The Queer Corner
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The Queer Corner

GERFs

“GERFs are most often cis white women, but like TERFs, it can be a convenient movement for anyone to get involved in if you want to earn favor with that demographic.”

Artist credit: Lloyd Jr on Unsplash

Over the last few days, Human Rights Attorney and ex-mormon, Kate Kelly , unleashed a homophobic attack on gay men on Twitter. In the comments, a Twitter user coined(?) the term GERF (I can’t find it anywhere else, anyway). A GERF is a Gay Exclusionary Radical Feminist. Let’s talk about what that looks like.

Screenshot of now deleted tweet.

GERFism and TERFism share some common elements. While GERFs are generally more inclusive of trans people, this is conditional. As we’ve seen from the recent outcry over the overturn of Roe vs Wade, we’ve seen even our feminist champions slip into cis-centric language: e.g. “men can’t get pregnant”.

Trans women who date women are far more tolerated by GERFs than straight trans women. Trans men are largely ignored unless convenient for a point in a debate. Trans gay men serve GERFs no purpose as they lack interest in identifying as or dating a woman.

While GERFs are less likely to single out and specifically attack trans gay men, they often just forget about their existence. Some may consider that worse erasure than taking time and effort to be venomous towards them.

GERFs have a volatile relationship with cis men, particularly cishet men. While they rightfully despise gender inequality, they’re conditioned to receive much of their internal validation by satisfying the (cishet) male gaze.

This is why a lack of access to sex with women is always held as the ultimate punishment by GERFs. GERFs and their allies will often try and refute or attack a man’s argument by remarking how our views will repel women. It’s the heteronormative and misogynistic belief that men only want women for sex and sex is women’s only currency. Therefore threatening to deny men access to sex is their ultimate trump card.

GERFs, like their TERF relatives, have essentialist views on gender roles. On some level, men who lust after (particularly masc) men are lesser than those who are primarily attracted to femininity. All it takes is a stressor for the hate to unleash.

I’ve had and witnessed GERFs joke about gay male sexuality and our love lives because they disagree with a gay man on an unrelated subject

Screenshot of now deleted tweet

GERFs are most often cis white women, but like TERFs, it can be a convenient movement for anyone to get involved in if you want to earn favor with that demographic. It’s a branch of White Feminism that dismisses the intersectional aspects of race, class, disability status, and sexuality unless they’re convenient. In short, they believe all men, every single man, has more social privilege than every single woman.

That’s why they can use a term like “men” so broadly. For them, a BIMOC (Black or Indigenous Man of Color), is sometimes a man and sometimes a BIPOC. He’s either representing men, or he’s representing people who aren’t white. The complexity of him being both, all the time, is lost on them. This occurs with Queer men too.

Most of the time, it’s a microaggression. A low-level but annoying hum where you know what you know, but haven’t got anything concrete to prove your beliefs. But stress is usually the catalyst that blasts it out in the open. For example, with Kate Kelly, it was the ban on abortion that made her believe her accusations about gay men were justified given the circumstances.

Screenshot of now deleted tweet

GERFs want gay men to say exactly what they want them to say, when they want them to say it. And if they don’t say the right things, they should just shut up. We’re here to be pawns of women, using our male privilege to aid people without it, but forgetting our own struggles and lack of support while we do it.

God forbid we think about how an issue might impact on us, or the wider gay masc community. We must focus on cis women and the people who want to date them. We’re just gays. Men who do unspeakable sinful acts to each other, unlike homosexual cis women who aren’t shamed for their anal prolactivities. Lesbians are universally more accepted than gay men and the people least fascinated by them are cis gay men.

Apology by Kate Kelly

Kate did apologize. Then she immediately qualified her apology with the fact she is threatened by the recent political events. She deleted her comments but made sure to remind everyone that gay men are sexist. And we are because we are men.

Some people pointed out that every year around Pride time, Kate joins many other GERFs on a campaign to highlight how terrible cis gay men are. What Kate doesn’t seem particularly focused on is the racism among Queer white women towards WOC. Something that as a white queer mormon, she perpetuates daily.

So far, Kate’s homophobic rants about gay men don’t seem to have cost her anything despite people making platforms aware of her actions. Hate towards gay men is tolerated. Many don't see us as real men, but we sure do make a convenient punching bag in times of hardship.

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