LGBT Community Issues

Response: MichFest and The Controversy…Who Qualifies as a Woman?

Ah, the infamous Michigan Women’s Music Festival is approaching (I believe it’s in August, don’t quote me)…and this the “war” of who “qualifies” to attend and who does not has begun…or actually just continues.  I am writing today in response to the posting by ButchFemmeListings concerning the controversy over attendee qualification.

First of all let me say right up front, I have never attended MichFest nor do I seriously think I ever will.  Simply because of the piddly in-fighting and what I believe is unnecessary arguments over “who qualifies as a woman”.  This has been going on for years from what I have seen, and my reading about it year after year and my reading the rants of feminazi’s about excluding Transwomen from the festival has left a sour taste in my mouth.   That and I don’t do extremely well in large crowds, especially when you combine tons of estrogen, alcohol and tempers, it just turns me off, so I elect not to attend this festival.

That being said, I would like to chime in with my two cents about this controversy of TW (Transwomen) and WBW (women born women) – the two camps of contention.  It seems that the WBW do not recognize TW as women thus they do not feel that the TW should be allowed inside of the exclusively women’s festival, which is billed as a safe space for ALL women. Yet, one camp of women seem to not recognize another camp of women as women…does that make any sense??

As ButchFemmeListings had to say:

After all we have read and heard on the topic, it seems to us it has been established that there are two camps, and we think it has also been established that neither side is going to see the others as the right path; each side has grown in a different LGBTQ/socio-political environment and time, and thus each side’s needs are DIFFERENT.

CAMP CHANGE: mostly under 40-ish folks who think Michfest should change, get up with the times and be for anyone who identifies as woman/womyn.

CAMP HONOR: mostly over 40-ish folks who think Michfest should respect the past and continue to be for womyn-born-womyn as it always has been.​

If we go by this scenario I should be on the side of “Camp Honor” at 53, but I am actually going to stick my neck out here gladly and say that “Camp Change” is the best idea.  And is spelling women with a y really necessary?  I mean it is a WOMEN’s music festival, I don’t think that they exclude straight women, nor is it exclusively LGBTQ (although that is the main focus, we all know).  It’s a big gathering of women and women’s bands/artists such as Melissa Etheridge and others who appear to entertain the crowd. Last year they had bands bow out over this big “controversy” about allowing or not allowing Transwomen to attend.  (Bravo!)

Some say let each group create it’s own event.  Separate us, yeah that’s the ticket.  Like we aren’t already a very fragmented LGBTQ society here in America.  I am definitely against the separation idea.  I actually believe they should open it up to all women – regardless of the “born with a vagina” or not.

I also have another question, I haven’t seen addressed in this particular blog..what about us who don’t pass easily as women, like me?  I am super Butch, have had top surgery and take low dose testosterone….does the “Camp Honor” still recognize ME as a woman?  I would think so, but I am leery of this already.  I am thinking that my masculine presentation may put some women out; make them uneasy that I am too masculine for their girls club.  (That might concern me more if I were to really want to GO to this thing).

I find festivals to be very clique driven to begin with.  You have people who will divide themselves by class and interests, you’ll have the singles looking to hook up for the weekend, the hard core partyers just there to see how fucked up they can get, and the other various little social cliques….I’ve never done well in the clique societies.  I am a loner, and while I make friends easily I am not interested in dealing with the bullshit I would have to watch and be exposed to if I were to go.

Here in Maine we have an LGBT camp out that focuses on outdoor adventure sports called Camp Camp.  It’s a well organized all inclusive camp where the focus is on outdoor sports and adventure.  It’s probably not as interesting as the full on party atmosphere of some of these other festivals such as MichFest.  I’d rather spend the extra money and go up to Camp Camp…IF I were really interested in going at all.

Around New England there are tons of these fesitvals from P-Town’s Women’s Week in May to Boston Pride and The Pool Party in August.  There is something for everyone, and MichFest should be also an event that should catch up with the times in my opinion and welcome all women identified individuals.  It’s time to stop the in-fighting about genitalia and gender, and start to accept people for who they are.  Not just at these fesitvals and parties, but throughout the LGBTQ community at large.

What do you think?  ~MB

Here is what MichFest’s leader has to say, I agree wholeheartedly with this.