Radfems vs Transgender Women

Radfems vs Transgender Women

The RadFem 2012 conference excluded transgender women and speaker Jeffrey said they violate human rights. Um, that’s undermining feminism right there…

We all need feminism. This is not even a question. Feminism is the striving for equal rights and opportunities for everyone, regardless of how they identify. As with any political or sociological movement, femininism has its extremists, and they’re known as Radfems.

Radical feminism has countless splinter groups who all believe slightly different things, so it’s better to steer clear of generalisation. However, a number of radical feminists (the ones often referred to as radfems) see a male place in the universe as non-essential and even go so far as to desire a reversed misogyny where females have more rights and opportunities than anyone else. They also don’t have much time for the transgender.

The stance here at Mookychick has always been that transgender individuals are just trying to obtain the same rights we all crave: the ability to retain all human rights and opportunities regardless of gender. Transgender people suffer from the genetic accident of being born in the gender binary and sometimes at the wrong end. So why does this hostility towards them exist?

In 1999, Germaine Greer wrote in The Whole Woman:

“Governments that consist of very few women have hurried to recognise as women men who believe that they are women and have had themselves castrated to prove it, because they see women not as another gender but as a non-gender. No so-called gender-change has ever begged for a uterus-and-ovaries transplant; if uterus-and-ovaries transplants were made mandatory for wannabe women they would disappear overnight. The insistence that man-made women be accepted as women is the institutional expression of the mistaken conviction that women are defective males.”

I have more issues than I can shake a stick at with this quote. Feminism includes wanting to be seen as a woman and not be disadvantaged because of this fact. In Greer’s writings, we see an unforgiveable paradox where a woman refuses to accept another person who identifies as a woman because they had the misfortune of being born with male sexual characteristics.

The insinuation that Sexual Reassignment Programmes see woman as a non-sex completely ignores the fact that a large number of transgender people are men who were unfortunately born with female sexual characteristics. It would come as no surprise that many transgender women would figuratively kill for the opportunity to have a uterus and ovaries.

A number of radical feminists believe that transsexual people ‘cut off’ the most obvious means of invading women so that we seem less evasive, extending into a belief that trans folk are misogynists attempting to invade personal female spaces.

It was announced at the RadFem 2012 conference that its membership was restricted to women born as women (known as cis women). It doesn’t end there… speaker Sheila Jeffrey went on to call for transsexualism to be declared a human rights violation, and proposed that the related surgery to be banned by international law.

Renowned author and transgender woman Roz Kaveney outlines it well in her feature in the Guardian:

“I hate to say this of other feminists, but aspects of [RadFem2012’s] feminism – the anti-intellectualism, emphasis on innate knowledge, alternativeisation of tiny ideological differences, heresy hunting, conspiracy theories, rhetorical use of images of disgust, talk of stabs in the back and romantic apocalypticism – smack less of feminism than of a cult.”

So how do radfems feel about trans women?

1) Trans women aren’t women, whatever they might say and feel. Who cares about their beliefs? Who cares about their experience?

2) They’re actually misogynistic predators, giving themselves a potential lifetime of social castigation in order to cosy up to women and seem ‘safe’ so they can invade a real woman’s personal space. Yeah. Because that makes sense.

3) They’re akin to war criminals and violate human rights. See that trans woman getting on a bus? See that one over there going to a public bathroom? She’s violating human rights all over the place.

4) Trans people shouldn’t even oughta be allowed, and any related surgery to assist them should be banned by law.

Anti-transgender radical feminists come from the same ideology as patriarchal themes. This has horrible similarities to when our patriarchal society discusses rape victims, seeking to blame the victim instead of the situation. Mainly radical feminists are seeking to make their female identities more important than the identities of others as either women or men.

The obvious response to transphobia:

“In a world where trans women are beaten, raped and killed for their gender identity, claims of trans privilege and exploitation of cis women by trans women are a sick, sick joke.”

Radical Feminists of the type witnessed running this conference seem shockingly almost silent on the subject of both trans men and those with no fixed gender. They focus their hypocrisy on trans women and use them to validate their own ideas of oppression and hate.

It may just be me, but isn’t that exactly the kind of mindset which feminism strives eradicate?

I’ve looked through the entirety of the Radical Feminism twitter page. There is no mention of trans men or those individuals who feel they have no gender identity at all and reject the gender binary. They are ignored, presumably because discussing them would reveal the real hardship of being transgender and disprove this organisation’s point, alienating many of their followers.

My online search unearthed articles which generalised trans people, with only passing sentences on trans men and absolutely none at all on the gender-queer.

Transphobia undermines the feminist movement. How can we ask for more rights when some of us strive to destroy the rights of others?

Any feminist should actively challenge the opinions of these particular Radical Feminists, perpetuated as facts in their transphobic agenda. What is not needed is more aggression, oppression and hate driven towards trans people. They are an easy victim… forever made to look comical, never taken seriously. A hetero-normative, cis-gendered society is being pushed into these movements, politics and ideologies, with no thought to people’s identity and the damaging effects of repressing it.

It is our duty as people who want an equal playing ground for all to stand up for what we believe in, as the situation for the transgender is bad enough.

And on a happier note…


Artist: Yota Onoda

write for Mookychick