What truly fascinates me about the TERF is that they despite their "social constructivist" arguments, and despite the fact they must have seen how science has been used to suppress women ("nymphomania", "hysteria"), feel no qualms about using old fashioned, patriarchal theories like "transvestic fetishes" and "autogynephilia" to invalidate transgender women.
They have set up several blogs where they repeat Blanchard's autogynephilia dogma and provide "examples" of trans people who seemingly live up to the cliche of the perverted bathroom stalker. In other words: Under the surface of academic intellectualism, lives a beast who cares nothing about facts or the feelings of others. The goal is to find any argument that can be used to trash people like us. Which is probably also why they have few qualms about supporting right wing, religious, extremists -- i.e. people who are anything but feminist.
I believe it is important for us to understand this mechanism. Only if we understand it, can we do something about it. And the clue seems to me to be to humanize transgender people in general and crossdreamers in particular. We have to get behind the cliche or the stereotype. The members of CDL are actually not violent rapists stalking women's bathrooms. But that is what many of the TERFs try to tell the world.
The acceptance of homosexual people did not come as a result of academic discussions. It was the end result of a virtous circle where increased urbanisation and liberalisation caused more homosexuals to come out of the closets. This meant that more and more people learned to know homosexuals for real, and they realized that gay and lesbians were just people like themselves, and not perverted child molesters as many of the extremists wanted people to believe.
But the fact that homosexuality was taken out of the DSM psychiatric manual helped speed the process. One of the main arguments used by homophobes and transphobes is that we are all mentally ill. The new and correct understanding, that the mental problems of gay and trans people is caused by harassment and oppression and not by being gay or trans in itself was of great help.
When I get into a clinch with TERFs and reactionary relgious fanatics is to repeat two main messages:
1. Being transgender is not a mental illness, and the medical establishment says so in the DSM-5. Ref http://crossdreamers.blogspot.no/2014/05/the-dsm-5-on-gender-dysphoria.html
(The WHO ICD-11 manual will not be out until 2018, unfortunately, but that one will apparently also remove the stigma of mentall illness from transgender people, as well as remove the fetishistic tranvestism categoy all together.)
2. Being transgender is not a fetish. If it had been hormone replacement therapy would have "cured" it, as the mix of anti-testosterone and estrogen drugs reduces the sex drive significantly. The desire to become ones target sex does not diminish.
(Argument no. 2 does not directly address the lives of non-transsexual crossdreamers, but since the TERFs argue that all "autogynephiliacs" are the same, the hormone replacement therapy argument is relevant for all of us.)
When they bring up the inclusion of autogynephilia in the DSM-5, I refer to the gender dysphoria part of the DSM, which says that such fantasies might just as well be a symptom of dysphoria and does not stop you from being diagnosed with dysphoria.
None of these arguments will make them change their beliefs. But others that read the articles and debates may understand. The fact is that most radical feminists support transgender people. They see through the bigotry.