This week I had a lovely conversation with an older dyke who reminded me how much a lot of people have always hated TERFs and SWERFs.
She was talking about the time in the 1970s and 1980s when she was a young radical dyke and how many of the awesome dykes in the radical scene were trans women. So I asked her if there was ever any problem with TERFs and SWERFs. She didn’t know those words so I described them. Her reply was (paraphrasing a longer conversation):
“Oh, you mean the political lesbians? That’s what we called them at the time, no one really considered them radical. They hated everyone. They hated bisexual women who dated men. They hated us leather dykes and kinky dykes because they thought we were ‘copying the patriarchy’, they hated trans women. None of us in the radical scene liked them. A lot of them later left and admitted that they were straight but were presured to identify as lesbians in that group because being a feminist to them meant cutting all ties with men. They were like a cult. They often lived together and if you didn’t walk the political line you were dead to them. Intense stuff.
And like, I know her memories don’t have global relevance and there have also been places where TERFs had a much more prominent impact on the local radical women’s community, but still, to hear how despised these TERFs have always been by these truly radical dykes cheered me up a lot.