TERF Wars: an introduction

Ruth Pearce* (Corresponding Author), Sonja Erikainen, Ben Vincent

*Corresponding author for this work

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In the academic year of 2017–18, one of the editors of this volume convened a course on gender and sexuality at a UK university. The course elicited overwhelmingly positive feedback from students. However, following examinations an invigilator expressed concern, communicated via management, with the language some students used in their answers. Specifically, the invigilator took issue with students employing the acronym ‘TERF’ (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist) to criticise a range of ideological positions, because they considered the acronym a misogynist slur. The course convenor’s line manager subsequently asked whether the term was used within teaching materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-698
Number of pages22
JournalThe Social Review Monographs
Issue number4
Early online date10 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

We thank Steven Brown and the reviewers for The Sociological Review for their useful comments
on an earlier daft of this article.
This scholarship was supported in part by the Wellcome Trust (grant number 209519/Z/17/Z)


  • Exclusionary politics
  • Feminism
  • gender ideology
  • post-truth
  • trans feminism


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