Rad Fem 2012 Amends Membership, Alienates Trans Community

photo of rad fem pictures The RadFem 2012 conference announced an amendment to its membership this year, did you hear? Said membership is now restricted to “women born women and living as women.” That’s nice, isn’t it?  I can’t understand how something called “Rad Fem” or “radical feminism” is okay with alienating an entire community of strong, proud women just because they weren’t “born as women,” or they don’t identify as women in one way or another. And you know what? I’m not the only one who didn’t get it – feminists and the trans community at large both expressed their disdain at this change.
One of the main speakers at the conference is author and speaker Sheila Jeffreys, who has a new book coming out critiquing trans medical care. In Jeffreys’ earlier writing, she calls for “transsexualism” to be declared a human rights violation and then said surgery should be banned by international law. Honestly, to me, this is nothing more than hate. This is a conference of hate – not radical feminism, and it speaks volumes that they would even allow a woman like Sheila Jeffreys to be one of their key-note speakers.
The trans issue isn’t the only thing happening with this conference, but it’s the only issue I’m going to discuss in this article. I’ve gone over the fact that feminism is all about beating oppression. That’s why it started right? Women were treated as second class citizens, paid less than men, treated like cattle, and sold off like slaves in one way or another. So what did we do? We got together and fought back. We said “We’re not going to take this crap any longer.” And we didn’t. I find it hypocritical to call yourself  a “radical feminist,” then turn around and oppress another group. But then again, maybe they’re right – they are “radical feminists” in the sense that they are the antithesis of what a feminist should be. If that’s not radical, then I supposed I just don’t know the proper definition of the word.



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5 thoughts on “Rad Fem 2012 Amends Membership, Alienates Trans Community

  1. That is so upsetting. Recently, an older member of the contemporary Pagan community (so old that some have speculated that dementia may be a contributing factor in her recent statements and behavior) has been vehemently opposed to the trans community — and, as a result, she has been banned from a number of events. I’m glad that they are keeping her out. She sees transgender women as, simply because they were born with male genitals, an attack on women by virtue of their existence.

    I do not understand this at all. And I especially do not understand how someone could think of necessary, corrective, voluntary surgery as being a “human rights violation.” I mean, it is not just that I disagree — I just cannot wrap my mind around the opposing viewpoint.

  2. Sometimes women want to be with women who have lived their entire lives as women. Women who had a girlhood. Women whose parents sent out birth announcements saying, “Its a girl” and whose entire lives from their first breath onward were created and confined and patterned as girls and women. It’s different. Being raised as a girl in a patriarchy is different than being raised as a boy, no matter how much that boy might want to be, or might feel he is a girl. He’s still given a hundred thousand tiny messages every day that he is the top banana. What’s so hard to understand about this? Sometimes it’s great and necessary to form coalitions, and radical feminists do. But every once in a while, it’s necessary to conspire – as in breathe the same air -as women who survived girlhood, and whose lives have always been about being female. But Trans activists – who happily produce conferences where women born women are not allowed to participate – make it next to impossible for women-born-women to congregate.

    • First of all, no woman’s experience is the same as any other, and the more divergent cultures are, the more extreme the differences in upbringing and discrimination.

      A transsexual child growing up (and I notice we’re only discussing m2f, not f2m), in no way has the ‘top bananas’ privileges you talk about. They’re usually alienated, scared and fearful. You have to have confidence to accept, let alone implement any sort of privilege; and these children are anything but. I found out when I grew up that my (now) sister used to hide under a stream bridge during school break to avoid the other children. Does that sound like the exercise of privilege? On the positive side I have noticed that views like yours (with regarded to transsexual women) are increasingly regarded by mainstream feminists as hateful and not something we wish to be associated with. These Trans-exclusionists are the Westboro’ Baptist Church of the Women’s Movement.

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