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.