[TRIGGER WARNING: MISGENDERING, TRANSMISOGYNY, DISCUSSION OF GENITALS]
I recently got into some serious arguments with TERFs on Tumblr, and it made me realize... that I don't talk nearly enough about how terrible they are on here.
If you don't know, TERF stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist. A little history - it used to stand for Trans Exterminatory/Exterminationist Radical Feminist. It was coined by Katrina Rose, a trans woman who saw how much TERFs want to make trans people, and especially trans women, go away. They'd like trans people to just not exist, thanks.
To make themselves sound less horrible, TERFs chose the new acronym for themselves. "Oh, we don't want them all to die," they said. "We just don't want them anywhere near us. Thanks." Now the less extreme version of the acronym has become common vernacular in certain circles, but even though transphobic radical feminists came up with it, they still like to say shit like "TERF is a slur."
It's also generally more accurate to use the term TWERF, because, since this group is utterly transphobic and does not view trans people to be their actual gender, they tend to welcome trans men and exclude (and constantly hate on and harass) trans women. TWERF stands for Trans Women Exclusionary/Exterminatory/Exterminationist Radical Feminist. Sometimes the R is dropped from there because a feminist does not need to identify as radical to hate and want to exclude or get rid of trans women.
It had been a while since I'd seriously argued with TWERFs, mostly because their arguments make zero sense. I can't get them into a corner like I can with MRAs because the entire argument has no structure at all. They make no sense.
This time, a TWERF came at me with an argument about "sexual dimorphism." This is a biology term that is defined at "the differences in appearance between males and females of the same species, such as in colour, shape, size, and structure, that are caused by the inheritance of one or the other sexual pattern in the genetic material." This is supposed to be what's beyond actual sexual organs.
I was told to disprove sexual dimorphism. As though the concept somehow proves that trans women are really men. Her argument was that trans women who are attracted exclusively to women are not lesbians because trans women are really men therefore if they're only attracted to women, they're straight, And her line of though for this was that men and women usually look a certain way based on their genes.
You see what I mean? Does this make sense to anyone? I tried explaining that it literally does not matter, that defining any sex characteristic as either male of female is a complete social construct, and that we only still do so because the world and society still completely functions on the terms of "male" and "female" and "masculine" and "feminine" and so most people feel to need to define themselves using these terms and often have to just to survive. So let them define themselves and don't get all bent out of shape if their definition doesn't fit the picture that we've all been raised on. Let the definitions of gender change, but obviously it can't be obliterated all at once, because shit, most people don't even understand what "transgender" really means.
This was impossible for the TWERF to grasp, of course, and she began accusing me of all sorts of things, like being a homophobe and not believing that homosexuality exists (WTF?), and saying that I wanted cis lesbians to be raped by making them have sex with trans women with penises, even though all lebsians hate penises (not true). This, by the way, is common rhetoric in TWERF Land.
That's all completely fucked. First of all, you do not know what genitals anyone has. A trans woman might have a penis and she might not. She might love her penis or she might want nothing to do with it. Secondly, this argument strictly defines the sexuality of every lesbian. Apparently, every lesbian must totally hate penises and base their attraction to another person solely on genitals.
Is that not fucked up?
I get that there are some people who are really into certain genitals. You might love the penis. You might love the vagina. You might love testicles. That preference may come into play when deciding whether you want to have sex with someone and/or have a relationship with them. It might not.
I identify as a straight woman. But I am not interested in any genitals, really. I don't find the penis, the testicles, or the vagina to be sexually or aesthetically attractive. In fact, I think the penis and the vagina are kind of weird and awkward and I think balls are gross. I very much like to be penetrated, but you don't need a flesh penis for that. I am also sexually aroused by the sight of breasts. This does not change the fact that I've only ever been attracted to men. That includes trans men, and that last fact still has nothing to do with their genitals. I would fuck and date and marry a trans man, regardless of what's in the pants. I don't care. I'm attracted to people, not genitals. I care about people, not genitals. I think most people will agree that a person's mind, personality, spirit, and/or soul is more important than genital configuration.
And I think we can all agree that TWERFs and this fucked up apparently completely off definition of sexual dimorphism that seems to just be obsession with gonads is gross. Also, apparently humans are considered monomorphic now? Because compared to other animal species, our males and females just don't look different enough. But again, who cares? Stop projecting your obsession with genitals onto everyone.