Left versus left in TERF war

A column by Rachel Stewart in the Herald on Wednesday stoked up the TERF war on the left. This is an ongoing and often vitriolic debate:

3 September (YourNZ) – Transphobic TERF wars of words

28 November (NZ Herald) – Rachel Stewart: TERF a derogatory term to shut down debate

Stewart did make a conspiracy claim that warrants questioning:

Sure enough, American transgender lobby groups are being funded by the likes of billionaires Warren Buffett and George Soros. Why? Because investors want to help normalise the altering of basic human biology, and Big Pharma stands to make a fortune. It’s already started.

But the TERF battle received the most attention:

TERF stands for ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminist’ and is used as a way of denigrating any woman who questions the current craze of people – overwhelmingly men – who say they were born into the wrong body.

Basically, it’s a derogatory and offensive label and is used to shut down debate on the fraught subject of transgender rights.

Just a cursory glance on social media quickly provides enough evidence to prove it’s anything but a neutral term – as users often claim. It’s common to see slogans like “Kill all TERFs”, and who’re often described as Nazis, fascists and bigots.

This just inflamed things.

Daring to question this, I’m now regularly referred to as a TERF. Boxed up, compartmentalised, and considered fair game by those who enjoy hunting in packs online.


Unfortunately that’s the nature of a lot of online ‘debate’ – personal attacks are rife. In this case it is largely left wing versus left wing.

The power of debate is being overrun by the power of berate, and worse.





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  1. The Consultant

     /  2nd December 2018

    Just some of the things I have been called since Wednesday’s column:
    Conspiracy theorist


    Welcome to our world, Rachel!

    And I’d bet dollars to donuts that you’ve hurled all of those around yourself – as long as the target was Right-wingers, Fairfax columnist advocates violence:

    Rachel Stewart
    · Sep 18, 2016
    Apropos of not much, I just wanna’ say that @dpfdpf is a little wee tool that I’d just love to meet in a dark alley somewhere. Not kidding.

    Not so much fun now, is it sweetie?

    The key questions is, have you learned anything about yourself and your side of the ideological fence.

  2. Pink David

     /  2nd December 2018

    Pass the popcorn…

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  2nd December 2018

    The Left are vile. Now in breaking news …

  4. Wow, it’s actually good to see the left criticizing itself for a change. And eating itself too.

  5. The Consultant

     /  2nd December 2018

    I’m Afraid of Woke People

    Well worth the read it’s about a poem of that name, written by an iconic Canadian gay playwright, who was also a long-time drag performer. You can see the problems with the latter in today’s climate. Here’s part of the original poem:

    I’m afraid of “Woke People’ because they taught me to fear being gay. It was something that I worked very hard to be proud of, and now — once again — I am ashamed.

    When I go to a theatre event or a sexuality conference, I am careful not to dress in a sexual way, because I know that for many ‘Woke People’ it fits an evil gay stereotype.

    When I go online I brace myself for the postings about how politically insensitive, hyper-sexual and super-rich gay men are.

    For this poem the following happened::

    Within six days of Gilbert’s blog post, a reading of his play was cancelled, and within fifteen days, he had no choice but to walk away from the theatre company he started.

    Let’s take a moment to process this: Sky Gilbert, a gender non-conforming drag queen, gay poet and playwright who, on paper, has more intersectional points than one thousand Bernie Sanders rallies, was cast out of his own community (a community he helped to establish) for the crime of having an unfashionable opinion.

    So even intersectionality won’t save you. Well of course, in the same way that being a good communist would not save you from Stalin’s NKVD. When the woke crowd use the decades-old test of “power-imbalance”, they’re not actually desiring a balance – they just want to have the power to control you and destroy you. A couple of more lines from that poem were prescient:

    I’m afraid of ‘Woke People’ because, for them, good intentions are not enough.

    I’m afraid of ‘Woke People’ because when I appeal to them for generosity and kindness they see it as trying to make them weak.

    I’m afraid of ‘Woke People,’ because — I’m sorry.

    Because I’m sorry I exist.

  6. duperez

     /  2nd December 2018

    It must be such a chore to be at the beach looking and wondering if that one is from the left or that one from the right. And wandering the art gallery distracted from the works to categorise the viewers. Or at the rugby working out which is which in the thousands, let alone the players.

    One thing for certain though, the blind, dumb, biased ref – he’s a “fucken leftard!”

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  2nd December 2018

      Lefties play rugby?? Now that’s breaking news, dups.

      • duperez

         /  2nd December 2018

        No, that’s the cry from the corporate boxes!

        But all the professional ones here must be lefties – they all belong to the players’ union.


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