QUEBEC — First things first: I apologize to any and all feminists I may have offended when I used the slur acronym “TERF” earlier this week in a couple of posts responding to the “Drop the T in LGBT” petition.
Before I get to the ” why” I used the term, it’s important to apologize, and to promise I will not use the term again to define anyone. The only way I will write it is in straight-up reporting, with quotation marks when it is relevant.
I speak for myself here. I am not in a position of authority to issue an apology for anyone else. And trans people should not view this as a lack of support for them.
So, why did I use the term? Well, ignorance, for one. Over the years of writing about LGBT issues, I have mostly avoided that term. I support the right of feminists and radical feminists to express their views. And I support the right of trans people to do the same. I also support healthy debate between people with opposing views. But I don’t support personal attacks by people on either sides of trans and radical feminist views.
Well, a report in a fairly respectable LGBT publication linked the “Drop the T” petition to so-called “TERF ideology,” thus implicating radical feminists, and as it soon became apparent, unfairly so.
Shame on me for getting sucked in. I should know better. But I did let emotion get the better of me, and I have since gone back on the two posts and replaced the text with songs of peace and love.
And there was more ignorance on my part: I didn’t realize that the term “TERF” was considered to be a slur, and that it offends radical feminists who are the targets of the label. I thought there were women who actually did identify as “TERFS.”
It doesn’t matter that the term has made it into mainstream reporting. It doesn’t matter that trans people I know use the term. It is offensive, and I simply will not go down that particular rabbit hole again. Just as I would not use terms to describe transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual and genderqueer people that they find offensive.
I know there is a lot of animosity between some radical feminists and some transgender people. And I know that some on both sides of the issue stage personal attacks on each other in social media settings and beyond. That truly saddens me. In my opinion, transgender people do not need the affirmation of radical feminists to fulfill themselves, and I urge both sides to agree to disagree when healthy debate is exhausted.
Some radical feminists are also members of the LGBTQ community, and it is our mission here to stand up for them as well as all people who stand beneath the rainbow umbrella. This will not be a forum for LGBTQ people to attack each other.
I could go on and on about how all humans are alike, borne out of the same Universal source, adrift on the same piece of rock in the cosmos, all with a common destination. In fact, humans are more like each other than they are different.
We are all sisters and brothers. We are all ONE in cosmic essence. When we hurt each other, we hurt ourselves.
With love . . .
— Jillian Page
We are not brought into existence by chance nor thrown up into earth-life like wreckage cast along the shore, but are here for infinitely noble purposes. — Katherine Tingley