As I follow “trans vs radfem” debates , it appears they often degenerate into competitions of ideological minutae about things like privilege. Honestly a time waste in my view.
What I am interested in is what affects real people, not abstract analysis of social structures.
And in that regard, the real danger from TERF activism to trans people does not seem to me to lie in “misgendering”, nor even in hate speech. While female violence against trans people does exist, like birdofparadox.wordpress.comc/2010/04/10/spain-two-cis-women-imprison-torture-and-murder-a-man-in-his-own-home/ or http://www.towleroad.com/2011/04/transgender.html, it is highly dubious the perps read TERF hate speech ( I suspect TERF would defend the latter as some bizarre form of self defence though),
Nor do TERF have any significant political influence on their own. But note “on their own”.
In 1980 Janice Raymond wrote a malicious, apparently intentionally anti-scientific, and quite possibly libelous piece, “Technology on the Social and Ethical Aspects of Transsexual Surgery, for the US Government“. Trans activists claim http://transgriot.blogspot.ie/2010/09/why-trans-community-hates-dr-janice-g.html “This paper effectively eliminated federal and state aid for indigent and imprisoned transsexuals. It has forced incarcerated trans people to file federal court cases to get back trans related medical treatment they lost as a result of Raymond’s transphobic pen.”
No, it did not. Janice Raymond was not a policitian or bureaucrat. She was a random alleged expert. Her paper was simply used to defend a decision made for political reasons by, ultimately. the Reagan administration. To give “feminist cred” to what was essentially a reactionary move.
Symbolically she became a condom with which people suffering from transsexualism were screwed over. But just the condom, not the dick. And as any used condom she was thrown away. You don’t see the “Nordic model” on prostitution introduced in the USA for all her calls – this proves the lady has no real power.
The same action continues to this day, as a set of highly suspicious right-wing clubs organize a collection of signatures against California’s AB1266, a rather harmless law on detail of school policy – and TERF cheer them on.
Sometimes they don’t hide their admiration for their right-wing big brothers. Paul McHugh, a psychiatrist turned Vatican hack who defended paedophilic priests, is universally cited by TERF as being against treatment of transsexuals (he is nearly the only known person with some form of real medical experience who they can dig up with this position – their beau Dr. Blanchard is in fact quite a supporter).
Earlier I could also point to Sheila Jeffreys’ admiration for the conservative Lords who tried to defeat the UK Gender Recognition Act 2004, but sadly the blog “hagocrat”, which hosted her articles, went offline. I suspect it was a copyright claim, and I don’t want to risk a copyright claim (there is a disproportionate amount of lawyers among TERF). I’ll try to fish for my saved copy and put fair use quotes in a separate post later.
But this admiration will only ever be one-sided. Right wing will gladly take the feminist cred, the claim to “defend women” – and then throw TERF away like a used condom after another victory. There will be, from their side, no rattling of restrictive gender roles, just more restrictions against those pesky trans.
And more wars, of course. But that one seems common to all major US political groups.
2018 edit: I admit I was wrong in “will only ever be one-sided”. The conservatives did decide to use the alleged radical feminists as a shield, or a condom, again.