The third-wave fight: TERFs vs trans women

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Thank you Moulting Phoenix for having the bravery to step out and voice opinions as a transgender person. We really love this articulate post which explains the tension between transgender people and TERFs when it comes to safe spaces such as toilets.

A Transgender Phoenix

A battle has been brewing across the ages – a fight of feminist ideology! A brawl between the likes of Sheila Jeffreys, Janice Raymond & Mary Daly against Laverne Cox, Janet Mock & Sylvia Rae Rivera. A battle – of TERF vs trans woman.

For those not in the know with the latest queer lingo, a TERF is a Trans Exterminationist Radical Feminist. A lot of people seem to think the term refers to Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists – but TERFs themselves changed this definition because it made them seem “too mean”. Of course, nothing is really too mean when you are trying to “morally mandate trans people out of existence”, but I digress. TERFs have been a part of western feminism and western feminist discourse for approximately 50 years now, and their attitudes haven’t really changed much over the years. They first sprung up in the second-wave, when feminists…

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Sex, Lies and Dysphoria: Myths about the gender queer

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Have a look at this excellent summary of myths about queer and transgender people. Explains why we need unisex, gender-neutral and all-gender toilets brilliantly. Thank you to Transcend Gender Australia!

transcend gender australia

There is a lot of bullshit whirling around when it comes to queer gender identities.

Some misconceptions are as old as the hills. We’ll probably never know how they originated and became so widely heard of. Others are more new, arising from hotly debated issues such as allowing transgender people to use preferred bathrooms or allowing children to have puberty blockers if they say they were born in the wrong body.

This space, Transcend Gender Australia, is all about clearing up these issues, because a valid discussion can only be had when arguments based in ignorance and aiming to incite fear and the marginalization of certain people are removed.

Here are a few misconceptions that need to be put in society’s bin for bullshit.

Please comment and let us know if there’s other misconceptions that need to just stop being spread.

  1. Allowing transwomen to use female bathrooms the risk women face of…

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South Park and Other Toilets

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I would like to applaud ‘South Park’ for attempting to spread awareness of issues facing queer and transgender people in society through one of their episodes titled ‘Cissy’. Despite the fact that they have not explored such issues well in the past, they are trying to make a difference now. That step forward is worthy of applause. I also found a great opinion article on areas ‘South Park’ could improve on and wanted to highlight some of the quotes I liked best.

On a more mundane level, “Cissy” handles bathrooms brilliantly: All-gender restrooms are necessary, because they’re the only safe and dignified place for many non-binary and genderqueer trans people to do their bathroom stuff. But a scene from Randy’s subplot aptly demonstrates the problem when people expect—or worse, force—binary male- and female-identified trans people (like myself) to use them: All-gender restrooms aren’t “the transgender bathroom,” they are bathrooms for everyone. Men’s is still just for men, and women’s is still just for women; but since most trans people are men or women, you can see why it’s wrong to assume someone should have to use the third option just because they’re trans. The episode subtly salutes this misconception by labeling the third door in the school as “Other.”

Yes, it’s time to acknowledge one crucial point: Trans men are men and trans women are women. Please acknowledge them that way because that is the way they want to be treated. If people are at a stage where they wish to question their identity, give them space. If someone does not want to be one or the other gender, let them be free to do so. No one should ever feel pressured or forced to be someone they are not. No one should be forced to go into a toilet environment where they will be forced to conform just to do their business.

love the idea of 10-year-olds questioning their gender. Here’s the thing about questioning your gender: It doesn’t actually change the way you feel inside, it just helps you look deep enough to know yourself best. The only reason we associate questioning with transition is because society punishes, so brutally, any variance from cis, that most people would avoid publicly revealing that they’re questioning themselves

I sincerely hope there will come a day, when people will become more educated about queer and trans identities, to the point where it will be perceived as something normal as the binary gender identities. Then, if people do come out come out, I hope they will no longer receive unwarranted treatment like stares and abuse. Queer, transgender and people who are questioning should be treated like normal people, because they are. There’s nothing wrong about questioning gender identities and there’s nothing wrong with people who experience gender dysphoria. They should not be discouraged from being who they are.

Some people may think it is abnormal because they haven’t experienced it themselves. I implore those people to open their minds and start acknowledging the fact that there are people out there who feel that way. There is a reason why these issues are receiving more and more attention now, even in a show like ‘South Park’. Queer and transgender identities obviously exist, so people should stop denying it. Even the latest version of the diagnostic and statistical manual (DSM-5), developed by the American Psychiatric Association, never said all transgender people have perverted desires. People shouldn’t assume that all transgender people are perverts or mentally ill, because they are not.

I think Principal Victoria puts it best, when in her announcement to the school after explaining why they’ve eliminated “the transgender bathroom,” she says: “Anyone who has a problem sharing a bathroom with people who might be transgender will have to use the special designated bathroom designed to keep them away from the normal people who don’t care

Having unisex, gender-neutral, or all-gender toilet facilities available is a crucial step forward and necessary, not only because queer and transgender people will no longer have to feel excluded, but also because such toilets expose people to different gender identities. These toilets should not be eliminated, as ‘South Park’ suggested.

The mistreatment queer and transgender people face in toilets can make them feel uncomfortable to be who they are and discourage them from coming out. It’s time to stop making toilets an obstacle. ‘South Park’, thank you. Thank you so much for improving your attitude and I hope you continue to improve!

Story 4: First Class Diss

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Going to toilets in the plane can become an issue for queer and trans people too. We all know how tiny and tight it is, but the fact that the toilets are always gendered and how people lack understanding makes things worse. When both toilets are occupied in a section, people have to walk all the way up, or down, in hopes that they can find a vacant space. An acquaintance told me they had to walk up to the first class cabin to search for a vacant toilet. People looked at them as though it was a weird sight to see.

If only queer and trans people be treated like any other normal human being. It’s impolite to stare!

Seeking a space to call safe

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The Swan Project is a group based in Singapore advocating for the addition of safe spaces for transgender people in Asia. Their posts are well-written with engaging images. Check it out!

The Swan Project

Navigating the gendered world as an individual who does not conform to gender norms and ideals.

Many of us fail to recognise that the world and its spaces around us are often heavily gendered. Public areas are partitioned into male and female, including everyday spaces such as the washrooms and shopping departments. In a world where gender is highly salient and clearly demarcated, transgender people remain burdened and subjected to the public eye.

in the train

The comic above is inspired by Ariel*’s personal experience, where she faces the tormenting gaze imposed by the judgmental eye of the public simply because she is a transwoman. The piercing stares, the questioning looks, and the disapproving expressions all prove to be highly distressing. “The attention will be all on me, and the whole time I will feel very uncomfortable,” Ariel said.

Like Ariel, many gender non-conforming individuals share the same sentiments and desire: to search…

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