Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Say Yes to Michigan

Just for the record, I am not the one who tried to comment on the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (herein known as Michfest), over at Women's Space/Margins. It wasn't me! Besides, Heart is once again shilling for plane fare, and damned if I will interfere with her reindeer games. But I decided to start a Michfest thread, seeing as how we are in countdown mode! ONE WEEK TILL FESTIVAL!!! Par-tay!!!

For those living in Antarctica and unaware, Michfest is for women only. I have been there and it is fun, but that was a very long time ago. I don't really know what the festival is like now. I don't know exactly when the controversy started, and it depends on which account you read, but I didn't hear about it until the 90s. The controversy is about the phrase "women-born women" and what that means. The festival is for "women born women only." Camp Trans, for transgendered women, was set up to counter Michfest, as an alternative for everyone. But keep in mind, many transfolks, both transwomen and transmen, have attended the festival since it's inception.

One of my initial problems with Camp Trans was the fact that there are many, many places and institutions that are unapologetically closed off to transpeople, such as the military, Miss World, Miss USA, the priesthood, the convent, the FBI, and so on. Yes, they all do panty-checks at some point. I wondered: Why weren't people concentrating on protesting THOSE institutions? Why attack feminists? This seemed plenty suspect to me. In some ways, it still does.

And then, I realized: If *I* were a transwomen, I wouldn't want to go any of those places, I'd want to go to Michfest. This is a feminist gathering, or at least it began that way. It is women's culture, and many feminist women go to Michfest at least once. You might say it is like the feminist Mecca or Rome; it's like a pilgrimage. Once I thought about it that way, I thought it made sense that feminist transwomen would want to attend.

Some background on the issue:

Official Michfest website.

Wikipedia on Michfest Contains an excellent account of the history of the festival, as well as Camp Trans. Great links and resources.

Dykes to watch out for-Episode 495: Last year's Michfest thread with 350 comments! (bonus: a great comic!)

Michigan Womyn's Music Festival sets the record straight Women's Space/Margins (8-22-2006)

Camp Trans (although it says CAMP TRANS 2006 at the top, information applies to 2007, too.)

Your opinion?

Please try to respect the concept of an all-women's festival in your reply. And transwomen are welcome to give their opinions, of course: Are you interested in actually attending? Or has this just become a symbolic thing, as I often suspect it is?

I'd certainly be interested in comments from any transwomen who have managed to attend anyway, and if you felt "at risk" or if anyone actually seemed to care? (some think this is mostly a "management" opinion, and the festival attendees themselves actually don't care as much)

You are welcome to comment anonymously as long as you are NICE. This is a SOUTHERN blog, and we try to be polite as we reload. :) (old joke, don't get upset!)

Thanks in advance.

132 comments:

Anonymous said...

PLEASE INCLUDE:

http://camptrans.squarespace.com/

Trinity said...

"And then, I realized: If *I* were a transwomen, I wouldn't want to go any of those places, I'd want to go to Michfest. This is a feminist gathering, or at least it began that way. It is women's culture, and many feminist women go to Michfest at least once. You might say it is like the feminist Mecca or Rome; it's like a pilgrimage. Once I thought about it that way, I thought it made sense that feminist transwomen would want to attend."

Yes exactly. If all the feminist dykes go, why wouldn't a feminist dyke who happens to be trans want to, as well?

And then there's the influence that MichFest might have (I'm not so sure how much it does, as I've never been one for these sorts of festivals) on similar festivals outside the community.

It's not just about one festival, it's about the symbolic meaning of queer transwomen/trans dykes being excluded from women's spaces.

If the feminist community, the lesbian community, the women's community is your community, what does it mean that Mecca doesn't invite you?

I remember when I first started doing research on the sex wars over BDSM. I came across an article that basically recommended a similar policy to the WBW policy about SM women: it would be best, really, if they didn't attend... but since there's no real litmus test for who's leather or not unless SM is happening on the Land (which according to this woman shouldn't be allowed anyway, as it's bad and cruel and not "the way to treat a Lesbian").

Also, at least in that article, the woman wanted SM women to be allowed to attend because she thought many bottoms/masochists would "want out" -- I think she was associating SM with domestic violence and thinking bottoms REALLY wanted feminist resources to leave their tops/the community but were too abused to assert themselves.

SO the ideal policy: Don't ask, don't tell. This space isn't for you, really, but since we can't test you without potentially making mistakes, come in, but keep quiet.

At the time I didn't even know what Michfest even WAS, much less want to go, but the article had me seething for days. I felt like I'd been kicked in the face.

There's something really emotionally intense about being allowed in so long as you pretend you're not yourself. It carries a particular kind of punch that a flat "No" does not.

I mean I was daydreaming for weeks about how I'd go to that fest in full leathers and when the DADTers went "you're too loud", strip and waltz in.

(Ironically, of course, non-trans leatherwomen are actually (now?) allowed in, openly, so I didn't need to waste my rage anyway!)

Still, to hear it just... pissed me off *that* bad.

It's the same hateful "come in come in as long as you aren't yourself" poison and it saddens me they're STILL peddling it and yet somehow are still considered a feminist Mecca.

WHAT?

Renegade Evolution said...

i wouldn't want to go somewhere that really did not want me there.

belledame222 said...

well, and: surprise surprise, the people who -do- really want to go somewhere that really doesn't want them there are, well, kind of not the healthiest people ever...

Anonymous said...

"And then, I realized: If *I* were a transwomen, I wouldn't want to go any of those places, I'd want to go to Michfest. This is a feminist gathering, or at least it began that way. It is women's culture, and many feminist women go to Michfest at least once. You might say it is like the feminist Mecca or Rome; it's like a pilgrimage. Once I thought about it that way, I thought it made sense that feminist transwomen would want to attend. "

Jesus, thank you. I once had a feminist ask why transmen weren't trying to get into Promise Keepers, I shit you not. Um, because they're awful? Transpeople are protesting other -BW/BM exclusions, e.g. the ones that prevented them from playing professional sports. Many organizations don't actually have explicit trans-exclusionary policies; it's more a matter of being in line with general transphobia.

I don't think I'm all that interested in Michfest, certainly not until the policy changes. I would be curious to hear about the experiences of transwomen who've gone, though.

--Piny

Anonymous said...

What's always left out of these discussions is: Who's going to organize it? This big event that you just assume magically occurs?

It takes THOUSANDS of dykes to pull it off each year. The WWTMC is privately owned, but Michigan is a group effort that is decades old. Begun in a decade where lesbian-feminists created an entire alternative woman-only world of bookstores, presses, publications, restaurants, music labels, etc., then had energy left over to do half the work of running battered women's shelters, rape crisis centers, and scores of other alternative institutions that were not specifically lesbian or queer.

Where did we find all that energy? Well, for one thing, Reagan hadn't fucked up the economy and you could get by on much less income than now. Plus, we were young (for the most part) and not yet worried about health care. But, a big part of the answer is that freeing ourselves from dealing with male conditioning in our basic groups was incredibly energizing. You just don't know how it works unless you've tried it.

Michigan is a huge group of women who've tried it, liked it, and want to support its continuance. It is the ONE place left where we don't have to deal with male conditioning 24/7. Just female conditioning, which is enough to fill a plate.

Who's going to throw this party if you insist on changing the founding and ongoing definition of who it's by and for? CampTrans folks -- not likely. The fact is, the switchover from lesbian to queer in organizations has coincided with the diminishment or demise of most of those organizations. The energy dissipates. There may be many reasons why this has occurred, but part of it is: Women need a place to be free of male thinking and ideology in order to define ourselves and remove the female conditioning that comes at us from birth. You really can't do that while trying to give nurturing and sustenance to the opposite end of the spectrum. Just as black folks will not have the same conversation if there's a white woman in the circle insisting on talking about what it was like for HER when she was growing up. Some conversations are for crossing boundaries and listening to each other, and some conversations are more private, trying to talk with each other about what it means to have been labeled the way WE (and only WE) were at birth. We happen to need both, and you can't dictate that by ideology.

The fact it, the definition of who Michigan is by and for is up for a group vote each year in the form of who attends. And that vote remains overwhelmingly: We need it as it is.

Nobody is stopping women who want trans inclusion from creating their own festival. Or taking over another women's festival, there are lots of them out there who admit women who were not once girls. Go for it.

But: One of the key tenets of male and female conditioning is that no female is allowed to say no to any male. For her to be able to say no and be allowed to stick to her decision would violate the power balance of gender conditioning. And that, in a nutshell, explains why all the focus on Michigan.

And the "don't ask don't tell" argument is completely inappropriate, for a number of reasons. First of all, any one who wants to advocate for the right to join the military so she, too, can go kill people of color for their oil is not espousing feminist principles. I mean, they're keeping us out of their dehumanized army? Boo-hoo. Second, the prohibition is very clear and up-front. If you enlist knowing that you are lesbian or gay, what on earth do you expect? We are NOT WELCOME in their service. Count your blessings.

Third, and more to the point, a paid occupation run by a governmental institution does NOT compare to a one-week cultural festival run by volunteers who are members of a viciously-oppressed target group. Michigan doesn't ask attendees to "don't ask don't tell" and never has. It asks you to respect our right to self-definition.

I think a much more important question to ask is: If dyke performers can be censored for simply having performed at Michigan, how is this not punishment for choosing their own definition of womanhood? Do you have any idea how many female performes will be left as this particular approach advances? Will any dyke who's ever been to Michigan be asked to recant her experience there in order to not be labeled "transphobic" (shades of HUAC)? I mean, when are they going to go after Alison Bechdel (she went to Michigan and LOVED it) or Holly Near or Laura Nyro (yeah, I was there the year she attended)?

There was a time when we understood the difference between being oppressed economically and being not seen individually for who we are. When the gay male community didn't want to include lesbians, we created our own community (a much more politically effective one than theirs, as it turns out -- male conditioning is not very conducive to meaningful social change and bonding). Just because you want to go somewhere doesn't mean you automatically have a right. It depends on the power balance. When a target group chooses to meet with each other to do their work of cultural identity DESPITE the lies visited on their identity by the nontarget group in power, any opposition to that act of self-empowerment is, at its base, a choice to side with the oppressor. Get off the tit, folks. Find your own identity and form your own target groups. I suspect once you feel solid in your own cultural identity, you won't feel compelled to question mine.

Daisy said...

anon #1--I added your link to the post. At first, I saw where it said "Camp Trans 2006", and thought there was no 2007 website, then read further. Sorry for the exclusion!

Maggie Jochild said...

Thanks for the link to the Camp Trans website above. Reminded me to go and read through it, every line, as I have done every year that it has been available on the web. Here's my report about this year's version (it changes, often dramatically, every year):

The point of Camp Trans (their #1 goal, as listed on their website) is "Protesting the exclusion of trans women from women-only spaces, most notably the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival." No other women-only spaces are ever identified on the website as worthy of protest. In fact, no other trans-positive protest is ever mentioned, either. CampTrans drew 200 folks last year, and that's what it tends to draw, on average. It exists to protest Michigan.

The definition of trans women is never made clear, but it can be implied as meaning only MtF trans from their section on Goals, which states "We believe that male-identified individuals, whether trans or otherwise, should not be a part of women-only space. (...) There is obviously no clear place to draw the line, and we do not believe there should be any hard rule about trans men in women-only spaces. The presence of trans men at festival, to which we have seen little opposition from those who ostensibly support the WBW policy, is hurtful to all trans people, but especially to trans women, because it reinforces this dynamic. Trans men should decide for themselves when it is time to remove themselves from women-only space as a matter of respect for their sisters. Because the culture of the fest is largely welcoming to trans men (as evidenced by the large number who attend) but hostile to trans women, we see the policy as not transphobia per se, but trans misogyny."

To answer this, first of all, there is a clear place to draw the line, and MWMF has done so: You must have been raised female and now identify as a female.

Secondly, it's good to hear you admit it's not transphobia, that we can disagree about definitions without somebody screaming "transphobia" because a trans person was not agreed with.

Third, the statement that the "culture of the fest" being seen as welcoming to trans men based on the number attending is misleading. Yep, MtF and FtM folks do attend, always have without self-disclosure. But the requested self-restricting guidelines make it clear: If you were not raised female and you do not currently identify as female, this is not the festival for you. How is that welcoming to FtM? True, Michigan volunteers do not throw out women who are gender variant -- they never have, and according to the policy reiterated last year, they will not do so because the definition of woman includes a great deal of variation. What it does NOT include for this one week a year's particular gathering are women who were not raised female or folks who no longer consider themselves to be women. The reasoning behind this is very simple: Constructionists believe that gender is learned through conditioning, not inherent at birth, so if you didn't get the conditioning, you are not the same kind of woman as someone who did. And that difference can be critical when it comes to culture. The second half is that if you have changed your identity to male, why on earth would you come to a female-only gathering? Aside from the wish to impose you will on the trust of others, of course.

As regards the term trans misogyny -- is it misogyny when black women gather alone, without white women? Is it misogyny when female incest survivors meet only with other survivors, excluding women who were not sexually abused as children? No. We understand there are different categories of womanhood, difference experiences of womanhood, and that those who are members of an oppressed minority get to determine the kind of support and connection they sometimes want in that group. But the notion of being raised female as a particular kind of woman is pointedly disrespected by some trans theorists because it insists on gender as a social construct, not a surgically or chemically manipulated condition.

I also want to point out some misinformation or outright lies included on that website.

They state "...We point out that 'womyn-born womyn' is a bogus category created specifically to exclude transsexual women, and as such, has no legitimacy as a subject position. The phrase was coined in the late 1970's in the wake of widespread paranoia about trans women in the women's movement, following publication of Janice Raymond's transphobic manifesto The Transsexual Empire."

I attended the second MWMF in 1977. For the year prior to that, I had the poster from the first Festival (1976) on my wall. On that poster and in the materials for the second festival, the phrase "woman-born-woman" was used. I had never heard of transgender in any form, but that phrase has a strong, particular meaning for me, as it did for the rest of us in that era. It had to do with Adrienne Rich's book Of Woman Born (published in 1976), with the idea of reconciling our new identity as lesbians with our mothers, with honoring the idea that all life comes from women, including us. The Transsexual Empire was published in 1979 (NOT 1978) by Teachers College Press. Thus, this particular timeline, often repeated, is clearly wrong in several ways. How could a phrase in the original MWMF literature of 1976 be a response to a book published three years later? It really ISN'T about trans -- it really is an identity we came up with ourselves, which has distinct meaning. You can't disinform that away from those of us were alive then. I encourage all of you to put this distortion to rest. The fact that it is resorted to very much weakens any trans position.

Their second argument against this identity is "that there is no universal experience of growing up female that is common to all women. The argument above seeks to impose a universal concept of 'girlhood' that is ignorant of the intersections of race, class, and culture."

Ah, trying to play the race and class cards. But there IS a culturally universal concept of girlhood -- one that IS racist and classist, as well as sexist. This concept is what the Second Wave of feminism has examined relentlessly for decades now: The lie that conditions us all who are labeled girls at birth. We're not imposing the concept, we're trying to dismantle it with the assistance of others who were likewise raised as girls. Just as those of who meet in working-class-only gatherings are not trying to "impose" classism on others, we're trying to decode it (across gender and race lines, often) in hopes of destroying it. The points of similarity that occur in a group which is homogenous in one aspect are likely indicators of conditioning; that's why we seek out homogenous groups, so we don't have to sort out the crap coming from those conditioned as our oppressors. You really do have to do that first before you know what you're dealing with. Magical thinking doesn't work here. No amount of clapping will make the patriarchy reveal itself. We have to get together in the groups they've invented and lied about, compare notes, and come back to you with what we've figured out.

And if that strikes fear in your heart, think about that.

Also at the CampTrans site is a list of organizers, with more transparency than there's often been about who's creating policy and making decisions, which is to be congratulated. Of the eight individuals listed, four use male pronouns for themselves (or boi, in the case of Sean). Again, if you identify as male, why are trying to crash a woman-only event? This raises the question: Who, in fact, would the CampTrans organizers choose to exclude from a woman-only event? In the past, many have answered honestly "No one who really wants to attend and be supportive of women". (Just not supportive of every woman's right to self-define who she gathers with.)

There is a "short" history of CampTrans, which is in fact short because of elisions. If you are able to spend the time and effort, and exhaustively search for old caches, you can find previous websites for CampTrans. It changes often as there is a profound change in leadership and policy. The details of those changes is not listed here, which is at best disingenuous. Regrouping and changing your structure/leadership/stated goals is guerilla warfare, but what is objectionable is the pretense that the goals of those who live to protest Michigan have always been the same.

I might believe this was accidental except for the deliberately false press release issued last year by last year's incarnation of CampTrans, stating that MWMF had "reversed its transphobic policy", sent out to queer publications across the country. This was no accident. Aside from getting press coverage for an issue that a lot of papers were no longer printing article about, it was also timed to delude unknown numbers of trans-identified former boycotters into thinking they could now enter Michigan. If the MWMF had not circulated a correcting press release, no doubt these cross-country travelers, arriving full at anger, would have spilled over into CampTrans. Which was likely the point of the deception. And that deception contributed to the changeover in leadership this year.

Prior websites also have vicious attacks on feminism and lesbian-feminists, especially in the comments boards. Apparently for some of the CampTrans supporters in the past, dyke was a term of insult which needed to be coupled with "fat" to be truly effective. I can well understand why the website re-invents itself regularly. It appears this current version has removed the possibility of commenting altogether, which usually indicates either the lack of reliable moderation and/or the difficulty of keeping commenters from saying things which are so hateful as to be legally actionable.

Lastly, I clicked on the "Partnering Organizations" link and the "Trans issues in progressive movements" link (which is under "What We Do"). Despite the festival beginning this week, there was no list of partnering organizations on the former. And there was only the statement "Coming Soon" under the latter. So much for it not being solely about hammering on Michigan.

Trinity said...

"Women need a place to be free of male thinking and ideology"

This is something of a tangent I suppose, but I really don't understand this phrase. Thinking doesn't have a gender.

Thinking can tie into ideology, yes, but ideology is not gender -- patriarchal thinking is a traditional system that valorizes maleness, sure, but it doesn't have its own gender.

I personally think it's much better to be clear that we mean patriarchy, rather than something like "there exists some facet of maleness that infects any organizing."

Trinity said...

"there are lots of them out there who admit women who were not once girls."

This puzzles me quite a lot personally, and here's why:

I have a disability. There are several things I do now that I could not do pre-surgeries. Does this mean that I was raised differently than my able-bodied peers, in a way that matters, that has weight and significance?

It's as if I went to some race or convention for runners, and was asked at the door at what age I began running. Was I a runner in childhood? No, I ran for the first time at twenty-three, many years post-op, and probably never would have run if not for the operation.

Would it be fair to me to be told runner's culture is not for me, because I came to it in a way that differs from "runners born runners?"

No, that would be ableist bullshit. Whatever I didn't know that I needed to come to understand about that culture I could easily pick up, whether at age twenty-three or age ten.

antiprincess said...

but anonymous - how many of the original organizers were, in fact, living their lives (or came to live their lives) somewhere on the trans continuum?

how many good and true and energetic volunteers gave of their time/sweat/dedication/ emotional/mental energy, chopped carrots and emptied latrines and cut down trees and put up tents and spent hoursandhoursandhours of their lives devoted to Fest - how many of them served diligently, as diligently as anyone else, only to find out that their services were no longer welcome?

if there was even ONE such person, I'd say the Born-Women policy needs a second look.

and yes, I want to go. I really really want to go. but it's hard to put away my rage and resentment at policies (de facto or de jure) that are designed to exclude me and my friends.

Trinity said...

I mean the whole thing is so profoundly similar to ableism to me that I'm honestly actually feeling that old black anger rise up.

Because, well, then there's the body example, the people being triggered in showers and all, and... to me that whole thing smacks of a certain requirement for body purity that, as a woman with a disability, I'm very familiar with and familiar with not living up to.

That whole idea that if you are different and are not medically fixed/repaired, you are not worthy of being taken seriously

BUT IF YOU ARE, you're some sort of monster. Inhuman. Cut up and glued back together. Fake. Impostor. Cyborg.

Less than human, basically. Because HUMANS are born pristine.

I can't support any ideology that makes women's medical decisions an axis on which to Other them. It's reprehensible.

Trinity said...

"well, and: surprise surprise, the people who -do- really want to go somewhere that really doesn't want them there are, well, kind of not the healthiest people ever..."

I'm not sure, belle. I mean: in a way, yeah. If I were excluded from something for years and years for some silly reason, like, say, because I'm leather, I don't think I'd want to attend. I'd be like "Hey, this event is famous for it's prejudiced history. Fuck that noise."

Which is about how I feel about MichFest now. Why would I want to go? Maybe if they did change the policy I might want to once in celebration -- but that kind of history, when it's being held onto so tooth and nail, doesn't fade easy.

On the other hand, though, saying "why should you go where others don't want you" makes protesting for inclusion seem pointless and crazy and I don't really think that's so.

Daisy said...

I mean, when are they going to go after Alison Bechdel (she went to Michigan and LOVED it) or Holly Near or Laura Nyro (yeah, I was there the year she attended)?

Note: The amazing Laura Nyro died in 1997, for those who didn't know.

...you better better hide your heart...And my goodness, I did love her. :(

Pardon digression, but couldn't let that one pass.

Daisy said...

Heart's board was hacked yesterday, and I just hope it wasn't anyone from ALAS or any of the other boards recently discussing her disagreement with trans activists:

http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2007/08/01/the-way-men-hate-us/

If not, I think it has certainly been engineered to look that way.

Holly said...

Actually it looks like they got hit by some folks from /b/ -- which is not surprising, it's pretty much the kind of thing those guys do, to whatever targets they find amusing. I'm not going to link to that site, but suffice it to say it's a gigantic surreal sewer of juvenile antics and deliberately trying to piss people off.

antiprincess said...

what is "/b/"?

Trinity said...

I hope not too, but I'd bet not. I'd say some people who just like to make trouble. MRAs, maybe?

Daisy said...

Trinity, there was an Off Our Backs article about disabled women at Michfest, saying that their presence, often naked, changed many able-bodied women's (negative) view of disability. MWMF has been one of the most accessible outdoor environments EVER, and in fact, pioneered certain methods of environmentally-friendly accessibility, like using pieces of carpet outside for wheelchair paths. (easily gathered up when festival is over, and used again next year)

Nonetheless, point taken.

I mean the whole thing is so profoundly similar to ableism to me that I'm honestly actually feeling that old black anger rise up.

Because, well, then there's the body example, the people being triggered in showers and all, and... to me that whole thing smacks of a certain requirement for body purity that, as a woman with a disability, I'm very familiar with and familiar with not living up to.

That whole idea that if you are different and are not medically fixed/repaired, you are not worthy of being taken seriously

BUT IF YOU ARE, you're some sort of monster. Inhuman. Cut up and glued back together. Fake. Impostor. Cyborg.

Less than human, basically. Because HUMANS are born pristine.

I can't support any ideology that makes women's medical decisions an axis on which to Other them. It's reprehensible.


Michfest's DART (disabled access resource tent) is a somewhat (by necessity) segregated environment, too. I don't know if women with disabilities feel okay in the showers, etc? This is an interesting point, and thank you for raising it.

Since we know disabled women ARE at Michfest, are they accepted, or just tolerated? Seen in this way, transphobia would be an outgrowth of that, a disgust of bodily differences.

Trin, you make me think in new ways! :)

Maggie, I know that you are disabled also. Do you think transphobia and able-bodyism (dunno the term of preference, IS there one?) are connected? I believe Kay at the Gimp Parade has written about this, too.

Trinity said...

"Trinity, there was an Off Our Backs article about disabled women at Michfest, saying that their presence, often naked, changed many able-bodied women's (negative) view of disability."

*nods* I didn't know that.

And I don't mean to say something like "MWMF doesn't like disabled women." I can't know that, and I don't suspect it.

But there's a lot of body-disgust in the world. And I think there's also a lot of disgust at medicalized bodies or the thought of medicalizing a body.

So, to me personally, having a medicalized and altered and reordered body, a lot of it looks familiar to me. Not quite "the same" (as if I'd even know; I'm not trans) but I smell some familiar scents.

A "WBW" has certain body markers that she's born with. A transwoman, if she doesn't "get" them (ie. through hormones, surgery, or both) or only "gets" some of them, or doesn't pass, is seen on this view as an invading man in a dress, a crashing of the party by the system, etc. Women's bodies represent the resistance. Her body represents the system.

But if her body is altered, her body still represents the system. Hidden and cloaked and made invisible, like some sort of double agent, a Patriarchal Superspy.

Either way her body is a marker. And I'm not comfortable with the people having the unmarked and unremarkable bodies expressing such fear of the marked body.

I do get that some people have PTSD -- I've got it myself. But I'm not convinced that it's okay to make fear of the marked body official policy because of it.

This is why I'm so dismayed to see an earlier, pro-policy woman talking about "playing" the race and class "cards." First of all, that sounds like the white male conservatives we're generally fighting. But aside from who that language comes from... it's important to realize that every fight against oppression makes the world look a little different.

If WOC or working class people are saying they see holes in the framework that leads to the exclusion, or if I say that I see holes in it based on my experiences with body-related oppression... that's not "card" playing, that's looking at the situation with an eye sharpened by the experience of multiple oppressions.

Trinity said...

er, an earlier *comment from a* pro-policy woman... etc

belledame222 said...

trin: yeah, i was thinking of a couple of individuals very specifically. and, i guess it's not even so much that they -want- to be part of MichFest as the -way- they go about it, which should be a big red flag.

and yeah: what's /b/? sounds like they're operating on a similar level to the autoadmit boards (that were harassing Jill Filipovich of feministe).

from what i read at Margins, it sounds like they have a clear idea of who it was and Alas, etc. aren't being blamed. even if Heart does seem to think that "pro-porn feminists are 'safe'" from this sort of bullshit :eyeroll: We MUST be the Most Oppressedest of All! MUST I say!

belledame222 said...

/b/--o, wait, i geddit, i think--you mean the 4chan boards? yeh, professional trolls. har de har har har. ech.

belledame222 said...

these people, then, or the type (no hyperlink, cut and paste if you insist, probably nsfw or non-bleeding eyeballs. losers).

http://www.anonib.com/invasions/

Daisy said...

Cassandra wrote an amazing post on July 30th, about gender, MWMF, etc, which I just saw (or I swear I'da quoted it earlier):

I looked at those pictures from Heart’s road-trip, and I remembered Qgrrl’s comments a while back about how the language used by transpeople made her uncomfortable because it made her feel erased. From what I can tell, she very much of the radfembutch type – not at all comfortable with being “feminine” but not identifying with “masculine” either. Not quite sure where she fits, feels as if she had to figure it all out on her own.

That has to be a scary position to be in. I’m not sure that those of us who have always felt more or less comfortable with our gender identity can really understand just how unsettling that might be, to feel like society was determined to slot everyone into neat little gender categories and not feel like you fit into any of those available. For a teenager that could be terrifying.

So, I started thinking about that, and wondering how many women involved in radical feminism had to go through something like that. And then something clicked in my mind, and I finally saw WHY those women are so protective of their “space” and why so many of them are so very hostile to anyone they see as an interloper. If you’d spent most of your life feeling like you didn’t belong, and then you found a place where you DID feel like you belonged, wouldn’t you be protective of that? Wouldn’t you want to hold on to it?


Check out her whole post:

http://cassandrasays.blogspot.com/

Trinity said...

"From what I can tell, she very much of the radfembutch type – not at all comfortable with being “feminine” but not identifying with “masculine” either. Not quite sure where she fits, feels as if she had to figure it all out on her own.

That has to be a scary position to be in. I’m not sure that those of us who have always felt more or less comfortable with our gender identity can really understand just how unsettling that might be, to feel like society was determined to slot everyone into neat little gender categories and not feel like you fit into any of those available. For a teenager that could be terrifying."

Thing is, depending on what exactly "radfembutch" means and "more or less comfortable" mean.

BEcause if they mean what I think they might, I feel that way. Or similar.

I periodically wonder if I really am a "woman." I periodically choke typing that, going "no, women are that related and similar but not-me thing, generally with similar bodies and hormone levels."

But then I try to type "genderqueer" and it's worse.

And "man" -- well, I feel a little bit of desire there, which I'm sure will put me in the Illegitimate category with the policy supporters.

But that's not "fitting," either. It's "maybe I'd fit more if I were."

But then when I really think about that I realize that a big part of why would be sex -- I wouldn't have to be an impostor, my cock would be a prosthesis rather than a "toy," people would stop telling me what I do is "pointless" because I don't feel sensation, etc. I'd fit the sexual script and wouldn't have to feel so... off.

And if I were on hormones, it would be easier to craft the muscular body I want. And my clit would be bigger.

But all of that's about fitting easier in my body, not in my *gender*. My gender would still, I suspect, be ill-fitting, like a discarded t-shirt from my older brother.

And to have such a sexual reason -- to want my sex to make more sense and heighten my desire and my topness (both of which I hear T often does and suspect it would for me) -- well, there's such a struggle, such a

WE ARE NOT FETISHISTS

that what would it mean for poser me to get involved?

and also there's something transgressive, defiant, exhilarating when it's not bone-wearying about I'm a "woman" too

when I can get that word to fit.

sometimes, yeah, it's exhilarating. "I am woman, and if there's no room for me here I'll make it!"

but eh. right now it doesn't, so much. my feeling out of joint comes and goes. so who knows.

but the thing is: if that's the same discomfort, or similar, to the discomfort of woman-id'ed butches, as I suspect it might be

well, I don't see the supposed link between that and transfolk. someone handling feelings that might be similar (from what I gather, not the same, but I can see why people might think they're similar... heck, I keep wondering if I should, so) with a different strategy is not a threat.

it's the person handling where sie is in the best way for hir. it's making a choice. if you make another that is not about hir, and hirs is not about you.

Maggie Jochild said...

I was not visibly disabled the first time I went to Michigan in 1977, but I was fat. Very fat. And it was the first place in my life where I ever went naked in public -- even with my lovers, I'd not shown my body. Michigan created enough safety for that to occur. It was also where I learned that women have beards, have mustaches, have flat chests, have enlarged clitorises, have mastectomy scars, have unimaginable scars (like I now have), have every kind of body type you can imagine, -- that women often look like what our culture calls "men" -- because bodies are on full view and it's just not voyeuristic. We come out of our mothers this way. It was tremendously validating and educational.

I've never seen the equal of Michigan for disability access and comprehension in an outdoor setting. And, just to clarify things, the original "separate" showers for disabled folks were constructed to meet two goals: To accommodate the emotional needs of women who were ashamed to show their bodies in public (which of course still remains for some women, even at Michigan) and, in particular, to have hot water showers (solar-heated) for women with disabilities where they could not tolerate the icy regular showers. It was stressed to all of us to not use the hot-water or secluded showers unless we met the criteria for needing them. As I understand it, solar-heated shower water is now more generally available for everyone -- I've heard from word of mouth, I haven't been in a while. And, some disabled showers are on full view, like all the rest, just with ramps, grab bars and other accommodations.

I am now really fond of nudism, and have often gone to events where clothing is optional. And the fact is, at venues where men are present (even or sometimes especially leftie/gay men), I get snickered at. Always by a man. NEVER by women. I do believe this is conditioning -- and what I refer to as ideology is conditioning, not hard-wired into any brain -- but it's so entrenched and laid in so early, the only way around it is a complete re-do of identity. NOT appearance.

I believe that people who believe they can change their identity by changing their appearance are not just misguided but buying into the patriarchal notion that looks have a meaningful connection to identity. That notion is at the root of racism as well as sexism, and a lot of other oppressions as well. I don't think you can "subvert it from within". I've personally seen no evidence of that being successfully done. Whereas I have seen folks tackle their conditioning and actually undo it, to lesser and greater extents, by NOT focusing on appearance. I've especially seen this with allies to disabled folks, who stop interpreting disability as meaning either weakness or the flipside of courage, patience, flexibility, strength, etc. (although all those things are often present in disabled people). It's just a body type. Radical disability activism includes the notion that physical difference is not the issue, the larger societal attitudes are the issue. Which is, of course, conditioning. The analogy would be, and is, folks who were born and raised disabled finding a way to conceal or alter their disability and then insisting they no longer have a disabled mindset. I simply would never believe they've managed that by surgery alone. I know I couldn't. My entire life, I've been willing to stop where others push on physically, because of my conditioning -- not just the physical limits, but the emotional stuff inside that hit me at birth with being labeled asthmatic. And that stuff inside -- that's where the work needs to occur.

One other thing about disability: In 1999, when an FtM named Tony exposed his penis in the women's showers at Michigan as a deliberate act of provocation (read his original account to verify this), setting in motion a response from the MWMF staff -- not long afterward, I read Tony's words on why he thought it was okay for him to do what he did. And one of his arguments was that he was not at the "regular" showers, that he was in the disabled section using their showers (although he was not disabled) and that therefore it didn't count as public exposure -- The only women who saw him were disabled. I've been angry about that every time I thought about it: Disabled women weren't the "real" public. We were supposed to not notice, I guess. Because we're so used to what -- being freaks? I think the entire story of that event needs to be out there. The truth is complicated.

Maggie Jochild said...

Oh, and Daisy, to answer your question more directly: I think we are all raised with an enormous load of conditioning about physical difference being "bad". Some days it looks to me like our entire consumer emphasis is on making us think we have to look like everybody else. Under that umbrella, there area a number of specific "looking different" categories that are singled out for oppression and which create discomfort in the minds of those who witness the difference: Being nonwhite, being visibly working-class/poor, being nonmale (any version of that), being fat, being old, being visibly disabled or "deformed". I don't personally consider transgender identity as a disability because (a) I know trans and genderqueer folk who are rejecting the entire notion of gender, not trying to fit into its rubric, and they'd kick my ass if I called that choice a disability and (b) I don't believe gender is biologically expressed. It's a cultural construct, like race -- and I'd never consider race a disability, either.

I think if we stopped hurling accusations of oppression at each other, respected self-definitions and respected our right to strongly disagree, we'd find a lot more common ground. What it makes me think of is Anne Lamott's Rules for Being an Adult:
1. Have nothing wrong with you. Do not be different in any way.
2. If you do, fix it as soon as possible.
3. If you can't fix it, pretend as if you have.
4. If you can't do either of those, don't show up.
5. If you have the audacity to show up, at least have the decency to be ashamed.

Daisy said...

One other thing about disability: In 1999, when an FtM named Tony exposed his penis in the women's showers at Michigan as a deliberate act of provocation (read his original account to verify this), setting in motion a response from the MWMF staff -- not long afterward, I read Tony's words on why he thought it was okay for him to do what he did. And one of his arguments was that he was not at the "regular" showers, that he was in the disabled section using their showers (although he was not disabled) and that therefore it didn't count as public exposure -- The only women who saw him were disabled. I've been angry about that every time I thought about it: Disabled women weren't the "real" public. We were supposed to not notice, I guess. Because we're so used to what -- being freaks? I think the entire story of that event needs to be out there. The truth is complicated.

Wow!--and this marks the very first time I've heard this entire incident described!

Anonymous said...

I believe that people who believe they can change their identity by changing their appearance are not just misguided but buying into the patriarchal notion that looks have a meaningful connection to identity.

This strikes me as a reversal; I don't know many transsexuals who see the physical changes as preceding--let alone substantiating--the identity.

And how do you reconcile a decision to permanently etch visible difference into one's body--e.g., by becoming a man with a cunt, or a woman with a post-operative vagina--with this idea that transition is a nod to conformist pressure? Seriously, I see this shit all the time, and it really doesn't jibe with the shemale chimera--whence this unexamined premise that physical transition is normative? Do you have to be a transsexual to see all the baggage with which transsexual bodies and histories are burdened?

Daisy said...

I have TWICE tried to add the following book to the Michfest Wikipedia "references" section, and twice, somebody has removed it.

Hm.

I know how to footnote! I did everything right! >:(

Anyway, for the edification of those here, I recommend:

http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/OSL/LGBT/library/details/286.html

Book title: EDEN BUILT BY EVES: The culture of women's music festivals by Bonnie J Morris, Alyson Publications, New York City, 1999.

Great history of the whole women's festival phenomenon and philosophy, not just Michfest--but Michfest gets a whole section of the book as the largest and most successful festival.

It should be listed on the Wikipedia page, but alas, someone must not want it there. (Aside: I wonder how often that happens?)

Anonymous said...

Do you have a link to Tony's statement? I'm having trouble finding a primary source.

Daisy said...

Seriously, I see this shit all the time, and it really doesn't jibe with the shemale chimera--whence this unexamined premise that physical transition is normative?

My partner just shakes his head, uncomprehending, when I say "radical feminists think transitioning is conformist"... his very honest "you're kidding, right?" has had a lot to do with my re-evaluation of the whole issue.

Transitioning isn't normative, and we do need to keep that in mind.

Trinity said...

"I believe that people who believe they can change their identity by changing their appearance"

Maggie Jochild, this is a very strange statement. Who do you think is doing this?

And talking about MichFest's accomodations, by the way, in no way addresses my actual point, which is about reactions to bodies, and about how justifying shock in reaction to bodies by appeal to a few people being PTSD triggered by someone's body is just yet another chapter in the same tired saga of making people freaks to be gasped at.

If you don't want to address that, please don't act as if you're talking about the same thing I am. You're not.

"The analogy would be, and is, folks who were born and raised disabled finding a way to conceal or alter their disability and then insisting they no longer have a disabled mindset."

This is beyond insulting and I'm stunned you don't know it. First, the analogy doesn't at all hold. Disability is not an identity. Having a disability is not like knowing from youth that one is gay, or like knowing from youth that one is a different gender than assigned.

Second, and worse, if you know anything at all about the disability community you know the attitudes of people in it vary considerably. There are people who want their disability "gone" because it causes pain, shame, discomfort. There are people who reject "cure"-based approaches because they see them as marks of shame.

The thing that I love, actually, about the disability rights movement is that most people I know in it consider choices about bodies and body modification personal. We understand that for one person, freedom means the freedom to modify her body or to have psych meds or whatever else available and for another it means freedom not to be forced into those things, to live with as little alteration/devices/meds/etc. as are possible for that individual.

It's a very diverse movement. We've been FORCED to confront all of these models and the fact that the ones that look most radical are not always best for everybody.

I see a lot of other social justice movements that are somehow incapable of doing that. Everyone has to be for the most radical solution, or they're insincere, invading, not yet aware of the true nature of the problem, etc.

I see this in a lot of feminist circles, and I see it as a weakness, not a strength.

Octogalore said...

"Everyone has to be for the most radical solution, or they're insincere..."

This strikes me as weakening the feminist position as well.

And it's implied in the Anne Lamott rules which Maggie cites. While I don't think this is Anne's implication, it seems to be Maggie's that anyone who is a certain way or "fixed" to be a certain way is inauthentic. As Trin says, sometimes the methodology that seems less radical may be the most authentic on an individual basis.

In the feminist movement, someone with a less-radical-seeming approach is sometimes tagged with being a cop-out or sell-out. But in some cases, that approach may have a more tangible strategy, and may therefore be more radical in that it requires action rather than ideation.

Daisy said...

Heart and Sis/Pony have just claimed I was "pretending to believe" something (which thing?) while posting on Margins.

It has taken me many years to come to these conclusions about trans-issues, and I assure you, I don't "pretend" to do/believe shit.
I was a RADICAL feminist back when Heart was still kissing the ass of a bunch of white, male, heterosexual, bible-banging fundie preachers. I wouldn't mind that so much, except that she has proudly and without apology brought her Calvinist methodology into feminism. Her ex cathedra announcement of who is and is not a feminist, what I "really" believe, what my intentions "must" be, reminds me of the fundies she CLAIMS she left behind.

(Left behind!! Dayum--I'm funny!)

In short, Heart, keep shilling for plane tickets while doing your bang-on impersonations of TV-fundies (always asking for money), and keep your accusations of what I must "really believe" to yourself, please. If we are going to talk about what people "really" believe, I think it's interesting that just a few scant years ago, you were speaking to auditoriums of right-wing fundies, as devoted to you as the Margins crowd is devoted to you now. Have you no shame? Who do you think you are?

Are you a deep-cover fundie, sent to do damage to feminism? Lots of people think so. In any event, like a Certain Person Said, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Who DO you think you are?

Yes, I changed my mind about trans, as YOU supposedly changed your mind about EVERY GODDAMN THING IN THE WORLD.

You of all people should UNDERSTAND that one might actually CHANGE THEIR MIND.

I need to take a walk and calm my ass down.

growf!

Trinity said...

Deliberate provocation? I don't remember the URL now, but I remember reading his story too, and I didn't see that. Far as I read, he was just taking a shower. Not hiding it, but not flaunting it either. (I do remember "it's made of skin from my forearm; why should my forearm be triggering/startling?" which is indeed cheeky, but doesn't imply he was there to shock, at all.)

Can you link me to the original source, Maggie?

Trinity said...

"We come out of our mothers this way."

And what about those of us who don't, Maggie? Those of us whose bodies are altered severely from how "we came out?"

(actually, we all "came out" as small, a particular sort of pudgy, connected via a cord, and bigheaded, which none of us are now.)

Cassandra Says said...

"Seriously, I see this shit all the time, and it really doesn't jibe with the shemale chimera--whence this unexamined premise that physical transition is normative? Do you have to be a transsexual to see all the baggage with which transsexual bodies and histories are burdened? "

No, one does not. One does however have to have some kind of ability to see the universe from another person's point of view, or at least be willing to try to do so.

Thanks for the nod BTW, Daisy. You sound like Heart et al have been pissing you off big time. Don't take it too personally, she's been trying to excommunicate people for a while.

belledame222 said...

yeah, what Cassandra said.

and what trin said. I mean--ultimately, so what?, What is this, Star-Bellied Sneetch Feminism? It's no good if just -anyone- can have one? FFS.

belledame222 said...

so, Daisy, are you going?

Elizabeth McClung said...

Niether I or my partner will be going to MWMF. It did look interesting when we first came out, but then it began just because of the issues over the years to symbolize the types of openly or implied exclusionary behaviour and/or heated discussions that we found reflected in our local lesbian/women's groups.

Indeed after reading the history, it was kind of hard to tell the difference between the attitude of the church I had come out of and the festival: what music is appropriate, what sexual behaviour is appropriate, what view of your body is appropriate, what view of yourself is appropriate, what view of others is appropriate?

That is my personal emotional connection with the festival, I am sure that many, many others have had super times and been transformed (just so long as it wasn't physically). For me, as I was living in Europe, being naked around lots of other women wasn't new, it was called "going to the community sauna." As for right now, I likely couldn't physically handle the trip and I didn't go goth to take off clothes. Linda has other reasons for not going which are hers.

You wanted to know about attending.

Daisy said...

BD, oh NO, not me.

belledame222 said...

For me, as I was living in Europe, being naked around lots of other women wasn't new, it was called "going to the community sauna."

Yeah, that. Or, well, not European saunas for me, but yeah, I've found that sort of experience elsewhere, in the much-dreaded "sex positive" community; the part of which i'm most familiar with, ironically enough, apart from the being a lot more accepting of gender and sexual diversity (trans, sex work, BDSM, maybe men are somewhat redeemable even, what have you), can come off pretty damn radfemgoddessy, especially some of the women-only workshops i've been part of...

Trinity said...

"For me, as I was living in Europe, being naked around lots of other women wasn't new, it was called "going to the community sauna.""

Nah, a play party'd be more fun.

Oh wait wait a WOMEN ONLY PLAY PARTY of course, as the sight of naked men is hardly liberating

because men couldn't possibly have hangups about their bodies that public nudity helps with too, y'know.

drakyn said...

Anonymous, trans*women are not to non-trans*women the same way white women are to WOC.
Non-trans* people have non-trans*privilege, just as white women have white privilege. Both white women and non-trans*women are oppressed as women, but they also have privilege based on their race and/or gender identity 'matching' their assigned sex.
The race analogy that I have seen that makes the most sense is, "Trans*women are like light-skinned Indians. To many people they appear white and are treated as such. But, they are not white, do not generally identify as white, and also, when recognized as being Indians, suffer from racism. They are still Indians and still deserve to be a part of POC/Indian-only space."
My friend's dad is really light-skinned and he could easily pass for white here in America. But in India he is recognized as another Indian. My friend on the other hand, is really rather dark-skinned (like her mother) and she is easily recognized as etchnically Indian and/or a POC. Both are Indian; through both ethnic heritage and by nationality.

And trans*women are also generally born from other women. So a trans*woman who was born from a woman is a woman-born-woman. Sometimes, people are born from men you know; trans*men can and sometimes do have children. These children are born from men. ^.^
And while I know the phrase was meant to combat the idea of children being their father's children, technically assigned-as male-men also have a part in creating life; an egg needs a sperm to fertilize.

So, what is this universal girlhood? This experience or set of experiences that every woman ever, no matter where she lives or what she looks like, has had. This experience that no man has shared. Please, enlighten me.

Maggie Jochild, medical transitioning isn't about "changing our identity by changing our appearance." Yes, a possible motivation for medical transition may be to be recognized as our gender identity by appearance, but that isn't the only reason.
And appearance is important for some people. I believe Ren had a post a few months ago about how important a person's physical body is, how the mind isn't the be and end all to people.
No, our appearance isn't our identity, but most people still want their appearance to fit their identity.

I also read Tony's piece on Eminism and I never inferred that he was trying to provoke a reaction. He said that he felt he belonged at a women's festival because he had identified as a women for a long time and did a great deal as a women.


Daisy, I see nothing wrong with women-only events--some women find them incredibly helpful and empowering. And I support the rights of oppressed people to have their own spaces. I also believe that trans*women belong at a festival that is billed as for all women.
I'd never attend MWMF; I am a male and therefore I don't belong there. I also think trans*women should be allowed to go. From what I have read, while some people at the festival celebrate and/or focus on their girl-hood and/or female conditioning, there are plenty of people who see it as a social gathering or about current activism. It makes more sense to me to make the general festival for all women and have workshops about girlhoods, dealing with female conditioning, or celebrating assigned-female bodies for assigned-as-female-women only.
I also would like to go to Camp Trans. My friend goes and he says it's a lot of fun and I'd meet a bunch of other trans*people. He's also talked about some of the workshops and things and they sound fun. ^.^ I happen to like camping, and I'd like to meet more trans*people outside of the internet.
Last I heard, the festival is beginning to change into more than just a protest--it's beginning to also be about fighting transphobia and training activists.

KH said...

Sometimes a symbol isn’t “just” a symbol. (All culture is symbolic, & most conflicts are to some degree over symbols.) Both rights & exclusions are made real through symbols. The Greensboro sit-ins were partly “just” symbolic; nobody was really dying to eat at Woolworth’s.

Like Ren, the Greensboro protesters may not have had any burning interest in hanging around a bunch of slouches who didn’t want ‘em around. But at least 2 things were at stake. By breaking down the institutionalized exclusion, they gave others the right to choose for themselves whether they wanted (or needed) to go among hostile strangers. And by delegitimizing exclusion, they slowly changed the culture to the point where today anybody can go into a diner w/o the overwhelming sense that nobody wants them there.

Michfest has cultural weight. People who don’t pay too much attention to trans issues – which is most of us – draw conclusions from the submission or resistance to exclusion there, begin to think it’s OK or not OK. Unchallenged exclusion is legitimized by its acceptance, & spreads. Like Trinity said.

So even people who don’t want to go have an interest in what happens there. It’s a (much) less stark version of the passing interest gay men who’re not personally chafing to saddle up for Laramie WY may nevertheless have in what’d happen to them if they did show up w/ chaps & a chatty disposition.

Why worry about MWMF instead of the US Army or Catholic Church? First, it’s far from an either/or thing. Transpeople can hold more than one idea in their heads at once, & do have issues w/ the military & Church (among others). So the question really is why MWMF at all? There are as many answers as people who care about the issue, but basically feminist venues are viewed differently because many transwomen have a connection to feminism that they don’t to the military. We all, trans or not, criticize ostensible ideological friends or cousins in a different voice from ideological opponents because, among other things, there’s an element of backsliding from shared ideals, or hypocrisy, that’s not present w/ avowed enemies. There’s a hope of appealing to shared values, & a desire to heal a split among people who’ve shared a similar outlook. We don’t apologize for holding our ideological relatives to a higher standard than self-declared crudballs, who make no pretense of sharing humane values. The fact that feminists & progressives peculiarly espouse inclusion as part of their sense of themselves & their core values makes it esp. striking, & painful, when they lapse into exclusion. The argument that radical feminists shouldn't be criticized because other people do it too is formally identical to the rightwing argument that we can't criticize the USA because other countries (in which we have no voice & for which we have no political responsibility) are as bad or worse. Sorry, bad argument.

Daisy, what Cassandra said. It’s hard not to be pissed off, but your “excommunication” isn’t really personal; I don’t think H. has enough sense of the integrity of other people’s distinct personalities for it to be. The one time I posted there (to defend myself against a dimwitted liar) she heavily edited my comment & then made false statements about the deleted bits. It’s all par for the course (which, by the way, is a run-down putt-putt joint, not Augusta National). This may be a statement against interest, but if you wanna be a radical feminist, you’re still a radical feminist; Heart’s excommunication is about as relevant as if my (infidel) cat said you can’t take Catholic communion. Radical feminists, like transwomen, other feminists, & everybody else, have diverse views, & most of ‘em probably have never even heard of Heart. Nobody’s died & made her (or my cat, Benedict XVII) Pope.

Daisy said...

In reply to this, at Margins:

I was unable to figure out if Daisy was criticizing you for being poor or for asking for help.

Since Heart got a half-million dollar settlement from the fundies (who made off with her mailing list) which she likes to brag about winning, I think continuing to pass the collection plate is in poor taste at this point.

(Hey, I can Google names with the best of em!)

Daisy said...

Last I heard, the festival is beginning to change into more than just a protest--it's beginning to also be about fighting transphobia and training activists.

This is what I was hoping for. A totally negative "protest" atmosphere is no good. You should go, Drakyn, I'm sure it would be a great networking opportunity.

Daisy said...

We all, trans or not, criticize ostensible ideological friends or cousins in a different voice from ideological opponents because, among other things, there’s an element of backsliding from shared ideals, or hypocrisy, that’s not present w/ avowed enemies.

I honestly think many of the radfems do not consider transpeople related to them in any way, ideological or otherwise. I think they are starting to regard transfolks as avowed enemies, at least they sound like that over there, AGAIN (more anti-trans propaganda at Margins today). It's like they are (wo)manning the barricades for Michigan! DO NOT TRESPASS!

This is the way you address invaders, not people who have anything in common with you. It's a veritable onslaught of bigotry that I believe is far out of proportion to any real threat, and a certain circle does not want to give it a rest.

Why did I not notice this virulent strain of bigotry sooner? Hm. Probably because it is disguised with ideology. Also, my own privilege; I have sinned.

KH said...

I suspect a lot of people didn't notice the virulent bigotry because it was the last thing you were expecting from any feminist or progressive person. That's why the disguise worked, because they're abandoning important values that we'd thought we shared.

It's true that the most committed transphobes plainly feel no kinship with transwomen. A lot of us, including many radical feminists, think that violates the animating humane & eqalitarian values of feminist & progressive politics, & that the transphobes are ineluctably separating themselves the movement they spring from. (It's no accident that radical feminists at the IBTP boards have gotten a little sick of some of these characters.) I hope our criticism will cause some of them to reconsider their defection, but the core members of this clique will continue more & more to consider not only transwomen, but the larger feminist movement, not excluding lesbian feminism, as their enemies. (Louisa May Alcott ended a nasty 482-comment May 26th IBTP thread on trans issues by denouncing "lesbians" - her sneer quotes - as the "eager handmaidens" of the evil transocracy: "I no longer consider myself a 'lesbian' separatist, just a separatist." More accurately, just a paranoid separatist.)

(It's like the inimical relation of Rev. Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church to the larger Christian world from which it mutated. Not that I'm quite ready to predict Luckynkl picketing feminists' funerals w/ "Goddess Hates Trannies" signs.)

belledame222 said...

I suppose I'm less sympathetic wrt Michfest qua Michfest because it just sounds so much like my own personal idea of hell. I mean, not just it's the likes of Heart & co (I'm sure there are all kinds of more likable women there as well), but I fucking hate camping out. I hated Girl Scout Camp. I hated the annual campout Dyke Drama Collective had hosted at some dreary homestead somewhere way the hell out in East Bumfuck, New York. It's called "the great outdoors" for a REASON, people. And IF I wanted to commune with Mother Nature, all spiritual like, I would NOT be doing it in a claustrophobia-inducing, DEET-reeking atmosphere full of smug, smarmy little gorp-eating wheyfaced gits making fun of me because I can't peg a fucking tent.

drakyn said...

Daisy, here is another link you might want to include: http://community.livejournal.com/festforallwomyn/profile
Yellow Armbands are women who go to fest, but also oppose the policy. they wear yellow armbands (no, really) to support trans*women's inclusion. ^.^

And I'd love to go to CT, unfortunately I live with my parents during the summer and they are having a really hard time coming to terms with me being a guy. And we don't really get along that well and they are not currently happy with me (for reasons other than me being a guy) and I'd rather not rock the boat. Unfortunately, this is the last summer I intend to stay in MI for the whole summer, so I doubt I will get the chance to go again. Though I suppose next summer I could fly back around CT time so I can go. ^.^

And I also suspect a lot of people didn't/don't notice the bigotry. I mean, a lot of people are really ignorant of trans*ism and if they truly know nothing about it and know no transpeople (or only people that fit the stereotypes) they might believe a lot of the stuff some radfems say about trans*people. If the only transpeople you know is that one woman who just came out and has started to try to police gender roles, then you might believe all trans*women are like that; especially if people you respect are saying they are.
Another thing is the nature of the internet. Offline, most of the really obvious bigotry (see Lucky's comments on IBTP) would only ever be said in the company of like-minded companions. The internet allows people to feel powerful in their anonymity and therefore they say things they otherwise wouldn't say.
And while cis*/non-trans*-privilege may have allowed to you ignore or not notice some of the bigotry, you do seem to see it now. And the present is where you can act, educate yourself and/or others, or whatever.
All members of privileged groups tend to be oblivious to their privilege. It seems to be the nature of privilege to be invisible, at least for awhile, to those who possess it.
And since I've seen certain cis*women get pissy over this sort of talk: Yes, assigned-as-female women are oppressed as women. they also have privilege due to not being trans*. This is no more contradictory than a white woman also having white privilege. One can be members of both oppressed and privileged groups at the same time. Shocking, I know.
Daisy, that wasn't really meant for you; we know some readers from the Margins are also reading this after all.

And other than for true emergencies, like an illness or almost losing your house, I think it is really tacky to beg for donations for yourself. Asking for money for charities or something is one thing, asking for a vacation is another.
For instance, people go on FTM to ask for donations to their chest-surgery fund are acting tacky and inappropriately (imo). But asking for donations to send poor FTMs binders (like what The Transitional Male does) is awesome.
Somehow the current situation reminds me of fanficcer Cassandra Claire asking for donations to get a new laptop and an ipod actually...

("Westboro Radfems" is really amusing KH)

belledame222 said...

More seriously, though: I know a lot of transfolk don't give a fuck about Michfest, and they still find the radfem transphobia fucking damaging. Because it doesn't -stop- there. Hello, Vancouver Rape Relief Shelter, and I cannot fucking -believe- Heart and these people trying to make out like it's the fault of the transwoman who was discriminated against rather than the shelter for wasting more time and money being bigoted fuckheads than helping people who need it.

Hello, Janice Raymond, who has quite a bit of influence within certain spheres and yes, that book is a fucking paranoid hate screed as despicable as any other bigot tract. Hello that Bindel article in the Guardian that -just- came out: would you people fucking give it a rest? At least have the decency to join your little friend there who finally renounced the title "lesbian:" you're damn right, most of us who understand a thing or two about discrimination for sexual practices or gender transgression--which is not repeat NOT the same thing as "being born a woman"--wouldn't dream of trying to demonize people who just want to live their fucking lives, same as we have. Keep clapping each other on the back about how -pure- and -lesbian-loving- you are; you're not fooling anyone, sad cases who're more interested in preserving their precious sense of self-martyrdom than any sort of real human rights activism, any sort of love. Don't fucking speak for "lesbians." You make this lesbian, for one, sick.

belledame222 said...

Donations: I've helped fund and promote the funding of a couple of women, one of whom, it was for a conference. Unlike lemon drop, I know she doesn't usually ask for much, and that was an opportunity and a much-needed head-shower I think (knowing her in person) and that good things will have come out of it, both for her and the people she'll benefit with what she took from it. Also unlike lemon drop and some other people, she went out of her way to say "please stop" when she had enough, and to suggest some other people who also needed help.

and finally, as far as I know she's never won a half million dollar settlement, and can I just say: TWELVE HUNDRED DOLLARS? That's fucking steep.

I mean, if her followers want to give it to her and all, it's none of my business; but, damn.

and yes, I definitely think she missed her calling; the 700 Club (for example) can use talents like that...

Anonymous said...

Poor? Not having enough money to go to Michfest this year =! (#$%@!) poor. For fuck's sake.

belledame222 said...

but yeah: I mean, I read some of that mess in the Michfest archives with the Lynne/Rainson/etc. etc. character , where you could actually see her abusing her erstwhile one third her age partner happening right there online. It was shocking stuff; for once, I agreed with Heart, at least wrt this case: she was abusing this girl.

Of course, it ends up, the girl/young woman is all, and if that's what transsexuals are like, I don't want any part of any of them any more ever. in the atmosphere of the already fraught Michfest boards. so...

you know, sort of how young men who've been abused by a gay man (and then, encouraged by homophobes all around him) decides that this is what The Gay Lifestyle is, and look! sure enough, They all are evil predators, because -I know!- I was predated upon! (yes, I knew a young man with a story and attitude just like this, unfortunately)

so, but yeah, that's more what i meant wrt "wanting to belong to a club that doesn't want you as a member." I'm quite sure that there are people there whose main direct experience with transfolk has been with people like Rainsong and--there were one or two others, I guess. People who've internalized this hateful bullshit a little too well (and some other problems to boot, no doubt). So yeah, it's kind of human to allow shit like that to color your experiences. But. It doesn't excuse the crap they keep foisting; it doesn't excuse the attack, for it was one, on Little Light, who bears as much resemblance to those fucked up people as Eleanor Roosevelt does to the Countess of Bathshory. It doesn't, bottom line, excuse hateful, blind, stubborn bigotry. That's what it is. That's all it is. No more, no less. They can dress it up with whatever convoluted quasi-feminist cant they want. Bigotry.

-waves-

Yeah, harsh word. Bigot. Sucks, doesn't it, to be labelled something you don't believe you are. Gee, how about that.

belledame222 said...

young men who've been abused by a closeted clergymember, for example, i meant to say, although it's not really necessary.

but yeah: goddamit, it's not an excuse -either,- but the closet fucks with your head, there are -reasons- why people go into it, and supposed lesbians damn well ought to understand about that.

"Go away, you're contaminated." For FUCK'S SAKE.

Anonymous said...

Belle--Full disclosure: same here. This is the sort of thing I'd take a vacation from, no offense to all the women and wimmyn who heartily enjoy it. Plus, if I want a clothing-optional, queer-positive, woman-affirming space, I've got those in my backyard. Sans nutloaf, albeit for shorter interludes.

Anonymous said...

Daisy, here is another link you might want to include: http://community.livejournal.com/festforallwomyn/profile
Yellow Armbands are women who go to fest, but also oppose the policy. they wear yellow armbands (no, really) to support trans*women's inclusion. ^.^


"It's like a boycott, see, but the plan is that we keep giving them our money...."

--Piny

belledame222 said...

(calming slightly)

I mean, I am sure that at least part of it is a generational thing. I do get that to a point, even though it's hard to listen to each other sometimes. But that's without the additional component of, I'm saying it again, bigotry. And the enabling thereof. Ultimately what it boils down to is: either you're willing to listen to and have compassion for someone who's standing in front of you with an open vein, or you're not.

i mean, someone who doesn't already completely remind you of yourself, that is. -waves again-

belledame222 said...


"It's like a boycott, see, but the plan is that we keep giving them our money...."


heh.

drakyn said...

Heh, Piny, thats always the response their protest gets. ^.^
I can see both sides though. Yeah, giving money to something that has bigoted policies is bad. But, the whole of the festival isn't transphobic and these women are also raising awareness against the bigoted policies.
There are things about the festival that sound awesome; especially a space that (supposedly) accepts and celebrates the diversity of women. If it weren't for the "WBW" policy I'd be telling my female friends, my sister, and her female friends that they should go.
But I can't recommend it to them because of the policies; morally I just can't. If they hear about it from others I'll tell them about the "WBW" policies and why they are wrong, and I will tell them about YA, but I wouldn't try to forbid them from going (I do have blackmail info on my sister, even if I won't use it).
I am conflicted about the YA though; I can see that the festival is important for a lot of women, but they are supporting bigotry.

Belle, sorry, I didn't mean to sound as though ignorance excuses bigotry. I meant that ignorance is one reason the bigotry exists and why it doesn't get called out as often as it should.
And that everyone is ignorant of their privilege at the beginning. Once you become aware of it you can begin to change things. I think a person's blindness to their own privilege is only their fault if they are willfully blind, in denial, and/or don't care. Lucky and others like her have had their ignorance and privilege addressed by many others--she chooses to be a bigot.

Anonymous said...

But, the whole of the festival isn't transphobic and these women are also raising awareness against the bigoted policies.

I'm not sure I believe this, though. I think that most attendees are aware that the policies exist; I don't know how many people are impressed by a gesture as hollow as these armbands. I'd be more impressed if they--say--attended Camp Trans instead, or if they pledged an equal amount of money to some other organization, or some freaking thing that didn't involve a nod to conscience plus the exact same behavior that Lisa Vogel would prefer.

--Piny

drakyn said...

Well, some people do go to both camps...
I can't really argue with what you've said though. I just thought it was another POV that we might want to look at. ^.^;;

belledame222 said...

as per FTM's w/chest surgery and so on: I don't really have a problem with asking for donations as long as one is upfront what it's for. If people want to contribute to someone else's surgery or to send lemon drop to summer camp, hey, knock yourselves out: it's your money.

but, yeah, if you do it in public, chances are good someone might call you tacky for it. Which is also their right. You'll live, I think. And no, fool, it isn't because women yadda yadda; yeah, sure, be your own cheerleader, absolutely, but that sits ill with the constant moaning about how you -have no power.- Dude, getting people to fork you over $1200 just for the asking is -power-, sorry to break it to you.

and by the way, I think part of the reason Amp didn't just ask his community is because, unlike some people, he didn't have the nerve to just -ask- other lefties and radicals for lots and lots of cash. For all the blathering about male socialization and so on, Amp's rather more of a people pleaser than a lot of women I know. I mean, I can't imagine him going onto -someone else's site- and DEMANDING they rearrange it to his liking without so much as offering to contribute a cent. And no, which gonads you happen to be born with does -not- make -all- the difference here; signed, never did send money to Dobson or FoF or bloody Tammy Faye Bakker, wouldn't send money to Paris Hilton -either.-

belledame222 said...

and, meanwhile, on a separate note: godDAM do the raider/hacker boythings suck. hey, good to know there's an HQ (or several) for this kind of bullshit.

belledame222 said...

...apparently the "mothers trying to stop their 13 year olds from downloading porn" and "woman good at computer skills" struck a nerve.

losers, losers, losers, losers, and...more losers. gah. i need a head shower now...

Anonymous said...

Heart's whining about the price of airfare being so expensive at the last minute. Does she live in the same world the rest of us do? She's running for president so you would think she would know the basics of airfare being more expensive the later you try to buy the ticket. Yes indeed, I want HER running our country!

And she has to bring one of her daughters along too. So she's asking for money for the both of them. I can't believe no one says anything about the audacity of this woman, womyn or however she wants to spell it.

belledame222 said...


Nah, a play party'd be more fun.

Oh wait wait a WOMEN ONLY PLAY PARTY of course, as the sight of naked men is hardly liberating

because men couldn't possibly have hangups about their bodies that public nudity helps with too, y'know.


Heh.

I will say that I definitely understand wanting single-sex space for public nudity; it's hard enough for most people to do that anyway, conditioned as they are.

I've been in all-women nude spaces (play parties and otherwise) and mixed ones (ditto) and definitely there is a different "vibe," especially when it's a small space and the purpose is primarily erotic. Doesn't automatically mean I feel "threatened"--it's really up to the maintainers of the space to determine how "safe" it is, gonads alone aren't nearly enough for that--but, yeah, it's different.

I do think that in a space as vast as MWMF, it ought to be possible to simply reserve particular spaces for nudity; I understand they already do that for leatherwomen's play, right? but i guess it's no good unless you can be naked -everywhere;- and, it's also no good if you might catch a glimpse of a nude transbody, even if they're just trying to take a dump or a shower or something. shrug, whatever.

I will also say that DEFINITELY I've had different vibes from "mixed" play parties than I do from the all women parties; but,

1) in fact the "all women" play parties in my area are emphatically NOT WBW; their thing is, anyone born female inc. transmen and transbois (which is a BIG chunk of it these days) who still feel part of the womens' community are welcome; fulltime MTF's are welcome, surgery or otherwise. Part-time crossdressers are NOT welcome, and pretty much I think it's just been on the honor system; anyway the scene is small enough that most people know each other pretty well, or will shortly. And,--it's their line in the sand--no exposed bio-male genitalia in the public playing areas.

Seeing as how those parties alternate with the all-gender all-queer parties on a rotating basis (same hosts), I don't think it's -that- much of a concession, and it seems to work out fairly well.

but, that said: yeah, definitely the energy of the mixed parties is way different from the womens' parties. by my lights this has less to do with who's dressed and who isn't and more about the eternal Straight Loser Dude. and they try everything they can to weed them out--"queers only," no single males allowed, males in pairs must make out before entrance, men pay more at the door--but, still, i dunno, i do find more of a creep factor.

and then, too, i don't have nearly as much personal interest in a mixed party--i mostly go, if i go, because it's the only game in town, plus i like being around the gay men sometimes, although i don't know how mutual that always is, frankly--so, i might be biased, there...

bint alshamsa said...

I try, honestly I do, to avoid these Michfest conversations but there is always one set of comments that send me fuming. This thread has several--and all by the same person. Daisy, you may decide to make me persona non grata after this comment but I'm going to go out on a limb here and get this all out. I'll understand if you ask me not to come back--no hard feelings.

Maggie,

In fact, no other trans-positive protest is ever mentioned, either. CampTrans drew 200 folks last year, and that's what it tends to draw, on average. It exists to protest Michigan.

So what? Even if it only drew three women and even if it does exist to protest Michfest, what's the problem with that? Are 200 women any less deserving of equality than 2,000 or 200,000? Would trying to address every instance of transphobia simultaneously make more sense than tackling it one bite at a time, one exclusionary, bigoted event at a time?

To answer this, first of all, there is a clear place to draw the line, and MWMF has done so: You must have been raised female and now identify as a female.

Hell, we can draw lines all over the place. That doesn't mean that some of these lines aren't bigoted, as indeed MichFest's is.

Secondly, it's good to hear you admit it's not transphobia, that we can disagree about definitions without somebody screaming "transphobia" because a trans person was not agreed with.

You really make it clear to me why so many other women of color have expressed no desire to be around the hateful people at Michfest.

Constructionists believe that gender is learned through conditioning, not inherent at birth, so if you didn't get the conditioning, you are not the same kind of woman as someone who did.

I'm disabled. I've spent the majority of my life with a disability. I've spent my entire life as a person of color. I can guarantee that you and I are not the same kind of women (thank goodness for that!). Does that mean that you are more deserving of inclusion to events that are supposedly for women?

I encourage all of you to put this distortion to rest. The fact that it is resorted to very much weakens any trans position.

Do you have any idea of how illogical this is, Maggie? Think about this: Your post contains several grammatical errors. Do those grammatical distortions weaken the positions you put forth? Nope. You're points (many of them, at least) are bogus for several reasons but the fact that your grammar contains mistakes is not one of them. Even if you took out all of the information about the formation of the "woman-born-woman" terms, it still doesn't change the fact that Michfest policies are bigoted.

But there IS a culturally universal concept of girlhood -- one that IS racist and classist, as well as sexist.

Did you think that no one would notice the bait and switch here? There is a difference between the "universal experience of growing up female that is common to all women" and a "culturally universal concept of girlhood". Furthermore, there is no universally held concept of what it means to have experienced girlhood. It may seem so to those who belong to groups that have traditionally marginalized people of color and people with disabilities but, regardless of that fact, LOTS OF US do not buy into this silly idea that girlhood is what some self-identified feminists claim it is. You are indeed imposing the concept because you insist on claiming we all had.

The points of similarity that occur in a group which is homogenous in one aspect are likely indicators of conditioning; that's why we seek out homogenous groups, so we don't have to sort out the crap coming from those conditioned as our oppressors.

I'm going to introduce what may seem like a novel idea here: Perhaps you should just speak for yourself without assuming you know why others meet in certain kinds of groups.

And if that strikes fear in your heart, think about that.

Let's flip that around, shall we? If the bigots aren't the ones who are afraid, then why are they so dead-set against letting transwomen in? If fear isn't what's motivating the organizers decisions, then should anyone presume that fear might be a factor in why people who love ALL WOMEN want to see all women welcomed to the event?

Of the eight individuals listed, four use male pronouns for themselves (or boi, in the case of Sean). Again, if you identify as male, why are trying to crash a woman-only event?

Has this really come down to an argument about pro-nouns? What if I wanted to use plural pronouns to refer to myself? Would that make me any less of a woman? I think that it's far more revolutionary to decide to screw with the arbitrary manner in which pronouns are used in the English language than it is to insist--as innumerable other bigots have also done in the past--that everyone play along with the way you want us to discriminate against others.

the original "separate" showers for disabled folks were constructed to meet two goals: To accommodate the emotional needs of women who were ashamed to show their bodies in public...and...for women with disabilities where they could not tolerate the icy regular showers.

As the SNL "Churchlady" used to say, "How conveeenenient!" I'm sure it's just a lucky coincidence that this arrangement would also keep the "normal females" from having to look at all those whose forms might offend or even frighten the poor dears who might surely turn to stone if they happened to see a body that didn't look quite like their own. I'm surprised they didn't also build separate showers for the dark-skinned women of color who might get hang-nails if they were forced to share stalls with everyone else. I'm sure they'd have considered it a favor, right? I mean, that's just what marginalized groups usually prefer, right? Most people enjoy being excluded from whatever group they sought to be a part of, don't they?

I am now really fond of nudism, and have often gone to events where clothing is optional. And the fact is, at venues where men are present (even or sometimes especially leftie/gay men), I get snickered at. Always by a man. NEVER by women.

How odd! I have often had my body ridiculed by women. I remember when I was going through radiation and the skin on my back was burned to a crisp. It wasn't a bit contagious or oozing, just charred. I was engaged and had gone to try on wedding gowns. Of the people who saw me in that store, daring to show my non-conforming body, feel free to guess the gender of the person I could see sneering at me when I turned around to face them. I could give even more accounts of situations like this. The idea that men are conditioned to be less accepting to variations on body types is a joke to me and many other women of color and women with disabilities.

I believe that people who believe they can change their identity by changing their appearance are not just misguided but buying into the patriarchal notion that looks have a meaningful connection to identity.

Even if you do believe this, it's still erroneous, so does it matter? As a woman who sometimes uses a wheelchair, sometimes a cane, sometimes limps, sometimes walks without a limp, I have personally experienced how a change in appearance can definitely change one's identity. Hell, just going from having chemically straightened to naturally kinky hair has changed my identity. Of course, when people believe they already know what the rest of us women experience, they often make erroneous statements like the one you made above.

I don't think you can "subvert it from within". I've personally seen no evidence of that being successfully done.

Seriously, do you have any idea how much this comment screams "I'm a typical western white woman"?

I've written enough already. I'm just going to come back to this later.

Trinity said...

"I do think that in a space as vast as MWMF, it ought to be possible to simply reserve particular spaces for nudity; I understand they already do that for leatherwomen's play, right? but i guess it's no good unless you can be naked -everywhere;- and, it's also no good if you might catch a glimpse of a nude transbody, even if they're just trying to take a dump or a shower or something. shrug, whatever."

Part of me agrees with this and part of me thinks the whole "the Zone" thing is just containing the horrible leatherwomen who might infect everyone, which makes me, in an ideal world, "for" neither.

"I've been in all-women nude spaces (play parties and otherwise) and mixed ones (ditto) and definitely there is a different "vibe," especially when it's a small space and the purpose is primarily erotic."

Eh. So have I, and I don't really experience it as earth-shatteringly different. I hear from other women that places without! men! around! are profoundly different, secret, affirming... and I've never felt that way.

Quite likely it's got more than a little to do with my being bi and not a dyke, and my wishing that there were a gender or at least a word for "female but like me."

belledame222 said...

I don't feel like it's a huge, profound thing; it's just different, that's all. and depending on what we want to work on, if it's a workshop, sometimes it makes sense to delineate in that way. and if it's a play party--y'know, sometimes i'd rather just be in an all female environment, because that's what turns me on; and if that's what turns everyone else on too, hey hey...

not every single event has to be all things to all people.

and still, i maintain, the transfolk do not make or break that for me Hell, as far as that goes, i'll be honest, the queer men almost never are a problem for me; back to the play party template, I just don't want to be hit on by unsocialized straight dudes. and, since i present femme, couple that with sometimes shy about approaching who I'd like, and that tends to happen a lot more often than I'd like. Last time I was at some fetish event, I actually spelled out DYKE on my forehead with little stickers. It was dark; it didn't make any damn difference, and might not have done anyway.

Trinity said...

"Last time I was at some fetish event, I actually spelled out DYKE on my forehead with little stickers. It was dark; it didn't make any damn difference, and might not have done anyway."

Yeah, it used to be that way with me and explaining I'm a top, too. It finally went away. I think some of that was me having been around a while, and some was developing clearer "command presence" or whateveryacallit.

But yeah, I do think women-only spaces can be good for some people. I just really found it a shock to discover that they felt pretty normal to me, when they'd been held up by some people I knew as especially safe, good, warm.

It's not that I think they're worthless or anything, it's that I think sometimes people mythologize them.

What I was reacting to was an unspoken "Being alone with women is empowering; seeing varying men's bodies is not" and, well... I think seeing all kinds of men's bodies has really done a lot to help me free myself from social scripts, just as seeing all kinds of women's bodies has as well.

Daisy said...

Bint, your comments are heated but so rational, I can't find any fault with them. I need a good airing of all sides. I am benefiting from this!

I feel like so much has happened to me in the past week; I SAW THE LIGHT (Hank Williams version, no newer ones, if you don't mind). But really, I am finally getting it. You all have been great.

BELLEDAME, re: camping, you remind me of Woody Allen's famous saying: I am at two with nature.

Also Fran Lebowitz: Nature: what is between your building and a taxicab.

:)

bint alshamsa said...

Personally, I don't particularly care about whether it's in front of men or women. I just want to be naked because I HATE clothes. My body issues apply equally with regards to who might be looking at me. Besides, being a nudie is in my blood. My grandmother loved being naked too. When I was a girl and she accidentally set her bedroom on fire, my brother had to go in and wrap her up in a blanket in order to take her outside. She had been in there completely naked, smoking a cigarette and fell asleep with it in her hand. That's totally understandable, in my book.

Daisy said...

I just can't take anyone seriously who is burbling over women women women but can't seem to define one for me when I ask.

Who the hell are they talking about, in that case?

argh *headdesk*

belledame222 said...

Well, as my NYC born and raised grandmother once said, whilst shooing some quail off her Sun City, AZ astroturf:

"Goddam birds."

Me: (something like), "but, they're part of Nature."

GM: "Nature schmature, they crap all over everything. I don't like nature. I'd rather have an ice cream soda."

which, you know, makes perfect sense, really. nature: ice cream soda. nature: ice cream soda.

wv: arrhzym

belledame222 said...

and yeah, absolutely i don't find women only spaces -inherently- good, warm, safe, etc. safety isn't about gender. safety is about

1) the collective emotional health of the individuals in the space

2) really key: how well the keepers of the space maintain that safety.

Now, if you want SOLIDARITY, that's something else; and yes, if you're there, again, to talk about things or try to build connections specifically about/between, say, transmen over 50, or lesbians of color, then, well, that's what you do.

but, that doesn't automatically make the space -safe.- and if that's primarily what you want, safety, you're better off with a good therapy group than going the political route, in my opinion.

Rebecca said...

As a young, liberal feminist transwoman, I second Belledame's comment above - for me, Michfest sounds a little too like my personal idea of hell for me to want to attend. Beyond that, I have no desire to go to an event that is so firmly associated in the public consciousness with the oppression of my sisters. They could abolish the discriminatory policy tomorrow and that would still stand. It's also, to some extent, a moot question for me as an Australian - Michfest-style discrimination is massively illegal here, courtesy of our comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation.

Like many of the other contributors to this thread, I'm quite fond of having women-only spaces, at least to an extent. In my city, womens spaces pretty much just means the womens room on campus. It's handy to have for safety at night, as a place for organising and as a venue for events, but - like Trinity said - "especially safe, good, warm?" - not really. Moreover, I'm generally wary about placing too much emphasis on autonomous spaces in general, having seen some utterly stupid battles over similar things in the queer movement before I transitioned.

As for the broader women-born-women question, I can't help but think that this boils down to a generational question. To be honest, I can understand why someone raised in the 50s - as Heart was - might go for the oppressed girlhood stuff. But for womenfolk my age (early 20s) that I know - ranging the whole way from radical feminists through to conservative types - it generally doesn't even compute.

belledame222 said...

and...for women with disabilities where they could not tolerate the icy regular showers.

You know, I was so caught up with the rest of the implications of this, as deftly picked out and highlighted by Bint, that I almost missed this part:

icy regular showers.

ICY. regular showers.

oh yeah. i'm really sorry I'm missing this...

Octogalore said...

"The idea that men are conditioned to be less accepting to variations on body types is a joke to me and many other women of color and women with disabilities."

Bint: I too think what you said was very reasonable, especially the above. Most of my friends are women -- I'm not someone who claims "women don't get me" -- in fact, women usually get me better. But I've also gotten the most heartbreak from them.

I was horribly unpopular in grade school through high school. Although I became identifiably conventionally attractive during this period, I was very "different" in religion, how my parents dressed me (awful crocheted ponchos, "interesting" ethnic outfits) and in other ways. New boys would come to the school, hang out with me, then inevitably a girl would tell them how weird and oddly-dressed and outcast-y I was and they'd back off. High school was more of the same.

That's not really related to body type, but your point that a female space isn't necessarily less judgmental is quite well taken.

Daisy said...

ICY. regular showers.

In August heat, those are really nice!*

*not for hair-washing or conditioning, braid hair and leave the braids in until you can get back to civilization. (I advise this for all camping trips, BTW, not just Michfest!)

Cassandra Says said...

Belle - As Daisy says, I am at two with nature, also. Nature is something I like to look at from a distance. It's fun to visit for a few hours, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Bint - Thanks for saying what a lot of other people here WANTED to say. I was rolling my eyes all the way through some of that person's comments, too.

And about LouisaMayAlcott's decision to leave the lesbian fold - "Bye, honey, don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out."
Seriously, I fuck men and I'm closer to being a lesbian than she is, what with the whole being attracted to women thing. Who are you to say what lesbian means, celibate straight girl?

And the showers at Michfest are COLD? Remind me again why people enjoy this?
This is why I don't go to Burning Man, either. It reminds me of Terry Pratchett's joke about getting back to nature immediately reminding a person of why most of human history has been devoted to getting as far away from nature as possible.


And about women only space...I can see why people want it in certain circumstances, BUT the concept seems to rest on this wierd idea that women are always inherantly nice, and that's nonsense.
I'd feel far safer stuck in a dark alley with any of my male friends than with Lucky, as an example. That whole frothing with anger thing freaks me out. Right now it's transfolk that she's pissed at, but who knows who might be next? Angry, hateful people are angry, hateful people.

Oh yeah, and while I'm babbling here (sorry Daisy), about Bint's point about men and body-related judgements...I can count on one hand the ammount of times a man has ever made a negative comment about my body, sneered etc. And all of those times are one guy, my evil uncle (seriously, he's an asshole). Women on the other hand...it doesn't matter whether you're fat or thin, tall or short, big boobs or small, someone will always find something to sneer at you about.

drakyn said...

Oh, nice. Heart has brought up the "we can't let trans*women on the land, men rape women!!" argument.
Because you know, so many trans*women are rapists and they certainly aren't at risk for rape or anything. I mean, trans*women are never victims of violence or sexual violence!11eleventyone
"To ascribe to the penis such awesome power of male domination and violence seems to us to play straight into the symbology of patriarchy. And inasmuch as we know of no epidemic of violence by trans women toward non-trans women, concerns about violence are unjustified." --Camp trans website

And another thing, Lisa Vogel has stated that "women-born-women" means cis*women in the press release from last year. So while it originally meant women-born-of-women, now it's meaning has been twisted to exclude a group of women from the festival.

The festival does not include all women. A similar situation is if there was a Korean-American group that purported to be for ALL Korean-Americans, but excluded any who had emigrated to America. After all, they didn't grow up Korean-Americans, they became Korean-Americans. Who cares if they currently face the same problems Koreans born in the US do?

Daisy said...

Maggie, several people here have asked you to verify your statement that Tony went to the disabled showers specifically. Is this possible? Have you decided not to dialog further?

Yeah, Drakyn, I checked over at Margins, and the dialog has descended to this:

They want the issue to be about the ’struggle’ and the torment they supposedly go through and not about people like that guy (Robert to Michelle) who strangled his wife and then shows up in court in a dress or the guy mentioned in the latest Mother Jones who is a crossdressing American terrorist associated with the Oklahoma City bombing and who now wants srs when he goes to prison. I think people like that are more afraid of living out their sorry lives among male prisoners than anything about them needing gender reassignment. Crossdressers who become ‘trans’ are on the side of extreme fetishism and having incarcerated women forced to be the audience/mirrors to their kink is irrestible, I think.

--Amazon Night

Are they serious?

And why is Rich (a man?) allowed to be in "women's space"?

drakyn said...

OMG, I was looking around the CT website...
My friend is one of the coordinators! I didn't realize that, I knew he went, but I guess I forgot he coordinates stuff. ^.^
ooo, and now I have his new email address. He hasn't been online recently and I haven't been able to find it.
I hope he sticks around after camp so we can hang out. ^.^

belledame222 said...

oh here we go again. they're KILLERS. yes, that's nothing at all like homophobic fuckstains trying to aruge that gay folk shouldn't teach innocent children because hey, John Wayne Gacy.

and yes, what -is- Rich doing there, i mean besides constantly sucking up and earlier bullying the shit out of the relentlessly polite nexyjo, because if there's one thing that says "womensspace" it's a biomale being horrible to a "I come in peace" transwoman with the benign permission of the hostess.

well--whatever, get your hate on, and then whine some more about the terrible terrible LIES people keep telling about y'all. never mind that people are basing their opinions on -your exact quoted words.- gah.

Daisy said...

and yes, what -is- Rich doing there, i mean besides constantly sucking up and earlier bullying the shit out of the relentlessly polite nexyjo, because if there's one thing that says "womensspace" it's a biomale being horrible to a "I come in peace" transwoman with the benign permission of the hostess.

BD, which thread was this?

He is a bio-male, then? Is he a self-described feminist man? Heart seems to come down pretty heavy on "feminist men", so that kinda surprises me.

Not sure I get it.

A.W. said...

If you give me a moment, I can probably find a few of the threads. One in particular where people were attempting to dissect the way Nexy types with little/no capitol letters in the English language as being part of a power structure and 'male thinking'. Odd stuff.

He is a bio-male, then? Is he a self-described feminist man? Heart seems to come down pretty heavy on "feminist men", so that kinda surprises me.

Not sure I get it.


I think it might be because his views are exactly the same as hers, and I think he describes as himself as feminist-supportive.

drakyn said...

Daisy, Rich and Amazon are in the womens space/brilliance thread. Which amuses me to no end...
I think Rich describes himself as pro-feminist. And I've seen him around womensspace since I first started reading in February. And Rich bullying Nexy is in an older thread, I really don't remember which one(s).

And I am totally a psycho-killer. Despite being a vegetarian, against capitol-punishment, hate, etc. I totally want to kill people. I just can't help it; it's in the nature of all true transsexuals dontcha know.
Just like how I am uberbutch and really should be a lesbian (despite being flamboyant and mostly attracted to men).


Ooo, now trans*people are being called trannies, parasites, hypocrites, and victims of Peter-Pan-Syndrome! Score! I wonder if I can get bingo on just this thread? I found a bingo card for feminist transphobia; someone in a queer forum made it.
Yes, at comment 19 I got a bingo.


And Mendrea, the beginnings of the gay rights movements were often helped by trans*people and drag queens. Trans*women and drag queens were at the forefront of the Stonewall Riots, Silvia Rivera was a major activist, there are a ton of other trans* activists who have worked for the rights of GLB folk. And what happens? You take us out of the legislation, ask us to front dangerous protests then take the credit**, and then tell us "we got here with our own work, stop being a parasite and do the same."
Google for the story of almost any older trans* activist and you will almost always see a history that includes working for gay and/or lesbian rights before they are kicked or driven out of whatever organization they are a part of.
For instance, Silvia Rivera was banned from NYC's Gay and Lesbian Community Center because she, "on a frigid winter night, aggressively demanded that the Center take care of poor and homeless queer youth." Yeah, saying a community center should take care of it's poor and homeless youth in freezing cold is totally male privilege. And which group is the hypocrite?

**http://www.zmag.org/Zmag/articles/april02bronski.htm

belledame222 said...

daisy: primarily thinking of that longass Robin Morgan thread, the response/reaction to little light's piece, it's in her greatest hits collection (sidebar), i think. in the comments, more toward the end as i recall.

i also recall nexy going back to her own blog around the same time and talking about feeling ill and depressed...the woman's practically tied herself in knots trying to "build bridges" with these people, for whatever reason, and they've treated her like shit. i think at this point she's given up, finally, but, damn.

belledame222 said...

drakyn, where is that bingo card?

and yeah, exactly, Stonewall. but I mean: thrice married people who've been giving aid and comfort to the likes of fucking James Dobson for lo these many years trying to hold court on what is or isn't "lesbophobic" or "homophobic," while simultaneously -still- channeling the worst words the reactionary right has in their stomach for transfolk (albeit now dressed up thinly in some convoluted quasi-cultural feminist crap) just makes me see red. how dare they. seriously. talk about fucking appropriation.

antiprincess said...

maybe "rich" = Rick Seelhoff?

Daisy - have fun at fest. I would be interested to hear a trip report.

belledame222 said...

and, that is depressing about the Center. they have a lot more for transfolk and genderqueer folk these days, for whatever it's worth. i've never really like the community center thing, though, for whatever reason.

belledame222 said...

AP: i thought that at one point, but no. Rich is the author of a blog called "Adonis Mirror;" apparently he used to ("used to") be a rightwing antagonist on the Ms. Boards, and then somewhere in there he saw the light, or something. Seelhoff has a website around somewhere; i remember thinking he sounded rather gentle and flower child-esque, not at all like the charming Rich.

belledame222 said...

Rich and Amazon are in the womens space/brilliance thread.

wait, what about Amazon? don't tell me Amazon is a guy...

drakyn said...

No, Belle, I meant Amazon's comment was from the Brilliance thread as well. I didn't mean to imply she's a man. And I'll put the bingo card up on my livejournal. I just went and changed it around a bit and don't know where the post is anymore; somewhere in queer_rage.

Daisy said...

Daisy - have fun at fest. I would be interested to hear a trip report.

Oh no, I am not going.

I wouldn't feel okay doing that, at this juncture.

belledame222 said...

and in the midst of all that: yeah, this shit is seriously fucked up, I'm glad she posted the IP. and yeah, it would be nice to concentrate more on worthless fuckstains like this than on the ev0l threat that transwomen pose to the sanctity of Michfest or women's shelters or...

http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2007/08/04/blogging-while-female-warning-may-trigger/

A. Friend | ie@gmail.com | IP: 66.90.103.37

Heart, this is horrible. I’m sorry that this is happening to you. These people want nothing to do but to hurt you and your cause. I feel for you.

In fact, I want to feel you now. I’d like to tie you down, take a knife, and slit your throat. I’d penetrate you over and over in all orifices, and create some of my own to stick myself in.

Daisy said...

You want me to read a 389-post thread???? Aiyeeee.

Skimming for Rich and Nexy, and I'll get back to you.

I find the idea that Heart sicced her mean male dog on Nexy a fascinating thing to contemplate.

drakyn said...

Daisy, if you hit CTRL and F a search box pops up. ^.^

Daisy said...

If you google that IP, you get several email addresses. Must be a proxy server?

dotram258@yahoo.ca, IP: 66.90.103.37

detektyw2003@op.pl IP: 66.90.103.37
Detektyw2003 = detektyw2003@op.pl


Got the last one twice:

Detektyw2003 ocena: 5 IP:66.90.103.37 PC World Komputer || 17-07-2007, 12:56

Also, I ran the above-referenced website description (I think it was a description) through a translater, after figuring out it was Polish, and it was incomprehensible.

Daisy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daisy said...

Heart, if you are reading...

I got this a number of times, and I'd definitely take it up with the "paltalk" website:

Nick: Detektyw2003
IP: 66.90.103.37
Data: 17-07-2007 (16:16)
URL: www.paltalk.za.pl

Detektyw is DETECTIVE in Polish.

belledame222 said...

I mean, if they're that particular group of hackers, presumably they took pains to cover their tracks, having done this shit many times before. i thought i saw she'd tracked it down to someone in Illinois, though.

antiprincess said...

Oh no, I am not going.

I wouldn't feel okay doing that, at this juncture


wow, man.

you know, I started reading Off Our Backs when I was around 16, in like 1984 or so - I'm ashamed to say I used to swipe back issues off the rack at my local feminist bookstore because my parents had a stranglehold on my crappy little paychecks from my after-school job and babysitting money - but I thought the Goddesses of Feminism would forgive me if only I did right by the information contained within.

And I practically masturbated over the contents - so political, so strong, so decisive, so rebellious - every time I saw the word womyn-with-a-y I got a weird little tremble. I'm reminded of what Dorothy Allison said - "I came to feminism like a lover."

but it soon became quite clear that you weren't supposed to feel that way. I was somehow holding it wrong.

but oh how I wanted to go to the Michigan Women's Music Festival, and see Cris Williamson and Holly Near and Ferron and oh how could I take all the excitement! it would be so overwhelming!

but when that whole anti-leather thing cropped up, I realized -

I'd be that girl slaving away in the kitchen, doing my workshift and someone else's plus a little extra just to be sure, and hear someone say "wow, it's really great working with you, Heidi - I'm so glad I'm here with you and not with one of those freaky whips-n-chains folks."

so, no. because you could substitute any "othered" group for "freaky whips-n-chains folks" and suddenly it doesn't matter how many workshifts you do - it's okay at Michfest to go "it's great to meet you and I like you and it's fun to work with you - I'm so glad you're not one of them".

I don't know if that makes any sense. but I'm really sad about it, even after all this time. and I'm sorry that now you're sad too.

A.W. said...

I don't know if that makes any sense.

You mean when being accepted and/or liked is conditional on what people think you're not instead of what you do?

That, too, sucks.

Trinity said...

"
I'd be that girl slaving away in the kitchen, doing my workshift and someone else's plus a little extra just to be sure, and hear someone say "wow, it's really great working with you, Heidi - I'm so glad I'm here with you and not with one of those freaky whips-n-chains folks."

Yep.

I never came to feminism like a lover. I was one of those whip-n-chains folks long before I was a feminist.

I came to it like a prizefighter nursing cuts after a match, grudgingly admitting my opponent had style.

before I knew it I believed in patriarchy too, and started to wonder if my face was all bloody because I deserved it.

belledame222 said...

good convo on the Bindel article going on at feministe, btw.

Daisy said...

I don't know if that makes any sense. but I'm really sad about it, even after all this time. and I'm sorry that now you're sad too.

Yeah, it is sad... I am now trying to figure out how it all came to this. In my last post, mentioned Joan Didion, who tried to figure out how the 60s terminated in the Manson family and the Doors, and now I am trying to figure out how radical feminism ended up in bed with the religious right and keeping the MTFs out of Michfest. I am wondering if there was a certain place we went wrong, or if it was a general trend. Was there a turning point?

Perhaps the most famous confrontation in the lesbian sex wars occurred in 1982 at a conference at Barnard College in New York City. Organized under the title "The Feminist and the Scholar IX," the conference brought together a diverse group of feminist thinkers and activists to consider the complex relationship between pleasure and danger.

Local radical feminists deemed some of the topics offensive and attempted to shut the conference down, claiming it promoted anti-feminist values. Protesters handed out leaflets describing individual speakers as sexual "deviants." Clearly, sexuality had become a deeply divisive issue, even as the focus on such issues as s/m, pornography, and censorship obscured other feminist and lesbian issues related to sexuality.


From:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/lesbian_sex_wars.html

Holly said...

If you're looking for starting points, you have to go back to the 1970s. I don't know who compiled this page (seems like the author is a trans woman) but it has a number of facts that I've been able to verify elsewhere:

http://www.transhistory.net/history/TH_Backlash.html

Very notable are the expulsion of singer-songwriter-activist Beth Elliott from the Daughters of Bilitis in 1973, when she was serving as Vice President, and the boycott of Olivia Records in 1977 because they hired Sandy Stone as a recording engineer.

Most of this stuff was based in the idea, later promoted by Janice Raymond, that trans women are agents of the patriarchy seeking to infiltrate and take over women's movements. Things have only progressed slightly in the last thirty years.

belledame222 said...

Yeah, Dorothy Allison ("Skin") is a good one to read about the Barnard thing, although that's more about the "sex wars" (BDSM, porn, etc.) and less about trans issues. Amber Hollibaugh and Gayle Rubin, also. Califia has a lot more to say about all aspects of it I rather expect.

Bitch|Lab keeps recommending "Daring to be Bad" by Alice Echols, which as i understand it recounts some of the early splits, dunno the details, though. i do need to read that one of these days. Ellen Willis, also.

belledame222 said...

but yeah, the truly vile shit is most concentrated in Janice Raymond's tome "The Transsexual Empire." Sheila Jeffreys has put out similarly toned stuff, but hasn't to my knowledge written an entire book on the subject. there are a few others.

Erin said...

Speaking in vague terms, I wanted to go to the festival. I don't have the cash, won't have it any time soon, and wouldn't be allowed through the gates anyhow.

I guess I get involved in these discussions (or TRY to get involved in the case of the margins) because I have probably unhealthy desire to at least reach out to those who don't like me for whate'er reason. I've attempted posting comments to hearts blog 8 times now. Not a single one has even made it through. This may be because I was bored and visited /b/ (on a side note wow it was bad that day) noticed the raid and followed them there. I would like to think that it's just bad luck and my being caught in her spam filter.

(I realized I should save one of these comments ... you can see it here . I would really like to thank belledame for lifting me out of the funk that I've been in for most of two days)

anyhow, at this point I'm just going to settle in and read more of what everyone has to say before starting to comment. I'm at my very starting stages of even starting to research feminist thought other than my own instinct of "Women aren't sex objects, they are human and as such should have a life as free of fear as possible, and be allowed and encouraged to grow as free and strong as possible."

-E (sorry if this is a double post.. I didn't see my original or a moderation notice)

Daisy said...

Erin, we've all been censored by Heart at some point, so don't feel bad.

She considers her blog "women's space"--although Rich is an exception, for some reason. She also allowed a couple of heavily-edited transwomen, but no one who might really give her a hard time ideologically. (When they DO start to give her a hard time, she starts the Stalinist routine.) I figure her POV isn't too strong, or she could withstand an argument. She could come here and argue (probably has already, earlier in this thread), and I would never edit a word.

I think that speaks for itself.

belledame222 said...

late, but btw, this?

When the gay male community didn't want to include lesbians, we created our own community (a much more politically effective one than theirs, as it turns out -- male conditioning is not very conducive to meaningful social change and bonding).

...I have no idea what you're even talking about. So, what, Radical Faeries, Body Electric, GHMC, abuse hotlines and shelters for gay men, any number of gay male social organizations, for fucks' sake Stonewall...don't count, don't exist, aren't worth mentioning, have nothing to do with you? -please,- Mary.

belledame222 said...

and by the way, while god knows i've no patience for clueless and even hostile gay men, I wouldn't know about most of those if I hadn't been a part of them one way or another. yeah, male entitlement and misogyny is real, extends to gay men as well--but on the other hand, I've never encountered anything like the constant shame-making scrutiny wrt pr0n, gender transgression in the -wrong- way, kink, etc. etc. from any gay man.

and frankly, i gotta say it: most of the time? the food's a fuck of a lot better.

Ravenmn said...

One thing that gets missed in talking about MWMF is that it is hugely successful. There is power there and tradition. Once it reached critical mass, MWMF became more than just victims against the system. It became tradition. It became a new kind of system.

Making the transition from oppressed fringe group to accepted activist organization is not pretty. I'm not sure MWMF is any better than a lot of other organizations that suffered the same fate. Success can be the death nell for activist political organizations. It's still to be seen whether MWMF can overcome its success.

Daisy said...

Raven, meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

I hadn't quite thought of it that way, but you are so right.

That Fucking Shemale said...

Oh gag.

Some of my favorite* quotes:

Anonymous Said:
"Just as black folks will not have the same conversation if there's a white woman in the circle insisting on talking about what it was like for HER when she was growing up."

+
Maggie Jochild Said:
"As regards the term trans misogyny -- is it misogyny when black women gather alone, without white women? Is it misogyny when female incest survivors meet only with other survivors, excluding women who were not sexually abused as children? No."


Tubman's Law.
And obviously trans people are the oppressors of cis people.
See drakyn's comment.

Anonymous Said:
"Will any dyke who's ever been to Michigan be asked to recant her experience there in order to not be labeled "transphobic" (shades of HUAC)?"

+
Maggie Jochild Said:
"Secondly, it's good to hear you admit it's not transphobia, that we can disagree about definitions without somebody screaming "transphobia" because a trans person was not agreed with."


ONOE TEH PC POLICE ARE BE OPPRESS OUR RITE TO FREE SPEECH/FREEDOM OF TO BE EXCLUDING THE MARGINALIZED GROOP.

Maggie Jochild Said:
"I attended the second MWMF in 1977. For the year prior to that, I had the poster from the first Festival (1976) on my wall. On that poster and in the materials for the second festival, the phrase "woman-born-woman" was used...
"How could a phrase in the original MWMF literature of 1976 be a response to a book published three years later? It really ISN'T about trans -- it really is an identity we came up with ourselves, which has distinct meaning."


Clearly all transphobia is rooted in Janice Raymond's book, which drew its transphobia from the ether or something.

Maggie Jochild Said:
"You really do have to do that first before you know what you're dealing with. Magical thinking doesn't work here. No amount of clapping will make the patriarchy reveal itself. We have to get together in the groups they've invented and lied about, compare notes, and come back to you with what we've figured out."


You fail for assuming that the patriarchy is somehow more invisible to trans women than it is to cis women. Sorry, no.

Somebody Said:
"Women need a place to be free of male thinking and ideology"

+
Somebody (else? the same somebody?) Said:
"The reasoning behind this is very simple: Constructionists believe that gender is learned through conditioning, not inherent at birth, so if you didn't get the conditioning, you are not the same kind of woman as someone who did."


...These aren't contradictory at all.
I would ask the commentators who might agree with these things to try to rationalize these into compatibility, but it seems that they've dropped out of the thread :(

Anonymous Said:
Poor? Not having enough money to go to Michfest this year =! (#$%@!) poor. For fuck's sake.


I'm curious about where this is coming from. If this comment was posted because the comment to which it was responding was making classist assumptions about how affordable/cheap Michfest is, then I agree. However, it's problematic if it's coming from a place where being "poor" is the wrong way to be.


Honestly, discussions about the legitimacy of "Wom*n-Born-Wom*n ONLY" space just makes me tired. I don't even care about trying to change the minds about people for whom transphobia (no, I don't care whether you're rejecting that "label" or not, privileged people don't get to tell people without that privilege when they do and do not have the right to say something is bigoted toward them) is such a deeply-ingrained, self-legitimized ideology anymore; it's a waste of time- they exist to be mocked, because there's no changing them.

It doesn't matter what other oppressed group you might belong to, if you're transphobic, as several of the people in this thread obviously are, it's still a result of unexamined cis privilege and good old-fashioned bigotry. You don't get to use the fact that you're a member of one oppressed group to get out of acknowledging your privilege as part of another. Sorry.

This is the kind of thing that makes MWMF, which would otherwise be completely awesome, represent to me transphobia more than anything else.
And while I get the feeling that Renegade Evolution's comment, "i wouldn't want to go somewhere that really did not want me there," was meant to imply the sentiment "I don't understand why you want to do it so what you're doing is incorrect; just shut up and let it go already," I agree that trying to get into Michfest is a wasted effort and that it should be boycotted instead of protested.

And in my opinion, any cis person who tries to slip quietly into Michfest is not in any position to call them-self a trans ally anymore.

*and by "favorite," I mean "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS PERSON?!"

Daisy said...

Welcome Shemale! Hope you will hang around!

I thought I'd answer:

I'm curious about where this is coming from. If this comment was posted because the comment to which it was responding was making classist assumptions about how affordable/cheap Michfest is, then I agree. However, it's problematic if it's coming from a place where being "poor" is the wrong way to be.

It was about Heart, on the Women's Space/Margins blog, asking her readers to contribute plane fare for her and her daughter to attend Michfest, right after asking last month for money to attend the Feminist Hullabaloo. I admit it was a cheap shot, since Heart was once a hardcore fundie--she makes me think of fundies on TV asking for money all the time.

So, I apologize for the cheap shot, if it seemed classist.

FTR, I don't think Heart is "poor" at all, seeing as how she was awarded over a million bucks (Wikipedia said OVER a million, not a half-million, which I'd read elsewhere) in a lawsuit with some Wacky Homeschoolers.*

*official type, see "Quiverfull movement" for details.

Stace said...

Do you people belive in EQUALITY???? If you do (and for fuck sake you really should), how on earth do you rationalize the marginalization of an oppressed class of people, in this case transpersons???

Actually, I know exactly how you rationalize it, and it's really messed up. You seriously should give some substantial thought to the amazing amount of similarities between the way mainstream society thinks of and marginalizes queers, and the same way that cisgendered queers marginalize transpeople. It's really a fascinating/horrifying paralell.

belledame222 said...

If this comment was posted because the comment to which it was responding was making classist assumptions about how affordable/cheap Michfest is, then I agree.

I think it was more that; or at least, perhaps, an assumption that because this person is asking for donations to help her go to Michfest, she must perforce be in dire straits.
as others have noted--well. Even without the 1.3 million lawsuit, which may well have all been frittered away on college educations for the dozen or so offspring, well repairs, sheep tonic, and so forth, there are a number of reasons why people find this particular person asking for cash for this particular thing in this particular manner a tad galling.

belledame222 said...

oops, sorry, Daisy already responded. but, yeah, that.

I mean, yeah, on the one hand, I think blog fundraising is perfectly fine as long as there's transparency about what it's for; even if you think it's frivolous, if someone else doesn't and wants to donate, well, mazel tov. And like I said, I've supported fundraising for other people to go to a different conference; I think it was a worthy cause, I don't think it only always has to be "total emergency," bread and roses and all that.

but--yeah. This woman had just asked for and got cash for another such event; I'm not at all clear that the people who give her money (admittedly, not that i give much of a shit since I wouldn't piss on most of 'em if they were on fire, but still) are really in better financial shape than she is; and she doesn't seem at all inclined to concern herself about such matters.

and too, I noticed that she managed to raise over $1200 (which seems steep for what it was, as others have noticed) far more quickly and easily than others have for far lesser amounts of money, for, I believe, worthier causes, and (perhaps) from a smaller pool of people. it raises my alarm bells. Has she ever gotten a cash flow of that magnitude going that quickly for anyone -else-?

belledame222 said...

note to anyone reading: that last was a rhetorical question, actually, I really don't care that much. She's just a bit too Aimee Semple MacPherson for my tastes, is all.

belledame222 said...

(Tubman's law?)

belledame222 said...

"Will any dyke who's ever been to Michigan be asked to recant her experience there in order to not be labeled "transphobic" (shades of HUAC)?"

oh MARY.

belledame222 said...

"Secondly, it's good to hear you admit it's not transphobia, that we can disagree about definitions without somebody screaming "transphobia" because a trans person was not agreed with."

And yeah, let's just do our standard fill in the blank for that one, shall we?

"Secondly, it's good to hear you admit it's not misogyny, that we can disagree about definitions without somebody screaming "misogyny" because a woman was not agreed with."


"Secondly, it's good to hear you admit it's not homophobia, that we can disagree about definitions without somebody screaming "homophobia" because a homosexual was not agreed with."

"Secondly, it's good to hear you admit it's not racism, that we can disagree about definitions without somebody screaming "racism" because a POC (black person, fill in your minority of choice with whatever terminology is most comfortable for you, the white person) was not agreed with."

"Secondly, it's good to hear you admit it's not ableism, that we can disagree about definitions without somebody screaming "ableism" because a PWD (disabled person, handicapped person, again, whatever's easiest for -you- to remember) was not agreed with."

Now fill in:

"...just because women (past tense, okay) aren't allowed into West Point."

"Just because black people aren't allowed into certain country clubs. Whatever happened to freedom of association?"

"Just because our church doesn't want people with That Lifestyle coming in; can't we get any place to ourselves in this fallen world?"

"Just because we want to have a nice dinner out without having to deal with distressing behavior/appearance from people who really shouldn't be out in public. And/or, well no, we can't build a wheelchair ramp, get a signer for translation, put signs in braille, accomodate your needs; we can't be all things to all people! These things cost money!..."

...Have some patience. You're so SELFISH. Can't you understand we're trying to make the world a better place, fight for justice, and make a SAFE SPACE for the Oppressed People, i.e. us?

p.s. you're not Us, except maybe provisionally. you haven't earned Most Oppressed Status, you didn't go through the proper channels, you don't meet the requirements, so sorry, do not pass go, do not collect $200. In fact, you may well be oppressing -Us,- with all your demands. Get your foot off our necks. And stop bruising our fist with your face.

p.p.s (five minutes later) please send money, give donations, and fuckloads of sympathy for whatever tsuris we have decided is the Tragedy of the Week, winsome smile.

drakyn said...

Belle. Tubman's Law is similar to Godwins Law.
And Heart fund raising to go to MI keeps reminding me of the fanficcer Cassandra Claire fund raising to get a new laptop (so she could continue her fanfic).

That Fucking Shemale said...

Thanks for the welcome, Daisy!

You said:
FTR, I don't think Heart is "poor" at all, seeing as how she was awarded over a million bucks (Wikipedia said OVER a million, not a half-million, which I'd read elsewhere) in a lawsuit with some Wacky Homeschoolers.*

LOOOOOOL okay I see now.

Never mind about the classism comment.

Cheap Flights to New York said...

If you get half a million, at a certain stage you probably will get 4 million people, if they are able to hear it. The touring thing is unbelievable. It really is amazing from what we did the last tour even to what we are doing now.

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