TERFs are the Final Bosses of White Feminism

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16 March 2022

By Michaela Makusha

Another day, another J.K Rowling tweet. Yay.

The highly successful children’s author has criticised Labour leader Keir Starmer for saying trans women are women, under the Equalities Act.

Starmer also added in this interview that a “more considered, respectful, tolerant debate about these issues” is needed. I’m guessing Rowling saw that part and also objected to it. She hopped onto Twitter and started a transphobic firestorm for which she received immense criticism.

But she also received a lot of support from the TERF community, who have been backing her for a while now.

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TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists) or Gender Critical Feminists are people who believe that trans women are not women, and do not want them included in feminism and discussions of women’s rights.

But what is interesting is that for so-called feminists, this work – ‘protecting women from evil trans people’ – isn’t about protecting women, or women’s safety.

I won’t pretend to be an expert on transgender rights and people – but I know what white feminism looks like.

And the exclusion of trans women from feminism is part of the re-centring of white, heterosexual, cis women in feminism and ignoring the struggle of marginalised groups.


Koa Beck, author of the book White Feminismsaid: “feminism as an ideology and a very specific approach and strategy toward achieving gender equality that focuses on accruing power without any redistribution or reconsideration of it.

“And that’s why white feminism overlaps with white supremacy and classism and transphobia, because there’s no analysis of that power and it’s very singular in its execution and goals.”

Trans men and women are unfortunately the ones who bear the brunt of lies that are promoted. Hate crimes against trans people were high last year. The Home Office reported that 2,630 hate crimes against transgender people were recorded by the police – an increase of 16% from the previous year.

This isn’t new. White feminism has always claimed it is standing for all women but will either ignore the issues of marginalised communities or further exacerbate the struggle.

American Suffragettes in the 18th century aligned themselves with racist groups to exclude black men and women from voting.


British suffragettes also had their own racist and imperialist views which infantilised women of colour.

Rowling has aligned herself with figures such as Caroline Farrow, who leads CitizenGo, a political group that is homophobic and anti-abortion.

I don’t see how that helps the lesbian women she claims to be speaking up for.

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Maybe some of these women actually believe that what they are doing is right – but it is based on misinformation and fear-mongering from people who have little to no idea what they are talking about.

And as for excluding women of colour as well as trans women, Rowling also nailed that on the head in her books. Every female character, in my view, is rooted in a racist and/or misogynistic trope.

You cannot claim to be a feminist and use your power to oppress marginalised groups and women. All this work to ‘protect women’s rights’ does nothing more than roll back the rights of women.

This isn’t feminism. Feminism has always been inclusive, but how it is practised demonstrates the values of the group. And it seems these women care more about upholding the status quo, not true change.

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