Unfortunately, some after-work matters kept me from joining in with some of my TG friends on something important earlier this evening. I’ll start with introducing a word to you: TERF. Yes, it’s an acronym, and an unfortunate one at that. “TERF” stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.” Or in layman’s terms, a TERF is someone who promotes and/or holds generally progressive views on topics that affect women, but would rather not include transgender females in the conversation.
And here’s where the term becomes really germane to this post: There are a couple of community-oriented radio stations here in Madison; I’m talking stations that are not corporate-owned and actually cater to the community they’re licensed to serve. Perhaps the most prominent of those stations (at least when considering their strong signal and their longevity) has a “public access hour” on their weekly schedule, where those who submit their names for consideration can use that hour to do anything they want, be it playing music or conducting an interview or saying what’s on their mind. Not too long ago, this station gave one hour of public access to someone who would be best described as a TERF. I will not name this person, but suffice it to say she promotes disgustingly negative viewpoints towards those who identify as trans. Though I didn’t see it during the Women’s March last year, I heard about her carrying a sign in the march promoting her anti-trans views. Yeah, in her eyes, the only valid people are cis-gender people.
Anyway, this TERF had an hour in the community radio spotlight, and she indeed spent at least a good part of that hour expressing her anti-trans views. And that really rankled a few people in the TG/CD support group I’m a part of. So much so that they asked the members of our group (at least those who could attend) to march down to the radio station and attend the station’s monthly Board of Directors meeting. At tonight’s meeting, the attendees from our group would discuss with the Board the station’s giving airtime to this TERF and her anti-trans message. They will also ask them to deny giving this TERF another chance to appear on their station. Their reasoning is that if the station would hold the line against airing hate directed toward whole genders, races, or ethnicities, why would they think someone with a clear anti-trans message would make for good radio?
And you know what? Hatred is never good radio. We now live in a time where people in power are expressing disdain toward and promoting actions against whole groups of people. And these people in power have inspired those to spread words and actions of hate with seemingly free will. Thankfully, there are multitudes who stand up for the discriminated groups and against words and actions of hate against them. But the need to continually counter that hate is more urgent than ever. In big ways or small, we must continue to call out hate, misogyny, and, yes, anti-trans actions. And if that means calling out a community-minded radio station’s leadership and asking them in respectful yet certain terms to bar a TERF and her virulent statements from their airwaves, well, so be it. It’s not like, say, they would be violating the TERF’s First Amendment rights, because the last time I checked, that community-minded radio station isn’t owned by any local, state, or federal government.
I truly hope my trans sisters and brothers gave the radio station’s Board of Directors a serious talking-to tonight. I hope that same Board of Directors will understand that a trans person’s right to exist is not up for debate, nor should the need to stop hatred be up for debate either.