"Enjoy ur erasure."


​Photos of a British LGBTQ activist tearing up a sticker containing anti-transgender messages surfaced ideological tensions between transgender rights advocates and a controversial subset of feminists last week.


Known by the -- ​arguably derogatory -- moniker of "trans-exclusionary radical feminists" (TERFs), a segment of women's rights activists argue against the inclusion of transgender individuals into the broader women's movement. Members of this ideological subset insist that biological differences are an inseparable part of the female experience and are at the root of the social inequality which the feminist movement seeks to redress.


It is this group that UK-based writer and activist Shon Faye pushed back against with a series of tweets condemning flyers that prominently display the message, "Women's Sex Based Rights Are Not For Penises."


The flyers, referencing Parliament's ​Gender Recognition Act and the ​"spousal veto," accuse UK LGBT advocacy group Stonewall of "advocating for under 16 yr olds to be able to change their legal 'gender'" and wanting to eradicate "spousal permission in legal sex change." 

Faye, whose response was met with thousands of largely celebratory social media interactions, is seen in one photo tearing up a sticker encountered in the unisex bathroom on the Bristol to Cardiff train. The stickers were "intended to harass someone just like me who sees it while trying to just quietly get on with daily life in public as a trans person," she ​wrote in a subsequent tweet.


“This is an intimidation tactic,” Faye ​told PinkNews, regarding the anti-trans stickers. “I’m not going so far as to say it’s a fascist tactic, but it is one that far-right groups use, to cause fear in a minority."


Last month a group of TERF activists posted "Women Don't Have Penises" in several locations around Liverpool, a gesture ​condemned by Mayor Joe Anderson. 

Many in the LGBTQ community have characterized the actions of TERFs as bigoted attempts to intimidate trans individuals.


And they very well may be. 


But that doesn't dissolve the legitimacy of questioning whether an ​ideological divide exists between transgender activists and some proponents of women's rights who take issue with integrating biological males into previously women-only spaces.


Such inquiries have hardly been the sole province of anti-LGBTQ bigots. No less a pioneering feminist than Germaine Greer came under fire in 2016 for ​expressing the belief that post-operative transgender women are not women.

The Economist ruminated on the various complexities and contradictions that can arise when transgender-focused conceptions of activism clash with feminism in a lengthy ​2017 piece:  "There is a tension between believing that it is possible to feel, act or look so much 'like a woman' that you should be acknowledged as one, and believing, as feminists do, that a woman can act in any way she wishes without casting doubt on her womanhood."


Some of these contradictions are decidedly less abstract. In late August, a local news outlet sparked confusion by ​identifying a bearded, male-presenting crime suspect as a woman without noting she was transgender.

Last week, a public outcry arose after a transgender woman who was born male ​admitted to sexually assaulting fellow inmates at a women's prison. 


To be clear, these incidents shouldn't be viewed as indications that transgender individuals pose some sort of threat to society, but rather that difficult questions regarding how transgender rights should be negotiated alongside women's rights merit asking. 


But attempts at such discussions are often strained by the explosiveness of the subject matter and the deeply held passions on both sides.


When a Twitter commenter ungraciously challenged Faye's identification as a woman in 2016, Faye's response was emblematic of a cultural climate rooted deeply in the triumphalism of snark.


Referencing the concerns of feminists who fear the consequences of denying "woman" as a biological sex category, Faye ​replied, "enjoy ur erasure."