A recent and widely shared article in The New York Times, titled ‘What Makes a Woman?‘, mounts a critique of the trans movement in the US. Elinor
Trans-activists and writers have rightly called out the piece. So here are some lines (that made us whistle) from the most thorough critique of Burkett’s exclusionary feminism.
What most underlies Burkett’s stance in my mind is cissexism: the belief that cis people’s gender identities are authentic and real while trans people’s are questionable, coupled with the belief that cis people have the right to sit in judgment over trans people’s gender expressions, and decide whether to acknowledge a trans person’s gender identity. Burkett has positioned herself as having the right to decide who is acknowledged as a woman, or as a feminist, or as having a “real” gender identity.
Enough said. Also, check out this critique, which appeared on The Huffington Post. Here is some key background to this current debate taking place:
a) the term TERF: Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist. What’s that? This New Yorker piece tells you about radical feminists and their various grouses against transgender people. AKA: more than you ever wanted to know about TERFS.
b) This excellent interview with Judith Butler done by The Transadvocate, where she squashes the idea that her work implicitly argues for trans-as-false-conciousness. See below:
I have never agreed with Sheila Jeffreys or Janice Raymond, and for many years have been on quite the contrasting side of feminist debates. She appoints herself to the position of judge, and she offers a kind of feminist policing of trans lives and trans choices. I oppose this kind of prescriptivism, which seems me to aspire to a kind of feminist tyranny.