On MichFest and Women Only Space

As a musician, I’d like to attend something like Michfest, but, being trans, I’m not welcome there, so, I fail to understand why you say they’re being inclusive when they’re clearly not being inclusive of ALL WOMEN. I get that you don’t want to see pre-op transwomen getting naked, and that could be a simple condition of entry for pre-op transwomen. For post-op transwomen, I don’t see an issue. But this isn’t about excluding transwomen. Isn’t it true that there’s a blanket ban on anyone trans attending? That would mean mtf and ftm, unless that’s something that just hadn’t been properly rebuffed.

I imagine Michfest for me would be like Marmite in that I’d either really love it or really hate it, but this policy is akin to segregation with whites only and blacks only facilities, which made no logical sense whatsoever and was based entirely on ignorance. I wouldn’t attend Michfest unless I thought I’d be welcome, which I’d clearly not be by the organisers at this time. The bands that have pulled out it decided not to attend are exercising their rights to free speech, which we all have, and I think they put their point as diomatically as Lisa did on behalf of Michfest – I don’t like or agree with her point of view, but she states it calmly and sensibly, which gives me hope that change is possible, however long that may take.

ann tagonist

It’s still almost five months away but the yearly online backlash against Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival has begun in earnest. Yesterday one of the confirmed acts, Hunter Valentine, announced that they would be pulling out due to the festival’s female-only policy.

UntitledHunter Valentine are a band full of vagina-having, vagina-loving lesbians. I know this because I saw some them having vaginas and loving vaginas when they were on The Real L Word and it was pretty explicit. I’m willing to bet everything I own that every single one of those ladies knows the difference between a vagina and a penis.

The band published a more detailed statement on their Facebook page that I will reproduce here (bold mine): –

After much thought, hard conversation and inner struggle, Hunter Valentine has decided that we will not be playing Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival 2014.

We had the pleasure and privilege of playing…

View original post 1,669 more words

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  1. #1 by monocles1 on March 22, 2014 - 9:37 pm

    Why can’t trans women just recognize that womyn-born-womyn respectfully ask that you don’t come to michigan womyn’s music festival and that you organize your own festival, where you are welcome? Lisa Vogel is being diplomatic, but basically most of the womyn-born-womyn at the festival don’t want you there. Yes for some difficult reasons, sometimes from their traumatic pasts they don’t want you there…these may be f–ked up reasons, but true. In trying to force your way into the festival, you transexual-“women” are acting exactly like obnoxious, sexist men. If trans-women told me that they’re having a meeting or festival for trans-women only, I would respect their wishes and not try to push my way into their event, regardless of what you’re calling your event. Your behavior is that of men who have no respect for womyn-born-womyn.

    • #2 by oopster74 on March 22, 2014 - 9:41 pm

      This policy essentially says to trans women “you’re not women”, that’s the issue at hand. You’re not going to get hoards of trans women on your door if they’re suddenly allowed, most will blend in and no one would be any the wiser. I oppose this rule in the same way I oppose men only rules at some golf clubs, I don’t see any womyn born womyn being happy and “respecting” that policy, and rightly so.

      • #3 by monocles1 on March 22, 2014 - 11:12 pm

        Don’t know from golf clubs…seems trans women approach the issue of Michfest and womyn-born-womyn as though we were the Man or The World Bank…or womyn as big bad multinational corporations…I don’t think so. Native American folks have stated that they need to meet in all-native forums…I have always left the room, or not attended the group until THEY state, “Ok, we now will meet with all peoples”…IN RESPECT FOR my brothers’ and sisters’ need for their forum. It is not a negative thing when another oppressed group needs to gather with themselves alone. Opposition towards womyn is not about opposing a power structure. It is sexism, not racism. I deeply respect the trans person’s choice to determine for themselves their selves. But womyn-born-womyn are not the enemy. An historical reality is the physical fact of biological man battering, raping and abusing women throughout history with their physical bodies. This may not be a big deal to trans women, but it is very heavy for womyn-born-womyn. It’s about respecting each others’ trials, each others’ space. I do not consider trans peoples’ experiences as a trivial matter – EVER. I wish we could have a community with mutual respect at the core.

      • #4 by oopster74 on March 23, 2014 - 12:54 am

        Trans women ARE women. If you’re not a Native American, then you can’t become one, but trans women were already women, they’re just born different as are we all.

  2. #5 by monocles1 on March 23, 2014 - 2:59 am

    Please recognize that I specifically stated “womyn-born-womyn”. If you’re not a womyn -born-womyn, then you can’t become one.

    • #6 by oopster74 on March 23, 2014 - 7:33 am

      Well apart from the incorrect spelling ( sorry, but that’s spelling really does annoy me), “womyn born womyn” is akin to being racist in it’s connotations, so no, I want nothing to do with it, but, we are made from a mix of chemicals, and we mainly come out the womb pretty much the same, but all slightly different and unique. No one is 100% male or female, yet that is what you are trying to say here. You don’t want to share space with trans people, fine, just be honest and admit that, for whatever reason, just don’t make up bullshit reasons is all I ask.

  3. #7 by monocles1 on March 23, 2014 - 7:46 pm

    I have never made up bullshit reasons for anything. As you may recall, it’s not my festival and Lisa Vogel characterizes her festival as she chooses, though I seem to remember that she did characterize the festival as for “All womyn-born-womyn”. I would have called the festival a Womyn-Born-Womyn Festival, but nobody asked me.
    I will say to you again “racism” is a mistaken characterization. No one’s color, creed, or ethnicity are at issue here. What we’re talking about is “Sexism”, but the term Womyn-born-womyn is not sexism. It is our name. We are womyn , born of womyn. We all have a right to name ourselves and our name is older than you realize. It would be as if I took offense because you called yourself a “trans” or “trans woman” or “transexual”. We don’t need to waste our time trying to force each other to change because in both cases that ship has sailed. You are Transexual people – men and women and our chosen name is Womyn-Born-Womyn.
    The spelling “womyn”, “wimmin”, or “womon” (the first two are somewhat plural-kinda, whereas “womon”has a more singular vibe.) These spellings all have their origins back in the late 60’s and early 70’s feminist movement. They all imply something lesbian going on. The different spelling of the word “woman” is meant to take the word “man” out of “woman”. Some how it makes sense that you say the name “annoys” you and that you “want nothing to do with it”. Your writing and the intractability you express feels very masculine.
    “Womyn” actually refers to that “slightly different and unique” aspect that you speak of. After countless centuries of being battered down and raped and beaten and children ripped away and treated like second class citizens because we are “just women”, womyn-born-womyn are not going away and we will name ourselves – no one else will name us. The way it may feel is as if a person of one color could change to another color. If a white person changed to black (and one knew it), trust would take a long time to build and prove trustworthyness to one’s community. Demands, or anger, or force at the community serve to prove the person should be rejected. The fact that I have heard so much caca coming from the festival each year kinda proves that trans women (as a group) don’t wish to respect womyn-born-womyn’s requests to have their festival in peace.
    The issue is not whether you are women. The policy is that you are not welcome at the womyn-born-womyn festival. No womyn wish to “Blend in” with you. That’s why I”ve always suggested you should build your own trans-woman festival. I just don’t believe in “instant” men, or “instant” women. Doctors are giving medications and are doing surgeries…does that “make” a woman or a man? I think we are more than our physical bodies, and yet our life INSIDE whatever physical body shapes, teaches and INFORMS the inner spirit and it matters. None of this shit is automatic, or instant. namaste.

    • #8 by oopster74 on March 23, 2014 - 8:22 pm

      You can dress it up however you want, but it’s still ignorant bigotry and oh my God! Do you know why I find the spelling of the word womyn annoying? No, I bet you just come up with some paranoid reason why without even thinking about it. It’s stupid, it’s petty just to change the word because you don’t like that it has the word “men” in it, so while we’re on the subject of that, how’s your mynstral cycle? Do womyn of a certain age go though the mynopause? When you say something to a friend, do you myntion it to them? See what I did there?

      And “instant” men and women? FFS! Do you know anything about trans people??? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not as quick as it was for Quagmire’s dad in Family Guy if that’s what you thinking.

      ” I think we are more than our physical bodies, and yet our life INSIDE whatever physical body shapes,” – well obviously not as you seem to think trans people are sub-human.

      I said this on Antagonists blog, but I am as against this entry policy as much as I am about golf clubs not allowing women in. If there was a black music festival for black people only and no whites allowed, or vice-versa, that would be just as wrong too.

      Right now, the policy is akin to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule in the military, and that was based in stupid ignorant stereotypes too.

      Do yourself a favour, actually meet some trans people for yourself, and you’ll find that we’re no different to anyone else, some of us are really nice people you’d want to hang about with, and some of us are right arseholes you don’t even want to share the planet with, but that just goes to show we all the same, and we are all different.

  4. #9 by monocles1 on March 23, 2014 - 9:05 pm

    Look, I’ve been civil to you throughout this whole exchange we’ve had. If you’re angry about things, then so be it. But please don’t make assumptions about me, it’s sloppy thinking. If you’re angry about things, well, ok. But attacking me is not conducive to communication. I do have some trans friends who are very nice people, though I don’t know them real well. And I have been attacked kinda viciously by a trans woman who’s meds seemed to be off. By “instant” I meant two to five years…not very long, compared to a lifetime. You don’t have to like the changed “womyn” spellings, but I did not make the shit up. It’s at least 60 years old and it’s here to stay. I was trying to discuss ideas with you. Respectfully. You have absolutely no Idea what I think or feel, except the ideas I have shared here. If you just want to rant and not communicate back and forth, that’s fine and we can say goodbye. Oh, by the way, blacks already have music festivals with no whites allowed. Whites just don’t know about them.

    • #10 by oopster74 on March 23, 2014 - 9:16 pm

      I’m sorry if I said anything that upset you, that wasn’t my intention, it’s far too easy to get the wrong meaning from something by writing / reading alone, and if you look at some of the responses I’ve had to simple comments on Antaganosts blog, then you might be able t o understadn hen I’m hardly expecting civility from the opposing side, but still, that’s no excuse for me being rude etc.

      So you don’t thinkg 2-5 years is long enough? How long is long enough then? I’ve been me for the better part of 15 years now, that’s near enough half my lifetime, and while I haven’t experienced everything other women have, who can say anyone has?

      I forgot to mention this in a previous post, but the michfest is anti-trans, and that’s just wrong. It won’y allow trans women to attend, and it won’t allow trans men to attend, surely, if the organisers don’t view trans women as women, then they can’t logical view trans men as men, so should allow them, but they don’t (not that I’d expect any trans men to want to attend of course).

  5. #11 by monocles1 on March 23, 2014 - 9:56 pm

    I believe that the whole trans community misunderstands the Womyn’s community. It helps to THINK LIKE A LESBIAN, a WOMYN-BORN-WOMYN, if you think you should be accepted as a woman…ACT LIKE ONE. I’m tryin’ to let you in on the down low…tryin’ to give you some truth here…Ya’ll are acting like men – gonna slam your way into some pussy-festival and then some more pussy whether those bitches like it or not…
    It’s not about “Hating” trans women as ya’ll so love to blame us of.
    WBW’s ARE NOT EVEN WANTING TO THINK ABOUT TRANS PEOPLE. LIKE pregnant women meeting together don’t talk about men, THEY TALK ABOUT THEIR PREGNANCIES: do they have to pee alot at night, are they belching more, the positions of their babies, doing natural childbirth?
    Women at a baby shower DON’T TALK ABOUT MEN!!! THEY TALK ABOUT THE BABIES!!!!!
    When will our Transexual sisters get it???????? WBW want to connect with each other, NOT with transexual issues. It’s real easy to blame women for being anti-trans and it’s a cheap shot. Why don’t you go to a baby shower and protest? There’s a bunch of women meeting there who aren’t thinking about you either.

    • #12 by oopster74 on March 23, 2014 - 10:05 pm

      I could say the same thing about wbw. I’m sorry, but it’s still ignorant bigotry at the end of the day, and if one of my girlfriends had a baby shower (we don’t really do that kind of thing here though), then my friends would invite me because my friends are my friends and they recognise as being one of the girls / women etc.

      And that first statement? We can’t win! If we act aggressive, ooh that’s because were really men, and if we act all feminine and lady like then were puppets of the patriarchy. I’m me, just me. I wear trousers, skirts, I even wear make up sometimes. I drive fast cars, watch wwe, eat junk food (not as much since my heart attack mind), and I do what I want, when I want and if someone doesn’t like it, tough shit for them, surely, that’s how we should all be?

  6. #13 by monocles1 on March 23, 2014 - 11:59 pm

    Ya’ll are acting like men – gonna slam your way into some pussy-festival and then some more pussy whether those bitches like it or not…

    • #14 by oopster74 on March 25, 2014 - 12:01 am

      Fighting for our rights? Not taking crap from people? You know what they say about people in glass houses don’t you.

  7. #15 by sxangxulo on March 25, 2014 - 10:19 pm

    oopster…

    I get it. Really, I do. We work and work and put all of our effort in these lives and identities, and try to rid ourselves of this ridiculous dysphoria…I am thirty years old, present myself as female (and have for over half my life), and I still look in the mirror some times and feel twinges of self-hate that the patriarchy has instilled in all women.

    But we’re different from other women. There is nothing shameful or inherently wrong with the difference, but it does exist. The way we talk, our attitudes and philosophies, physical size and strength; these things (and more) can change over time, but they start from a position of maleness. Please don’t be offended at my saying this, but your writing does show this, just as mine does.

    A sad truth of humanity is that males harm females, quite frequently, and often do it without realizing that they are doing anything wrong. Our current society teaches them to be this way, and teaches women to just get over it. Statistically speaking, transwomen are more like men in terms of the crimes they commit…it’s not sexist to admit this, or equivalent to racism, these are just facts. Males are generally violent and controlling, and women are generally the victims of this violence and abuse. Whether it’s the male start or the hard life, transwomen statistically are pretty violent.

    Many of the women who go to MWMF are rape and sexual abuse survivors. Being hurt by men is something that MOST women have to deal with in their lives. A number of them want to go to a place and have a festival where they can feel safe and honestly share and discuss experiences. If we truly care about other women, our sisters, as we care about ourselves, aren’t we obliged to not interfere with this and go against their wishes?

    I believe that you would agree it’s okay to not allow men to be there. So, a slight thought experiment: how about a transvestite? How about an a-sexual cross-dresser? How about a man that claims to be a woman in his “soul” but doesn’t take hormones, have surgery, or dress stereo-typically female? How about a non-passing transwoman who makes no attempt to change her voice but has had multiple surgeries and takes hormones? At some point in this scale of unfortunate trans-hierarchy, we arrive at transwoman who transitioned young, is stealth, considered pretty, attracted only to men, and takes low levels of hormones because surgery has reduced her need to fight off testosterone.

    Where does the line get drawn?

    We are harming ourselves by pushing this subject. In close relationships, like you have with friends that you’ve mentioned, yes, we often have the luxury of being treated like any other woman by our friends and loved ones. On a national scale, where every person from drag queen to stealth transwoman is included under the umbrella term “trans”, different people will draw the line at different places, and people near the line will be upset by it. If we want to fight and say that, somewhere in this spectrum, there is a hard line and you HAVE to let all of the women on one side of it in to your festival…well…we will have successfully forced ourselves in to a place where we are not welcome, a place that is ruined by our aggression towards it.

    There is no absolute morality, or right and wrong in this. We are all living this limited existence and trying to find purpose and belonging. Even if we feel wronged by the world, because we are excluded from things we want to be a part of, it hurts us to force ourselves on others in such a way. Patriarchy hurts all of us; we shouldn’t take our eyes off of that and ignore it just because someone else who is hurt doesn’t want us in their clubhouse. There is entirely too much infighting in queer communities already; this needs to stop.

    My two cents. Thanks for reading 🙂

    • #16 by oopster74 on March 25, 2014 - 10:36 pm

      ok, say we let this go, where is the line drawn next? This festival doesn’t recognise transwomen as women, but they also won’t allow transmen attend, who logically, they must see as being female. the line is in a pretty simple place to understand. If you self define as being a woman, they you’re a woman. Are you seriously trying to tell me that every woman attending this festival has been raped or otherwise attacked in some way? That’s bullshit. The full title is “The Michigan Women’s Music Festival”, it’ about women coming together in music. I see no difference in their entry policy than I do in golf clubs only allowing male members to join, and I bet you those women defending the rights of the festival, wouldn’t respect the rights of the golf club, and why should they?

      This is about equality, this is about what’s right, and this policy is wrong wrong wrong.

      Fwiw, I live no where near the festival, and am never likely to they change the rule someday, but I should be able to attend, because I am a woman. If I didn’t believe that I was a woman, then I wouldn’t have gone through years of therapy, surgery and put up with all the crap that you do when you’re trans, because I could have taken “the easy route”, but I had to be me to be happy.

      • #17 by sxangxulo on March 25, 2014 - 11:34 pm

        oopster74, try to think of this from a point of view outside of your own. Do you at least understand why they are so upset with people who try to force them to accept people they don’t want? Do you understand why they feel this way, but feel they are wrong any way?

        You say “if you define yourself as a woman, you are a woman.” By that definition, men would be allowed to attend; full on penis-swinging beard-growing testosterone-producing men, as long as they defined themselves as women. This is EXACTLY what they don’t want to happen, and is exactly what you are promoting.

      • #18 by oopster74 on March 25, 2014 - 11:37 pm

        Do you seriously believe that would happen? Ok, how about transsexual women with a note from their doctor, would that be good enough for you?

      • #19 by sxangxulo on March 26, 2014 - 4:40 pm

        Yes, I believe that would happen, and already does. I don’t know what the trans community is like where you are, but I do know people like that near me, and it’s pretty darn awkward. Men have lots of entitlements, and transwomen don’t automatically unlearn them.

        As for a note from the doctor…you don’t understand. It doesn’t matter whether it’s good enough to ME or not, it matters what the comfort level and desires of the women at the festival, and they’ve made the boundaries very clear (including that a doctor’s note doesn’t count).

        I know that this subject hurts you, and it hurts me too, but that doesn’t give us the right to force ourselves into the private spaces of others. That is something men do.

      • #20 by oopster74 on March 26, 2014 - 6:12 pm

        So what? You think we should just do nothing? Lie back and take it? This is not a private residence where you can pick and choose who you let in, it’s a ticketed event and they are refusing service to people they don’t deem good enough to attend, simple as that, and no one (not me at least) is trying to force there way into the festival. I would only want to attend if I was welcomed in the same way as every other attendee. If we stay quiet and don’t say anything, that’s like saying we’re fine with this which (at least for me) we’re not.

  8. #21 by oopster74 on March 26, 2014 - 6:22 pm

    Perhaps the Michigan festival goers should have the option to vote to allow transwomen to enter too – https://oopster74.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/golf-royal-and-ancient-to-vote-on-women-members-at-st-andrews/

    • #22 by sxangxulo on March 26, 2014 - 7:27 pm

      Actually, it is a private event, one which they are completely within their rights to deny entrance to. A private residence need not be owned by an individual to be private; they are absolutely within their rights to sell tickets and not allow men to attend.

      There is nothing for us to lie back and take; they are not hurting us in any way by having a private music festival. Why do we have an automatic right to their private event? This is exactly the thought process that makes them consider us as men! There absolutely are people trying to force their way in, and that is how the whole problem got started. The entire controversy is about people fighting and forcing, not because there are vagina-checks at the gate. A quote from Victoria Brownworth:

      “So I have to ask this question of those transgender women who want to be at MWMF: If you identify as female, then why are you fighting with other women every August? Why can’t you come to MWMF like other women to revel in the 100 percent femaleness and celebrate with music and dancing and being playful without the presence of men? If you haven’t fully transitioned and still have your penis, can’t you keep it hidden away for that week or wait to come to Michigan until after you have fully transitioned and that remnant of the body that is the wrong body is gone?”

      The women who go to this festival have experienced first hand bigotry and attacks from transwomen protesting and pamphlet-ting…you really want them to vote on this? I bet you wouldn’t like the results.

      • #23 by oopster74 on March 26, 2014 - 7:33 pm

        Erm, why should anyone have to be hidden or closeted, and even if they don’t say they’re trans, there’s that worry that if someone finds out they’ll be removed, I wouldn’t want that. They are in the wrong here, and people who protest in the wrong way are wrong too, but this is not a private party. A private party is for people you know. A wedding or funeral or birthday party for example. This is advertised, tickets are sold. They’re policy bans anyone trans, mtf and ftm.

      • #24 by sxangxulo on March 26, 2014 - 7:50 pm

        oopster74, I see now that you don’t listen to anyone whose thoughts differ from your own. I’m sorry that you feel hurt by this, but that doesn’t change the fact that you do not have rights over the lives and closed-spaces of others. I hope that one day you no longer see women as the enemy, and realize in yourself what it takes to be a part of something like MWMF.

        Thanks for the chat.

      • #25 by oopster74 on March 26, 2014 - 7:51 pm

        Answer me this, Is it wrong to discriminate?

      • #26 by sxangxulo on March 26, 2014 - 9:15 pm

        You know what a loaded question is, right? 🙂 I don’t believe in moral absolutes; I also don’t believe that having some separate spaces is discrimination. With that in mind, my answer would have to be a resounding “maybe”

        Answer me this: what is your solution? An absolute, such as “all self-identified women are welcome” ?

      • #27 by oopster74 on March 26, 2014 - 9:52 pm

        Transsexual women, living as women would be my solution. If they’re pre-op then keep your clothes on (I know some people get naked there).

      • #28 by sxangxulo on March 26, 2014 - 10:01 pm

        I have to admit, I find the thought of going just absolutely fantastic, and sigh with longing when I think about it.

        But now how do we get this level of open inclusion without infringing on the people who run and attend the event? I’m not certain that it is possible, outside of a radical shift in society (in the realm of radical feminism’s destruction of gender and patriarchy).

      • #29 by oopster74 on March 26, 2014 - 10:04 pm

        You got me on that one (sorry, I meant I haven’t a clue either). The ones that act “normal” won’t get noticed to show as examples, so it’s those of us that stand out or generally don’t pass etc that are the example, but give it time. I don’t expect this rule to change anytime soon.

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