“Man,” some of you might be thinking. “Why is it I keep hearing about TERFs recently? Like, they’re all suddenly everywhere. What’s up with that?”
Well, this is what’s up with that. [Content warning for transphobic rhetoric at the link, used for illustrative purposes.]
Tl;dr, the far-right is co-opting progressive language as a way of trying to fragment leftist activists in general, and queer and feminist activists in particular. The resulting rhetoric is what we think of as “TERF-y”.
That being said, TERF-y rhetoric has existed in fauxminist circles for decades, so it’s not that the right is inventing this garbage so much as they’re stirring the pond so it all floats back up to the surface. It’s up to everyone else—or, more specifically, cis feminists—to grab the nets and skim that shit off.