Last night, I accidentally stumbled upon a thread of trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) making assumptions about the cause of asexuality. In their opinions, it was a result of the puberty blockers given to trans and non-binary kids, of teenage girls and women in their early twenties deciding to avoid men because of things the men have learned from porn, and because people take antidepressants because they’re sad. And all of this was prefaced by an argument that accepting asexuality is some kind of conspiracy by the transgender community.
Oh. My. God.
First of all, asexuality is not a result of those puberty blockers. If it was, then there would be no asexuals over the age of 18 and trans and non-binary kids would mostly be asexuals. Most aces that I know are well past 18, cisgender, and have never used puberty blockers. Most trans and non-binary folks I know aren’t asexual.
Secondly, what is the logic in saying girls are choosing asexuality because of porn & not wanting to date? That makes no sense to me. And why only girls? The first asexual person to come out to me was a man.
Their third and final “point” was just flat out mental health stigma and ableism. It’s not surprising to see a TERF say something ableist or that stigmatizes mentally ill people. In fact, it’s pretty normal for them to be bigoted on multiple fronts.
Exclusionary feminism relies on hate and misunderstanding of marginalized groups. It isn’t uncommon for a TERF or a SWERF, the sex work equivalent, to be racist, ableist, homophobic, biphobic, classist, xenophobic, fatphobic, intolerant of various religions, or sexist. Yes, they are often sexist, and they seek to uphold patriarchal values or side with groups that seek to keep cisgender women and those assigned female at birth (AFAB) stuck in gender roles that they claim to abhor. These groups even try to limit access to basic human rights for cis women and AFAB people.
TERFs will proclaim that men cannot speak for or over women and do not belong in women’s spaces, but they will encourage pile-ons and harassment campaigns by so-called radical feminists who happen to be men. These men will harass, demean, defame, and talk over cis women and trans & non-binary folks. The hypocrisy, like everything else, is based in hatred.
These individuals say that bisexual women who have dated men are heterosexual and have been tainted. It’s the same kind of bullshit that incels say about women who have had sex. The sex work exclusionary feminists push for legislation and policies that limit the ability for people who have been or currently are sex workers to have PayPal, Venmo, or bank accounts. They claim that those who seek out sex work and pornography are exploiting women and girls, but fail to understand their actions are a form of exploitation. Their outright hatred of sex positivity is yet another way that they uphold the patriarchy.
I used to say that there was nothing radical about this type of feminism, but the reality is that it’s extremely radical; what it isn’t is feminism. Exclusionary feminists are not feminists. That’s not me gate-keeping; they just aren’t feminists. They stand for absolutely nothing but hate. They do not seek liberation. They do not seek empowerment. They do not seek a better world. They only seek a more fearful world for those who they do not like. They are no different from any group that seeks to limit the rights and safety of any marginalized group.