British “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist” (TERF) discourse has often been contextualised in fringe radical feminist thought, but its similarities to and alliances with right-wing trans-exclusionary movements in the US are notable (McClean, 2020). To understand the place of TERF discourse in an international wave of trans-hostility, it is necessary to understand how it converges with and differs from explicitly conservative counterparts. I place TERF discourse in comparison to trans-exclusionary discourses of the American Right (AR) using a Critical Frame Analysis, investigating the extent of shared themes and the role of ontological discourses across cases. I find that TERF and AR discourses converge heavily on frames and have a shared ontology, but draw on different repertoires to bolster their claims. Combining Harsin’s (2014) truth markets and Smith’s (1995) ideological code theory, I show how an ideological-code-like structure demonises and ontologically delegitimises trans people, demonstrating how reactionary frames can be granted cross-ideological appeal.
Keywords: Trans-exclusionary politics, Gender ontologies, TERFs, Truth markets, Ideological codes
Title: DiGeSt - Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies
Publisher: Ghent University