GUEST POST: Weighing in on MichFest

July 17, 2012

National

What I would say to a trans*sister, whoever you are:

I first went to MichFest in 2002, and it was wonderful and amazing. When I left, my feet stood on the earth more solidly, and my gaze was level.

When I first heard about various trans* conflicts on the Land, I stopped and thought about it. I felt that to be a woman born in a male body must be agony.

My own issues with femaleness had to do with how not to feel naked when I checked out at the grocery store and I had stare at the magazines with scantily clad women on *every* cover; how to deal with my menstrual cycles in high school when the boys in Social Studies made snide references to how the girls’ swim team left ‘blood in the pool;’ how to be heard in math class when, overnight at 13, I went from the smart kid to practically invisible; how to travel on a plane or bus without being accosted by some dude who claimed the right to monopolize my attention and energy; and countless other daily challenges.

My new trans*sister, you have had it harder than me in some ways: shaping your beard, your body and your voice through some pretty torturous and expensive means. I have empathy, compassion and admiration for your journey. Some trans*people I know have led excruciating lives.

I publicly and sympathetically recognize your struggle and your dignity. I have no impulse to refer to any woman with male nomenclature or pronoun. I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder under both the banners of “Woman” and “Human.”

But there’s a difference between how you have become a woman and how I have become a woman. A big difference. My journey to become my own woman is different from yours. Neither easier nor harder, just different, yes? This is the essence of pride and of diversity.

I can only imagine the efforts you have made on the path to your most complete self, your real womanhood. I cannot truly know what anguish you have experienced in your life or the cost of your unceasing efforts to become your true self. I have empathy, and, at the same time, I do not presume to know what you have gone through, and continue to go through. I support all my trans*sisters in their unique and respect worthy integration of mind, body and self.

And *you* cannot know *my* struggle, my efforts to fully become human and Woman. To become comfortable, safe, whole. You cannot know, truly understand, my heartbreak and joys as a female girl child, then a young woman and now as a full-grown woman. You can respect and admire me and my life, of course. You can observe, perhaps with envy, the ease with which my body is truly mine and expressive of my inner reality, compared with yours. Just as I can observe (sometimes, in truth, also with envy) those pieces of your childhood and adulthood that were easy, safe and privileged in ways mine were not.

I say we are equal in every way, human and spiritual and essential. We are just not the same. I have always been grateful that my body — especially after a week at the Festival — feels like my natural home. The body you were born in was not your friend. And none of that is your fault.

And here’s the thing: it’s not my fault either.

Michigan is one of a kind. On the entire planet, the only one. I am your sister, and we are all and each of us women. But Michigan singularly is not as much about who we *are* as it is about who we *have been*. You see?

I’m not asking you, I’m telling you: you can’t come. You can’t come. Don’t come. Stay away. Respect the intention. Respect our difference. Real women recognize diversity and honor it.

I’ll meet you at other fests, marches, Congressional offices, women’s studies departments, ladies’ rooms. But don’t come to Michigan.

**

P.S. One last thing: Michigan is the place where I, a femme lesbian, can meet butch lesbians. No one gets between a femme and her butches. I am dead serious. Invisible and isolated in the rest of the world, Michigan reveals us to each other like nowhere else. This cannot get muddied. So back off, trans*sister. Case closed.

- by Annie Seidl

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About Cathy Brennan

Gender Atheist.

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40 Comments on “GUEST POST: Weighing in on MichFest”

  1. RoseVerbena Says:

    I appreciate the sentiments expressed, but I can never, ever agree that “trans women” are in fact any kind of “woman” at all. As the saying goes, what has been seen cannot be unseen. They’re male in every sense of the word. Male.

    That’s why I don’t want to encounter them at MichFest or any other women-only space or place: they’re male.

    I don’t think I should have to defend or explain it any further: No. You’re male. Stay out of women-space. Period. End of.

  2. Ali Art Says:

    Wow! This type of narrow minded thinking regarding gender is not going to work with the way young people coming up are approaching gender and sexuality. It is very condescending to simultaneously empathize with people while shunning them (or banning them or whatever word you choose to use for choosing to Purposefully Not Include).

    Although there are still some folks who identify as “femme” or “butch” in general young people are starting to think beyond these social constructions, which are a reflection of straight society.

    My question to pose to you all is what about those who at birth are born with both male and female genitalia? This is much more common than people assume, with at least 1 in 1,000 humans born receiving surgery at the time of delivery to “normalize” gender appearance (http://www.isna.org/faq/frequency/).

    I have been to Michigan and I found it to be an expensive lesson which brought my thinking about this issue clearly into focus and next time I go to Michigan it will be to sit with Trans camp protesting this type of gender discrimination.

    • bugbrennan Says:

      Why do you conflate sex and gender?

    • Super Dyke Says:

      “Young people” are the ones leading the way in slapping the “butch femme” label on everything and your comment belies an incredible ignorance of lesbian herstory.

      Instead of going to Michigan to bully women who are actually accomplishing something why not start YOUR OWN DAMN FESTIVAL?

  3. alyssabellerose Says:

    Obviously this is a complex issue with people on both sides feeling rather passionate so I apologize in advance if my response is unduly long. First, let me say that whether I agree or not, thank you for taking the time to express what’s clearly a sensitive and important issue to you. I’d like to respond from the perspective of someone who was born male but transitioned at a young age. I want to preface my statement by saying that even though I’m transsexual, I have no issue with Michfest’s wbw policy in of itself.

    I think one of the first things that stands out to me in this and many other conversations relating to Michfest is the importance of experience and I think there are a number of repeated conflations made about experience. First off, I don’t think its unwarranted to point out that there is a difference between the experiences of an average trans woman and an average natal woman but I feel like the issue goes significantly deeper. There is an important distinction between an experience and one’s perception of that experience. I doubt that many of you would argue with the notion that if you raised a woman as a man and presented her to society as male that it would not in fact make her male. While she may have male experiences she is likely to perceive those experiences as a male. She might have behaviors considered by society to be stereotypically male but that on some level how she related to her male experiences would not be that of a male.

    I wont speak for other transsexual woman but I know that my own perceptions of my childhood experience were much like the above example. I simply did not relate to boys or men on any level nor did I understand the reasoning behind their behavior. I’m not talking about something hackneyed like “I always liked to play with dolls as a child” because I didn’t. I climbed trees, got muddy, and generally rambunctious. I never related to life as a girl because of some socially imposed gender stereotype of a behavior but simply because… I did. It was how my mind worked, who I was. I wish I could quantify and qualify it better but it’s like trying to explain why a joke is funny, it just is… I just was. As I grew there was this sense of being othered from boys though I don’t think I recognized it because I just never really socialized with boys much at that point. Eventually in middle school I was able to put words to my feelings and began transitioning. I went through my highschool years and my college years being treated by others as a female, and experiencing many of the same fears, desires, and frustrations that many females go through. Were there differences? Yeah, of course, but I’d hardly be the first person to feel “slightly awkward” in highschool. Going into engineering in college, I most definitely have had to struggle with the sexism of male teachers and students. I’ll always remember walking into the first day of a computer programming course filled with nothing but boys, having the teacher give me a cursory glance and telling me to the backdrop of snickering “I think you might be in the wrong class sweetie, English 201 is across the hall.”

    My second point I wanted to address is that I’m not sure I buy into the idea of a “shared female experience”. Where I grew up I was a racial minority within the populace which afforded me certain insight into the experiences of other races. I don’t mean to imply that I in any understood what it’s like to grow up as a disadvantaged minority, I’m still extremely white and have very real white privilege. What I’m saying is that I was less blind to the existence of that privilege and that difference than most. As I’ve grown up and become active in feminism I have increasingly sought to work with minority women who often don’t really associate with feminism. Their complaint is that feminism doesn’t speak for them in much the same way the early gay rights community didn’t speak for lesbians. I listen to women decry feminists who are fighting for equal payment between men and women when they’re struggling to get a job that will even cover the rent, much less put food on the table. Your experiences, my experiences, they are not the female experiences of a little girl from Afghanistan, or China, or even the same experiences of women from the same country. Yes, you may know misogyny but that doesn’t mean you are necessarily capable of understanding it’s impact on the lives of others. I apologize if I am making assumptions about your own personal experiences or definitions of female experience but I am responding in reference to how I’ve seen others describe it and my own personal definition.

    Okay, so those were my big thoughts on your article. I wanted to make a few quick comments about Michfest and rad feminism. As I said, I support Michfest’s wbw policy. Mind you, I think it’s discriminatory but I strongly believe in people’s right to be discriminatory. I don’t necessarily agree with Michfest’s reasons for that discrimination but I fully support your right to do it anyways and I don’t that discrimination is in of itself a bad thing. However, I do have one rather large issue with Michfest’s which goes hand in hand with radical feminism. Namely, I have an issue with the type of rhetoric used in defense of the wbw policy that’s directed at trans individuals… though let’s be honest, trans women in specific.

    I hear words like “predator” and “rapist” used to tar and feather trans women. As a survivor of a gang rape, I find the flippant manner such powerful words are thrown around by some radfems to be down right horrifying. I’ve watched radfems belittle trans women for their appearance or their voices. I’ve watched radfems dismiss the very real ways in which trans women experience misogyny and discrimination, going so far as to label them one and the same as the very people who victimize them. I’ve seen rad fems dismiss the needs of trans women as a minority of a minority of a minority as if the rights of minorities should ever be denied on the basis of their number. I’ve watched rad fems deny trans women the validity of their experiences or even their right to exist. These people you mock and scorn are just that, people, they are not “the enemy” but real people with real lives who have to make the best of those lives as they can. Do radfems truly believe that they put up with the tormenting, the assaults, the risk to their lives simply out of some desire to invade women’s changing rooms or to enforce patriarchal stereotypes on women? This type of rhetoric has real impact on real people. And yes, some of the rhetoric I see come out of the trans circles is extremely deplorable as well and I won’t try to defend or justify it but tu quoque has never been a justification for pettiness.

    And this part is directed to you Cathy in particular. Your hands are hardly clean of this sort of rhetoric. You may not use it when you write in Baltimore OUTloud or when you take interviews on The Marc Steiner show but you absolutely pull that type of language out on the forums and you should know that your actions hurt people. Personally, I think the fact that you don’t have to interact with the people you hurt face to face must be very convenient for you.

    @Annie “No one gets between a femme and her butches. I am dead serious.” As a femme, in this and I are more alike in our sentiments then I think you could ever guess. Femme invisibility sucks no matter how you cut it and having a space where your sexuality and identity can be recognized is an opportunity worth it’s weight in diamond encrusted platinum. Even if I can’t enjoy what Michfest has to offer, I can honestly say I hope you do

    • bugbrennan Says:

      THAT LANGUAGE IS THE LANGUAGE OF TRUTH. TRANS WOMEN ARE MALE, AND YOU HAVE A MALE VIOLENCE PROBLEM. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DEAL WITH IT, NOT OURS.

      Women owe you nothing. You deny OUR experiences and OUR boundaries.

      And it is funny that you think you know who I interact with.

      • alyssabellerose Says:

        “AND YOU HAVE A MALE VIOLENCE PROBLEM”
        Oh? I personally have a male violence problem? Based on what pray tell?

        Women owe you nothing.
        Also, I don’t think I ever asked anything from you or other women specifically like you… you know, besides the type of civil decency one would show any human whether they agree with them or not.

        “You deny OUR experiences and OUR boundaries.”
        What experiences or boundaries am I denying exactly and who is us? I ask because Cathy Brennan and her experiences are not the experiences of all women everywhere despite what Cathy Brennan may think. Nor do all women agree with Cathy Brennan for that matter. If there are some specific experience of yours that I have denied and wasn’t aware of then I apologize. It’s possible that I may look at some experience you have had and draw a different conclusion but I would never deny you the right to your own conclusion. For example, I think you entirely have the right to use the language I mentioned above. I would never be so arrogant as to dictate how you may or may not talk but I also feel that I’m just as within my right to tell you what I think of it and to ask you for some common civility.

        “And it is funny that you think you know who I interact with.”
        Actually to a certain extent I do. You’re part of my local community, we don’t live more than a good half hour apart. You and I more or less live in connected lesbian communities much to my chagrin.

      • bugbrennan Says:

        Your community – the Trans community – has a male violence problem. This is fact. You can keep pretending it doesn’t exist because *you* are not violent, but that doesn’t erase male violence against women (particularly lesbians).

        You people are hyper individualistic, aren’t you? Come back when you can have a systems discussion.

        Also, you’re a creep. And you are not a lesbian.

      • alyssabellerose Says:

        As a lawyer I think you’ll appreciate this, saying “This is a fact” in a intimidating manner does not a fact make… in fact. I’m actually more than happy to have a conversation about the trans community and society at large. I’m even willing to talk about this supposed trans violence problem if you’d be so kind as to provide supporting examples with which I can refute or acknowledge. Oh, and before you go on a long and impassioned spiel about how women have always suffered under male violence and that’s all the example you need. That would be a associative fallacy. Because men have violence problem does not mean that trans women in specific are violent to women, it means that many men are. Pursuant to that end, please try to keep your example germane and I will try to address your example.

        “Also, you’re a creep. And you are not a lesbian.”
        You know Cathy, my self worth does not hinge on your personal approval. I actually couldn’t care whether you think I’m male or “not a lesbian” because I think you’re perfectly entitled to those views and I’m not here to ask you to change that view. While you may not see me that way, I do. All I’d like is the right to live me life without it being implied that I’m some form of covert rapist (I’m sorry but that type of stuff is so triggery) for trying to make the best of my life I can.

        By the way, I don’t feel the need to make ad hominem personal attacks against you to make my point. I may not respect your actions or your behavior but that doesn’t mean I have to descend to petty insults to devalue you as a person. That you do is a great example of the rhetoric I’m concerned with.

      • bugbrennan Says:

        You are a creep for making this personal.

        That’s creepy.

      • alyssabellerose Says:

        Well I’m sorry you feel that way but I don’t see calling someone on their actions and the effects those actions has as creepy. That said, you’re right, this is personal but I don’t think it was of my own making. This became personal when you started dictating the rights of transsexuals to their own lives. I’m not sure how you can do something and have it be anything but personal.

        I’m still waiting for your examples of systemic violence within the trans community. As I said, I’m happy to discuss it but I can’t do so without some sort of evidence to it’s validity beyond your assurance that it’s true.

      • bugbrennan Says:

        It is creepy to reference that we run in the same circles. As someone socialized male, it might not occur to you that females respond differently to the things you say. Just a thought!

      • m Andrea Says:

        This became personal when you started dictating the rights of transsexuals to their own lives.

        This is abuser speak. This is exactly what abusers say right before they pull out a gun or their fists. Notice how the language goes from “CIVIL rights” to “his feelings”. Only he is entitled to “get personal” when the civil rights he has enjoyed are threatened — women are supposed to remain calm, aloof, disinterested when our own civil rights have yet to be enforced for the first time.

        So we are not entitled to “get personal” while he is entitled to “get personal” — how very stupid of him not to notice his own hypocrisy.

        Another abuser sign I notice, is how he went from congenial, when he thought he was going to tell the laydees how to be proper laydees (which apparently requires we stop making trans angry), to sniveling manipulation when that didn’t go as planned.

        The really sad thing? This creepy-Nigel-in-disguise routine, is the absolute best that trans can offer. He reminds me of the fratboy who claims to be a woman’s friend, doing nice things for her as friends typically do, and then gets mad when she won’t fuck him.

      • m Andrea Says:

        This became personal when you started dictating the rights of transsexuals to their own lives.

        The other problem of course, is that what they mean by “their right to live their own lives”, is that women should give up our right to our own spaces segregated by sex, plus lesbians should fuck them whenever they want. Only an abuser with difficulties discerning boundaries, would assume they are entitled to someone else’s submission.

        Lesbians just want to be left the hell alone without being pestered by male entitlement — yet they consider “leaving lesbians alone” to be “a violation of their rights”. Creep-a-roni, everything about the trans ideology just screams abusive privilege. I’m glad Cathy already told this guy to fuck off, so I don’t have to wonder if swearing is permitted.

    • Grackle Says:

      As a female, I have to say that I really appreciated your insight into this situation, Alyssa, even though we don’t agree on everything.

      Oh, and I very much enjoyed this guest post as well!

    • sehkmet721 Says:

      I am curious, alyssabellerose, exactly how often you were punished for “climbed trees, got muddy, and generally rambunctious” behavior?

      I was like that as a child too. Being born female meant I was punished for this behavior. For being myself.

      I am sure there are other examples where your unrecognized male privilege benefited you as a child. Boys were given much more leeway when it came to non-stereotypical behavior than girls, when I was growing up. I have seen nothing to indicate that is any different now. While non-stereotypical behavior of both sexes is perhaps met with greater understanding, I still see that males are granted greater indulgence in this than females.

      It is this inability to recognize past privilege and lack of past common experience that female women share that create the desire for female only spaces. Nothing against you personally. We just want space to be ourselves without having to explain who, how, what, and why we are as we are to someone who isn’t.

      Trans women are welcome in most feminist groups. There are not many groups that are limited to women born women. I don’t understand why this is a problem.

      • alyssabellerose Says:

        I’m not sure Brennan will let me post this as a lot of my posts have just been refused. I find it amusing that she would ask me questiion or ask me to explain views and then refuse to let me answer those very questions. Still, it’s her blog and if she refuses this post then I’ll stop trying.

        As I said, I have no issue with natal women creating natal women spaces. I don’t think I ever said otherwise. I view it a bit like women of color creating a space purely for women of color. I also have no problem admitting that I was afforded certain privileges based on other’s perceptions of me though I’m not sure the tree climbing bit was one of them. I think it’s a mistake to assume that all girls are punished for climbing trees or getting dirty. I want to be clear though, I have no doubt that I was afforded certain privileges as a child based on other’s perceptions. It’s one of the reasons I became a feminist because I’ve always found it unconscionable that those privileges are in fact privileges and not rights who are extended to everyone..

        I want to note that I disagree with the idea that MTFs have male privilege though because privilege assumes the existence of power. That’s not to say that some trans women don’t have a sense of entitlement learned from years living as male though. I will not deny that I see some trans women who show entitlement in their behavior.

        I also have no issue with you not viewing me as female. I disagree with your view and will support my views but it’s hardly my place to tell you what you can or can’t think of me. So, in answer, my argument was neither about how you view trans women or natal spaces but rather the rhetoric used by many to support those views. I think it becomes easy for BOTH sides to dehumanize the other behind straw men and assumptions and it’s simply ugly when people have to resort to belittling someone else for a difference of opinion. I think it’s easy and nice for people to package the other group up into some little stereotype and stop treating them as humans.

        Just as you may refuse to see me as female, I and other women do and I think we both have the rights to our opinions without the need to try and force them on the others or resort to hatred. Clearly your beliefs are based on a lifetime of experience and that is something to be respected. I wont devalue those experience by demanding you are wrong and that you agree with me… I’d like to be able to also have my own experience valued in the same manner. Of course, that doesn’t mean that either of us can’t question the other’s experiences and discuss it. Your comment about having male privilege when I was young is entirely valid and I’m happy to evaluate what effect that had on me. Frankly, I don’t think privilege affects people in any one way.

        Oh and in response to Brennan’s other post, no I don’t think lesbians started it. I think that anyone who frames the conversation on the grounds of “who started it” is missing the point entirely. It’s not about who started what or when but about where the dialogue is and where it’s going. I like to think that we aren’t reduced to some Hatfiled-McCoy feud and we can both learn to tolerate the other’s existence. Yes, I absolutely do speak to trans crowds about this very topic and want to see the language change on BOTH sides. And no, I don’t see this as a war at all. I think that the flippant way in which we frame disputes in the context of war does a disservice to the very real horrors of war and reflects a society that’s desensitized to violence.

      • bugbrennan Says:

        Entitled male is entitled.

  4. Lauren Says:

    Well said. With love and respect. My feelings exactly.

  5. doublevez Says:

    Thanks again and again and again Cathy. xxx

  6. Guen/Devin Page Says:

    OMG, seriously, the amount of hatered spewed constantly is alarming. Annie was eloquent and spoke from her heart, this was not a post to comment on and spew hatered, I read a deep respect in her words.

    Alyssa, Thank you for your words, what you wrote also heartfelt and meaningful. I appreciate your perspective.

    When we can set our egos aside and hear people what they are really saying maybe then we can heal as a community.

    I frankly am ashamed and embarrassed most days by the behavior of my Sisters as a Feminist and as a woman who supports the intention of Festival, I will never support nor condone the belittling or negating of another human beings reality and truth in order to be locked into my own position. It gets us no where women. It makes us seem like radical harpies. And on the other side.. Same damned thing when we are hateful and use violence it diminishes us all as human beings.

    Can we not allow that there are many ways to be and move in this world and simply respect everyone’s right to an opinion? Doesn’t mean we have to give in but simple basic respect and I am sick of the arguement “They started it, They aren’t respecting me why should I?” An eye for an eye leaves the world blind.

    That is my 2cents dismantle me as you will. I pray for peace and compassion and honest open communication. Just as Anne Wrote this.

    • alyssabellerose Says:

      This is such a awesome post. Thank you for getting to the heart of the matter. Whether or not you agree with someone or not, that is never an excuse to belittle them, threaten them, or try deny them a right to pursue their own lives as best they can no matter who you are or who they are. I think a community is seriously sick when it can no longer abide the existence of differing lifestyles or ways of thought. And you’re right, this isn’t a matter of who started what because “they do it too” is never an excuse for boorishness.

      I’ll say this, Cathy is right on one point. She has boundaries and they should be respected. Nobody should ask her to let a trans person into her pants or her house. Nobody should demand that she approve of trans women or even like them. That said, other people have the right to their boundaries as well, they have the right to their life experiences, the right to love who they will and have the right to be allowed to have that love reciprocated.

      I think there’s a lot of healing that needs to happen. I think people on both sides of this issue need to come together in a way that is respectful of each other. Like it or not, we all share the same air, move in the same waters, we have to find a way to tolerate each others existence or we’ll end up ripping each other apart and as Annie said, muddying those same waters.

      Again, thanks for the awesome post Guen

      • bugbrennan Says:

        Interestingly, you seem to think lesbians started this “war.” We didn’t. I highly doubt you are policing your trans sisters. And your calls for civility are false: http://bugbrennan.com/2012/05/04/on-bullying-and-being-nice/

        Oh and BTW, when you comment on someone’s blog, you should have some fucking manners, asshole.

      • aloenelvenhalf Says:

        I find it strange the situation occurring here. A trans-girl calmly stating her point of view while saying she respects ones privacy…and a fellow female completely argues with no sense of reason and only violent words against her. It’s just sad that the one calling the other violent seems to be the violent and un-compassionate one. As a girl who yearns for the day to be rid of this part of me that I hate, the thing that torments me every month and makes me possible to get pregnant, I understand what it’s like to not like your body. I feel Bugbrennan thinks they understand people. But it turns out they’re just another narrow-minded person only concerned with themselves. It saddens me that in the one place you’d think people would find understanding that not everyone is created equal, you still find persecution based on association.

      • bugbrennan Says:

        No offense, but you have your shit wrong. It saddens me that you prop up gender.

        Also, trans-girl? Um, no. Trans women were never girls. They are not female.

      • aloenelvenhalf Says:

        But see what you just said there…In one line you criticized me for propping up gender then in the very next you basically refuse to accept someone for anything but the sex they were born as. Now you could argue the difference between the concept of “sex” and “gender”, especially in feminist doctrine, but everywhere I’ve been the type of acceptance for establishing equality of of gender identities means excepting that people can just be people, and not automatically disregarding that they can have individual emotions outside the stereotype of what you think they should.

        But you were the one who attacked them…Everything they said seemed very polite and discussion inducing. They even said they didn’t opposed the policies that made them and other trans-gender people exempt. They just discussed real issues about the pressure women face in different societal upbringings, and they never seemed to say anything harsh at you, even when you were verbally unloading on them. They even said that your views were to be respected in their posts. So, I in that I just feel they end up looking good the more you make yourself look bad when you immediately scream at them that “They’re a horrible person, because they’re male and a rapist and have violence problems, they’re a creep, women owe them nothing, etc, etc”. All it seems to me you’re doing, in yelling at someone like that who didn’t say anything harsh or rude, is adding more sexism in the world. Yay. Cause that’s all the world needs. =(

      • bugbrennan Says:

        Oh, who did I attack, sir?

      • aloenelvenhalf Says:

        Well, verbal attack, in that you called them things like “creep” and chastised them for what they are, even when they themselves had no intention of doing anything besides discussing the issues. I feel discussion is one of the few things we should hold on to. But that’s completely an outsider’s opinion as I saw this page linked in a discussion about feminism,and for some I reason felt compelled to reply. So, my statement was merely who appears the hostile one over this. I know there’s plenty of things you go through, but I felt like you were taking out your hostility towards a group on one person who didn’t share your problems with the group. But other than that, I don’t have more to add I guess. Like I said, I’m not one to be in this, as other than having a couple close friends who are lesbian, I’m kind of straight and married, so I don’t have to deal with the trans-gender community in that way. I only know a few of them, but none I’ve ever encountered have the violence issues you speak of. Most any of them I’ve ever talked to have had violence done to them by someone at some point, but most of them I’ve seen aren’t violent. Most I’ve met are very femme.

      • bugbrennan Says:

        Stop straight splaining to dykes.

      • GallusMag Says:

        @aloenelvenhalf:

        Ewwwww. First of all you are apparently defending a man who posts a huge mansplanation to lesbians stating his belief as a male that there is no shared universal female experience?

        And his belief that: “ I doubt that many of you would argue with the notion that if you raised a woman as a man and presented her to society as male that it would not in fact make her male. While she may have male experiences she is likely to perceive those experiences as a male. She might have behaviors considered by society to be stereotypically male but that on some level how she related to her male experiences would not be that of a male.” Because he thinks himself a magical speshul man that knows female experience better than females because he has speshul laydee insight because: “sex-role birth defects” and “brain sex” and Jendur? What in the what?

        It’s funny: females who are “misgendered” (by his language) and presumed to be male since childhood don’t assert ourselves to “know” and have special insight into being male, and claim that males have no shared cultural and/or biological experience as males. “I remember when my balls dropped” LOL. No, we don’t see that.

        Why? Because females are not socialized to spew our presumptuous entitled projections all over an underclass we fetishize and claim ownership over. As your boy does, over and over, unselfconsciously, on a lesbian blog.

        Who gives a shit if he does so “politely”? Yes, yes, cookies for all males that refrain from the overt threats and violence towards females that disagree with them. Cookies and milk good boys! Good softspoken boys! Thanks ever so much for no murdering! Good gentle mansplainers. Who ejaculate their lesbian-corrective manchinations all over our fucking blogs.

        The important thing (to you as a straight woman) is that we lesbians respond to such male diarrhea POLITELY when it comes into our spaces and splatters us in the face. How DARE we respond with cursory dismissal, or even irritation to the 10,000th idiot with the 10,000th comment – which BY IT’S NATURE indicates he has not taken the time to familiarize himself with the issues before ejaculating his lengthy time-sucking refutation of lesbian lives and experiences.

        THANK YOU hetero lady for taking your precious time to take an uniformed potshot at a lesbian on her blog for not being KIND enough to a misogynist bigot. “for some reason I felt compelled to reply” I suggest you delve further into that. Because from my perspective you were compelled out of knee-jerk programming that prioritizes males, and lesbophobia, and misogyny. How else could you possibly justify it? You couldn’t. Hence why your actions are a mystery even to you.

        “Most I’ve met are very femme.” THIS is THE MOST DISGUSTING comment left on a feminist blog in the last 5 minutes. Gross. Just so fucking gross.

    • m Andrea Says:

      As soon as you stop perceiving women as mere servants of men, only then would you realize that telling us to “be nicer” is completely inappropriate.

      That right there ^. They don’t get it. They believe that women are supposed to be men’s servants and support network — so of course they don’t understand why we have a right to be angry, a right to be pissed off, a right to set extremely basic boundaries. They don’t think lesbians have the right to say, “no thanks, I don’t want a penis inside me”.

      How about this? I’m assexual. Do you think I have the right to say no thanks to a penis? Do you really want to make the argument that as long as somebody fucks, then they should fuck a penis? Do you make that argument to heterosexual men? Do you think gay men should fuck transgendered FtM who never bothered to have bottom surgery? Why do you folks only pick on the lesbians? You folks are REALLY starting to piss me off.

  7. RoseVerbena Says:

    I don’t know which is worse, 1/2000 males telling 50% of the human race that we CANNOT have women-only space, or 1/2000 males telling 50% of the human race that they will ALLOW us to have SOME women-only space.

    Arrogant much, male ass-hats in laydee-drag?

    How about y’all just get the fuck out of our way and go away, m’kay?

  8. Justice Redefined Says:

    I am a het female and I hope to go to mich fest next year specifically because it is for WBW. Hearing about trans “women” sneaking on to the land upsets me because I won’t have the same sense of safety if Michfest isn’t penis free. I am a survivor of multiple rapes and incest. I do not think that a trans “women” would attack me. That isn’t the point. The point is getting to be somewhere I don’t have to see penises of any sort while being with other penisless people. Penises are a reminder of the penis people that attacked me.

    I don’t care at all how people are gendered. I don’t care how butch someone is. Butch lesbians are not the people that put me in a wary state of mind. Penises cause me to put my guard up. That is not based on fear of the individual penis in front of me. It’s more like a PTSD reaction for me. I don’t freak out or anything. I just become anxious.

    I never answer my door unless I am expecting someone specific. I avoid getting repairs done in my apartment because I find it stressful to have a man in my apartment unless it’s my nephew. I know most men are perfectly nice people even if they are not trans women or gay. But I have no means of telling which penises are threatening and which are not. I cannot fully relax with penises in the vicinity.

    I’m not even relaxed when I am asleep because every noise I hear is being analyzed as a possible threat by my sub-conscious. I know this because I wake-up instantly aware and listening for the next sound.

    It makes me angry that penis people want to invade the very few spaces where I might feel perfectly safe and relaxed.

    I don’t care if they are female penis people, or male penis people, or androgynous penis people. I would just really like a week by myself with thousands of other non-penis people.

    I used to be much more sympathetic towards trans women out of compassion for what they have experienced but that has changed.

    Having read up about trans behavior at MichFest, and seen the video of Cathy being surrounded at a Dyke march, and read up on the cotton-ceiling conference, I am not only convinced that trans women are male in terms of biological sex, they are also expressing male gendered behavior.

    I read one post complaining about the cotton ceiling, while also stating both “she” and her “girlfriend” were still “packen” but they were both lesbians.

    I am het, but even I know that two guys with dicks making out together are not lesbians. I can’t believe that it’s considered radical feminism to refuse to call them lesbian women.

  9. sehkmet721 Says:

    alyssabellerose,

    I’m not sure what parts of your 7/31/12 response were for me. “I climbed trees, got muddy, and generally rambunctious. ” This is a quote from you. I used it to illustrate the difference between the way boys and girls are treated. This is important. “Rambunctious boys” are smiled at with a “boys will be boys” attitude. Look at the difference in behavior between white boys and girls or minorities in a store or other public place. More often than not the “rambunctious” behavior of running around and getting into things that parents feel they have to curb because it disrupts other people’s business, is done by boys (mostly white). Black mothers or fathers are forced to curb their sons as a matter of defense. I’ve seen a black parent asked to leave the store when their son was acting just like a white boy in the next aisle. The fact that you didn’t perceive this shows your lack of understanding of not only female but also minority experience. It’s not that we are less rambunctious, it’s that we are carefully socialized to be quieter and less disruptive to others. If not by out and out punishment, then by all the subtleties a parent has of managing children (like public teasing and put downs, embarrassment is effective). Rambunctious behavior for a girl is often considered simply not being silent.

    Also you demonstrate typical male behavior by being deliberately obtuse in trivializing my comment by saying that not all girls are punished for getting muddy and climbing trees. These are two examples of “rambunctious” behavior you gave by no means the only ones. Other behavior typical of rambunctious boys was definitely not OK for girls when I was coming up. The behavior expected in school is much different for boys and girls. If you can’t see this, perhaps privilege is obscuring your perceptions.

    Also, I have not indulged in name calling or harsh rhetoric when addressing you. That is a matter you will have to take up with those who have offended.

    On the issue of respect. Aside from the obviously personal feud between you and bugbrennan, I think you have been treated pretty well considering your the repetitive way you’ve aired your opinions. You are cognizant of the nature of the blog you are posting on. I really don’t want to know or care what the history between you and bugbrennan is. It is clear that you will have to agree to disagree with most of the women here. I’m OK with that. You say you’re OK with that. Generally once a discussion has reached the “agree to disagree” point, continuing to argue the issue to death doesn’t accomplish anything positive. Why can’t we just accept our differences and leave it at that? Agreeing to disagree is generally considered the final say in a discussion, even with lawyers I know. Refusing to move on denotes a lack of respect for me. This may be why others have become annoyed and snarky with you.

    If you want to talk on another subject, I’m willing. But I think our discussion on female only spaces has been concluded.

  10. SheilaG Says:

    Glad this male thinks its ok to “allow” born women one little bit of space to ourselves. Geez, “allow” — MtoTrans are men, they were born men, they were raised and encouraged in boyish behavior, and they would have no idea what it is to be raised as a little girl.
    No idea at all.

    And Michigan is private property owned by women, and the people who own the land dictate who gets to come onto the land. Trans can sneak into Michigan but someday, they will be escorted out of Michigan, and they will learn to honor this ban or be kicked out, and or fined. I think they should be jailed for tresspassing personally.

    Male to Trans ARE men. They act like men, they have no idea who lesbians are, and don’t understand that feminism, the radical kind is about getting rid of patriachy and all its male medical manifestations like the Trans cult.

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  1. Michfest travel | Trd4runner - September 3, 2012

    […] GUEST POST: Weighing in on MichFest « You think I just don’t …6 days ago … I first went to MichFest in 2002, and it was wonderful and amazing. … I went from the smart kid to practically invisible; how to travel on a plane or … […]

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