The bullshit stops here.|
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|Tuesday, November 7th, 2006|
COMMUNITY ALERT ABOUT A RECENT HATE CRIME
PLEASE POST WIDELY
An open letter to our communities from “Elliott” (a pseudonym), Kate Loewe email@example.com), Kathy Ni Keefe (firstname.lastname@example.org), Samuel Lurie (email@example.com), and Eli Clare (firstname.lastname@example.org):
We are writing to let our communities know about a recent hate crime that occurred in New Mexico. We are writing to break silence, to create resistance to violence and space for healing, and to build support for the survivor. We are writing in hopes that we can take care of each other, undercut the community-wide fear that comes with hate violence, and work toward justice.
Please note that what follows contains some graphic details, which could be triggering. Also, the survivor is a parent of two children, and this information MUST NOT
reach them.( Read more...Collapse )
x-posted a good amount (x-post more and feel free to place on your personal journals)
|Saturday, August 26th, 2006|
Camp Trans needs us!
<< This community does not support PAYING to attend MWMF or giving labor as payment. >>
I feel that frustration, but I guess i don't agree with the strategy. Not this year.
Look, Camp Trans has declared victory. I understand, if you had been at Camp Trans this year, you probably would have *not* have voted to declare victory. I might not have voted for victory either. But that's not the way it went.
Remember when the fest even let me buy a ticket? I had interesting adventures on the land that year. And we had to get together and have the discussion - do we declare victory? For lots of good reasons, we did not.
This year, several out transwomen were allowed to buy tickets, and the reception they got on the land was especially positive. CT decided this was the year.
Look, Lisa Vogel was never going to fold completely. "Im in charge" type people never do. But it sure sounds like no more transwomen are going to be told they cant buy tickets and no more transwomen will be ejected from the festival.
OK, for those who were waiting for a big "Im sorry" from the management, this doesnt feel much like a "victory." I get that. And sure, They could start ejecting transwomen again next year, and we might all look silly. The old policy was enforced unpredictably, after all. Maybe they will continue to be unpredictable.
Look, this was never about changing one person's mind. This was about changing the community's mind. And the fact is, the community has largely changed its mind on this topic. I mean, it worked. All the zines, the arguments, the protests, the boycotts, all the hard work that so many people have done over the years. And we didn't do this just because of a festival in the damn woods, we did it to change a whole community about the way they were treating some of their sisters.
Now, if this is all about the Festival and nothing else, then nothing changes. Michfest is just wrong, and it should be shut down, and no one worth talking to will attend, and no one who attends should be spoken to. Wrong is just wrong.
And I get that, I do. I've said the same thing myself, many times.
But if this is about changing the community, then the next phase of that work happens on the land. This year, for the first time, an out transwoman ran a workshop on trans-inclusion at Michfest. Lots of people came. They talked.
That's huge. That's just very different from a few people coming over to CT to "chat" with the freaks. That kind of open dialogue, happening at an official Fest event, is something we begged for just a few years ago.
This year, CT people worked full time on the land, handing out info, answering questions, and so on. They even sold copies of my damn zine on the land. Isn't that amazing?
If this keeps up, then more and more of the work of CT will have to happen on the land. That makes it "working from within" no matter how much that phrase was abused in the past.
One of the women who was running CT this year (and who was sold a ticket) is taking over "Yellow_armbands" as we speak. Isn't that amazing?
Look, I went to CT a bunch of years, and one of the things that frustrated me there is that we would do stuff and then come back and find that the community would not support us. I took amazing shit for the year i went on the land. Pro-CT activists called me all kinds of nasty names, because it was not a strategy they approved of. They knew better than me, they were right, I was wrong, end of story. And I would shrug and say "but i was there on the ground, and i went with my instinct, and it why not support me? Why not trust me?"
Well, CT made a call this year. We werent there, they just made decisions without us. They smelled the wind, looked things over, and made their call.
I say, Let's support them. I'm going to. I could, after all, write a big essay about why they made the wrong choice and plaster it all over the internet. But who would that help? Goddess bless them, they are my heros. Have you met any of these people? CT this year was mostly run by young, razor sharp transwomen. Amazing girls. They did work I wish I was doing. I want to help them.
Helping the Camp Trans gang also means trusting Camp Trans gang.
Maybe they got it wrong, Maybe they'll screw it up. It would be "safer" to sit back and stay out of it and start preparing my "I told you so!" essay. But I cant do that. it hurt too much when people did it to me.
If that doesnt make any sense to you all, well, I understand. In that case, please accept my resignation from "Wbw_is_bullshit" cause Camp Trans isn't just the kids who got high in the woods and went swimming this year, I am Camp Trans. I always will be. I dont know why, it just got into my blood.
You know as well as i do, the average "but Im working from within!" person was just saying bullshit. Well, that's still gonna be true, on average. But this year, when people come up to me and say "Im working from within!" Im gonna smile and say "good for you!" cause that's the note we're hitting this year. We cant make you join in - but we could sure use your help.
Camp Trans isn't there FOR me. It isn't there to make me feel good, it's to open doors around the community. It will serve the needs of a lot of women who haven't even shown up yet. Community building is something you do for the people who show up after you. Sometimes, that work is fun. Sometimes, not so much.
But it's good work, and it's worth doing. I urge everyone in the wbw_is_bullshit community to come help us. Nope, Im not holding the steering wheel this year, but thats ok with me. Im still willing to get out and help push.
We could sure use all of your help.
Anyway, Im sorry that this post rather pushes the boundries of the "wbw_is_bullshit" rules, please accept my apologies. Im open to chat about this in any venue that's appropriate.
Stacey (princess) Current Mood: cheerleader
National Center for Transgender Equality Press Release
Note how the press release tells you about the trhe for profit music company that owes MWMF
National Center for Transgender Equality Press Release
Advocates Celebrate End of Policy Barring Ticket Sales to Transgender Women
August 24, 2006
But Management of Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival Insists Transwomen Should Choose Not to Attend
Washington, DC — After an openly transgender woman was allowed to purchase a ticket at this summer’s Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, Camp Trans organizers released a statement on August 21 celebrating the end of a 15-year old, anachronistic, divisive policy that served to police women’s bodies and exclude transwomen from attending the Festival. Camp Trans is an annual gathering of people dedicated to promoting inclusion of all women at women-only events. However, the celebration of this news was short-lived as management of We Want The Music Company (WWTMC), a for-profit corporation that runs the festival, issued a press release the next day reaffirming their belief that transgender women should police themselves and not attend the Festival.
While the Festival box office will now sell tickets to transwomen, according to WWTMC’s Lisa Vogel, the only people welcome are “womyn who were born as and have lived their entire life experience as womyn.” Vogel’s statement continues, “If a transwoman purchased a ticket, it represents nothing more than that womon choosing to disrespect the stated intention of this Festival.”
While trying to cloak WWTMC’s rhetoric in window dressing by calling transwomen “sisters in struggle,” Vogel erroneously continued to assert that it is not transphobic to ask transgender women not to attend the long-running Festival. In a disturbing twist of logic, Vogel acknowledges that transgender women will now be able to purchase tickets, but she stands behind the spirit of company’s recently retired policy, calling transwomen disrespectful if they choose to attend the Festival.
“All women should feel welcomed in women-only space,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “It’s just sad to see this company continuing to police the validity women’s identities and experiences. WWTMC’s rhetoric echoes the language of other oppressors. We expect better of those who should know the pain of oppression. We’d like to see Vogel’s company get up to speed with the attitudes of the feminist community and with the vast majority of festival workers and attendees.”
While WWTMC has dug in its heels regarding which women it deems fit to welcome to the Festival, the attitudes of festival-goers and workers have definitely shifted since 1991 when a transwoman was forcibly ejected from the event. The feminist community overwhelmingly embraces the diversity of women’s experiences, from butch lesbians to genderqueer dykes to transwomen.
Camp Trans organizers continue to educate WWTMC’s management around the divisiveness of their position.
To learn more about Camp Trans, please visit:
To learn more about the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, please visit:
www.michfest.com Current Mood: awake
An Update On Camp Tran's Recent Victory
Festival management issued a press release on Tuesday filled with a lot of
the same rhetoric we’ve seen in the past about why transgender women
shouldn’t attend the festival and accusing Camp Trans of spreading
I’d like to set the record straight.
As Camp Trans announced on Monday, this year the festival ended its 15-year policy
of refusing admission to trans women, and began selling tickets to women
who are openly trans. The festival now has no policy forbidding any woman
This was first confirmed to Camp Trans organizers by box office staff, and
has been confirmed again by this press release from Festival management.
The end of the policy is an enormous victory, and activists at Camp Trans
and within the festival were overjoyed to learn the news at this year’s
Fest management does not deny that trans women are now allowed to buy
tickets and attend the festival. Instead, they are now denying that the
festival ever had such a policy. They say that the flyer handed to trans
women at the gate for years, which explained why the festival would not
allow trans women to attend, was not a policy, simply a suggestion that
was self-enforced and open to individual interpretation.
Here are the facts:
In 1991, a transgender woman named Nancy Burkholder was removed from the
festival grounds by festival security acting on behalf of management.
Festival management retroactively announced the policy.http://groups.google.com/group/soc.motss/msg/a82dbceda11c6a78?output=gplain
The policy was reaffirmed in 1999 with a flyer handed to every festival
attendee, and given to trans women at the box office in following years.
That flyer states:Welcome to our 25th Anniversary Festival! For one week a year, the
Festival provides a space for us to gather as womyn who were born as,
and have lived our entire life experience as womyn.
We also have a commitment to run the Festival in a way that keeps
faith with the womyn-born womyn policy, which may mean denying
admission to individuals who self-declare as male-to-female
transsexuals or female-to-male transsexuals now living as men (or
asking them to leave if they enter).
It seems that festival management would rather erase the entire history of
our struggle than admit that times have changed, and festival workers and
attendees overwhelmingly support trans women attending the fest.
We should all be working to help our communities heal after 15 years of
division, and this hostility from Michigan management is disappointing.
But it does not diminish the significance of what trans activists and
supporters achieved this year. Trans women are now allowed to be part of
the conversation. Trans women openly attended the festival this year and
were welcomed by the women who’ve made Michigan the incredible place it
is: festival workers and attendees.
Activists both inside the fest and across the road will continue our work
together to make Michigan even better.
Knock it off
Please respect this space as it was intended.
Especially in light of the recent press release from Lisa Vogel that completely undermines and rejects any work done by individuals and organized communities done on The Land, it is more important than ever NOT TO GIVE HER MONEY TO FUND HER TRANSPHOBIA.
This community does not support PAYING to attend MWMF or giving labor as payment.
If you have a problem with this, unjoin. Respect space set aside for people with a particular experience and history ... in this case, people frustrated with being jerked around by Lisa Vogel.
And definitely, no links to other communities.
Last, if you are banned, it's for a reason -- posting under another screenname is not only sneaky, it's disrespectful.
|Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006|
I suppose I will weigh in with my opinion on the whole MWMF thing.
I *was* very proud of all the work done by the Camp Trans organizers (this year's and everyone who came before them). The fact that the *culture has shifted so that transphobia is a politically-undesirable worldview* is just amazing. It is now seen as uncool and non-progressive (amongst our small queer community) to be transphobic and this wasn't always so.
I didn't think for one second that the positive reception from festies meant anything in terms of legitimacy from the festival's owner, Lisa Vogel. I admit it, I am a cynical bitch when it comes to these things.
While everyone was jumping up and down and getting fired up to un-boycott all I could was "jerked around again" and "I don't think this is going to stick." I said I was cynical.
I am not surprised at Lisa Vogel's "taking back" of the short-lived MWMF-specific victory. She has gone on record as saying that she will shut down the festival rather than openly welcome transwomen.
But, well ... hear me out. As an activist who for several years boycotted MWMF-playing musicians in my home city our rationale was this: "MWMF is a transphobic institution that influences countless women activists, social workers, and progressives. These women return from their 'week in the woods' and create transphobic policies at women-specific organization that mirror MWMF policies since MWMF is held up as an ideal women's community, therefore MWMF's policy has the power to affect policies surrounding transwomen in women's communities on a national level."
That *was* our rationale.
But the culture has shifted. Well, our queer culture. You won't see me arguing that mainstream America is not only ignorant of transgender issues but often transphobic as well. It's not cool to be transphobic anymore. The people with the "good politics" are the ones who honor a person's declared identity rather than limiting a person by genital appearance at birth.
In the larger sense, I feel like we *have* won.
No, transwomen (and serious allies) aren't allowed in into some bully's private party. But remember the schoolyard bully? Lashed out at other kids due to own insecurities, usually not very happy individuals? Yeah.
So. So I can't go to MWMF and probably never will. But my local women's center allows transwomen. So do other major women's conferences and retreats. Everytime I go to a women's or genderqueer/queer event I see more young transwomen not afraid to socialize or speak up or read at an open mic who are not shy, who know they belong ... this is the real victory -- a generation of transwomen who will hopefully live in a queer community that is a little bit safer, more inclusive, more understanding and more just fun.
I don't care what happened at MWMF or what Lisa Vogel says. We won.
|Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006|
Hopes dashed: Michfest still discriminatory
I need to say something about the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival shenanigans over email. I almost did a happy snoopy dance yesterday and started to think about "the healing process" when I read the Camp Trans press release
that said that the policy was all gone...but then I read it closer and it didn't say anything about Lisa Vogel, the woman who owns the land and is adamantly anti-transwomen so I was...skeptical. I did a happy dance in my boss's office when she sent the Camp Trans press release over the email list, but still--skeptical.
Sure enough, Lisa Vogel's put out a press release today (see below the cut), spouting the old tired shit about how Nancy Burkholder, the first transwoman kicked off the land in 1991 in a big to-do, is supposedly a "man." And how supposedly some random transwoman from Camp Trans ran onto "The Land" and flashed her genitals (lies lies all lies). And how having a non-transwomen-only gathering is as transphobic as having a women-of-color-only gathering, totally ignoring the utter lack of parallel structure in her comparison what with non-transwomen having all the power and privilege here. And so on.
So I have this to say: I'm unsurprised. My faith in women's community has NOT been restored. All you people who listen to and patronize musicians who play in the discriminatory festival are assholes. That means you, Alix-Olsen-lovers; I don't care how fun her "armpit hair" song is or how empowered you feel when she raps about cunnilingus because her music is about her politics and her politics exclude transwomen and so do yours. Genderqueer does not equal transwoman, transman does not equal transwoman, and if you think being "down" with the FTMs gives you a pass on supporting transwomen and making your activism accountable to transwomen you are WRONG. If you think you have ANY call as a non-transwoman to tell transwomen that their tactics are wrong, well--you're just all chock full of entitlement, aren't you. YES.
And to the woman I ran into on the street whose "whole perspective" on Michfest has been "totally changed" with the experience of going to the festival: NO duh, you had fun. You're not a transwoman. Your physical safety wasn't threatened. Nobody's telling you that you're not the sex that you are, and nobody's shrieking about your genitals. It's a great space, a fertile breeding ground for feminism and anti-racist organizing, an important part of our history as queer women--a great space, unless you're interested in a model of social justice that includes transwomen. A great space unless you're a transwoman, or are *perceived* as a transwoman. Its fabulousness as an institution is part of why it's so important that the social justice of this "model community" include transwomen. Your ethics are flawed if you can soak up the privileges of being accepted in that women's community even knowing how transwomen are excluded and how transwomen have asked you not to pay into Vogel's institution, and I'm disappointed in you. If you want to make amends promise you'll never go back until your transwomen sisters are included in women's community, and spend the money you would have spent on a ticket on donations to Camp Trans
, the Transsexual Menace
, transwomen-inclusive chapters of the Lesbian Avengers
, and Stacey Montgomery's printing costs
Lisa Vogel's press release, from the listserv for people in the National Consortium of Directors of LGBT Resources in Higher Education, ( hereCollapse )
I know you all share my rage.
Cross-posted to my journal.
|Monday, August 14th, 2006|
Julia Serano has an amazing open letter to the queer community about how transmen and non-trans women can be better allies to transwomen
It starts like this ...here is a scenario that i hope will spark some long overdue dialogue:
say a woman you know is the victim of sexist discrimination, and her discriminators were unapologetic about it. if you were a righteous male ally, would you:
1) hold the discriminators accountable by calling them on their shit, boycotting their business, etc.
2) assure the woman that you will meet privately with her discriminators, behind closed doors, and try to show them the err of their ways.
if you chose #2, and the discriminators refused to change their ways, would you:
1) hold the discriminators accountable by calling them on their shit, boycotting their business, etc.
2) instead, continue to meet with the discriminators in private to try to change their mind, because you have worked with them before on other issues and you know they are good people deep down.
If at this point you still would chose #2, would you continue with that strategy for years on end? Would you continue even if some people used the fact that the discriminators were willing to meet with you as evidence that they aren’t really sexist?
|Sunday, July 2nd, 2006|
Camp Trans Anyone?
Hey guys, I just joined and I wanted to pose a question.
Is anyone from the east coat driving up to Camp Trans
I live in the Philadelphia area and am thinking of going up.
I can't afford it on my own, but have a working car.
Anyone want to tag along? Even half the ride?
Just in case you're wondering, I am James. Eighteen. Genderqueer.
I like camping. I'm single and own a big tent.
Come on! You know you want to!
On the left.
(x-posted to a few spots)
|Thursday, April 27th, 2006|
Camp Trans Wants YOU to give a workshop!
Hi Folks, this is jack, the Camp Trans Programming Coordinator for summer 2006. for any of you who are planning on coming out to camp trans this summer, we are looking for presenters for a number of workshops we are starting to plan, below is a description of some of the workshops we have in mind and anyone interested in planning any of those (or if you have other ideas) should email me at jackrobinson @ riseup . net for more info or just fill out a presentation proposal form (found, with instructions, on our website
) and send it my way
|Monday, April 3rd, 2006|
LETTERS FROM CAMP TRANS
The purpose of this anthology is to present the history of Camp Trans and the meanings it held for people as well as to inform those unfamiliar with the issues as to what it's all about. We are looking for contributions from people who participated in past Camp Trans as well as those who were affected by it in other ways. Please contact Emilia at minrva (at) gmail.com
|Thursday, January 19th, 2006|
|Tuesday, January 17th, 2006|
I've had a flurry of membership requests (okay, about four in a row) so I just wanted to welcome everyone who's joined and encourage lots of posting. No need to be shy. This includes everyone else too :)
Your friendly moderator.
|Monday, December 19th, 2005|
Call for Organizers: Camp Trans 2006
Camp Trans needs *you* to help organize for 2006.
Camp Trans is:
*Trans-centric, especially trans woman centered
*An amazing bunch of trans folks and trans allies
*An incredibly cool venue for Trans performers and allies
*The Midwest's #1
activist training for trans activism
*A weeklong getaway in the woods of central Michigan
*A really cool party
*A co-operative and collaborative effort
*Feminist in a way that values All Women-no exceptions
*Anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, at least we try to be
*A Trans Bi Lesbian Queer and Gay friendly space
*Paid for entirely by donations and fundraising
*A weeklong source of free vegan food for our participants
*An activist effort to open the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival to all womyn
*Very changeable- CT recreates itself in new ways every year
Organizers work year round to make this amazing event happen.
Organizers should be:
*Willing to commit at least a few hours every week
*Able to attend Camp Trans the entire week of August 7-13
*Able to work and play well with others
*Willing to compromise and collaborate
*Commited to trans-inclusion
*Feminist in a way that values All Women-no exceptions
*Anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti classist
*Trans Bi Lesbian Queer and Gay friendly
*Diverse. Members of oppressed groups are encouraged to join
*Willing to work hard and have fun at the same time
*Devoted to making Camp Trans the best it can be
Together we will work hard, play hard, and create something pretty spectacular. If you even think you might want to help organize, contact us at email@example.com for more information.
PS. Feel free to forward this to trans and trans ally lists and boards.
|Thursday, November 24th, 2005|
In quotes; The shape of a thesis
(Note: I put this together earlier today as part of an attempt to impose a shape on concepts I've been dealing with lately. There's a cohesive point here, and by assembling this literary collage I'm attempting to define the shape of it a little in advance of actually writing something more specific. On reflection, I thought it might be appropriate here as well.)
"In reality anger is a normal healthy reaction to being hurt or having your boundaries crossed. Since a lot of women have been and continue to be hurt and have our boundaries crossed I think it's important that we start to re-conceptualize the role of anger in our lives. It's time to see it as something healthy and powerful, an emotion that is as integral to healing as is grief." -- Jess Carfagnini, "Slightly More Than Soundbytes", September 2005
"MWMF is a place to be rid of this misogyny, to deconstruct it, to see what can happen when female borns escape the patriarchy and create a new world. Those who want a piece of this world, but are not female borns have to respect that this world is not for them, but they can stop whining about what they are not, stop hurting womyn with their cruel protests and comments about how female borns don't really exist, etc. and just create a new space that speaks to the needs and experiences of transsexuals." -- Common sentiment on Michigan Women's Music Festival discussion boards
"With us, it seems to me that everything is accomplished through desire. With us, to desire proves that we are doubly alive. Desire is a grand, irrational invasion which liberates more and more joy. In desire, we know we are united, that through us courses the memory of our grandmothers, the hearts of our mothers. It is nourishing beyond belief, beyond all logic. With us, it is desire which prevents neutrality from taking over. Each of us knows that when she feels desire, she is summoning up the words of all the others like herself, the words of the women who sow, the uninterrupted words which shoot across the beds of time in phosphorescent arrows." -- Jovette Marchessault, "A Lesbian Chronicle from Medieval Quebec"
"Fest isn't a job, or housing or access to medical care. It's more symbolic, like a lunch counter. I'd like to be able to eat at a lunch counter without being called a murderer or rapist. I'd like to be able to sit in the front of the bus and not be told that my sitting at the front of the bus today is forcing you to sit in the back when it could be anyone sitting at the front of the bus who makes you sit in the back, but I'm the only one you care about sitting on the bus at all." -- poster on MWMF message boards, expressing an unpopular opinion, with predictable results
"This is your community to come bitch, vent, rant, muse aloud and otherwise take a break from educating and "playing nice" with these people. You don't have to be PC or care about festies. You don't have to stroke any festie's self-esteem. You don't need to convince every ally-claimer that they are a "good ally" or affirm anyone's "ally status." -- wbw_is_bullshit community info
"And what I'm calling you to task for is the belief that causes you to make statments like "wanting to be female, outside and in" -- should be "a woman", not female, because, again, surgery can only mutilate your external genitalia, it can't make you biologically female, and female == biological sex, woman == social gender.
"You are male. Moreover, you are a man. You are biologically male and you were raised a man; you do not have the right to call yourself a woman. You haven't gone through what women go through, which are factors that are social and biological, and you have no right to call yourself a woman or use the female pronoun. " -- sjdr, in my own LJ, 3 1/2 long years ago
"If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation." -- Abagail Adams
"Supposedly, male-to-female transsexuals are motivated by the deep-seated feeling that they have women's souls. However, - - - men who want to be women are not naturally feminine. There is no sense in which they have women's souls" -- Michael Bailey, "The Man Who Would Be Queen"
"I have come to see [...] privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. [...] privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks." -- Peggy McIntosh, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"
"Determination and perseverance move the world; thinking that others will do it for you is a sure way to fail." -- Marva Collins
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." -- Bishop Desmond Tutu
"No. No. I'm not going to be your monkey." -- Jon Stewart, "The Daily Show" Current Mood: predatory
|Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005|
my view (worth what you paid for it)
I have several thoughts on this topic. I was going to join Yellowarmbands and post them there, but after looking things over, I don't think my tone would be welcome there. And generally, these days, I lack the emotion strength to seek out that kind of confrontation, that is, to speak where my words are unwelcome.
I fear I have lost a lot of my diplomacy over the years. Youd think it would be the other way around, wouldnt you? The stream, over time, wears the sharp edges of the rock smooth. Somehow, I feel like the reverse has happened to me. Time and work have revealed my sharp edges, not concealed them. I used to sit every year in my chair across from the michfest front gate (as part of Camp Trans) ready to make my case to anyone who wanted to walk over and ask. I was proud to be so polite, so reasonable. I've even written comics on the topic.
You can read the last one at: http://www.sheerchaos.org/comics/akow/akow1.htm
I think you'll find its very calm, very reasonable. That was me.
These days, not so much.
I guess the other reason not to go over to yellowarmbands is I hate telling people what activism to do. Like, you cant tell people to do activism. You cant tell them which strategies are safe. Sometimes, I go to the rally - sometimes, I stay home. No one can tell me what's safe for me. So lecturing people about their "activism" is just a no-winner for me. It's hard to word it "constructively", even if you mean it that way. Or am I just getting to sharp-edged?
And yet here i go. I suppose I feel comfier posting here, where I imagine Im only "preaching to the choir." Anyone who stumbles upon my ravings will at least be ready to dismiss me happily as "one of them".
Anyway I've talked to endless people over the years, endless people who took this same basic stand: Cant I go and work from within?
1) Because the phrase "working from within" doesn't mean anything
No one has ever been able to tell me, concretely, what this phrase really means. It's entirely possible that there is wonderful "work from within" do be done, I just haven't heard of any yet. And no, mentioning to your friends on the land that hey, we should let transwomen in someday, y'know? It doesn't count. Yes, it happened "within" but no, it's not "work." Work is a word we use for when people actually DO something. I have never heard anyone describe any efforts within that sounded like "work" to me.
So never use this phrase. Just tell us what you'll actually be doing. You might still get dissed, but at least you'll get dissed on substance.
2) Because you Cannot
It is still my understanding that the festival is owned and operated by one person, who has made her feelings on this topic is clear. I've heard a whole lot of "oh it isn't that simple" but I haven't seen a scrap of evidence. No one has ever given me any reason to believe that there is some real point to working from within. And no, you need a teensy bit more than "trust me, it's working!"
It seems to me that one way to put real pressure on the Fest is to not go, and thus, vote with your feet and your wallets.
3) Because you're supporting the policy
OK, when you go to the fest, you support the policy. Seriously. You are saying "I disagree with, but I will tolerate, this policy." Really, you are. You are saying that it's bad, but not THAT bad. Well, OK, thats actually a pretty legitimate view - just go ahead and say so. Don't pretend to be "against" a policy you so easily tolerate - and pay to support.
Look, let's say I sell baby-seal-fur toilet paper. You come to me, and as you cough up your money for a roll, you tell me that I should change the way we make toilet paper. I will take your money and smile. OK, we'll work on it. Honestly, it's only when you stop buying the toilet paper that I feel real pressure to change. Wow - are we broke? Time to change with the times!
4) Because its not about you
One thing I really hate to hear is that by strongly putting forth by beliefs, I am somehow being "draconian" and that we all need to see the complexities, seek middle paths, and be reasonable.
It always makes me think of the last time I was scared for my life that I was gonna get killed for being trans. You know what? that guy may not have been evil. He was maybe a nice guy, and let's face it, he grew up in a terribly transphobic society. he was taught and indoctrinated. I should hate the game and not the player! Society is to blame!
In the end, this is the "its not my fault" argument.
But sometimes, there really is such a thing as right and wrong. Fault doesnt matter much. I dont care if that guy is at fault - I just dont want him to hurt me. I dont CARE how nice the transphobes are - I just want them to get out of my way.
It's not about what makes you feel good about yourself. Get over that now.
5) Because you having fun isnt that damn important to me
Get over this one too. In the end, what everyone is really saying, the whole yellowarmbands argument, is "Isn't there a way I can go and have fun and still have people like me?" and as far as I can tell, that's the whole intellectual basis of the debate. What else is there to this argument?
And this is where Camp Trans and the boycotts and the zines and all the hard work has paid off. Because lots of people who go to the Fest now feel defensive about it. See, we probably CANT change the fest. The festies can do whatever they want. But we can - and in part, have - dismantled their sterling reputation. We can change the way wbw-polcies are viewed in our communities. I dont see so many NEW venues with such a policy anymore. It's becoming old-fashioned.
When I first came out as trans, you could proudly go to the Fest and not be called transphobic. There was no pressure on you at all to do the right thing. Now, there is some social pressure. It's called "shame" - it helps us all do the right thing when we really dont want to. The more shame associated with supporting the policy, the better. (I wanted to buy that fur-toilet paper, but my friends kept dissing me about it. I stopped.)
When I first went to my local women's center to get them to change their policy, they were very proud to have the same policy as michfest. Eventually, they changed it. It had become an embarrassment. They were no longer proud, they were ashamed. And so they got educated. They made changes. Small steps. Progress.
And so I say this to everyone who supports the policy of excluding transwomen from women's spaces: You should be ashamed.
But dont stop there, take that shame and let it motivate with you. Do better.
But I do have good news for you all. Because some day, you'll win. Someday, trans-inclusion will be the rule. it will be taken for granted. And I promise, when that happens, non-trans folks who stood in the way will get all the credit for making it happen. I guarantee. You can see it all over the place already.
So relax. Who cares if I dont think you're a trans-ally? Nobody cares much what I think. trust me, they don't. You can just declare yourself a trans-ally. Being a "trans ally" is pretty much for free, these days. And in the end, non-transwomen will define the debate, and hand out the laurels, and mention which nasty old transwomen were really the problem all along.
oh yes you did. Yes you do. Yes you will.
the days of free education are over
I just want to state for the record that I and many others get paid to do trans education... the days of free education are over...
I am declaring that if someone wants some schoolin' in trans issues... it is time to pay up...
I am setting up a paypal account and if you want trans education you need to pay me
25 cents a word for emails, responses to posts, letters, etc...
phone consultations $25 a half hour
trainings $100-300 an hour....
I encourage all folks to get themselves a paypal account and do the same... shoot - we could totally make enough money to feed ourselves and fund the trans revolution....
If a transwoman tells you... as an ally what she wants in regards to her issues.... listen to her... do not tell her what is best for her....
What I think the current definition of feminism should be based on the actions of wbw feminists -
"Feminism is the shift of power from men to women, as to continue the oppressive system that is in place, therefore using such tools as transphobia and classism to keep in place a hierarchial system of power."
Scroll to the very end to see where a self-identified genderqueer dismisses the requests from a transwoman on how to further the acceptance of transwomen at MWMF.
This is exactly what I am talking about. A transwoman stood up and gave this person concrete advice on how to help, as an ally, and ze flat-out dismissed her basically saying that ze knew better how to further transwoman inclusion.
It's not that hard people. If you encourage the pro-policy festies to see transmen as "not really men" then they will continue to see transwomen as "not really women."
And what's all this feminism affects all of humanity bullshit. Of course it does but some people need feminism more than others, namely, women. Do you honestly think there'd be the same naked shower, topless, freeing dynamic if the crowd was peppered with men? Bringing men into MWMF misses the point COMPLETELY. It's not about including men. It's about including an entire class of WOMEN that is currently being excluded.
This person needs to draw the Trans101 card. "Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to Trans101 and stay there until you get a clue."
Those yellow armbands folks
Has anyone actually responded TO the "yellow armbands" community intro post? Would it be totally inappropriate/useless to go in there and point out their completely illogical "let's talk about being allies" and call them out for not actually being allies?