Memo to a Certain Rich White Individual Who’s Played Transition to the Hilt Profiting from the Exposure

In the mood to prove your legitimacy to trans people who aren’t rich?  Use some of your wealth and media access to visibly attend this year’s Michigan Transphobia Festival.

h/t Kelli Busey for this post’s title

If Trans People Get the Blame, Then Trans People Can Take the Credit

And perhaps we can call the end result…

The 40th Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, to be held this August, will be the last, its founder announced today.

The storied women-only event, first held in 1976, has been the subject of controversy in recent years because of its exclusion of transgender women, with many artists and organizations deciding to boycott. Founder and organizer Lisa Vogel gave no reason for ending the fest, however, in a Facebook post announcing the decision

…incremental progress.


Terrorize trans kids, apparently.

I have a story that will be coming out sometime this month. The story comes from several hours of interviews I did with members of the Lesbian Avengers. They told me about what happened to their group back in 1999, when a mob of violent Michigan Womyn’s Music Fest (MWMF) TERFs held a trans kid against her will and threatened to murder her.

Cristan Williams has some details posted and apparently has some more to come.

The TERFs Haven’t Evolved


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.


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.”

As Much of a Private Entity as the Michigyn Transphobya Festyval ‘Land’

From Raw Story:

Two women who hoped to buy gowns to wear to their wedding were turned away from a bridal shop in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, prompting a torrent of criticism for the store online and by word-of-mouth.

According to, the brides-to-be were informed that the W. W. Bridal Boutique “does not service same-sex couples” because to do so would be a violation of their “religious beliefs.”

A religious belief…

You know…

just like the belief – also contrary to all science – that trans women aren’t women.

Pennsylvania currently has no laws against discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

You know…

Just like Michigyn.

Michigan Law

Here’s a Michigan law:

Chapter 37  Civil Rights  
Act 453 of 1976  Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act  
Article 1

§ 37.2102.  Recognition and declaration of civil right; action arising out of discrimination based on sex or familial status.

Sec. 102.   (1) The opportunity to obtain employment, housing and other real estate, and the full and equal utilization of public accommodations, public service, and educational facilities without discrimination because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status as prohibited by this act, is recognized and declared to be a civil right.

Here’s another:

Article 3

§ 37.2301.  Definitions.

Sec. 301.        As used in this article:

     (a) “Place of public accommodation” means a business, or an educational, refreshment, entertainment, recreation, health, or transportation facility, or institution of any kind, whether licensed or not, whose goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations are extended, offered, sold, or otherwise made available to the public.

And, here’s one more:

§ 37.2302.  Public accommodations or services; prohibited practices.

Sec. 302.        Except where permitted by law, a person shall not:

     (a) Deny an individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation or public service because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, or marital status.

     (b) Print, circulate, post, mail, or otherwise cause to be published a statement, advertisement, notice, or sign which indicates that the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation or public service will be refused, withheld from, or denied an individual because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, or marital status, or that an individual’s patronage of or presence at a place of public accommodation is objectionable, unwelcome, unacceptable, or undesirable because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, or marital status.

If Maryland sex discrimination law covered trans people even without “gender identity” (as at least one trans-exterminationist Maryland lawyer liked to claim), then current Michigan sex discrimination law….

well, you know.

Believe it or Not, There Actually Are Plenty of OTHER Reasons to Boycott the Michygyn Transphobya Festyval

Such as…

its in Michigan – a rather large state that has not even come close to enacting a gay rights law (legitimate or St. Barney-esque) and whose neo-fascist governor and legislature have gone beyond craftily trying to prevent African-Americans from voting to actually erasing the local governments of a number of cities and school districts.


I don’t need to visit the states of New York, Wisconsin and New Hampshire to know that the sickening evil embodied by the 1977 Lisa Vogel-signed manifesto metastasized into gay-only rights regimes in which she, the other signatories to that manifesto (well, other than the one who later transitioned) and any other non-trans LGB person who might want to keep their businesses and facilities trans-free have the special state statutory right to discriminate against trans people.



Any bets as to how quickly these defenders of private-land owner-absolutism would come unglued if it decided to make exclusion of African-American lesbians one of the “whatever choices” it wants, “discriminatory or not”?


I thought so.

Its a public accommodation.

…But What About Sue Hyde’s Employer?

You know…

the one that for over a decade implicitly declared to the world that no trans people of any level of experience were more qualified than a non-trans just-out-of-law-schooler to be that organization’s gainfully-employed trans expert?


The above was how a future NGLTF (permanent?) employee spent part of her summer vacation in 1977.

If you notice, one of her co-conspirators was Lisa Vogel, longtime perpetrator of the Michigyn Transphobya Festyval.

Surprisingly, a certain non-NGLTF tentacle of Gay, Inc. just expressed thoughts re: the Michigyn Transphobya Festyval.

Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, HRC Senior Content Manager

Although I’ve never attended a Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, I always loved the idea of a female-centered musical space, where women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds could gather to enjoy the music that shaped so many of our queer/feminist identities. What has never made sense to me or many of my queer feminist friends is Michfest’s attempt to exclude trans women from this celebration.

While the organizers continue to insist that excluding trans women is not an official policy, their “intention” that the festival cater exclusively to “womyn born womyn” serves to further marginalize trans women, denying them access to one of the only exclusively female spaces in our society.

I and my many colleagues at the Human Rights Campaign stand in solidarity with Equality Michigan, the Indigo Girls and the many other proud feminists calling on MichFest to live its mission and provide a place for all women to celebrate.

The sad thing is that the paragraph I’ve put in bold allows the immediate reaction by a certain terroristic anti-trans hate group (that I have no intention of linking to) to have a slight veneer of possible accuracy.

This blog post does not represent HRC policy, as the organization would not delegate such a policy declaration to a fellow who has been with the organization for two weeks.

I actually suspect that that is a fully accurate sentence (possibly the first one ever from GIW, but I digress….)

I have no idea if Beth Sherouse is a trans woman or not (I’d never heard of her before news of the HRC blog post surfaced; she appears to have come to the Rhode Island Avenue Cesspool via the History Department at USC – not the one in California, but instead South Carolina), but if she is, then, if my count is accurate, she is only the second one to ever collect a paycheck from it (and, whether trans or not, she appears to be at the Rhode Island Avenue Cesspool on limited two-year gig.)  HRC’s ability to put on an inclusivity show has increased only slightly in the decade since the trans community finally began openly picketing the organization.  When HRC adopted a very lawyerly-worded policy of ENDA inclusion support after the second of those protests in 2004 (you know, just in time for HRC to praise the exclusion of trans people from the Topeka gay rights ordinance – you know, also just in time for the lead mouthpiece of the Bain Capital of gay journalism to declare that ENDA had been “trans jacked”), the word was that the HRC power structure was as divided over it as the Supreme Court usually is on any case of any substance.

I refuse to believe that an organization that, even while trying to con the LGBT community (as well as the public at large) into believing that it is not as transphobic as the cadre of lesbians who signed the 1977 manifesto demanding that Olivia Records engage in employment discrimination against Sandy Stone, could only bring itself to hire one trans woman in the aftermath of the 2007 ENDA fraudfest, does not still have an executive majority that desires (or, for that matter, is incapable of a de facto enforcement of) a ‘trans women need not apply’ policy.

Countdown to Sherouse being disappeared from HRC in 3…2…1….

Fox ‘News’ Hires Lea DeLaria

Well, not yet.  But clearly DeLaria is auditioning to be a self-loathing liberal/gay/lesbian/whatever who plays puppet to Rupert Murdoch’s master by belching out ‘both sides are equally at fault’ when there is no honest debate possible over the fact that, in fact, only one side is actually causing the problems in question.

Actor, singer and comedian Lea DeLaria will not be performing at the upcoming Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, she tells The Advocate.

After becoming the subject of online criticism for her decision to perform at the MichFest, which refuses entry to trangender women, citing a policy organizers call “womyn born womyn,” DeLaria and her representative reached out to The Advocate to clarify the Orange Is the New Black star’s decision. The out actor, who plays Carrie “Big Boo” Black on the groundbreaking Netflix series that also features trans actress Laverne Cox, made her announcement with characteristic wit.

“After over 30 years of gay activism and as an out, proud member of the LGBTQ Community, I do not wish to be a party to infighting,” DeLaria said in a statement emailed to The Advocate. “We queers need to find a way to stop this fighting and work together towards our common goal.

Fine then, Lea.  Tell the disgusting exterminationists who run the Michigyn Transphobya Festyval to end their hatred of trans women, to end their apartheid, and to apologize openly and profusely for countenancing the murderous mindset of trasmisogyny for the last 40 years…

and give yourself a boot to the head for being stupid and/or dishonest enough to follow that up with “Both sides of the Michigan Women’s Music Festival dispute refuse to listen to each other.”

There is no honest way to get to that claim…

unless she was also pissed off that Martin Luther King, Jr. and George Lincoln Rockwell “refuse[d] to listen to each other.”

“I truly look forward to the time when all LGBTQ stand as one. Perhaps then we can collectively laugh at how fucked up is it when I’M the voice of reason.”

You were a voice of reason when you simply decided to not appear at the Michigyn Transphobya Festyval – but then you decided to defame trans people by asserting that our speaking out against being discriminated against by rabid transphobic bigots (who, we should remember, have no problem attracting lesbian dollars to a state that, if its psychotic right-wing government had its way, would probably decide that Michigan is only for straights-born-straight) is equivalent in any way to the transphobic bigotry itself.

“You might be a TERF if…”

…you read Cristan’s latest posting at TransAdvocate and all 20 criteria apply to you yet you pretend you’re not a bigot or an exterminationist.