From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-beyer/guess-whos-coming-to-dinn_6_b_5659525.html
The LGBT version of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is not yet playing at a theater near you this summer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone were writing such a script.
Every summer sees the return of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MWMF or MichFest), along with the exposure of the festival’s profoundly discriminatory policy against trans women. This summer, though, has been witness to a sea change in the national LGBT community’s response. For the first time a state equality organization, Equality Michigan, led by Executive Director Emily Dievendorf, issued a public critique of the festival. It has also committed to a multi-year effort to effect change. They were quickly joined by HRC’s Beth Sherouse, who published a blog post in support of Equality Michigan, which then started a petition that, as of this writing, has been joined by the Task Force and NCLR.
But MichFest is only the very tip of the iceberg. The next layer down is populated by the women who’ve spent the past four decades wasting their energy hating trans women. Their numbers include Lisa Vogel, the founder of MichFest and its director since its inception. These women, now known as trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs), include professors like Janice Raymond and Julie Burchill, authors like Mary Daly and Sheila Jeffreys, and cyberbullies like Cathy Brennan and GallusMag. One such ’70s-era second-wave feminist who has since learned about the trans experience and left the group is Gloria Steinem, who joined other sane feminists like Andrea Dworkin. Very well-researched reviews of this phenomenon have recently been written and include those by Julia Serano and Jos Truitt in response to last week’s New Yorker article “What Is a Woman?”
These women hold conferences, or try to hold them when they’re not being blocked by a younger, more inclusive community of radical feminists. They write books attacking the trans community, both women and men, and while they shout about the need to confront men who are abusing women in our patriarchal society, they focus their energy not on the actual men who disparage, demean and assault women but on women who’ve lived some portion of their lives as men because of a birth defect. That trans women do not assault other women is irrelevant; their screed is no different, in words and theology, from that of the radical, anti-modern religious zealots who hate all things LGBT. (Here’s Jeffreys: “[W]hen I look at the House of Lords debate on this legislation, those I agree with most are the radical right.”)
There is nothing new about any of this. The MWMF has been an annual event for four decades, and trans women have been engaging with it, generally unsuccessfully, since 1991. The TERFs have been active since Sandy Stone was bounced from Olivia Records in the mid-’70s, and while some of the lesbians from those days, such as Judy Dlugacz and Sue Hyde, have evolved, many have not. That gets me to the main theme of this blog post.
Our community’s problem isn’t with MichFest. If it became trans-inclusive tomorrow, the underlying problem would remain. It isn’t even with the radical antifeminist nature of the TERFs; if they quieted down tomorrow, the underlying problem would remain. The problem is the iceberg below, which no one wants to recognize. I would say we all have our heads in the sand, but that’s one metaphor that won’t mix with sea water.
Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-beyer/guess-whos-coming-to-dinn_6_b_5659525.html