‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’: Lesbian Trans Exclusion Gets Noticed

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-beyer/guess-whos-coming-to-dinn_6_b_5659525.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’: Lesbian Trans Exclusion Gets Noticed

Antitrans RadFems Are on the Wrong Side of History

From The Advocate: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/riki-wilchins/2014/08/12/op-ed-antitrans-radfems-are-wrong-side-history

Modern radical feminists see their rights as aligned with transgender women’s rights

BY Riki Wilchins
August 12 2014

Radical feminists cling to notions of biological essentialism: that there is a common core of experience that all cisgender women share, and that male-to-female transsexuals can never participate in this and thus always are and will be males. It’s not exactly clear when kicking the political crap out of trans women became either “radical” or “feminist,” but it probably originated 40 or so years ago with Janice Raymond’s book The Transsexual Empire.

That initiated a period in my life in the 1980s and ’90s when it was virtually impossible for me to attend any lesbian or women’s event without someone bringing up that book and its noxious arguments. A long, impassioned debate about me and the meaning of my body and my attendance would ensue, often by very well intentioned women, and as often as not ending in my being publicly asked, or told, to leave.

This kind of debate is pretty much the same trick Michelle Goldberg pulls off in the controversial New Yorker piece, “What Is a Woman?” The article details the trials and tribulations of self-described RadFems against trans activists and their allies — apparently it’s becoming very difficult to participate in polite society. She quotes both sides at length (well, sort of), being very well intentioned in moderating the “debate,” as if the arguments put forth are equally valid and neither she nor The New Yorker need take sides. Her tone is one of utter moral passivity.

In effect, it’s precisely the kind of article that would have been run 20 years ago about gays and lesbians. It would have quoted homophobic bigots saying that homosexuality was a disease and/or a lifestyle choice, and gay rights activists saying otherwise, and both sides would have been given equal treatment.

In other words, this article is — in its quiet, quasi-liberal intelligentsia way — nearly as transphobic and bigoted as the RadFems whose trials it covers.

But interestingly, these RadFems are finding themselves on the wrong end of history. An ever-dwindling segment of polite society is willing to continue refusing to acknowledge transgender people. We’re not exactly taking the courts by storm, as is the case with gay marriage, but we’re definitely on an upswing here. Who knows, “normal” might be just around the next few corners.

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/commentary/riki-wilchins/2014/08/12/op-ed-antitrans-radfems-are-wrong-side-history

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Antitrans RadFems Are on the Wrong Side of History

I Don’t Care About MichFest’s Trans Exclusion, You Shouldn’t Either

I really never gave a fuck about a bunch of elitist dyke c*nts hate fest in the forest.

Indeed it always struck me as being sort of like a Storm Front Music Festival for people who would cheerfully have others put me and my kind in the gas chambers.

While I am a lesbian I actually don’t much like the “Lesbian Community.”

When it comes to music my likes are way too eclectic to be contained within “Woxxmyn’z Muzack.

So Fuck the Michigan Woxxmyon’z Muzack Festival and all who give their hard earned money to perpetuating the Rad Fem version of Storm Front.

From Jezebel: http://roygbiv.jezebel.com/i-dont-care-about-michfests-trans-exclusion-you-should-1621468728

Kat Callahan

Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival is currently wrapped up, and I guess it’s that time of the year where we all wring our hands over MichFest’s womyn-born-womyn (read: trans exclusionary) policy. Again. Like we have been doing every summer, apparently, since I was 10 years old. And once again, I just can’t seem to summon the requisite amount of outrage.

Weren’t we just here three months ago? Oh, right, we were. With major queer organisations like Michigan Equality, Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force jumping on the bandwagon calling for Fest to change its tune (yes, that was a music pun, deal with it), there has been a flurry of written commentary on how Fest needs to change, could change, and would be a major positive force if only it would change.

Given Fest’s decreasing profile, it might be important here to refresh just exactly what Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival is. There is, of course, the obvious—it’s a music festival in Michigan focused on women (or womyn, for those who have historically opposed the use of the “e” because of the visual connection to “men,” and it is the event’s “intention” that anyone not assigned female at birth and who has not always been perceived as a girl and a woman, including in the present, and conceivably in the future should not attend), but how does Fest see itself?

In those woods you will find diverse and dynamic performances, interactive workshops, healthy foods, clean air and the most amazing sense of community, friendship and fun. Part music festival, part community happening – the experience of Michigan is based upon an essential participatory ethic that enriches the experience of cooperative living. Community. Celebration. Common Ground.

Which is all true. I don’t know this from personal experience, of course, but I have heard it and read it from others. Those who have gone, cisgender and transgender, and those who continue to go. I’ve had commenters show up to speak about the value of their personal experiences with Fest, and I really have no reason to disbelieve them. The fact that there are trans women who have attended and felt that Fest was an amazing experience certainly seems to be strong evidence that characterisations of The Land as run by the last vestiges of the the trans exclusionary radical feminist movement are complete malarky.

The commentary to sprout up around the controversy this summer includes the heartfelt plea for “saving The Land” from transgender attendee Kayley Whalen. And over at Autostraddle, Marie Lyn Bernard has written a wonderful piece on how Fest could change its policy rather easily, if only it were willing to do so. Beautifully written, wonderfully argued… but for me, ultimately not compelling. Even Whalen’s, whose love for Fest is obvious.

Continue reading at:  http://roygbiv.jezebel.com/i-dont-care-about-michfests-trans-exclusion-you-should-1621468728

Antisemitism on rise across Europe ‘in worst times since the Nazis’

From The Guardian UK: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/07/antisemitism-rise-europe-worst-since-nazis

Experts say attacks go beyond Israel-Palestinian conflict as hate crimes strike fear into Jewish communities

The Guardian, Thursday 7 August 2014

In the space of just one week last month, according to Crif, the umbrella group for France’s Jewish organisations, eight synagogues were attacked. One, in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, was firebombed by a 400-strong mob. A kosher supermarket and pharmacy were smashed and looted; the crowd’s chants and banners included “Death to Jews” and “Slit Jews’ throats”. That same weekend, in the Barbes neighbourhood of the capital, stone-throwing protesters burned Israeli flags: “Israhell”, read one banner.

In Germany last month, molotov cocktails were lobbed into the Bergische synagogue in Wuppertal – previously destroyed on Kristallnacht – and a Berlin imam, Abu Bilal Ismail, called on Allah to “destroy the Zionist Jews … Count them and kill them, to the very last one.” Bottles were thrown through the window of an antisemitism campaigner in Frankfurt; an elderly Jewish man was beaten up at a pro-Israel rally in Hamburg; an Orthodox Jewish teenager punched in the face in Berlin. In several cities, chants at pro-Palestinian protests compared Israel’s actions to the Holocaust; other notable slogans included: “Jew, coward pig, come out and fight alone,” and “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.”

Across Europe, the conflict in Gaza is breathing new life into some very old, and very ugly, demons. This is not unusual; police and Jewish civil rights organisations have long observed a noticeable spike in antisemitic incidents each time the Israeli-Palestinian conflict flares. During the three weeks of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in late 2008 and early 2009, France recorded 66 antisemitic incidents, including attacks on Jewish-owned restaurants and synagogues and a sharp increase in anti-Jewish graffiti.But according to academics and Jewish leaders, this time it is different. More than simply a reaction to the conflict, they say, the threats, hate speech and violent attacks feel like the expression of a much deeper and more widespread antisemitism, fuelled by a wide range of factors, that has been growing now for more than a decade.

“These are the worst times since the Nazi era,” Dieter Graumann, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, told the Guardian. “On the streets, you hear things like ‘the Jews should be gassed’, ‘the Jews should be burned’ – we haven’t had that in Germany for decades. Anyone saying those slogans isn’t criticising Israeli politics, it’s just pure hatred against Jews: nothing else. And it’s not just a German phenomenon. It’s an outbreak of hatred against Jews so intense that it’s very clear indeed.”

Roger Cukierman, president of France’s Crif, said French Jews were “anguished” about an anti-Jewish backlash that goes far beyond even strongly felt political and humanitarian opposition to the current fighting: “They are not screaming ‘Death to the Israelis’ on the streets of Paris,” Cukierman said last month. “They are screaming ‘Death to Jews’.” Crif’s vice-president Yonathan Arfi said he “utterly rejected” the view that the latest increase in antisemitic incidents was down to events in Gaza. “They have laid bare something far more profound,” he said.

Nor is it just Europe’s Jewish leaders who are alarmed. Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, has called the recent incidents “an attack on freedom and tolerance and our democratic state”. The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, has spoken of “intolerable” and clearly antisemitic acts: “To attack a Jew because he is a Jew is to attack France. To attack a synagogue and a kosher grocery store is quite simply antisemitism and racism”.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/07/antisemitism-rise-europe-worst-since-nazis

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Antisemitism on rise across Europe ‘in worst times since the Nazis’

TERF War: The New Yorker’s One-Sided Article Undermines Transgender Identity

From Bitch Magazine: http://bitchmagazine.org/post/terf-war-the-new-yorkers-one-sided-article-undermines-transgender-identity

by Leela Ginelle
August 1, 2014

Reading Michelle Goldberg’s recent New Yorker article “What is a Woman? The Dispute Between Radical Feminism and Transgenderism” made me feel sick.

The article is meant to paint a clear picture of a longstanding debate within feminist groups about whether transgender women should be accepted as women, profiling several feminists and exploring the history of current discussions about the push to exclude transgender women from “women only” spaces. But in the process, it paints trans identity as suspect, does nothing to counter the hurtful misconception that trans women are either “men” exercising entitled “male privilege” in deeming themselves female or sexual fetishists acting out “erotic compulsions,” and holds up authors who’ve written book-length academic works delineating these ideas as noble, aggrieved scholars.

While this may sound like speculative fiction set in a world where trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) theories have conquered queer and gender studies communities, it’s not. Instead, it’s something more disheartening: a one-sided profile that’s sympathetic to writers and activists who’ve spent their careers working to marginalize and persecute the already-oppressed transgender community.

Trans-exclusionary radical feminists posit that transgender women can never be considered women. At their worst, they argue that transgender women are malicious in their deceit, aiming to infiltrate female-only spaces with the goal of harassing or raping other women. These are the feminists who campaign against gender-neutral bathrooms and support the exclusion of transgender women from other women-only spaces.

In the article, it feels like Goldberg personally has a low opinion of social justice activists—that’s the view presented in her other recent article “Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars.” One of the biggest problems in the New Yorker piece is that Goldberg presents trans people’s self-definitions as opinions: “Trans women say that they are women because they feel female—that, as some put it, they have women’s brains in men’s bodies.” TERF’s views are presented the same way, following the previous statement with this one, “Radical feminists reject the notion of a ‘female brain.’ They believe that if women think and act differently from men it’s because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually attractive, nurturing, and deferential.”

Reading this passage, one might think TERFs and trans people have a philosophical or semantic debate. Trans people’s identities, for which they and their allies are waging a worldwide human rights campaign to define as legally legitimate—backed by decades of medical and psychological data—and TERFs’ hateful academic theories carry equal weight and import. If those two sides were balanced in the piece, readers might walk away with a shoulder shrug, “Who knows whether trans identity is legitimate or not?” The title of the piece certainly encourages this confusion, making it a question as to whether transgender women should be seen as women.

But the piece isn’t even balanced. In a response to Goldberg’s piece published on Autostraddle, Mari Brighe noted that Goldberg cited 14 radical feminists, quoting nine and including two quotes from books. In contrast, she quoted only four trans women, including no quotes from books;  two of her trans sources actually support radical feminist viewpoints. Likewise, Goldberg quotes TERFs misgendering trans women repeatedly, never mentioning that trans women find such language dehumanizing and hurtful. “Sadly, what she presents is a disturbingly one-sided view of the situation that relies on heavily anecdotal evidence, uncited claims and debunked theories, and ignores the extended campaign of harassment and attack that the trans community has endured at the hands of radical feminists,” writes Brighe.

Continue reading at:  http://bitchmagazine.org/post/terf-war-the-new-yorkers-one-sided-article-undermines-transgender-identity

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on TERF War: The New Yorker’s One-Sided Article Undermines Transgender Identity

A Trans Woman on Saving MichFest


The Michigan Women’s Music Festival hasn’t been relevant in over 30 years.

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kayley-whalen/a-trans-woman-on-saving-michfest_b_5653291.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on A Trans Woman on Saving MichFest

Selling off my Trans-Related Library (Part 1) A Chance to Get BooKs Missing From Your Library

Selling these books is like letting go.  Some would call it closure. One of the most liberating things of my life has happened over the last few years since I started this blog. I realized I am old. That I have outlive almost all the people who went through Stanford with me back in the early 1970s.  I’ve outlived most of my friends and enemies alike.

In the process I’ve returned to my roots. I was a working class hippie. In the early 1970s the anti-Israel position taken by so many on the left alienated me from the left, but not from the ranks of the blue collar Democratic Party.

I’ll confess I’ve never understood all the gender babble.  Being transsexual wasn’t about clothes or roles that much for me.  It was about being female bodied.  In many ways I no more conform to the gender stereotypes projected upon women than I did to the gender stereotypes projected upon men.  Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman” speech has always rung true to me because hard work and competence knows no gender.

Selling off these books and the more that will soon be offered is my way of sharing the knowledge, passing it on to folks young enough and involved enough to carry on with the struggle I was an active part of for so many years.

In many ways I feel like Candide, one of my favorite characters in one of my favorite books.

The struggle is now for others, I am content to tend my garden.

It has been a while in coming.  First I declared myself neutral in the endless trans-wars.  Then I embraced being post-transsexual.  I realized that as an old woman I had no desire to be a trans-activist or for that matter exploit my having been trans for economic benefit.

I’m in the process of simplifying my life as well as starting a new small business.

Some people have been after me to donate my library to various institutions.

The truth is I can’t afford to donate my library to some institution that is probably better off than I am.  Therefore I am selling off  my library on E-Bay.

While you might be able to find some of the books for less it won’t be much less.

While I can’t afford to contribute them for free to an archive perhaps you might purchase one of these books and donate it.
Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism by Pat Califia
Trans/forming Feminisms: by Krista Scott-Dixon
Transgender History by Susan Stryker
My Story by Caroline Cossy
Hidden in Plain Sight by Leslie D. Townsend (2002, Paperback)…
Lesbians Talk Transgender (Lesbians Talk Issues) by Zachary I Natif…
The Woman I Was Not Born to Be : A Transsexual Journey by Aleshia Brevard
Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity
Blending Genders : Social Aspects of Cross-Dressing and Sex-Changing
Sex Change, Social Change By Viviane Namaste
Presentations of Gender by Robert Stoller
The Uninvited Dilemma: A Question of Gender
Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach
Transgender Nation by Gordene Olga MacKenzie
Lessons from the Intersexed by Suzanne J. Kessler
Suits Me : The Double Life of Billy Tipton by Diane Wood …

This is just the initial offering more will follow.

Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism: What Exactly Is It, And Why Does It Hurt?

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelsie-brynn-jones/transexclusionary-radical-terf_b_5632332.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism, or TERF, is a loosely-organized collective with a message of hate and exclusion against transgender women in particular, and transgender people as a whole. They have attached themselves to radical feminism as a means to attempt to deny trans women basic access to health care, women’s groups, restroom facilities, and anywhere that may be considered women’s space.

Long time feminist and advocate, Gloria Steinem, used to hold an exclusionary opinion, but has since said that she fully supports the inclusion of trans women in the feminist movement, However, not all radical feminists agree. Janice Raymond, author of The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male authored a paper iIn the early 1980s that the Health and Human Services branch of the U.S. Government used to deny trans men and women trans-related medical care, for example.

Since then, they have continued to use anti-transgender rhetoric, using the banner of feminism in the same way that Westboro Baptist Church uses Christianity. They consistently use rhetoric suggesting that trans women are would-be rapists, that we are “men invading women’s spaces” — (Cathy Brennan, head of Gender Identity Watch) and are “forcing penises on lesbians” — (Justin Norwood, Gender Identity Watch), intimating that “penis” is a threat, with the assumption that trans women are nothing more than whatever genitals they may have been born with. The statistics, however, consistently show disproportional sexual aggression against transgender women, and to a lesser degree transgender men, when compared with the cisgender (simply a term meaning those who’s gender identity matches their assigned sex at birth) population.

When speaking out against the TERF movement, one is at risk of being “outed” on social media. In one instance, the group Gender Identity Watch worked with the right-wing anti-gay group, Pacific Justice Institute, to help prevent a Colorado teen from being able to use the women’s restroom. The leader, Cathy Brennan, outed the teen, who was already being bullied, and she was subsequently put on suicide watch. Their actions often incite others to denigrate or discriminate a minority — which is the definition of a hate group.

The verbiage often used by the TERF groups are problematic for the transgender community. Not because of the way in which they deliberately seek to dehumanize and denigrate trans women, but because of the reliance of tropes that medical science have for many years proven wrong, that feed into misunderstandings people may have regarding what being transgender truly means. In their words. a transgender woman is a nothing but a “self loathing gay man” and they claim that trans women are gay men who, rather than stand up and come out as gay, would rather “hide” by being transgender, as if it makes things more palatable for friends, family and co-workers. The reverse is unfortunately the truth.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelsie-brynn-jones/transexclusionary-radical-terf_b_5632332.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism: What Exactly Is It, And Why Does It Hurt?