marjaerwin: (Default)
Fest is a healing space for gender-nonconforming womyn, as long as they're not trans womyn too, and therefore Fest must exclude trans womyn...

I can’t see how the first implies the second.

I can’t see how excluding and othering one often-marginalized group of womyn would strengthen healing space for another group of womyn.

And, well, it hurts with this headache, but it also hurts when people treat trans womyn’s bodies as symbols of violence, when we are often also survivors of that violence, and it again hurts when people treat our struggles to survive or to recover as forms of violence.

And, well, it’s quite possible that more trans womyn are autistic than other womyn, and are being misread once more.

Also, I have encountered this, here:

and via DaisyDeadhead, here:

and various other places.

If I thought active inclusion for trans womyn would mean dis-inclusion for various other womyn, then I would think that some spaces including each group and excluding another would be necessary. But I don’t think so, and I think this would screw over people who are both, or who have some experiences associated with both.
marjaerwin: (Default)

I haven’t followed the Wonder Woman series or its depiction of its Amazons in its context. I was worried it would be cissexist, but based on other responses, I had no idea just how cissexist.

I have sometimes looked into legendary accounts of the Amazons. In addition, there are the Sauro-Sarmatian womyn’s warrior graves, but these are associated with mixed communities, and therefore aren’t relevant, and there are various womyn-only and womyn-majority communities, which could be a starting point to a better portrayal. Is anyone familiar with the archaeology of womyn-only communities?

Pawleta’s “Blurring Genders” only covers one womyn-majority cemetery.

In order to survive for thousands of years without improbably long lifespans, a womyn-only community would have to either (a) welcome newcomers, such as refugees, or religious converts, or however fits with the type of community, or (b) figure out some means of fertilization with trans womyn within the community, or (c) practice heterosex with men outside the community, which would make it hard to conceal the community, or (d) rely on parthenogenesis, which might require magic.

In any case, I don’t see how any of these womyn-only communities could accept a binary trans man as a man and as one of them, if they didn’t already accept binary cis men. If they’re cissexist, they’re not going to accept him as a man. If they’re not cissexist, then they’re not going to accept him as one of them in this community, although they might offer him some help in moving out of the community. It could get more complicated if he’s bigender and identifies as both.

[edited for clarification]
marjaerwin: (Default)
Trans Womyn Belong Here has recently published a few suggestions for an inclusion Michfest. While it's unlike that Michigan will come around soon, especially with Lisa Vogel asking for donations to support ‘the intention,’ the suggestions should help for other spaces trying to be inclusive womyn’s spaces.
marjaerwin: (Default)
As a lesbian womon, I am tired of the pressure to make myself romantically and bodily available to men. In straight circles, other womyn have insisted that every womon is really heterosexual and I'm in denial. In queer circles, some womyn and some men have insisted that everyone is really pansexual and I'm in denial. I think it's important to have people and communities which respect our lesbian identities.

As a trans womon, I am tired of the messages that tell us that our bodies are wrong, no matter where we are on the healing process, or that our identities are wrong. I am tired of the messages that tell our sisters that if they are attracted to trans womyn, they aren't really lesbian, and I am tired of the messages that tell us that if we're attracted to non-trans womyn we're intruders and if we're attracted to other trans womyn we're fetishists. Or 'pretendbians.'

You know what? I don't think anyone should feel pressure to sleep with trans womyn, or to never sleep with trans womyn. I do think it's important to recognize the body-policing and body-devaluing and work against them. And I really think it's past time to stop devaluing each other's identities and stop saying someone isn't lesbian because she is, or isn't, attracted to certain womyn's bodies.

Anyway, there's a brief anti-inclusion mention of the controversy here:

And this is also relevant, although I think sexualization and desexualization are both major problems:
marjaerwin: (Default)
may be triggering:

This is why I think activists interested in welcoming trans womyn in womyn's communities should focus on more complete inclusion within spaces which have already chosen to be inclusive, instead of trying to get partial inclusion in spaces where many are determined to remain exclusionary.

I still think Michfest has an ethical responsibility to include trans womyn, because so much of the community fails to include trans womyn, and also because Lisa Vogel joined the capaign against Sandy Stone and against trans womyn throughout the lesbian community. But I don't think we can do much about it.
marjaerwin: (Default)
I am thinking of attending the Virginia Women's Music Festival at the end of May.

There are other womon-centered events which are more inclusive than MichFest. I'd encourage you to find them, support them, and maybe help them improve their inclusion policies.
marjaerwin: (Default)
Since the 1970s, the term "born womyn" has been used to exclude trans womyn, or to include other womyn and sometimes certain men, on the grounds of biology, socialization and originality. However, if we consider this more closely, I think it is clear that the term should include trans womyn on all three grounds.

1. Biology. There are biological differences between most trans womyn and most cis or otherwise non-trans womyn. However, they are not universal differences.

Some have described menstruation and fertility as important differences between cis and trans womyn. However, many cis womyn have never menstruated, and some trans womyn have had müllerian tissue and/or unexplained bleeding.

Others have noted certain differences in the limbic system of womyn and men. Trans womyn seem to have structures similar to cis womyn, such as the size of the BSTc, and different from cis men.

In my opinion, brain differences seem more important than reproductive differences. There are some problems with the brain-structure studies. The sample sizes are small, and its unclear how the few known differences may relate to gender identity/subconscious sex. There is some controversy about whether these studies have adequately ruled out any effects due to hormone replacement therapy. There is also evidence from the David Reimer case as well as the accounts of many trans womyn that subconscious sex can emerge extremely early and can resist socialization. I am skeptical of the alternative hypothesis that gender socialization shapes subconscious sex in the first months of life, and that subconscious sex is locked in after that.

2. Socialization. Both groups receive most of the same messages from our society, and both groups generally interpret these as messages about themselves. Of course, most cis or otherwise non-trans womyn are raised as girls, and most trans womyn are raised as boys.

There are certain obvious exceptions. The distinction between cis and trans socialization collapses for those who transitioned in childhood. It weakens for people whose parents and friends respected gender-atypical interests. Although most tomboys grew up with parents who pressured them to act in more conventionally feminine ways, a few grew up with parents who respected them and treated their daughter the same as they would have treated their son. One can reasonably say that those womyn had boyhoods. The distinction widens during puberty, as people's bodies differentiate. The vast majority of trans womyn who cannot transition before/during puberty go into severe depression during puberty. If you end up excluding someone because they survived hell, you should rethink your standards for inclusion.

The next issue is more subtle. This whole society treats being a girl/womon as a shameful condition and wanting to be a girl/womon as a shameful desire. I think that these are parallel but not identical. I think that these messages converge if and when someone learns to take pride in herself as a womon and/or chooses to transition, because these experiences unite the desire with the condition. If anything, it means overcoming an additional layer of misogyny to get from being a womon to proudly being one.

3. Originality. This is probably the hardest to define. I would say it is a matter of self-determination and the assertion of a womonhood in relation to womyn, and not in relation to men, which is an ongoing expression of one womon's authenticity and the whole community's integrity, and which does not depend on men, does not depend on the medical establishment, and does not rely on anyone but womyn to define who is a womon and what it is to be a womon.

And we can't have originality as communities unless we have it as individuals too. Self-discovery and re-discovery are part of originality. Many smaller transitions are part of originality: girl to womon, nonsexual to lesbian, and so on. As communities, I don't think we can define people out [of their gender] and still respect originality; I do think we can try to discern who is genuinely discovering themselves, who is trying to and can use some advice, and who is not.


Aug. 24th, 2010 05:14 pm
marjaerwin: (Default)
When men consider how they should treat other men, it is moral philosophy. When womyn consider how we should treat other womyn, it is feminism. It has taken feminism to separate the were-centered moral philosophies from the human-centered ones. It will take feminism-in-practice to discover the full potential of feminism-in-theory.

What do I look for in feminism-in-practice? (besides, of course, my beloved V.?)

I honestly don't know, but I'd suggest, for starters:

Womyn's freedom-in-equality, that is a social relationship of mutual respect, mutual cooperation, self-directedness and self-realization.

Womyn's completeness, recognizing that womyn are not the matching halves of men, but are whole among ourselves.

Womyn's space, that is a community defined by womyn's needs and contributions.

Womyn's originality, that is the rediscovery of our identity and potential as womyn.

P.S. Most of these are inclusive of men as well as womyn. Womyn's equality certainly has to encompass men as well as womyn; we will fail to treat ourselves rightly if we come to treat men wrongly. Womyn's completeness is just as important. It requires a strong push-back and heterosexism and against subversivism. I think that creating gynocentric spaces can help to encourage womyn's completeness. I think that once we defeat misogyny as well as patriarchy, then we can create spaces which are for all humans at once. In any case, the perception that we are incomplete on our own encourages many of the attempts of men and of other womyn to deny us individual control of our own bodies. I would point to the recurring argument that, among hetero people, husbands should be able to deny their wives access to birth control or abortion.
marjaerwin: (Default)
I always thought WBW was a badly mistaken attempt to define womyn's inclusion for womyn's spaces. Because trans womyn are womyn, so exclusion from womyn's spaces is misguided, and trans womyn are born so, so it's not like trans womyn aren't also born womyn anyway.

I seem to have been mistaken. No, you see, WBW is, and has retroactively always been, about the shared experiences of cis WBW, not trans WBW. Um, right... So you focus so much time and effort to events which focus on the shared experiences of cis womyn, and so little time or effort to events which involve the shared experiences of all womyn, cis or trans.

The childhoods of cis tomboys tend to be much like the childhoods of trans tomboys. The childhoods of trans femmes, if their parents are supportive, tend to be much like the childhoods of cis femmes. Alas, a lot of womyn, both cis and trans, have suffered from gender policing. And in different directions. But that's not universal. That's not some "shared [cis] WBW experience."

The teens of cis womyn tend to differ from the teens of cis womyn, but there are no universals. There aren't even biological universals. Maybe 1 or 2 percent of cis womyn never menstruate. Maybe 1 or 2 percent of cis womyn and 5 or 10 percent of trans womyn have to see a doctor about something unusual during first puberty, such as unexplained bleeding. There aren't that many social universals. The teens of a dyke with heterosexist parents in a heterosexist community aren't going to look like the teens of a dyke with supportive parents in a welcoming community. That's not to mention wealth and poverty, disabilities, or other orientations.

The only consistent patterns are that 1. cis womyn are assigned female, grow up in a misogynistic society, and need to struggle to reclaim their original womonhood, while 2. trans womyn are assigned male, grow up in a misogynistic society, and need to struggle to reclaim their original womonhood.
marjaerwin: (Default)
Okay, it's going to be hard work. I'm not much of an organizer, and even less of a musician. I'm not exactly sure how I can contribute to creating something new, but I'd like to start. Yesterday.


marjaerwin: (Default)

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