Tumblr user breastforce has been documenting offensive passages in TERF rhetoric, and that’s great and important. Here’s why.
When I was a young activist (a younger activist) a mentor explained activism work to me in a metaphor. No matter what the issue, or how divisive, there are always two camps. The people from those camps can’t be persuaded (you can’t convince me to be a hardcore political transphobe, for example) and they typically don’t change their minds unless they do so on their own. They may seem to be the biggest groups, but only because they are the loudest. The majority of people are in the middle, silent, and capable of being convinced. They have their own political views which may lean them one way or the other, but when presented with evidence, they can form their own conclusions.
These people are alienated by violent rhetoric. They don’t understand the terms we use, they don’t understand to why these issues are important to us. They won’t be persuaded by huge takedowns couched in academic language. However, they are still capable of understanding, if presented with evidence. This is what Breastforce is doing – presenting evidence, for examination by the public.
And it’s powerful. Most people will never even be exposed to the TERF manifestos that she’s read – most people won’t even know they exist. They’ll hear of arguments presented by both sides one way or the other, whether it’s in regards to the bathroom bills or access to healthcare, but they don’t know the party line. How would they feel if they realized that people who claim that transgender women are dangerous when in “women’s only spaces” are the same people who believe the same things about “males” and “females” that are present in those screenshots?
Sometimes, you really can only say “yikes” to some of that. Because that’s all you need to say.
As an activist (and to be honest, existing as a transgender person and a minority in the public sphere), I present myself on a daily basis as an example of a real transgender person. My behavior, my actions, my presence as a human being is an example of who I am and who we are, which is true of all transgender people because unfortunately the public will be exposed to us not as concepts but as human beings and shape their views accordingly.
I applaud Breastforce and her dedication to documenting TERF rhetoric as it truly is.