Left vs. Left ‘TERF’ War Pits Radical Feminists Against Transgender Activists

‘If gender identity becomes a protected class in federal civil rights law, there will be serious negative consequences…’

(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) For years, the political Left has divided society into an ever increasing number of identity groups. Now, some of these groups—or perhaps groups within groups—are fighting over the same social-justice territory, and it’s getting ugly.

Moments after a recent Washington, D.C., gender conference, two radical feminists publicly accosted a transgender woman (i.e. born biologically a man) for having the gall to advocate for women’s rights.

The encounter, which was filmed and posted on Facebook, may seem highly confusing—if not downright ridiculous—for those not up to speed on the latest trends in LGBT activism, pitting the “intersectionality” of one aggrieved group’s demands against those of another.

In this instance, anti-trans feminists Kellie–Jay Keen–Minshull (aka “Posie Parker”) and Julia Long confronted trans activist Sarah McBride (née Tim) over the inclusion of biological men who identify as women in a British women’s prison.


McBride is the national press secretary for an activist organization called the Human Rights Campaign. Keen–Minshull and Long are prominent activists in a movement known as “trans-exclusionary radical feminists,” or TERFs.

“Why are you championing the rights of men to access women in women’s prisons? And rape and sexually assault them as recently happened in the United Kingdom?” the TERF feminists asked McBride in the surprise confrontation.

The rift between the two ‘oppressed’ activist groups over prison rape also spilled over into other hot-button topics, like encouraging young girls who may be questioning their identity to alter their bodies.

“Why don’t you care about lesbian girls at 14 having double mastectomies? Why don’t you care about that, Sarah?” the TERF feminists interjected against McBride.

Their Facebook video received more than 11,000 views by Thursday morning, with the vast majority of comments being supportive.

But in other social justice circles, TERFs are seen as “problematic” and “transphobic.” Worse, they somehow align with conservatives while professing to loathe them.

Common Cause?

To put it bluntly, the TERFs hate conservatives. But they consistently reject trans women in “feminist spaces and organizations” and believe they are protecting “cis women,” or straight women, from men.

Radical Feminists Harass Trans Woman in Bizarre Social Justice Turf War

TERF activists protest during the London ‘Pride’ parade. / IMAGE: Red Pill & Curry via Youtube

The verbal assault challenging whether trans women should be grouped with straight women and lesbians in women’s prisons echoed the ongoing debate against transgender-friendly bathrooms and locker rooms and the risks they pose.

The issue similarly arose last year at a Christian-based women’s shelter in Alaska. After the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission began investigating an ordinance violation at the Hope Center, the shelter sued, saying that the ordinance requiring it to accept transgender women did psychological—and potentially physical—harm to the female rape victims seeking refuge there.

Last week, the conservative Heritage Foundation hosted a panel of TERFs to talk about the pathology of transgenderism, albeit for different reasons.

Ryan T. Anderson, a senior Heritage research fellow and the event’s moderator, opened the panel discussion by saying, “If gender identity becomes a protected class in federal civil rights law, there will be serious negative consequences.”

The increase in those identifying as transgender, he added, “has become an epidemic.”

One of the TERFs’ main objectives is to impose harsh rules and strict medical definitions in gender-equality legislation to make it difficult for trans women to achieve the legal status of a woman.

If that’s not confusing enough, the explanation TERFs offer for their crusade against trans women is that they are protecting cis women from male violence, which they view as a historic problem on the level of the African slave trade.

Resistance from the Left

Other radical feminists, however, want nothing to do with TERFs. They assert that the group is not only discriminatory against trans people, but they end up functioning like the “radical Right” and protecting a world dominated by straight people.

By not including men who identify as women in the radical feminist version of the women’s right movement, TERFS are “preserving a cis-privileged world through excluding trans people from fully participating in society as equal citizens,” a leading anti-TERF group contends.

This schism of left-wing gay and feminist groups goes back several years prior to last week.

Jack Dorsey

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey/IMAGE: screenshot via CNN

LGBT-friendly Twitter, which has faced frequent criticism for censoring conservative voices and promoting a leftist agenda, instituted a policy in 2014 of banning users who “misgender” and “deadname” other users.

Misgendering means not using a trans person’s preferred pronoun, like saying Caitlyn Jenner is a “he.” Deadnaming, similarly, would mean calling Jenner by his/her former name, Bruce Jenner.

A Canadian radical feminist named Meghan Murphy was one of the first high-profile TERFs to be banned under the policy.

“What is insane to me, though, is that while Twitter knowingly permits graphic pornography and death threats on the platform … they won’t allow me to state very basic facts, such as ‘men aren’t women,’” Murphy wrote on her Feminist Current blog.

The conflict isn’t likely to resolve anytime soon, especially as left-wing activist groups continue to grow and further fracture into increasingly smaller and more specific subgroups.

But for now, the mainstream, politically-correct left seems to be siding with trans people.

McBride tweeted after last week’s incident, linking the TERF harassment to the ongoing struggle that trans-rights activism is combating on a global scale.