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!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.
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 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”?
Here 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
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.