Are transgender liberals or feminists

"Trans-hostility in feminism is not new"

In the past few months, trans-hostile statements by well-known feminists and feminist organizations have repeatedly been made public. Is trans hostility widespread in feminism?

That cannot be said in general terms. Of course, trans-hostility is also present in feminist scenes, but no more or less than among people who are not feminist or active. It is simply not the case that a feminist attitude automatically leads to trans-awareness, i.e. an awareness of the topic of transgender people. In the context of feminist movements, trans-hostility is not new either. The topic boils up to statements made by individuals or in certain contexts, but basically this has been a problem since the 1970s.

However, the perception and willingness to deal with it are increasing. In many feminist institutions there were and still are considerations to make their own rooms more accessible to all women. When we look at Berlin, a lot has happened there. For example, the lesbian counseling, the Frieda women's center, the lesbian archive Spinnboden, to name just a few examples, are accessible to trans * women.

How are trans-hostile acts expressed?

In a feminist context, hostility towards trans hostility is very often shown through exclusion: when trans * women are not welcome in spaces that are intended for women. Often trans * people are also denied their gender identity, they are then simply still addressed with their old gender assigned at birth. This can lead to hostility and hateful comments on social media.

When it comes to gender self-determination and easier access to legal recognition, for example through a change of civil status or first name, alleged dangers are often identified: It is then said that some cis-men come to the office and have a female civil status issued to them afterwards Harassing women in locker rooms. This is of course nonsense. I don't think a man who wants to be abusive towards women would change his civil status to do so. In this consideration, in turn, experiences of violence that trans * people and especially trans * women have, are negated. This, too, is a form of trans-hostility.

Are there differences between generations of feminists in trans-awareness?

That is often assumed. Then it is said that there are 70s feminists who express themselves in a trans-hostile manner. In my opinion, trans-awareness cannot be linked to age or a feminist generation. I've also had great experiences with older feminists. And there are definitely many younger people who are explicitly trans-hostile.

The most extreme form of trans-hostility is expressed by so-called TERFs.

This stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism, i.e. trans-exclusive radical feminism and is usually not a self-designation. This is used to describe feminists who categorically exclude trans * people and deny them self-determination about their gender. These women or groups often openly express their opinions, also through campaigns.

Their hatred is directed a lot towards trans * women, less towards trans * men. How so?

It is primarily trans * women who are affected by trans-hostile exclusions because the rooms that are relevant to them are declared to be shelters for cis women. It's been around for a relatively long time. In 1979, for example, Janice Raymond wrote in her book "Transsexual Empire" about the alleged danger that trans * women pose because they claim that they are actually men. It is then said that people who have been socialized as men can never be women because socialization cannot be abandoned. However, this argumentation assumes that all cis women would have had the same experiences in their socialization - a fallacy. Classism, racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination also have an impact on our socialization.

The argumentation also negates all the experiences that trans * people have in their childhood and adolescence. We live in a patriarchal society where it is the norm to divide people into two genders. Children or adolescents who notice that they do not comply with this norm because the gender assigned to them at birth is incorrect or because they do not position themselves in a binary manner are often exposed to discrimination.

Nor is it the man per se who is dangerous, but toxic masculinity.

Definitely. It is ignored that the biggest problem is patriarchal structures - from which trans * women in particular also suffer enormously. It would be much better and more effective if we worked together against it instead of ensuring exclusions.

Some of the arguments of trans-hostile feminists are reminiscent of the rhetoric of right-wing groups. In what way?

In fact, one sees again and again that arguments such as the AfD are used. Then there is talk of »gender gaga« and early sexualization of children. TERFs often use different terms, but the argumentation patterns remain the same: A somewhat newer form of trans-hostility, for example, is to fight against the self-determination of trans * people and thus want to prevent easier access to change of civil status and first name. Here it is often argued that they want to protect children and young people from the alleged trans lobby. Attempts are made to assign an overpowering role to organizations that represent the interests of minorities and fight for an improvement in the legal, social and health situation - this is also very reminiscent of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Can people who are openly trans-hostile really be feminists?

Indeed, this does not correspond to my understanding of feminism, which in any case is not based on mechanisms of exclusion. But I don't want to deny these people that they represent certain feminist positions. You have to realize that there are different feminist currents - including some that do not correspond to my understanding of »feminist« at all.

Matching podcast episodes:

nd journalism from the left thrives on the commitment of its readers

In view of the experience of the corona pandemic, we have decided to make our journalism permanently freely accessible on our website and thus make it available to everyone who is interested.

As with our print and epaper editions, our work as an author, editor, technician or publishing employee is part of every published article. It is what makes this journalism possible.

Volunteer now with just a few clicks!