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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #7)

Tue Mar 16, 2021, 04:34 PM

8. Burchill can call herself whatever she wants.

And I can choose to give her as scant attention as I did during my teens. Being offensive and often contrarian has been her route to fame, as it has for others, like Katie Hopkins.

As for the question of whether she sought to "exclude [transgender women] from being women", I'll have to bow to anyone who's paid attention to her.

Moving only too gladly on from Burchill, on my comments about the use of the word "TERF" and what too often accompanies it - an issue which quite surprisingly has divided online activists within the SNP for the last year or two (while, I suspect, not being a major focus for those who don't consider themselves online activists) - I'll rely on just one example among too many: MP Joanna Cherry. The controversy she became embroiled in concerned the Scottish Parliament's moves to change its Gender Recognition Act (GRA). From Wikipedia:

Position on gender issues

Cherry has signed the SNP Women's Pledge, which originated amongst members of the SNP but is not affiliated with it. The pledge, which has been criticised as transphobic by some SNP members, opposes a reform of the Gender Recognition Act in Scotland which would allow transgender people to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate on the basis of a statutory declaration, rather than the existing Gender Recognition Panel system.

Cherry said there was a "big dose of misogyny" in the debate, saying that she approaches the issue "as a feminist" and has "never said that I was not in favour of trans rights." She said that the statement "women don't have penises" is an "undeniable biological fact". She has described the abuse she has faced.


The whole saga around the GRA unfolded over many months. The split was between women (not necessarily identifying as feminists) who had absorbed an interpretation of the Act's reforms which wasn't entirely based in the reality of them, fearing it would lead to an erosion of women's hard fought for rights to women-only spaces (the reforms wouldn't have actually affected any rights in that respect), and those who gathered under the transgender rights banner, the most vocal of whom online (not necessarily transgender themselves) were too often disgustingly confrontational, misogynistic and violent in language, and on a few deplorable occasions, violent in real life.

The behaviour of one such miscreant, Grant Carte, came to light in court last week:

Man pleads guilty to sending 'threats of sexual violence' to SNP's Joanna Cherry
The court heard that Cherry had received a series of messages from a Twitter account named “Grant” on the day she was sacked from the SNP’s frontbench at Westminster.

Fiscal depute Callum Thomson told the court the messages warned the MP that she had “24 hours or I will f*** you like you f****d Scotland”.

The messages included an email and telephone number and told Cherry to “tell me something”, warning: “You don’t know me or what I’m capable of.”

Defence agent Simon Collins said Karte had been having “difficulties with his own life” at the time and was “apologetic and embarrassed”.

The sheriff said that Cherry had "inferred" threats of sexual harm from the messages, though Karte had said it was not his intent.


This is just the tip of the iceberg of some of the abuse, threats of violence and actual violence that's been dealt to those identified as "TERFS" online and offline in the last year or two, not just to Cherry (some of the abuse she's faced on Twitter alone I'd hesitate to reproduce here, but it includes threats of rape and disfigurement), but to many other women (and on the odd occasion men identified as "TERF sympathizers" ). A simple search on Twitter for the terms TERF and punch (or choose your own expression of violence) will illustrate what I'm talking about.

That's why I'm not happy with the term "TERF". It adds nothing to debate over what is a complex, nuanced and sensitive subject, and encourages those who just want to vent their anger in some way to identify a trendy enemy and let rip in whatever way they choose.

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