Here is Jeanne, Paula, and Susan’s first workshop proposal for the 2017 Goddess Festival. This proposal was rejected by the Goddess Festival planning group. The planning group deliberated over the proposal and we made some minor modifications to it at our Goddess Festival liaison’s request, in an effort to make the planning group more comfortable with the workshop. The version below is the final version. We asked the Goddess Festival for a written rejection so that we’d know exactly why they were rejecting the proposal, but we never heard from them about our request.
How Transgender Politics Harms Women and Undermines the Women’s Liberation Movement
Transgender people deserve full protection frm discrimination and the freedom to adopt whatever “masculine” or “feminine” behaviors they choose without repercussions. But the political perspectives put forward by the transgender movement must be closely examined and refuted whenever they harm women and undermine the Women’s Liberation Movement.
Transgender politics and feminist politics have deep conflicts. First, the Women’s Liberation Movement is based in the understanding that women have been oppressed by men in many societies over thousands of years and that women have a right, like any oppressed group, to organize together to fight our oppression without males (members of the oppressor group) present. Yet many in the transgender movement insist that males who are transgender have a right to be included in all gatherings of women.
Second, the oppression of women stems largely from our biology. In the deep recesses of time, the first impulse of men to do harm to women may well have been born of awe and envy of women’s ability to birth children. Over thousands of years, a key motivation for men’s wanting to control women has been to gain control of our reproductive capabilities in order to be recognized as the father/owner of our children. Yet basic to transgender politics is the insistence that biology is irrelevant to being a woman. Who actually believes that the capacity to become pregnant and birth a child has nothing at all to do with being a woman? Be honest! At stake in the conflict between feminist and transgender politics is the very definition of who is a woman. Will “woman” be defined by a transgender movement promoting primarily the interests of males or by the Women’s Liberation Movement?
Third, one of the most basic understandings of second wave feminism is that we should all, as Marlo Thomas put it, be “free to be you and me.” In other words, we should all be free of gender limitations, boys and men free to be “feminine”, girls and women free to be “masculine”. Yet, basic to transgender politics is the belief in an unchangeable “gender identity” that means instead of freedom from gender, transgender persons may take hormones and undergo surgery to learn to perform gender so as to appear as the “opposite” sex from their biological reality.
This workshop will be a presentation by three panelists: Paula Mariedaughter, Jeanne Neath, and Susan Wiseheart. We will introduce the audience to the ideas above and ones from the new feminist anthology, Female Erasure: What You Need to Know About Gender Politics’ War on Women, the Female Sex and Human Rights. Transgender politics are having very troubling consequences for girls and women including:
- Ever tightening enforcement of masculinity for men and boys and femininity for women and girls
- The erasure of women and erasure of women’s oppression by people immersed in the mindset of transgender politics
- Young girls being given unsafe puberty blockers, hormones, and even surgery by a profit-hungry medical establishment before they are old enough to make sound choices for themselves
- The disappearing of lesbians as “masculine” girls transition instead of coming out
- Women’s reproductive capacities and biology are no longer celebrated by many women in order to protect males in transition from having hurt feelings and because biology is no longer considered relevant to being a woman
- Women’s solidarity and ability to organize in women only spaces are under attack
The points of view put forward by the transgender movement have become widely accepted by many liberal-leaning people, so widely accepted that feminist points of view have been undermined (and censored). Our workshop will present a feminist point of view that many Goddess Festival attendees may have never encountered before. Women, please come to this workshop to hear another side to the story of “who is a woman.” This workshop is in no way an attack on anyone. We think transgender people deserve full protection against discrimination and that they (and everyone!) should have full freedom to express “masculinity” and “femininity’ in any way they wish to. We will be addressing POLITICAL PERSPECTIVES, specifically the different political perspectives put forward by the transgender movement and a large component of the Women’s Liberation movement.
The goddess can rise only when women rise up in resistance to patriarchy! This event is for women (biological females) only.