Michfest Has a Few Demands Of Its Own

From The Advocate: http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2014/08/19/michfest-has-few-demands-its-own

With another festival come and gone, Michfest founder and organizer Lisa Vogel laid out a list of ‘demands’ she’d like her critics to meet.

BY Parker Marie Molloy
August 19 2014

Yesterday, Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival organizer Lisa Vogel issued a statement about the festival — which just wrapped up its 39th year — and the ongoing controversy around its “intention” that the festival cater solely to “Womyn Born Womyn.”

In the weeks before this year’s festival, a number of high-profile LGBT advocacy groups — including Equality Michigan, GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and National Center for Lesbian Rights — called on the festival to put an end to the “Womyn Born Womyn” intention.

Vogel’s statement, emailed to supporters Monday with the subject line, “We Have a Few Demands of Our Own,” lays out five requests organizers would like to see the festival’s critics follow. Asking critics to “Get your facts straight,” Vogel delves into the semantics of the word “transphobic.”

“We do not fear their presence among us, a false claim repeatedly made,” Vogel writes. “What we resist — and what we will never stop fighting — is the continued erasure and disrespect for the specific experience of being born and living as female in a patriarchal, misogynist world.” Later, she adds, “It is not the inclusion of trans womyn at Festival that we resist; it is the erasure of the specificity of female experience in the discussion of about the space itself that stifles progress in this conversation.”

Her second bulletpoint is an ask that critics “acknowledge the validity of autonomous, female-defined space.” Here Vogel clarifies that straight and bisexual women are welcome at the festival, so long as they understand the the festival is centered around “a community defined by lesbian culture.” Later, she refers to the event’s focus as being “on the experience of those born female, who’ve lived their lives subjected to oppression based on the sole fact of their being female.” Although it doesn’t explicitly mention trans women, this statement rests on the premise that trans women have not always been female, and therefore cannot share an understanding and experience of womanhood with cisgender (nontrans) women.

Later in that section, Vogel laments efforts of organizations like the New York Abortion Access Fund to employ language inclusive of trans men and non-binary individuals assigned female at birth who may carry and bear children, arguing that this type of push is “pressure for erasure of a specifically female reality,” highlighting discomfort with “unofficial Michfest anthem,” “Pussy Manifesto.”

Vogel’s third request asks critics to “acknowledge that Michfest creates spaces that do not exist elsewhere.” In this section, Vogel highlights the welcoming, familial experiences offered by the festival to those for whom it is intended. Perhaps unintentionally, highlighting the uniqueness of the festival’s existence also highlights how it is also one of the only remaining women’s music festivals at which trans women are told they are not particularly welcome.

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2014/08/19/michfest-has-few-demands-its-own

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The Ties That Bind Us

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelsie-brynn-jones/the-ties-that-bind-us_1_b_5692983.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Gazans Suspected of Collaborating With Israel Are Executed

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/23/world/middleeast/israel-gaza.html?_r=0

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Roots

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Is the Omnipresent Push for Self-Esteem Destructive?

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/books/omnipresent-push-self-esteem-destructive

“An uncritical endorsement of high self-esteem may be counterproductive and even dangerous.”

By Anneli Rufus
August 13, 2014

Adapted from “Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself” by Anneli Rufus

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” —Bertrand Russell

Is low self-esteem all that bad? Self-loathing is. But between self-loathing and narcissism is a vast spectrum comprising infinitely various degrees of self-regard. Neither extreme is good. If only we could just reach medium.

In 1986, California state assembly member John Vasconcellos proposed the State Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem. This ignited a new movement: Based on the notion that low self-esteem caused every kind of social woe from teenage pregnancy to low test scores and high dropout rates, school curricula and parenting techniques were radically transformed, their main objective now being to cultivate high self-esteem among the young, which activists proclaimed would cure those social woes and make America a safer, happier, and better place. A multibillion-dollar industry surged around self-esteem. Kids were taught to make “me” flags of their putative “me” nations, to view history and fiction through the filter of their feelings, and to start schooldays with affirmations such as I always make good choices and Everyone is happy to see me.

The aftermath has not worked out as planned. Since 1986, self-esteem among young people has increased. Studies show that students hold themselves in higher regard than students in decades past. But to the shock and horror of the self-esteem movement’s boosters, soaring self-esteem has done nothing to stem crime, addiction and those other ills the boosters claimed high self-esteem would stem. In fact, ambient sky-high self-esteem might present new problems of its own: One long-term study found that college students are now twice as narcissistic as college students were in 1982; other studies link high self-esteem with high rates of aggression, territorialism, elitism, racism, and other negative qualities.

And other studies show that the so-called Millennial Generation – young adults born after the self-esteem movement began — are demonstrably less likely than Baby Boomers and Generation Xers to care about social problems, current events or energy conservation. Millennials are also less likely to have jobs whose main purpose is to help other people. In one study, three times as many Millennials as Boomers said they made no personal effort to help the environment.

“Certain forms of high self-esteem seem to increase one’s proneness to violence,” reads one report published in the journal of the American Psychological Association. “An uncritical endorsement of the cultural value of high self-esteem may therefore be counterproductive and even dangerous. The societal pursuit of high self-esteem for everyone may literally end up doing considerable harm.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/books/omnipresent-push-self-esteem-destructive

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‘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

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This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate – Book Trailer