Trans women cannot oppress any other group. There are too few of us. What is happening when we are accused of oppression? It is a threat: others are defending themselves when they lash out at us; sometimes they are defending children from us, which is particularly threatening, as it becomes right to erase us in order to defend children.
We are accused of wrongful “No platform” techniques to prevent free speech, of seeking the end of the University as a place of rigorous enquiry to be replaced by a cosseting crèche for self-absorbed “snowflakes”. What is going on? A machine of oppression. When trans people exercise our freedom of speech by protesting against transphobic speech, our freedom of speech is understood as oppressing such people as transphobe Julie Bindel with her columns in The Guardian, Standpoint, The New Statesman and The Spectator. We have no freedom of speech, it is for others. We are called bullies, intimidating and silencing others: this is a bullying tactic. A commenter elsewhere resented any contradiction by a trans woman or in favour of trans folk: he labelled every such contradiction “narcissistic rage”, however reasonable it was.
This wilfully misunderstands freedom of speech. It is not freedom from opposition, or freedom for acceptable views, or the power to be heard.
Our tactics are vilified as “No-platforming” though they are free speech themselves: refusing to be on the same platform as a transphobe, holding an alternative event somewhere else, boycotting the transphobe’s event. I support free speech, but have no obligation to listen to anyone. Julie Bindel gets endless platforms to complain of being no-platformed, of being bullied.
Accusations that trans women are violent are an incitement to violence against us. Rape threats and death threats on Twitter are shocking. We need to see the texts of them: the term “rape threat” is not as shocking as reading CHOO CHOO MOTHERFUCKER THE RAPE TRAIN’S ON ITS WAY. NEXT STOP YOU. I would love to knock you the fuck out. Not because you’re a female or a feminist, but because you’re an enormous bitch. If any trans person is sending such things, that is vile; but trans folk as a group are not responsible for that. Saying that we are, as a group, is incitement to violence against us.
No incitement to violence is less abominable than any other. Minimising or trivialising threats of violence against us is a threat to us.
All this comes from Sara Ahmed again. When you have “dialogue or debate” with those who wish to eliminate you from the conversation (because they do not recognise what is necessary for your survival or because they don’t even think your existence is possible), then “dialogue and debate” becomes another technique of elimination. A refusal to have some dialogues and some debates can thus be a key tactic for survival. But if we express our anger, the TERFs take that as more evidence that we wrong them.