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In January of 2012, Planned Parenthood Toronto, in partnership with other local progressive organizations, ran a conference called No More Apologies as part of our programming for LGBTQ women. The conference was designed to bring queer cisgender and transgender women together to talk about the issue of queer trans women’s exclusion from broader LGBTQ women’s communities and how this exclusion relates to sexual health.
The event was a success, bringing together over 100 cis and trans queer women who were excited to be starting these conversations and who expressed the desire for more information and workshops. Based on that feedback, when planning the full day Pleasure and Possibilities conference on LGBTQ women’s sexual health, PPT invited Morgan Page to facilitate a workshop for queer trans women on sexual health and social exclusion. We are pleased that Morgan accepted our invitation and feel that her workshop will further address issues raised at the No More Apologies event.
The purpose of the workshop “Overcoming the Cotton Ceiling: Breaking Down Sexual Barriers for Queer Trans Women” is to draw attention to the ways in which trans women are socially constructed as undesirable, and are denied full participation in queer women’s communities. Stigma and social exclusion can have immense impacts on the health and well-being of all marginalized people, trans women included. PPT’s mandate is one of equity; as such, we strongly stand behind queer trans women’s right to participate as full members of LGBTQ communities, and are committed to promoting and upholding trans women’s sexual health and well-being. Our programming for LGBTQ women serves all women who have sex with women (WSW), and since trans women arewomen, we provide programming that addresses the needs of the lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, and queer-identified trans women in our community.
The issue of sexual consent is absolutely paramount at our organization. We believe that all people have the right to say “no” to sex and to exercise other forms of control over their bodies. The workshop does not and has never advocated or promoted overcoming any individual woman’s objections to unwanted sexual activity. Instead, this workshop explores the ways in which ideologies of transphobia and transmisogyny impact sexual desire.
The sexual health and well-being of LGBTQ women are incredibly important to all of us, and the Pleasure and Possibilities conference is one way that PPT is taking action to provide spaces and resources to support LGBTQ women’s communities.
– Kate Klein and Cindy Weeds, as per Sarah Hobbs, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Toronto
From: Cathy Brennan [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2012 7:41 PM
To: Kate Klein
Subject: “Overcoming the Cotton Ceiling”
Hi Kate –– Hide quoted text –
My name is Cathy Brennan, and I am a Lesbian activist. I write to ask you to reconsider Planned Parenthood’s sponsorship of “Overcoming the Cotton Ceiling,” a workshop that promotes the idea that it is a “human right” for trans women to get into the cotton undies of lesbians. Please see the attached email correspondence I had with Morgan Page, the workshop facilitator.
In an era in which women face attacks from the right (e.g., conservative efforts to limit access to abortion and birth control) and left (witness the Slutwalk phenomenon), surely Lesbians have a right to assert “NO” to trans women seeking access to our bodies. Is this really the message you want to send to Lesbians – that it is somehow *required,* in order to be a trans ally, to have sex with trans women? Most trans women retain their penises – do you really want to stand for the notion that Lesbians are bigots for not wanting penis?
I urge you to read the materials at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/917/570/206/support-womens-sexual-autonomy/, http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/moron-the-cotton-ceiling/ and https://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/the-cotton-ceiling-really/ for additional information.
Thank you, and I look forward to your response.