on why 'TERF' puzzles me
January 21, 2013
essential reading for this article is my post on the inherent white supremacy of [r]dfmism. in many ways, that post is all i need to explain why i find the term ‘terf’ puzzling:
since [r]fmism is, at its ideological core, white supremacist. and since this white supremacy is tied and inseparable from its relationship to colonialism and transmisogyny, taking on this ideological mantal, means that one is committed to excluding trans women. not only from womanhood, but from humanity.
i know i was discussing the issue with some white people on twitter. and the reason why i found the discussion something i’m unwilling to have is:
you cannot ask me to care about the finer distinctions between variations of a group that have called for my extinction. not when i cannot, literally cannot, see the difference between [r]dfms and any other white supremacist hate group.
i understand that some feminists feel that they should be able to reclaim ‘radical’ from its oppressive history. sure. okay. i have nothing to say to that. but it is a little beyond absurd to ask me – a transpinay – to care about their intent in using the word, when I treat it exactly like quick signifier for white supremacist, transmisogynist people.
history, furthermore, doesn’t really work like this. you cannot simply… ignore the context of the word. moreover, reclaimation usually doesn’t work like this. i understand reclaiming slurs (something i do myself). but that it is an attempt to take a negative, external thing and transform it into something positive and empowering. ‘radical’ is not such a slur. and if it has any negative associations (and it does), the fault lies with its adherents.
i mentioned a parallel on twitter. and this happened in real life. with someone i actually engaged. so. yeah. this d00d in the uk has a tattoo of a swastika. he has it ‘cause he worships the sun or some such nonsense. it was white people who took a meaningful PoC symbol and transformed it into a symbol of hate and genocide. now this white d00d is trying to reclaim it.
but i’m telling you: i don’t give a fuck. if i see any white d00d with a swastika? i’m turning and running in the other direction.
from my perspective? radical + feminism is no different.
tell me how i should be able to tell the difference between one white group calling for my death and another. tell me how i should be able to discern the difference of intent when white people are using symbols of hate.
i value my life and health far too much to try and split hairs when people are so willing to clearly indicate how much they hate me. i don’t have time for this. i don’t have the energy for it either.
(i also am deeply unimpressed when talking to a white person saying ‘well, i know some trans inclusionary [r]dfms’. sorry to say, i don’t trust your ability to actively screen for white supremacists in your midst.)