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Copy of Trans Feminisms and the TERF Wars

Trans feminism and the ‘TERF wars’

  • What do struggles for trans rights and feminism have in common?
  • What do transphobia and misogyny have in common?
  • Assess and historicise the key themes/arguments of trans feminism.
  • What are the ‘TERF wars’ about? Consider not just the ideological debate but also the wider historical and political context/ motivations.

Preparatory task

Read Laura's lecture and consider her question about whether trans women played a role in the WLM?

Core reading:

Sandy Stone, 'The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttransexual Manifesto' [ALL]

Emi Koyama, ‘The Transfeminist Manifesto’, in Rory Dicker & Alison Piepmeler (eds.), in Catching a Wave: Reclaiming Feminism for the 21st Century (Northeastern University Press, 2003) [Charlie, Harprit]

Ruth Pearce, Sonja Erikainen and Ben Vincent, ‘TERF Wars: An Introduction’, The Sociological Review, 68.4 (2020), pp. 677-698. [Tamyla, Ateeqa]

Shon Faye, Chapter 7 ‘The Ugly Sister: Trans People in Feminism’ in The Transgender Issue: an Argument for Justice (2021) [Megan, Emily]

Further reading:

Susan Stryker & Talia M. Bettcher,’Introduction’, Special Issue on trans-/Feminisms, Transgender Studies Quarterly 3:1-2 (2016), 5-14.

Julia Serano, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity (2007)

Susan Stryker & Stephen Whittle (eds.), The Transgender Studies Reader (2006) [especially Part II ‘Feminist Investments’]

Susan Stryker & Stephen Whittle (eds.), The Transgender Studies Reader 2 (2013) [especially Part IV ‘Transfeminisms’]

Zachary I. Nataf, Lesbians Talk Transgender (1995)

Emi Koyama, ‘Who’s Feminism Is It Anyway? The Unspoken Racism Of The Trans-Inclusion Debate’, Sociological Review 68:4 (2000)

‘Decolonizing Transgender: A Roundtable Discussion’, Transgender Studies Quarterly 1:3 (2014)

Serena Bassi, Greta LaFleur (eds.), Special Issue: ‘Trans-Exclusionary Feminisms and the New Global Right’, Transgender Studies Quarterly 9:3 (August 2022)

Kritika Agarwal, ‘WHAT IS TRANS HISTORY? From Activist and Academic Roots, a Field Takes Shape’, Perspectives on History (May 2018)

Trans-exclusionary Feminisms

Sheila Jeffreys, “Transgender Activism: a Lesbian Feminist Perspective”, Journal of Lesbian Studies 1:3-4, 55-74 (1997)

Janice Raymond, The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male (1979)

Sheila Jeffreys, Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism (2014)