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Calling TERF and cisgender slurs

Dana Michelle

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Dana Michelle

I've seen a lot of people say that TERF and cisgender are slurs. I haven't seen them used that way, but I have seen a lot of words weaponized, so it wouldn't surprise me if someone weaponized those terms as well. In particular, I've seen the words "privilege" and "appropriation" get weaponized, including against transgender people. However, I have not seen other terms get called slurs except TERF and cisgender. Has anyone else seen non-trans terms get called slurs in ways similar to the way TERF and cisgender get called slurs?

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Carolyn Marie

Well, I've seen the words "woke," "politically correct," "liberal, "conservative," "transgender agenda," and a few others words "weaponized."  Whether or not any or all are slurs largely depends on who is hurling them, and who is on the receiving end.  Isn't that always the way it is, though?


Carolyn Marie

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Jackie C.

TERF is KIND of a slur. I mean it's basically calling the person transphobic. I don't think I'd use it unless the person involved is acting as a trans-exclusive radical feminist though. Basically using her feminism as a way to discriminate. It would probably slide off my back, but I'd get downright nasty if she was going after one of my sisters. Much the same way I'd call a cop who pulled over one of my darker friends for "driving while black" a racist. I mean neither are nice words.


Cisgender is just a medical term though, so I don't know what's up with that. It would be like calling me out on having asthma. I've heard people react to it like it was a slur (cisgender, not asthmatic), but I'm mostly baffled when they do.


Like @Carolyn Marie says though, when some groups get ahold of certain terms, they use them like a slur. Even if it's silly.



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Hi Dana, Terf is an acronym I had to look up a year or so ago, but is rarely used as one.

Really it has grown beyond it's T.E.R.F (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist) descriptor origins the same way Ned has through popular use in the UK. (N.E.D = Non Educated Deliquent).

Any word can become a slur purely through intent and context, but pretending to advocate for womens rights while deliberately actively campaigning to negate the rights of a subsection of women who are statistically in just as much need of those rights is exclusionary at best, and a definite "ism". 

It is known as "othering" and is a cheap but destructive trick to create a false bond by giving both parties common ground in the form of another enemy. 😞

I also dislike the way the word radical is often used these days, but like Carolyn has already stated many words are weaponised on both sides when they are used with the intent to hurt rather than educate. An obvious example would be that politicians do it all the time through repetition of certain words and slogans in their speeches.

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I had to Google "TERF" ... now I know ☺️

Since TERF is an acronym I think if it is just being used to describe somebody's behavior it wouldn't necessarily be a slur, but it is a bit of a harsh accusation. 

I think if it is directed as a label at somebody personally, then Yes, definitely a slur. 


As Trans-people I think we need to be very careful in our choice of words and labels.  Since we are often the target, we have to set a good example to those looking for any reason they can find to condemn us or worse.

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Dana Michelle
8 hours ago, KayC said:

I had to Google "TERF" ... now I know ☺️

Since TERF is an acronym I think if it is just being used to describe somebody's behavior it wouldn't necessarily be a slur, but it is a bit of a harsh accusation. 

I think if it is directed as a label at somebody personally, then Yes, definitely a slur. 


As Trans-people I think we need to be very careful in our choice of words and labels.  Since we are often the target, we have to set a good example to those looking for any reason they can find to condemn us or worse.

I agree that TERF can be a harsh accusation but I think other accusations like bigot, sexist, racist, homophobe, ableist, xenophobe, etc. can be just as harsh, but I have not seen these terms get called slurs. I've seen a lot of people throw these terms around and justify it by saying "The lives of marginalized people are more important than peoples' feelings" (as though false accusations of bigotry are going to save someone's life).

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