Transgender issues have been at the center of public consciousness lately, as has feminism. However, with the increasing awareness of trans issues, a new brand of radical feminism has developed, one that pits one social movement against another. And it looks like a certain politician is trying to appeal to both sides.
Former senator, secretary of state, and first lady Hillary Clinton has been doing the media rounds promoting her new book, "The Book of Gutsy Women," co-written with daughter Chelsea. In an interview with BBC Radio 4, Clinton made a remark that left a bad taste in people's mouths.
"I do think there is a legitimate concern about women's lived experience and the importance of recognizing that, and also the importance of recognizing the self-identification [of transgender people]," she said. "This is all relatively new. People are still trying to find the language for it."
In making these comments, Clinton sounds like a TERF.
TERF stands for "trans-exclusionary radical feminist." It is a branch of radical feminism with extremely transphobic ideas. TERFs believe that trans women are just men trying to invade female spaces. They also believe trans men are traitors to the female sex.
As far as I'm concerned, these comments aren't out of character for Clinton. I don't believe she is as progressive as she tries to appear. Clinton, like Obama, wasn't always supportive of marriage equality. Like Obama, when Clinton knew she would need the LGBTQ vote to win the 2016 presidential election, she came around on the issue.
I don't think it's a coincidence that it took her until 2013 to change her stance on marriage equality.
Clinton is a politician who claims to be pro-LGBTQ and pro-women. I find it a tad hypocritical that she would then accept money from parts of the Middle East that do unspeakably horrific things to both women and gay men.
Since this latest controversy, Clinton has attempted to show support for the trans community. In a recent Facebook post, the former first lady said she believed "trans rights are human rights." However, she didn't exactly respond to the TERF allegations or better explain what she meant in the BBC interview.
So, the question remains, is Hillary Clinton a TERF?
I don't think we can come to a definitive answer based on this interview alone. What is clear, however, is she's definitely trying to appeal to them. That's just as bad as far as I'm concerned. TERFs aren't the kind of people who should be catered to. They are damaging to transgender people in the worst possible way.
What we need to do is support trans people and have their back. We need to condemn any and all signs of transphobia, even if they come from so-called "feminists." This kind of hatred shouldn't be viewed as a necessity by any politician. If you ask me, TERF or not, Hillary Clinton should be ashamed of herself.