In recent days there’s been a huge upswing in international commentary around trans rights, witches. The most recent catalyst was Joanne Rowling, who took on trans activists and inclusive feminists in a series of tweets a couple of weeks ago. Then, when called out on that transphobia, she doubled down by penning her own experience of being a victim of sexual assault. You can read the details here:
And then, of course, all hell broke loose. Several Harry Potter actors took Rowling publicly to task, and she’s been roundly castigated all around the world. A quick google will show you dozens of takes in the world’s media, all with slightly different angles. There was even a front-page of the Murdoch-owned “The Sun” implying violence against Rowling was justified (it’s not), and many other extraordinary hot-takes, only some of them bearing a passing resemblance to facts or reality.
And then, the sublime Laurie Penny weighed in. If you’re not fully across this issue and want to be, please please please take the time to read all of this piece:
“There’s a certain twisted interior logic to it, until you think about it for five minutes and start asking such heretical questions as why on earth, for instance, a man would go to all the trouble of legally changing his gender just to commit sexual assault in a society that already allows most rapists to walk free. Such questions are not encouraged by ‘gender critical’ purists. ‘When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman’ wrote Rowling, ‘then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside’.”
So, why is MFW posting on this today, here? Partly because it’s in the news. Partly because we’ve had a lot of noise in The Coven on this, so wanted to clarify our views more publicly, and officially. But mostly, because we’ve had a barrage of messages and comments both here and on Twitter, wanting us to weigh in.
Of course, we can and will do so. But we will admit it’s not an easy topic to post on. Every single post we do on trans rights gets hit by TERFs, as they call each other in for a “pile-on”. They bring up all the old arguments about biology and femaleness and women’s toilets and being traumatised by penises. They even equate their own sexual assaults with trans people (as Rowling does) which is fucking offensive, when you think about it. They are not – ever – up for changing their minds, as they plough forward in some sort of bizarre saviour-ship of womanhood.
This will happen again today. Nothing surer. And so, we ban them. And ban them. And ban them. As long as they appear, we’ll keep banning them. Of course, they then cry victimhood and silencing and that there are two sides to this issue. Well – there aren’t. Fuck off. Your so-called side is all about hate and fear and punching down on a marginalised, oppressed group which needs our support. Ours is about inclusivity and being grown-up enough to understand that while we love being women, womanhood is a huge fucking group and we’re not so insecure we need to confine it to our anatomy.
All of us are bad feminists, and feminism itself is a VERY broad church. But if you’re here at MFW, there are two views we do, quite frankly, feel are incompatible with modern feminism. The first is those who are anti-abortion: as we’ve said before, it’s fine to not agree with abortion for oneself, but openly opposing it for others leaves women as nothing more than incubators, and that’s incompatible with being feminist.
The other issue is trans rights. If you feel a person who was, in essence, born into a body which doesn’t fit their gender identity can’t be part of your womanhood “club”, then you’re not a witch. Honestly, you’re fucking not.
So this meme is what our specific view is. Don’t want to be judged by your vulva and breasts when you go for a job interview, witches? When you apply to speak at a conference? When you comment on Facebook, or Twitter? When you go to the football? Well, stop fucking judging others for what they have in their pants. It’s irrelevant, ridiculous, and soooo fucking boring.
Oh and yes, yes, they are TERFs. Of course they fucking are. And of course they object to the term as a slur. It IS A FUCKING SLUR, JUST AS BEING CALLED RACIST IS A SLUR. If they don’t like the slur, they shouldn’t be fucking transphobes. Simples, really. But oh-so-hard for so many to understand.
Don’t be a TERF. We condemn Rowling, and all who think like her. We support our witchy sisters. We fear cis men in bathrooms far more than trans women, and dare anybody to produce evidence that women are at risk from trans people. We wish our attention could focus on the violence men who identify as men inflict upon women, including trans women. And we wish everyone would just fucking grow up, and join the 21st century.
Trans women are women.
[PS – we don’t need to be thanked for this post. It’s the fucking least we or anyone should be doing. Instead, please thank those who have to endure the exhausting, terrifying and utterly unfair aggression and insult every trans person faces.]