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Some trans women literally “get a boner from having their pronouns respected,” Reddit TERF asserts

By David Futrelle

Most people recognize it’s wrong for someone to impose their sexual fetishes on people without their consent — whether the fetishist in question is a boorish dom who demands that women to treat him with the sort of exaggerated deference that no one is obligated to provide anybody unless they’ve agreed to do so as their sub, or if he’s an outright sexual predator like Louis CK coercing younger female comedians into watching him masturbate.

Recently, though, some TERFs have taken this relatively uncontroversial proposition and turned it into something altogether different and deeply wrong. Claiming that the vast majority of trans women are really men pretending to be women just to fulfill some sexual fetish of theirs, they are now suggesting that by merely appearing in public, trans women are forcing their festish on the world much like a flasher exposing himself to children.

In a post on the GenderCritical subreddit — “gender critical feminist” being a favorite new euphemism for TERF — a Redditor called arnaq declares that “I object to being forced to participate in other people’s fetishes and delusions,” a completely reasonable objection, or so it seems, until one sees what she really means.

She starts out as reasonably as her headline at first appears, recounting her experience with a predatory sexual harasser who tried to impose his fetish on her with a series of obscene phone calls.

“Years ago,” she writes,

I had a retail management job and one day I started getting very creepy calls. It was a man who would breathe heavily and say things like “Will you be my mistress?” “Will you fucking punish me?” and all this other disturbing shit. I told him to fuck off and eventually one day he stopped calling. It was so uncomfortable that this man was using my position as a retail employee who was supposed to cater to my customers and forcing me to give him attention.

Every feminist recognizes (and, I imagine, even many non-feminists recognize) that obscene phone calls are no joke.

At this point, though, arnaq’s post takes a rather dramatic turn:

I feel the same level of creeped out being forced to acknowledge these men who fetishize womens’ bodies and their bodily functions as women themselves.

She is, of course, talking about trans women, not crossdressers.

While it is possible some of them aren’t doing this for fetish reasons, it is obvious that many, MANY of them transitioned because they got off on crossdressing or can’t wait to “touch my girltits~!” or some other extremely offensive “reason” for feeling they are a woman.

This is, of course, utter bullshit. There are of course “chasers” who fetishize trans bodies but assuming that those inhabiting trans bodies share these fetishes is absurd. This whole notion is built on the assumption, as Natalie Reed has noted,

that the “shemale” is doing it to get laid, to attract men to him with his new hot, curvy, sexual-object of a body. Either that or, as in “autogynophilia”, doing it to have himself as his very own personal sex object.

In fact, Reed explains,

It is not an act of attempting to emulate or express ourselves as The Other, we are attempting to more accurately and honestly express The Self. We don’t transition into being a new or different person. We become more ourselves.

Back to arnaq’s post:

As much as TRAs [Trans Rights Activists] like to claim that all of them are genuinely women and have known since they were in the womb, spend five minutes in a TRA reddit community and you will see post after post of how sexy they think being a woman is. Things that genuine women never even think about.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure plenty of “genuine women” admire and enjoy their “genuine female” bodies and, yes, even think of them as sexy.

I am all about gender nonconforming people and if they or anyone else wants to dress or participate in activities related to the opposite “gender” I could not care less.

The fact that you’re posting this screed kind of suggests that you do care, a lot.

But it’s the fact that I am supposed to “accept them as one of my own” and pretend that they didn’t grow up in a world that catered to people born the same sex as them while likely many of them (and men in general) preyed on women sexually that pisses me off so much.

This is an attempt to use the language of feminism to support outright bigotry — bigotry as brazen as Trump’s insistence that Mexican immigrants are a bunch of rapists. There’s absolutely no reason to assume that large numbers of trans women behave in a predatory manner towards cis women, either before their transitions or afterwards.

Why do I have to compromise my safety to satisfy someone else’s delusions?

You don’t. But TERFs trying to ban trans women from women’s bathrooms are essentially demanding that they compromise their own safety by forcing them to use men’s bathrooms, which puts them at risk of assault by transphobic men who don’t like the idea of “men wearing dresses.” This sort of violence isn’t imaginary. These assaults really do happen. (And it’s not just cis men who are the attackers; several days ago two cis women were charged with sexually assaulting a trans woman in the bathroom of a /North Carolina bar.)

Why do I have to pretend how I think and feel to appease someone who has enjoyed privilege myself and other women never have?

Trans folks face bigotry and harassment on a level that few cis people can even comprehend, both before and after transition. A staggering one third of trans teens who identify as female despite being assigned male at birth try to commit suicide. (The percentage for trans male teens is an even more staggering 50%.) Yes, as every feminist knows, cis men enjoy privilege over cis women. But the idea that trans women are somehow privileged over cis women because they once presented as boys and men is absurd.

Why do I have to stand for them weaponizing their position as a TIM to attack women and coerce lesbians into sex?

A TIM, by the way, is a “Trans-Identified Male,” TERFspeak for, yes, a trans woman. In any case, I’ve seen zero evidence that “weaponizing” transness to coerce cis lesbians into sex is an actual thing in the world, rather than simply a moral panic, outside of a tiny handful of individual cases. (TERFs who’ve brought this issue up with me have offered only a single example of a real-life trans woman who preyed on cis lesbians in this way.)

Ironically, there were some Rad Fems in the 1970s, many of whom have since become TERFs, who tried to convince straight cis women to become “political lesbians,” abandoning sex with men (if not necessarily starting to have sex with women) in the name of feminism — before everyone (or almost everyone, anyway) realized that that was not how sexuality works, and that pressuring people to somehow magically change their sexual orientation for political or supposedly political reasons is creepy as hell.

I would not be surprised if many of them even get off on the fact that women like myself are placed under this sense of obligation to do cater to them unwillingly by the way many of them behave when they don’t think actual women are paying attention.

I don’t even know what the fuck she’s talking about here.

It is pure misogyny that women are placed under scrutiny and attacked for pointing out how uncomfortable all of this is. A man forcing me to acknowledge him as a “fellow sister” is a violation of my boundaries and I will not stand for it.

Trans women are women. Full stop.

Naturally, the regulars in the GenderCritical subreddit loved armaq’s manifesto. One commenter took armaq’s transphobia one step further, offering an example of alleged trans sexual fetishism that I, at least, have never heard of before.

“Yeah,” wrote a commenter called legally_cool.

I don’t care what people do in private but I’m not playing along with anyone’s fetish. Some TIMs get a boner from having their pronouns respected like wtf how is that normal behaviour.

Trans women … get boners from HAVING THEIR PRONOUNS RESPECTED? They get Pronoun Boners?

I’ve devoted much of my time over the last eight years trying to expose (and make some sense of) the weirdest sub-varieties of misogyny on planet Earth, but goddamn, TERF transmisogyny can get just as weird as manosphere misogyny, if not more so.

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kupo
kupo
3 years ago

It occurred to me after reading all this, that TERFs exist largely because some people claiming to be feminists are genuinely misandrist, the real thing.

There is no “real thing” when it comes to misandry. And TERFs are straight up misogynists.

epitome of incomprehensibility

I have little to add that other people haven’t already said, but I just want to say that @Troubelle’s lyrics on the 1st page are awesome. 😀 Especially the refrain with all the rhymes/wordplay about “chopped liver.”

Ariblester
Ariblester
3 years ago

@Kupo

There is no “real thing” when it comes to misandry.

Do you mean that there is no such thing as a pathological hatred of men qua men, or that “misandry” is a term created in bad faith by people with an ideological axe to grind?

MrFancyPants
MrFancyPants
3 years ago

It’s interesting to see how you have devolved, David. It’s revealing.

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
3 years ago

Care to expand on that @MrFancyPants?

Bakunin
Bakunin
3 years ago

@Scildfreja
Doubtless it’s just some garbage about how “David is expressing violence against women”, or something similarly dull. Disappointing how TERFs and other transphobes keep popping up in nominally progressive spaces.

Ariblester
Ariblester
3 years ago

Someone correct me if I’m mistaken, but wasn’t the MrFancyPants nym used by an old commenter?

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
3 years ago

@Ariblester
Yeah, it’s someone who used to frequent atheist blogs and ended up following Ophelia Benson down the transphobia rabbit hole. They showed up in the thread PZ Myers had a few days ago to scold him at much greater length but for basically the same reason.

Ariblester
Ariblester
3 years ago

@A.Noyd

Thanks for the confirmation that this was another former WHTMer who went full transphobe / showed that they were transphobes all along.

Xanthë
3 years ago

Hi A. Noyd,

I too remember Mr Fancypants, from his sycophantic following of Ophelia Benson (me being another occasional Pharyngula poster like yourself). He has also developed an unhealthy habit of following around cis guys (such as David and PZ Myers) to tell them how positively awful they are for not behaving like a regressive bigot to trans people.

He recently had a spat with the comic artist Jon Rosenberg (who creates Scenes From A Multiverse) and withdrew his Patreon support when he was unsatisfied with Jon’s response. The gory details are all in this thread: Twitter

Mr Fancypants: I have Patreon’d hundreds of dollars to you. I am redirecting that now to people with a brain.
Jon Rosenberg: I’m keeping all the money! I love your money.

#peaktrans

Valkyrine
Valkyrine
3 years ago

Sorry to repost this, but I really wanted to thank people for helping me out of my mental pickle. ?

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy

@M K

As a trans person, I don’t really think adding cultural context can explain or soften the harmful nature of radical feminist philosophy.

Absolutely.
Some feminist concepts or campaigns should be seen in context to appreciate them. Others can be seen in context to understand them: not to excuse them, but in order to better contest them. The radical feminism that birthed terfism falls into the latter.

dashapants
dashapants
3 years ago

How was there even a sustained argument on this thread about alleged former male privilege of transwomen?

Like even if someone used to present as a man and was accorded some (varying) amount of societal privilege during that time – (a) it would have been poisoned by dysphoric feelings (because even advantage-granting assumptions about what constitutes a “man/male” are often oppressive to someone who is trans) and (b) it’s in the PAST! What possible bearing can this have on their current situation? I mean I had cake yesterday and it made me sick, so today I am sticking to chicken soup to feel better. So how is my yesterday’s barf cake ruining some TERF’s birthday today? It’s the stupidest nonsense ever (obvious hyperbole in view of the existence of incels).

Hambeast
Hambeast
3 years ago

The thing that finally pushed me out of paganism (wicca in particular) was that there seems to be a fair amount of transphobia there.

A couple of years ago, Husbeast and some friends were looking to join a coven and were shopping around, as it were. We went to what looked to be a promising group; well established, had a nice facility, put on a slick presentation of what they were all about, including a special series of women-only events. When someone asked whether they included trans women, the answer was an unequivocal “no.” The reasons given were the typical “honoring women as ‘lifegivers'” stuff I’d heard before.

It was jarring to see the priestess spout this nonsense like a megachurch deacon. And the upshot is that Husbeast and friends are still practicing solo, with occasional workshops and sabbats with a loose group of friends and acquaintances.

Hannukah Dreidl
Hannukah Dreidl
3 years ago

In the English-speaking environment, the “feminist” porn-store firebombings referred to might be the Red Hot Video firebombings in Vancouver BC in 1982-83. The outcry against exploitative porn eventually led to felony porn distribution charges against another branch of the same video chain.

The Red Hot Video bombings were connected in personnel to some violent direct action leftists the Squamish Five (wikipedia entry includes Red Hot Video arson). Some of the women and their extended circle involved continued activism at Vancouver Rape Relief, related organizations and the Vancouver Dyke March, which have TERF/FART struggles to this day. (The Vancouver Dyke March unequivocally supports transwomen but there has been significant organizational and protest struggle around this inclusion).

jone
jone
3 years ago

If people feel like they are really women, I applaud them.

I don’t know what the hell they mean, though.

I have woman parts, I’m treated as a woman. But I don’t feel like one.
I don’t feel like a man either. I frequently have dreams where I am a man. It doesn’t bother me… I don’t feel the need to be one or the other, or both. I think gender is a wholly non-creative concept. Boring. I’ll take a pass. Do my own thing.

I just don’t care about gender in how it pertains to me. If people want to treat me as female, that’s fine in some ways.
It sucks when I would rather be treated as a professional or otherwise taken seriously, but other than that I don’t care much for myself.
Of course I care when it comes to systemic discrimination faced by women, and especially women of color. But I’m talking personally here.

So it’s one of those ,” no idea what you’re talking about, but good for you,” things.

It doesn’t make sense how scared people are of men who feel like women, or women who feel like men.

What about people who don’t feel like either, and don’t care either way?

Is it so hard to look at a person in a different way, or call them by a different title?
Instead of facing that it brings anxiety, people choose to bully those who are trans. That’s everything wrong with humanity personified.

If an army enlisted goes from first lieutenant to a captain, she’s entitled to be referred to by her proper moniker. And nobody freaks the fuck out, even though it’s possible that all she did was exist in the service for a longer period of time.

So it’s not like trans people are asking other humans to do something entirely unfamiliar or uncouth.

Maybe it’s only because anti-trans people hate being corrected. God forbid. Public humiliation is more than their empty-husk-where-a-soul-should-be can stand. They might just evaporate.
It’d do us all a favor.

Virginia Howard
Virginia Howard
3 years ago

David, I’m sorry but I’ll have to unfollow you. I can’t agree that “trans women are women. Full stop.”

A woman is an adult female.

Sex is the material reality of male and female bodies, gender is the performance of masculinity and femininity.

There are no pink or blue brains. When someone says “I was born in the wrong body”, that’s metaphysics.

Thank you so much for educating me about MRAs, PUAs and all of the dark pockets of online misogyny, I’ll certainly pass on your handy glossary of terms. But I doubt that you will reach you peak-trans moment anytime soon, mainly because— you are not an adult female.

Goodbye and keep up the good work satirizing the dark side of masculinity.

Ooglyboggles
Ooglyboggles
3 years ago

@Virginia Howard
Fuck off TERF.

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
3 years ago

Sex is the material reality of male and female bodies, gender is the performance of masculinity and femininity.

And “woman” is used – even by you, unless you perform panty checks and chromosome tests before you use pronouns and terms like “woman” or “man” – in response to performances of femininity far more than it’s ever used in response to determinations of biological sex.

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
3 years ago

@Virginia Howard,

You’re wrong, my duck.

Toodle.

Catalpa
Catalpa
3 years ago

David, I’m sorry but I’ll have to unfollow you.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, TERF!

Tizio
Tizio
3 years ago

Friendly reminder that TERFs don’t know the difference between gender identity and gender roles.

Friendly reminder that, every single time a transphobe tries to define the human sexes, they do so in such a way that their own definition is declared invalid by their own beliefs and definition.
(For example, as Crip Dyke pointed out, transphobes address people as “woman” or “man” without checking for those people’s genitalia or chromosomes. But transphobes claim that the only “correct” way to determine someone’s sex is by checking their genitalia and chromosomes; and that whoever doesn’t use that “correct” method is wrong. Therefore, according to the claims of transphobes, transphobes are wrong.)

solecism
solecism
3 years ago

I was dismayed in the last year or so to realize that one of my lesbian friends was a TERF, even if she was unfamiliar with the term and didn’t identify as such, and another lesbian friend said some transphobic stuff around dating.

But I had a long time to think about how I was going to challenge my TERFy friend, and I finally had an hours-long conversation with her about her beliefs and assumptions. She had been involved with the Michigan Womyn’s Festival, so I had rather suspected even before the conversational evidence. Anyway, I hurt her brain with new terms like cis and challenged her anecdotes (another fool who believes trans women somehow have male privilege and that’s why they’re so disruptive in women-only spaces, as opposed to the TERF bigots being the source of the disruption). It’s been a few months, and I am trying to meet up with her in a few weeks to see how much of it might have sunk in.

The other friend is now dating a trans man and happy. Problem solved, I guess? She never expected to end up in such a situation. And I never expected to have gender identity questions. Life is full of surprises.

Thanks for all the stories and explanations and context that will help me continue to challenge such bullshit as I can.

Airis Damon
Airis Damon
3 years ago

I have been monitoring this site off and on for some time. I truly appreciate David Futrelle’s work and all the supporters of this site.

“FARTs,” that is a good acronym for what can only be called an anti-feminist reactionary movement masquerading as “radical feminist” one. I think I can add to this comedic lexicon. SCHARTs or Seriously Centrist Hecklers Assuming Reactionary Tendencies. It is something I came up with on the fly. Imagine you are in a conversation about reactionaries and the centrists who aid and abed, and someone exclaims, “Oh, you mean the FARTs and SCHARTs. I know them. They’re a rather smelly bunch.”

Yeah, its a bit crude but funny nonetheless. I don’t know. Let me know what think, and thank you. I was feeling a bit down today. I happened across some transphobic comments on Medium. They were not directed at me, but they still had an affect. I started having flashbacks.

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