Since the Brexit vote of 2016 and the GRA consultation of 2018, things have been getting increasingly hostile for trans people in the UK.
Stonewall reported an 81% increase in transgender hate crimes by June 2019 as a result.
When engaging with people about trans issues, especially online, transphobic dog whistling is common place. Whether you are trans or nonbinary yourself or an ally, it is important to recognise these words and phrases.
Here are the 12 most common:
- “I’m an actual woman.”
“I’m a real lesbian.”
What they are conveying to you is that they believe that trans women are not real women, which of course they are!
- “You can identify as anything you like.”
This sounds like tolerance but at the core of this statement is the belief that trans people are living a fantasy that should not be indulged.
- Talks about a natal or biological man or woman.
They are referring to the gender they were assigned at birth and that they still identify with. They are cisgender. They will often refuse to use the term cis because they believe they are normal and trans people are abnormal.
- Reference to the number 41.
41% is the number of trans people who attempt to end their own lives. Obviously transphobic people like the idea of trans people dying. Some give 41% discount in their stores for example.
- “Sex is real.”
Yes it is, but like gender it is highly socially constructed and definitely not binary. People say this because they think trans people want to erase the realities of biological sex, when it is trans men and AFAB nonbinary people who are fighting for gyno care for example.Sex is really irrelevant when talking about trans rights. The only person who needs to know my sex is my doctor.
- “We have to protect women’s spaces.”
“We are protecting women and girls.”
What this means is that they believe trans women don’t belong in women’s spaces. It’s a convincing one for a lot of people. I too believe in protecting women, girls and safe spaces, but unlike the majority AKA the cis, I know this is a transphobic dog whistle. Trans women are women and not predatory men.
- “Are you intact?”
“It’s an intact male.”
What they mean is have you had bottom surgery and if you haven’t, then you can’t possibly be trans and you must be faking it to gain access to vulnerable people. Even if you’ve had bottom surgery, they still won’t accept you as a man or a woman.An important side note here: having surgery or not doesn’t make you any less trans or nonbinary.
- TIM & TIF
These translate to:Trans Identified Male (trans woman) & Trans Identified Female (trans man.)
Don’t worry, they don’t have an horrendous acronym for people under the nonbinary umbrella……..yet.
You can see the glaring transphobia in the names that the acronym spells but also continually denying that we are who we say we are.
- Gender Critical
This doesn’t mean that the person is critical of oppressive genders like cis men, far from it. Nor does it mean they are critical of the suffocating patriarchal gender binary. No. It means they are a trans exclusionary reactionary transphobe.On social media this is often accompanied by a black and white racing flag in the username or bio. This indicates that they believe there are only 2 sexes/genders.
- Follows all the big transphobes on twitter.
Some names you may be familiar with:JK Rowling
Women’s Place UK (WPUK)
- “Children are being forced to transition.”
What this means is they don’t know anything about medical transition pathways and are using misinformation to demonise the trans community. Medical transition is not available to children.Another word they may use in this context is, “transing.” You can’t make someone trans, just as you can’t make someone gay.
- “Trans cabal.”
They believe we have an agenda funded by big pharma to trans the world. The Cabal thing is also rooted in antisemitism.Thanks to all my very unimpressed trans and cis friends for their selfies and the local trans community for helping me research these dog whistles.
Stay safe out there folks and never stop fighting for what is right.
Black Lives Matter
Black Trans Lives Matter
Black Disabled Lives Matter
14 thoughts on “12 Most Common Transphobic Dog Whistles”
Update to No.10 – Linehan’s been suspended from twitter…. Yaaayyyy!!!
I saw this morning! Happy Pride Month! 🙂
Happy Pride month!!!
And maybe an addition: Ricky Gervais
Not sure I’d add Gervais as a TERF in particular, as I don’t recall seeing much to support the idea of him being a radical feminist.
Transphobic AF, abso-freaking-lutely.
On number 12 I’d also include “Trans cult”. I see that around a lot
Things to add to the list:
Rapid onset gender dysphoria / ROGD — rooted in the idea that people are being coerced into transitioning. And it sounds sciencey!
Autogynephilia — literally means sexual arousal to the notion of oneself as a woman. Rooted in the idea that being trans is self-fetishizing and wholly a sexual thing. Also sounds sciencey and officious so it MUST be accurate, right?
To add to point #3: “female-bodied” / “male-bodied” — I mean, yeah. Drawing a line between “real women” or “real men” and the trans ones.
To add to point #8: “TRA” / “TRAs” — stands for “Trans rights activist(s) which, yeah, I mean, we ARE, but it’s only TERFs that call us “the TRAs”.
To add to point #2: Referring to being a woman as a “costume” or a “feeling”
Some prominent TERFs to add to item #10:
Some of these are new to me, and the 41 thing is horrific… is there somewhere I can cite… I dont think cis folx will believe me!!
Omg this was so useful
Is ‘men aren’t women’ also a dog whistle?
Thank you for writing this. It was really educational, a lot of these have flown over my head in the past.
Thank you for compiling this list. Just passing this on to a new cis ally who has just learnt about these whistles.
I find even the phrase ‘genuine concerns’ or ‘concerns’ makes me feel a bit sick. But I may have been online for too long…
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