Sorry if posted multiple times
What do you think of trans men and trans women forcing themselves into and eventual shut down- the owners gave up – of the Michigan Womyn’s Festival?
I think lesbian born women have the legal right to exclude anyone who is not a womyn born womyn without facing harrassment, legal threats, to exclude those who are not.
I got this question in my comments recently and wanted to just touch on this a bit. I’m sure my thought on it will be controversial no matter what. Why? Because there is no really right or wrong solution to this issue. It’s really a touchy subject no matter how you look at it.
The world has changed. We now have all kinds of organizations of exclusivity that are being challenged with similar situations as the Womyn’s Music Fesival (WMF) was caught up in with the trans question.
For those who don’t know the very basics it seems that the organizers of the WMF were faced with the question of who is “woman” and who is not. Since the WMF was supposed to be exclusively for women, some thought that transwomen should be excluded from that definition because they were not women-born-women. It’s very confusing, see? Now there is huge argument on both fronts. And then there was the question of if transmen should be included since they were born women…and the confusion deepens. Finally after fighting legal and ethical battles of huge proportion over this for several years the WMF organizers canned the festival out of sheer frustration I believe. That’s the situation the commenter speaks of above in a nutshell. Believe me it was much deeper and more technical than that. It was basically a fight over who and what constituted a “woman” and who/what did not. The festival boasted a safe place for all women to join together in community for a week every year. Some felt that that safe space was violated by trans people from both genres. It was an ugly fight and it’s a very difficult subject.
This same sort of situation is playing out across the world with organizations like the Boy Scouts / Girl Scouts and other gender specific organizations. Some girls want to be Boy Scouts, some transboys want to be Boy Scouts, etc. etc. Do they have a “legal” right to exclude people based upon gender or genitalia? Who knows. I am not a lawyer, and thus can’t speak to the specifics of legality of any of it. I can only give my opinion.
I never attended the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. I only read and heard about it. So I don’t even speak from experience of being there. I was always under the impression that it was a lesbian festival of sorts. That was always the impression I got at least. I wonder if they segragated it based upon sexual preference?
To me excluding people is not much different than segregation. And we segregate constantly everywhere. We do it by color, race, sexual orientation, religion, social status, and a huge range of other things. We do it everywhere, all the time. It’s sad. But I also think it’s part of human nature in some ways. Like people gravitate toward their own kind. I know that I would be most comfortable out camping with a bunch of Butch and Femme lesbians – which I consider my own “kind” in a way – than I would with a bunch of straight women talking about dick and men. I just would. It’s all about comfort; what I am most comfortable doing and being around. And I am entitled to my comfort. Would I join a club that excluded transwomen/men? No. I do not believe that I would.
I bet that at the WMF that people segregated by types/kinds. I bet Butches hung out with other Butches, that Femmes with other Femmes and that every type of woman had a group that she associated with more than others. It’s all in the comfort level of the individual. Diversity is great, but let’s face it, given the choice we all choose and become loyal to our own type.
Now I don’t know about the WMF and what happened there but I know there were some huge arguments around the internet about it all. I can see basis for argument from all standpoints. Who is right is still not clear, nor do I believe it ever will be clear. It’s sad that a solution could not be reached that suited everyone so that the WMF could have continued and could have remained that safe space to express and experience the various types of women that we all are.
The specific exclusion of trans people seems to be blatant transphobia to me. Not being trans I can only imagine how that would feel. I can say that if I was a transguy I would not be inserting myself into an exclusively female venue. Why would a man want to be at a women’s festival? But if I were a transwoman…I would want to be recognized as a woman and would expect to be included.
These are just my thoughts on the whole thing. I don’t know the answer to your question, commenter, it’s a tough one. I wish we could all just get along and have one big camping festival that included everyone!