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The Origins of Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism

Feminism is centered around the idea of creating equality between all men and women on all platforms, but some people who identify as feminists are forgetting this definition, thus creating the need for intersectional feminism. Contrary to the idea of feminism that originated during the Enlightenment that only benefited white women, intersectional feminism is about creating equality for all women: women of color, disabled women, trans women, overweight women, mentally ill women, Muslim women, LGBT women and all other women.

Feminists can’t be feminists until we fight for all women.

The term TERF or Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists has come to light recently, but its ideology has been recognized since Janice Raymond published her book The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male in 1979. Raymond, who calls herself a radical feminist, has even stated that she believes that “the problem of transsexualism would best be served by morally mandating itself out of existence.” 

Janice Raymond was not the first well-known radical feminist, and she did not formulate her own ideas. They were influenced by Mary Daly who believed that “transsexualism, which Janice Raymond has shown to be essentially a male problem, is an attempt to change males into females, whereas in fact no male can assume female chromosomes and life history/experience.” This is a woman who prided herself on her distaste of the patriarchy but let patriarchal views of what a man is and what a woman is rule her ideology.

The idea of being transgender (or transsexual, as it was known prior to the 90s) is no new idea. Some people are born in the wrong body while some people are born in the right body. However, we are seeing feminists use the idea of feminism to hate women who aren’t born women the same way that the Westboro Baptist Church uses Christianity to hate their fellow people.

We are on our way to becoming a more accepting and diverse society, but transphobia is very real and still relevant. Being transgender was considered a mental illness until 2013 when the DSM-V removed the Gender Identity Disorder, but the term Gender Dysphoria is still there today.

We shouldn’t undermine any woman’s experience because some believe she once benefited from the time when she was a man. Feminists can’t be feminists until we fight for all women. Being born with a vagina doesn’t mean you’re a women, and being born with a penis doesn’t mean you’re a man.

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Maddy Keo

Refugee activist, feminist, & environmentalist. When she's not pretending to study for her school's Academic Decathlon team, she's probably getting frustrated on Twitter.

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Maddy Keo

Refugee activist, feminist, & environmentalist. When she's not pretending to study for her school's Academic Decathlon team, she's probably getting frustrated on Twitter.

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