There was a time when I would have defended the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. But the days of my being a Sonder Commando are over.
I could have gone to the festival if I had the money and the inclination I am that assimilated because I came out young and have been active in various movements since about 1965.
I passed through the trans-wars of the late 1970s unscathed and didn’t speak up about how shamefully WBTs were being treated by the feminist movement, especially the lesbian feminist movement even when we were part of the movement and worked very hard for the movement. I am ashamed of my role as silent collaborator.
All good people have to do to be collaborators in evil is to remain silent. I think Hannah Arendt said something to that effect. To remain silent and not fight bigotry is to be the “Good German” whose hands may be clean but who gave tacit permission.
In the 1990s I was influenced by the example of Riki Wilchins and started speaking out. Some may think me too friendly to people with transgenderism because I defend them as well as WBTs. I had a number of transgender friends from the 1970s when I photographed the TS/TG people who formed the Hollywood ghetto. My friend were queens and not the proper upper and middle class married with children transgenders but rather the sex workers and drug users of the era. I speak up for them because they are no longer alive to speak up for themselves.
Many threw their hopes for a voice in with the gay and lesbian movement. But they were too queer for the boys who were turning into macho clones and asking for multiple IDs at the doors of the clubs, excluding women, femmes, and people of color.
I marched on the picket line out front of the LA Gay Community Services Center when the lesbians went on strike and caused the change of name to Gay and Lesbian. I marched for abortion rights when I am sterile. I fought for a cause that increasing saw me as sub-human.
The MWMF has become one of those few institutions that continue the anti-trans bigotry that accompanied the rise of the right wing in America. As such it is an anachronism that has come to resemble the Aryan Nation of the Lesbian Community. An institution of normborn hatred of those of us who were not normborn but rather were born some where in-between the sexes and who have been compelled by our being to seek out reassignment to a sex other than that to which we were assigned at birth.
I see now that intersex people are included among those who are excluded. How Catholic. Well we be condemned to death at the stake for our differentness?
The problem extends far beyond the festival. The women who go to this festival have the message of hate and exclusion, the rational reinforced and take back the bile of anti-TS/TG bigotry to the L/G Centers of their own cities where they in turn promote that attitude. they take it to their publications where they promote it.
In an era when bigotry against other minority groups is negatively sanctioned TS/TG and now IS people remain one of the few scapegoats considered legitimate targets for that raw naked form of bigotry.
Time for all artists of conscience to boycott this hate fest. You would not have played South Africa’s Sun City during the anti-Apartheid boycott. You would not play a hate fest for Aryan Nation. Let them have as the only groups willing to play their normborn hatefest be someone like Prussian Blue.