2022: The year Terfing went mainstream

For years, Terfs laboured mostly on their own — many isolated across the world, ostracized by friends, ignored by the media and government, vilified by activists and the left. Until quite recently, women (and a few good men) who said men are not women were treated as either evil or crazy. Progressives viewed us as cruel bigots — comparable to racists and homophobes who demanded the marginalized class of men who prefer dresses to pants be relegated to a lower echelon of society, barred from women’s washrooms, shelters, sports, prisons, and change rooms.

In reality, of course, men who wish to wear women’s clothes or be objectified as women are not subject to systemic discrimination. Especially not today, where they are not only CEOs and billionaires, occupying top positions in business and government, but are elevated to spokespeople of of the marginalized, run Big Tech, and dominate LGBTQ+ organizations and activism. Whereas there are, I’m sure, some incidences of violence against men who choose to dress as women in public, at the hands of other men who either see them as freaks and perverts, or who are angered at having been deceived into a sexual encounter with someone they thought was a woman, only to discover otherwise, these men do not come close to being as vulnerable in society as all women and girls are. And moreover, women and girls have no choice but to be women and girls. Men who dress up as women do have a choice.

This is not to say men who identify as women deserve violence (no one deserves violence), but to say that there is a difference between being barred from attending school or from being allowed to own property or from accessing certain forms of employment that allow for a better and more financially secure lifestyle and being barred from accessing women’s washrooms and shelters because you are a man. (You can still access men’s washrooms and shelters, after all…) There is a difference between being unable to operate independently and autonomously, simply because of the body you were born in, and feeling uncomfortable. There is a difference between being sold to strange men for sex by a man, because you were born poor and female, and being called “sir” instead of “ma’am.” And while it may well feel risky to walk around dressed as a woman, when you are a man, imagine how women feel. (And imagine that men in general are routinely attacked by other men in public places, as well.)

The world is not yet a utopia, alas, and men who identify as women are not the first to have discovered this.

If you are a man who chooses to wear women’s clothing and you feel uncomfortable in men’s spaces as a result, that is not (or should not be) the problem of women. It is not the responsibility of women to accept potential danger on account of a choice you made, which you could very easily not make. It is not the responsibility of women to tell you comforting lies at their own risk.

I realize that this may be viewed as a controversial or cruel thing to say, by some, but it is the truth. We cannot always do exactly what we want to do, and expect that everyone respond in exactly the way we would like. And a man’s desire to be viewed as or treated as a woman does not (or should not) trump the safety and comfort of all women and girls everywhere. It also does not trump reality, and the right of all people to acknowledge reality, regardless of how that makes those who would prefer a different reality feel.

What I have argued above has become much more accepted over the past year, as people have been pushed too far by the inclusivity brigade.

Most people in the world feel like they’re going crazy when they watch an obviously male swimmer tower over the female swimmer who should have won first place.

Most people look at a shop teacher with cartoonishly large prosthetic breasts and say, “No, you may not dress like that in the classroom — are you insane?”

Most see a “family friendly” drag performance where kids give the men “tips” as though they were strippers, and say, “Enough.” Or when they discover the books being read to kids at “Drag Queen Story Hour” include ones like, When Aidan Became a Brother, wherein we hear the story of “Aidan,” who “everyone thought was a girl.. but as he grew older, he realized he was a boy.” Or, Neither, a story about a world with blue bunnies and yellow birds, until “one day a funny green egg hatches, and a little creature that’s not quite a bird and not quite a bunny pops out. It’s neither!” And think, “Seems like these are confusing messages for kids!”

The general population is not going to think, “Oh poor fellow — we really must protect him,” upon hearing that a pedophile, rapist, or necrophiliac has been placed in a women’s prison, because he claimed “trans” status. Particularly not after learning these male inmates are assaulting the female inmates while in there. (I mean, of course they are.)

No, trans activism did not win hearts and minds this year.

This is despite the ongoing rah rah rah-ing of mainstream liberal media, who refuse to acknowledge either the reality of what real people think and care about, or the reality of male and female biology.

The things radical feminists have been saying for years (banned for doing so — from social media and any event or meeting they attempted to hold to say such things) are now being said out loud by the many. Problem is, we lost the institutions and, in many countries, we lost the legislation.

This is in part because progressives not only stood by, but actively supported their trans activist overlords as they harassed, threatened, and worked to otherwise destroy the lives and work of feminists who demanded women-only spaces remain intact. And because the left allowed (or ensured) anyone who questioned or criticized gender identity ideology and policy was cancelled and silenced.

It is in part because governments like the Canadian Liberal government, headed up by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, refused to host a genuine public debate, where concerns could be brought to light and discussed, before passing Bill C-16 — the legislation that would ensure “gender identity” replaced “sex” in all arenas.

It is in part because mainstream media refused to cover our fight and concerns, leaving the public clueless about the fact that there even was any fight or concern. Indeed, those who didn’t identify with the marginal but loud left, on board with trans activist efforts to destroy women’s spaces, mostly thought we were being hyperbolic: Who cares if a few men wanted to dress up as women? Leave the weirdos to their own devices — how does this even affect you, anyway?

That, or they did feel something wrong was happening, and refused to say so.

This quotient of “knowing something bad is happening but refusing to say so” people are the ones I’m going to address today, because that refusing to say so is what allowed us to get where we are today, and more broadly allows us to lose rights we took for granted with the blink of an eye. It is those who chose to go along for their own financial and social comfort, standing by and watching while the bad women — the “Terfs” — were deplatformed, fired, threatened, punched, banned from social media, demonetized, and cancelled who do indeed need to think about where that choice left us.

Many of these people were feminists. Feminists who, behind the scenes, in private Facebook groups, expressed concern and fear, but refused not only to speak out publicly, but even to speak out privately — to admit to their own friends and families that they too were witches. It is the feminists across Canada who watched while a few of us endured pitchforks, but argued that nothing truly bad could come of such legislation. Surely we were protected — this was Canada after all! A wonderous place where  there are no real problems beyond lack of diversity programming at the CBC.

It is you who are the problem. Not the Terfs or the truckers or your neighbour who wants to keep his hunting rifle. You who sit silently in your middle class home, scrolling through Facebook and tut-tutting when socially appropriate, refusing to speak the truth because you might get disinvited from book club. It is you I address now. And not because I need you to beg for forgiveness or feel racked with guilt, per se, but because I need you to learn from this.

In her column for The Times last week, Janice Turner wrote that “Complacency is feminism’s greatest foe.” She was writing about Afghan women and girls, who saw rights they fought for over decades ripped away in the past year, following the withdrawal of US troops, and may no longer attend school (including university), go to work, or even leave the house without a male escort. They have been barred from accessing parks, gyms, and swimming pools. They have truly been made second class citizens. And not because of any choice they made in life, not because of an internal sense of femininity, not because they were born with a powerful desire to wear lipstick or get breast implants.

Because they were born female. That’s it.

“A right once ceded is ten times harder to win back,” Turner wrote.

And indeed, this is what women — far too few women, but women nonetheless — tried desperately to warn others about back when gender identity legislation was being introduced in around 2016-17. Few paid attention, and even fewer fought, for fear of retribution. And retribution there was.

But what do you expect?

Did any of those who failed to speak up as legislation was passed across North America, in the UK, in Australia and New Zealand, cementing “gender identity” into law, thereby nullifying women’s sex-based protections, think waiting until it was easy would be a successful strategy?

If it were easy, it would already be done. If we wait until it becomes easy, it is too late.

So now we are backtracking. As the many catch up to the insanity and danger of gender identity ideology, we are now forced to fight to overturn laws and policy already implemented, which makes our fight exceedingly challenging.

If only we had fought when it was “too hard,” “too risky,” or “too frightening.”

Too many take their rights for granted, yet they can be ripped away in an instant. And suddenly we find ourselves in a clown world born of our own laziness and fear. Of our own privilege, really.

You have all the comforts in the world, yet you refuse to stand up? Unforgiveable.

The late, great Magdalen Berns warned, back in 2016, at the first ever conference addressing gender identity ideology (organized by radical feminists, not The Daily Wire) in London, “You might be worried about your job or your friends, but your rights are more important than anything else.”

Next time you are faced with something you know to be wrong, that you know will result in controversy or worse, should you speak up, you need to do it. Excuses don’t save rights.

Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.