A letter to the woman who called me a TERF
We found this amazing letter on Mumsnet and approached the author for permission to share. It is powerful and needs to be heard.
To the woman who shrieked at me that I am a bigot and a terf and a hateful transphobe for defending women’s rights,
Ten, fifteen years from now, I ask you to remember me.
Remember me when you have your first baby and you’re referred to throughout your pregnancy as a birthing individual, a pregnant person, and it makes you feel kind of dehumanised and you wish they’d just call you a woman, a mother, because that’s what you are. But they’re not allowed, because it’s illegal to say only women can be pregnant and give birth.
Remember me when you give birth and you feel vulnerable and exposed and you really want a woman beside you who understands what you’re going through and instead your midwife is a six foot man with stubble in a dress and you know he isn’t a woman but you’re not allowed to object, even when you need to be examined and you just want a woman to do it but you know you can’t say anything because that would be hate speech, even though your body is screaming no.
Remember me when your elderly mother, who has lost her mind to dementia, goes into a care home and is told that her carer, Susan, is a woman, because you asked that she only be cared for by women. And even in her addled state of mind, she knows that Susan is a man, and you know Susan is a man, but you cannot object, and she has to allow Susan to perform her intimate care, because to object would be hate speech.
Remember me when your daughter comes home from school crying, the daughter who has spent the last five years training to be the best athlete in her class, her school, her district, she’s crying because Lucas in her class, one of the fastest boys, has decided he identifies as female for now and so is allowed to run in her race, and she knows it doesn’t matter how hard she trains, he will always beat her, and she can only ever hope for a silver medal now. Or bronze, if there is another Lucas.
Remember me when you go into a toilet late at night, perhaps in a bar, and there’s noone else around, and a guy walks in, he has a beard and is wearing jeans and a t shirt, and the way he looks at you seems off, and you feel afraid and unsettled and worried he might hurt you. But you can’t challenge him, because if you do he’ll say he’s a woman and has as much right as you do to be in this toilet, a place where many years ago you might have come to feel safe.
Remember me when you go for a promotion, for a board position at work that’s designated for a woman. You’ve put in the hours, you’ve worked so hard, you know you deserve it. And the position goes to Lola, who until last year was a 50 year old man. Lola will never do anything inconvenient like needing time off to have babies, or to deal with any health issues that you, a woman might face, like endometriosis, breast cancer, PND. Lola is a woman just like you, and your company are happy that they have fulfilled their quota of women members on the board.
Remember me when you read on the news that crime statistics for women committing rape and murder are on the increase, and now women carry out a much higher number of rapes and murders than they did when you were a teenager or a young woman. And you know that these ‘women’ are men and that the statistics are wrong, but to challenge this would be hate speech. Remember me too, when these women rapists are locked up with vulnerable women in female prisons and cannot escape, because to challenge the presence of the women rapists with penises in prison with them would be hate speech.
Remember me when your son comes home from school and says that he’s learned at school that you can change sex and that some girls have penises and some boys have vaginas and that his teacher said that because he likes playing with girls and dolls that maybe he is really a girl in the wrong body. And you think, no, you are just my wonderful, unique, son, and you were born in your own body. Remember me when a few months down the line the teacher calls you in and says she’s concerned that you are not validating your son’s identity and that she’s noticed you are still referring to him by the name you so carefully chose for him when he was born, and calling him a boy, when he is actually a girl, and that she doesn’t want to have to involve social services but she’s worried she might have to if you continue to misgender your son and deny his real identity. And you know that she will, because it’s happened before in a school near you, and you are afraid.
In this brave new world that you helped to create, look around for your transactivist friends, your lefty male allies, the ones you stood beside and yellled ‘terf, transphobe, bigot’ with, with you shouting the loudest, because you wanted to show what a good ally you were, how inclusive, how progressive. Where are they now? Why, they are where they always were. Benefitting from the patriarchy. Enjoying the new, improved version of it that you helped them to build by crushing the resistance from the women who spoke up for their rights. This has all cost them nothing; it has made the world a better, easier place for men. It has cost you and your sisters who campaigned with them for virtue cookies, everything.
And me? I’ll be where I’ve always been. Fighting for your rights. Fighting to undo the damage.
I’ll have your back, as I always have done.