Do Radical Feminists Deny Trans People’s Right to Exist?

From Trouble and Strife:

Radical feminists are regularly accused of denying trans people’s right to exist, or even of wanting them dead. Here Jane Clare Jones takes a closer look at these charges. Where do they come from and what do they mean? Is there a way to move towards a more constructive discussion?

The claim that certain forms of feminist speech should be silenced has recently become common currency. Notable instances include the ongoing NUS no-platforming [blacklisting] of Julie Bindel, the cancellation of a performance by the comedian Kate Smurthwaite (which prompted a letter to the Observer), and, in the last month, the demand that a progressive Canadian website end its association with the feminist writer Meghan Murphy.

Claim 1: TERFs [trans-exclusionary radical feminists] deny trans people’s existence/right to exist

Screenshot of a tweet from @auntysarah which reads: "The entire TERF house of cards is built on the assumption that gender is purely a socially imposed condition."

At first glance, this claim seems absurd. Trans people clearly exist: feminism is not being ripped apart by a conflict with and about non-existent people. Making this claim make sense therefore, requires us to accept an elision between ‘the existence of trans people’ and ‘the existence of trans people according to transgender ideology’s account of the existence of trans people.’ That is, the theory that trans people’s existence is explicable in terms of ‘gender identity,’ an innate quality which is the immutable source of a person’s gender.


Read the whole piece at Trouble and Strife.


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