Category Archives: Current Assaults on Women

OMNI Center Claims To Be “Fair”? Apparently Lesbians and Women Don’t Count

By Jeanne Neath

In 2017 the OMNI Center in Fayetteville Arkansas and the Goddess Festival de-platformed the XX Amazons, Paula, Susan and Jeanne, preventing us from giving our workshop on “The Disappearing L – Lesbians Rise Up”. This was the result of transactivists and their supporters protesting the workshop. (See “The Story of the Goddess Festival” for details of the de-platforming and our resistance.) A few days ago I received the OMNI Center’s weekly newsletter touting itself and its members on their fairness: “You and your neighbors are right here, working our tail ends off to make the world FAIR, FREE and HEALTHY.” OMNI always advertises itself as the “Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology.”

I find OMNI’s continued absolute favoritism toward the transgender community difficult to stomach on an ordinary day, but this kind of self-congratulatory lie coming from a group that is so unfair and unjust made me angry enough to email the OMNI director and OMNI Board of Directors the following statement.

Jeanne Neath’s Letter to the OMNI director and Board

OMNI is not doing everything it can to make the world “fair, free and healthy” (as you pretend to be at the top of your recent newsletter) when OMNI will not even allow women-only groups to meet at OMNI and you host a so-called Goddess Festival that silences and excludes radical feminist voices. OMNI has taken sides in the conflict between transactivists vs lesbians and all the many women who want and need women only space. This is an incredibly unfair position.

I don’t think the OMNI board has a clue as to what a woman hating and lesbian hating position it has taken (or if they do understand, then I am even more appalled at OMNI’s behavior). I suggest that OMNI educate itself on the harm that transactivists and their supporters are creating or at least stop pretending to “work its tail off” to make the world fair. Women only space is an essential prerequisite for a women’s liberation movement to exist. OMNI is acting to prevent the liberation of women and at the same time pretending to be fair. Pretty appalling!

Lesbian's sign attacked

Lesbians attacked at 2018 San Francisco Dyke March.

For starters, I suggest you inform yourselves about the attacks by transactivists on lesbians at the 2018 San Francisco Dyke March. (See the accompanying image showing what happened to a lesbian’s sign at the SF Dyke March which said “You can’t silence us with violence. Resist Lesbian Erasure.”) I also suggest reading the blogs (including one about the SF Dyke March) and other materials on xxamazons.org, reading relevant materials on feministcurrent.com, and reading the book Female Erasure, edited by Ruth Barrett and now available at the Fayetteville Public Library. There is no excuse for OMNI Board members to be informed only by the transactivist political perspective!

I don’t particularly want to hear back from you about this correspondence until OMNI is prepared to start making things right in its policies and practices toward women. I would appreciate an invitation for women’s groups to once again be able to hold women-only events at OMNI (and women-only means no “transwomen”). I am still waiting for a real apology from OMNI regarding the events around the 2017 Goddess Festival.”

Jeanne Neath, Former OMNI Board Member

OMNI Director Responds

The director of the OMNI Center responded in a semi-private, personal email to me saying only that she was sorry I was badly hurt. This was not an official OMNI response. I have no idea if the OMNI Board of Directors will even read or discuss my communication to them or respond in any way.

However, members of a local group of women who are resisting transactivist domination and fighting for women only space jumped into the fray with their own comments to the OMNI director.

Darlene Clubb writes to the OMNI director

What kind of response is this? This is a dismissal in my opinion. Please do not lay this at Jeanne’s feet like she is some isolated, wounded individual. From where I stand, OMNI has totally been positioning itself in support of the trans view of reality and appears to have dropped all pretense of concern or interest in the issues raised by lifelong lesbians and radical feminists concerning serious violence against women and the destruction of women’s legal standing/rights that the trans ideology poses. Billionaires are funding the trans agenda. Billionaires from corporate, pharmaceutical dynasties are funding think tanks that are designing and coordinating this homophobic and misogynistic social engineering project that is having devastating effects on lesbians and women’s very basic concerns in general (such as the ownership of the legal term “woman”, issues concerning birth and midwifery, menstruation,etc.)

Paula Mariedaughter’s comments to the OMNI director

Your crass dismissal of Jeanne’s concerns is an indication of your own loyalties. The war on women includes the war on women only spaces! Omni is a collaborator in the efforts to silence women and our strong political differences with all of you so ready to redefine woman.

Female ErasureIn Female Erasure, edited by Ruth Barrett, she wrote, “Political disagreement is an opportunity for discourse that is part of a free society, and should be encouraged. When any questions or concerns are written off as hate speech, bigotry or ‘transphobia’, discourse cannot take place.” This is the situation here in Fayetteville, Arkansas where your “fair-minded” organization refuses to sponsor any opportunity for discourse that differs from your political decision to support trans activist’s version of reality.

“As part of the conservative backlash, segments of the left have shifted away from political and structural analysis of oppression and injustice, towards an individualistic politics whose primary demand is for the recognition and validation of individual identities. Gender becomes an identity based on an internal set of feelings that must be believed and accepted without question, and that is unrelated to biological sex. They claim that one set of traits is inherently masculine and another set of traits is inherently feminine, and our identity is dependent on how we align with those traits. Gender identity is seen as innate, and being transgender is entirely a matter of self‑identification. They do not see gender in our patriarchal society as a hierarchical construct of a male supremacy.” This is a quote from Pelican Lee written on the XX Amazons website.

We will not be silenced by the exclusions and expulsions and the threats. Women and girls, our children and our grandchildren are depending on us women!

Linda Barnes writes to the OMNI director

The fact that we are even having to discuss who is a woman is really unbelievable to me. A man can never be a woman and vice versa. We know that is biologically impossible. The confusion seems to be with the word sex and gender. A person may change their appearance to look like a woman (in some cases) because society says a woman should look and dress a certain way and men should look and dress a certain way, but that is not sex, that is gender straitjacketing. We know from the beginning of time there was a man and a woman because otherwise there would not have been anyone else. So we know there are two sexes, but race has been a social construct, yet when Rachel Dolezal tried to present herself as a black person and was found out to be white, she was removed from her job and highly criticized for trying to cross a racial barrier. And, yes, blacks have been and still are an oppressed race, but women have been oppressed and held back and their long history of matriarchy almost erased from history. The black man got the vote before women did. And yet the left and the many trans sympathizers seem to have no problem with men saying they are women. Yes, let them go into women’s bathrooms and changing areas, even though most of them still have penises. They are now trying to develop uteri to implant into male bodies so they can have children. The midwifery is eliminating mother from their vocabulary and using birthing parent instead. Have you read “Female Erasure”?

The Disappearing LHere is a quote from Jenn Smith, a male to trans person, “It is my contention that young people today are being brainwashed and turned into Orwellian servants of the state for a much larger agenda. It has been suggested by others that the assault on sexual distinctions and on the perception of basic biological reality is part of a game to give absolute power to the state in the interpretation of reality itself. If the state can force people to admit that men are women, they can force them to believe anything. War is peace. Slavery is freedom. Men are women. All of these are equally contradictory.” I truly believe there is much more to this trans movement than we know and it is really scary. Have you questioned how this has come about so fast and tracked down where the money is coming from? Many lesbians and gays feel that the T should be removed from LGBT because they are just out for themselves and care nothing about gays or lesbians, except to try to force lesbians to have sex with the male to trans so they can feel more validated.

I think you and Omni are going to be on the wrong side of history when this mess gets straightened out. When people try to change the very definition of half of the world’s inhabitants then they are trying to distort reality itself. If the trans people had really wanted to be non-controversial they should have called themselves what Ruth Barrett suggested, “gender non-conforming men, a no less sacred expression of humanity.

Jeanne Neath Sends a Second Communication to OMNI

After reflecting on the OMNI director’s condescending response and the obvious ignorance of the OMNI Board about gender critical thought, I decided to send a second communication in an attempt to educate the OMNI leaders about just how deadly the transgender ideology they are supporting is.

Jeanne’s second communication to the OMNI Director and OMNI Board:
Everyone – women, lesbians, “transgender” people, OMNI, you and me – is being seriously harmed by the misunderstandings about sex and gender that transactivists are proclaiming as a truth that no one is allowed to question. OMNI is not doing itself, or anyone else, including “transgender” people, a kindness by unthinkingly subscribing to an inaccurate view of reality AND silencing the women who have legitimate criticisms of the transactivist position on sex and gender. What does it mean for OMNI and you, its director, an organization and woman concerned about justice, about “fairness”, to take sides in a conflict between oppressed groups and act to silence lesbians, radical feminists and me, a former OMNI board member with over forty years of experience as a feminist activist investigating the problem of sex and gender in patriarchal society? Every day you and OMNI continue on this misogynist path you are on and then congratulate yourselves on how “fair” and just you are, you stray further and further from your mission of “justice.”

“Gender,” the sex-typed behaviors and characteristics society trains males and females to perform, is constructed by society. The behaviors considered masculine and feminine change over time within a society. Do you think that girls were showered with pink clothes and toys one or two hundred years ago in this society? Gender is set up differently in different societies around the world too. The transgender movement is built around the notion that people have an innate, biological “gender identity,” but this is impossible because what is masculine and feminine is set up by each society. Do you think that our foremothers living in gathering and hunting societies over the millenia prior to the development of agriculture wore pink? But, more important, do you think OMNI should be silencing women who want to talk about gender and the ways that patriarchal societies use gender to maintain male power over women?

People who identify as “transgender” are being terribly hurt by their own movement and ideology. Feminists have fought for decades to eliminate the constrictions of gender for everyone. Since gender has been created by society, society has the power to do away with gender and free girls and boys, men and women from being forced into harmful sex roles. But, transgender ideology insists that gender (and “gender identity”) is not changeable and that, instead of changing (eliminating) the social institution of gender, the people who are unhappy with the gender prescribed for their biological sex must become transgender. This would not be problematic – many lesbians, for example, identify as butch and act in so-called masculine ways – but the transgender movement advocates changing one’s body to correspond to (socially constructed) gender (as well as confusing sex and gender and appropriating – stealing – the identity of being a woman). Because trans ideology is supported by progressive organizations like OMNI, by powerful national non-profit organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, and by obscenely wealthy individuals, many of whom are tied to the pharmaceutical industry, being transgender has become “cool” and more and more children and young people are identifying as transgender, especially girls and young women. Many of these children and young people are taking hormone blockers and hormones and having irreversible surgeries to remove breasts, testicles and to reshape genitals. Children are being sterilized and given off label drugs with unknown long-term effects. When OMNI supports the transgender movement and silences lesbians, silences radical feminists, silences me, OMNI supports all of these dangerous, often irreversible medical treatments and the sterilization of children, children who probably would outgrow their desire to become “transgender” (a likelihood demonstrated by the scientific evidence).

______, you were seriously off-track in your comment about being sorry I am (supposedly) hurting so badly. Stop trying to dismiss my concerns! OMNI took a serious wrong turn when it bowed to pressures by transactivists and their supporters to de-platform Susan, Paula and me at the 2017 Goddess Festival for our workshop on the “Disappearing L – Lesbians Rise Up”. Your attempt to have a “dialogue” group to bring transgender people and gender critical women into discussion was deeply biased from the start when you selected two trans supporters who were completely ignorant of gender critical thought as moderators. I am asking the OMNI director and OMNI board members to educate yourselves about gender critical/radical feminist perspectives and to make reparations to the women and lesbians you have silenced. Making space at OMNI for women to hold publicized women-only events (that exclude “transwomen”) is a necessary part of these reparations. I, personally, would like a real apology from OMNI once your organization has educated itself enough to understand the great harm you have done to women, to lesbians, to the people who identify as transgender, and to everyone else who is being harmed day in and day out by the pressures to conform to “gender” prescriptions

Conclusion

I am proud of all the women in northwest Arkansas and at XX Amazons who are resisting the silencing of women, transgender ideology, and transactivist attacks. We stand together fighting these patriarchal forces attempting to control women.

This entry was posted in Current Assaults on Women, Trans Gender Critical on by .

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Domination by Trans Rights Activists at Dyke March in San Fransciso

By Jeanne Neath

Twelve old lesbians marching in the June 23, 2018 San Francisco Dyke March were verbally harassed and two of them physically assaulted by transgender rights supporters. Instead of supporting the lesbians being harassed, both the Dyke March and the National Center for Lesbian Rights are falsely claiming that the old lesbians were the ones acting in a threatening and violent manner. As I understand it, the dyke marches across the country have been largely taken over by persons who are not lesbians. How has this happened?

Bats carried by transactivist group at marches

Bats carried at marches by the Degenderettes, an international transactivist group active in San Francisco. Local chapters of the Degenderettes are forming.

In her XX Amazons’ blog last week, Paula Mariedaughter described how “Lesbians [are] Not Welcome at a Women’s Center started by Lesbian Feminists.” That unnamed women’s center in Fayetteville, Arkansas is under the spell of lesbian trans supporters who have abandoned lesbian feminist politics in favor of the transgender politics of so-called “inclusion.”

So far, the board of directors there is all female and may be all lesbian. Some board members support women only space, but are unable to allow women only events due to the power of the trans supporting faction (and the fear of attack on the center by transactivists and their liberal, progressive, and “feminist” supporters). It looks to me like the Fayetteville center is in the early stages of losing its female and lesbian identity and sliding into trans domination. If they are successful in becoming increasingly “inclusive” it may just be a matter of time until lesbians who value women only space are purposefully excluded from the board and a male to transgender person is invited to join the board. Read Paula’s blog for more details of the situation there.

I believe this process of liberal lesbian trans supporters gaining increasing sway over a lesbian organization, adopting a policy and politics of “inclusion”, welcoming transgender persons into the organization, and, finally, welcoming male to transgender persons who claim to be lesbians onto the board of directors has become commonplace. Once this process has been completed, what was once a lesbian organization begins to put the interests of transactivists front and center. If the lesbian organization is considered a valuable enough target, powerful forces from outside the organization may become involved, perhaps training transactivists to infiltrate the organization’s board, providing advice on strategy, or supplying funding.** Some are calling this kind of trans takeover a “transjacking”. Whoops, there goes another piece of our once thriving lesbian culture!


Male to transgender persons are not only appropriating our identity as women, but are stealing our organizations.


Male to transgender persons are not only appropriating our identity as women, but are stealing our organizations. Many women and lesbians are doing our best to stop these thefts. Awareness of what is transpiring is a key part of our resistance.

We offer below links to several personal accounts by lesbians of what happened to them at the San Francisco Dyke March, the Women’s Liberation Front’s (WOLF’s) open letter to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and a link to a Change.org petition from one of the women whose sign was torn up by the trans rights activists at the San Francisco Dyke March (see photo below).

WOLF’s open letter to the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) demands that the organization retract its slanderous and false allegations against the 12 lesbians who were harassed at the 2018 San Francisco Dyke March. In a classic reversal, “demonstrating a stunning degree of anti-lesbian bias”, NCLR falsely claimed that the lesbian marchers had “chanted transphobic slogans and violently harassed and threatened other marchers.”

See Max Dashu’s account of what happened at the San Francisco Dyke March. Max Dashu writes: “All of the old lesbians in our group were quickly surrounded, subjected to chants of “TERFs go home!” and blasted with hatefulness for the entire course of the march. Young queers berated, hounded, and crowded in on us. Most of them refused to speak with us, only glaring, chanting, and screaming.”

In “Young Women Attack Dykes their Grandma’s Age” Lavenderjoan writes: “It was a nightmare scenario. Imagine the Lavender Menace meets Lord of the Flies. Twenty-something participants in the Dyke March swooped down on our small contingent of old lesbians like crazed predators thirsty for blood…”

Here is Sherri Golden’s petition calling for The San Francisco Dyke March, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Bay Area Reporter to retract their “defamatory and libelous statements” claiming that the lesbian victims of threatening and violent behaviors by trans rights activists were instead the attackers. See Sherri Golden and what happened to the sign she carried saying “You can’t silence us with violence – Resist lesbian erasure” in the photo below.

Lesbian's sign attacked

Lesbians attacked at 2018 San Francisco Dyke March.

By Jeanne Neath

** Interview with Mary Lou Singleton, Women’s Liberation Radio News Edition 16 transcript

** Sue Donym, Inauthentic Selves: The modern LGBTQ+ Movement Is Run By Philanthropic Astroturf And Based On Junk Science

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Response to the Exclusion of Max Dashu from the Modern Witches Confluence

By Chelsea Byrd

Hello,
Thank you for making the effort to create this amazing event. I understand that you have been unexpectedly caught off guard by the political state currently transpiring in the LGBTQ and feminist communities. I am writing to you as a member of the witch/pagan community, a feminist, and a member of the LGBTQ community. I have been an active participant in each of these communities for about 25 years, since I was 15 years old. I came out as a witch slightly before I came out as bisexual, which was before I came out as a lesbian. I have always thought of myself as a feminist, but what I know, think, and feel about feminism is constantly changing and evolving.

Please consider that you have jumped to conclusions by blackballing Max Dashu. The argument against feminists is not as clear-cut as it may seem when you are only listening to one sensationalistic side of the story.

There are actually a lot of reasons why various people consider themselves to be radical feminists, or allies. And there is solid reasoning why this feels threatening to some trans activists. The primary issue of safety in this community is that the law requires a black and white categorization of the definition of male and female. Currently, at a legal level, sex has been completely conflated and replaced with gender. This is a win for trans activists who want trans women to get to go to women’s prisons, and play women sports, etc. However, the other side of the story is that this means that there are no longer any external indicators of who or what a woman is.

Currently, legally, anyone is a woman who says that they are. The result of this is that males are competing in women’s sports against females, and male rapists and murderers are occupying female prisons. From the standpoint of feminism this is a threat to women’s rights and safety. It is true that radical feminists want males to be excluded from women’s sports and women’s prisons. This is a complicated topic that still has years worth of work in progress needed.

Who Is a Woman brochure

XX Amazons’ Who Is a Woman Brochure is available for download.

The perspective of feminists is that it is unsafe for men to be the ones who say what a woman is. Currently, legally, if a man gets convicted of a crime and doesn’t want to go to men’s prison, he can just say that he is a woman and he will get to go to women’s prison. There are documented examples of men being kind of bad at sports, not having the skills to compete at a men’s level, so joining women’s teams, claiming to be trans women. There are many documented cases of males in women’s prisons, and trans women committing acts of violence against women.

In an attempt to keep trans women safe, the term TERF has been codified, in order to target and attack any woman perceived as a threat to the legal replacement of the category “sex” (male/female) with the category “gender” (self-identified man/woman.) The results of this have been real world physical violence, where lesbians and feminists have been punched, pushed down, and beaten up. Lesbians and feminists have also been fired from their jobs, not for doing anything wrong, but for having the opinion that sex is still a category of oppression in America. And lesbians and feminists have been denied venues for performances and academic presentations.


The most common exclusionary act that supposed terfs commit is being lesbian. Lesbianism is considered an exclusionary sexuality. It is frequently said that having a sexual preference is thinly veiled transphobia, and sexual preferences actually do not exist.


When you removed Max from your conference, you cited that you had not done your research or realized that she is a “terf”. TERF is an acronym for “trans exclusionary radical feminist.” The most common exclusionary act that supposed terfs commit is being lesbian. Lesbianism is considered an exclusionary sexuality. It is frequently said that having a sexual preference is thinly veiled transphobia, and sexual preferences actually do not exist.

lesbian symbol

It is unfounded slander to consider somebody to be violent or hateful without any evidence to support that allegation. Lesbians and radical feminists are not performing acts of violence against trans women. Max has never done anything to harm or exclude any trans person from anything. Trans activists are commonly saying that it is the equivalent of actual violence to have the “exclusionary” sexual preference of lesbianism, or to hold the political ideology of radical feminism. Without intending to or realizing it, you have upheld this targeted attack against lesbian radical feminists. This is not ok. You’re being used as a tool to yield darkness and damage, against an extremely marginalized, extremely small community.


In very short order people are going to realize that terf is a misogynistic slur, it is the equivalent of the new McCarthyism.


I understand that you run an incredible risk if you choose to stand on Max’s side, because there are more and louder trans activists speaking up at this point in history. However, in very short order people are going to realize that terf is a misogynistic slur, it is the equivalent of the new McCarthyism. Any woman can be called a terf at any time for any reason, and if a woman is outed as a radical feminist she can lose her job, housing, and live with constant threats of actual physical violence.

Please do your research, and tread carefully as you move forward. I know you are a small organization, but please do not set the precedent of harming women by denying them a livelihood for being feminist lesbians. Please take this opportunity to support women’s basic human rights, rather than pandering to bullies who are threatening, committing, ignoring, denying, and excusing violence against women.

Thank you very much for your time,
Chelsea

By Chelsea Byrd

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Lesbians Not Welcome at a Women’s Center started by Lesbian Feminists!

by Paula Mariedaughter
Lesbians Not Welcome at a Women’s Center started by Lesbian Feminists! How could this be? This local women’s center in Fayetteville, AR began three decades ago. It was funded, in part by a lesbian organization, the Lesbian Natural Resources.

Here is an excerpt from the Fayetteville public radio program describing the organization in an interview on June 3, 2015. The “intentional retirement village for elder lesbians and women in rural Madison County, conceptualized thirty years ago, is finally being established–but as a senior women’s community center in Fayetteville.”

Two years later, The Gayly newspaper on October 1, 2017 in an interview with the manager of that community center declared that the organization “has come to be an inclusive retreat for people of varying genders/orientations”.

However, lesbians and feminists who wish to have women only meetings or events are rejected based on our desire to experience women only groups. For over a year, many of us have tried to work with the board of directors. We are denied meeting space because we do not wish to include male to trans persons as women. We are considered noninclusive and our position is considered unacceptable. Therefore the board of directors continues to deny us women only meetings. The lesbians and women who support the claims of men to be women refuse to see our stance as a legitimate political disagreement.

In Female Erasure, edited by Ruth Barrett, she wrote, “Political disagreement is an opportunity for discourse that is part of a free society, and should be encouraged. When any questions or concerns are written off as hate speech, bigotry or ‘transphobia’, discourse cannot take place.” This is the situation we are facing as members of that un-named organization here in Fayetteville, Arkansas!

Early last February, several member women who want space for women only events spoke about our strong desire to use this facility to meet with like-minded women. We attended the organization’s annual meeting, but we entered a hostile environment that night.

Proud to be women identified and women centered!


This is my statement to the board and the members at the annual meeting:

Discrimination as Boundaries
I am a lesbian. I came out in 1973. Choosing to be with women is the best decision I have ever made. Being a lesbian means I discriminate against men every day of my life. I do not wish my life to be dominated by the needs and desires of men.

For forty-five years I’ve lived as a dyke. I am a gender non-conforming woman! I am proud to call myself a Radical Lesbian Feminist. At times, I have been considered too “femme” by some of my dyke friends. At the same time, I have been considered too “butch” by the straight world. My desire is to live as my authentic self. I want this for everyone. Socially enforced “femininity” and “masculinity” are straight-jackets meant to restrict all of us.

I cannot accept the view that there are people born in the wrong body. The biological fact of being born female or being born male is based in physical reality. Discomfort with the roles assigned to each sex is a healthy rebellion to sex role stereotypes, otherwise known as “gender.” The world view of people pushing transgendering as a solution to the oppression of sex roles is a dangerous concept — especially for young people.

I understand that others have embraced another world view. I do not condemn those people. I am an advocate for peaceful coexistence. Women like me, who want to meet in women only space, must be respected. We will resist every effort to allow men to claim womanhood for themselves. Male domination is central to patriarchy. Men claiming to be women is stealing our birthright.

I want women like me to have equal access to the use of the space since we are members. I want young women to experience the reality of women supporting each other in women-only space. I welcome male allies to all open events. We all need for this women’s center to thrive as a unique community resource.

I have a right to set my boundaries. Yes, I am willing to discriminate against men. As I said earlier, I do not wish my life to be dominated by the needs and desires of men, especially the men who call themselves women.

I left that meeting depressed and numb. I walked alone, in the dark, to find our car parked a block away. I could not tolerate another moment in that threatening space.

In trying to comprehend how exactly this disregard of women’s and lesbians’ strong desire to meet together has become illegitimate, I found understanding in these words from Pelican Lee: “In response to the conservative backlash, segments of the left [including women, my addition] have shifted away from political and structural analysis of oppression and injustice, towards an individualistic politics whose primary demand is for recognition and validation of individual identities.” Full article: https://xxamazons.org/emperors-clothes-radical-feminist-view-gender-transgender/

Women and girls are victimized daily by men and by the male dominated institutions of patriarchy. By refusing to acknowledge this reality, many on the left and many liberal lesbians deny the oppression of women and name women and lesbians as oppressors when we refuse to accept the notion that men can be women if they so choose.

In reading and thinking and feeling about all these events and my own experiences, I’ve often encountered a disdain or dismissal of those of us who have lived as lesbians for decades and powered the lesbian feminist rebellion of the 1960s, 70s ad 80s. How did this happen?

Jocelyn Macdonald helped me see into today’s queer culture in her article, “Today’s Shameless Lesbians Won’t Be Queered”. Macdonald provided me with vital information about myself as one of those lesbians who will not even consider being “queered”!

She explained in that Feminist Current article that, “In queer circles, ‘lesbian’ is synonymous with second wave feminism. In a way, this is right on, as it was during the second wave that women fearlessly occupied what it meant to be woman-loving and many of radical feminism’s fiercest sisters are members of the “lavender menace.’ Queer women owe their rights to the radical resistance and separatism of their lesbian foremothers, but are embarrassed by lesbian culture and history.” Read the full article on Feminist Current here: https://www.feministcurrent.com/2017/01/13/todays-shameless-lesbians-wont-queered/

I’m going to close with a favorite photo sure to embarrass those young and middle-aged queer women who have turned their backs on lesbians like me who choose women, not men, as the center of our lives. To be embarrassed by us and to dismiss our radical feminist analysis of the oppression of women is directly related to their attitudes of ageism, misogyny, lesbian-hating and especially to their worship of pop culture! We are led to believe that, as old dykes with our unfashionable dress and generally uncool image, our determined loyalty to women and girls is outmoded. However, we are the dykes who can boldly testify to the rich connections we have built with other women in our woman-loving lives. Queer women have no idea what they are missing. Come join us! We need all the lesbian energy we can get!

Paula (on left) and Martha carrying our Lesbians Unite sign at the Anita Bryant protest in downtown Kansas City MO, 1977.

This entry was posted in Trans Gender Critical, Women Only Space and tagged , on by .

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Attempt to Shut Down Feminist Current

By Meghan Murphy

Hey everyone. A few weeks ago, I received the following email from the company that facilitates the ads featured on Feminist Current, SheKnowsMedia:

“Dear Ms. Murphy:

After careful review, pursuant to the SheKnows Publishing Network Agreement, attached for your reference, we are terminating your account effective immediately due to Feminist Current’s failure to comply with the Agreement’s quality guidelines regarding content that attacks a group on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Specifically, this articles https://www.feministcurrent.com/…/must-trans-activists-sme…/ and https://www.feministcurrent.com/…/trans-activism-become-ce…/ as well as others of similar tone are in violation.

Please remove all ad code from your site as soon as possible…

CHRISTY ROSENSTEEL
GENERAL COUNSEL
SheKnows Media”

We chose to have ads hosted by SheKnowsMedia (previously BlogHer) because these companies claim to aim to support and empower women AND because I was able to limit ad categories that showed up on Feminist Current, meaning that I was able to exclude ads for things like dieting, makeup, the oil industry, the meat industry, religious ads, “dating” ads, and a myriad of other categories of ads I didn’t want showing up on a feminist site. This, of course, limited the income we were able to access via ad revenue, but still allowed us a base revenue that could ensure we were guaranteed a certain level of sustainability, from month to month. We have had ads hosted on the site via BlogHer/SheKnows since 2012.

Femiinist Current

Feminist Current is Canada’s leading feminist website.
They provide a unique perspective on male violence against women, pop culture, politics, current events, sexuality, gender, and many other issues that are often underrepresented or misrepresented by mainstream, progressive, and feminist media sources.

Recently, I have had several issues with the ads popping up on Feminist Current, some of which were unsuitable (anti-ageing ads and makeup ads, for example), others which were outright racist and sexist. When I contacted SheKnows about this, which I did numerous times, the problem was not addressed and the company claimed not to be able to do anything about these ads, despite the fact they were showing up via *their* ad network. As a result, I had been planning to get rid of ads on the site entirely, but needed to make sure we were able to sustain ourselves after that loss, so had tried to do some fundraising over the past month, in order to make up for the loss. (Thank you to everyone who donated!)

Before I was able to do this, I received the above email, which referenced two posts, one of which challenges violent, misogynist threats against women and lesbians, the other that challenges the unethical and dishonest tactics trans activists use to shut down critical questions about the transitioning of children and around transgender ideology that reinforces sexist ideas about males and females more broadly.

Neither post “attacks a group on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.” Rather, one post directly opposes attacks and violent threats against a group of people based on sex and sexual orientation (women and lesbians), and the other defends journalism/journalistic ethics and good faith debate, and opposes censorship and attacks against journalism that challenges popular discourse and the status quo. Both posts, of course, support a feminist analysis that says gender is not innate, neither men nor women are stereotypes, and that women are oppressed under patriarchy on account of being born female, not on account of their feelings, clothing, or behaviour.

It is incredibly important, particularly now, that journalists are able to report on issues and trends independently and with integrity, no matter how it may upset certain groups. It is also incredibly important that women be allowed to defend their sex-based rights without being beat up, smeared, and threatened. These are fundamental ideas that *should* be supported by those who support democracy and human rights, as well as by those who oppose hate speech and fascism.

I responded to Christy Rosensteel at SheKnows Media, saying I was confused by her email, as the two posts in reference did not attack any group of people, and asked if she could please specify which aspects of the posts constituted an attack on “a group on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.” I told her that our mandate at Feminist Current is to advocate the liberation of women from patriarchy and male violence, and that I felt both posts fit this aim. I added:

“I find your claim to be quite a serious accusation, especially considering Feminist Current’s longstanding and dedicated work to opposing male violence against women and supporting the global feminist movement. If SheKnows is opposed to feminist analysis, that would be good to know, as I’d assumed your organization did not support male violence against women or sexism, in general.”

I received no response.

The good news is, we will no longer have to deal with a company that allows sexist, racist ads to pop up on the site, which I have no control over, and who refuses to be accountable for said ads, and will no longer be beholden to anti-feminist companies who revoke revenue because we publish articles opposing misogyny, male violence against women, and the shutting down of feminist debate/discourse. The bad news is that, more and more frequently, women who speak out against gender identity ideology, ask questions about the short and long term effects of transitioning children, and try to host discussions and debates about the impacts of gender identity legislation on women and girls are being systemically persecuted, slandered, silenced, threatened, fired, and rendered unemployable.

It is unacceptable to try to shut down feminist media, simply because feminist ideas offend the sensibilities of some. And this is exactly what has happened. It is clear that someone who opposes the work we do at Feminist Current, who has connections or power at SheKnows, complained, and demanded they cut ties with the site. Our content has not changed substantially in the past few weeks. We have been opposing violence against women and asking critical questions about transgender ideology for years now. We are under constant attack, as a result. This was a direct attack against us by one individual who wished to attempt to shut down the site, by rendering us unable to pay our bills and support ourselves.

Luckily, we have an enormously supportive readership around the world, are independent, and are part of a powerful, global women’s liberation movement that has more integrity and courage in its pinky finger than these self-interested, cowardly, dishonest, greedy, misogynist neoliberals.

Fuck SheKnowsMedia. Fuck these capitalist pigs, who care more about their income than their integrity. Fuck this disgusting cooptation of feminism that bends over for men while throwing women under the bus. If they think this bullying will shut down Feminist Current and the hundreds of thousands of people who support our work and contribute to the site, they underestimate the power, courage, and steadfastness of women.

Lesbian's sign attacked

Lesbians attacked at 2018 San Francisco Dyke March.

In the past year we have seen attacks on our sisters amped up, as warrior women like Max Dashu, Nina Paley, Thistle Pettersen, Kajsa Ekis Ekman, Yuly Chan, and countless more are being smeared and no-platformed because they dare stand in solidarity with women. Women are being beaten up in the streets because they wish to *speak* about gender identity legislation and an ideology that says there is no such thing as a woman or a female body. Women are being threatened at the Dyke March and at Pride because they stand up for lesbians. Women are receiving death threats for supporting women-only spaces.

These women are not wealthy, they are not powerful, they are not “privileged.” They are regular women and lesbians fighting to survive and to have a voice and to protect our and YOUR hard-fought-for rights.

We stand in solidarity with women and in defense of free speech and democracy. We oppose the misogynist, capitalist bullying that dictates the editorial content of the vast majority of publications in North America, including those publications that claim to be “feminist.” At Feminist Current, we have always been accountable only to the feminist movement, and that will never change, no matter how many try to shut us down. Solidarity with our sisters in the struggle. Until we win.

By Meghan Murphy

Republished with permission from Meghan Murphy. See her original post. Visit her Facebook page. Don’t miss Feminist Current!

This entry was posted in Current Assaults on Women and tagged , on by .

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Liars Need Silence to Support Their Lies!

By Paula Mariedaughter. New Flash from Feminist Current! On July 18 Max Dashu, feminist historian, was deplatformed (due to complaints by trans activists and allies) by the Modern Witches Confluence to be held this fall near San Francisco, CA! Many of the ancient female goddess images on our site come from Max Dashu, so you are familiar with her powerful work. Additionally, an event showcasing the work of artist Nina Paley has been cancelled after complaints about her feminist politics by trans activists.

This feminist news source, with a variety of up-to-date articles, can provide you with more details. Visit here:https://www.feministcurrent.com/

As an investigating blogger, I went to the Modern Witches website and found their description of their organization and of their event called the Confluence.
The Modern Witches Confluence is an educational gathering that honors all walks of the witch. The witch is our spirit and our soul. The witch is awakening and leading us on our healing journey. She invites you to join us…
Our circle is founded upon inclusion, and in order to foster inclusion we must be willing to share and be willing to listen to experiences that are different from our own.
Our circle is created by a diversity of voices and beliefs.
(The entire text appears below.)

Denying our Reality as Women by Deplatforming Us One by One!
Deplatforming is a political tactic favored by transgender activists and their allies on the left. Pressuring groups and venues to cancel contracts with speakers, artists and musicians who advocate for women-only space is the central strategy for silencing our dissenting voices. Women who express any trans-critical opinions are labeled terfs, a derogatory term meaning trans exclusionary radical feminists. We, who resist male intrusions into women-only space, are now labeled a “hate group”. We see ourselves as “resistance fighters” and claim the right to female centered culture that existed for thousands of years before the violent patriarchies destroyed our communities and, during the so-called Renaissance, burned 11 million women as witches.

Please note the use of both “inclusion ” and “diversity” used by the organizers of the Modern Witches Confluence event in describing their purpose. These two words are now understood to mean that any “trans critical voice”, especially from lesbians, will swiftly be excluded from any participation. It reminds me of a loyalty oath that might read, “I assert my undying loyalty to men and any harebrain idea they truly identify with. Therefore, men must be women because they say they are women!”

Paula in a pointed witch's hat with many of her political quilts behind her.

Witchy Paula during her presentation at the 2016 Fayetteville Goddess festival before she was part of the group deplatformed there in 2017 and refused entry in 2018.
The organizers declared the Goddess Festival was inclusive, but not of anyone who desires women only space!

Pelican Lee has responded to our silencing. “Demanding that we remain silent about our own bodies and our place in this world is unconscionable, especially during the backlash that we are experiencing. Women are not born with a female gender identity – we are born with female reproductive biology.” Pelican Lee wrote this strong statement in her recent article, The Emperor’s New Clothes: A Radical Feminist View of Gender and Transgender. Read the full article here: https://xxamazons.org/emperors-clothes-radical-feminist-view-gender-transgender/

Once I read that Starhawk was still invited to be the keynote speaker at the Confluence, I decided that writing Starhawk could be helpful. As a well know writer about feminist witchcraft and as an earth activist, perhaps she could work some magic, or at least accomplish some diplomacy that would enable co-existence. I’d already written to the Confluence giving my opinion. Below is my letter to Starhawk:
Here is the link, https://starhawk.org/contact/to send Starhawk a message about using her keynote address at the “confluence” this fall that just deplatformed Max Dashu.

Starhawk,
Please know that your readers are expecting that you will take the initiative as keynote speaker at the Confluence this fall to address the current attempts by witches there and at other witchy gatherings to silence women and lesbians because of our beliefs in the rights of women to hold women only gatherings.

How can this be seen as anything but a new form of woman-hating? How about brewing up some dialogue at the Confluence about this conflict between several oppressed groups? Of course if you do bring this up, you will face the same punishment–threats of being deplatformed yourself. Your silence will not protect you.

Excluding those of us with unpopular opinions, ie something as radical as “men are not women” is clearly unacceptable. This policy is a policy of appeasement–men must have whatever they want–even women’s identity!

We must look for solutions instead of bowing to the pressure of trans extremists.

Blessed be, Paula Mariedaughter

Perhaps every woman reading this account could write to one or both places to add your opinions and preferences. Please use your voices! Here is the link, https://starhawk.org/contact/to send Starhawk a message about using her keynote address at the “confluence” this fall that just deplatformed Max Dashu.

Honor the female-centered life cycle that follows the moon: birth, death, and regeneration. Blessed be.

from the Modern Witches Confluence on July 18, 2018 declaring their intent to deplatform Max Dashu
Dear Community,
We sincerely apologize for involving Max Dashu in our workshop line-up. Since your community concerns have been raised regarding Dashu’s trans-exclusionary views, we have removed Max Dashu from our teaching line-up, and she will no longer be an influence on the Modern Witches Confluence. We appreciate you voicing your concerns, and we apologize for not responding to them sooner.
We should have done our research before asking Dashu to join us for our event, and after this incident, we know to do our due-diligence. We do not support or endorse those who shame, oppress, or exclude others. The success of our gathering will be built on a shared vision of inclusion, and the collective desire to liberate ourselves from societal rigidity, hatred, and separatist categorization.
We hope that by righting this wrong, the LGBTQ community and beyond will feel safe and welcomed to join us for our event in October. Please keep letting us know how we can do better. This is a community of many diverse voices, and we will need to keep voicing concerns, and listening, in order to grow and evolve.
Contact us at: info@witchesconfluence.org
with Love,
MWCfrom the Modern Witches Confluence on July 18

Three days later, more information from The Modern Witches to their membership about this issue:
July, 21, 2018
We would like everyone to know that we are working with Starhawk and others to facilitate a community dialogue in the hopes of catalyzing healing for all involved in the Modern Witches Community and beyond.
This page is for honoring and loving the lives of witches ~ in all of their multifaceted manifestations.

This is the full Statement of Purpose from Modern Witches Convergence’s website https://witchesconfluence.org/our-story/
Statement of Purpose
The Modern Witches Confluence is an educational gathering that honors all walks of the witch. The witch is our spirit and our soul. The witch is awakening and leading us on our healing journey. She invites you to join us…
Our circle is founded upon inclusion, and in order to foster inclusion we must be willing to share and be willing to listen to experiences that are different from our own.
Our circle is created by a diversity of voices and beliefs.
Our circle welcomes those who are beginning their spiritual journey, and those with lineage and deep roots.
Our circle is radical, and acknowledges that spirituality and justice are interconnected.
Our circle is a safe space to explore our individual paths.
Our circle is complex and beautiful.
We do not support those whose lives and beliefs are grounded in hate and division.
We are an anti-racist, anti-fascist community.
We are showing up for collective liberation, peace, radical love, and personal growth.
The Modern Witches Confluence is a gathering that aims to heal the collective’s trauma around The Witch. The witch is our midwife, nurse, wise woman, bruja, grandmother, herbalist, empath, storyteller, and weaver of the worlds. Witches are here to help us work with our innate power, and through community, they guide us closer to collective healing.

Written by Paula Mariedaughter

What IS Lesbian space?

By Woody Blue

In 1979, Womonwrites emerged as an lesbian only conference held in a public space in the South. It was structured as a writer’s conference. The founders of the conference recognized the need for lesbian space and were not apologetic in their approach to forming it and defining it as such.

Lesbian space is hard to find. It is different from women only space. Women only space grew from consciousness-raising groups in the 70’s. Women only groups gave women the breathing room needed to define themselves as women. They were able to see more clearly that because they had been born with a vagina, they had been assigned a subservient role in a patriarchal structure that put men at the top. Men decided what women would wear, how they would look, what jobs they could perform and what pay they would receive. From these women’s groups, a feminist analysis of patriarchy was pieced together and women, feeling empowered by this new understanding, dared to challenge patriarchal ideas and systems.


Lesbian space is hard to find. It is different from women only space.


Lesbian space grew out of the women’s groups. Straight women partnered with men and their discussions included that at the end of the day they would return to their male cohorts. Women who came out as lesbians faced a double threat. Not only did they not agree to conform to stereotyped sex roles; they also chose not to center their lives around men. Lesbians only wanted to focus on lesbians; empowering themselves and not spending their time, energy and skills providing for men. Their focus was clearly and decidedly on women.

And with that, by 1979, Womonwrites was born.

Womonwrites 1979Before I came to WW in 1986 I had been very involved with the Women’s Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice in the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY. To put it in a nutshell, it was a 52 acre farm bought by women and peace groups to create a women only community, putting feminist values into practice. It was situated adjacent to the largest US nuclear military base in the country which warehoused nuclear weapons and shipped them overseas to US bases in European countries that were NATO allies. The purpose of the camp was to train women in all aspects of nonviolent civil disobedience as well as learn and practice feminist principles in order to build a more peaceful world. There were sister encampments in England, Scotland, Germany, Sicily and a few other countries. It could be said that women world-wide were organizing to get rid of patriarchal structures by taking the fight to the U.S. military. The peace camp was our practice space.

I had only been out for 3 years before stumbling into WW in 1986 and I clasped my lesbian identity around me like a warm blanket that occasionally reverted to a suit of armor.
I found myself as a lesbian in public, structured lesbian space. It was like having a lesbian discussion group magnified 400 times. I didn’t have to explain myself; I didn’t have to explain my sexual preferences; I didn’t have to guess if someone at the conference was a lesbian or not. She was a lesbian; no need to ask. This was enormously freeing as I was used to walking in a predominantly straight world, where I’d been told 1 in 10 was gay.

Upon arrival at WW, I immersed myself totally. I was from the North yet I was welcomed because I was lesbian. I didn’t consider myself a writer, but I was welcomed because I was a lesbian. I hardly knew anyone but that was fine. There were plenty of lesbians that wanted to meet me and wanted to hear about the Peace Camp.

I remember my first reading. I refused to stand on the stage. Instead I insisted on being on the grass and shouting my poem about being a curious housecleaner that invented stories about the people she cleaned house for by searching for clues under the bed and in the wastebasket. I refused to read it; instead memorizing the 3 page poem and strutting up and down on the grass.

At WW, I was given the freedom to be who I was, to break the rules, to explain my life experiences. WW, as safe lesbian space, allowed me to grow into my lesbianism, and encouraged me to take writing seriously. This is something that I could not have accomplished in a straight women’s writing group, in a mixed male and female writing group, in a trans, queer, or bisexual writing group. I needed and still need a lesbian writing group. I don’t see that ever changing.


At WW, I was given the freedom to be who I was, to break the rules, to explain my life experiences. WW, as safe lesbian space, allowed me to grow into my lesbianism, and encouraged me to take writing seriously. This is something that I could not have accomplished in a straight women’s writing group, in a mixed male and female writing group, in a trans, queer, or bisexual writing group.


Over the years, WW has attempted to keep the conference lesbian and to keep it safe. In the last 10 years, there have been efforts from some lesbians attending, to open the conference to the queer, bi, and trans communities. This would invite a male presence into the conference and it was strongly opposed.

In the last several years, there have been women who have challenged the definition of lesbian space. Their argument is that males that have transitioned are now women. If they have women lovers, they are also lesbian and now they should be allowed to come into lesbian space. The counter argument is that transitioned males are NOT women. They have their own set of gender role disparities and they do not become women just because they say they are women. Males do not have the right to redefine what a woman is. This is not all there is to the arguments but it does state the crux of the matter.

The last 10 years this issue has not gone away from WW. There have been some women who have shared their thinking in the readings. There have been a few workshops to explain various points of view. Not everyone attends workshops. There is little time to have an open discussion with all members of the WW community during the conference. As a result, there has been no concrete open public dialogue. Rather, there have been closed private discussions, mostly among those wishing to change policy.

The DispossessedDespite our differences, WW has been a safe environment for lesbians. Throughout the years, I’ve always felt safe to speak my mind regardless of whether we were engaged in arguments over SM issues, health issues, or what to pay the cooks. I have always felt that my interests were taken into consideration when decisions are made.

Last February, after years of discussion about opening up the lesbian writer’s conference to queer and trans women, the planning committee voted to change who would be allowed to attend the conference. The planning committee was well aware that there were many lesbians who strongly disagreed with opening up the conference. There had been a stormy debate on the WW FB page. It was not a good place to hold this discussion. Though most of us tried to keep it polite and respectful, it was not always so. There were women who weren’t on FB who couldn’t participate in the discussion. There was an occasional person chiming in that had never been to WW. It was agreed to close that discussion and pick it up at the planner’s meeting.


Last February, after years of discussion about opening up the lesbian writer’s conference to queer and trans women, the planning committee voted to change who would be allowed to attend the conference. The planning committee was well aware that there were many lesbians who strongly disagreed with opening up the conference….It was never stated that a decision would be made at that planners’ meeting.


It was never stated that a decision would be made at that planners’ meeting. Not everyone can get to the meeting and I rely on having all lesbians’ opinions brought into the decision-making process and consensus being reached. In my memory, that is the way it always has been. The planning committee now says they have always voted on decisions; however, I and others say this is revisionist. Be that as it may, the decision was made.

Lesbians opposed to this decision argue that people born with penises can NOT become women through medical interventions, can NOT change the definition of women to suit their needs, can NOT be a women because they feel like one. Much has been written on this, yet most lesbians have not heard the arguments, and have not been able to have public discourse on these issues. Lesbians and others that raise these issues are quickly shouted down, and referred to as bigots and the new slur word of TERF, short for trans-exclusive radical feminist. Concern and protection of lesbian space is translated as trans hatred and transphobia.

Lesbians who agree with the decision claim that they are evolved; that they are open-minded; that transwomen have suffered from misogynistic society and need our support. The claim that anyone can be a woman because he says so, whether that person is on hormones or not, whether that person has a penis or not, whether that person has no lived experience as a woman is accepted by many lesbians as well as queer, transgendered, bisexual, and all the other gender variations that have popped up lately. These are people first in line to throw stones at women born women who raise a fuss.

It has come down to this. There are lesbians and feminists who strongly oppose the intrusion of men to redefine who a woman is and who occupies women’s space. Revising the definition of women to include men who insist they are women takes away the ability to have, create or maintain women only space. And, of course, that underscores the definition of lesbian and makes it impossible to create and maintain lesbian only space.

This year, the planning committee, voted to change the mission statement of WW. The statement now reads, “Founded as a lesbian conference and reflecting lesbian values, WW is a gathering of lesbian writers and others who may identify differently but know they belong at a lesbian writer’s conference.”

This past spring, the WW conference was open to those others who identify differently but know they belong at a lesbian writer’s conference. It was no longer lesbian safe space. A number of lesbians who disagreed with the decision refused to attend. The people that did participate, attended workshops and ate communal meals in a tense atmosphere. Those that supported the new participants deserted the public areas for the most part and spent their time in the loud and rowdy cabin. There was some intermingling, and there were some intensely hostile moments.


This past spring, the WW conference was open to those others who identify differently but know they belong at a lesbian writer’s conference. It was no longer lesbian safe space. A number of lesbians who disagreed with the decision refused to attend. The people that did participate, attended workshops and ate communal meals in a tense atmosphere. Those that supported the new participants deserted the public areas for the most part and spent their time in the loud and rowdy cabin. There was some intermingling, and there were some intensely hostile moments.


Personally, I am distressed and downright outraged that we have lost public lesbian space. Womonwrites community, as part of the larger lesbian nation, is now divided and the division comes in the form of whether we are willing to protect men who say they are women. Having attended WW for over 30 years, I am now marked and targeted as a hater, a bigot with a restrictive attitude. I’m told I belong to a group of old white cis women, the tofu-eating and Birkenstock wearing generation who refuses to evolve. My opinion doesn’t count and neither does anyone else who stands by me. I seem to be standing in the way of progress.

I refuse this description of me and I refuse to back down from my opinions. Pressure is strong from the trans community. Lesbians all over the country are looking for lesbian space with lesbians that were born with a vagina and have lived experience from birth as female.

The only lesbian space I now know of is this Gainesville Lesbians Reader’s Potluck group and the Lesbian Writer’s group that is meeting irregularly. I’m asking this group to confirm that this is a lesbian only group holding the definition that lesbians are born with vaginas, and that we not change that. Even if there are lesbians that align themselves with the trans community, I ask that they not lobby to change the nature of this particular group.

With all of the hatred flowing in this country at this time, I would like to have one safe spot as a lesbian, a woman born lesbian. There is a lot more to say, and I would like to propose that lesbians who feel strongly about this issue meet and form a study group or a book group or a support group, whatever feels appropriate. I would like all of us to engage each other in discussion and work out agreements that are acceptable and not trample on opinions or disrespect each other or name call.

I do not want to see the Gainesville Lesbian community divided. In these troubled times, it is more important than ever to maintain lesbian space and keep it safe.

By Woody Blue

Requiem for Womonwrites

By Rand Hall

I think it is important that there is a permanent record of the death of Womonwrites, the Southeastern Lesbian Writers’ Conference as a lesbian only/woman only space. In 2018, after 39 years, the publicity states that anyone who thinks they belong is invited to attend with a specific welcome to transgendered people. This is being done under the banner of inclusivity and diversity. Those that do not want males (people with a penis, growing up as males or currently identifying as male and claiming male privilege) at Womonwrites are now considered “opposed to diversity.” There is no recognition of the diversity among (woman-born-woman) lesbians: Southern lesbians, West Coast lesbians, black, brown and multi racial lesbians, Latina lesbians, old lesbians, teen age lesbians, newly-out lesbians and old dykes, single lesbians, never married lesbians and recently divorced lesbians, blue collar and professional lesbians, new writers and published writers, mothers of sons and child-free lesbians. And all of these diverse lesbians and many others have attended and been welcomed at Womonwrites. It is not that straight or bi women or a transexual has not attended in the past for they certainly have. But as non-lesbians, they were not specifically made welcome and their non-lesbian issues and experience were not a focus.

I was part of an email discussion among Womonwriters who were not in the Facebook discussion of non-women-born-women (trans people) welcome at Womonwrites. That Facebook conversation can only reflect the opinions of those women on Facebook and on Facebook during the few days of the discussion and those willing to post in that public forum. At the request of a few of those non-Facebook email writers, I am sharing some of their words. These were written just before and immediately after the 2018 Womonwrites planning meeting held in Atlanta.

On Feb 2, deJoly LaBrier wrote:
. . . . There are not enough places where we can experience lesbian only space. I too feel ok about other women taking men/trans as partners, that’s their business. But if an event or place is designated lesbian only space, I feel that should be honored. Womonwrites was always a lesbian writers conference, until the trans population began moving into it. Now there are several who come and want to bring their partners who may also be trans but feel they are lesbian now. Although I can’t imagine all that entails for them, I see lesbians as women born women who love women born women. I’m not sure I can go to WW any more, unless I assume and accept that it is no longer a lesbian writers conference.
deJoly

On Feb 2 , Linnea Almgren wrote:
WW is a lesbian writers conference, by and for lesbians. Welcoming all the other gender types of the world makes WW something else, with a different focus and basis. I attend for the feeling of lesbian unity. If it becomes a sexual diversity conference, I am likely to drop out. . . . . . Of course, I maintain that WW, as a lesbian writers conference, can only continue to exist as a lesbian venue. If non w-b-w lesbians and other males and hetero women are included, then the focus changes. I could not share myself in the same way. I would experience this kind of diversity as a violation of my lesbian self. It is unlikely I would put myself through the struggle even this one more time.

Again on Feb 4, Linnea Almgren wrote:
as for a lesbian having a trans partner…that is her business….but at Womonwrites, I would not welcome her trans partner. I do not feel she is respecting her lesbian sisters if she insists her trans partner should be able attend. Even if one trans is allowed….it is no longer lesbian…the door has been open..usually, it cannot be closed. I do not have resentment against trans…to each his/her own. It was hard enough for me to accept who I was…to embrace that I was a lesbian and I was ok. I do not mind going to events with trans, but I would mind if it was a lesbian event…I feel that is an invasion.

On Feb 4, Iris Laudy wrote:
First, some of the trans population who call themselves women and/or lesbians destroyed Michfest. This was a refuge and space I and thousands of other womyn-born-womyn were sustained by for decades. For me, the loss of Michfest remains an open wound.

Second, some of the trans population who call themselves women and/or lesbians are now attempting to encroach upon the lesbian only Womonwrites space. I don’t want that to happen.

Our womyn-born-womyn lesbian spaces are under covert and overt attack. I am totally opposed to this insidious intrusion. We must stay Amazon strong so we can preserve the lesbian womyn-born-womyn traditions we so carefully created.
Iris

On Feb 4, Linnea Almgren wrote:
Somebody who does Facebook please post the following message for me. You have all said it so well — at WW and everywhere else — wbw lesbians are healed and strengthened by lesbian unity and lesbian visibility in ways the focus on gender diversity can never provide. If WW changes from a lesbian writers conference to a gender diversity focused writers conference, I won’t want to be there.
Linnea

On Feb 4, Jan Jennings wrote:
Even though the transgender issue has been decided, I would like to comment to this issue because I just joined the fb discussion today. . . . I must say, there are experiences that form our womanhood that are not shared with transgendered women. And that speaks to our writing, our feeling of safety to write and share whatever is in our hearts, and to many who have been traumatized by men, our feelings of personal safety.

In school, I was often the child in the class who made the best grades, but the boy who had done the best was introduced as the best student in the class. As a former teacher, I can tell you that statistically teachers do call on male students more often. Male dialogue is seen as more important in academic situations. Girls are supposed to perform in an average way, keep quiet, and fade to the back so that male students can shine.

I had a period with all the embarrassment and pain that entails. I felt the emotional rise and fall that going through puberty means for a girl. My point is that while transgendered woman have had their own trials . . . . . they are not the trials that formed a woman born woman . . . . . For me, shared experience is very important in my sharing of writing. I love WW because it is a very safe place to share . . . . . So, I will attend WW with a very open heart, but I do wish there were somewhere, some event, where woman born women were allowed to flourish as a group with shared experiences and like mindedness. . . . .
Jan J

On Feb 5 Barb Stoll wrote:
It boggles my mind that lesbians are still so afraid to protect lesbian-only space. I will protect Lesbians and their space with my last breath. I support LESBIANS and that does not mean that I am not sympathetic to transgender people and would fully support their right to be who they are. BUT, that doesn’t mean it has to diminish my right to Lesbian only space just as my right to lesbian only space should not diminish their right to space of their own. I will fight for my lesbian sisters and their right to NOT BE ERASED!!!!
Barb

On Feb 6 Jan Smith wrote:
The decision made at WW is so sad. I feel betrayed by the women at WW who fought for me, lesbians, in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s….all the years. When I attended WW the last years…I was inspired, in awe…so many lesbian women that thought as I did…had my hurts and my dreams. I was floating on a cloud…finally a space for me…. Now, I find out , I have no say in including men in my space. They may act like women, dress as women, think they are women….but when the clothes come off, the makeup removed they are men with a man’s heart and penis. My question, if I attend WW…will I be expected to sleep in a cot next to a trans…take a shower in their presence…will the name be changed, as it will no longer be lesbian WW….all my adult life I have been in a straight world….finally, I had thought I had found some place to feel safe, to be with lesbians….. now, I am suppose to be accepting of men, trans, in my lesbian space . . . . . just so sad….
Jan S

On Feb 6 Barbara Stoll wrote:
I hear you sister. My heart is broken. . . . The whole situation is very sad to me. The loss of yet another space for lesbians to be their authentic selves without any male anything.
So sad.
Barb

On Feb 6 Jan Jennings wrote:
Me, too. I am rethinking going again. I thought I should go try it since there is really nothing else. But when I think of the betrayal, I realize that my attendance may be taken as approval. I also do not want to be sleeping, showering, etc. with a man. It’s extremely sad for me, too. Sometimes I wish I had been born a bit earlier so that I could have more experiences of lesbian spaces before they all disappeared. Sad.
Jan

On Feb 6 Barb Stoll wrote:
As with anything worth having and keeping it must be fought for, continually. Unfortunately, the younger generation of lesbians do not see this as worthy of their efforts. They are in a different place, having been able to get to that place on the backs of their foremothers hard won efforts.
Barb

On Feb 6 deJoly wrote:
Me too… I have withdrawn my name from the WW Facebook page and I will not be going again. My space that I thought was safe for me to be free to speak about my most intimate lesbian life, is now gone… betrayed by my own sisters is right… just not going back.
deJoly

On Feb 7, Jan Smith wrote:
I am correct, I think, in saying WW has been going on for over 30 years. Everyone knew it was a lesbian event. When some of the women have trans partners and they cry because they cannot attend…well, they knew it was a lesbian event. Respect for the others who attend seems to not be on the table. Wow…because of a few, my lesbian space has disappeared. I am suppose to look the other way and it be ok??? Inclusive for all…wow…so much power a few seem to have. I find it very upsetting, very sad….I am old…but being in the company of lesbians was very important to me. . . . .
Jan

On Feb 5, Barb Stoll wrote:
Is anyone posting these responses on the WW Facebook page? They should be there. I am not on Facebook or I would post them.
Barb

On Feb 7, Rand Hall wrote
Womonwrites has been my home and my family since 1979. I, a woman-born, woman loving lesbian, am now attacked as wanting to be with “like-minded old lesbians,” like this is an offensive thing. It may still be called Womonwrites but it is no longer a place I
want to be. –– Rand Hall

NOTE:
Here is the language that was voted on and overwhelmingly passed at WW Planners’ Meeting 2018: This inclusiveness statement will be in the WW information, and on a large sign near our registration table.

INCLUSIVENESS
Womonwrites is committed to providing an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome and is encouraged to participate at their desired level. We continue to review our policies, behaviors, activities, and attitudes toward these goals. Within workshops and throughout the conference, we will engage in some facilitated and some unfaciltated discussions to stimulate and assist in shifting our internal and external experiences with outreach and inclusiveness related to but not limited to race, age, gender expression, gender identity, class, ability, and ethnicity. Founded as a lesbian writers’ conference and reflecting lesbian values, Womonwrites is a gathering of lesbian writers and others who may identity differently but know they belong at a lesbian writers’ conference.”

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