Gender-critical feminists are anti-feminist

Emrey Broyles, Staff Writer

radical feminists piece
Emma Vaughters

Various feminist groups spearhead gender equality, but one group of “gender-critical” cisgender “feminists” only produces obstacles to true progress. This group, colloquially known as transgender-exclusionary radical feminists, or TERFs, argue that transgender people further gender inequality as they “erase the concept of sex.” TERFs believe that cisgender women, especially lesbians, are at risk of losing civil protections if they are grouped in with transgender women and non-binary people. In reality, they do not even acknowledge the existence of non-binary individuals.

TERFs do not believe in gender identity, only sex. A notable TERF, J.K. Rowling, author of the acclaimed book series “Harry Potter,” elucidated this in a tweet, saying “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.” The idea that having a gender identity which differs from one’s assigned sex makes that sex obsolete is scientifically unfounded and illogical. Gender identity is not determined by one’s sex.

TERFs believe that genitals define your relationship with oppression over a lifetime — in other words, being born with a penis creates an oppressor, and a vagina creates one that will be oppressed. Many understand, however, that it is not sex that determines one’s experiences with oppression, but gender identity’s relationship with that sex. Cisgender women are undeniably oppressed in comparison to cisgender men, and their oppression is not dismissed when being compared to their transgender sisters. Transgender people face discrimination, harrassment and assault in almost every facet of their lives, from housing and work to relationships with peers and family members. They need just as many protections, if not more than cisgender women require.

In fact, TERFs have become so concentrated on spreading anti-transgender sentiment that they have diverged from their feminist agenda. They are hypocrites who work with ultra-conservative misogynists to limit transgender rights and freedoms rather than increasing them for all women. By passing bills against trans-inclusive bathrooms, limiting access to medical treatments such as gender-affirming care and smearing the name of Planned Parenthood, TERFs have become a blight on true feminism.

Intersectionality in activism and justice has been shown to be of utmost importance as oppression can be compounded with one’s gender, sexuality, race, social class, etc. If even one marginalized group is excluded from movements to which they belong, the movement loses its credibility and momentum. It instead becomes a competition of oppression, as the TERFs have created by excluding anyone who does not identify as a cisgender woman. They have chosen to direct their efforts toward hatred rather than working together against the common enemy: the patriarchy.

Cisgender women, transgender women, non-binary and genderqueer people must form a united front against the patriarchy in order to see progress of any kind. To attain an equal society across all genders, as is the goal of feminism, every gender identity must be acknowledged, respected, supported and loved.