A baeddel (or bæddel) is archaic slur used to refer to intersex and transfeminine people, originating in Old English, that was also used to refer to intersex people at the time. The word is the etymological root for the modern word 'bad', indicating how deeply intersex and transfeminine people are associated with deviancy in western culture .
By Lilith Winter, October 3, 2017
"Perhaps this isn’t a term you’re familiar with, but a lot of hatred gets thrown at those that have claimed the term bæddel. Those that espouse bæddel theory under that label (though less often for those that avoid the label but keep the theory). It seems to be used for transfems in much the same way “feminazi” has been used for women. I’d like to discuss the issues around this term, and the rhetoric associated with it."
"Bæddel is an Olde English term, a slur long since dead that targeted “effeminate men”, transfem and intersex people (given there was little distinction between any of these in mediaeval times, there’s ambiguity there), that has been reclaimed by many transfem people. It seems that since that reclamation it has quickly turned back into a popular derogatory insult. There’s theory and ideas that that go along with the label, though calling it “theory” might be a little generous and ascribe a certain coherency and unity of thought amongst those that use the term that may not truly exist. Yet those that deride the term, that deride the rhetoric, seem to treat it as if it is a cogent whole."
"Bæddel culture is about centering transfems. There is a strong trans sapphic and transfem4transfem trend within bæddel circles, though I wouldn’t say that romantic interest in fellow transfems is a requirement of claiming the term. Merely a personal prioritising of transfems in relationships, platonic or otherwise, as well as with one’s politics. Some have gone so far as to claim it as transfem separatism, though this is itself ambiguous and depends on how one defines separatism. It’s about finding safety and comfort with those that share and understand our experiences. It’s about combating translesbophobia, such ideas that say trans sapphics are predatory toward cis women. It’s about combating concepts such as autogynephilia, or what cis women get to call “feeling sexy” and “being attracted to women”. But transfems don’t get to enjoy anything, especially about ourselves, without it being pathologized."
"The theory focuses on the fact that all transmisogyny-exempt (TME) people benefit from and are capable of exploiting transmisogyny, not just cis men. But TME people other than cis men often get excluded from discussions about those that uphold and benefit from transmisogyny.
Part of this is due to sharing a single axis of oppression with transfems; CAFAB trans people experience transphobia and cis women experience misogyny, and as people often conceive of transmisogyny simply being misogyny+transphobia, experience of one of those forms of oppression seems to lead people to mistakenly exempt those groups from being able to perpetuate transmisogyny. But transmisogyny is not merely misogyny+transphobia, it is a very specific form of oppression that targets transfems explicitly."
"Bæddels get criticised for saying trans men have man privilege, get criticised for calling out transmisogyny from TME trans people, get told we’re just hateful, that we’re divisive and that we need to maintain trans unity to fight transphobia by those least affected by it and exempt from it’s most violent forms. If unity means allowing others to maintain oppressive behaviours free of criticism, to remain silent while being dominated (and not in the fun way), then personally I’m not interested."
"The purpose of this piece wasn’t to discuss bæddel theory in depth, to explore the different ideas that are discussed in bæddel communities, but merely to dispel the stigma around the term. To explain the dynamics of how the term has been weaponised against transfems and reinvigorated as a derogatory term hundreds of years after its disuse as a way to silence transfems talking about their oppression."