Jane Clare Jones

The Annals of the TERF-Wars

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So, yesterday this turned up in my feed, which struck me as something of an, um, mispresentation… and somehow, I ended up writing my own version of how this whole thing went down…

 

Prologue: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Transsexual women: We just want some basic human rights.

Women: Okay.

Transsexual women: We have this condition called gender dysphoria and it’s really painful and we need to transition to live as the other sex because it’s the treatment for the dysphoria.

Women: Yeah, that sounds tough. Okay, if that’s what you need to do.

Transsexual women: We’d like you to treat us as women.

Most women: Um, okay. Sure, we can do that if that helps.

 

Prequel: A long time ago in a lesbian bar that no longer exists

Lesbians: We don’t have to treat you as women for sexual purposes, do we?

Many transsexual women: No, that’s cool

Nascent trans activists: Well, actually, if you don’t want to fuck us then it invalidates our womanhood and that is misgendering and it’s a human rights abuse and you should want to fuck us.

Lesbians: It’s a human rights abuse if we don’t want to fuck you? What the fuck?

Nascent trans activists: Yes, you should want to fuck us.

Lesbians: Even if you still have dicks?

Nascent trans activists: Even if we still have dicks.

Lesbians: Um yeah, sorry, we don’t do dicks. We’re LESBIANS.

Nascent trans activists: You are vagina fetishists with unconscious bias and are gatekeeping your vaginas. We are women and our dicks are women’s dicks. If you don’t want to fuck us, you’re bigots.

Lesbians: We’re not bigots, it’s just you’re male, and we fuck female people.

Nascent trans activists: LITERAL VIOLENCE. WE ARE WOMEN. YOU SHOULD WANT TO FUCK US.

Lesbians: Um yeah, we’re not really feeling that right now to be honest.

Nascent trans activists: TERF TERF TERF TERF TERF.

Lesbians: HEY PEOPLE! These people are pressuring our sexual boundaries because they say they’re women but the way they’re pressuring us doesn’t make us feel like they’re women…in fact, it makes us feel like they’re men and we don’t fuck men. We’re lesbians, we don’t fuck men. That’s the reason we did all the marching, so that was okay right? RIGHT????

(Nascent trans activists: TERF TERF TERF TERF TERF)

Lesbians: HEY PEOPLE!!! Could we get some fucking help here?

Rest of the LGB community and world: Did someone say something?

 

Episode 1: The First War Begins. Scene 1: Cyberspace – probably around 2013

Trans activists: So hey, when we said we’d like you to treat us like women that wasn’t right, because actually, we ARE women and we demand that you treat us exactly like women because we are women and that you to stop violently excluding us from all your women things.

Women: Um, we thought you were male people who had to transition to help with your dysphoria?

Trans activists: No, that is out-dated and pathologizing. Women are women because they have a gender identity which makes them women.

Women: Um, we thought we were woman because we’re female?

Trans activists: No, you are women because you have magic womanish essence that makes you women. We have the same magic womanish essence as you, it’s just that ours got stuck in the wrong body.

Feminists: That sounds kind of sexist. Can you tell us what this woman-essence is, and how it gets stuck in the wrong body, because that sounds like a weird metaphys…..

Trans activists: It’s SCIENCE.

Feminists: Science says there’s ‘magic woman essence’??? Are you sure? Because feminism would…

Trans activists: Shut up bigots.

Feminists: Sorry? What?

Trans activists: You are our oppressors, you don’t get to speak. When you speak you oppress us, and it literally kills us.

Feminists: WHAT?

Trans activists: You are cis women, cis people are our oppressors.

Feminists: We’re what?

Trans activists: It’s your new name, it comes from Latin, and means you have a magic gender essence that matches your body, and because your magic gender essence matches your body you are privileged…

Feminists: Hang on a minute, women are oppressed because they are women, we’re not really sure that’s a privilege…

Trans activists: YOU ARE PRIVILEGED BECAUSE YOUR GENDER IDENTITY MATCHES YOUR BODY. Nobody knows the pain of being trapped in the wrong body. It is the greatest pain of all the pains that has ever happened to all of human kind, and everyone who does not know this pain is privileged and is therefore our oppressor.

Feminists: Um, were not really sure we’re oppressing you, we don’t have much social power to oppress you, we’d just like to ask you some questions about this gender identity thing….

Trans activists: ARE YOU DEBATING OUR RIGHT TO EXIST???

Feminists: What? No, we just wanted to ask you…

Trans activists: YOU ARE DEBATING OUR RIGHT TO EXIST. THIS IS LITERAL VIOLENCE.

Feminists: No no no hold on, we’re just trying to ask you a question…

Trans activists: WE WILL NOT DEBATE OUR RIGHT TO EXIST. YOU ARE TRYING TO EXTERMINATE US. YOU ARE JUST LIKE GENOCIDAL RACISTS

Feminists: What??? We’re like genocidal what??? This is fucking crazy. Can we just try and calm down and talk about this?

Trans activists: NO. There is NO DEBATE. Debating is literal violence and makes us unsafe. Repeat after us – Trans women are women. Trans women are women because they have woman essence, just like cis women. You’re not women because of your bodies. Bodies have nothing to do with being a woman.

Feminists: Okay, this is sounding nuts now, because we really think our bodies have quite a lot to do with our being woman.

Trans activists: Bio-essentialism!

Feminists: What? Essentialism is bad we agree, but that means thinking people with certain kinds of bodies have to…

Trans activists: No, essentialism is thinking male and female people exist.

Feminists: But male and female people DO exist.

Trans activist: FUCK YOU TERF. DIE IN A FIRE.

Feminists: Woah.

Trans activists: How many fucking times do we need to tell you this cis-scum? Your body has nothing to do with your being a woman. There is no such thing as female biology.

Feminists: WHAT THE FUCK????

Trans activists: The gender binary was created by white heteropatriarchal colonialism.

Feminists: WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK???? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?? WHICH ‘COLONIALISM’????

American trans activists who don’t know the rest of the world exists: Colonialism colonialism duh.

Feminists: How the hell is the colonization of North America responsible for the creation of male and female people? And while we’re here that sounds kinda racist…

Trans activists: Two-spirit people burble burble sex is a spectrum burble clown fish burble burble intersex people burble burble some women don’t have ovaries burble social construct burble Judith Butler

(Academics with cool-girl syndrome and assorted edgelords and wokebros: JUDITH BUTLER!!!!)

Trans activists: ….burble burble, there is no such thing as female biology and women are women because they have magic gender essence and therefore some women have penises!

Feminists: Okay, this is batshit. We REALLY need to talk about this.

Trans activists: WE WILL NOT DEBATE OUR RIGHT TO EXIST.

 

Episode 1: The First War Continues. Scene 2: Cyberspace – around 2013-14

*Enter Intersectional Feminists from top, bottom and side of screen….*

Intersectional feminists: THEY WILL NOT DEBATE THEIR RIGHT TO EXIST YOU FUCKING BIGOTS.

Feminists: Hang on, we thought you were feminists. We thought you cared about female people.

Intersectional feminists: Female people are so last century. Only White Feminists care about female people.

Feminists: White what?

Intersectional feminists: All the feminists before us were white middle-class women and they only cared about what white middle-class women care about and they were only interested in getting good jobs for white middle-class women and they didn’t care about Black women and were dried up whorephobic prudes who didn’t realize sex work was liberating and mostly they just wanted to kill trans people.

Feminists: That sounds like some mad-ass caricature.

Intersectional feminists: You would say that, you oppressive old crones. You’re just saying that to maintain your power.

Feminists: No we’re not, we don’t have much power. We’re saying it because it sounds like bullshit. *Starts trying to explain all the things second wave feminism did to help women*

Intersectional feminists: We’re not listening to you, you oppressive bitches. We’ve hidden all your books in the library to protect young minds from them. You are whorephobes and transphobes and racists. We are intersectional. Only we have learned from the Tumblr-oracle how all the different oppressions have different points on a scale that add up to who is the most oppressed and you are white (so are we mostly but we’re pointing at you because somehow that means something, maybe because we have asymmetric hair-cuts and our profile pics give great side-eye) and you are women and that means that you are the least oppressed and that means that your feminism is shit and that means that you have to centre all these other people in your feminism and if you refuse it’s because you’re the oppressors and the most oppressed people are trans women and they must be the centre of feminism from now on.

Feminists: You want us to centre male born people in our feminism?

Intersectional feminists: THAT’S RIGHT BITCHES. And there is no such thing as ‘male-born people.’ That is cissexism and is literal violence. You need to educate yourselves. We don’t have the spoons.

Feminists: Um yeah, we know quite a lot about the history and practice of feminism and we’ve thought quite hard about it and I think we’re going to carry on centring female people if you don’t mind.

Intersectional feminists: OPPRESSORS

Feminists: Female people are oppressed and our political movement…

Intersectional feminists: SWERF AND TERF. SWERF AND TERF. SWERF AND TERF.

(Ps – Would you like to try this sourdough bread I made with yeast from my vagina?)

Feminists: Okay. This is getting REALLY fucked up now.

Intersectional feminists: Run away and cry your ‘White Feminism TM’ tears you dried up old witches. And don’t fucking kink-shame us or we’ll shank you.

Feminists: Um, this feminism seems not very…

Intersectional feminists with new blue hair: BIG DICK ENERGY.

*TERF-blocker descends*

 

Episode 1: The End of the First War. Scene 3: Cyberspace and public sphere, 2014-5

Feminists: *Educate themselves* *Become increasingly horrified* *Start writing articles nobody fucking reads*

HEY PEOPLE! This shit is mental. There are these people saying being female has nothing to do with being a woman, and that they’re women because they have magic gender essence, and this sounds pretty sexist, and they also say that sex doesn’t exist and given we’ve always thought that that’s the reason we’re oppressed we’re pretty worried this is a bad idea for women and feminism, and now these other people who say they’re feminists are telling us we have to centre people who are not female in our feminism or we’re the oppressors and are going on and on about how we shouldn’t say anything because we’re whorephobic bigots and it’s kind of nuts and people are bullying lesbians to have sex with people with penises and they’re encouraging young people to take hormones that we don’t seem to understand the effects of and we think this is all sketchy as fuck to be honest. What the hell is going on?

Trans activists and intersectional feminists: That woman talking over there is making people unsafe because she is an evil bigot and trans people are the most vulnerable people in the world and she is the oppressor and she is oppressing us by speaking and if she speaks then it is literal violence and it will make people hurt us and we will also hurt ourselves and so you have to stop her speaking and if you don’t stop her speaking then you are also an evil bigot and we are going to tell everyone what evil fucking bigots you are and you wouldn’t want that now so you better stop her speaking right fucking now.

Civic institution: Um, what now?

Trans activists: *Pickets* *Inundates with letters and emails and phone calls* *Goes on twitter and gets a massive pile of people to bombard institution*

Civic institution’s PR people: This makes us look bad.

Civic institution: Okay, we won’t let the bigot speak. I mean, she’s just a feminist, right?

Trans activists: Hurray we are safe! Ding dong the witch is dead!

Feminists: What the fuck? HEY PEOPLE! I was just trying to say something because I think there are some questions here and I think we should really talk about it. I’m not sure people are women just because they have magic woman essence and I think there might be some not good consequences of thinking this.

Trans activists and civic institutions: SHUT UP BIGOTS.

Misogynist child with column in major left-wing newspaper: SHUT UP BIGOTS. YOU’RE THE KIND OF PEOPLE WHO THOUGHT GAY PEOPLE WERE ALL KIDDY FIDDLERS.

Feminists: Um, lots of us are lesbians actually and the rest of us were totally behind gay rights, like, we’ve always been allies, what the hell are you going on about?

Misogynist child with column in major left-wing newspaper: *Blocks all the women objecting* WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY BITCHES.

Woke bros and assorted leftie-misogynists: *Jumping up and down with excitement* WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY UPPITY BITCHES.

Trans activists and civic institutions and leftie newspapers:  REPEAT AFTER US – Trans women are women. Because trans women are women then trans women should be given all the social resources given to other women and if you don’t accept this then you are exclusionary bigots and we’re going to make damn sure everyone knows what terrible terrible people you are and how you shouldn’t be allowed to live or work or speak or write in public. Have you fucking got that???

Feminists: You’re intimidating and silencing us.

Trans activists and leftie newspapers:  No, we’re not. You trigger people by existing and asking questions and having the wrong opinions. You need to shut the fuck up so that everyone is safe. RIGHT NOW.

 

Episode 2: Between the Wars. Scene 1: Public sphere, 2015-2017

Feminists: We’re feeling pretty demoralized here…

Trans activists: EXCELLENT. You just sit over there and keep your little lady-mouths shut.

*Organise some more* *Take over Stonewall and all the LGBT+ organizations* *Start sending people into school and institutions to explain that people have magic gender essence which sometimes gets trapped in the wrong body* *Bully, harass and no platform any woman who speaks up*

Hey, government. We’ve got this great idea. You know how people think you’re a bunch of assholes who has been driving the economy into the ground and lining rich people’s pockets while you let vulnerable people starve, we’ve got just the ticket for you.

Government: *Ears prick up* Tell us more.

Trans activists: Yeah, all you have to do is change this piece of legislation so we can get our sex changed more easily. The current legislation is really burdensome, and we’re really vulnerable, and it would really help us out, and would totally make you look like you care about marginalized people while costing you fuck all.

Government: Well, that does sound like a boon. Is there a catch?

Trans activists: No, not one. It’s just streamlining an administrative process really.

Government: Okay, come and tell us all about it. Is there anyone else we need to talk to?

Trans activists: No. It doesn’t have any effect on anyone, it’s just paperwork really. JUST MAKE SURE YOU DON’T TALK TO THOSE UPPITY WOMEN OVER THER THEY’RE ALL EVIL BIGOTS WHO WANT TO KILL US.

Government: Oh yes, they do sound like terrible people, how awful for you.

Trans activists: Yes, they’re really horrific. And while we’re at it, you might want to think about removing their rights to single-sex spaces from the Equalities Act because it discriminates against us.

Government: Interesting. Okay, when can you come in?

 

Episode 2: Between the Wars. Scene 2: The Take Over Continues, Labour Party, 2016-17

The left of the left: Austerity sucks! Neoliberalism sucks! WE. WANT. SOCIAL. DEMOCRACY. NOW.

Some of the feminists: Yeah, we want that too.

Other of the feminists: We think these people might be wankers.

Some of the feminists: Noted. Let’s see what they say….

Momentum: WE. WANT. SOCIAL. DEMOCRACY. NOW.

The new leader of the Labour Party: WE. WANT. SOCIAL. DEMOCRACY. NOW.

Some of the feminists: Okay, great….

Momentum: ANYONE WHO DOESN’T WANT SOCIAL DEMOCRACY NOW IS A CAPITALIST SHILL.

Some of the feminists: Well, we get what you’re saying, but….

Momentum: CAPITALIST SHILL. CAPITALIST SHILL. FUCK THE COLLABORATING CENTRIST BIGOTS…

Some of the feminists: This seems strangely fam….

Momentum: ….AND WHILE WE’RE AT IT, TRANS WOMEN ARE WOMEN!

The new leader of the Labour Party: TRANS WOMEN *ARE* WOMEN.

Momentum: TRANS WOMEN ARE WOMEN TRANS WOMEN ARE WOMEN AND ANYONE WHO QUESTIONS IS A BIGOT.

Some of the feminists: Ohhhhhhhhh FUCK…..

Other of the feminists: We told you they were wankers.

Misogynist child with column in major left-wing newspaper: Trans women are women and the only people who disagree with me are those centrist collaborating shills over there…

Some of the feminists: Well THAT’S bullshit.

Momentum, Labour leadership, misogynist child and chorus of brocialists: TRANS WOMEN ARE WOMEN. TRANS WOMEN ARE WOMEN. CAPITALIST BIGOT SHILLS BIGOT SHILLS BURN THEM BURN THEM…

Bastardi: Fully automated luxury……

Some of the feminists: Yup. Wankers.

Other of the feminists: Told you.

Labour Party women: So, about this trans women are women thing, we just have a few….

Momentum, misogynist child and chorus of brocialists: SHUT UP YOU FUCKING TERF BIGOTS.

Labour Party women: TERF-what?

Momentum, misogynist child and chorus of brocialists: You are ‘Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists.’ That means you’re evil and witches and that people can punch you and it’s not violence against women because you’re witches.

Labour Party women: Um, we’re not sure we’re radical feminists, or that we’re excluding anyone, but we definitely don’t think anyone should be punching women and we just wanted to….

Momentum, misogynist child and chorus of brocialists: ZIP IT.

Labour Party women: *in a huddle in the wings, whispering quietly* What the fuck????

HEY PEOPLE! We’re Labour members and this a democratic political party and we think we should….

Momentum, misogynist child and chorus of brocialists: WE TOLD YOU TO ZIP IT.

Labour Party women: But…

Momentum, misogynist child and chorus of brocialists: TSZUP!!!!! *makes zipping motion*

Labour Party women: Well, we think we want to talk about this so we’re going to go over here and….

Momentum, misogynist child and chorus of brocialists: GREAT. FUCK OFF. WE DON’T NEED SHILLS LIKE YOU IN THE REVOLUTION ANYWAY…

Feminists: This is a fucking clusterfuck.

Momentum: We have this awesome young trans woman who we think would make an awesome Women’s Officer because she’s awesome and trans women are awesome and trans women are women and there is no difference in any of their life experience which means they might not understand women’s political interests and anyone who suggests that is a fucking bigot.

General public: Huh?

Young trans women’s officer with variable coloured hair: Hi, I’m Petal, and I’m very petally, and that means I know all about women and their petals and I can represent all the political interests of petals and when I get a womb-transplant I will be even more petally, and if you don’t like my petals…

Labour Party women: No no, your petals are fine, it’s just that you’re very young, and for most of the time you were alive you were….

Petal: I WAS WHAT? I have *always* been a woman…

Labour Party women: Yeah, we’re just not quite sure about that bit….

Petal: FUCK YOU, YOU TRANSPHOBIC BIGOTS.

Labour Party women: Um, we thought you were supposed to be representing us, and actually, it doesn’t seem like you’re really doing very much….

Petal: FUCK OFF TERFS.

General public: What the hell is going on…?

Feminists: Yeah, we kind of…..

Momentum, trans activists, misogynist child and chorus of brocialists: WE THOUGHT WE TOLD YOU WITCHES TO BE QUIET ALREADY.

 

Episode 3: The Second War Begins. Scene 1 – Somewhere in Whitehall, 2018

Government: We think we’re going to change the law. Just a little administrative clear up to make life less burdensome for the trans population who, as we know, are terribly vulnerable.

Feminists: You’re going to do what??? Why didn’t you ask us about this?

Government: Yes well, the trans people said it didn’t affect you.

Feminists: THEY SAID WHAT??? Hang on a motherfucking minute.

 

Episode 3:  The Witches Strike Back. Scene 2: Cyberspace and public sphere, 2018

Trans activists: REPEAT AFTER US: Trans women are women. Trans women should not be excluded from any spaces women have access to. Anyone who questions that is an exclusionary genocidal racist who is in league with the far right. And by the way, you’re not women anymore, you’re cis women, and we want you to stop talking about your bodies, and we’re going to change all the words in all the literature that has anything to do with you so that everyone understands that being female is not necessary to being a woman, and from now on you are ‘mentruators’ and ‘cervix havers’ and ‘pregnant people.’ Got that?

Women: WOAH. You fucking what? We’re cis-what? And we’re not women anymore, we’re menstruators. We don’t think we like this.

Trans activists: It’s inclusive.

Women: Well, it sounds dehumanising as all hell to us.

Trans activists: Shut up cis people, you are the oppressors. These are the new words for you.

Women: Don’t we get to decide which words we use for ourselves?

Trans activists: No, you are the oppressors, if you do not accept these new words you are oppressing us.

Women: We’re oppressing you by wanting to be called women??? What the hell is….

Trans activists: BIGOTS! These are your new words. You are cis women, and we are trans women. We are both just different types of women, except we’re more oppressed than you so you have to do what we say. Look, there’s nothing you can do about it, the government already agrees with us, see?

Women: The government already agrees with you? What?

Trans activists: Yes. REPEAT AFTER US: Trans women are women. The government believes this and is going to change the law so that we can be legally recognised as female if we sign a piece of paper that says we have magic woman essence…

Women: What??? This can’t be right. Surely someone would have said something about this? Where are the feminists? Feminists, is this right?

Feminists: U-huh. We were trying to….

Women: What are the implications of this???

Feminists: *montage of charts and essays* *three weeks later*

Women: Fuck this shit. We need to do something.

Feminists: YES. WE. DO.

Feminists and radicalized women and intersex people and transsexuals and concerned parents and gay men who are realizing something’s up and some straight male allies: EVERYONE HOLD HANDS AND PUUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLLL.

The press: The women seem to be making a shit-ton of noise about something? Why are there stickers of cocks everywhere??? What on earth is going on?

Trans activists and the left-wing press: NOTHING, THEY’RE BIGOTS.

Most of the press: Oh, okay.

A few journalists: *Digging around* What the actual fuck??????

Feminists and allies: EVERYONE KEEP PUUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLLLING. IT’S MOVING.

Trans activists: BURN THE WITCHES BURN THE WITCHES BURN THE WITCHES.

Feminists: Ha, yeah, we’re not so scared of you and your words now are we? There’s a ton of us here. And people are starting to listen. EVERYONE. C’MON. PUUUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.

Trans activists: BURN THE WITCHES BURN THE WITCHES BURN THE WITCHES.

Women and allies: PUUUUULLLLLLLLL.

Feminists watching from around the world: Hell yes! PUUUUULLLLLLLLL.

Women and allies: KEEP FUCKING PUUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLLLING.

Trans activists: BURN THE WITCHES BURN THE WITCHES BURN THE WITCHES.

Government: Lah-lah-lah.

A few journalists: Um actually, we had a little look at this thing, and we think the women might have a point.

Trans activists: NO THEY DON’T THEY’RE WITCHES BURN THEM BURN THEM.

A few journalists: Now, come on, there is a proposed change to law, and this is a democracy, and they have some arguments that seem quite compelling, and there have been some things that have happened recently that seem to suggest that maybe there’s some substance to their concerns, and it seems like we should think this through.

Trans activists: NO DEBATE. BURN THEM BURN THEM.

A few journalists: We’re not sure that’s really helping your case. We think we’re going to start covering this in more depth.

Trans activists: YOU CAN’T LISTEN TO THEM THEY’RE WITCHES. IF YOU DON’T GIVE US WHAT WE WANT WE’LL KILL OURSELVES.

Women and allies: PUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLL. IT’S MOVING IT’S MOVING!!!!!!!

Feminists watching from around the world: PUUUUULLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!

Major left-wing newspaper that has been steadfastly quiet: *ostentatiously clears throat* Um, actually we think the women might have a point.

Women and allies: *BACKFILPS*

Trans activists and allies at home and abroad: OMFG why is the British media so full of evil bigots??????

Women and allies: *Lying in a bundle panting* Whatfuckingever asshats.

<Fin>

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