I've heard it dozens of times: women telling me that I don't speak for them. Telling me that my insistence that trans women are not literal women, or that women's sex-based rights are the bedrock upon which we achieve and maintain women's liberation, is so offensive that they must go out of their way to denounce me. "You'll never speak for this woman," they sneer.
Well, I'm sorry, but you don't actually have a choice in the matter. I do speak for you, even if you don't want me to. All of the women who have put their social acceptability, friendships, relationships, jobs—and even their safety—on the line in the fight against gender ideology are a rising tide, so to speak. The work we do will benefit all women and girls; from the ones who aren't aware of us to the ones who derive pleasure from our (all too common) social or professional cancellation.
One woman on Twitter recently responded to such a you-don't-speak-for-me accusation with a comparison to labour unions. "Reminds me of my days as head of our local union: always a small core of people doing the grunt work, and the results benefitted to all, even the ones who made sure the boss knew they never came to assemblies. We do speak for you, whether you want it or not." Indeed.
Today's feminists are slurred as TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists, an inaccurate and misleading term). If there was a TERF union, our dues would include online harassment, being told to choke on penises, meritless complaints to our employers, accusations of alt-right bigotry, threats of violence and death, and more. The fees are steep and the work is hard.
To the females who cannot—whether by ignorance or stupidity or malice—see the importance of women upholding our distinct sex class in law and in our culture, remember this: you place stones on the backs of women fighting for our liberation at home and abroad. You weigh us down. You make this fight more difficult. You make this fight more painful. But we will carry on, stones and all.
When your daughters and granddaughters play in female sports it will be because of us that female sports still exist. And—god forbid—if any women or children you know need to escape male violence, they will find refuge in female-only spaces because we refused to relinquish them. If your physician never stops referring to you as a woman, in lieu of some dehumanizing term like uterus-bearer, well, you can thank us for that, too.
I get that third-wave, liberal feminism—the feminism of "trans rights"—is appealing: it's embraced by virtually every corporation on our planet; and it feels warm and fuzzy when you chant the right slogan—Trans women are women!—and get accolades for your "progressive" views. But ask yourself this: Has the easy, socially acceptable, guided path ever been the path to liberation, for any oppressed group? The answer is no. So why do you think it should be any different for women?
Why do you think you should be able to buy a rainbow latte at Starbucks and call yourself a feminist? You're not paying your dues. But us TERFs will cover for you anyways. You're welcome.