make it very clear that if people treat me with respect, I will treat them with respect,” Brennan said on an article, recently published on Bustle. Let me give some back story on who Brennan is. Cathy Brennan, also known as Bug Brennan, is a lawyer, and also a radical feminist of the TERF (Trans* Exclusionary Radical Feminist) variety. Brennan does not believe trans* people exist. In fact, she believes that the very existence of trans* people, specifically trans* women, rapes cis women. Yes, that is correct. Brennan believes that the existence of trans women is raping cis women and cis women’s bodies.

Source: TransAdvocate
Source: TransAdvocate

Brennan is also a biological essentialist. She believes that biology trumps everything, despite also saying that biology does not define women. Cis women are only the ones free from being defined by biology. Anyone else is defined by their genitals, especially if they have a penis. According to Brennan, those with penises are programmed to rape those with vaginas. Also, those with vaginas cannot rape people. According to Brennan, woman on woman rape does not happen (unless they are trans women).

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Where Do We Belong?: Gender and Privilege

Privilege is always a sticky discussion. It is something almost everyone experiences in varying degrees in some aspect of their lives whether it is gender, sexuality, race, social status, etc. Privilege and the lack of privilege is something that is extremely important in the discussions about intersectionality and oppression in feminism. However, as someone who presents and IDs as male, I’m left in a weird gray area.

As a trans man, where do I stand in feminism? I’ve experienced misogyny and sexism in the past, especially since I worked in a video game store for most of my working adult life. For 20 years of my life, I presented as female even if my gender identity did not match this, this is how I was perceived by the world. Working in a male dominated area, I experienced sexism and misogyny. I have a history with these things, a very personal history. Transitioning does not erase my history, as my history is part of me. I do not deny being trans* and fully embrace it as part of my identity. I should not be excluded from feminist spaces (not women’s spaces, as a man, I do not belong there). I also must sidestep and let women speak before me. I must acknowledge, accept, and understand how my new privileges affect me in my life. I am seen as a man (most of the time). However, this does not erase my history with sexism and misogyny.

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