“Shut up, TERF.”

Not all foxes

There’s a specific vocabulary used in the accusations slung at gender critical women. Even people who don’t know the difference between ‘their‘ and ‘they’re‘ seem to be able to spell ‘spouting vitriol‘ and ‘spewing hateful bile’. The most common insults are ‘fucking TERF’, ‘TERF bitch’ or the slightly less aggressive, ‘shut up, TERF’.  Often, just ‘TERF’ seems to be enough, although the word ‘hate’ is never far away.


Lily Maynard TERF


TERF (as if you didn’t already know) is an acronym for ‘Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist’. That word ‘exclusionary’ sounds pretty negative. Excluding trans people? Awful. Excluding them from what, exactly? It conjours up images of mid-20th century racism and homophobia; of ‘whites only’ drinking fountains;  ‘No Irish’ job advertisements, and seaside B&Bs with ‘homosexuals not welcome here’ signs in the windows.

The thing about ‘TERF’ is that it isn’t even really ‘a thing’. Radical feminism is not trans-exclusionary, it’s MAN exclusionary. The clue is in the name.


Radical feminists – and importantly, a lot of women who would never dream of calling themselves radical feminists- want men excluded from specifically all-female spaces. We don’t want penises in women’s changing rooms, refuges, prisons; at our women’s sports clubs & events. We want men excluded from our all-women shortlists. Because once men, whether or not they’ve undergone GRS – and let’s remember that >75% of ‘transwomen’ still have a penis– make their way onto those spaces and lists they aren’t for women any more.

It’s not unreasonable to say that if  men can call themselves women, the word ‘woman’ stops having any significant meaning.

‘Transwomen’-  men who believe they are women- do not experience menstruation or pregnancy. They haven’t undergone female puberty. Most have been raised with male privilege in one form or another. The discrimination and assaults that they are subject to at the hands of other men are because they are, usually, perceived as men. This violence and discrimination has no place in a civilised society where everyone should be able to dress as they like and pursue whatever hobbies interest them, but it is not the concern of radical feminism because radical feminism is not about men. To say feminism should concern itself with men is like approaching the Dogs’ Trust and telling them they’re cat-haters because they aren’t looking after cats. Some might say a closer analogy would be approaching a chicken shelter and suggesting they take in wounded foxes.

Radical feminism is not ‘trans exclusionary’- it’s MAN exclusionary.

Because it’s not about men.

Transmen, on the other hand – women who believe they are men- are still the concern of feminism, whether they like it or not.  They are female-bodied people, drawn to transition because the subjugation and oppression of women by our culture seems so alien to them. Many are lesbians, who although they ‘identify’ as straight men, are still affected by feminist issues such as menstruation, rape, abortion and pregnancy.  They have no experience of male puberty, of wet dreams or obvious, unwanted and embarrassing pubescent erections. They have only a vague, idealised notion of what it means to be men, and are disadvantaged under patriarchy because they are still -mostly- perceived as women. Even those females who ‘pass’ as men and have undergone phalloplasty were born with XX chromosomes and socialised as girls. Most importantly, radical feminism is concerned with the oppression of women as a class and you just can’t opt out of that. Radical feminism doesn’t exclude women who call themselves ‘transmen‘ because radical feminists know that they are still women.

It’s that simple.

Transactivists will tell you that all TERFs are man-hating, right wing, religious zealots who hate gay people.

I’m only going to say this once and I’m rolling my eyes that it even has to be said. I don’t hate men. I’m very happily married to one. I know that patriarchy isn’t all fun and games; that males are  more likely to be pressurised into joining gangs, stabbed to death on the streets and/or packed off to be cannon fodder in mindless wars.  I know that the biggest killer for men under 45 in the UK is suicide, 75% of suicides in the UK are male, and men are three times more likely to be driven to alcoholism than women.  Society considers a man who fails to ‘provide’ for his family to be a failure. Patriarchy harms men too.  I know this shit. #notallmen. Not my Nigel.

Looking at men as a class however, it’s a different story.  Between 2002- 2015, males were found to be the offender in over three-quarters of overall violent incidents (81%) in England and Wales. Both rape and other sexual offences (88,106) were at the highest level since the NCRS was introduced in 2002.  Male violence is a huge problem.

“When I hear people say “Not All Men” this is what I think. Not all passengers in taxi cabs are thieves, but taxi drivers put up plastic screens. Passengers don’t say “Not All Passengers”. Not all teachers are paedophiles but we check their criminal records annually. Teachers don’t say “Not All Teachers”.  Not all applicants for jobs are liars but we reference check them anyway. Candidates don’t say “Not All Candidates”. Not all men are rapists but women want spaces just for women… but, to this last one, men say “Not All Men”.

Nicola Williams: When I Hear People Say ‘Not All Men’


“The devastating breadth of male violence against women and transwomen alike is under-reported and under-acknowledged, and the violence perpetrated by transwomen against women is flat out denied.”

Gender Apostates: ‘Male Violence is the Problem & Transwomen Commit it Too


A Swedish long-term follow up study of  ‘transexual persons’ following ‘gender reassignment surgery’ came to the conclusion that transwomen maintained male patterns of violence:

“Regarding any crime, male-to-females had a significantly increased risk for crime compared to female controls, but not compared to males. This indicates that they retained a male pattern regarding criminality. The same was true regarding violent crime.”

So taking this into account, we might also want to consider that the number of transgender prisoners in England & Wales grew by 80% between 2016-2017 and that up to half of all trans prisoners may be sex offenders.

Might it, then, not be reasonable to suggest that a woman is no more- or less- safe around a transwoman than any other man.? Not that all trans-identified people are violent predators any more than all men are violent predators; not that trans people shouldn’t have the same rights and protections as anyone else. Shouldn’t actual women, the female-bodied; the ones who get pregnant and menstruate, be allowed a little privacy and spaces of their own?

If you agree with that, congratulations. You’re a TERF.  Best to keep it to yourself. Shut up, TERF.

“You’re a TERF, a right wing, religious zealot who hates LGBT people.”

I don’t hate LGBT people.  I’m bisexual. My eldest daughter’s a lesbian. Pretty sure middle-child is bi.  Smallest is a unicorn. Next.

I’m not religious, or right-wing. I used to love Corbyn before he sold women down the river and started sucking up to the misogynistic Madigans & Bergadofs of this world.   The Conservative Party has always made me feel slightly sick, a hotbed of privilege and brazen entitlement. As for organised religion, it’s the patriarchy at its worst with its cacophony of judgemental and war-mongering gods.

I don’t fantasise about a ‘Nazi-inspired world(sic). Just… no. Really. Stop now.

‘TERF’ has become an umbrella almost as broad as ‘TRANS’. In some circles it is the worst thing a woman can be called. Saying a man is a not woman is akin to being a Nazi, but being a Nazi is implicit in the accusation ‘TERF”.



Even describing yourself as a lesbian and same-sex attracted has been called ‘TERFy’, most notoriously by the CEO of Stonewall, Ruth Hunt.

Even detransitioned men get called TERFs if they don’t use the ‘correct’ language.

Over and again we are told that TERFs are responsible for the deaths of trans people. If I had 50p for every time I was told that there’s blood on my hands because I won’t say a man is a woman,  I could buy myself a mooncup in every colour of the rainbow. Feminists are not the problem. Violent men are the problem.

According to the transrespect site, between 2008 and 2016, eight trans people were killed in the UK. (One of these turned out to not be dead, another to be a suicide/accidental death.) So six trans-IDd people (all men) were killed in those 8 years. Those deaths are a sad and tragic waste of life. Nothing seems to suggest that any of them were killed specifically for being trans: one of them was killed by a trans-identified man.  Unsurprisingly, none of them were killed by women. You can read a post on this, with citations, here.

Fair Play for Women examines statistics that suggest that trans people are no more likely to get murdered than anyone else here.

At a time when Bristol Students’ Union has voted for a ban preventing TERF groups from holding events at the university‘, when women are punched in the face for wanting to discuss gender ideology, when meetings must be held in secret, and Millwall football ground – surely no stranger to controversy – has backed out of their agreement to host the next ‘We Need to Talk’ event- all accompanied by cries of ‘TERF’:  it seems that ‘the T-word’ has become a magic spell for shutting women up.

“I did warn them about transactivists.” says Venice Allan, of the decision by Millwall. ” I think they thought I was being grandiose.’

Grandiose? Far from it. It seems as if transactivists can say whatever they like to and about women whilst we are denied meeting places, intimidated, doxxed, removed from social media, kicked out of political parties and reported to the police just for expressing the opinion that transwomen are men and that the transitioning of children is abusive.

So who exactly is a TERF? Outside of the world of activism and social media it seems that TERFs are everywhere. The old bloke in the flat cap outside the pub? He’s a TERF. The young mum coming home with her shopping? TERF.  Your bus driver? She’s one too. The beggar outside McDonalds; the woman walking her dog in the park. Yup, them as well. They’re all TERFs. They just don’t know it yet.

TERF Lily Maynard

We now are moving into a culture where violence against TERFs is condoned because they are such evil Nazis. I could post hundreds of examples of tweets calling for violence against ‘TERF’ women.  Instead I’ll link to Meghan Murphy’s excellent article, ‘TERF isn’t just a slur, it’s hate speech’. 

if Bristol goes ahead, it will not be the first UK university to ‘ban the TERF’. Julie Bindell wrote in 2015 about the ‘campus craze’ of excluding outspoken women from speaking at events. Tiers 4 and 5 of this ‘banned by trans‘ post deal with the (mostly) women who have been banned from speaking, writing and performing because of their TERF ideology. Pussy hats are TERFy, AF. So is The Vagina Monologues. Check out Terry Mcdonald’s article in The New Statesman,  ‘Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a TERF?

In 2016, Juno Dawson wrote an article for GLAMOUR magazine entitled ‘Call Yourself a Feminist?’ In it he wrote about who could be called a feminist and who couldn’t. (I’ll give you a clue – TERFs were out). Fast forward to 2018 and Munroe Bergdorf is doing the same thing with his article in GRAZIA ‘Women are Getting Feminism all Wrong’.

Exclude men from your feminism & you’re not a feminist. Men say so.

Don’t want men in the women’s changing rooms at your local swimming pool? TERF.

Don’t want boys changing next to your daughter before PE at school?  TERF.

Don’t think men should advise political parties on women’s issues, or stand as Women’s Officers? TERF.

Don’t think men should play on women’s and girls’ sports teams? TERF.

Don’t think men should win awards designated for women or take places on women’s shortlists? TERF.

Worried about male-pattern violence? TERF.

Don’t think a man becomes a woman just because he says so? TERF, TERF.

Don’t believe there’s any such thing as a lesbian with a penis?  TERF. TERF. TERF.

Shut up, TERF.

Shut up.



About Lily Maynard

Shamelessly gender critical. There's no such thing as a pink brain, a lesbian with a penis or a gender fairy. Transitioning kids is child abuse.
This entry was posted in Opinion Pieces, Women's Rights. Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to “Shut up, TERF.”

  1. Wow, beautifully said! I so admire your writing and am posting this on Twit.

  2. jamie7007 says:

    MERF, MALE EXCLUSIONARY RADICAL FEMINIST. not sure i am a radical feminist, more like a radical menopausal female. i am guessing that the trans ladies are finding out the hard way just how bad it is for women (biological females) politically, socially and everywhere else and so they want to drag their (former) male privilege over the gender fence to have what they think are equal rights.

    Equal Rights? That is a fallacy as there really is no such thing. Those in politics say they exist, but not really. My mom said i was lucky i never had periods and after watching her have a bad one where she lost 200+cc’s of blood the first 30 minutes i would have to agree. Ihad to take her to the ER where the male dr freaked out and tried to say losing 1/2 pint off blood is normal. i asked him to call for a female ob/gyn to handle the problem. the lady doctor came and ran the man out of a private room. Mom told the ob/gyn about me as i needed to see what i was missing. (a cold gelatin packed into the uterus to force the blood to clot) gives me the shivers thinking about it,.

    Eleven years later mom came to see me two days after i had a major hysterectomy. Mom was freaked out i had uterine tumors larger than a baby which was why half my guts were removed.

  3. Angelica says:

    omg – you are such a paranoid misogynist
    Woman and female are two different concepts and you only fit one of those.

    • Women are adult female humans. ‘Female’ encompasses not just prepubescent human females but also the female-gamete-producing members of every sexually reproducing species.

      You’re almost half right – but not for the reasons you think.

      • Angelica says:

        Etymological origin of the word woman has nothing to do with sex or reproduction, but with her role in society. It’s why I can be a male woman… rather than a female one. However I explain that on my own web site.

        • Lily Maynard says:

          You aren’t a woman. You may well be a feminine man, or a man performing femininity, but you aren’t a woman. A woman is an adult human female.

          • Angelica says:

            man is from latin “manus”, hand… the workers & producers
            wo-man = with man, the carers in society.

            Apart from the actual birthing I did everything any other single mom is expected to do.. but with no help or support from anyone… just a lot of malevolent people making life difficult for no reason that I know of.

          • Lily Maynard says:

            There are single fathers too, I’ve known some great ones.

          • Angelica says:

            As an asexual person (who never actually wanted to perform sexually), I just find it really hard to understand why my sex is a greater issue than the way I present and my chosen role in life, but above all I struggle with the sheer levels of hatred, unprovoked harasment and total misrepresentation that I must endure. :'(

  4. Just yes to everything you said. I’m American, but I’ve been following the trans nonsense going on in the UK and my heart goes out to you all. Keep on fighting.

  5. I’m a TERF and 2 + 2 = 4!

  6. Your ignorance and misguided bigotry are showing, and it sure isn’t a good look.

  7. lorac says:

    Another excellent article, Lily.

  8. Orange says:

    You can’t take part of TERF – the “RF” and pretend that RF is the definition trans people are upset about. “Trans Exclusive” is obviously the point of contention; it’s a different kind of radical feminist. Presenting the word TERF’s meaning as only half of the acronym and then talking about Radical Feminism as if that’s the whole of the trans community’s problem is intentionally obfuscating.

  9. Penelope says:

    Shut up TERF.

  10. Chloe says:

    I am always amazed how a certain strand of feminist thinks women are angels incapable of committing violence. Yet, the women’s prisons are still full. I remember very well, when I was growing up, being quite scared of the young women who perpetuated a culture of violence at my high school. And plenty of women commit domestic violence against men–it’s just barely ever reported, due to the stigma involved (and the fact that the police never take it seriously).

    I can think of a few societies that are great at separating women from men in an attempt to protect them from violence. India comes to mind, with their gender-segregated metro in Delhi. No thanks. I don’t want more of that in the West, because it’s a bandaid non-solution. Rather than thinking of more ways to hide women from the world, we can continue to concentrate on sensitising men and teaching women how to defend themselves in case of attack (regardless of the gender of the attacker).

    On a final note: are TERFs actually scared of being attacked by a trans woman in a locker room? Is that a real fear? You might forgive people for thinking you come off as a bigot, regardless of your own sexuality and that of your daughter (don’t see how those are relevant, btw).

    • Lily Maynard says:

      Hi Chloe, Hmmm… not sure you’ve actually read what I wrote: as nowhere do I suggest women are incapable of violence, or advocate for separatism. Your misogyny is showing. (I would say internalised misogyny, but I suspect that’s not the case.) There are 82,694 prisoners in the UK this week (24/6/18) and just under 5% of these are women. Most women are in prison for petty theft or prostitution and drug offences, not violence. India’s metro is sex segregated, not gender segregated. My sexuality is no more or less significant than anything else about me & appears in my bio because bios give information about people. The word ‘TERF’ popping up was no surprise, I was waiting for it from the first line of your comment TBH. Anything else?

  11. Fuck You says:

    Fuck off TERF dipshit — you collapse a lot of subtlety into a typical BS rant that conflates trans people with “wolves”? Fuck right off

  12. Pingback: Shut up, TERF. | yael58

  13. Sarah Wilson says:

    All pretty much bang on Lily. Maybe after the Karen White fiasco (which ended up with multiple female sexual assault victims when a rapist transwoman was put in a womens prison) common sense will start filtering back.

  14. Honey Badger says:

    Transwomen are women, you fucking inbred retard. Go and suck your brother’s warty, cheesy cock. You’re not a woman. You’re a fucking brass. You’re that fucking ugly you have to tie a pork chop around your neck before your fucking dog comes nears you.

    • Lily Maynard says:

      Well, this calm, rational and intellectual argument has me totally convinced. You clearly belong in female spaces. (Anyone reading this comment, please don’t sink to his level in response).

    • I heart JK says:

      Do you know what a circular definition is, mate?

      I hope you never get a job at the OED! Looks up the word table: “A table is a table.”

      Words exist because of meaning, as Ram Dass rightly said.

  15. duckiebat says:

    Brilliantly written blog.

    Howling at some of the comments. Fuckoff and Terf is sure to get people to back your views.

  16. Deb says:

    Shut up TERF.

  17. Lib says:

    These people are so fucking sexist. You think you have something
    in common with women outside of a shared biological sex? Well yeah you do, the
    shared condition is both being human! The difference is, the biology of our bodies
    being female and yours being male is literally what makes us women and you
    men. That’s it. If you think there is some kind of innate quality women have in common with eachother in addition to our biology you are a sexist asshole. If you think it has something to do with wearing dresses or lipstick these are things men can and do enjoy, also things many women do not, many women just wear them because they have been marketted so aggressively to us and it is expected of us by male society and make up can even be in the dress codes of our jobs! That is not something special about us women uniquely desiring such a thing! So many women do not even comply with this even with all the societal effort to try to force us to! Women are human – just like you, just like anyone else, except we are female unlike males, that means we have the potential to produce ova, it means when you were born you came out of a womans vagina. We are not all the same, we dont have any ridiculous shared essense of mysticism. How fucking dare you.

  18. Zombie says:

    This sure is a lot of words just to say “I’m a bigot and no better than homophobes or misogynists.”

  19. Fuck TERFs fuck SWERFS says:

    Shut up, TERF.

    • I heart JK says:

      Way to make a difference to society! A nasty supercilious attitude backed up with meaningless mantras, circular definitions, and a worthless noggin full of dissonance and guff. 😀

  20. Joe Mama says:

    Shut up, TERF

  21. Pingback: #TeamTERF pushes back against trans activism » MercatorNet

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