Popularized in 2008 by an online cisgender feminist community, TERF is an acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. The community used the term to refer to the sex essentialist feminists who were flooding into their discussion space. TERFs asserted that “sex” was reducible to specific body attributes or to early socialization and therefore saw trans women as men and sought to remove them from “women’s spaces” and the lesbian feminist movement. The term has been rhetorically helpful in distinguishing TERF activism from the long-term radical feminist community members who are inclusive of trans women and in recognizing that early radical feminist opinion leaders like Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, and Dana Densmore and pioneering radical feminist groups like the Lesbian Tide, the Olivia Collective, and Sisters were ...

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