Dear Laurie Penny

I don’t use the word “TERF” to insult anyone, it is an acronym, and if the people I refer to using the word TERF are upset or offended by it, well they’ve upset or offended me first in some way, I don’t know, maybe they’ve called me a “tranny” or a man, or used some other language in a way they know is likely to upset or offend me. If I refer to you as a TERF, then I am calling you a Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist. It’s not a badge of honour, it’s not something I expect you to be happy or proud about. If I make racist comments to someone, then I may not like to be called a racist, but that’s what I’d be, a racist. If you’re a radical feminist, and you’re wanting to exclude trans women from women’s gathering, events and such, then how am I expected to refer to you? A LPWDLM? (that would be another acronym for a Lovely Person Who Doesn’t Like Me), but I think TERF is easier to say in a conversation don’t you?


On the 30th of July Laurie Penny is taking part in a discussion with Mary Beard entitled ‘Why Are We Afraid of Outspoken Women?’

From the Ancient Roman forum to Twitter, women have long had to fight for freedom of speech. In 2014, women are still fighting for this basic human right. Online abuse directed at women crosses all forums of the internet. Few women writers and campaigners have not had their views or arguments mocked online at some point. More worryingly, women online also regularly face abuse, harassment, intimidation and violent threats. The purpose of this abuse is to silence women and remove them from public debate.

Sadly, I am not immune to abuse, harassment or threats online (hint: I’m female). Because over the past several months I have talked about gender and biological sex, I have got all kinds of crap from trans activists and…

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