It’s spelt Sisterhood, not Cis-terhood statement

This statement was penned by a group of women who are angry with the recent rise of anti-trans feminism. If you want to sign it, please send an email to sisternotcister(at)protonmail.com, or contact them here.

The signatories of this letter strongly condemn the actions and doctrines of the Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs)*. This strain of feminism recently gained notoriety due to their problematic opposition of the proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (these reforms proposes to allow trans and non- binary people to self- declare their gender without, as is the case now, going through humiliating legal and medical process). This law could help to make the lives of a highly discriminated against minority easier. TERFs however claim that the aim of the proposed law change is a threat to cis women.

As feminists we reject the TERF notion of a woman. That our gender and therefore our roles in society are determined by biology is a sexist idea that we have spent our lives rejecting. We demand better than that for ourselves and for our trans siblings. Trans women are women. The proposed law change is not a conspiracy aimed at abolishing women’s rights, nor are trans women trying to hijack female identity. They have their own identity, that of a trans women, which comes with its own experiences of prejudice and discrimination.

We ridicule the idea that men need to pose as trans women in order to abuse us. We have faced abuse from men in a myriad of ways. These men have always had the backing of the patriarchal state and society. They didn’t need to subject themselves to transphobic abuse and oppression to facilitate abusing women then and we don’t see why they would need to now. There is nothing inherently, biologically or psychologically dangerous about trans women and TERFs will not make us afraid of them.

We hate the TERF habit of denying people their gender identity. Referring to trans women as men and trans men as women, denying non- binary people their identity, and trying to refuse them basic rights is a clear sign of prejudice and it has no space on the left. It traditionally belongs with the conservative right and people expressing such prejudices should not be accepted in leftist or anarchist spaces.

We are disgusted by the TERF techniques of bullying trans people and their friends and comrades. TERFs stand against a vulnerable minority by refusing their right to exist, using their dead names, doxxing them, smearing them online and in the press and waging a fear campaign, all whilst accusing trans women of being a possible legal and physical threat to cis women. These techniques are not consistent with their announced aim of getting legislation refused by parliament and belie the TERFs real agenda of intolerance.

We are sick and tired of TERF alarmism. There is no evidence that trans women are in any way a threat to cis women. To the contrary, there is a lot of evidence that TERFs feed the prejudice against trans women. The countries which introduced their own versions of GRA are not experiencing the problems the TERFs associate with allowing trans people to determine their own gender.

We despise the use of the State to police our politics, bodies, personality and identities. When the TERFs recently prosecuted an anarchist trans woman for assault, with the help of the metropolitan police and the magistrates court, they sent a message to us: they believe that their opinions are more important than the well documented physical and mental risks the police and the courts system pose to minorities. We think this is abhorrent. It was a deliberate provocation of vulnerable trans community to get the desired result of them being arrested much like the actions of the Forward Intelligence Teams used by the police.

We will never accept snitching to the police after an event, when the personal risk is over, to be a valid form of resistance. What’s more, while punching people is almost never a good thing, what needs to be pointed out here is that claims this was an example of male on female violence are unfounded and bigoted. The aim of labelling it that is to add fuel to an alarmist scare campaign against trans people. We believe that the term invented by our sex worker comrades to describe TERFs and their counterparts Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminists (SWERFs): “carceral feminism” is indeed correct.

Finally we believe that contrary to the propaganda spread by them that it is the TERFs who are perpetrators of violent hatred, not trans women. It is them who make us feel unsafe. We do not believe they are victims. We believe that the TERFs are similar to the so called men’s rights movement in that they are mistaking losing their privilege for losing their rights. We will not allow our radical and feminist groups and spaces to become battle grounds for their hateful agenda.

We are committed to fighting for an awareness and intolerance of transphobic attitudes in the organisations and spaces that we are part of. We will not let transphobia go unchallenged in our spaces both online and offline and we will support our trans comrades in their struggle against patriarchy and capitalism as we know that their liberation is inextricably part of ours.

We are asking our cis male comrades to join us in these commitments. This isn’t a ‘women’s issue’. This struggle isn’t less important than the class struggle or anti-fascism, it is a part of those struggles as much as they are a part of it. Identity politics are about intersectionality not essentialism, and this benefits you as much as us and trans people. Don’t let TERFs silence your support for trans people with accusations of sexism as those accusations are based on flawed assumptions of biological determinism. This is not a political lifestylist niche, it is an human rights issue. Its an issue of individuals having freedom from oppression as much as any anti-racist or anti-sexist fight, and we see that as a basic radical struggle.

A note to our trans comrades: Some of us are late to this fight and we apologise that it has taken us so long to see the danger that this bigoted group poses to you and the work that we’re all doing as radicals and feminists and to the future that we’re trying to build together.

*Despite the Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist’s declaring the term TERF as a slur, we continue to use it. We do not believe it is a slur although admit it can get used in place of one now. However the bad reputation associated with this word come from the behaviours of those that subscribe to an anti-trans way of thinking. We are using TERF here as a descriptive term to firstly distinguish between radical feminists who are anti-trans and those who are not. We are also using it so that other people know who we are talking about as it is the most used term to describe this specific group of beliefs. We reject the innocuous sounding ‘Gender Critical’ as a poor attempt to minimise and hide the harm that comes from the belief system of those that invented it. We believe that, in time, when it is as unacceptable in our movements to hate people based on their gender identity as it is to hate someone based on their sexuality or race, that this term will be used to describe these people who opposed this overdue societal progress.

Signatories:

Zosia Brom
Laura Dinosaur
Chiara Lauvergnac
Parastou Miri
Jane Nicholl
Alexandra Becker
Helen Parsons
Frank Vulgaris
Lora Lizzy Hughes
Alice Flebotte
Hannah Lawless
Jade Slaughter
Lora Lizzie Hughes
Margarita Nikolayevna
Sophie Macaroni
Blish Law
Lisa McKenzie
Justine Fernandes
Nic Power
Laurel Khutulum Lee
Katie Brandwood
Mildread McHattie
Lou Rey
Mal Sainsbury
Jody Nicholl
Yasmin Basith
Laura Rose Whittall
Michelle Smith
Louisa Cooper
Sylvia Mann
Boudicca Rising
Aysen Dennis
Louse Sweeney
Emilia Webbe
Jay-Jay Thomas
Sophie Txigane
Abigail Smith
Julia Downes, Salvage Collective
Katie McCain
Shiri Shalmy
Biedra
Kirsty Cleary
Kirsty Fife
Dasa Raimanova
Dr Charlotte Cooper
Sanja Vucetic
Daila M
Helen Collins
Becky Conlon
Meagan Blackwood
Janet Cashman
Ellie Longman
Michelle Smith
Maira P.
Bridget Hart
Hiria
Efa Supertramp
Rose Ward
Marina Daniele
Joanne York
Katie Finnegan-Clarke
Lydia Kindermann
Tara Wolf
Amelia Os
Jaca Freer
Taylor Hodgett
Autumn Brennan
Dee Dickens
Fiona Fairless
Yosh Kosminsky
Rachel Strong
Paula Walker
Cal Desmond-Pearson
Maya Harris
Sharon Borthwick
Kim-Marie Jackson
Sally Smith
Sylvie Garcia
Elise Hendrick
Wasp Howl
Rachel Thompson
Harriet Carlton
Lauren Farrell
Rosie Lahore
Sandy Dillon
Joy Grrillah Mottram
Lilith Jones
Alice Swift
Siobhan Fahey, Producer REBEL DYKES
Mari Greenfield
Helen Sheridan
Anjie Mosher
Christine Isherwood
Juliet Kemp
Lisa Thornton
Mary Thewlis, Oxford Transgender Support Group
Wendy Turner
Angie Hughes
Badger North
Sami Gibson
Emmeline May
Natalie Smith
Layla-Roxanne Hill
Diane Steels
Maxine Warren
Helen Dale
Jem Pammenter-Fry
Jane Augsburger
Ruth Sullivan
Charlotte Li
Jane Charlesworth
Rosy Mulryan
Jennifer Dean
Midnight Shelley
Polly Conroy
Christine Clifford
Tarin Brokenshire
Sam Graves
Fay Roberts
Rosa Marvell
Rachel Cotton
Jennie Rigg
Cathryn L
Rachel Loe
Emily Jacob
Raven Nielsen
Alice Nuttall
Ziggy Woodward
Andrea Roberts
Gwenllian Parry
Hannah Charlotte Usher
Eva Gee
Sarah Morris
Tasha B
Haze Gledhill
Sarah E Woodall
Debbie Walker
Jo Weedon
Hester Hughes
Anna Marie
Aileen Elsbury
Miss Michelle Maddison
Sol Loreto-Miller
Roxo Wack
Robyn Young
Beverley Martin
Frankie Birkenhead
Trudi Halpin
Alexandra Devreux-Swift
Alina Dolgin
Annie Whitehead
Heather Quevedo
Sarah Wittams-Howarth
Sarah Lianne Bole
Kendra A Cummings
Becca Johnston
Shelley Lynn Tibbs-Moore
Rosie Swayne
Humaira Saeed
Nina Franklin
Ruth Hamilton
Jet Moon
Dr Shannon Woodcock
Hannah Berry
D-M Withers
Nikki Johnson
Jasmine-Joséphine Yuki Sakura-Rose
Alix Hyde
Janet Parfitt
Cindreia Europe
Charlotte Richardson Andrews
Kate Marston
Sherene Meir
Lorna Rynne
Imogen Butler-Cole
Claire Vaughan
Jessy Young
Jen Conway
Heather McIntosh
Lily Greenslade-Davey
Sonja Blake
Nicole F C
Erynn Schwellinger
Mary Stephanou
Emerciana Desouza
Emma Berry
Lady Shelly
Lorraine Helen Youds
Laura Slowe
Natalie Bennett
Ada Westfall
Eleanor Coleman
April Simpson
Pearl Pelfrey
Sarah Bailey Harrison
Elena Tompkins
Tara Daniel
Umbilica
Clare Bonetree
Molly Dainton
Joanne Maree Le Mura
Annette Guilding
Diana Muertos
Emily Short
Sarah Harper
Rachel Melly
Nicola Hockey
Michelle Lisbona
Keira James
Monika Dre
Miranda Shaw
Ann Stolz
Michele James-Parham
Aby Williams
Kate Jonesface
Jane Czyzselska
Charlotte Tomlin
Heidi Wyldewood
Maddie Noakes
Charlotte Tomlin
Mx Vicky Laylor
Sarahlynn Bower
Karen Laurie
Donna Fearnley
Claire Dargavel
Claudia Higgins
Deb
Ruth Sullivan
Fliss Radomska
Sandie Atkinson
Katerina Neocleous
Misty Marchant
Katie Shaw
Innogen Wood
Helene Conquérir
Elia
Stacy Bias
Claire Hamilton Russell
Catrina-May Connolly
Sally-Marie Bartlam-Hawes
Louisa Harvey
Marie Tuley
Lynsey Morgan
Esther Curran
Laura Seligman
Connie McCabe
Kate Barclay
Cody Silva
Louise Kowalska
Lillian Marie
Lucy Lepchani
Mandy Freewoman
Stephie Phoenix Flinn
Tracey Dixon
Eshe Kiama Zuri
Phoebe Tickner
Rosie Hayes
Mollie Hanley
Sally Hendergate
Mary Kerr
Noanie Sam Heffron, ScottishAthletics Equality & Diversity Advisor
Angela N Brin
Trella Javanainen
Chantelle Louise Robinson

 
Groups:

Bristol ABC
London ABC
South East London Sisters Uncut
Bristol Anarchist Bookfair
Class War Women’s Death Brigade
Fourth Wave: London Feminist Activists
Good Night Out Campaign
North London Food Not Bombs
CHARMPIT band
Killdren band
Petrol Girls band
Berkshire Antifascists
Class War
Class War Scotland
Architectural Workers
Rites of Hadda band
Bristol People of Colour
The Art House Southampton CIC
Rebel Cat Events
Riot Grrrl UK
ReConnected Life
T-Bitch band
Wessex Solidarity
INTRSKTR intersectional feminist collective
Collective Mind Space
TIGER: Teaching Individuals Gender Equality and Respect
BASE social centre (formerly Kebele)
Reading Red Corner
Love Sex, Hate Sexism Collective
Glasgow Anarchist Federation
Anarchist Federation Scotland
REACH Cardiff
York Feminist Collective
Unicorn Nights
Hydra Books, Bristol
Bristol Defendant Solidarity
Bristol Antifascists
Amethyst Midwitchery & Womancraft
New Forest and Southampton Red Tent
Horizontal Prints (Community screen printers in Bristol)
Cafe Kino, Bristol
The Anarchist Federation
Mansfield Anti-Fascists
Notts Activist Wellness
Yemoja Foods
ARTFORANIMALS
North East Anarchist Group

Supporters:
Andy Meinke
Jack Etches
Jon Bigger
Ian Bone
Lauri Love
Matt Smith
James Cleveland
Jamun Mia Aziz
Jay Latarche
Ted Lucas
Adam Lawrence
Rob Ray
Uri Cohen
David McHarg
Alan Loutitt
Ian Whaley
Ricky O’Shea
Pat Wainwright
Johnny Mac
Conor O’Droscoll
Chris Patrick
Richard Hollis
David Alexander
Michael Dixon
Matt Richardson
Alastair Bridges
Albert Tatlock
Nic Ci
Phil Dickens
Luke Hekate
Simon Bradley
Dominic Francis
Keyon Bayandor
Mike Johnston
Steve Blum
Luke Power
Paul Beer
R.A. Briggs
Angus Quinn
Tariq Persaud Parkes
Joe McBlogges
Aardvark Gillibrand
Henry Raby
Chuck Hay
Matthew Ashworth
Kevin O’Malley
Dominik Tea Spitzer
Ian Ingram
Ian Parker
Les Rich
Michael Stephens
Jamie Hall
Oz Katerji
Shehzad Raj
Trent Grassian
Elijah Habib
Nick Nakorn
Dave Rendle
Kris
Nikolas Yanoulopoulos
Shay Thomas
Cai Brown
Leo Robinson
Kris Perry