I’m Once Again Girlcotting Curve Magazine …
In a world of real issues, real debates, and real problems, there’s one false one that just won’t go away. And that would have to be the “debate” around “trans-inclusion” into womyn-only spaces. As tired of this as I may be, I feel compelled to constantly speak out about it, because no one is out there speaking for those like me, and this new closet of forced silence around this issue is making so many womyn, so many Lesbians, totally pissed off and frustrated and ready to, well, go underground.
First, the new Curve on “women’s music” and “female musicians” did a short article on Michigan and the “debates” but, they neglected to cover the “debate” – instead, they wrote a biased account of the false press release put out by camp trans last year that said that Mich had dropped it’s policy, and by extension, it’s entire purpose, to be for females who have lived our entire life experience as females, and the article was basically this whole, anti-Michigan rant with no coverage of the “other side” -and no acknoweldgement that there are not sides, and that Michigan is a private gathering, by invite only – female borns, you are invited, non-female borns/non-female still’s, sorry, form your own fest, this doesn’t mean we hate you, it’s not all about you.
This issue needs to just go away. There are so many other issues that people could be working on together, instead of wasting so much time trying to be cool and trendy and attacking women for doing the thing that you (camp trans supporter) want to be able to do – define yourselves as you wish, identify as you please, be respected for your gender identity….. Females wish to define ourselves as Female, we wish to identify as female, as womyn, as womyn born womyn, we wish to have this respected as a valid gender identity, to use third wave speak.
We are all working for a world where people can be free to be who they are. But, by attacking Michigan, and by extension, attacking female womyn who need, love, support, and identify with Michigan, people are not working for this world – they are only re-creating the chain of command, wanting to flp the hierarchy of oppression so they are on top, and so they can define what is “real” and what is not, ….so they can say who is in, who is out, etc. And, in most mainstream Lesbian or “third wave” mags like Bust or Bitch, it is clear that if you are a female who identifies as female and attends Michigan, you are not their desired population, and in fact, you are the real enemy.
Which is ridiculous.
There was a poster up at my local “LGBT” center, …recruiting for Camp Trans, and saying how “successful” it was and how bad Michigan is. Well, of course, I had to remedy yet another one sided debate – I put up some info on Michigan. Let’s hope it stays up. I have a feeling it won’t. Those who support putting out false press releases don’t really care for telling the full story, don’t really want to make it known that there are other sides to this issue, and don’t really respect or want the Fest to exist at all, despite all of the blah blah blah that all they want is to be “included” …they really, from what I have seen and experienced, just want to trash and destroy any way they can.
Here’s what I wrote to Michigan Womyn, at their online discussion forum:
I know better than to pick up Bitch Magazine, too – they had a whole issue practically devoted to trashing Michigan and by extension, trashing other women – I guess the “sisterhood” truly is over and no longer an ideal or goal of this new “third wave” – they are more concerned about including men and transsexuals than about actually listening to women, and actually having an analysis of power, patriarchy, violence, misogyny, and on and on – thus, they are more into publishing one-sided “debates” that go out of their way to omit, ignore, or blatantly portray women who biologically are and thus, socially identify as female and desire to be in/create/uphold spaces that speak to the experiences that come from being female born.
It’s a sad situation when people say their goals are to “live in a world where everyone is free to be who they are” or when they use the phrase “michigan is for all womyn” – to actually mean that the only people who should be free to be who they are are third wavers and transgender/sexual people and the ones who truly are not welcome are female born females who want to be female ….. I just saw a recruitment poster of sorts tonight, for Camp Trans, at my local LGBT Center. It was bashing Michigan and talking about how great and how successful Camp Trans is – if they call putting out false press releases, sneaking into Fest, crashing the Gaia girls parade, and being totally rude and disrespectfull, being successful, sure,…but anyway, there was no info about Michigan, so, of course, I put up my own poster, next to the Camp Trans one …. But, I am so tired of this “debate” being one-sided and everyone just thinking that is ok, that no one really supports Michigan, that people like us, the people who Michigan is for, and by the way, once more, Michigan is a private gathering, it’s our party, we can invite who we want to, but I am tired of being ignored, and being forced into this closet of silence and trendiness where it isn’t “cool” if you like Michigan, ….but the thing is,…that is just the leaders or those who think they are in charge of the “community” who are pulling these one-sided false dichotomy debate things ….the more I talk to females, to lesbians, to people who are not caught up in the trans trend, the more I find these women want to go to Fest, have had it in their planners, and always think about it, …..and so, we have to be there for them, to help them get to Michigan, to help them see the real truth of Fest, and to help them get past all the bashers and haters who will try to bring them down, call them names (transphobic, for one) …..and all of this in their supposed quest to let all people be free to be who they want to be ….all people, that is, of course, but us, but females, because, well, they forget to factor in how misogynist their actions are, how they are working against their supposed goals by protesting, attacking, and silencing women and by trying to dictate and push their version of identity onto others they are the ones “policing” gender – by refusing to acknowledge that female born female is a gender, is an identity, is a real experience that deserves respect. And, again, still, I am tired of it.
See you, dear friends, in August. We have to be prepared for anything this year. After that low and dirty false press release, I can only imagine what camp trans and friends have in store for us in their quest to take down Fest and re-create it in their image – and image that doesn’t include or welcome or respect us. And yet. they think they are “successful”?
Anyway, I could go on. I’m trying to write a letter to Curve, but at the same time, I know it is hardly worth it. They are really really biased against females, probably because the editors girlfriend just transitioned, or so I’ve read somewheree. Either way, in this current climate it isn’t “cool” for any public Lesbian or LGBT anything to stand up for Michigan and for female born females and female born Lesbians. Why?!
I want to also say something about terms. Female is a term that indicates biology. That speaks to an embodied experience, as well as the social, cultural, and historical experiences that go along with it. Historically, woman and female have gone hand in hand, but in recent decades, woman has become separated from female. Which is fine. I’ll give this term up, I suppose, if I must, as long as I can hang on to Female. But, Men do not and can never become Female, so, there is no such peron as an MTF – more like an MTW, just as women can never become Male, so,FTM means female to man ,….At any rate, as hard as I try to understand all of this, when Michigan is attacked, when the wrong terms are used, and when the larger “LGBT” or “Feminist” culture thinks it is ok to bash one group over another, and this group being bashed just so happens to be the base group that kind of made it possible for all of the gains and opportunities that have shaped the lives of the group doing the bashing in the first place …It really sucks, for lack of a better phrase.
And, personally, I want us all to be able to identify as and be who we are. Where I have trouble with this is the means some chose to get to this goal by – I don’t see the need for surgery, hormones, and altering one’s natural state – physical, physiological, biological body – to get to this goal. It seems to me that in doing this, the status quo is upheld, the idea that there are “two” genders is reified, that the grand goal of being who we are is supplanted by the short-sighted goal of me being who I want to be and you being who you want to be as long as who we both want to be is something that is already out there and ok’d by society ….just jumping the fence, if you will, but not working to take down that fence, But, then, the majorly frustrating thing for me, claiming that you and othes like you and groups like camp trans are deconstructing the fence ….when, the f ence is just growing longer and higher, and dividing more people….
There are some who are challenging this, taking on gender, working to create new ways of being, and doing so in a way that is respectful of all people, even, females who want to be females! I admire and applaud people who are taking this on, who might not feel welcome anywhere because they are doing this – not in trans groups, not in women’s groups, not in straight groups, not in gay groups, – but, that is sign that what you are doing is having an impact,…and that you are truly being who you are, and damn the man for trying to tell you that who you are has to be a man or a woman ….
Books that I have read recently have strengthend and influenced my thinking on this subject, namely:
Female Chauvinist Pigs, by Ariel Levy
Sisterhood Interrupted, by Deborah Siegel,
and Paradoxes of Gender, by Judith Lorber – a Sociologist. Because the struggle to tear down the barriors of gender is not a psychological one, it is not an individual level me vs. those other people problem, it is a social and cultural issue, without taking Sociological factors into account, you are just reinventing the wheel and making gender more powerful, not less.
I am so happy when people bend gender, when people do things to take the power away from gender. But, so far, I have seen little of this actually happening. I see people making a big big mess of things, and calling it empowerment, and calling it “no labels” and calling it “LGBTQAITS, and on and on” …
I feel that the “movement” – both movements, the “LGBT” and the “Women’s” movements – have left me and are off somewhere running around in circles telling everyone to take t and do drag and include include include all issues and all people except for those people who actually want to say, “hey, wait a minute, there’s something wrong with where you are going, and where you are taking me, and I don’t think this is going to do anything good for women, for men, for anyone” – because it is so much easier to kick people like me out, to silence people like me, to call us “transphobic” than it is to say, “hey, maybe we should think about this, maybe it isn’t cool to protest other women, to say it is ok to wish for breast cancer, to think doing drag is the be all and end all of gender deconstruction” ….
And, womyn – prior to recent years, – back in the 70s when Michfest was created, was intended to mean female,..because back then, this was not an issue. It was a non-issue. Female meant womyn, meant woman, meant women, and womyn female. Womyn was used to be the most radical form of female – the kind that did not need ‘men’ – the kind that wanted to create their own female-centered world, i:e the alternate spelling of the word.
And, when you are at Michigan, a female at Michigan, the entire place is female-centered,…which,is another reason why the current wave of protests just don’t work … and are really upsetting to females …if we let trans folk into our private gathering, they’ll never cease protesting and eventually, everything with any relation to female biology will not be allowed because it will be accused of being transphobic …and I have seen this happen with other events, other conferences,…nothing is ever enough, and it is only a victory for the camp trans type of trans when female born females have nothing left, have no words to speak with, cannot talk about getting our periods, having babies, having bodies ….At Michigan there are tributes to female biology and body parts everywhere. This is something that makes it Michigan. To be in a space where it is ok to celebrate the female body, is to be in a rare place indeed.
This issue, which is and should be a non issue, will only be resolved when the Camp trans like trans people admit and accept and respect that there are people who are born female, that these people have bodies, that these bodies come with experiences – biological and social, and cultural, and that these experiences matter. It will only be resolved once these campt trans like trans people alert themselves to the similarities between their current tactics and that of the patriarchy – when they see how misognist their actions are, and when they stop doing these things, stop protesting womyn, stop trying to take take take, and learn how to listen, and respect. In all of this world, in all of this issue, I would have less and less anger towards camp trans like trans people if they would stop, think, and leave Michigan alone. It is clear, beyond a doubt, that their goal is not to be “included” in the Fest, but to destroy the Fest entirely, which is not going to happen. Michigan is private. Females literally own the land. Females would attend Fest if there were no concerts, if you had to bring your own food, if there was nothing there but some land and a thousand other females.
And, one more thought. Here’s what I hear from the new ‘trans’ ‘genderqueer’ ‘thirdwave’ movements:
“When the men can be women and the women can be men, we will all be equal and gender will be meaningless”
And to me, this is fundementally flawed, because the point of feminism to me is this:
“when men are no longer valued higher in society just for being men, and when men and women are both granted the same rights, given the same respect, treated in the same manner, when men and women are seen and treated as equals, the power dynamic that IS gender will no longer have power, men will no longer have power over women, both will be equal and gender as a category of power, will be meaningless”
My version is about more than dressing up, more than about drag, more than about jumping from one category to another, and more than the post-modernist ‘ I perform, therefor I am’ mentality, ..it is about social structrual change and about POWER.
Michigan exists because of that power dynamic. Because of the power and the value given to men, to males, just because they are men, and the lack of power, and the lack of value, assigned to women just because they are women, just because they are born female. The analysis of Camp Trans, and others who protest Michigan, is serverly lacking any mention of power, any reference to the realities of gender as a power dynamic. Until this power dynamic is systemmatically attacked, which would mean people at Camp trans would have to stop attacking females and start focusing in on issues that are really oppressing trans individuals, ….until there is no more power dynamic between the mere categories of man and woman, male and female – Michigan will always be a vital, and necessary space that provides women with power, with value, and with the fuel and energy to go out into the world and work to make it a better place.