June 9, 2022

"The TERFminator" – Lesbian feminist LGBTQA-activist puts "gender critical" transphobes in their place


The lesbian feminist and LGBTQA-activist Brita Møystad Engseth argues strongly against the transphobia of "gender critical" feminists.

As the transphobic hysteria grows more intense it becomes harder and harder for "gender critical radical feminists" or TERFs to hide the fact that they are using the exact same arguments as the extreme right.

The British TERF Helen Joyce now argues that anti-trans activists must harness the power of the state to reduce the number of transitioning trans people. This is basically a call for the erasure of trans identities.

The TERFminator

Birta Møystad Engseth (56), a Norwegian lesbian feminist and queer activist does understand the threat the TERFs have become to the queer community and the rest of society.

In an interview published in  the Norwegian LGBTQA magazine Blikk she is presented as "the TERFminator", because of her relentless campaigning against the destructive activisms of the TERFs.

"I cannot waste the rest of my life being silent," she says.

A threatening suit

Some cis people are confused about her identity, given her masculine gender expression.

"I have been asked if I really want to be a man or if I am a 'they'," she says.

"Is that so important? If you are confused because I am wearing a suit, you just have to do your homework. And you have to do that yourself, because I do not have the time to train you."

She adds, with a wink, that she is glad to see that the "Carcrashian-sisters" now think it is OK for women to wear suits again.

The Dark Women and the Dark Men

In an article in the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet she recently attacked the Norwegian Über-TERF Tonje Gjevjon.

"My rage came as much from their open transphobia as the fact that they are using cancel culture as a shield. The transphobes say that we must defend the freedom of speech, but they have no freedom of speech problem. What they are really trying to do is to stop others from telling their story."

In that article Brita described TERFs as "mørkekvinner" (dark women), referring to the previous generations of "dark men" – men who fought against openness, enlightenment and the freedom of thought. In Norway the term was often used about sexist, transphobic and homophobic priests.

"I cannot remain silent when I see that we are starting all over again, 30 years after we fought against the dark men," she says.

Do not be a "drittsekk"

"These lesbian TERFs are now using the same moral arrogance against trans and non-binary people and others who belong to the big queer family.

"It is good that you are fighting for the rights of women, but do you really need to hit someone else in the head at the same time? Can't you just not be a 'drittsekk' [Norwegian slang for a bag of sh*it]."

She points out that for a long time the anti-gay rhetoric was about morals and values. If gay men and women were allowed to marry, the argument went, the traditional family would disappear. 

 This time the argument is that the family must be protected against trans persons, nonbinary people and "the extreme gay". This is the exact same argument, but this time it is used by lesbian TERFs who should know enough about queer history to know better.

The transgender ideology

Blikk asks her about her take on the "trans ideology".

"I cannot remember that we talked about the 'gay ideology'. At least, we did not do so in the [LGBT+] movement. Surely, there is no-one who has written an ideological platform?

"Some people are just annoyed by the fact that the transgender movement is being coordinated in such a way that they have campaigns and know how to organize. Yeah? Nice! This is the way all struggles for freedom should be.

"Transphobes are like crocodiles who go for the weakest animal in the herd, which is cowardly and rotten."

The importance of Brita's activism

I readily admit that I am worried about the lack of active support for trans people from good people who clearly do understand the destructive nature of both left wing and right wing extremism right now.

The American right is now waging a war of shock and awe against women, people of color and LGBTQA  people, hoping to overwhelm those with a democratic and compassionate nature, so that they stop fighting the good fight.  The TERFs are helping them actively, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are next on the list of groups these extremists will erase.

The activism of people like Brita is important, because they  – not being trans activists – show cis and non-queer people that the anti-trans activism also affects them. The TERFs are brutalizing our societies, terrorizing marginalized people, opening the doors to even darker forces. Defending trans people is also a matter of defending our democracies and societies based on openness, understanding and inclusion.

Thanks Brita!

The quotes are from the interview "Det skeive patriarkatets barnevakt" (The Babysitter for the Queer Patriarchy) written by Caroline Ugelstad Elnæs and published in Blikk No. 5 2022. Our translation. Photo from Instagram.

See also: Lesbian activist unmasks the bigotry of transphobic TERFs in must-read rant

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  1. The right uses the same terminology in that they refer to an "ideology" as if it is something one adopts and by framing things in this way it makes it much easier to vilify. For some reason it is always easier in this world to uphold oneself through diminishing another which reeks to high heaven of insecurity

  2. Yes, the right (and the TERFs) apparently do not have ideologies. They see the world as it is, with the disinterested and objective eyes of God. This is what white cis privilege does to some people: It makes them think that their own reality is the given one, and all others are illusions or "ideologies". This is ironic, though, as terms like "nationalism", "libertarianism, "conservatism", "fascism" and "feminism", all refer to ideologies or systems of thought.


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