This has been going for some twenty years now.
For twenty some years certain lesbians who howl like banshees at any infringement of their rights and privileges due to discrimination and bigotry have been engaging in the exact same bigotry and discrimination only directing it at TS/TG women, people who they have decided merit this discrimination and bigotry due to the sex/gender they were assigned at birth.
Amazingly enough the radfem lesbian denizens of the MWMF manage to sound indistinguishable from the ultra right wing Xian fanatics when it comes to their hatred and bigotry with regards to TS/TG women.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that the eternal arguments over concepts such as identity coupled with the incredible parsing of language and terminology that goes on in this brave new post-modern world can sometimes be baffling.
What isn’t baffling is the unmitigated hate speech one hears from the sisterhood of sacredly different from male human beings sisterhood of lesbian purity.
Pity, but, none of them are capable of admitting that what many of them seem to fear most is the possibility of finding themselves sexually attracted to a TS/TG woman.
Which incidentally is the same emotion expressed by the men who feel they should have the right to murder TS/TG women for the crime of having aroused lust and causing these straight men to “turn gay”.
Over the years I have noticed how there are many more assigned female at birth women engaged in behavior that has a negative impact upon women, especially lesbians than there are TS/TG women causing harm to women. Michelle Bachmann, and Phyllis Schlafly come to mind.
All the bullshit put forth by those who would maintain exclusionary policy of the MWMF is a retread of Focus on the Family’s anti L/G propaganda. All they do is change L/G to TS/TG.
All this is a given…
I still have a hard time getting angry and worked up about the MWMF.
It’s a class thing.
Like the Black Party, White Party, Dinah Shore and Olivia Cruises the MWMF is an event that costs a fuck of a lot of money to go to. Especially considering the accommodations or lack there of.
Their sliding scale ranges between 450 and 600 dollars plus transportation there. I’ll grant they have a Sunday only pass for 65-100 dollars. (See http://www.michfest.com/tickets/index.htm)
That alone is exclusionary on the basis of class. Poor working women can’t afford to go there.
Others like myself might have that amount of money to spend on concerts and movies over the course of a year but can’t see spending it to go camp out in the woods with a bunch of dykes when we can sleep in our nice comfortable bed next to our life partners/wives.
BTW last Tina and I saw Judy Collins and Kat Edmonson so we actually support women’s music. I looked at the roster for the MWMF and there were actually four acts I would pay to see and a couple of more that I’ve heard of before.
I just wouldn’t blow my entire annual entertainment budget to go see them.
Anyhow the controversy continues…
From The Advocate: Ladies, Are You Ready for Michfest?
BY Clea Kim
April 10 2013
The Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, often referred to as Michfest, is an international feminist music festival that has taken place every August since 1976 on 650 acres of Michigan woodlands. The event is created, staffed, operated and attended entirely by women. (The spelling of “womyn” in the name of the festival is an expression of feminist politics.) This year’s lineup was recently announced, and among the star performers are the Indigo Girls (pictured), who have been stalwarts at the fest for years, even as they gained wider fame.
Michfest was founded in 1976 with a couple of thousand participants. Today, it brings in at least 4,000 (mostly queer) women, and some of their children, who camp near the town of Hart. However, there is a women-born-women admittance policy that festival director Lisa Vogel continues to defend.
“As a queer community, we’re all struggling around how we explore and expand gender definitions, and the women here who are creating this festival are part of that,” Vogel says. “And I feel very strongly that having a space for women who are born women to come together for a week is a healthy, whole, loving space to provide for women who have that experience. To label that as transphobic is, to me, as misplaced as saying the women-of-color tent is racist or to say that a transsexual-only space, a gathering of folks of women who are born men, is misogynist.”
The policy came into effect after a trans woman, Nancy Burkholder, was asked to leave Michfest in 1991. Trans activists, many queer-identified, began protesting, arguing that trans women — especially those who are legally female — should be allowed to join in the solidarity of Michfest. Trans feminist author Julia Serano has said, “Some of the women who travel from all over the country to attend Michigan think nothing of wearing their suspicion or hatred of trans women on their sleeves, and they will often make extraordinarily ignorant and insensitive comments about trans women in their attempts to justify our exclusion.”
In 2005, Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, who has said she identifies with trans and genderqueer folks, interviewed Vogel and several participants from Camp Trans, a nearby annual gathering of transgender women in protest of the Michfest policy, in hopes of mediating the debate. She posted all their conversations on her website. This year the Indigo Girls have taken a sterner position, posting a letter stating, “Any money that we make playing the Festival will go towards Trans Activism. We will make a statement from stage at the Festival in support of Trans Inclusion. We have made it clear that this will be our last time at the Festival until MWF shows visible and concrete signs of changing their intention.” There is also a Change.org petition calling on all performers to boycott the fest until it adopts a more inclusive policy. The petition currently has nearly 1,400 signatures.
Continue reading at: http://www.advocate.com/women/2013/04/10/ladies-are-you-ready-michfest?page=0,0
From Windy City Media: Heated debate follows Michigan Fest boycott petition: From petition and press statements
What follows are communications related to the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, held every August in Michigan, and its official ban on trans women entering the festival. The policy is more of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban, as trans women have been at the festival, but the official policy has caused deep divisions in the community.
Now, a call to boycott performers who are scheduled to be at this year’s festival has sparked responses from some of those performers, as well as a response from the Festival’s founder, Lisa Vogel.
What follows is the original boycott call, from www.change.org/petitions/indigo-girls-and-other-michfest-2013-performers-boycott-mwmf-until-the-organizers-fully-include-trans-women and three responses.
Petition: Boycott MWMF until the organizers fully include trans women
Petition by Red Durkin , Brooklyn, NY
(This petition has 1.501 signers as of April 12, 2013)
The official stance of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival indicates that the Festival is open only to cisgender women and that transgender women are not officially allowed on the grounds as volunteers or attendees. This is in accordance with a long-standing policy of exclusion that founder and producer Lisa Vogel confirmed as recently as 2006. (eminism.org/michigan/20060822-mwmf.txt&; .
Although in the past some of the staff has “looked the other way,” the policy against trans women that is in place has cultivated a climate of transphobia at the Festival. This situation is unwelcoming and unsafe for transgender women and has become a divisive influence on feminist communities, both at Fest and around the US.
The reality is that Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival is not safe for any women until it is welcoming for all women.
We are asking you, as a musician, and as a person who believes in the dignity and equality of all women, to stand in solidarity with transgender women and our allies and to not attend or perform at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival until Lisa Vogel and the other organizers fully and openly welcome all self-identified women.
Although there is a small, devoted group of individuals working from within to change the transphobic policies put into place and enforced by the organizers, we believe that real change can not happen until all women are welcome to attend the Festival. We are asking you to respect the boycott of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival until real, substantive change has taken place.
We believe that the markers of substantive change are three simple things:
1) The organizers must amend the festival policy to explicitly welcome all self-identified women to the annual MWMF.
2) The organizers must recognize the destructive impact that 20+ years of transphobic policies have had on our feminist and queer communities and issue a formal statement acknowledging and apologizing for this injustice.
3) The organizers must program at least one performer who is a transgender woman to perform at the Festival. This will show that transgender women are truly welcome and that they have a legitimate place and voice in the MWMF community.
Until these three demands are met, we call on you to not attend or perform at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. You are implored to respect the call to boycott this event because the organizers have maintained destructive and transphobic policies that are unwelcoming and unsafe for all women in our communities.
This petition calls upon all attendees and performers of the 2013 Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival to boycott the Festival until substantive change is achieved.
The list of performers of MichFest 2013 is posted here: http://michfest.com/performances/index.htm
To read List of petition signers go to: Heated debate follows Michigan Fest boycott petition