Now, I know a lot of you cis folks mean well, and the fact is, you’re very useful to the trans/enbee community. Cos for the time being at least, there’s more of you than there is of us, and we’re so busy trying to survive against the endless onslaught of oppression and erasure threatening us 24/7 that we do need you to fight for us.
Below is a video which makes a satisfactory effort to be inclusive. As you can hear, the creator has made absolutely no attempt to learn about the arguments put forward by TERFs or attempt to engage with or debunk their theories, she simply swears a lot and calls them bigots. That’s the kind of allyship we want to encourage:
But, I’m sorry to say that as a class, most of you cis fuckers still DO NOT GET IT! I know you think you’re performing allyship effectively, but there are times when you people are almost as bad as TERFs. For example see this screenshot from some cisgender breeder’s Facebook page:
Oh sure, she’s making a big show of defending trans people, but do you see what her page is called? Bio essentialist much? Not to mention making it all about her and violence against cisgender women, only at the very end does she make a passing acknowledgement of the harassment suffered by trans people.
So, below I’m providing another one of my handy lists in order to help you wannabe allies to stop being so annoyingly clueless:
1. Do not engage with the TERFs, that is OUR job. It is not your place to try and explain the nature of transgenderism. When a TERF starts asking awkward questions, do not try to debate with them, do not read their comments, do not click on their links, just block them. If you absolutely have to say something, keep it to simple phrases like:
Debating with bigots is the first step to becoming one.
2. Do not ask us questions. It is not our job to educate you, and your questions can be very triggering. Just accept that sex and gender are the same thing, that male and female brains are a scientific fact, that misgendering kills, that no trans person has ever harmed a cis person and that we are what we say we are. The only questions a cis ally should ever ask are:
3. Do not refer to trans people as trans. Yes, it’s confusing I know, but the reality is, transgender people are not transgender. They do not ‘identify’ as their gender, they ARE their gender, they have always been their gender. Regardless of whether they want surgery, or take hormones, or even dress in a fashion associated with their gender, they ARE what they say they are. Genitals have nothing to do with sex! If you want to avoid confusion refer to yourselves as cisgender, while referring to us as male, female or non binary. If you have to make a distinction say DFAB or DFAM, unless of course the person you are speaking to is offended by those terms, in which case you must refer to them by whatever term they specify, and then self crit.
4. Do not erase trans people by pretending ‘you don’t see gender’. Transgender and non binary people have been around since the beginning of time, and to gloss over that by ignoring a trans persons struggles is transphobic. While trans women are women, and you should point that out at every opportunity, do not forget that important prefix, to do so is to ignore your own privilege. Unless the trans person you are speaking to is offended by that term, in which case you’ll need to self crit.
5. Don’t listen to TERFs. Similar to my first point, do not allow TERFs any kind of platform or they will start spewing hate speech that will confuse and traumatize all who hear them. Remember, all TERFs believe the following:
More information on how to spot TERFs before they get a chance to start upsetting people can be found in my previous helpful blogpost.
6. Remember that misgendering kills. People with gender dysphoria can have an extremely vulnerable mental state and are at perpetual risk of suicide. Any accidental misgendering, or simply disagreeing with them about any issue, or denying any of their demands can be a death sentence. Don’t do it. At the same time, don’t forget that it is very transphobic to suggest that transgender people are in any way suffering from mental illness. Transgenderism is perfectly normal and healthy and ought to be celebrated, though not in a condescending way.
7.Do not assume that all trans people have gender dysphoria. Many transgender and non binary are very happy with the bodies they are born in and have no plans to change in order to fit in with the stereotypes associated with their gender. Some, very wicked, gatekeeping trans traitors have asserted that dysphoria is an essential component of being transgender, however these people are Truscum, and they are the only trans people that we insist you be mean to, rules about not triggering or attacking dysphoric or suicidal people do not apply to truscum.
8. Remember that detransitioners don’t exist. Some people are spreading lies that some transgender people regret having gender confirmation surgery. Do not believe these heinous falsehoods. To credit such tales undermines everything we are working to achieve. Do not click on links which peddle this false narrative, do not read their blogs, do not question why referrals for gender confirmation have risen by 400% in the last decade.
9. Always Be Capitulating. Cisgendered people can never truly understand transgenderism, so do not attempt to disagree with a transgender or non binary person, even about issues which may appear not to be related. If they tell you pink hats are transphobic, they’re transphobic. If they tell you talking about female genital mutilation is cissexist, it’s cissexist. The best way to avoid trampling over our sensibilities is to avoid any mention of issues which pertain specifically to cis women, some older feminists struggle with this, that’s why we call them TERFs.
10. Don’t deny your cis privilege. It is regrettable, but the reason I had to post the above point is because certain cis women are still trying to make out that being a cis woman comes with more disadvantages than privileges. And while it pains me to write it, it is women of colour who are some of the worst offenders, some of them have been known to actually argue with white trans women about who has suffered the most oppression over the centuries! Some others have dared to suggest that comparing the transatlantic slave trade and Jim Crow laws to our own struggle to use our preferred toilet is somehow racist! And that the using of terms like two spirit is culturally appropriative! All I can say to these cisters of colour is that they should look to inspirational women like Janet Mock and Cherno Biko to show them the way back to intersectionality.
11. Don’t be slow about mass reporting. This is where you cis
scum allies are really needed. If we need a TERF page or tweet or blog taken down, it’s up to you folks to report it. We’ve learned that most platforms removal protocols are pretty useless, they never investigate anything, however if thousands of people report something it’ll get taken down regardless of what it says. Don’t even look at what we tell you to report, your job is not to judge what is acceptable, it is to obey us. The same applies to unfriending, blocking and banning anyone who has been deemed a TERF, if you’re going to create a truly inclusive and intersectional space you may have to kick a lot of people out first.
12. Mind your language! In recent months we’ve made great strides in eliminating trans exclusionary language from such institutions as the BMA, Planned Parenthood and in useful pamphets about sex education. However it is important to familiar yourself with some new terms geared towards describing reproductive biology while respecting the needs of trans people:
And just to recap, DO NOT LISTEN TO TERFs! Below is a handy slogan to chant whenever your beliefs are being challenged:
TERFs are EVIL!
TERFs are BAD!
Don’t listen to TERFs!
It’ll make you SAD!
Arguing with TERFs over the internet is a vital part of transactivism, almost as important as silencing TERFs in person, vandalizing and shutting down their unsafe spaces, and disrupting their meetings. However it can be exhausting, as TERF after TERF refuses to accept that she is nothing but a worthless bigot who needs recant her hateful crimethink, and sometimes it’s hard to keep on finding the spoons for it. So, listed below are some handy, fail safe, multi purpose argumentative approaches that should silence any TERF in her tracks:
1. You’re a white supremacist!
This is a terrific comeback, and there are many benefits to it. Any silent lurkers will assume that the TERF said something racist elsewhere and will immediately hate her. By associating her transphobia with the systematic oppression and borderline genocide waged against indigenous people’s over millennia, it will make transphobia seem like an equally important issue, and everyone will be afraid to question you further. If the TERF tries to counter by saying how on Earth did you come to that conclusion, explain that if she believes one bad thing (that trans women aren’t women) then that means she must support all other bad things too. Also, white supremacist sounds a bit like white feminist, so it’s only a small step between accusing a feminist you don’t like of being the latter and denouncing her as being the former.
2. You’re Ugly!
This is a time honoured classic, that has been used to successfully shut down
uppity women TERFs before people even knew what a central issue trans rights were to the cause of feminism. Admittedly, this argument is borrowing slightly from the manosphere play book, but the fact is if men have been debunking women’s arguments for years by pointing out that those women are unattractive, it must be because it’s a damned effective method, right? If you like you can put a trans friendly twist on it, by suggesting they’re just jealous because trans women have better legs, hair, make up etc,
3. Educate yourself!
This is an excellent way to shut down a TERF while making yourself look smart. Back it up by scornfully asking if they know how to use Google. Then the TERF has to go and research your argument for you, instead of making you expend the unnecessary energy of backing up your assertions with facts. If they persist in sealioning you, and push you to provide data for your statistics, always be sure to have some lengthy, borderline incomprehensible study to link to, that will leave the TERF so bemused that by the time she’s made sense of it, you’ll have had time to block her on social media and report her account for hate speech.
4. Call them a Fake Goth
This is a fairly new one, but it’s gaining traction. Originally it applied to members of the goth community not considered authentic. However, since the recent invasion of Olympia, Washington by arch TERF Cathy Brennan captured on video here, the term now applies to TERFs. Its beauty is in its ambiguity. Are we criticizing their appearance (see 2.)? Their ideas? This comeback is guaranteed to leave even stubbornest TERF exclaiming “What?”
5. Make rape/death threats
Again, this is borrowing from the online misogynist’s playbook, but you have to remember that TERFs aren’t proper women (or people for that matter), so it’s fine to call them gendered slurs, threaten them with sexual violence, or send them memes like this one:
6. Emotional blackmail
Make this all about you, and your own personal suffering, rather than let them derail the conversation by talking about the more general consequences of making sex and gender solely a matter of self identification. DO NOT let them start citing examples of incidents where (undoubtedly fake) trans women have behaved in a negative manner. If you don’t
have any personal experience of assault, harassment or suicidal thoughts; or if you’re cisgendered, in which case you’ll be far too privileged to have ever suffered anything, bring up the plight of suicidal children with gender dysphoria. No one can disagree with gender dysphoric children being administered off label hormone blockers, followed by a life time of hormone injections; not unless they want all those children to commit SUICIDE! No one will admit to wanting to kill children, will they*? Also cite unverified statistics about trans women being murdered every 8 minutes. Admittedly this also sort of borrows from the manosphere playbook, effectively threatening suicide if they won’t capitulate and all; but hell, all’s fair in love and war, right?
7. Post memes
When all other avenues have been exhausted, when you’ve made the most emotive argument you can think of, when you’ve accused them of causing violence with their refusal not to condemn the wearing of pink hats, and you just can’t find any more spoons tucked behind the couch, you can always post a series of memes. If you don’t already have a ready supply of trans supportive memes, they are very simple to make:
First find a random image off the internet
Second, add some sassy truth bomb that no one can fault the logic of:
and voila, the argument is won. It helps if you can post five or six of these in succession.
The above pat responses are sure to silence any TERF who dares to voice her opinion on a publicly accessible forum, and until such time as we can persuade all social media platforms to permaban anyone who utters transphobic hate speech, it is with arguments like these that we can maintain our positive bellyfeels.
*If anyone tries to assert that repeatedly talking about vulnerable young people being suicidal is actually harmful and may encourage children to self harm, just put your fingers in your ears and scream ‘LA LA LA!’ while closing your browser.
Tomorrow night the long awaited second half of Season 7 of The Walking Dead comes back to our screens. And I for one cannot wait. However, let us not forget that TWD is a problematic show in many ways.
For example there is its habit of killing off black guys the moment another black character joins the cast (I mean c’mon, did Bob, Tyreese and Noah have to die so Morgan could come back?), the way the plots have become repetitive, the way they no longer bother with detailed character development, and instead manipulate our emotions by subjecting us to escalating violence and sadism which has driven down ratings as even the loyalist fans can stomach no more. Don’t get me started on Glenn’s fake death back in Season 6.
But, the real elephant in the room here, is WHERE are all the trans people?
Oh I know TWD has made some tokenistic gestures by including poc and a few LGBT characters, and having strong female characters like Carol, Andrea, Michonne, Maggie etc, But really TWD, isn’t it time to be a bit more inclusive and introduce some trans and non binary characters?
I mean, just think of the potential! All those medical supply runs could involve an urgent search for lupron and estrogen? In what ways would cis privilege come into play during a zombie attack? How could tensions within Alexandria over shared facilities be resolved? What if it turned out Carol was a TERF, would she have to leave her community and strike out alone, again? Imagine the dramatic tension when Negan gets called out for misgendering someone and is requested to self crit? Such plot lines could inject some new energy into the show and raise awareness of the kinds of issues that would be faced by trans and non binary people in a post apocalyptic wasteland.
So come on AMC, it’s high time you folks got with the program and stopped being so damned exclusive.