We, the undersigned, vehemently reject the dangerous and bigoted rhetoric and ideology espoused by
Trans Exclusionary Radical ‘Feminists’ (TERFs).
As feminist and women’s rights leaders, we know that feminism is not without its flaws – that our movement has long failed many who should have seen themselves reflected within our spaces. Trans people should have always been welcomed with open arms by our movements and our organizations. Trans movements, theories and organizing are essential to an intersectional, liberatory feminist agenda. For too long, we have allowed trans-exclusionary feminisms to thrive – both through our failure in confronting blatant TERF activity and our failure to bring trans inclusion and liberation to live in our organizations.
That ends here.
Trans rights in no way weaken women’s rights. Supporting the rights of trans people is essential to
protecting ALL women from violence and discrimination. Amidst organized TERF attempts to define trans inclusivity as an attack on women, we vehemently reject this characterization as thinly veiled transphobia and transmisogyny. Over the past five years in particular, we have seen TERF groups utilize pseudo-feminist language to organize against the rights of trans and gender diverse communities. We have seen this rhetoric used against trans rights bill C-16(1) , and most recently within the federal conversion therapy ban bill, C-6, that is making its way through the House of Commons as we speak. TERF advocacy is guided by a fundamental desire to reinforce a colonial gender binary and exempt trans people from human rights protections. By defining gender as based solely on sex, TERFs strive to oust trans people from women’s spaces, and perpetuate violence against trans and gender diverse
This transphobic, homophobic, transmisogynistic and fundamentally sexist rhetoric has no place in our feminist movements.
As feminist organizations, we re-affirm our unilateral and unconditional support for trans rights and trans liberation. It is our belief that, in order to advance ALL women’s equity, rights, health and safety, we must ensure that the needs, experiences, ideas, rights and recommendations of trans women and transfeminine people in particular, and all trans and gender diverse communities more broadly, are reflected in our policies, programs and advocacy efforts.
We are not perfect in our work. While many of our sister organizations have been working to adopt an intersectional feminist approach, including a trans-inclusive approach, we know we continue to fall short. Trans people continue to be underrepresented in our workplaces, in feminist leadership positions, and within our boards of directors. Trans people are a driving force in our feminist movements and make incredible contributions across all facets of our society. It is past time we stop standing in their way.
Calls to Action
We call upon ourselves and our partners to loudly and proudly proclaim that our feminism is trans-
We call upon ourselves and our partners to accelerate our efforts to affirm, engage, employ and uplift trans and gender diverse people in all aspects of our work.
We call upon all feminists to act in solidarity with trans communities and movements. Our feminism
must centre and support trans voices and liberation as intrinsic to our feminist agendas.
(1) House of Commons. 2016. “An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code,” which added gender identity to the list of grounds for discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech.
This statement was co-created through a partnership between the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, Wisdom2Action and Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.