Camp Trans and the Spirit of Community

As an anarchist queer, I’m embarrassed and disgusted by much of what passes as queer anarchism. As a former organizer of Camp Trans, I’m embarrassed and ashamed to be associated with it at this moment. As someone who attended Camp Trans for many years, I feel like a part of me has been killed.

The only thing that can be agreed on at this point is that Camp Trans 2010 was not a space that was safe, fun, or supportive for most of the attendees. Why was this the case? Can this be prevented in the future? Who is accountable for the nature of Camp Trans this year?

If Camp Trans is anything, it’s an intentional community. Community, at it’s best, is something that is more than the sum of its parts — that the individuals who make it up also form bonds with each other, making a space, an event, that is more than the sum of themselves. Community is formed by the debts, the lacks, the obligations we have to each other, and out of inessential commonality — not out of any essential nature of ours. We don’t need to all share the same politics, the same identities, the same way of conceiving identities…and that’s never been what Camp Trans was. Camp Trans was never an explicitly radical space. Yes, the idea that trans women are women is unfortunately political, but, ultimately, it had served as years as a location to act for inclusion into women’s spaces from, and to gather up a community of trans people who provided each other with support.

As marginalized people, our community is often vital to survival. Numerous times in my life, I would have been living on the streets if not for members of queer and trans communities, or other communities I am a part of. Unfortunately, I know I am not an exceptional case in this. Communities are where we form our bonds of friendship. The Totality (the state, capitalism, all forms of oppression), as part of the preservation of its existence and as a necessary, essential function, works tirelessly to destroy community. If we truly strive for collective liberation, we should not be doing its work for it. Community is vital and must be defended for it is the very basic unit of our existence, the most basic site of resistance and struggle. It may be flawed, and those flaws can and should be addressed, but not in ways that destroy the community. Community is the basis of many cherished anarchist values – solidarity, mutual aid, and cooperation, for instance.

But Camp Trans is not an anarchist or even radical space. Until recently, it had functioned quite well as a space where anarchists and non-anarchists could mingle, socialize, form friendships, share ideas, and it was organized on anti-authoritarian lines. It was a demonstration to non-radical attendees that anarchist modes of organization can and do work. This year it failed at that, as we saw a small group grab power through physical intimidation, threats of violence against the rest of camp, and silencing tactics. While anarchism is not pacifism, coercion and turning on one’s community to run it for the benefit of the few is antithetical to anarchism. The people who utilized these tactics to take over Camp are anarchists in name only. In reality, they are authoritarian thugs, not concerned with liberation for anyone or anything beyond their immediate desires for control.

It should be noted that up until this point I have not mentioned the tow truck incident. Yes, I was there. I was giving the Camp Trans herstory across the road, and, thus, didn’t notice that something serious was going down until a crowd had gathered. I couldn’t hear what was said over the engine, and couldn’t get beyond the outskirts of the crowd. So, I would encourage people to read Maya’s account, to read the comments there, to get as many eye-witness accounts as they can, as eyewitness accounts are notoriously unreliable. Soon after the incident escalated, someone tested their pepper spray. In addition to causing minor breathing difficulties in quite a few people (which then, as someone who was volunteering as a medic, became the focus of my attention), this created a more serious medical situation that I went off to deal with, with the patient involved. I then also prepped a large amount of herbal calming/preventing of panic treatments to deal with the fact that large numbers of people at Camp were emotionally traumatized. Accounts I’ve heard or read agree that several Camp Trans attendees were threatened, one attendee was degendered, and that the festival workers seemed to side with the tow truck driver – and if they were merely intending to deescalate, they should have communicated that adequately to Camp Trans attendees after the tow truck driver left. Which, according to all accounts, they didn’t.

From those accounts, it’s clear that the tow truck driver’s behavior was unacceptable, and that the fest workers who were involved likely owe Camp an apology.

However, the tow truck incident was less a reason and more an excuse for the events of the next several days. Fest was a far more convenient target than the tow truck driver, so, people got angry at Fest, even though the tow truck driver bears the brunt of the responsibility. There were calls for a march onto the Land, having someone directly affected by the incident demand an apology from the stage, and then march out. When the plan was just this, the vast majority of Camp planned to either participate, or at least support it.

And then the goal posts got shifted – part of the small gang of a dozen or so Camp Trans attendees started talking about how much they wanted a violent, physical confrontation with festies. Hearing this, many meeting attendees panicked about both their physical safety during the proposed action, about possible contact with the police, and about the fact that for most of us, Fest is not something we want to destroy. The mission statement of Camp Trans was that we supported the inclusion of trans women at Fest, and we had found over the years that the effective approach was to see the situation for what it was — a call out of the larger community by a portion of it, encouraging the community to change and grow. The shifting from “getting the story of what happened out” to “being in confrontation with Fest” was seen by many as a contradictory to the mission of Camp Trans.

And then the bullying and shows of force started. People started hiding in the woods in small groups. An emergency trans women’s caucus occurred, and yes, not all trans women at camp attended, but many did. We (the members of that caucus) made a statement that evening that camp trans hadn’t been a trans woman-centric space for years, that it needed to just state it was a trans-centric space, and that the place for a trans woman-centric space was in Michfest, given the enormous outpouring of support this year, the non-enforcement of the policy since 2006, and the fact that it was explicitly stated that the policy wouldn’t be enforced in 2006.

Really, once we realized that the policy wasn’t going to be enforced again in 2006, we should have made the statement in 2007. We should have proactively realized that with the vast majority of the real work of trans women being on the Land and becoming truly a part of the Fest community happening at Fest, that the culture of Camp Trans would shift to a celebration of all trans people. This is a valuable and noble purpose for a space, but tension was created from the contradictions between the mission statement and the culture of the space.

Of course, after the statement, the attacks started. Dirty laundry got aired about how trans women had been made to feel unsafe in recent years, and a call out of tactics used by a small handful of people was made (most strongly by me, which I got a lot of attacks for, including being degendered, repeatedly called a fake woman, having friends and allies escort me away because many people, myself included, were legitimately afraid that I would be physically assaulted). It generally doesn’t end well, being a woman who doesn’t know her place.

It shouldn’t be ignored that there were trans women (and other trans female spectrum people) in the small group of authoritarian thugs. What’s important to note that the only trans female voices that were respected by that group and allowed to be heard were the ones that agreed with them, that were part of their group. And degendering and erasure of identities occurred on all sides, and that’s always fucked up, no matter who it’s coming from.

Candice has an account of her experiences – it’s a four part video, the third part video (with discussion of the caucus) is embedded here. All her videos about Camp Trans 2010 are worth watching.

Links to all Candice’s videos, in order:

part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4

Fundamentally, the questions we need to ask ourselves are, at what cost to the safety of others is it worth to get to carry out an action? Why is it unacceptable for a tow truck driver to threaten a few of us, and Michfest workers to not respond adequately to that, but acceptable for a small minority of a community to threaten, intimidate, and silence the rest of the community? What people decided to do at first in response to the tow truck incident wasn’t the issue – what was the issue was the fact that other people’s autonomy and voluntary association were not respected, that they were made to feel threatened, and that many people fled Camp Trans Thursday during the day. When does a legitimate threat to the community — that had, by the time any decision making process occurred, become no longer an issue of physical safety but an issue of responding — allow any group within a community to make threats and tear apart the rest of the community?

We can not destroy the community in order to save it.

* What This Means For Camp Trans and The Trans Community *

Camp Trans has a lot of issues to address if it’s even to occur next year, and if a substantial number of trans people are going to feel safe attending. A way to find people accountable for making the space unsafe, for having people leave because they had a realistic fear of physical and psychological violence from inside camp, and the spread of rumors and character assassination outside of camp must be addressed. The people who did these things must be held accountable, and steps must be taken to insure that similar events do not occur. This is to not say there is a single stance that people must have and that everyone who does not hold that must be punished – this is only to say that threats of violence and physical and psychological intimidation within a community are anathema to both the community principles of camp trans, and to anarchist principles (given that they disrespect voluntary association, autonomy, and the idea of solidarity in struggle), and that needs to be addressed.

What further needs to be addressed – in all trans spaces – is the fact that trans male spectrum people, whether they identify as men or not, whether they are regarded by the larger world as men or not, continue to dominate trans spaces, particularly Camp Trans over the last several years, and as we organize our spaces and live in our communities, we need to be ever vigilant to the silencing of women (particularly trans women), no matter what their views are, and we need to continually hold all male spectrum people accountable for patriarchal behaviors. While all people need to be held accountable for patriarchal behavior, regardless of identity or privilege, patriarchy empowers all male spectrum people to varying degrees to enact these behaviors. Neither Camp Trans nor Michfest are the cutting edge of patriarchy. Trans male spectrum people trying to be unaccountable for their behavior is, and that’s really just the old patriarchy with a hip new packaging.

* What This Means For The Anarchist Community *

We need to stop giving people who deny any sort of accountability — to a larger community, to any sort of organization, even to the idea of a larger struggle as a whole — a free pass. Enough is enough. I, and I’m sure many others will join me in this, am tired of people caring about nothing beyond their immediate catharsis, no matter what effect their actions have on communities, supposed comrades in struggle, the strategic goals of struggle, or any sort of intelligent tactics. The vast majority of tactics are neither good nor bad in absolute isolation, it’s how they play into the larger strategy of struggle, what repercussions they’ll have, how likely they are to succeed that determine their utility. Taking action out of nothing but an individual desire for catharsis or excitement, or in theory to avenge a few members of a community — while harming far more members of the community in the attempt to coerce the action into being — is not anarchist. The first is nothing but bourgeois individualism, the latter is being an authoritarian in anarchist’s clothing.

Before the predictable accusations of “pacifist liberal” come out (seriously, they’ve been done, they’re stupid, and they just make you look like a petulant child when aimed at people who’ve been at this for years and years), it would be wise to consider the words of Emma Goldman:

“No revolution can ever succeed as a factor of liberation unless the MEANS used to further it be identical in spirit and tendency with the PURPOSES to be achieved. Revolution is the negation of the existing, a violent protest against man’s inhumanity to man with all the thousand and one slaveries it involves. It is the destroyer of dominant values upon which a complex system of injustice, oppression, and wrong has been built up by ignorance and brutality. It is the herald of NEW VALUES, ushering in a transformation of the basic relations of man to man, and of man to society.”

If you need to commit inhumanities against your own community to further your liberation, you’re not furthering liberation at all. In simpler terms – authoritarian gangs trying to run our own community can only ever accomplish turning our community into a collection of authoritarian gangs. If we want our communities to be free of hierarchy, intimidation, and coercion, we must not use those tactics against our own communities in times of stress. In fact, the moments when we feel most tested are when our principles are most important. It is comparatively easy to be committed to a culture of consent, where we all get to decide what actions we will take, be a part of, or support when those actions are not controversial, and not being decided on under stress. It is harder to maintain that commitment in times of crisis, but how we respond to crisis is a strong test of how we will live in the new world we want to create.

This is not a call for all anarchists to be part of large organizations to be legitimate, though more and more that is where I personally see the path to liberation lying. We can and do have legitimate disagreements on that. This is my saying that I’ll only work with people who are somehow similarly embedded in a web of accountability, that has points that I trust, and my advice that others do the same. This is my saying that once someone says they don’t hold themselves responsible before any community, I no longer trust them enough to work with them.

There is the other issue that, in our supposed respect for a diversity of tactics, some of us have just fixated on different tactics. A music festival of mainly lesbians, with no corporate support, in the woods is far different from a bank foreclosing on houses and kicking our fellow workers into the streets which is far different from the brutality of police repression. Different circumstances call for different tactics and different strategies. We need to not confuse a music festival with a major corporation or with the state itself. Different struggles have different needs and goals, and one-size-fits-all tactics are silly, betray a lack of analysis, and are ineffective — and potentially damaging to the cause you seek to promote.

To quote a friend of mine, “I’m into fucking winning”. And that involves different methods in different situations. And winning doesn’t just mean a world without a state and without capitalism, but also dealing with all the horrible things we’ve internalized being part of a profoundly sick society – the “us vs. them” mentality, false dualities, valuing winning arguments no matter what the cost rather than conversations where we grow, and a single-minded focus on external enemies (whether legitimate or illegitimate) without recognizing that we need to build and maintain vibrant, supportive, strong communities. In a truly vibrant and strong community, a small cadre can’t take over for its own ends. Our movements need to come out of these communities, rather than substitute for them, because a community is different than a common purpose — it is an exchange of mutual needs and obligations. It is the worst of what we’ve been indoctrinated in by the oppressive, hierarchical society around us to let a small group command and control the rest of us.

It is also clear, that both with events that draw on people from diverse communities that aren’t explicitly anarchist (and have many non-anarchists in attendance), and also with anarchist convergences, we need to have methods in place to handle accountability as a continuous process, recognizing that things can happen that will need to be dealt with long after the event is over. As an organizer of Camp Trans, I need to hold some responsibility for not helping prepare for such major violations of the space. I think it caught all of us by surprise that a small group of people could tear apart and destroy Camp Trans, that they would apparently want to do such, and they would use an incident where several people at camp were physically threatened and many more were emotionally traumatized. Perhaps I’m not yet so old that I’m naive enough to have expected better of my community. Unfortunately, I lose one of my last bits of naiveté like this.

in solidarity, and toward healthier, accountable communities and collective liberation,

gayge

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14 Responses to Camp Trans and the Spirit of Community

  1. Ann Amoli says:

    Gayge,

    Your essay poses some very important — if troubling — questions, and I commend you for your courage in articulating these issues. In particular, your essay highlights my concerns about safe spaces for trans women. If Camp Trans in its present condition is no longer a safe space for us, then it seems to me that we will have to create a new event (s). My suggestion? Two gatherings, one for all trans-identified people, and another specifically for trans women, neither of which should be held simultaneously. At present, in wake of this year’s political situation at Camp Trans, I am convinced that trans women need our own space (s) to gather in order to coalesce (sic) as a community and, optimally, gather strength as a community. I especially see this as necessary as a means of support for those trans sisters who are currently attending MichFest or who intend to do so in the future. It is time to organize, and I hope that we can learn from the mistakes at this year’s Camp Trans so that no trans woman will feel unsafe again in what is supposed to be trans-space.

    • Marja Erwin says:

      I was thinking along the same lines. I had planned to go to Camp Trans, looking for a trans-inclusive womon-centered space, but my girlfriend talked me out of it, explaining that it was far from womon-centered.

      As an admitted outsider, I think people at Camp Trans have been working at cross purposes – some looking for womon-centered space and trying to advocate for trans womyn’s inclusion across the road, and others trying to build a trans-all-ways-centered space. As more men have come to Camp Trans, fewer womyn interested in womon-centered space have come. I don’t see any reason to locate a trans-all-ways-centered space at the same time and place as Michfest. I can see why to put a trans-womon-centered space there to advocate to Michfest.

      At this point, my best suggestion is to create more spaces, including some trans-womon-inclusive womon-centered spaces, and to try to lessen tensions.

      • anarchafemme says:

        Yeah, I think that contradiction fed into the tension, and I think a space centering all trans people needs to not occur at the same time and place as Fest if we want it to be a safer space for all trans people (because Camp Trans across the road and at the same time as Fest will just result in a lot of trans women who can get out there going to Fest).

    • anarchafemme says:

      My one concern is, with that number of events, how do we ensure that there’s attendance at all of them? Michfest is a) expensive and b) going to be intense even if we establish a trans womyn’s space inside the Zone.

      I think some people will want to hold onto Camp Trans, but, I can see it becoming a regional thing — occuring at a time other than Fest, and other transcentric spaces popping up. I don’t have a ton of hope for trans womyn centric spaces popping up all over; misogyny keeps so much of the community behind trans male spectrum people, that’s it’s hard to see a trans womyn’s only space not getting shouted down if it pops up on its own.

  2. Elijah Mountain says:

    G- After last year’s Camp was hi-jacked by gangs, i chose not to attend this year. Given all the information about what happened this month, it looks like i made the best choice for me. it horrifies me to think that you or anyone else was made to feel any bit uncomfortable at CT, let alone UN-safe by other queers. See in 2008, i got to be a part of something there in hart that was really magickal, something quite like a dream-space…where everyone involved was love-love-love and full of streaming light. i thought i had found a sort of heaven on earth. but then when i returned to the land in 2009, there was a noticeable shift. not just in hart, but in queer community in general. i still haven’t decided what exactly was happening, but i decided to keep out of it, to align myself with the more loving, peace-centered queer-anarcha-community. how can anyone who has ever read a book or been to school, deny the 1960’s civil rights lessons of peace/love/education vs. violence/terror? i enjoyed reading and contemplating your essay, even the parts with which i disagreed (they gave me pause to develop my own opinion). you are right to call out next year’s CT organizer’s and planning crew. you are right to call out the community at large. a big part of why i didn’t go this year, and why i stayed out in the wood’s last year (in a more silent support), is because CT IS being OVERRUN with trans-male people. this can’t be good to the mission of CT or for the “all kinds of womyn” who show up for their very own space. CT mos def needs to rethink its mission statement for next year and beyond. the ‘inclusion/exclusion’ statements from this year were atrocious and obnoxious. The entire violent radical wing of our community these days needs to learn its time and place in society. and that place is NOT on the rural trans-mich fest confrontation zone. pack it out boys and let the womyn do their thing. fractioning off and splintering our already tiny cell will only serve to harm everyone. let’s find a common ground and a place with educated dialogue and logical reasoning before we all go up in smoke.

    • anarchafemme says:

      Well, I think Camp Trans was totally trans male spectrum dominated. Full stop. There was also a small group who wanted to utilize violence against anything and everything. Full stop. And part of that small group were trans women and other trans female spectrum people, in about the same percentage that were at Camp. (I just want to emphasize this because so much degendering was flying all over the place at Camp).

      I think that you’re right that a trans male dominated space can’t adequately serve the goal of making women’s space inclusive of trans women — trans women need to effectively lead and motivate that work, with other people helping. And even an all-inclusive trans space needs to look like our communities (and Camp Trans has issues beyond gender, to be sure), so you’re totally right about it being overrun by trans male people.

      I think the thing is, yeah, that’s not the time and place for escalate with everyone who gets in our way tactics. And it’s never the time and place to bully and terrorize one’s own community, or to be completely unaccountable. And I think that was the issue, because conversations that needed to happen about what’s tactically appropriate, what the strategy was, what the community wants and needs couldn’t happen.

      I feel like the need to just lash out, to just destroy, to not suggest any future vision comes out of isolation and feelings of ineffectiveness; and I think what happened, as some queer anarchists got more and more rarified in their theory, more and more exclusive in who’d they’d talk to, they lacked the numbers to actually do anything effectual. And at that point, the only option that fulfills anything is the catharsis of lashing out. Which is not to say any particular tactic should never be used, just that it needs strategy, and an analysis of why, how, and what it means longer term. And that all got purposefully tossed aside because there’s an increasingly isolated segment of the community that no longer believes in collective liberation, they only believe in destroying things. To start paraphrasing Durruti, not being in the least afraid of ruins is fine — but there needs to be a new world in our hearts (and not being afraid of ruins is different than wanting them (and I’m really suspicious of the actual goals of someone who doesn’t want to minimize the negatives on the way to bringing about a better world)). And in really bad times, when people are completely isolated from any sort of larger movement, that new world in our hearts can die.

  3. Sadie-Ryanne says:

    First of all, thank you for sharing this. I have followed with great personal anguish the post-Camp chaos and finger-pointing. So far I’ve mostly heard only hateful rants and worthless rhetoric. This is one of the first things I have read that made sense to me. From listening to the stories of people I trust who were there , I was already thinking most of the things you said.

    Some people have said to me, “You weren’t there, so you can’t have an opinion.” But, it does matter, because it still touches my life, my friends and my community. People need to realize that their actions have repercussions far beyond Camp Trans. People all across North America, including folks I know who have never been to Camp or haven’t been in 15 years, heard about this. It matters to us, and I should be allowed to have an opinion too.

    I wanted to attend Camp this year *so badly* but I am now sad to admit that I’m glad I didn’t, as a trans-female person with plenty of trauma-related mental health issues of my own. I imagine if I *had* gone to Camp this year, I would have ended up having nightmares, panic attacks and crying fits all week long. So much for creating accessible spaces.

    Of course the tow-truck driver was in the wrong, and of course misgendering people is always wrong, no matter who does it. But being misgendered or threatened by transphobes does not give you carte blanche to turn around and be an asshole to your own community. I also hate it when trans-male-spectrum people who don’t identify as male, but present as male and pass as cis males in their daily lives, try to say that they don’t have male privilege. Own it, y’all. Seriously.

    I considered myself an anarchist for over 10 years, but it was precisely this kind of behavior that drove me out of most anarchist spaces and eventually led me to feel ambivalent about the term “anarchist” in general. I’m sick of the more-radical-than-thou snobs who attack others for being “pacifists” when they disagree about the usefulness of a particular tactic, even if their reason for disagreeing has nothing to do with pacifism. I’m sick of the obscure rhetoric that doesn’t make sense to 99.9% of the world, save the 0.1% who have read Agamben and Italian 1970s insurrectionary manifestos. I’m sick of the individualistic bullshit claiming that “community” is somehow a bad, oppressive thing. I’m sick of being called a “reformist liberal” because I support you know, actually working with people who aren’t already anarchists. I’m sick of people who get delusions of grandeur and start a witch hunt every time there’s a vague rumor that someone might be a snitch. Even worse, I’m sick of the people who refuse to be held accountable for their busted behavior. These people are destroying everything that anarchism ever meant to me, all of the positive and powerful ideas that it once stood for, and driving away virtually everyone from the anarchist struggle.

    If I seem bitter, it’s because I am. These things have *all* happened to me before. This kind of behavior has already driven me out of past homes, and now I feel like I’m losing another one thanks to the same shit. I am one more trans-female spectrum person who will NOT be attending Camp Trans, probably ever again. Camp meant a lot to me, and yes, I am a little bitter that self-righteous people have once again turned it into an unsafe space for me.

    Anyway, thanks for writing this.

    Sadie-Ryanne

    • anarchafemme says:

      Yes to all of this. I think that’s the hardest part of all of this — a lot of us are losing a place we feel like was home and isn’t any more.

  4. I just reposted this on Facebook with the following header:

    “I’ve been hearing bits and pieces about what happened this year at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival and Camp Trans around continued organizing for inclusion of trans women on the land (see michfest.net for a short round-up, and links elsewhere). I’ve been saddened by the reports of violence, and heartened by the reports of resistance within the fest. But this post is the most illuminating I’ve read so far, and I’d encourage y’all to read it and follow the links there, too. I especially appreciate the analysis that gayge brings to thinking about strategy and, more importantly, the meaning of community for revolution and liberation. Such important, difficult and necessary conversations.”

    I want to thank you for writing this, gayge. Michfest and Camp Trans are not the front lines for the battles I’ve fought for inclusion of trans women in “women-only” spaces, for many complex reasons not worth enumerating here. However, every year, I re-engage these questions with the friends who go and the friends who won’t/can’t go to the fest. And every time the question of inclusion is raised in various other spaces, the spectre of Michigan enters the room. I want to tell you how important I think your work, and the work of your comrades, has been over the years. I can empathize with how exhausting that work is — and how terrifying, how frustrating, and occasionally glorious it is. And I appreciate you taking the time to write this account, and to tackle the larger issues of revolutionary/liberatory strategy and community accountability. I appreciate the clarity, and the yearning, of your analysis here. I appreciate the cost of this work, and that you do it anyway.

    I hope that you and your folks will take the time to rest and recover and give yourselves space for re-entry into the world away from the land, that flashpoint hotspot of so many of these questions we hold so dear. I hope that these conversations can continue, and that Camp Trans can continue (though on more stable intentional footing), and that Michfest will someday soon come to its senses. But then again, I hope the world will come to its senses soon, too.

    Yours in struggle,

    Emily

    • anarchafemme says:

      Thank you. I’ve been taking a step back from a lot of stuff, trying to just give myself that space, and it’s going to take a while to be fully back emotionally, but, I think I’ve said what I need to say and had the conversations I need to have and can concentrate on getting settled again.

  5. Annie says:

    Well, put, all of you. I am so sick and sad about what occurred this year in Hart. I was not present, but as Sadie-Ryanne said, I know some who were and have heard and read quite a bit about it.

    I attended CT once, a couple of years ago. I’m a cis womyn, and I wanted to come and be part of, and be supportive of, a truly inclusive sisterhood. I thought that all womyn would be celebrated, period. Unfortunately, I experienced a lot of cliquishness and felt that the womyn at Camp were pretty marginalized. At one point during my stay I was sitting with some folks who started telling some awful misogynist jokes and I got up and left. I’ve got a kick ass sense of humor, I love raunch, but it just wasn’t ok to me.

    I also thought about attending CT again this year, but things fell through. Honestly, I’m now glad I didn’t, and I’m sad to say that. How do we move forward?

    I wish I could have been there to defend and support my sisters after that horrifying tow truck driver incident. However, with the bad, I think there was some good in the overall struggle- forgive me if I sound like a “reformist assimilationist liberal” or whatever- but I was encouraged by the action Sia took at Fest in bringing all of these transwomyn on stage with her. I heard that many were deeply moved by it and even began to reconsider their support of the Fest’s policy. I know this change is far too slow. But it is coming. I and many “WBW” want it badly, even if some at CT didn’t and don’t.

    Much love, all.

    • anarchafemme says:

      I think with what’s we’re trying to achieve – for Fest to be truly welcoming for all womyn – that Sia’s action was perfect, because it’s a huge, impossible to ignore show of support, and it does make people think about it, and in a way that doesn’t force it into a confrontation.

      • Annie says:

        Yes.
        Please remember, in this hard time, that you and all transwomyn have lotsa support from within Fest, truly.

        Do you want to abandon CT? Transform it? Join MichFest? I’d like to continue this conversation, if you all do. It’s so important. Whatever comes for the future, I’ve got ya’lls back!

  6. Marja Erwin says:

    I think one of the major problems is that events which are trans-womon-inclusive or attempt to be trans-womon-inclusive often fail to get the word out. There must be dozens of womyn’s festivals, women’s music festivals, lesbian festivals, etc. which don’t mention whether they intend to include or exclude trans womyn, let alone how inclusive or exclusive they are.

    I think it would be useful trans activism to try to locate these events, find out their goals, their policies, what logistical issues may crop up at showers, campsites, etc., and share this information. This could help create more space for trans womyn, could help create more understanding, and could provide models for trans womyn’s inclusion.

    Obviously there may be different issues in different spaces. I think some events should center trans womyn’s experiences, and try to welcome people who are considering transition, who are just starting transition, or who are bigender, genderqueer, or otherwise not soley womon-identified. I don’t think all events should center transition-related experiences, and some womyn’s events may reasonably exclude people who have not yet started transition. (As long as the hurdles don’t intersect with class oppression or interfere with bodily autonomy, *cough*, like certain proposed standards.)

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