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.

by CR

25 thoughts on “A letter to the woman who called me a TERF

  • 2017.12.10 at 14:14

    This is fantastic, CR. I wonder if that woman understands the things you describe are ALREADY HAPPENING? Even without the law.

  • 2017.12.10 at 14:41

    Superb, ir scary.

  • 2017.12.10 at 14:50

    Yes!!! THIS

  • 2017.12.10 at 15:05

    This is POWERFUL, CR. The best, simplest explanation of women’s concerns I’ve read, yet. A beautifully-written message from the future. Love it. x

  • 2017.12.10 at 15:17

    It’s the damn Ugly truth and I bet you, one day, these liberal women who defended these trans will wake up and realize what price they paid for throwing biological women, who defended biological women under the bus. It’s also a warning for Intersex people too because many Intersex people have defended trans and threw other intersex people who spoke up under the bus as well. The one good thing is that In America, we have a very strong Freedom of speech laws, that the Trans will never take away because that would mean they would trigger the 2nd Amendment and an all out civil war.

  • 2017.12.10 at 20:11

    My child has told me they want to transition to a woman as for the last 8 years they feel they have been in the wrong body. At age 14 they self harmed, they suffer with social anxiety and at 22 is a virgin because they don’t want to have sex with the penis that they were born with. Do I tell them no because of people like you? Do I tell them to carry on living in Hell in the wrong body and risk the chance that they could seriously harm or even kill themself because I know the stigma they will face from other people. Imagine forcing a vegan to eat meat at every meal and expecting them to just get on with it, the same as expecting my child to carry on ‘living’ in the wrong body. Do you think that anyone wants to put themselves through the pain of being labelled less than everybody else just for the fun of it? Neither totally female nor male? Try telling a woman born a women who is unable to give birth that she is not a woman because she can’t or chooses not to go through pregnancy. Try making yourself do the one thing that you hate day in and day out all the while having to act as if everything is ok.

    I will support my child as they go through their transition as they are first and foremost my child, regardless of their gender and if being a woman is what they need to be happy and lead a fulfilled life then I am 100% with them.

    • 2017.12.11 at 13:42

      Your family’s evidently going through a very painful experience, Lisa. I’m pretty sure there is a disorder of sex dysmorphia and that, until it is medically understood, the most compassionate treatment may be surgery to simulate a female appearance. Even in such cases, I would recommend full research and caution: the surgeries can fail to relieve the disorder, leaving the patient further distressed and with medically induced health problems.

      Before this current wave of transgenderism, women have always been very tolerant of transsexuals. They were a tiny number of individuals who’d been prepared to put themselves through hell to achieve a semblance of womanhood. What’s happening now is different. We’re being instructed that male & female are not physical categories. We’re being told that, as women, we’re exactly the same as males – and therefore don’t need any consideration for our differing physical bodies. Fully intact male rapists are being locked up among women. Girl Guides can be left alone with sexually active men, as long as the men say they’re female. This is a cultural erasure of the female, and it’s already having real-life consequences for women & girls.

      Try telling a woman born a women who is unable to give birth that she is not a woman because she can’t or chooses not to go through pregnancy.

      This is an irrelevance. Women who don’t have children are female. No-one’s ever questioned that – except trans activists. Only they want us to pick apart & over-analyse the concept of female, nobody else does. Have you noticed they don’t make the same demands of maleness? Maybe think about that.

    • 2017.12.12 at 13:27

      No, you get him some expert help to help him realise that as long as he has a Y chromosome he will still be a male, regardless of how he looks! You can’t change the gender you’re born with, you can only pretend to be the other unless there’s a genuine problem with chromosomes.

      • 2017.12.13 at 11:17

        Looks like you forgot to study up on intersex conditions before you pinched that loaf out.

        To the moderator who is going to deny this comment, maybe you should correct Marissa yourself for spreading misinformation? Forget about trans people for a moment and do your best not to erase the womanhood of intersex individuals.

      • 2017.12.30 at 16:41

        “Expert help” like how people are forced to get “expert help” in Pray Away the Gay type camps?
        Denying someone their reality is harmful. Period.
        Chromosomes aren’t all there is to it.

      • 2018.01.01 at 00:43

        How do you feel about denying the reality of a woman whose husband has informed her that he isn’t what she married, Kimberley? Or the reality of teenage girls who are expected to rebuff penis-owners demanding access to their bodies – unless they say the penis is female? I see it as VERY harmful to deny the realities of all 3.5 billion female humans on this planet.

      • 2018.04.24 at 03:47

        Hey, women can have Y chromosomes too. And I don’t mean trans women.

  • 2017.12.11 at 10:43

    I love this, while simultaneously fearing the truth of it. The move to eradicate the validity of biological women is one of the greatest acts of misogyny I have ever seen and I, for one, will not be bullied into ‘tolerating,’ it. I love this site, your work and your perception.

  • 2017.12.11 at 11:04

    Wonderfully written CR. As cherryaustin says, it’s already happening. May I be presumptuous enough to add another paragraph?
    Remember me when your husband tells you that he has been living a lie, that he has been trapped in the wrong body all along. He still loves you, of course, and that means that you are now in a lesbian relationship. You will help him with fashion advice and tell the children the good news that they never had a father. His gender identity is paramount and protected and so you have no grounds for divorce.

    • 2017.12.11 at 16:37

      Atranswidow — Seconded. I’m in the same situation. Sending love to you and your children.

    • 2017.12.30 at 16:44

      No grounds for divorce? In what developed country can’t you file for divorce because of “irreconcilable differences”?
      You’re not forced to stay in any marriage that isn’t working for you.
      Your husband comes out as trans and wants to live her truth, and you don’t like it? You don’t HAVE to stay.
      In fact, leaving would probably be the kinder option, vs staying and being resentful and anti-trans to someone you supposedly love or loved.

  • 2017.12.11 at 13:18

    I had to walk past a row of men at urinals peeing last week because a theatre in Cambridge, MA, decided that all the restrooms would be “gender neutral.”

    Everyone was super uncomfortable, and while we joked through the weirdness and discomfort, the bathrooms were packed, because it was a theatre. But what about when they are not packed? And urinals? Really? At the show we were seeing, there were people selling pro-trans paraphernalia. Then, during a show that was a tribute to music from a childrens movie, they trotted out naked women and women dressed as sex workers. Because, you know, gender is not a thing…huh???

    It was offensive on so many levels. I am neither liberal nor conservative. I take issue with both sides for many reasons. But seriously, this idea that you can claim special rights for trans people and play at making the rest of us uncomfortable and unsafe, while simultaneously pushing the idea that women should be objectified and viewed as sex object, it is raging hypocrisy that does nothing but harm women. the cognitive dissonance around this topic with progressives is astounding.

    FTR, I do know a lot of liberal/leftist people who firmly reject this idea that biological sex is not a thing. The trans activist movement makes no sense. Gender is a construct, fine. Then they turn around and reinforce all the worst aspects of the construct, the ones women have been pushing to get away from to free ourselves. Jesus, they even made performing the Vagina monologues a “bigoted” thing because, well, vaginas.

    This will not end well. We need to stick together. It has become a cult, and the reality of the damage will reveal itself fully in time. We all just need to be firm, speak out, and not let them bully us into victimhood. We already know what subjugation by men looks like. Let’s not have it from men in dresses.

    • 2017.12.17 at 23:55

      I understand your disconfort in the gender neutral lavatory. As a man, I’m not particularly keen on exposing my genitalia to strange women and I have experience the equivalent discomfort to yourself. Also, many women I know think that, where hygiene is concerned, men are pigs. They find theprospect of sharing a lavatory with a man extremely distasteful.

      Basically both men and women have to be more proactive in resisting the complete rubbish put about by metally deranged activists and start insisting that things have gone too far in the name of political correctness.

      I can’t understand why we can’t have 3 classes of lavatories: Gents, Ladies and Trans.

  • 2017.12.12 at 01:11

    As a woman with daughters I salute you for writing this.

  • 2017.12.12 at 13:28

    Thank you for this article! It sums up how I feel precisely. These people need help to get over their issues.

  • 2017.12.15 at 19:52

    This is a brilliant article, well done. I’m a lesbian and the only people who’ve ever tried to shame me for not liking dick are the far, far right… and the far, far left.

    • 2018.01.08 at 20:15

      I wouldn’t call them the far far left anymore. I would call them something else. Either that or I can no longer consider myself a part of the left. My personal feeling is that there hasnt been a true radical left in this country (u.s) for a long time. The cult of identity politics has come to fill the void. Its so much like religion or cultism. One can not even question whether or not medical interventionism is the appropriate path for kids and teens, rather we should blindly accept puberty suppressants and the hacking off of breasts of physically healthy young women. There’s so much contradiction that would be laughable, if it werent dangerous and insane. The “left” screams for enthusiastic sexual consent, unless its with a “girl” dick, its perfectly ok to pressure a woman into accepting that, without her “enthusiastic consent”. Otherwise she is transphobic. Craziness.

  • 2017.12.17 at 23:48

    As a man* , I agree with everything you have so eloquently said.

    I’m deeply suspicious of many males who come out as women, Frankly I doubt their motives. Many of the trans-gender activists have become a repressive cult and are supported by a load of dim-wits who have been marinaded in political correctness. Remember that they tweet under the #no debate hashtag, meaning that they are intilerant of anybody else’s views. What is needed is for politicians, university administrators, teachers atc to excercise some sense and show a bit of fortitude. (i’m not holding my breath).

    As regards teachers taking a moral stand about children being in the wrong body, the answer is to refer the child, if the parents are concerned to a responsible physician. I think that transgenderism is still a medical problem if it involves hormone therapy and surgery. These patients need careful and sympathetic assesment and treatment from knowledgable professionals – not a bunch amateurs trying to impose their predjudices on vulnerable adolescents.

    *It is a sign of the times that I really don’t know how to describe myself on a blog such as this. I am a happily married male, a father and I have no ambitions to become a woman. Am I a “real” man? Am I a man because I am XY? Do thiese statements show that I am predjudiced against trans people? Should I stop being a man and become a person?

    • 2017.12.30 at 16:46

      You’re a heterosexual cisgender man, based on what I’ve read. You can choose to use adjectives to describe yourself, or not. Unless you’re an imaginary man, you’re a “real” one. But that’s not based on only your genitalia. Cheers!

  • 2018.05.15 at 18:35

    I think this is a brilliant letter. Just one point though about name changes. My parents ‘carefully’ chose a (female) name for me when I was a few days old. With equal care I chose a different name (female) for myself in my early twenties. My parents have always refused to use it. There are times when our children become adults and make (different) choices for themselves – and that can be really painful. But I think a loving parent will always try to understand those choices


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