What does Terf stand for?

A trans-exclusionary radical feminist

A terf is a slang term used to describe a feminist who does not recognize trans women as true women. The word terf is also an acronym that stands for “Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminist.”

The term was first introduced by a feminist blogger named Sandy Smith in 2008. It’s used to label feminists who are viewed as transphobic by others in the feminist community. Terfs strongly believe in equal rights between the genders in all areas of life, such as politics, economics, personal life, and society. However, they do not accept trans women, individuals who were assigned male at birth but identify as female, as real women.

The most well-known controversy involving the term terf revolved around famous writer E.L. James in 2020. She voiced her worries about the potential danger to women if men who falsely identify as female for harmful reasons were allowed to use women’s bathrooms. She also raised concerns about young people with gender dysphoria choosing to change their bodies when they might eventually outgrow their dysphoria.

James faced a lot of criticism and backlash online, particularly on social platforms like Twitter, for her views. She was labeled a “terf,” which was meant as an insult. Similarly, stand-up comedian Kevin Hart was also criticized in 2021 when he stated he was “team Terf.”

Example for using ‘Terf’ in a conversation

Hey, have you heard of the term ‘Terf’?

Yeah, it stands for ‘Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminist’.

Oh, I see. So, it refers to feminists who don’t consider trans women as women, right?

Exactly. It’s a label for feminists who hold those beliefs.