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Dialogo con una ex TERF

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Una ex TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminism) si confessa su Reddit aprendo una discussione dal titolo “I used to be a TERF” che stimola la curiosità e la partecipazione di molti utenti.
L’acronimo TERF  indica un tipo di femminismo radicale transfobico, che esclude dalle proprie istanze le persone trans che non si riconoscono nel genere maschile a loro attribuito alla nascita.

Nella discussione che segue, alcune persone non riescono a perdonarla, ricordando tutte le molestie e i traumi subiti, ma diverse altre la accolgono: c’è chi risponde in tono sollevato e chi propone perfino un abbraccio virtuale. Ovviamente ci sono anche domande volte a comprendere come lei sia riuscita a cambiare il proprio  modo di vedere le cose.

What got you out of the TERF ideology?

I just noticed there was a discrepancy between what people said trans people were like and what real life trans people were like. My theory is that a lot of people hate trans people because they only know a caricature of them made of the worst examples.

What helped you to realize this? Can you share?

I just started noticing how bitter everyone was and I started noticing similarities to the way the Islamic community was stereotyped in 9/11. I was in the Army for six years and when I joined I was pretty anti-Islam myself, but in service I fought alongside many Muslim soldiers and realized what the people back home had to say about them was so backwards. When I got back from deployment I started correcting anti-Islam sentiment everywhere I saw it. It took me personally befriending someone on the other side to get past my narrow prejudices. Same with my experience as a TERF. Every trans person I know in real life is nothing like the picture TERFS paint them as. My niece came out as trans a few years ago (mtf) and I asked her about a month ago if she was certain that she wasn’t just a gay man since it would be easier on her to be that. She said that she has pretended to be something she’s not her whole life and she doesn’t have the strength to do that anymore. She said she doesn’t want what is easy she wants what is true to herself. That really started my journey into self reflection.

Fra le tante domande ce n’è una che mette in evidenza uno dei meccanismi del circolo vizioso che ha come risultato la polarizzazione, da una parte e dall’altra: l’atteggiamento ostile che porta al rifugiarsi nella propria echo chamber (nel suo caso, l’echo chamber TERF, ovviamente):

When you were a TERF, what made you actually care about us at all? This always totally confuses me, since we are quite a small minority irl. Was it (a perceived) concern for your own safety? Insecurity perhaps? Or simply a media which overrepresents us in a negative way?

This is actually really important. When ever you go to a suffering minority and ask to hear their side (at least on Twitter, and a few instances in this thread) you get hostility. “It’s not our job to educate you.” “You need to do your own research” “You are asking for emotional labor”. […] I’m not victim blaming, I understand where that hostility comes from. But it does create a sort of imbalance in the information and (needed) friendships required for growth. So you end up in an echo chamber because naturally you want to be around the people nicer to you. That’s just human.
Also, it’s fear based. You are told that “men” are invading women’s spaces, harassing WLW lesbians online, and being told that trans people are mentally ill men with a fetish looking to hurt you. A lot of “women’s” spaces are survivors of sexual abuse so they use that angle to radicalize you. I am specifically talking about MTF Because FTM’s don’t get near as much hate on TERF sites and subreddits as MTF’s do. To a TERF a MTF is a predator, a threat, dangerous. To a TERV a FTM is just delusional, tricked by the patriarchy, and in denial.

Qualcuno risponde a questa spiegazione sottolineando come la reazione insofferente sia a sua volta frutto di un continuo atteggiamento ostile e accusatorio, in quanto chi va da una minoranza a chiedere certe cose in un certo modo di solito non è per instaurare un dialogo in buona fede e aggiunge anzi sofferenza:

I used to talk to a lot of different types of transphobic people on the internet, and for the most part, trying to engage with a person who usually just tries to invalidate you harder every time you give them a well reasoned reply can get really draining really fast. I have to worry about this stuff all the time, but to them its just intellectual, so they can argue forever with no stakes, and I have to sit there and have shitty stuff said to me and try to calmly reply, all while knowing that these ideas are the reason why people are trying to hurt us through legislation and in real life currently.

Lei stessa fa domande alla comunità, affrontando altri temi come il problema della partecipazione dei transessuali alle gare sportive, ma in un clima rilassato e soprattutto comprensivo.

Oltre a sfatare qualche mito, nel corso della discussione emergono diversi argomenti interessanti per chi volesse capire qualcosa in più su questa minoranza spesso colpita da disinformazione, ma anche su come affrontare da ambo le parti questi argomenti, scoprendo quali sono gli atteggiamenti controproducenti e quelli utili al dialogo e alla comprensione.

Immagine da Pixabay

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