The TERFs Haven’t Evolved

Sister-197706-Hyde-and-others

Only their slimy wordsmithery has.

Lisa Vogel – who, as we all know (and can see above, as printed in the June 1977 issue of Sister), aided the attempt to extort an act of anti-trans-woman employment discrimination out of Olivia Records, is now putting on her Ben Stein mask and attempting to re-write history:

Michfest Responds: We Have a Few Demands Of Our Own

1. Get Your Facts Straight

As the 39th Festival closes and we turn our hearts and minds to our landmark 40th anniversary, we reiterate that Michfest recognizes trans women as women – and they are our sisters. We do not fear their presence among us, a false claim repeatedly made. 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.

Over 20 years ago, we asked Nancy Burkholder, a trans woman, to leave the Land. That was wrong, and for that, we are sorry. We, alongside the rest of the LGBTQ community, have learned and changed a great deal over our 39-year history. We speak to you now in 2014 after two decades of evolution; an evolution grown from our willingness to stay in hard conversations, just as we do every year around issues of race, ability, class and gender. Since that single incident, Festival organizers have never asked a trans woman to leave the Festival.

Really?

Cristan Williams notes in the comments to that chunk o’ revisionism:

Funny, the very next year trans women were thrown out of MWMF under threats of violence even though the Leather Dykes and the Lesbian Avengers offered body guard protection.

Funny how Lisa forgot to mention that even in 92, a MWMF survey found that most attendees welcomed trans women.

From an interview of Janis Walworth by Cristan Williams at TransAdvocate:

[Walworth:] In 1993, we went back again. There were four trans women and me in 93. We were prepared to be thrown out.  We again set up a table, like we had before and we proceeded to do our educational outreach.

Some people in the festival began harassing us and then around noon on Wednesday or Thursday, the festival security stopped by and told us that the trans women in our group would have to leave, “for their own safety.”

Cristan: For your own SAFETY? Are you saying that TERFs were talking about attacking your group?

Walworth: Tensions were definitely rising, we were told. We had scheduled to do some workshops and some folks were definitely hostile. We were told that, for our own safety, the trans women would need to leave the festival as soon as possible. It was a situation.

We had decided before all of this that if they asked us to leave, we would leave. We had all of our camping gear and had decided that we would just set up across the street from the festival.

What about 1994 and Camp Trans?

Walworth: As people were coming into the festival, we were handing out literature. The festival organizers didn’t like it. They were telling folks not to take our literature, the sheriff came out, and the park ranger came out. They would do things like wait until five in the morning when we were all asleep and blare loud music at us.

Cristan: Oh wow! So, the festival really worked to try and silence you.

Walworth: Yeah, but we kept doing our education. What we were doing was amazing, though. I mean, we had this lesbian couple come out to Camp Trans to get married. One of the trans women was a minister and this couple thought that the best place to have their wedding was at Camp Trans!

The grandmotherly women went up to the festival gate to go into the festival because she knew that she had a friend inside that she wanted to see. Since she was over 65, she didn’t have to pay and so when she got up there, the security people at the gate knew that she was from Camp Trans. They debated over what to do and they finally allowed her to go in with a security detail, “for her own protection,” they said.  She said, “Why do I need protection. I’m a grandmother. Are you saying that an old woman like me can’t go safely into your festival? What kind of place is this?”

I guess it all depends on what the definition of “evolution” is, eh Lisa?

Again, it is not the inclusion of trans women at Festival that we resist; it is the erasure of the specificity of female experience in the discussion of the space itself that stifles progress in this conversation.

Prove you’ve evolved, Lisa.

Issue this statement: “Trans women are women. Period.”

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