Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's That Time of Year Again...

Yes, it is that time of year when the transgender community starts whining about the Michigan's Womyn's Music Festival. Historically the Festival has a "womyn born womyn" policy that has been interpreted as excluding HBS women. In more recent years, that policy has been relaxed somewhat, and it stated as a matter of conscience, not a rigid policy. Of course, HBS women have attended the festival over the years. The real issue is the presence of transgender people who claim to identify as women.

In a recent article on Bilerico, the author states "In my personal opinion, if one feels as though he or she has been born into the wrong body than that's enough to qualify as Trans, or the new, less technical term GenderQueer." Such a statement is, in my personal opinion, highly offensive. The only criteria by which a person qualifies as "Trans" or worse, "GenderQueer" is if that person chooses to identify as such. I do not, and personally I consider having either term forced on me to be highly offensive.

He goes on to state, "Although The Womyn's Music Festival vows to not do any "panty checks" it seems as though the inclusion of Transpeople to a festival like this would have to be all or nothing. Being pre-op, half-op or even post-operation male-to-female transgender simply cannot matter. Who is to say that being pre or post op makes one more or less of a woman? You simply can't." He has a point, though he misses a bigger one. While a person who has Harry Benjamin Syndrome but who has not had surgery is still mentally a woman, there are a large number of men who call themselves "pre-op" who actually have no intention of ever having surgery to become female. They are not, in my opinion (and in the opinion of the vast majority of society) women, and never will be. So yes, surgical status does make a difference. I can certainly understand the MWMF not wanting to allow so-called "women with penises" into their midst. If a woman with HBS can assimilate well enough to attend, and she is sufficient identified as a woman to not feel the need to inform people that she was born male, then I see no reason why she should have a problem attending. And quick frankly, many have done just that. And any so-called "pre-op" who would wish to impose his self on such a gathering does not belong there anyway.

And no, that is not "passing" as many transgender types love to claim. The term "passing" implies that one is fooling people into believing that one is something they really aren't. But then, that is the whole point. For an HBS woman, it is not fooling someone. It is simply being what they are. Of course, I realize some can't quite grasp that.

Now, personally, I don't agree with a lot of the views of the founders of the MWMF, but I can understand why they might feel the way they do. Ironically, the person who caused a lot of this controversy could have simply kept her mouth shut. By telling her past, she raises questions as to whether or not she is really a woman.

Still, the bottom line is, this group does have a right to associate with who they wish to. Personally, I would not wish to attend this event. It is simply not my cup of tea. But that is a my feeling, and other women feel differently. In fact, a close friend, a "woman born woman" who is lesbian-identified went this year.

The bottom line is, many of those who are the most upset about being excluded are, ironically, the very sort of person I can understand them wanting to exclude. And the real irony is, I bet those who are the most upset have no comprehension of that irony.