Amazon Priestess Tribe “Retires” From Z. Budapest’s Dianic Lineage

Modern Paganism is a movement, an umbrella term for a variety of individual faith groups that share common practices, goals, outlooks, and theologies. In this, modern Paganism is more like Hinduism, than, say, Catholicism. There is no Pagan “Pope” or acknowledged leader that can label one group heretical, or cast individuals out. There is no singular statement of belief, or religious rule, that binds us all. So when schisms happen, when new groups form, our “umbrella” simply expands to encompass them too. That said, changes, evolution, and yes, schism, can signal a sea change within the larger whole (think of Buckland and Cunningham ushering in the self-initiatory “solitary” paradigm). A barometer to measure changes in our community’s weather. It is within this context, I feel, that we should view the press release just sent out by Lady Yeshe Rabbit and the Amazon Priestess Tribe.

Lady Yeshe Rabbit. Photo: Greg Harder.

Lady Yeshe Rabbit. Photo: Greg Harder.

“With gratitude for a wonderful learning experience and warm memories of sisterhood over the past 5 years, Yeshe Rabbit and the Amazon Priestess Tribe announce that as of today, March 8, International Women’s Day 2012, we are retiring from the Z Budapest lineage of Dianic Wicca in favor of forming an independent lineage that reflects our particular approaches and views regarding Goddess-centered practice.

We offer our reverent thanks for the wit, writings, and wisdom Z Budapest has offered us and the world, while acknowledging that we nonetheless find ourselves at thealogical and ethical crossroads with some core practices of her lineage.

Namely, we cannot support a policy of universal exclusion based upon gender at our Goddess-centered rites, nor can we condone disregard or insensitivity in communications regarding the topic of gender inclusion and Goddess-centered practice. We feel it inappropriate to remain members of a lineage where our views and practices diverge significantly from those of the primary lineage holder.”

Yeshe Rabbit was ordained by Dianic Elder Z. Budapest in 2007, and founded the Amazon Priestess Tribe soon after. Rabbit is also co-founder of CAYA Coven, a popular religious organization that provides public rituals in the Bay Area of California, of which the Amazon Priestess Tribe is a part. This break is quite significant, as it comes after over a year of controversy and dialog over the issue of transgender inclusion within women-only rituals. An issue that was sparked at the 2011 PantheaCon in San Jose after an Amazon Priestess Tribe ritual turned away transwomen and acted as a catalyst for a long-overdue conversation about the role of gender, and transgender individuals, within modern Paganism. That ongoing dialog was complicated, some would say damaged, by events at this year’s PantheaCon.

“Z. Budapest is part of our beloved community. I honor the work she and our foremothers have done to enable the rest of us to worship as we will. Sometimes we need to gently tell members of our beloved community that we feel they are in error. There are many ways to do this. Last year, we tried dialogue. Much was written and discussed on the issue of trans inclusion or exclusion. A whole conference was organized to help further this. An anthology was just published to continue the conversation. Steps were taken by CAYA, around whom much of last year’s controversy centered, to rectify the situation, including the planning of two rituals this year: one for self-identified women and one pan-Dianic rite for all genders.

The only words attributed to Z as part of the conversation of anger, exploration and healing last year felt ugly, hateful, and inflammatory to me, and this year, her one offering to our collective included the words “genetic women only.” After all the work so many put in last year, my heart could not let this stand unmarked. So I decided to engage in another form of dialogue: sitting in silence. Z has the right to perform her ritual. I have a right to sit outside in silence and prayer.”T. Thorn Coyle

Initially, it seemed that Yeshe Rabbit was trying to pursue a middle path between Z. Budapest and those sitting in silent protest, proposing a path of conflict resolution on the issue. Holding sacred space between the two positions. While that desire for conflict resolution may remain, it seems obvious that it was decided it could not happen while they are still formally affiliated with Z’s lineage. In today’s press release, the Amazon Priestess Tribe, along with Lady Rosmarinus Stehlik, and Devin Hunter’s Living Temple of Diana will henceforth refer to themselves as “Pan-Dianic” to differentiate themselves from the Dianic Tradition of Budapest. What does that mean? According to the statement, it means a formal realignment on issues of gender.

“We support, for those who wish it, ritually gathering around specific experiences with appropriately- and respectfully-invited attendees rather than biological determinism as a matter of universal exclusion. For example, we believe it is every 11-year-old Maiden’s right to determine who will be present at her First Moon ceremony. We equally support gatherings that are open to all self-identified women for exploration of the varieties of women’s experiences. We equally support groups of gay men gathering to honor their own Goddess natures. We support the right of trans-women to create rituals specific to their experiences, and to share these with other trans-women and cis-women as they see fit. We support the idea of cis-gender, cissexual, heterosexual men gathering to explore the Goddess as daughter, friend, universal love, mother, queen, self. And so forth, into infinite beautiful variety.

We hold for clarity, compassion, and linguistic sensitivity in delineating intentional sacred space, and mindfulness toward how we communicate around the topics of privilege, healing, and spirituality. Our discourse shapes the universe. Words are breath, power, actualization. We hold our use of language as a significant magical responsibility.

We hold a commitment to elevation of all women’s rights at the center of our vision. We believe that elevation of cis-women’s and trans-women’s rights to a position of honored equality will open humanity as a whole toward a more balanced and healthy approach to life, the planet, and consciousness.”

In addition, the Amazon Priestess Tribe has decided to stop using the term “Amazon,” and have renamed themselves the Bloodroot Honey Priestess Tribe. Part of the rationale for dropping the term was its link “with those whose approach to Goddess worship is predicated upon gender exclusivity.” You can see all the signatories to this statement, here.

One year ago, I said that the emergence of this debate, this dialog, was historic. That it would change us in ways we couldn’t envision within the moment. That our movement, our community, was readily adapted to accept the changes and challenges ahead in ways that other religious communities aren’t.

“If you look at how quickly modern Paganism has grown in the span of a single generation, particularly in the United States, it shouldn’t surprise anyone. When Margot Adler’s “Drawing Down the Moon” was initially published in 1979, gay and lesbian Pagans were just emerging from decades of silence and marginalization within our interconnected communities, now, 32 years later, we’re having serious discussions about “Gay Paganism’s Second Wave.” In such an atmosphere, the issue of how we treat, respect, and integrate transgendered individuals was destined to stop being a fringe topic dealt with only in passing, or in isolated corners, and demand a wider discussion.”

What we are witnessing, in real-time, is change happening. A realignment and reconsideration of gender within a Dianic context that seemed almost unthinkable a decade ago. No doubt there will be debate and analysis of this statement, and what it exactly means in practice, and what its true significance is, but I think that all might agree that this “retirement” can be, and should be, seen as a predictor for future changes in how modern Paganism thinks about, and engages with, gender identity.

ADDENDUM: Lady Rosmarinus Stehlik asked that the following clarifying statement be added to this post.

Please let it be known, to whom it may concern, that I have personally not retired from the Z Budapest Tradition. I Love, Honour and cherish the Dianic Tradition as I stand upon the Precipice of Personal Introspection and Reflection. My Inner Dianic Vision is evolving beyond my present experience. In the unfolding of Pan-Dianic Self Determination, I was present for a decision that engaged a Deep Current yearning to expand, and I agreed to embrace this nomenclature as one part of the Whole that I am. This does not negate my position as Dianic Heritage Keeper; as a matter of fact, it is Deep Devotion to Dianic Witchcraft that has motivated my actions. I Hold the Dianic Tradition as the Sanctum Sanctorum of Personal Autonomy, with a desire to Honour Understanding and Growth in All callings of the Goddess Diana from a point of Relation, moving forward. There is no either/ or in my logic, but a “this and that” thinking. All is One. In this Spirit, I stand as friend of Pan-Dianic Intent as a Dianic Priestess and Witch in search of understanding for All Walks of Life. I envision a Future in which the Dianic Community takes part of Future conciliatory realms of respect within an extended Dianic Reality; where It’s voice remains within Pan-Dianic Dialogue. Where it comes forth to speak of ItsTruth and Radiance. I feel called to facilitate dialogue in this quest; to build bridges of relation and to ensure a fostering of a common ground of Solidarity in the Name of Diana within the Greater Pagan Community.

With Love I support The Bloodroot Honey Priestess Tribe in facilitating possibilities for dialogue in this unfolding. To support the fostering of bridges of Peace, and Conciliation.

I am moving forward as a Dianic Priestess and Witch in the Spirit of bridge-building with the Pan-Dianic Paradigm- in celebrating the Beauty of Our Collective Diversity. I stand as bridge to All Dianic Worlds moving forward in Unity!

In Cosmick Sovereignty.
Lady RO

About Jason Pitzl-Waters
  • Cigfran

    A truly remarkably statement and act of grace and honor, that I’m sure took a lot out of Lady Yeshe Rabbit, and will no doubt be met by as much controversy as that which it answers.

    I, for one, express my gratitude for her lengthy efforts and thought, and her and her coven well in their continuing journey on this brambled path.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Hopping into the conversation a bit late (dishes), I agree, a truely inpressive document. Best of Fortune.

  • Christina

    EXCELLENT. Rock on.

  • sindarintech

    Awww… what a shame. I hate how paganism has become politicized by the far left.

    • Christina

      It’s not about politics, though. She made clear why she feels the changes that her coven is making falls in line with their views of the Divine, and fits into their spiritual worldview. This is not about liberal vs. conservative. It’s never a “shame” to be willing to change how one operates as need or desire arises, in line with one’s own beliefs. I applaud her for doing so.

    • A London Esotericist

      I really don’t think it either fair or accurate to claim that the events going on in the Dianic and other feminist, Goddess-orientated traditions are the result of the “far left”.

      LGBT rights, including in it the rights for transgendered people to be seen for who they really are, is a part of the march towards greater social liberalism. Social liberalism, which has championed the causes of all women, ethnic minorities, disabled people as well as LGBT individuals, is far from being restrained to the Far Left. Indeed, it is something embraced across almost all of the Left, and in Europe at least it is also welcomed by many in the Centre-Right too.

      I for one welcome those brave individuals within the Dianic and other parts of the Pagan community who choose to stand up to sexism, racism, homophobia and transphobia within their own communities. May they help to usher in a better tomorrow.

    • Vivianna

      Seriously? You’re leading with that? OK.

      • Vivianna

        And by “that” I mean the left vs right gaping hole that marginalizes both sides.

        • Anonymous

          This. Blaming things entirely on the “far left” or “right-wing radicals” tends to belittle the common values that everyone across the spectrum shares.

          Like fairness. Left and Right may have slightly different ideas of what fair treatment looks like, but we are all generally in agreement that people should treat each other fairly.

    • sindarintech

      Actually, I’m talking about the intentional silencing of differing opinions. Not everyone accepts the insanity that comprises the arguments around transgendered people. While I can accept that there are people who have convinced themselves that they are men living in womens bodies, etc. I do not accept that any kind of surgery puts that right. And yet, people with my opnion are immediately attacked as not accepting enough. As a rational human being, I refuse to accept the irrationality that an orange is an apple just because it’s been painted red or green. This is utter nonsense.

      • Christina

        Oh lordy, this again. No one is silencing you or anyone who prefers female-only covens that limit membership to DNA. Those covens still exist. The fact that there is one fewer is not silencing. Who is silencing you? No one. If they were, you would not be allowed to type your comments here. The freedom to speak your piece does not come with a corollary freedom against criticism, and the fact that your opinion is unpopular does not mean you’re being silenced.

        Believe what you want– it’s your right. But if someone tells you your beliefs are bigoted, that’s someone else expressing THEIR freedom of speech. That’s how it works.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          Actually, there’s not one fewer. Amazon Priestess Tribe as was continues unchanged as Bloodroot Honey Priestess Tribe. But it is now part of a new, more inclusive lineage and putting energy into that.

          • Christina

            I just meant one fewer “genetic women only” covens, that’s all.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            My reading of Lady Yesha’s press release is that usedtabe-Amazon tribe was and remains a cis-female gathering, but part now of a more inclusive umbrella group going by the name Pan-Dianic.

            When I was a brand-new Baby Pagan (at age 45!) I had only Goddesses on my altar. I used to joke that I was a Dianic male. I would then have qualified as a Pan-Dianic Solitary had there been such a classification in 1987. But I would not have been qualified to circle with Bloodroot Honey Priestess Tribe except at one of their all-inclusive public rituals.

          • Christina

            Baruch, that wasn’t my take at all.

            “Namely, we cannot support a policy of universal exclusion based upon gender at our Goddess-centered rites”

            “ritually gathering around specific experiences with appropriately- and respectfully-invited attendees rather than biological determinism as a matter of universal exclusion”

            It seemed pretty clear to me that they’re opening up to trans women, though individual rites may be restricted to certain groups (for instance if a girl would prefer only cis-women at her first moon ritual, it would be restricted as such).

          • Jay

            Baruch’s right. Here’s the relevant portions of her statement:

            “The Mysteries of the womb and menstrual life cycle are still the prevalent points of focus within our private group of 15 cis-gender, cissexual priestesses. …
            Thus, they are our preferred means for aligning with the Goddess within our sisterhood. We will continue to share this work with cis-gender women in personal and collective rites of passage, ceremonies for pregnant women and mothers, and the honoring of crones. …

            We have also decided to create more readily-accessible public rituals that are inclusive of transgender women. …

            Finally, we have decided that, at appropriate times, we will also offer rituals that are Goddess-centered and open to all.”

          • Christina

            Thanks Jay!

      • A London Esotericist

        Are you aware that experts working in fields such as human biology, sociology and queer studies recognise the innate difference between biological sex and gender right ? Do you actually understand what transgenderism and transexuality are ? You should really try to educate yourself before making such statements based on “rational” views and “common sense”; you come across as educated, and uncouth.

        To oppose the involvement of transgendered individuals in the Pagan community, as you have done, does, by definition, make you bigoted against them. Now that is your legal right, just as it is someone’s legal right to be chauvanistic, homophobic or racist if they so wish, on the condition that they do not advocate hate or harm against others.

        However, it is still the right of those more progressive and educated elements of the Pagan community to condemn your viewpoint because of the hate and hurt that it really, genuinely does cause to transgendered people, their friends and families.

        • A London Esotericist

          *un-educated on the first paragraph

          And I do apologise if I come across as aggressive; I really don’t wish to express any hateful feelings toward yourself. I just despise your views because I have seen first hand the damaging effect that transphobia has on the community and on individuals. It really is as bad as racism, sexism or homphobia.

        • sindarintech

          I’ve already said that I can accept that there are differences between people. What I refuse to accept is that surgery somehow corrects that difference. This was also at the heart of Z’s distinguishing between ‘women born women’, a statement she caught a lot of flak about.

          The bigger issue to me is that there’s been a very public application of peer pressure and attempts at behavior modification through shaming directed at Z and people who agree with her perspective, rather than an attempt to consider her opinions as equally valid as anyone elses. It’s been all so very… Catholic.

          • A London Esotericist

            Sindarintech, can you honestly say that you would oppose attempts by the Pagan community to root out sexism, racism and homophobia in their community ?

            If you can say that in all truth then I can better understand why you would choose to oppose progressive elements when it came to the area of trans rights.

            Otherwise then you are singling out a particular minority for persecution, and in my opinion you should be rightly criticised for that.

          • sindarintech

            I think that there should be room for differing opinions, without all the drama that’s been part of this ‘discussion’. Inclusion also mean having people at the table that strongly disagree. It seems to me that what’s being promoted as ‘progressive’ is actually a blatent attempt to homogenize everyones experiences and opinions into a borg-like ‘one’. This is precisely the reason why I’ve been backing away from the majority of people who identify as pagan: there is an increasing movement towards intolerance of traditional values.

            My progressivism ends at the transexual line, largely because I think much of it (based on my experiences with three of them over ten years) is psychological. Arguments to the contrary that include statements like “their spirit is a different gender than their bodies”, which have been made here previously, really leaves me with the impression that any touch of rationality has left the room.

            I think that every path has its right to practice as it wants. I don’t see value in sacrificing animals, but I understand that this is what some folks do. I can see value in gender-restricted rituals such as those done by Z, and I can respect it. It’s not my thing, but NO ONE has the right to tell her that she’s wrong. No one.

          • Christina

            This is actually a reply to Sindarintech, because for some reason, I can’t reply to his comment (does reply get taken away when a thread gets too many comments deep? I don’t comment here much.).

            “Inclusion also mean having people at the table that strongly disagree. ”

            You are still at the table, having this discussion. No one has prevented you from having your say. Again, you are confusing inclusion in a discussion with agreement.

            “It seems to me that what’s being promoted as ‘progressive’ is actually a blatent attempt to homogenize everyones experiences and opinions into a borg-like ‘one’.”

            Which is exactly why Lady Yeshe Rabbit outlined a ritual plan that honors the experiences of different groups. Inclusion doesn’t mean the same thing as homogenization, and her very well thought out plan proves that. Your argument is invalid.

            “My progressivism ends at the transexual line, largely because I think much of it (based on my experiences with three of them over ten years) is psychological. ”

            That is your cisgender experience. Not all transfolk are alike, and not all believe with your assessment. To call other takes on the matter irrational is dismissive in the extreme.

            “I can see value in gender-restricted rituals such as those done by Z, and I can respect it. It’s not my thing, but NO ONE has the right to tell her that she’s wrong. No one. ”

            No one is taking the right to private ritual as she sees fit away from her. What they are doing is criticizing her words, and they ABSOLUTELY have the right to do that. You seem to be confusing these two very different things.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            @Cristina:
            > This is actually a reply to Sindarintech,
            > because for some reason, I can’t reply
            > to his comment (does reply get taken
            > away when a thread gets too many
            > comments deep? I don’t comment here
            > much.).

            Yep, pretty much what you said. My blog runs the same comment software, and basically, the blog can be set to allow comment threads only so many comments “deep”; this is usually for aesthetic purposes, as especially deep threads can end up looking incredibly borked-up, especially in a blog format with a sidebar that narrows down the space for comments to post in. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other reasons for setting comment threading at x-comments deep (there’s a forum software I’m familiar with that will get buggy and cause threads to error out of a particular thread exceeds 1000 posts –something similar is the next most likely reason to set a low thread depth), but the most common reason I see is aesthetic. It can be a pain in the bottom, but you learn to adjust. :-/

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Christina, yes the Reply option vanishes at a certain depth into the weeds. Welcome to the pond.

          • Christina

            Thanks, Baruch!

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            That’s just it, not all opinions are “equally valid as anyone elses.” If someone believes women are all bitches and whores and the vast majority of rape cases are just “buyer’s remorse,” their opinion is not equally valid as anyone else’s — it’s misogynistic and stupid. If someone believes the earth is flat and was created in six days several thousand years ago, their opinion is not equally valid as every biologist, paleontologist or satellite technician in the world — it’s wrong.

            If people find Z’s behavior distasteful – and frankly, I think her hateful “transies” comment did her a lot more damage than her insistence on “women born women” rituals – they have the right to express their opinions. They also have the right to distance themselves from her if they don’t share her opinions. You claim this is “Catholic” but it’s actually more Protestant – a schism over doctrinal and theological differences.

          • WhiteBirch

            I cannot like this comment hard enough. Thank you for your your clarity and brevity!

          • http://sonneillon-v.livejournal.com/ Sonneillon

            Ugh, thank you, Kenaz. I can always rely on you to bring logic and sense into the conversation.

          • Anonymous

            This is why I hate the mainstream news. Somehow, YEC isn’t “disproven by scientific evidence,” or just plain bad theology from any sane perspective (even Christians didn’t place much value on how old the earth was or was not until the early 20th century), no, it’s a valid opinion and we should “teach the controversy.”

            I also agree that while Z has every right to exclude transpeople from her rituals, she should NOT make such demeaning comments. She made it sound almost like there’s some Secret Male Conspiracy sending in SPIES or something, not like, “hey, I’m not comfortable including transwomen in rituals that mention things like menstruation, which don’t really apply to them.” The latter I would have understood.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            > That’s just it, not all opinions are
            > “equally valid as anyone elses.” If
            > someone believes women are all
            > bitches and whores and the vast
            > majority of rape cases are just “buyer’s
            > remorse,” their opinion is not equally
            > valid as anyone else’s — it’s
            > misogynistic and stupid. If someone
            > believes the earth is flat and was
            > created in six days several thousand
            > years ago, their opinion is not equally
            > valid as every biologist, paleontologist
            > or satellite technician in the world –
            > it’s wrong.

            YES. Thank you! The notion that “every-one’s entitled to their opinion” becomes fallacy when that “opinion” clashes with established fact. It should also be noted that even established facts often take a while (sometimes decades) to be accepted by the common populace. Opinions are great, but they’re even better when they have established fact backing them up.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            @The_L1985
            > She made it sound almost like there’s
            > some Secret Male Conspiracy sending
            > in SPIES or something, …

            If you’ve ever read Janice Raymond’s The Transexual[sic] Menace (1979), that’s really not too far from what a lot of Second Wave Feminists believe about trans women in women’s spaces. Considering that Zsuzsanna Budapest is one of Raymond’s contemporaries, I really wouldn’t put that sort of thinking past her.

          • http://sonneillon-v.livejournal.com/ Sonneillon

            Because her opinions are NOT as valid as anyone else’s. Truth exists, y’know. Everything is not subjective.

          • sindarintech

            Truth exists in science. Truth in human culture is relative. MY truth is based on experiences with trans people in real life that were uncategorically mentally deluded. The conversation here proves unequivocally that people can talk themselves into believing all kinds of silliness. Some Christians are convinced that dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time. That doesn’t make it true.

            I take them no more seriously than I do the rantings of a schizophrenic.

          • Cigfran

            > I take them no more seriously than I do the rantings of a schizophrenic.

            And there you have it, folks. There is no conversation to be had because the primary subjects of the discussion are insane, and entirely to be dismissed.

            And of course, any counter-argument is set aside as “hard leftist” – because not demeaning and erasing people is entirely a leftist concern.

            Your truth, sindarintech, is based on prejudice, not “science” – as evidenced by your constant reference to your alleged experiences with some trans people.

            It occurs to me that in some ways the creationists may be right… dinosaurs and humans evidently do live at the same time. Some dinosaurs even post on pagan blogs.

          • http://sonneillon-v.livejournal.com/ Sonneillon

            Truth in human culture is just another name for tradition, a.k.a. “it’s been this way for a long time and changing it would make us uncomfortable”. I don’t accept that. Truth should be supported by the facts, especially where it involves how we treat people.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            @sindarintech
            > Truth exists in science.

            Ah, so then you know about the neurological studies that prove that TS people have measurable difference from CS persons of the same AAB sex, and these differences make a TS person’s brain of basically the same functionality as the gender one says one is.

            Good to see that you agree that trans women are women and trans men are men.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Responding to a later comment.

            I can see value in gender-restricted rituals such as those done by Z, and I can respect it. It’s not my thing, but NO ONE has the right to tell her that she’s wrong. No one.

            Ummm, no. EVERYONE has the right to tell her that she’s wrong and EVERYONE has the right to tell her that she’s right. She is under no obligation to listen, mind you: just as free speech doesn’t guarantee a cheering section, it doesn’t guarantee that your target audience will pay attention to you.

            Along with that freedom of speech thing is freedom of association. Z has the right to admit or reject anyone she wants from her private ceremonies. I may disagree with the criteria she chooses and think she is silly, out of touch or even bigoted for making those choices – but I won’t hesitate to defend her right to make those choices.

          • Anonymous

            This. Include or exclude whomever you want in your rituals. Like or dislike other people’s decisions regarding ritual requirements.

            But don’t be a hateful so-and-so about it. “I don’t agree with Person X on that issue” is all one really has to say.

          • kenneth

            Nobody here has any illusions or ambitions to change Z’s behavior or outlook. As pagans we recognize the intensely personal nature of interaction with the divine and we don’t presume to say whose experience of god or goddess is the authoritatively valid one.
            That said, being pagan does not require us to abandon reason or to withhold making any moral or ethical judgements on anything going on in the world. It’s not at all like Catholicism. There are no bishops, no popes, no “magisterium” and no canonical penalties like excommunication.
            Nobody has the power nor interest to silence or reform Z or anyone else. We do have the power to take responsibility for our own consciences and ethical reasoning, and the vast majority are exercising that in order to say “we’re not going to be party to this anymore.”

          • Ci

            Hi! I’m a trans person who is perfectly content with eir body and never plans to go through any sort of the surgery you mean. What do you have to say to me?

          • Bookhousegal

            Unfortunately, they’d probably just use what you say to prove that ‘no one’ needs medical treatment. That it’s a ‘choice’ …and then they’ll start demanding you conform to their gender assignment…

            When people start trying to fit sexuality and gender into absolutes, they do tend to forget that there are more kinds of transgendered people than just transsexuals, (And they seem to tend to think even transsexuals have penises whenever that’s a scarier thing to say: on the assumption that trans people’s lives are all about making a ‘choice’ and then like on TV going into an operating room as one sex and coming out another. ‘Deceptively,’ etc. )

            People are arguing about cartoon images, here, either way. Trans people, by those images, as either sneaky ‘men with penises,’ or sneaky ‘women trying to be men’ or of course, ‘people so indistinguishable from ‘real’ women or men that they’re tricking unwitting people into something gay,’

            Or characters from ‘shemale porn,’ or whatever.

            Gatekeeping models of what’s ‘women’s mysteries’ etc, don’t even address what’s *really* supposed to be the kind of deep awarenesses that mean we have specific kinds of mysteries for specific kinds of people: Trying to exclude or even include people according to absolutes may just not be where a mature sense of these things in a mystical community *ought to be.* Cis and Trans people alike *should,* if I can say ‘should,’ be able to know in *detail* what’s for whom, and with no more discomfort or conflict over identities or sexualities than anyone else.

            Maybe pre-or-non-oerative transwomen don’t ‘belong’ in certain ritual spaces, and maybe non-trans women don’t belong in certain other spaces. (Personally, I’ve always thought a lot of cisgendered LGB people claim ‘Two-spirits’ status rather too lightly, actually, and been like, ‘No, this is deeper than ‘homoeroticism’ or ‘gay identity,’ kids, maybe it’s not for everyone.’ ) Maybe the point of honoring our diversity is to *not* talk like this is really about definitions or absolutes, but rather deep knowings and *always, always, always,* *respect.*

            As much as some try to polarize this ‘argument,’ I think where Miz Budapest failed us (And has been doing so for a long time, on this count, ) was in the *respect* department.

            And then we end up treating each other like we’re *all* all of the wrong things people can learn about ‘authority’ and ‘definitions’ in Western culture.

            Maybe we’re not. Maybe we’re better than this. Maybe… We get to be polymorphous. One thing I know about being polymorphous, though, is it takes careful attention and deep knowings. Not embracing conflicting definitions.

          • Bookhousegal

            You do of course realize that your simplistic and uneducated ‘opinion’ about the lives and realities of our trans brothers and sisters (not to mention the actual science and medicine on the topic) …Simply doesn’t mean that all the trans people in the world are conspiring to lie or be deluded in the same way your ‘opinion’ claims they ‘must be’ just because you’d rather have an ‘opinion’ that dehumanizes people, while denying their actual life experiences…. Just to keep your binaries simple?

            Look how far you go to call trans people ‘schizophrenic,’ (another word you apparently don’t understand,) …then claim to be ‘silenced’ if people who know, and people you harm, *say something else.*

            We’re Pagans, man. If we lived by other people’s definitions as absolutes, …if we didn’t accept and appreciate the experiences of others, …we wouldn’t be here calling ourselves Pagans. We’d still be kneeling in those churches and wondering why ‘religion’ and the world and ourselves …don’t make sense by those very same definitions.

            Trans people exist, and the reason the surgery’s been *done* to the extent any technology was capable, is because berating trans folks does not help. The surgery actually does. If you suddenly grew the wrong sex characteristics, you’d feel the very same ‘wrongness’ about their bodies that transsexuals do every day. And Gods know what you’d do if your brain wasn’t getting the hormones it was mapped for. :)

            You claim to speak for ‘common sense,’ and ‘reason,’ but from the start, you categorically deny the possibility that people who know what they’re talking about could possibly know more than you toss off as ‘your opinion.’

            And the last people you say you’ll listen to are those who’ve been through it themselves.

          • Guest

            We’re Pagans, man. If we lived by other people’s definitions as absolutes, …if we didn’t accept and appreciate the experiences of others, …we wouldn’t be here calling ourselves Pagans.

            Not all pagans do this, but I LOVE this statement. :)

        • Anonymous

          This agendered ciswoman has no idea why people make such a huge deal over gender and sexual orientation issues in the first place. Somebody’s straight? Ok! Gay or bisexual? Whatever works for you!

          Cis? Trans? Intersex? Genderqueer? Whatever. Just be…you.

          I don’t understand what is so “horrible” about gay and trans people that others want to stop them from being themselves. I may never understand it.

          • Leanaalba

            I think this misses the point. Gender and sexual orientation is irrelevant for most gatherings . However some circles are for women because they are based on the power of bodily processes – our blood. If you don’t bleed you can’t understand this.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            You’d be surprised.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            Actually, if you’ve ever tasted menstrual fluid, you’d know it’s not “blood” —but hey, I just have an anatomy book confirming this.

            But I ask you: What about AAB women who simply never menstruated? AIS, Turner syndrome, even certain hormonal conditions that have naught to do with “chromosomes” have led to all sorts of women who never have and never will menstruate. It’s great that you get some spiritual value out of menstrual mysteries, but to say that’s the end-all/be-all of being a woman is to grossly oversimplify things.

          • Anonymous

            I DO bleed, and that’s why I don’t understand your point.

            Most Neopagan religions are based on ancient practices, which were often rooted in fertility rites. Fertility requires BOTH sexes. In addition, gay and transgender people were often elevated in early societies, especially compared to the horrible treatment

            When people from all Paths and walks of life (hence the “public” thing–this wasn’t a Dianic-only gathering) are PAYING for something, they generally don’t expect to be treated differently by a usually-accepting Pagan community because some of them are transgender.

            Transgender people DO bleed, and not in the benign monthly way. People are raped and killed, all the time, just for being transgender. These people deserve better than that from us.

            Also…I have PMDD. “Celebrating” something that, untreated, leaves me bedridden on a monthly basis seems quite absurd to me. Just saying.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            > Also…I have PMDD. “Celebrating”
            > something that, untreated, leaves me
            > bedridden on a monthly basis seems
            > quite absurd to me. Just saying.

            I feel you. It also would not surprise me in the least if the canned Budapestian response to PMDD was that it’s some kind of “patriarchal lie” that only “celebrating your goddess forms” or whatever can somehow “magickally fix”. One of my best girl friends had to break up with a girl over the fact that she just would not stop it with how my friend’s intense cramping could be “cured” with proper “moon worship”.

      • Cigfran

        The “silencing of different opinions” would be people like Lady Yeshe Rabbit staying within the confines of their parent doctrine and not openly stating their own conclusions, simply to maintain a particular status quo.

        But of course reactionaries always complain that any refusal to maintain the privileged status of their ignorance and prejudice amounts to “silencing” them.

        • Christina

          Nail on the head, Cigfran.

        • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

          Best comment! (so far) [hands you a trophy]

      • http://www.facebook.com/TheZeroBoss Jay Allen

        Actually, what Lady Yeshe Rabbit managed to do here was VERY inclusive, even of people who think transgendered women are a figment of someone’s imagination.

        “The Mysteries of the womb and menstrual life cycle are still the prevalent points of focus within our private group of 15 cis-gender, cissexual priestesses.* We have been working on these Mysteries for 5 years together. They are very powerful, very relevant to our individual and collective experiences, rooted in our own sovereign bodies. Thus, they are our preferred means for aligning with the Goddess within our sisterhood. We will continue to share this work with cis-gender women in personal and collective rites of passage, ceremonies for pregnant women and mothers, and the honoring of crones. Our blood is sacred, our blood is power, our blood is life.

        “We have also decided to create more readily-accessible public rituals that are inclusive of transgender women….

        “Finally, we have also decided that, at appropriate times, we will also offer rituals that are Goddess-centered and open to all. Patriarchy wounds and damages men as well as women. Denial of the Sacred Feminine is a shared concern for all life on Earth. We are seeking to create a paradigm of honoring life on this planet, where all bodies are treated gently and with respect. We believe that in order to achieve this reality, we need all members of society to participate in the vision of a world healed toward the feminine in all Her variation. ”

        In other words, there’s something here for everyone, and inclusion of all viewpoints. The original Dianic mystery religion is preserved, but also expanded. Where is the “intentional silencing” of which you speak?

        • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

          It’s not there, no “intentional silencing” at all; which is why sindarintech has to speak in the vaguest terms she can imagine, because when actual “oppression” doesn’t exist, and one wants others to believe it’s there, then naming specific incidents of oppression will betray the ruse.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

        There are those who believe people with dark skin are subhuman. There are those who believe the Jews control the world’s financial systems and people who believe Obama’s birth certificate was faked as a part of a conspiracy to put a Kenyan Muslim communist terrorist in office. A simple Google search will reveal plenty of web pages produced by those people. It will also reveal plenty more web pages laughing at those people and calling them doofuses. (Doofi?)

        Disagreement does not equal “intentional silencing.” Freedom of speech does not give you the right to a cheering section. If lots of people think your opinion is silly, bigoted and distasteful it could well be that the problem does not lie with lots of people.

        • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

          Kenaz wrote: “Disagreement does not equal “intentional silencing.” Freedom of speech does not give you the right to a cheering section. If lots of people think your opinion is silly, bigoted and distasteful it could well be that the problem does not lie with lots of people.”

          So well said, and a concept rarely understood.

      • http://sonneillon-v.livejournal.com/ Sonneillon

        People with your opinion are attacked as not knowing what you’re talking about. Which you don’t.

        • Anonymous

          Oh, no, you’re being hurtful and insensitive by not immediately agreeing with him! How dare you not respect his rights? :P

      • http://brock-tn.dreamwidth.org/ Blake Kirk / Brock

        Don’t see anyone silencing differing opinions. I see people who are upset because their accustomed situations of privilege are being challenged, but that’s an entirely different kettle of fish.

        But no one is being silenced that I can see. No one attempted to prevent Z from holding her ritual at Pantheacon. No one attempted to prevent her from making her public statement before her ritual. No one has attempted to prevent her from expressing her views on this subject or any other in the days since that I am aware of.

        What I see is people who are angry about what Z has said on this matter and are speaking out about it. If that is “the intentional silencing of differing opinions” In your view I’d hate to see what you think a healthy debate looks like.

      • http://witchesandscientists.blogspot.com/ Gene

        “While I can accept that there are people who have convinced themselves that they are men living in womens bodies, etc…”

        I guess you’ve never heard of XY androgen insensitivity. But I suppose you’d just dismiss such people as being ‘irrational’.

        • Anonymous

          Or intersex conditions in general. Generally, an intersex child isn’t given the chance to say whether he/she identifies as male or female–the “extra” tissue is lopped off, the kid is raised as a girl, and often even the parents don’t know any of this.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            And sometimes, that “extra” tissue is from nothing more than the vague non-condition of “ambiguous genetalia”, chromosomally the child could be XX, but the clitoris is disproportionately *huge*, so it gets cut off so that she’ll look “normal” –sometimes that’s exactly what happens.

      • kenneth

        Nobody is being silenced at all. The marketplace of ideas is working at 100% peak efficiency. Everyone on all sides of this debate has had their voice heard, as at no time in human history. People put their ideas out there, some find a market, and some don’t. There will always be people who think transgender is just some made up PC nonsense, and they’re free to think so, and to say so. The vast majority of us aren’t buying it, however. The freedom to hold and express an idea doesn’t create an entitlement to popularity or freedom from criticism.

        • Charles Cosimano

          Don’t be so sure of what the vast majority thinks about anything. It tends to sound like Pauline Kael saying that she could not understand why Nixon won because none of her friends voted for him. The vast majority out there may very well view transgendered as freaks of nature on the Discovery Channel. They just don’t post to a Pagan blog.

          • kenneth

            If there is a “vast majority” of pagans who think that way, I’ve never seen them in significant numbers at any public community function, and that’s all to the good.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            Well, it seemed to me apparent to the context of the convo that “vast majority” was referring to some form of the Internet-active pagan community.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          OTOH, the repeated efforts here to keep comments on this blog from referring to cis-women *are* at attempt at intentional silencing — one which this community is, happily, rejecting.

      • Anonymous

        Beg pardon? These people aren’t trying to make Z Budapest welcome transwomen into her rituals–she’s made it abundantly clear that that won’t happen.

        So they formed their OWN tradition, which welcomes transwomen, leaving Z Budapest and the Dianic Wicca tradition to continue to exclude transwomen, as that is what they wish to do.

        No one is silencing anybody. This is just a case of, “we disagree, so let’s do what we can to avoid pissing each other off about it.”

      • Katie Berger Tremaine

        Having to read others’ displeasure at your thoughtlessness is not silencing. If your conscience is telling you to stop being thoughtless, perhaps it would behoove you to listen.

      • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

        And yet, as best as I can tell, you haven’t been banned from commenting here yet. I should alert the Far Left Transie Conspiracy that they’re doing a piss-poor job of “silencing” those who refuse to assimilate to the TS/TG Borg.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      Sad that inclusion has become a left-wing idea. There’s nothing against it in the core ideas of Conservatism.

      • Anonymous

        True, but the current right-wing in the US is hardly conservative by any objective standard.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

      Last I checked, nobody has shut down Z Budapest’s circles, forced her to admit trans women into the Susan B Anthony coven, or ordered her at gunpoint to change the admissions criteria for her Goddess Spirituality festival. So if you really find transgender people that distasteful there’s still a safe space for you where you needn’t engage with them.

    • http://sonneillon-v.livejournal.com/ Sonneillon

      That is totally disingenuous. The political is personal. The personal is political. Trans* rights are PERSONAL because trans* people are PEOPLE and any community that contains trans* people will have to acknowledge them and their rights.

    • Anonymous

      Politicized? Far left?

      With all due respect, you are reminding my of my fundamentalist Christian aunt.

    • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

      At one time, the radical feminism of Z. Budapest and her sisters would have been considered far left, and in some circles of modern society, it still would be…This entire matter, where Z. Budapest and modern pagan spirituality and radical feminism have existed, has been politicized since the 1970s when she started her section of the Dianic movement.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QOT7IFXS3I63UD5Y7LAEVOKM6I Nun Yerbeezwax

    Good Job Lady Yeshe Rabbit. I find it quite interesting that Z would choose to use the term “Genetic Women Only” when no genetic testing is actually done. There are numerous cases in which individuals exhibit differences in genetic gender that do not coincide with their outward gender appearance.

    • Christina

      Indeed! It is a lot more common than is often known for a person to have genetic markers for both sexes that are completely invisible to the eye.

    • http://twitter.com/Riotcub Mike D

      If anything I think that speaks to Z’s essentialism and ignorance around the realities of gender.

    • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

      > I find it quite interesting that Z would choose to use the term
      > “Genetic Women Only” when no genetic testing is actually done.

      And even if she were to test for “genetic evidence of wombynnehood” or somesuch, chances are good that there would be no shortage of cissexual women who possess some vhrosomal or hormonal variant that’s not quite understood, even though thus far –at 20, 30, 50 years of age– they’ve had a rather typical biological experience of gender.

  • http://twitter.com/thinkchristina Christina Searcy

    So, where would one turn to learn of a more inclusive Goddess-centered faith now? There aren’t many books out there which speak of this inclusiveness. I can only hope that future generations can learn from this.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      If a more inclusive Goddess-centered faith needs to be evoked rather than discovered, you can evoke it by your own actions and be sheltered under the Pan-Dianic umbrella.

      • Anonymous

        Well said.

    • http://twitter.com/thinkchristina Christina Searcy

      thank you for your response.

  • Anonymous

    Good for Lady Yeshe Rabbit. I’m glad she has taken a stand against discrimination. I found what Budapest did incredibly offensive and distasteful. If she wants to hold “Genetic Women Only” rituals in her private life she has ever right to do so, but to do so at a public event where everyone paid the same price to be there is wrong. We likely wouldn’t support a white only ritual. I know Budapest is an elder and has done much to blaze the Pagan path, but so did the Frost’s, and most of us find what they did to be offensive as well. Doing great, does not excuse someone from the wrongs they have done.

  • Obsidia

    This is a very healthy development and I hope that we Pagans can accept that a new spiritual lineage is being born. Let’s celebrate the new birth and let bygones be bygones. After all, we all come from the Goddess…. ;-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/vjbeall Jim Beall

    And on a full moon as well.

    • Raven

      Full moon. Solar flares. And the moon void of course all day. Powerful. Just sayin’…

      Disclosure: I am Raven of the Redwoods, a Bloodroot Honey Priestess.

      • Anonymous

        I felt some serious lunar vibes last night myself. Since I’ve had a hectic work schedule lately, the extra energy helped re-balance me a LOT. I hadn’t realized I’d been neglecting my spiritual welfare lately until then. >.>

        Also, best of luck to you and Bloodroot Honey Coven! :)

      • Ceinan

        And Mercury and Mars retro! =) Congratulations on proving that Merc Retro is not about wrongful or screwed up communication as most people believe; it is also about changes in communication; changes in outlook; a mixing-up of the status quo.
        Again, my congratulations to you all, and happy Birth-Day, Bloodroot Honey Priestess Tribe!

  • Kilmrnock

    I believe this was a long time coming , Altho Z has done alot of good work we all should be thankful for , her stance here of late has become caustic and inflammatory. No one is silencing Z, she is welcome to her opinions and stance , and to do her rituals all she wants.All that has happened is that a few dainics have splintered off , to distance themselves from her , that is all.Our community has grown and expanded. We have welcomed all members of the LGBTQ communities into the pagan fold , now we must be accomadating to them . Their addition to our ranks has made us stronger , more diverse .We are just experiencing growing pains , this too, will pass. We will be stronger , better for it .They are a perfect fit for us , paganism thrives with diversity …….Just look at all our sub groups , flavors of pagans if you will. We as a community will be fine . I personaly welcome all who wish to join us . Kilm

    • Bookhousegal

      Actually, just for clarification, Z’s ‘caustic’ statements toward the trans community are far from new… And LGBTQ people have been *very much part of this Pagan community all along, as well.*

  • Kilmrnock

    Oh and just for the record , Dianic Wicca has always been Radical left leaning in their views , this is nothing new . Not all forms of paganism are tho . Heathenism , Asatru is actualy quite conservative .Paganism as a whole covers the entire political spectrum .

    • Bookhousegal

      Why some Pagans are in such a hurry to internalize other peoples’ definitions and polarizations is kind of a mystery to me. Some may call *all* Pagans (and even Heathens) ‘Far Left,’ …but our values really aren’t some moderation between ‘Democrat and Republican’ or ‘Left and Right,’ …I think what *we* are is kind of a blend between Greens and Libertarians I think the ‘political’ center of Paganism isn’t a tug-of-war-between what the wider world calls ‘between particular extremes:’ I think all Pagan values pretty much have to do with keeping our personal responsibilities personal and our social responsibilities social. And that’s what we really negotiate. our ideals about. We have very few ‘Communists’ and very few ‘Fascists.’ (never mind corporate overlords,)

      And I think that may be part of what’s been making us special while we were occupied with other things. I think we are heavily ‘liberal’ by others’ scales because those others’ scales *are* so ideologically-right they’d think Walter Mondale was in berks and hawking the Worker’s Vangard. (ie, ‘Far Left.’)

      But when it comes to politics and ‘wedge issues,’ we got Greens for gun rights and tax-resisting ‘rugged individualists for women’s reproductive rights. And Greenness.

      (You know, hey, if we were really polarized that way with regards to *each other,* I wouldn’t come off as pretty eclectic-wicky-poo at first glance and be saying on gun control issues, ‘One thing that path is *all* about is the responsibility of power and intention. Not that I think we need to be passing out Uzis on general principle. ‘)

      We’re different. That’s part of what makes us special. It’d be pretty tragic if conservative-identified Pagans really thought they had to embrace homophobia and transphobia to claim ‘conservative cred.’ ‘Left, ‘ ‘Right,’ ‘Liberal,’ ‘Conservative?’

      That ain’t even our *scale,* never mind some absolute definitions to try and cram ourselves into.

      We’re less polarized than some tell us to think. Even less than the rest of the country.

  • Malaz

    Lady Yeshe!

    Well done. :)

  • http://twitter.com/Riotcub Mike D

    Awesome to see someone of Z’s lineage publicly showing a different path. One that manages to include the ways that have flourished so far, without belittling or marginalising the voices of others in the pagan population. I can’t wait to see what comes of this. Maybe transfolk as part of the tradition speaking for themselves?

  • Ealikchihoo

    Goddess knows – I have my personal issues with Z, but after much DEEP reflection, I find that I must support her right to limit her rituals to “genetic” womyn only. In my personal practice, I would not have an issue with being in circle with a FULLY transgendered womyn (one who has had her genitalia surgically altered as well as living as a woman for a significant length of time. As a matter of fact, even though CoA’s rituals are limited to womyn-born-womyn, I am aware of transwomyn being there on more than one occasion, and they were among the few people to hang behind after the rit to help clean up. BUT, I have THREE womyn in my circle who have suffered severe abuse at the hans of a man…emotional, physical, sexual and incest….and they both suffer from PTSD, which manifests in panic attacks, night terrors, and for one, even personality dissociation. For either of these womyn to be asked to participate in a sacred healing/blessing circle, and find herself staring down at a penis – the effect would be infinitely traumatizing. Therefore, I must agree that there is legitimate reason for “genetic” or cis-womyn-only rituals. Just my two cents.

    AuroraDawn

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K5GAIWNKWCTL4NPB7JBQKYUUD4 Brenda D

      As penises are not inherently male, since many women have them, perhaps your traumatized coven sisters need to get over that false assumption. Not all penises are going to attack them. And I speak as a cisgender woman who was sexually assaulted by cisgender men. I came to learn that truth. The fact they refuse to try says more about their issues than it does about their root trauma. The fact you enable their phobia says the same about you. Nothing good.

      And also, why would they have to look down for the entire ritual? Isn’t it rude to stare at people instead of looking them in the eye? What kind of women are IN your circle?

      • http://sonneillon-v.livejournal.com/ Sonneillon

        What kind of women are IN your circle?

        I think she already made that pretty clear.

      • Anonymous

        I’m a bit confused on that point as well. I’m also confused by the whole “womyn” spelling thing. Yes, men have done some pretty lousy things, but we’re still the same species. We shouldn’t distance ourselves from each other that much, or we risk losing touch with reality altogether.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

        What kind of women are IN your circle?

        Presumably women who chose to be in that circle, and who should have the right to speak up as to whom they do and do not wish to circle with. And so long as they are doing that in their private circles, I support their rights to do so 100%.

        To use an analogy that’s been thrown around here a few times: if Ealikchihoo’s coven has several women who were sexually assaulted by black men and who are triggered by seeing naked black people of any gender, then they have the right to exclude black women from their PRIVATE rituals. Whether or not I like their decision is irrelevant: it’s their private space and their private circle, and they’re entitled to invite whomever they feel they can work with in “perfect love and perfect trust” without regard for the feelings of anyone else.

        They do not have the right to space at a large public event for a ritual which they declare off-limits to black women. Not even if they make their criteria for admission clear on the calendar and not even if they assure us they have nothing against black people and that there are several other events going on at the same time which are open to black people.

      • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

        > The fact they refuse to try says more about their issues
        > than it does about their root trauma. The fact you enable
        > their phobia says the same about you. Nothing good.

        Yes.

    • http://sonneillon-v.livejournal.com/ Sonneillon

      Um, you do not get to decide who is ‘fully’ transgender, or assign degrees to people. You do not have to have surgery to be trans*. There are myriad reasons why any trans* person may not have surgery, may not take hormones, may not really give a damn about ‘passing’… and that is all that person’s decision. You don’t get to judge their trans*ness based on arbitrary cis standards.

      • Anonymous

        Or money! What does it say about us if we turn someone away because he/she cannot afford a voluntary surgical procedure?

        • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

          I was in a similar situation to your friend, and while I did find a surgeon willing to do some “creative billing”, if your friend still has not found such a surgeon or some other compromise, I have a suggestion, if he’s not on HRT yet: A lot of the trans men I know report that HRT reduces the mammary tissues by up to a little over a cup size, so a potential compromise is to sign up for the surgery and just talk to the surgeon to go as tiny as possible and (hopefully) HRT will do the rest.

          It may not be a perfect solution, so he may not find this an acceptable solution, and I get that; it was an unacceptable solution for myself, so I found out through the grapevine that Dr Wilson in Detroit did that sort of “creative billing” –which I don’t think he does anymore, as he was being audited shortly after my own surgery (and there are other reasons I wouldn’t recommend him, but those are largely personal and some-one else might be able to deal with that). At the same time, though, if I hadn’t had that option (I can’t afford out-of-state surgery and am restricted only to surgeons who’ll work with Medicare), I may have eventually taken the lesser option, but I cannot say for sure.

    • Christina

      Try this analogy on for size:

      Three women in my coven were beaten by a [racial minority] partner, and they both suffer from PTSD. For either of these womyn to be asked to participate in a sacred healing/blessing circle, and find herself staring at a [racial minority's] face– the effect would be infinitely traumatizing.

      Not so reasonable, hmm? And the root is the same: if a coven excludes a woman based on an external trait that is beyond her control, they are discriminating, and excluding her at the expense of another coven member’s triggers does not excuse this.

      I have no problem with asking trans women with male genitalia not to participate in specific healing circles where the person upon whom the healing is done would be triggered (as presumably, the entire ritual would be focused on a specific coven member’s needs), but to exclude trans women from a coven entirely is, in my opinion, unethical and unfair. A private group (which Z’s coven is) may still decide to go forth being cis-only, which is their right, but they are making a very open statement about their values.

      And to exclude trans women from *public* ritual, which is what got this whole ball rolling in the first place is /beyond unfair/.

      • Erin

        I find the “penis-trigger” argument to be greatly upsetting for all the reasons that you have already outlined, and I think it is just a smoke-screen for prejudice. If it is simply the potential sight of a penis that could be triggering, why then have no covens come up with the simple solution to change the skyclad aspect of the ritual? There, problem solved, everyone’s genitalia are concealed, no penises to be seen. I’m sure the argument could be made that something about the ritual is lost in this change, but wouldn’t that be better than being discriminatory?

        Since I have not heard this option considered in all of this debate, I have to think there is more at work here than just the fear of a “penis sighting” and the trigger argument does not quite hold water for me.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          If what is lost in changing the ritual by going robed is basic enough — and that seems to be the case — then it isn’t better.

          Several voices in this discussion have been saying “live and let live” but it must be universal or it’s meaningless.

          • Erin

            I will admit that, having never felt the need to work skyclad, there may be a particular value to it that I am missing. I’m not necessarily saying that robing everyone is a perfect answer, or even a good one, but I think it could be a part of the discussion. I think that “yes, something too valuable would be lost if do not work skyclad” could be a valid answer for some covens, and that is their right. I just find it odd that the discussion of modifying some rituals slightly for the better inclusion and safety of all is not a part of any debates. It could just be that this is an issue being discussed privately, so I am not seeing it.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Erin, I’ve heard (and entertained) several theories of skyclad practice.

            *We are born naked, and that is sacred.

            *Our bodies represent Deities, and that is sacred.

            *We get a better coupling with the Universe in the performance of magick without clothes.

            *It has Always Been Done That Way.

            *We are worshipping the beauty of one another’s bodies.

            And I’m sure there are more. It’s entirely reasonably to me that some folks might find one of these reasons so compelling as to dominate all other considerations.

            I am not btw impressed with attempts to counter the “penis threat” argument by reference to racial characteristics. Sadly far more people have suffered sexual violence than inter-racial violence. YMMV.

          • Christina

            Baruch, as the one who made the analogy, I wasn’t trying to say that one was more triggering than the other or more prevalent. The only point I was trying to make is that I don’t believe it’s fair for one member to be excluded from a circle entirely based on a physical characteristic beyond their control because of another member’s triggers. I agree that using race was an imperfect analogy, but my point is that both race and genitals are physical characteristics beyond one’s control, so excluding based on either is straightforward discrimination.

        • http://www.marysharratt.com/ Guest

          You’re not entitled to dictate what other people are “allowed” to find triggering. It’s up to the women in these circles to determine their own boundaries and safespace. It’s their power and their choice as sovereign beings. It’s not your decision to make as an outsider.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            “safe space” is a privileged middle-class fallacy.

          • sindarintech

            And people wonder why I described this as a far-left issue?

          • http://www.marysharratt.com/ guest

            LOL. I think everyone on each side of the debate is living in a bubble of middle class privilege, considering we have the leisure to argue about these issues online!

            But each group gets to set their own boundaries and determine their own safespace. It’s not a matter for public debate, really. Each group is autonomous.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            @sindarintech
            > And people wonder why I described
            > this as a far-left issue?

            Because you cannot see past the end of your own nose? Yes, we got that already.

          • Erin

            I simply find it suspect that no one in these arguments are attempting to find a way to address the specific trigger. If it is merely the sight of a penis that is the concern, then the simplest solution would be to have everyone robe, and thus the trigger is removed. Since no one seems to have discussed this option, it seems like the trigger argument is a bit of a dodge for people who just do not want to say that they never intend to incorporate transwomen in their rituals.

            I would have more respect for the people using this argument if they would just come out and say that. I would still call it an unfortunate choice, but it is their right to associate, or not associate, with whoever they want. I simply don’t find the particular penis-trigger argument to be a fair one, because it seems like a way to try to derail discussions, and it does a lot of damage. It continues to implicitly enforce the idea that a transwoman’s body is at least in part a man’s body, unless she chooses to have surgery. It also continues to equate a neutral genitalia with threats of violence, and perpetuates the stereotype, that is harmful to all genders, that violence is purely the realm of bearers of penises.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            > Since no one seems to have discussed
            > this option, it seems like the trigger
            > argument is a bit of a dodge for people
            > who just do not want to say that they
            > never intend to incorporate
            > transwomen in their rituals.

            While I agree that it’s largely, if not completely a dodge, at the same time, I’m going to allow some benefit-of-doubt and assume that a lot of those playing the trigger card are just taking for granted the assumed sacredness in nude ritual. I’ve also been taking it for granted, but at the same time, I *do* also recognise the trigger card as the smokescreen it is –if only because I understand the physical realities that many, if not most, trans women go though when on HRT (which is basically chemical castration: a very similar formula is used against serial rapists in U$States that sentence serial rapists to chemical castration –oh, and pro tip: the majority of trans women in the porn industry pop a boner pill before a shoot because of the industry demand for “fully functional”). Trans women are not “rapists in women’s clothing”, as those playing the trigger card are quick to portray them as, an on a deep biochemical level (even putting aside neurological), trans women have bodies that function more like cis women’s bodies than like men’s bodies.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Insofar as the women in a particular circle wish to make the rules for their particular circle and their private rituals, I’m 100% with you. They are free to exclude whomever they wish on whatever criteria they wish. But that right stops once they get into public space.

          • http://www.marysharratt.com/ guest

            Why does that right stop once they’re in public space? What about other exclusionary workshops at Pcon. The gay men’s circle, for example, or groups strictly for adults where children are not allowed to attend? Following your logic, you wouldn’t be able to bar young children from any public space because it would be discriminatory.

            And I believe the conference hotel is actually private property anyway.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            When you get done looking up “preponderance of evidence” look up “protected class.” That may help you to understand the difference between a ritual that excludes children or heterosexuals and a ritual that excludes trans people. Not that you’re going to stop grunting the same tired lines over and over in an attempt to deflect attention from Z Budapest’s hate speech, of course.

            Free clue to those who are not clue-impervious: the city of San Jose considers non-standard gender identity to be a protected class. While Z could probably get a pass based on religious belief, a trans person denied admittance to her circle could file a complaint against PCon and the Doubletree for hosting a discriminatory event. Whether they’d win or not is anyone’s guess, but it could certainly become a costly and controversial legal issue for the parties who were targeted with said complaint.

            I’d also note that, to the best of my knowledge, the Gay Men’s Circle at Pantheacon did not refuse admittance to trans men — so that’s not the most accurate comparison you could make. But again, you’re not really interested in dialogue so much as muddying the waters and trying to turn the conversation away from your Fearless Leader’s hateful words and behavior.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            > But that right stops once they get
            > into public space.

            I really disagree with this.

            First off, Pantheacon is not “public space” in any definition —it’s rented space, and it’s only open to people who’ve paid to attend Pantheacon. It’s neither publicly owned nor is it open to the public. Calling Pantheacon “public space” displays a gross misunderstanding of both how convention space works and of what “public space” actually is.

            Secondly, the adage of “I paid to attend Pantheacon, I should be able to attend every event on the schedule, if I want to” is just kind of nonsense. There are at least a dozen rituals and other events going on at any one time at Pantheacon, and the event rotation is, like, every couple hours; it is physically impossible for attendees to attend every single event at Pantheacon. Pantheacon is also not a unique example of a convention holding events that will only be accessible to a handful of attendees —and far from it; there are media and publishing conventions that hold scheduled events only for women, people of colour, GBLTs, writers, illustrators, and so on. Heck, if memory serves me, even Penguicon has held a few exclusive events that did not have to be ghettoed off in a suite while the “public schedule” was open for everybody.

            Lastly, some traditions and mysteries are just only open to certain people, and that criteria is made in all sorts of ways. In the nearly-twenty years of Pantheacon, there has pretty much always been space made for traditions and/or other events with exclusive criteria, because it’s a celebration of the diversity of all those paths under the “pagan” umbrella, not a forced homogeny where everybody is assumed “the same”. Separate space has been part of the path to empowerment for decades, centuries even, and there is room for that at Pantheacon.

            And really, Kenaz, it surprises me that you’ve been one of the most vocal people about how cis-women-only/menstrual mysteries are “only acceptable in private”, yet at Pantheacon2012, there was an African diaspora ritual held in one of the convention rooms, that barred participation to anyone bleeding (which, as noted, included menstruating women). Yeah, they allowed those wearing band-aids to observe from the sidelines, but what about those who really wanted to participate?

            There is room for all sorts of rituals at Pantheacon, and no, it doesn’t sully the message of Diversity to have a handful of events that, due to the nature of the hosted paths, have to remain exclusive. Just cos I live in a diverse neighbourhood doesn’t mean my neighbour can let his dog crap in my garden, nor does it mean my neighbour can just invite himself into my house when I’m having a party. Diversity means everybody gets their due dignity, and with that, it means every group has the freedom to define themself and be respected. By this, yes, Zsuzsanna Budapest’s presence at Pantheacon in specific was an antithesis to the message of diversity, but that doesn’t mean that menstrual rites as a whole were.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Ruadhan: I really should have been more clear about this. My apologies.

            First of all, I have no objection to public “women only” or “men only” rituals at Pantheacon or anywhere else – provided they are open to people who identify as women or as men. I think it’s obvious that a significant number of people attending the conference found the exclusion of trans people to be marginalizing and hurtful, and felt that putting such an event on the calendar was a slap in their collective faces – especially since the person holding this ritual had gone on record the year before with a particularly nasty rant about “transies.”

            I would have no objection to a “moon blood ritual” which was open only to women who had experienced menstruation, or to a “mother’s ritual” open only to women who had given birth. I do object to a ritual which is open to “all women except trans women.”

            Getting back to what I said to our anonymous “Guest,” this gets down to the issue of protected classes. The fact that it’s OK to have a ritual which excludes those under 18 or those who are not gay does not mean it’s OK to have a ritual which excludes people of color or trans people: a “men’s ritual” is fine but a “white men’s only ritual” not so much. And for purposes of anti-discrimination ordinances, I strongly suspect Pantheacon would be considered a “public event” by the applicable authorities – and an event which was open to all cis-women might well be problematic in a city like San Jose where gender identity is a protected class.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            @Kenaz Filan
            > I would have no objection to a “moon
            > blood ritual” which was open only to
            > women who had experienced
            > menstruation, or to a “mother’s ritual”
            > open only to women who had given
            > birth. I do object to a ritual which is
            > open to “all women except trans
            > women.”

            And that’s fine, that’s all I’ve been railing against, myself, but the way you keep reiterating that Ms Busapest’s ritual should have been ghettoed off to a suite is problematic, especially amongst going-on-four weeks’ worth of commentary —comments I really hope are only from cis, white, heterosexual, middle class men who’ve never actually attended Pantheacon— whinging on about “I paid for this, I should be able to attend every event on the schedule”, it really doesn’t look good without this sort of clarification.

            As to whether or not this sort of thing falls under San Jose’s “protected class” jurisdiction, that’s a great question, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have this perverse glee at the hypothetical court case that could be brought up over this, but back in the Real World, I don’t think it would qualify simply because of the status of rented space that, for the time rented, would not be open to the public.

            A restaurant, which is ostensibly open to the public, meaning any-one can come in, peruse the menu, order something and expect to be treated with a minimum of dignity would have to obey those “protected class” statutes, no doubt. Their only way around it, in most other places that have such statutes, would be for the restaurant to operate as a “club”, where members pay regular dues and such, and the owner of the club can have whatever membership criteria they want. A convention would probably fall under those same exceptions, so it’s far more likely that such a case would get thrown out of court.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            As you have said, it’s a physical impossibility to attend *each* event. The question here is of being able to attend *any* event, choosing it over others scheduled against it. When the exclusion is based on an irreversible personal characteristic, that basis is open for reasonable question and discussion under the common assumptions of liberal democracy. (I used the term “liberal” in other than the common partisan sense.)

            Some of what we’ve seen here doesn’t make the grade as “reasonable” but, as a veteran of the Sixties and Seventies, I’d say that’s something to be put up with as an issue sorts itself out, especially one that has clearly been gathering steam for some time.

            The triggering event of this post was announcement of the founding of the Pan-Dianic lineage. Perhaps we can all agree that this is a good thing in the evolution of Dianism, and not be so attached to our adrenaline.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Ruadhan: I felt that putting a “cis-women only” event in a private suite would be the best possible solution, not an ideal one. My feelings were that it would be less problematic than putting it on the public calendar. While trans women might still feel marginalized by the presence of a group of people who openly shut them out as “not real women,” at least the discrimination wouldn’t come with a Pantheacon imprimatur.

            I have no issue with events open only to certain affinity groups – i.e. a Men’s Ritual, a LGBT panel, etc. But again, I think that they have to be open to anyone who self-identifies as a member of that group. I can definitely see where that could become problematic should i.e. a wannabe James O’Keefe decides he wants to infiltrate PoC space to expose “anti-white racism.” But I’m not sure how to get around that, and I don’t know if there are any easy answers. We could come up with a foolproof solution to the problem, but before long a new and improved fool will figure out a better way to cause difficulties.

          • Anonymous

            A person’s safe space is one thing. I don’t want other people in my bedroom, nor do I like for my own parents to visit my apartment. This is my prerogative–I can exclude people from my own private space at whim, with no real moral issue involved.

            But public places are PUBLIC. If a gay couple moves in next door to a homophobe, the homophobe cannot insist that the gay neighbors not show themselves in his presence. Even if it makes him uncomfortable to see gay people. They may be “outsiders,” but they still have the right to go about their lives like everyone else.

            These women will have to be around men at some point ANYWAY–half the human race is male, FFS. It does them no good, and quite a bit of harm, to coddle them as if an intense fear of maleness were not a severe handicap in our society. Getting them used to being around people who possess a penis is part of the healing process.

            If YOUR “safe space” intrudes on other people’s ability to live a normal healthy life, something is WRONG.

          • Christina

            In no way did I say it was my right to choose what individual circles. I never said I was choosing what others are “allowed” to find triggering, so you are both misinterpreting what I said and falsely using quotes to back it up. I was just saying that I think denying one coven member at the expense of another coven member’s triggers is wrong.

          • Christina

            Oops, that was in reply to Erin, not me, but the point still stands. She ALSO did not say the things you accuse her of saying.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            Unfortunately, the idea of “safe space” is an illusion of the bourgeoisie and those aspiring to said. Even in “safe space”, people have been, and may continue to be threatened, even when the “rules” for who can be allowed within that “safe space” are adhered to the letter, but you seldom hear of that because those feeling the greatest need for that “safe space” are the “others” in a society, and bourgeoisie society doesn’t give a crap about the riff-raff squabbling amongst each-other.

        • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

          > and I think it is just a smoke-screen for prejudice.

          Oh, it absolutely is.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

      If you read Yeshe Rabbit’s press release you’ll find this:

      The Mysteries of the womb and menstrual life cycle are still the prevalent points of focus within our private group of 15 cis-gender, cissexual priestesses.* We have been working on these Mysteries for 5 years together. They are very powerful, very relevant to our individual and collective experiences, rooted in our own sovereign bodies. Thus, they are our preferred means for aligning with the Goddess within our sisterhood. We will continue to share this work with cis-gender women in personal and collective rites of passage, ceremonies for pregnant women and mothers, and the honoring of crones. Our blood is sacred, our blood is power, our blood is life.

      So it appears that CAYA also recognizes that there are specific rituals and mysteries which should only be open to cisgender women.

      Honestly, I’m sympathetic to claims that some sexual abuse survivors might be triggered by the sight of a penis, even a transwoman’s penis. I also realize that a coven can (or should) only operate in “perfect love and perfect trust” – or as perfect as things get in this flawed world, anyway. I’d encourage those women to explore their fears and to understand the difference between a cisgender man and a transgender woman. But I also recognize that feelings are feelings and PTSD is not necessarily about what is logical or politically correct. Rape survivors are shamed enough in our society: I see nothing to be gained by calling them “bigots” or telling them they need to “get over it” because they have an uncontrollable negative reaction to the sight of a penis.

      • Desiree Arceneaux

        I am absolutely unsympathetic to the idea that some sexual abuse survivors “might” be triggered by seeing a pre-op or non-op trans woman’s penis. My experience has been that this is almost invariably a gleefully malicious hypothetical which is trotted out to justify discrimination against trans women. Even in the very rare cases where a non-imaginary sexual abuse survivor is unavoidably triggered, it is HER responsibility to absent herself from skyclad public events rather than demanding that all trans women be forcibly excluded from them.

        The fact that abuse triggering arguments like this are never aimed at anyone other than trans women is ample demonstration of their total insincerity. Or are we actually going to pretend that it’s just a coincidence that these arguments just happen to exclusively target the most vulnerable group of women in the entire community in a way that just happens to dovetail perfectly with all of the social bigotry against them?

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          I don’t have a lot of sympathy with “women-born-women only” public events and question whether they have a place on the public calender at a mixed gender identity gathering. That goes beyond the issue of skyclad or not.

          I do have an issue with telling a rape survivor she needs to “get over it” or further shaming her. And I also accept the right of people to circle for spiritual work with others whom they choose – even if I disagree with the reasoning and rationale behind those choices. (Heck, I’ll go so far as to say they don’t need to rationalize those choices – at this point Z and Co. would probably do best to withdraw into their own little womyn-born-womynspace and quit trying to justify their choices by whatever means necessary).

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            That’s an unbelievably nasty strawman argument, dude. I never said that rape survivors need to “get over it”.

            Those who have suffered traumatic experiences of any kind are certainly entitled — ethically, if not always legally — to compassion, understanding and reasonable accommodation of their needs. However, demanding the categorical exclusion of trans women from women’s spaces is a grossly unreasonable accommodation.

            Again, the fact that this entire train of thought is never used for any purpose other than running over the right of trans women to be included with other women illustrates its complete insincerity. Those who make this argument are simply exploiting the emotional value of “OMG rape survivor” to try to make the issue untouchable, and that’s a viewpoint which is built upon unthinking hatred against trans women rather than sincere compassion for sexual assault survivors.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Desiree: the comment wasn’t personally aimed at you. If you’ve followed my posts you’ll see that I’ve generally been a harsh critic of Z’s actions in this case and of the idea of “genetic women only” rituals at public events no matter what their rationale. But the very idea that a rape survivor might be triggered by the sight of a penis is being questioned and even mocked by a lot of people here. And sorry, I’m not comfortable with that. If that means I’m a bad trans ally/genderqueer person, then so be it.

          • Ci

            Um, saying that the idea of a safe space is a “gleefully malicious hypothetical” is preeeetty much implying that rape survivors need to get over it.

            You seem to be running on your experience? Because I have met and associated and begun to understand many survivors and what triggers are. Am I a liar? Are you just going to cover your ears and pretend my own experiences lie under yours? Why on earth would you ever choose willingly to IGNORE the experiences of others?

            I genuinely don’t understand why the concept of triggers is difficult for some to comprehend. I am a trans person. Transphobic dialogue can discomfort me to the point of physical panic. Hence, I often need a comfortable safe space where I will not encounter transphobia, so that I can be comfortable. I mean, do you just… not… get this??????????? This is just… it’s kind of a thing that actually happens? To many survivors…?

            Like, I’m trying to understand your argument, and it’s nice that you’re arguing for the trans perspective, but bloody hell, all the trans people I know have grasped the concept of triggers, largely because triggering content affects their daily lives and is a big deal. Get with it.

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            Wow, that’s an even nastier strawman. I did not say that safe space is a malicious hypothetical; I said that the idea that safe space requires the strict exclusion of trans women is a malicious hypothetical, and it is. Let’s look at the false assumptions underlying your point of view:

            1. All women’s events should be simultaneously treated as broadly inclusive public space for cis women but as strictly exclusive private space against trans women.

            2. Even though safe space is by definition a space in which an oppressed minority can take refuge from the privileged majority, when it comes to trans women we can redefine safe space as a space in which the privileged majority gets to exclude an oppressed minority they don’t like.

            3. Accommodating the needs of assault survivors means focusing exclusively on cisgendered assault survivors and completely ignoring the existence of transgendered assault survivors, even though trans people are far more likely to be assaulted than cis people.

            4. Even though it is a well-known fact that assault survivors can be triggered by all sorts of things which vary widely from person to person and cannot be reliably predicted by third parties, it’s totally okay to assume that trans women are the one and only thing that is a universal trigger for all</em assault survivors.

            5. It is acceptable to contribute to systemic prejudice against an already brutally oppressed minority as long as you're doing it to protect a group which you consider more worthy. In fact, it's so acceptable that you don't even need to bother considering ways that the needs of both groups can be met — just go ahead and stomp all over the ones you don't like.

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            4. Even though it is a well-known fact that assault survivors can be triggered by all sorts of things which vary widely from person to person and cannot be reliably predicted by third parties, it’s totally okay to assume that trans women are the one and only thing that is a universal trigger for all</em assault survivors.

            5. It is acceptable to contribute to systemic prejudice against an already brutally oppressed minority as long as you're doing it to protect a group which you consider more worthy. In fact, it's so acceptable that you don't even need to bother considering ways that the needs of both groups can be met — just go ahead and stomp all over the ones you don't like.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            “I do have an issue with telling a rape survivor she needs to ‘get over it’ or further shaming her”

            What, exactly, do you think trans-exclusive women’s space does to a trans woman survivor of rape?

            Tells her to ‘get over it’ and further shames her.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            In a public forum, I don’t think there’s any place for trans-exclusive women’s space no matter what the rationale. In a private circle, I think the right to free association trumps all other rights and no rationale is needed. I don’t think it’s ideal, but I honestly don’t think there is any better alternative.

            I think you raise an important point which those on the other side of this debate need to consider: trans women are frequently victims of rape and sexual assault. And when you exclude a trans woman from your circles, you are excluding someone who might benefit from what you have to offer. You are under no legal obligation to open your circle to her – but you may wish to consider what you gain by shutting her out and adding to her suffering.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            I think it’s belittling to appropriate someone else’s trauma to enable your own discrimination, honestly! I think that the women making these rules are being kind of opportunistic.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Do you really believe that every woman making the claim that they find penises triggering because of past trauma is being “opportunistic?” Or that they are saying this solely because they want to enable discrimination against trans women?

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            It’s really dishonest to switch between “public space rules” and “private space rules” whenever it suits your argument.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            The problem is that private space rules are set by the people in that private space. Freedom of religion doesn’t mean that I have to let the Jehovah’s Witnesses into my house and listen to them: freedom of speech doesn’t mean I have to tune into Rush Limbaugh and that I’m oppressing him if I don’t. And that same freedom applies to a Dianic circle that holds a ritual in their own space and on their own dime.

            I think it is absolutely worth discussing these matters and I think many Dianics (CAYA being one example) are finding the arguments against trans-inclusion increasingly unconvincing. But that change is going to have to come from within. About all we can do to speed the process is engage in dialogue – and about the only way to do that is for each side to assume the other is negotiating in good faith and to take their concerns seriously.

        • Anonymous

          Not to mention that healing from psychological trauma requires learning not to be triggered by things that do not actually harm you.

          Life with an authoritarian father left me with the mental block of “I can’t upset this person because what would they say/do to me if they got upset?” Because it is impossible to please everyone, I have to learn to remove this block.

          Similarly, if penises really are triggers for these women, then some form of therapy is needed in order to make penises less scary to them.

          • Scott

            That may well be so, but I am made exceedingly uncomfortable by the suggestion that I (or you, or anyone) should be passing judgment on someone else’s path to or speed of recovery from trauma.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            My belief is from a least-harm standpoint. Amateurs practicing psychology and/or social work can do a great deal of harm, even when their intentions are good (a friend of mine tells me about someone who tried to install a hypnotic trigger in his boyfriend that would help him lose weight and ended up giving him an eating disorder. This was someone who intended to do a good thing and ended up doing something VERY BAD – and yes, she is a certified hypnotherapist and she did have to clean up the mess). Relatively few Pagans are trained psychotherapists or trained social workers. Dealing with someone’s traumas is something that needs to be done in a professional situation, not in Sacred Space – so when people refer to said traumas as a justification to exclude, it feels very manipulative to me.

          • Scott

            Katie: I’m not certain how limiting ritual space to ciswomen only out of respect to those traumatized by sexual abuse at the hands of men qualifies as psychotherapy or social work. I’m pretty sure that you’re not suggesting that we should *never* have rituals to assist our co-religionists in dealing with particular issues (what else is magic for?), and there’s quite a bit of work that can be done that falls below the threshold of concern that you seem to be articulating here.

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            There are numerous trans women among “those traumatized by sexual abuse at the hands of men”, so I’m afraid that your idea of respect has pretty much failed from the get-go.

        • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

          > Even in the very rare cases where a non-imaginary
          > sexual abuse survivor is unavoidably triggered, it is
          > HER responsibility to absent herself from skyclad
          > public events rather than demanding that all trans
          > women be forcibly excluded from them.

          Exactly. Any other phobia, be it PTSD-related or not, is something that we universally acknowledge as something that an individual has a responsibility to work on before interacting with those who might unknowingly trigger that phobia. I get claustrophobic in dense crowds, so if I go to a concert, I either do what I need to so that my anxieties are minimised or I don’t go; I have no right to expect everybody to part at least an arm’s-length of space for me to get up by the stage. Why do people expect anything different of situations involving trans women who “might” unknowingly trigger Hypothetical Rape Victim? I’d hate to sound like That Guy With The Friend, but one of my best friends is a lesbian, victim of “corrective rape”, and she’s since dated trans women at various stages of transition, even picked one up at the les bar in Toronto she likes —clearly Hypothetical Rape Victim is not guaranteed to be triggered by penis, so acting like this is some universal need for all women who have been or may have been sexually abused is nonsense.

          Having PTSD myself, I know it’s not something that one can just “get over”, but I also know that there are times when it’s simply inappropriate to burden the group with my personal problems.

      • Karen St John

        Kenaz, I’m not just replying to you, as I know you have stridently voiced your objections to Lady Z’s words…what I wish to say does flow from your words.

        To perpetuate emotional violence in the furtherance of that “perfect love and perfect trust” heals no one and is not at all perfect. To spread the “trans women are men who want to rape” meme, as Z effectively has, increases irrational fear…which is not healing.

        Trans women are constantly triggered, yet it doesn’t seem to matter to some. Some of us who know our history are triggered by its repetition. When I read Z’s words last year, I heard Robin Morgan’s violence against Beth Elliott replayed. I recalled the words of the letter to Olivia Records demanding the removal of Sandy Stone. The words of “The Transsexual Menace” lumping transsexual women with violence against women echoed in my ears. What sister gives a rats’ ass about my. healing.from.this.violence against me?

        We bleed from the physical violence against us. Ask Chrissy Lee Polis about when she wanted to use the ladies’ room. I wish we could ask Tyra Hunter about how medical caregivers, just before she died. Angie Zapata was bludgeoned to death just for dating a man.

        I am a woman who has physically been assaulted, as well as socially. Repeatedly. Some here would tell me to suck it up. Like a…would.

        I have reached out in sisterhood to women who are healing from severe trauma to their womanhood. When they need a tender heart to lend a shoulder to cry on, I have offered both of mine.

        I have stepped aside, and will continue to do so, to honor moonblood space, because I have been asked to do so. (I am long since “fully transitioned” as it were, incidentally. But I do not moonbleed.)

        Where is the violent man in all of this?

        Yet, I will continue approaching the Goddess as one of her DAUGHTERS. Z Budapest is not the Goddess, and she has no right to tell Her to turn me away from Her Love. Or tell me I cannot share it with others.

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          Karen: I am absolutely sympathetic to your claims and the claims of other trans women who have suffered sexual assault and violence. I would urge those who would shut you out from “womyn-born-womyn” circles to consider that pain and to understand how their behavior reinforces the very patriarchal stereotypes and violence they seek to overcome.

          Please understand that, as a person-with-penis who is not a sexual assault survivor, I want to tread very delicately when faced with claims from anyone who says “I was raped and because of this I am triggered by X.” I don’t want to be seen as questioning their experience, belittling their pain, or telling them that their feelings don’t matter. About all I can do encourage dialogue between the two groups – and one way of doing that, IMO, is to assume that both parties are speaking out from their experience honestly and in good faith.

          I would note that CAYA seems to have found a workable middle path in the midst of a lot of very heated debate. This gives me hope for an organic transition as the loudest anti-trans people die off and/or discredit themselves publicly as Z has done.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Nicely said!

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            , I want to tread very delicately when faced with claims from anyone who says “I was raped and because of this I am triggered by X.”

            Treading delicately does not mean being willing to support grossly unreasonable accomodations for one group at the expense of another

            Furthermore, the vast majority of people who are supporting trans exclusion on the basis of triggering are not actually sexual assault survivors; they are cis women who are PROJECTING their own bigotry-based discomfort with trans women onto sexual assault survivors.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Treading delicately does not mean being willing to support grossly unreasonable accomodations for one group at the expense of another

            No, but it means being willing to take their statements at face value and see if we can’t come to some reasonable accommodation which both sides can live with.

            Furthermore, the vast majority of people who are supporting trans exclusion on the basis of triggering are not actually sexual assault survivors; they are cis women who are PROJECTING their own bigotry-based discomfort with trans women onto sexual assault survivors.

            You see, I don’t know that. And given my own privileged position (genderqueer but typically passing as cis-male), I’m not about to claim that someone’s coven mates aren’t really rape survivors, or that she is just making the whole thing up. OTOH, I’m also not willing to treat that statement as a conversation-stopper. And I’m certainly not willing to treat it as carte blanche to exclude trans women from any public event where a rape survivor might see their genitals and be triggered.

            So your coven mates might be triggered by the sight of a trans woman’s penis? Fine: would they be willing to circle with trans women in a clothed ritual? Would they be willing to get to know the trans woman in question and learn she is neither male nor a rapist? What would they be willing to do to get past this issue? Assuming everyone is acting in good faith, everybody might just learn something. And if this is just a dodge, then we are no poorer for making the effort.

        • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

          I did a little reading up on Janice Raymond, and the controversy with Sandy Stone, because I’d not heard of her before. It’s quite clear now where Z. and company have been getting their talking points. The use of the word “rape” by some of these people to describe anything that they find offensive is simply disgusting. People very close to me were raped, violently and terribly so, and to toss that word around like you’re saying hello is despicable. It certainly now brings into clarity why one such notable “leader” in question suggested to my mentor and I on the phone that whenever a man has sex with a woman, it is rape.

        • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

          This was a beautiful and heart-warming comment you shared. Thank you.

        • Bookhousegal

          I think one thing that’s missed in this very long subthread is the fact that it’s sort of backhandedly implying that there are a whole bunch of pre-operative transwomen wanting to appear skyclad anywhere, never mind in ‘women’s-space.’ Or in a vulva-oriented ritual especially, In the first place.

          This ‘horror story’ idea isn’t exactly typical of transsexuals, in particular, who aren’t *actually* looking to barge in someplace waving penises, …there’s no reason to deny the humanity of all transwomen over it, or ‘de-gender’ them as ‘Invading males’ like the Religious Right tries to scare us all about bathroom-assault scare stories that have never occurred. (That’s part of what’s used in inflammatory ways, actually. The idea that transwomen are sneaky ‘sexual threats’ in some ‘male’ way. )

          And the book in question is called, even more surreal-ly, ‘The Transsexual *Empire.’ ‘The Transsexual Menace,’ was a trans rights activist group.

    • http://brock-tn.dreamwidth.org/ Blake Kirk / Brock

      I would not presume to prescribe to anyone else whom they should be comfortable with within sacred space. If some women feel it is absolutely necessary to exclude some people from their sacred space in order to feel safe in that space I can understand and support that position.

      What I cannot support, what I cannot condone, is delineating that exclusion by stating that transwomen are not “real” women, but “…mutilated men seeking to steal our Mysteries…” and “abominations.” There are ways Z could have expressed the exclusive nature of her ritual that would not have denied transwomen their right to determine their own identities. She chose instead to be deliberately offensive, and to borrow a concept from an old Hebrew text, having sown the wind she is now reaping the whirlwind.

      Z has become that which she has always claimed to be struggling against, and that is a sad thing.

      • http://www.marysharratt.com/ Guest

        There’s no actual proof that Z Budapest made the hateful 2011 “transies” statement. We don’t know if those were actually her words. The jury’s still out. Meanwhile she has offered an apology for having cause any hurt or offence.

        • Harmonyfb

          Meanwhile she has offered an apology for having cause any hurt or offence.

          No, she didn’t. She offered an “apology” – mouthing words while continuing to behave in an offensive manner. Words are meaningless when your actions don’t back them up.

        • http://brock-tn.dreamwidth.org/ Blake Kirk / Brock

          But Z has never disavowed those statements, either. If she did not make them, I would have expected her to have said so by now. The fact that she has not speaks volumes.

          As for her public statement before her ritual at Pantheacon 2012, saying “I’m sorry people’s feelings got hurt” is in no way equivalent to saying “I hurt people, and I am sorry.” The latter is a genuine apology; the former, not so much.

          I have no desire to intrude into Z’s ritual space, nor do I wish to see her compelled to admit any person into her sacred space with whose presence she is not fully comfortable. But neither do I have any willingness to permit her publicly-displayed bigotry to go unchallenged.

          • Anonymous

            This, so much. “I’m sorry that YOU were offended” =/= “I’m sorry that I said things that offended you.”

          • http://www.marysharratt.com/ guest

            That’s not what she said. Here are her actual words:

            “I know you are here for me. I come out to say something to all of you. I am sorry if I have hurt anyone’s feelings. I apologize. I stand for your right of sacred space for the trans community. I stand with my life’s work for the women to have the right to their sacred space equally. I have supported PantheaCon goals for unity and diversity for the 18 years this conference has existed and an opportunity to have everyone express themselves in a safe place. Peace.”

          • http://www.marysharratt.com/ guest

            Brock, here are the actual words of her apology:

            “I know you are here for me. I come out to say something to all of you. I am sorry if I have hurt anyone’s feelings. I apologize. I stand for your right of sacred space for the trans community. I stand with my life’s work for the women to have the right to their sacred space equally. I have supported PantheaCon goals for unity and diversity for the 18 years this conference has existed and an opportunity to have everyone express themselves in a safe place. Peace.”

            It actually sounds quite respectful to me.

          • http://brock-tn.dreamwidth.org/ Blake Kirk / Brock

            So, she was sorry “if” she had hurt someone’s feelings? She’s uncertain or unclear as to whether or not her words and actions hurt people?

            Sorry, but those are weasel words, a thinly-veiled attempt to convince people that everything is fine now without Z actually having to take personal responsibility for the injury she has done to others.

            And because she’s trying to dodge taking responsibility for her own actions, I won’t buy that particular line of argument.

            I reiterate my original point: a sincere apology, a REAL apology, begins with “I hurt you, and I am sorry.” Under the present circumstances, and given the history of Z’s statements on the matter, anything less than that isn’t acceptable.

            Unfortunately, I don’t think Z is actually capable of making that statement. It would require her to perceive transwomen as people worthy of being treated with respect, and I just don’t think she is able to do it.

            In Z’s universe, only women, (as SHE defines “women,”) have value and worth. Like I said in a previous post in this thread, Z has become that which she has always claimed to be struggling against, and that is a very sad thing.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            That’s what they call a politicians apology.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            That’s not what she said, either. That’s the statement that was prepared for her, but which she did not read. here, this is (at least part of) what she actually said.

            That prepared statement doesn’t count as an apology, either. It still attempts to absolve her of any responsibility for her actions, and is the very definition of a fauxpology.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          If it wasn’t her, it was someone else using her personal DSL line. So this line of defense is pretty meaningless, actually.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            I note that the people (person) making this “jury’s still out” claim have (has) not bothered to offer any kind of alternate explanation as to how this post originated on Z’s DSL line. I posted a reasonably detailed analysis of the reasons why I thought it most likely this came from Z Budapest’s computer. Our anonymous “guest” didn’t see fit to respond to it, poke holes in my logic, or even acknowledge any of the issues I raised. So it seems the “jury” is singularly uninterested in examining the evidence.

          • http://www.marysharratt.com/ guest

            If your argument is to be taken seriously, it has to be able to stand up to a reasonable degree of skepticism, and not just be thrashed about in a kangeroo court. Can you imagine what a court of law would have to say–getting offended over a single blog comment that you still can’t definitively prove was hers? If she didn’t make the statement in the first place (and we still don’t absolutely KNOW) then she is in no way obliged to “own” it.

            All this drama over an unattributed blog comment. Surely we have better things to do with our time.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Guest: consider the difference between “beyond a reasonable doubt” and “preponderance of evidence.” Consider also the term “circumstantial evidence” – and consider that people have gone to the gallows on the basis of circumstantial evidence.

            But of course you’re not interested in addressing any of the points raised. You’re just here to hop up and down and repeat “Zey can PROVE NOTHING!!!” and “I object to being called CISGENDERED!!!” in an attempt to draw attention away from Z Budapest’s hate speech.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            No need to question anymore. Per Z’s Facebook, two hours ago:

            “Zsuzsanna Budapest: The venom directed at me for this outweighs the one line that i wrote last year and half ago. I have apologized, even thou the line was true. It could have been said with less bluntness.”

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Guest: On the contrary. The blog comment in question IS attributed – it’s attributed to Z Budapest. That attribution has been backed up by a WHOIS lookup.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            And then Z. adds: “Transexual women hide their hatred of women behind their make up .Women are pushed out under all kinds of phony justifications.”

            She just can’t stop.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            I think I missed something, but what’s the source on the claim that the offending comment did, in fact come from Ms Budapest’s DSL line? I’m not saying it didn’t, I’m just saying I don’t want to repeat that until I know the source.

            Oops, just saw it. NM

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            From Z’s Facebook page:

            Zsuzsanna Budapest The venom directed at me for this outweighs the one line that i wrote last year and half ago. I have apologized, even thou the line was true. It could have been said with less bluntness.

        • kenneth

          The jury is only “out” because she has refused to engage the issue using a politician’s dodge which is, essentially, never the refuge of an innocent person. If she did not make those statements and yet refuses to refute them, then she clearly agrees with the underlying sentiments and deserves to be judged on that basis. “Plausible deniability” may play in Washington DC and in lawyer’s circles, but it ain’t gonna sell here.

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          Neither you nor any of the other people posting anonymously in support of Z Budapest – if you’re not all the same person, that is – have offered any alternate explanation as to how that hateful statement, made using Z’s rather idiosyncratic English, was posted from Z Budapest’s private DSL line. So the “jury is out” only with regard to the question of “how long will a few desperate people – or one desperate person – try to muddy the waters and obfuscate rather than owning their fearless leader’s hateful words and either supporting or refuting them?”

        • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

          The jury is no longer out. Per Z.’s personal facebook, two hours ago:

          Zsuzsanna Budapest The venom directed at me for this outweighs the one line that i wrote last year and half ago. I have apologized, even thou the line was true. It could have been said with less bluntness.

          So what kind of apology was it if she still thinks it true that transexuals are merely men trying to invade the space of so-called “real” women/ I used to regard her highly myself but she showed me what a bigot she is. I’m glad she’s now showing the rest of the world.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            > …if she still thinks it true that transexuals..

            I take it you mean “trans/transsexual women”? I’m sure she has an entirely different opinion on trans men, is all I’m saying.

          • http://brock-tn.dreamwidth.org/ Blake Kirk / Brock

            Oh Ye Gods and little fishes…

            …has the woman gone mad?

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            I’d say “yes”, but then, I’ve been saying that for nearly twenty years now.

        • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

          Actually, it was briefly re-posted and elaborated on her own blog, but she took it down very soon after it was posted –less than a week later, if that. I saw it, and I curse myself that I assumed some-one else would get the screen-cap to prove that she said it.

    • Katie Berger Tremaine

      I am honestly a little bothered by people using religious space as therapy – especially in a religious movement that emphasizes self-taught priest/ess/es and only recently opened its first Seminary. We generally don’t have the training to deal with people’s traumas, we shouldn’t be doing that. If you have severe trauma dealing with naked bodies? You need to be getting professional help for it.

      But besides that, honestly tell me this: Would you support excluding ANY other group of women for physical characteristics they cannot change, because it might traumatize women to have them in a sacred healing space? Unless you can answer “yes” to that question, this looks a lot less like concern and a lot more like unexamined prejudice.

      • Christina

        “But besides that, honestly tell me this: Would you support excluding ANY other group of women for physical characteristics they cannot change, because it might traumatize women to have them in a sacred healing space? Unless you can answer “yes” to that question, this looks a lot less like concern and a lot more like unexamined prejudice.”

        Yes! This is what I was trying to say upthread, but you managed much more eloquently.

    • Anonymous

      I am sorry for the pain your covenmates suffered. Sexual trauma is one of the worst things a human being can suffer.

      That said, there is a point at which one must try to pick up the pieces and move beyond hurt to healing. It’s harder to do that if one isn’t willing to face up to one’s fears (in this case, a woman fearing all men because of the horrible thing that a man has done to her).

      I was emotionally abused as a child, and it has been very hard for me to learn to say “no” and to choose the life I want to lead, rather than letting others dictate my Path for me. But I still have to get outside my comfort zone now and again, or I know that I will never recover. It is a necessary step.

    • Katie Berger Tremaine

      Do you – does ANYONE here – even understand how horrifying and painful it is to be told point-blank that your body is a horrible thing that can hurt others just by being present?

    • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

      > BUT, I have THREE womyn in my circle who have suffered severe
      > abuse at the hans of a man…emotional, physical, sexual and
      > incest….and they both suffer from PTSD, which manifests in panic
      > attacks, night terrors, and for one, even personality dissociation.

      I personally know at least twice as many trans women who have been through the same.

      Fear of trauma triggers is simply not a legitimate reason to bar trans women from women’s spaces.

  • MommaCat65

    I have only one comment.

    I refuse to accept the term “cis”. I was born a female, a woman, a lady. To use the term “cis” is to make me less than who and what I am. I bleed. I have borne children. My body changes because of the biological and physiological functions that take place.

    I am not less of a person because (to use a term from Lady Gaga) I WAS BORN THIS WAY!!!!

    • Christina

      Ummm, your comment makes no sense, though. It’s a descriptor, the same way that race or ethnicity might be. It does not imply a degradation of status. It is not a slight or a slur.

      Trans women are also women, ladies. They may not bleed, but that does not make them less than, either.

      No one is saying that you are “less of a person” because your sex and gender match up– where on earth did you get that fantastical notion?

      • Guest

        A lot of excuses been made defending racial and ethnic “descriptors” towards people who’ve made clear they don’t LIKE being called said name.
        And each time then someone uses them anyway, rudeness is obvious.

        • Cigfran

          It’s not rude, it’s equable.

          I’ve observed that those who object to the ‘cis’ prefix are almost always the same as those invested in sustaining transphobia, or their own cis* privilege.

          When trans people no longer face regular and persistent humiliation, prejudice and erasure for the ‘difference’ that people like MommaCat, Z Budapest and you maintain as essential, we will no longer have any need for the differentiation of ‘cis.’

          Trust me… given what we have to put up with from the likes of you, the insistence on the use of the term to keep the language balanced is a very mild response.

          • Guest

            Cigfran, when you follow insults with insults, it’s becomes very clear your intentions were never honest.
            You’re mad because you got called out for being so obviously rude.

          • Cigfran

            Oh, you’re right, “Guest.” No trans person’s intentions in this entire debacle were ever honest. It’s all been about finding new and innovative ways to insult non-trans women.

            The secret’s out!

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            So what specifically don’t you like about the prefix “cis-” other than the fact that it suggests “cis women” and “trans women” are both women?

          • Guest

            Kenaz, Yes I notice you desparately trolling this thread repeating the same thing trying to say I meant something I did not. But I was pretty clear on what I did mean, and calling people “cis” doesn’t give validity to any form of gender, it just divides into two camps.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Thank you for your clarification. So you believe “cis woman” and “trans woman” unfairly and inaccurately divides one gender into two camps. Does that mean that you believe there should be no distinction between these two groups — including allowing both admission to Z’s Goddess Spirituality Event and the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival?

        • Anonymous

          There’s still a difference between “white people” or “Caucasians” and “honkies” or “crackers.” One expects offense at the latter 2 words, but I would be baffled indeed if someone said they were offended by being called “white.”

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            “Cissexual” and “cisgendered” are factual descriptors exactly like “white” and “heterosexual”. Every single argument made against “cis” as a term has previously been made against “white” and “heterosexual”, and for the exact same reason. Any term other than “normal” or implied default places the privileged majority on the same level as the oppressed minority, and they hate that.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            Exactly.

          • Christina

            A+ comment. Wish there were a way to favorite & save it for the next time its brought up!

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            I really wouldn’t be that surprised if some-one were offended at being labelled “white”; but then, I used to peruse Something Awful in my spare time.

        • Christina

          Guest: MommaCat described “cis” as being a term that means “less than,” which is 100% inaccurate. Saying so is not rude. MommaCat can call herself whatever she wants and define herself in any way she pleases, but she should not be allowed to perpetuate inaccurate information in the exact way that, frankly, many, many transphobes have done before her.

        • Christina

          Also, there’s no getting around that we’re talking about something that comes with institutional privilege. For someone whose sex and gender identity match to say “don’t call me cis” in a discussion that includes cis privilege is more or less the same as a white person saying “don’t call me white” in a discussion about white privilege. It denies an institutional privilege that they have, like it or not.

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        I fully agree with what you’ve said, Christina, with one tiny exception: trans women most certainly do bleed, and often not just from surgery. The phrase that Z. and others have used that a woman must “bleed and not die” does not apply to trans women far too often, alas, because quite often people who don’t think they should exist make them both bleed and die.

        They may not menstrually bleed, certainly; but bleed they most certainly do, and have done, and are doing as we speak.

        “Not dying” is a privilege far too few minority populations don’t have.

        • Christina

          Point received. I was referring specifically to moonblood rituals, but your point definitely makes sense, and I did not mean to imply that trans blood, however shed, is not a vitally important experience to acknowledge.

    • http://sonneillon-v.livejournal.com/ Sonneillon

      I was born a female, a woman, a lady. To use the term “cis” is to make me less than who and what I am.

      …. Um, no. That is exactly what “Cis” means.

      • Guest

        but if someone doesn’t want to be called “cis” and another still insists on doing it, they’re rude.

        • Harmonyfb

          No, they’re practical. Would you prefer that each time they discussed the issue they typed out “person whose sex aligns with their gender”?

          Please. Nice try at derailment, though.

          • Guest

            Would you rather people use another unpopular word to avoid having to type out trans women?
            No. so this is not derailment.

          • Cigfran

            I can’t help but notice that the complaints of sindarintech and the various “Guests” are getting more and more petty, cramped and petulant as their positions dissolve into the little oil slick of prejudice they really are.

            The next step is surely for someone to hold their breath until they turn blue.

          • Guest

            The next step is surely for someone to hold their breath until they turn blue

            You first.

          • Anonymous

            Um…what word or prefix SHOULD we use, then, instead of cis?

            I’m a ciswoman myself, and I don’t see what’s so horrible about the prefix. It’s not like I use the prefixes “cis” and “trans” in non-gender-related discussions. In everyday conversation, I call ALL people who identify as male “men,” and ALL people who identify as female “women,” regardless of their plumbing.

          • Harmonyfb

            Would you rather people use another unpopular word to avoid having to type out trans women?

            Your derailing reply makes no sense. The logical long form of ‘trans’ would be ‘person whose sex did not align with their gender’.

            Much easier to use ‘trans’ and ‘cis’ – simple, compact, and neutral.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          I don’t want to be called “trans,” especially given the special discrimination that trans women are singled out for, but I don’t see that stopping any time soon.

          • Guest

            If you don’t like a name someone calls you, be specific what you prefer.

          • Cigfran

            Woman.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Woman.

          • Guest

            Cool. me too, and so does the female who started this thread.

          • Anonymous

            And why haven’t you and MommaCat done so? “Woman” is perfectly good in casual conversation, but in those discussions which are specifically about gender identity it can be confusing. “Cis” and “trans” were adopted solely for use in those conversations, so that we can avoid any tricky arguments over how to define the terms “man” and “woman.”

    • Rose

      You may have missed this footnote which came right at the end of Yeshe Rabbit’s press release, after the signatures.

      ‘Cis-gender and cissexual are the more neutral terms for the greatly-debated phrase “women-born-women.” While we do not feel that the terms “cis-” and “trans-” represent the poetic best that the language of the Goddess is capable of in describing the masterpiece of each body, we are respectfully committed to using these terms until widely agreed-upon poetic and magical terminology evolves within the Pan-Dianic community.’

      Whilst ‘cis-’ may not be ideal, it’s the best we’ve got at the moment, until someone comes up with something better and if possible more poetic, which does not offend anyone.

      • Harmonyfb

        greatly-debated phrase “women-born-women.”

        Every time I see this, all I can think is “Were some of us actually born to somebody besides a woman?”

        (Cause that would be really, really interesting.)

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          Many trans men have children, and those children were not, in fact, born to women (even if they were born before the man in question transitioned).

          • Guest

            Why is it assumed or the current official story or whatever that people don’t ever change over their lifetimes, and that people can’t go from being m to f or from f to m?

          • Anonymous

            Because mutability and uncertainty make a lot of people angry and scared. Those people want to make a world in which everything is predictable and “the way it’s always been,” so that the nasty gay/trans/black/Muslim whatever-this-week’s-hot-button-issue-is people don’t scare them by committing the heinous crime of existing around them.

            (Note: Any discriminatory attitudes posted above apply to the scared people, not to me. I generally could care less what kind of people I’m around, as long as I can defend myself from people who genuinely wish to harm me.)

          • Guest

            The_L1985Collapse
            Apparently complexity scares people, too or they wouldn’t insist a personal description got to be one-worded, or not even acronymed, and instead insist on being insulting.

          • Guest

            Oh, btw, sorry. I used cut and paste and it took “collapse” from the top of the thread

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            While you raise a valid point, I can’t help but find your motivations for bringing it up rather dubious, at best. Gee… I can’t imagine why.

          • Guest

            Ruadhán J McElroy “you can’t imagine why”.. what kind of answer is that?
            Spit out whatever you’re actually thinking or don’t say anything.
            Passive-aggressive comments like those are just annoying.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            It’s the answer you got, sweetie. You don’t have to like it.

        • Anonymous

          Well, there was a man recently who gave birth…but you do have a point. “Women-born-women” is awkward and ambiguous in meaning.

        • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

          Have you ever seen Junior?

      • Guest

        “cis-” is not better because it’s short. Katie above doesn’t like “trans” either, so if all the name choice is about keeping it short, then there’s a larger failure to be polite.
        I notice when folks want to insult a group, they often do prefer to keep it to one or two syllables.

        • http://sonneillon-v.livejournal.com/ Sonneillon

          “Cis” is not an insult. It’s a scientific descriptor which means “On this side”, as opposed to “trans” which means “Across, or on the other side”. And it is referring specifically to what gender you were assigned when you were born. ‘Cis’ means you agree with the doctor, ‘trans’ means you don’t. That’s it.

          • Guest

            Sonneillon,
            Which scientist gave it this name? And if it was deemed insulting, as it frequently has been by many, why is it being used?

          • Anonymous

            Because we have yet to hear of a better way to distinguish between the two types of women in conversations regarding gender identity. If you have a better word to use for the specific type of woman who was born with a female reproductive system, then please, TELL US.

          • Guest

            Societally determined birth gender is an idea. Since the only use such phrase (which isn’t that long) would have is extremely limited, why use a shorter one, I wonder. “Born with a female reproductive system” isn’t that long either, though that’s less specific. Most people know what their parents thought they were as infants and what was put legally on their birth certificate. People can change their determination later in life, but generally in the interim, someone is going to be seen and treated as that gender that’s on that slip of paper. As for socially determined adult gender – you don’t have to have everyone agree on your gender to have at least a segment of society (especially pagans) that will.

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          Frankly, it sounds like you and others object to “Cis-” not because you find it insulting but because it implies that cis-women and trans-women are both equally women.

          • Guest

            It puts people into two camps, and if someone doesn’t like said word the rabid objection to stopping its use speaks volumes.
            It’s not like people are asking for too much to say “don’t call me that”. It’s that some think it’s too much to be polite.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            So what specifically do you find offensive about “cis-” other than the fact it implies cis women and trans women are both equally women?

          • Guest

            Kenaz, I didn’t say that was my reasoning, and so don’t suggest it had been – okay?

          • Guest

            Apparently you couldn’t respect my request, since you tried to suggest it again.
            I hope people see right through you.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Guest, answer the question and Kenaz will stop asking it. The repetition of the question is entirely predicated on your refusal to give a clear answer to it.

          • Karen St John

            Frankly, I’m fine with no differentiation between women for either cis and trans lives. My hunch is that is not what our “Guest” is getting at.

          • Guest

            Karen, “trans” and “cis” descriptions besides rubbing everyone the wrong way (it’s more than non-poetic when it is grating), are also non-scientific when there’s many different gender/s categories.
            It’s like people want to be able to point at someone they don’t know and tell them what they are and what privileges they’ve experienced and yet reserve for themselves said determination without prejudice.
            And this is divisive behavior, and quite middle school. People are individual and should be treated that way, and groups have their own rules, and getting excluded from one isn’t death or something.

          • Christina

            “Karen, “trans” and “cis” descriptions besides rubbing everyone the wrong way”

            Karen, “trans” and “cis” descriptions, besides rubbing people who don’t want to acknowledge cis privilege the wrong way…

            Fixed that for you.

          • Guest

            Christina,

            You don’t know me. You’re showing yourself as one of those people who wants to be able to point to people they don’t know at all and tell them what they are and what privilege they’ve experienced. What I think you claim is “fixing” things is where you’re saying you want to be the one deciding on other people’s identity to one that makes you comfortable, one that makes you feel like you got more rights than they. You don’t, so get over it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            “Guest” is working hard to distract attention from Z’s hateful speech (although that will be more difficult now that Z has admitted to posting that “transies” comment on her Facebook page). To that end we’re seeing all kinds of flouncing about how offensive “cis-” is without any specifics about why it’s insulting or why we should care about some anonymous troll’s feelings. I predict we’ll see a new argument soon: the intent isn’t to start conversation but to stop us from pointing at Fearless Leader’s missteps.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Guest: so are you a “woman born woman?” A simple yes or no will do.

            If yes, you’re a cis-woman.

            You may not like that term — I wouldn’t be thrilled about someone saying I was middle-aged, bald, chubby and bespectacled — but it’s accurate. And given that you’ve shown no regard for anyone else’s feelings, you really can’t be surprised that no one is bending over backwards to cater to yours.

          • Guest

            I see a lot of attacking the messenger, but not the message.
            Typically when I’ve been attacked in this thread, it’s someone claiming I’d meant something when I meant nothing of the kind.

          • Christina

            Guest: if you are not trans, as you are not, given your argument, you are cis (unless you are agender or genderqueer, which, again, given your comments, you are not).

            If you are cis, you have an institutional privilege in society.

            Period.

          • Guest

            WTH is up with you, Christina,
            You at least allow for “genderqueer”, which is ironic considering you defend “cis” and “trans” which says that there’s just two variations. But then you take that away by suggesting you can decode for other people their identity, (which is a lot of why some are mad at Z.)
            If you’re so enamored of prefixes, perhaps some other terms could be
            “meso”, “hemi”, “ignota” “ambo”, “vacare”, “duo”, and a suffix for neutrality “-um”.. hard for me to say since I don’t speak Latin. And I don’t find those lovely either, and I wouldn’t try calling people them who haven’t identified themselves and didn’t want to be called them, because that’s rude.
            So Whatever.

    • Katie Berger Tremaine

      I think many people misunderstand the meaning of the term “cis-” (including, it seems, Rabbit). “Cissexual” is not a specific replacement for “woman-born-woman” (which is a descriptor that dates only to the 1970s and was coined specifically to justify excluding trans women). “Cis” describes and applies to non-trans men as well as non-trans women. It means “you are a person – woman or man – whose gender identity is congruent with the sex you were assigned at birth.”

      • Guest

        Its ridiculous for one group to insist another group like their name-calling.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          “cis-” is not name-calling.

          If you want a “better” term, make one. “Better” requires it to not be insulting, belittling or dismissive to trans people.

          “You’re oppressing me!” isn’t particularly persuasive when said by an 80% majority (Christians), why should it be more persuasive when said by a 99.5% majority?

        • Guest

          Katie, minority vs. minority belittling happens a lot, and it is usually mutual. All women are minorities.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Minority vs. minority belittling generally happens when one minority has and wishes to enforce privilege over another. Cissexual women are still cissexuals and have privilege over transsexual women – and use it as a deadly weapon.

          • Guest

            “deadly weapon.” uh huh. Katie, you keep acting like someone was trying to kill you just by not allowing you to their Dianic ritual.

            You realize trans people outnumber/outpower traditional Dianics by who knows what, but I know it’s a lot.
            And lots of times people (minorities included) quarrel just because.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            And you keep acting like a sniping coward who is afraid to put even a pseudonym to her words so that she might be held accountable for them.

            If this is the best Z Budapest has in the way of supporters, it’s truly a sad end to an honorable career.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            So you deny that using words to demonstrate that you see a group of people as less than human is an attack? Interesting.

            Also, it does not matter that trans women as a whole outnumber Budapest Dianics – trans women Pagans are much smaller in number than Budapest Dianics, in large part because Budapest Dianics specifically single out trans women for harassment and hate speech so we will leave, and the rest of the Pagan community until recently enabled this by remaining conspicuously silent.

          • Guest

            Kenaz, part of my reason to use Anonymous is because that’s the only excuse you need to be insulting me half the time, and I find that humourous.
            Anonymous are the cool cats.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Kenaz, part of my reason to use Anonymous is because that’s the only excuse you need to be insulting me half the time, and I find that humourous.

            In other words, you’re here to troll and make hurtful comments to trans people and others you wish to target without being held accountable for your words.

            Thanks for clearing that up! It shines a lot of light on the caliber of people who are supporting Z Budapest and her anti-trans woman campaign: it also lets us know we don’t need to take your feelings or your postings seriously.

        • Anonymous

          Um…it is “name-calling” to the exact same extent as calling you Homo sapiens is name-calling. “Cis” and “trans” are neutral descriptors, like “prokaryotic” or “Canis lupus familiaris” or “Escherichia coli.

          Name-calling implies that there is already another perfectly adequate label, and that the name being used was created solely for the purpose of being insulting (like various racial/ethnic/homophobic slurs). This is not the case with the prefixes “cis” and “trans.” Jason explained this at the end of the article.

          • Guest

            Since you bring that up, I’m not convinced there isn’t any intention of insult/slur.

            Call it a hunch.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            So what exactly do you find insulting about “cis-” other than the fact it implies that cis women and trans women are both women?

          • Christina

            Do better than call it a hunch. Explain how you feel it is being used as an insult or slur.

          • Guest

            Christina, I see how you use it, for one.

          • Anonymous

            Honestly, I always thought it was a cute chemistry joke. Like cis- and trans- isomers of the same compound.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            That was, pretty much, the reasoning. “Cis” is complementary to “trans” in geography, chemistry and astronomy.

          • Guest

            The_L1985
            Yeah, this is more like a joke that if someone didn’t laugh they got it spammed at them 100 times more in punishment, told how “Why don’t you like it?” and got lectured about how it was a “good” joke, and how they wanted to call you that joke

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            You don’t have to like it, any more than heterosexuals had to like that (they didn’t) or whites had to like that (not there either).

          • Guest

            Katie, You have a lot of nerve trying to tell other people what they are in terms of gender and call them things they don’t like, after you’ve made it obvious you find it offensive when they do that to you. And yet that’s what you want to do to other people.
            The “golden rule” – look it up.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Anonymous troll is anonymous.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            You will note that s/h/it refuses to go into any detail about why it is that “cis-” is insulting, yet continues to act insulted and tries to monopolize conversation.

            I suppose that after losing the battle for “genetic women only” space at PCon this is the best s/h/it can do.

          • Guest

            “Kenz” Shh.. I haven’t looked yet to see if you went on another spam spree requesting answers to a question I answered yesterday (and mentioned early this morning) but you haven’t bothered to read

          • Christina

            Guest: oh my various gods.

            I use “cis” to mean “person whose biological sex matches their gender.”

            That is NOT a frakking slur, JFC.

          • Christina

            Also, you have still not mentioned how you feel it is being used as a slur or in a “less than”/derogatory way.

            You’re throwing mud at a wall and getting personal just to see what sticks.

        • Christina

          How on earth are you continuing to insist that using an accurate scientific term with no history of being used as a slur is the same thing as NAME CALLING, tho?

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            Because they’re trolling.

            Seriously, they’ve been doing it in every thread about this topic.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Since s/h/it can no longer troll with the “we can’t PROVE that Z Budapest posted that comment” thanks to Z’s admission on her Facebook page, s/h/it has to come up with new material. You’ll note that s/h/it refuses to be clear as to why it is that “cis-” is insulting, just as s/h/it refused to offer alternative explanations as to the origins of that post.

            And when your only supporters are a guy who thinks all trans people are schizophrenics and should be ignored along with any evidence to the contrary and a guy who’s a self-proclaimed fascist/Nazi sympathizer, you have to troll really hard to keep everyone else from realizing that. Too bad for s/h/it that everyone already HAS realized it :)

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            > Too bad for s/h/it that everyone already HAS realized it :)

            I’m not so sure about that; my Inbox hints that there’s at least one or two people still throwing scraps under the bridge.

            > s/h/it

            heh ;-D

    • http://brock-tn.dreamwidth.org/ Blake Kirk / Brock

      As I’ve noted elsewhere, I dislike the use of the prefix “cis-” to identify non-transgendered persons on horribly pedantic etymological grounds. Having said that, EVERY OTHER usage that can convey the same meaning is worse, or at least, far less convenient to use in conversation. So for the sake of being able to communicate, because communication is the ONLY way we can
      ever hope to resolve this matter, I swallow my discomfort.

      Being referred to as a heterosexual cis-sexual man does not diminish me in any respect. It merely locates me on a continuum of gender identity that I expect cannot be adequately described in a mere two or three dimensions.

    • Anonymous

      No one thinks that you are any less than a full woman, MommaCat. :)

      Generally, “cis” is only used in discussions regarding transgender issues, in order to distinguish women-who-were-born-as-women from transwomen. Simply saying “women” doesn’t work, as both ciswomen and transwomen are women. And “women who were born as women” is awkward and wordy and does not lend itself to discussion.

      The terms “cisman” and “transman” are used during such conversations as well.

      The term is not meant to offend or exclude, simply as a way of making meaningful conversation about gender-identity issues possible.

      And this is coming from a woman-born-as-a-woman who fully intends to someday bear children from her own womb. We honestly do not mean to offend. :)

    • WhiteBirch

      “To use the term “cis” is to make me less than who and what I am.”

      So essentially, you’re saying trans-women are less than women, and that hypenated description attached to “woman” is what proves it. You object to being called a cis-woman because you feel dismissed and othered by it.

      Gee, I don’t think there’s a point to be made there.

      Sarcasm aside, hyphenating both cis- and trans- levels the playing field, grammatically at least. It feels alien to me too, as a cis-woman, be described that way, because I’m used to being in the power position of being obviously and transparently female. But unless I’m willing to swallow the (unsavory to me) proposition that I’m woman-full-stop and trans-women are not-quite-real-women, I need to get over myself and get comfortable with the term, because that’s what I am: cis.

    • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

      Per Z.’s facebook, we now know her opinion on the term:

      “Zsuzsanna Budapest Anybody with overies immidiatelly thinks of cists. Cist on the overies can be deadly. Women dont need to be dominated with your new and unbeautiful words.
      2 hours ago · Like · 2″

      Wow, man. And I merely use man here as a figure of speech. ;-D

      • Katie Berger Tremaine

        Z has demonstrated that she’s learned the lessons of patriarchy too well.

      • Katie Berger Tremaine

        Could you provide direct links to your quotes?

      • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

        If Ms Budapest thinks “cis” is a new term, I’d wager that she’s never taken a Latin class. If she thinks “cist” is how you spell “cyst” and that “cysts” are the same things as “tumours”, then I’d also wager that she never took an anatomy course.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

        Meth… it’s a hell of a drug.

        • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

          I dunno, I’ve known meth-heads who make more sense and have more compassion.

    • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

      > I was born a female, a woman, a lady.

      So were trans women. Just because their neurology doesn’t match what one may assume it should be when looking at their genitals doesn’t make trans women any less born-as women.

      The need for words like “cisgender / cissexual” when compared to “transgender” and “transsexual” is pretty much the same for the need for the word “heterosexual” when speaking comparitively of “bisexual” and “homosexual” orientations. It doesn’t make you any less of a woman to have a word to define your kind of experience as a woman, it just means that now trans women and cis women can talk about their experiences without one sort of woman being assumed “better and more normal” than the other.

      If you still cannot accept that, then that’s your problem to work on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1197543165 Eric Devries

    Beautiful

  • Stef

    This is one of the most bizarre debates I’ve seen in 20+ years of being part of the Pagan community. So much for faith, or magic…this is pure politics, and apparently if you don’t agree with radical inclusion, you’re out.

    I am a born woman, and I refuse to have my gender identity and my faith appropriated by men. If Z Budapest wants to limit participation in women’s rites to women(!), I support her 100%.

    • http://www.marysharratt.com/ Guest

      I agree that this is a completely inane debate. It’s not even a real debate because only one side gets represented and given any credence at all. It sounds like a borg-like push for mass conformity. How pathetic that our “diverse” Pagan community can’t tolerate a few covens for biological women only. It’s up to each group to determine their own membership and boundaries. It’s not up for a very small group of very loud activists to decide.

      Z Budapest disliked the sexism and heterosexism of Traditional British Wicca, but instead of louding protesting outside other people’s circles or trying to browbeat them into changing, she started her OWN tradition. This requires actual courage, commitment, and creativity. It take far more energy to create something new than to tear down someone else’s creation.

      Yeshe Rabbit is one of the few “peacemakers” in this ugly and very one-sided debate. I applaud that she hived off to start her own tradition instead of trashing her teacher and elder.

      ANYONE can start their own tradition. I wish all this drama was being channeled into creating something new and positive than in a vicious vendetta against a 72 year old woman.

      • Harmonyfb

        because only one side gets represented

        On the contrary, we’ve been having an intense discussion not only within this forum, but within our diverse communities for quite some time now. There have been voices on both sides of the debate, but consensus seems to be that this issue is important, that our communities should reject prejudice, and that we are capable of thinking outside the box in forming solutions to the important issues facing our communities (see article above).

        However, bigotry is not a position that should be represented. I do not respect the position of someone who thinks they should be allowed to discriminate against people of color in their public circles, and I don’t respect the position of someone who feels that they should be able to discriminate against transwo/men in their circles, either.

        I wish all this drama was being channeled into creating something new and positive

        ::cough:: Look up and actually read Jason’s article.

        against a 72 year old woman.

        Age is not proof against criticism. I never hesitated to call out my elderly racist relatives, and I hope that in my senior years others will let me know if I am being a jerk.

      • sindarintech

        Your post echoes a lot of what I’ve been trying to get across as well.

        I recognize that it’s not a popular opinion, particulary on this blog, but there are some of us in the real world who simply cannot accept the break with reality that is required to say a “woman is a man and a man is a woman… just because they say so!”. I was born with the ability to think rationally, and this is simply an irrational statement. Surgery doesn’t change anything… just like changing ones name doesn’t change anything. I’m simply not going to drink the Kool-aid on this one.

        What Z is attributed with writing last year hurt some folks’ feelings, but she spoke HER truth. I sickens me to see people attack her in the way they have. There’s an awful lot of arrogance and intolerance being shown in this very-one-sided debate… and the pro-trans folks have done a great job at silencing dissenting opinions. Who would want to participate in a one-sided conversation? Folks with dissenting opinions are referred to as bigots, uninformed, backward, intolerant. How does that promote the inclusion that is supposed to be so valued?

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          You do not have the right to a cheering section. If you express opinions that dehumanize other people, expect them to get vociferously criticized.

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          and the pro-trans folks have done a great job at silencing dissenting opinions.

          Yes, look at the way that gang of radical trans women stormed into your house, broke both your hands and then stole your keyboard so you couldn’t type out any more responses on this thread.

          Oh, wait… that didn’t happen.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          Silencing would be threatening you with violence if you said anything more. Moral persuasion is not “silencing,” no matter how much you would like to paint it as such.

        • kenneth

          It’s a one-sided debate because Z’s ideas hold little power to persuade in light of evolving understanding of transgender issues. The free market of ideas works. People weigh for themselves the ideas in play at any given time. Not all individual decision making is done very well, but over time and large numbers, the better ideas form a consensus. The market supports the right to put all ideas out there, but there are no subsidies.
          Each idea ultimately sells, or does not, on its own merits. Some ideas are simply found to suck, and the market value sinks accordingly. At the same time, there is no idea so rotten that someone will not love it, and no idea so wise that some will not reject it. Free choice rocks. The market value of these ideas rises and falls too as more information becomes available. Z’s line of thinking at one time was not too unreasonable in light of limited understanding. Nobody is preventing Z from selling her wares in this market. The fact that no one is buying means the market has assigned a realistic value to her ideas.

        • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

          > and the pro-trans folks have done a great job at
          > silencing dissenting opinions.

          And yet you still talk.

          Even if your paranoid delusion was a real part of the actual goal, then clearly we’re failing.

          Either way, you really don’t have just cause to claim any-one is “silencing” you or your ridiculous opinions. As others have said before, free speech doesn’t mean freedom from criticism, especially when the facts are stacked against you. People can refute your nonsense just as much as you can spout it freely.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            This “silencing” language is from early second-wave feminism.

            There was a time in living memory when women were assumed to have nothing sesrious to say, at least in “important” (ie, male) settings. A man casually interrupting a woman as though she hadn’t been talking was commonplace.

            As feminism organized and internal differences of doctrine emerged, some women got a flashback of that treatment when confronted by another woman was contributing most of the words to a conversation. They called this behavior “silencing.” (We must remember that things we didn’t have names for before, like domestic violence and male privilege, got their names in this era. Wordsmithing was a feminist activity.)

            Alas, quite a few women started calling it “silencing” when they were simply disagreed with. I suspect a reaction to past authentic silencing. Evidently its use in this manner is still with us.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            > Alas, quite a few women started calling it “silencing” when they
            > were simply disagreed with. I suspect a reaction to past authentic
            > silencing. Evidently its use in this manner is still with us.

            Of this, I haven’t a doubt in my mind.

      • kenneth

        We can tolerate a few covens for “biological women only.” Nobody is proposing to send, let alone enforce, some sort of “cease and desist” order. What people are saying, and have the right to say, is that we’re not going to be party to it or pay for it at public events. Many others, including some Dianics, are also saying they can no longer practice in good conscience under such a system as Z has. This IS being channeled into something new and positive in this movement. We are having some serious discussions and moving the ball forward in terms of wisdom and justice, just as Z once did with the “old boy” culture of BTW.

        • Charles Cosimano

          Ok, I’m going to toss a pragmatic hand grenade and ask from the perspective of my own practice, if you do not have the power to stop anyone, why would they care what you tolerate? What I am seeing in this is a rather bizarre megalomania that causes folks to live under the illusion that they, well, matter.

          Oh, it may cause a fuss in a hothouse environment like Pantheacon or a blog, but in the big world out there it is a big “so what?” What I am seeing, frankly, is not so much strength from the opponents of Z Budapest, but rather weakness on the part of her supporters, who might well be better served by simply saying, “Look. This is how we do things, we aren’t going to change and if you don’t like you can shove it,” and then totally withdrawing from the debate.

          • kenneth

            Z and her supporters certain can tell me, and the lot of us to “shove it.” But we can and will do the same for public events that want to underwrite her bigotry on our time and dollar. Nobody cared that Z does her own thing in her own temple or in the woods. They care that she keeps throwing it in our faces at supposedly open events. If she truly wants to do her own thing in private with her own people, let her.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

        Seeing as how CAYA Coven is continuing to support at least one group of cisgender cissexual priestesses who are holding “moon blood” rites, and seeing as how Z Budapest is continuing to hold womyn-born-womyn only rites and events, I’d say the Borg seems to be failing miserably on that “mass conformity” thing.

        Dunno about the Pagan community at large, but I support 100% Z’s rites to admit or deny whom she sees fit to her private rituals held in her private space. I have serious issues with some of her words – and with the way some of her followers are trying to muddy the waters with “nobody can prove that came from her private DSL line and even if it did maybe Hacker X took her computer over” and similar rot. But I have no issue with her right to free association.

        • Anonymous

          This, exactly. I totally 100% support Z Budapest’s right to exclude men and transwomen from her PRIVATE rituals. But:

          1. When people have PAID to attend a public event, you can’t exclude them from a part of that event based on gender. That’s discrimination.

          2. Saying mean and hurtful things about an entire group of people, then acting like it’s other people’s fault for being offended, WILL make other people angry. You have the right to say hurtful things; you do not have the right to keep people from disliking the things you say.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            Pantheacon is not a public event. That fact that you have to pay to attend is proof of this.

    • Harmonyfb

      If Z Budapest wants to limit participation in women’s rites to women(!),

      Transwomen ARE WOMEN.

      • Scott

        At the risk of dropping a(nother) bomb into this conversation, I feel I need to address this point, because it’s been bothering me as I read the discussions around this issue. Those of you who’ve been following my comments know that I am in alignment with the outrage of my trans sisters over Z’s offensive and confrontational attitude, while recognizing that her freedoms of religion and association are as valid as theirs, and have therefore tried to articulate some common principles that might hold for public ritual space (as has Kenaz and a few other posters here).

        I cannot, however, accept the blanket statement that transwomen are women, full stop. They may well be fully woman-*spirited*, but they’re still male-*bodied*, even when post-operative (the male genetic and hormonal traits are still present), and I am dismayed that in a religion as strongly *embodied* as modern paganism, there seems to be no public attempt to discuss this point in any nuanced way. I’m not trying to belittle or insult my trans sisters here; I’m trying to grasp their religious understanding of their selves within a pagan context. Can someone direct me to some resources or discussion that could clarify this?

        • Cigfran

          > a religion as strongly *embodied* as modern paganism

          Say what?

          “Modern paganism” isn’t a religion.

          I’m not even sure what you mean by “embodied” here.

          For most trans people, their self-knowledge as men or women has no “religious” component at all, and the only context that matters is the same one for everyone else: life.

          • Scott

            Would you prefer “religious movement”? I don’t think it’s terribly controversial to suggest that there’s sufficient commonality to identify “paganism” as a religious entity.

            “Embodied,” in this context, means that paganism views the “embodiedness” of the practitioner as positive, as opposed to, for example, most understandings of Christianity wherein the spirit is elevated over the body. In paganism, bodies are celebrated. I’m trying to reconcile that with the apparent position advocated by transwomen that, in fact, bodies *don’t* matter – that their identification of themselves as women trumps in every respect the physical body that they inhabit (a term I use guardedly, as it seems to me to imply an essential spirit/body split). Hopefully that clarifies my question.

          • Cigfran

            Question clarified.

            And while I acknowledge the broad relevance of the question, I have to say that this is just not the place for an in-depth analysis of the intense feelings and lengthy internal debates regarding trans peoples’ own body issues.

          • kenneth

            The fact that pagan paths generally celebrate the embodied existence does not mean that we believe that we are only the sum of our body parts. Yes, to your last point, transgenderism does involve what might be termed a spirit/body misalignment.
            The body is the home of the spirit, the mechanism that lets us fully engage this world. It is not definitive of who we are. Very often the body is the perfect expression and home of our spirit, but not always.
            Sometimes it is a thing to be corrected, or transcended. Let’s take this whole thought outside of the gender issue for a moment. Consider for a moment Steven Hawking. Is he nothing more than his physical body?
            If you had never heard of him and happened to see him all twisted up in his wheelchair in some hallway, you might well conclude there’s nothing much going in in there – no personality, probably not enough intelligence to do simple arithmetic. Does HIS identification of himself not trump in every respect the body he inhabits? Can we agree that his perception of himself being something more is not simply his own wishful thinking or delusion, but is amply supported by mountains of evidence?

          • Scott

            Kenneth: I think you may be misreading my position. I would not argue that the body trumps the spirit, just as I would not argue that the spirit trumps the body. Both are constitutive of the person that we are in this incarnation (this holds even if you believe in reincarnation, which I don’t). When I see transgender people arguing that they should be considered fully the gender of their spirits, with no reference at all to the gender of their bodies, within the context of a spiritual system which at least purportedly values the body as equally constitutive of your identity, then I question how they reconcile these positions for themselves. That questioning is a request for information, not an attempt to discredit.

            I agree that Stephen Hawking is not in any way defined solely by his body. I would also argue that Hawking’s self-identity has been fundamentally transformed by his engagement with his ALS, and that his drive to excel intellectually may well be *due to* his desire to overcome the limitations of his body. I don’t know the man personally, so that’s speculation, of course, but I think not unreasonable speculation.

          • Anonymous

            I view my embodiedness as a positive thing. I love my body and enjoy doing things that please my body, like feeling the wind in my hair, eating good food, or enjoying certain more private activities.

            However, my mind and soul ALSO MATTER. They are equally as important. In my mind, I do not identify as either male or female–I am what is called “agendered.” Just because I have a woman’s plumbing doesn’t make me totally and irrevocably “female” or “feminine.” My soul is neuter.

        • Scott

          Cigfran: Agreed, this is probably not the right place for that discussion. It seemed like a good place to ask for pointers to appropriate information from people who might know where to find it, though.

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            As a matter of fact, transsexuality is *not* a conflict between an female spirit and an male body. It has been quite firmly established that the neurological sex of a trans woman is physically female, which makes her just as much a “woman born woman” as any cis woman. Her gender identity contradicts her external genitalia, but she is literally hardwired female in the brain.

            The factually correct conceptualization of a transsexual woman, thus, is an unambiguously female spirit in a biologically intersex body which is incorrectly assumed to be male at birth due to the Western medical system relying solely on a superficial examination of the external genitalia in order to assign sex at birth.

          • Scott

            Desiree: Thank you for the info about the neurological basis of transsexuality. I’d not seen that before. I’m not certain that medically you are correct in referring to this as an “intersex” condition, since “intersexuality” seems to specify ambiguous external genitalia or conflict between external genitalia and chromosomal karyotype. This may or may not coincide with the sort of variation in the stria terminalis that you mentioned, and given that the key papers are apparently all based on postmortem examination of the brain, I don’t see how you’d make any use of that data in a diagnostic sense.

            I will happily reframe my point without reference to “spirit”, if you like, and describe it as the assertion by transwomen that their *self-perception* (whether spiritual or neurological) as women should override their genetic and (at least occasional) genital sex. I still see this as a problematic argument from the point of view of an embodied spirituality, though, insofar as it seemingly devalues the physical body in favor of the self-perception (however that self-perception may arise).

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Scott: There are numerous intersex conditions that are not externally obvious at birth, including multiple conditions resulting in an externally obvious female with an XY karyotype.

        • Anonymous

          Paganism is not a religion. Wicca is a religion. Asatru is a religion. Voudou is a religion. Hellenismos is a religion.

          “Paganism” is a blanket term for MANY religions, like “Abrahamic.” It is not the name of any one religion.

          Those different religions which fall under the blanket of “Paganism” have different teachings regarding the relative importance of body, mind, and spirit.

        • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

          Except that genitals and secondary sex characteristics are only part of what comprises physiological sex. Studies of the brains of TS/TG people regularly and consistently shows that trans women overwhelmingly have women’s brains and trans men overwhelmingly have men’s brains. This is not a trait easily “altered” by surgery or HRT.

          Furthermore, once a trans woman has an orchiectomy, she has less testosterone in her body than most cisgender women.

          • Scott

            I don’t think that “regularly and consistently” is correct: a recent MRI study in *Cerebral Cortex*, November 2011 (http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/11/2525.abstract) showed that the gynephilic transwomen studied had brains more similar to the heterosexual cismen than the heterosexual ciswomen in the study group. The full text of the paper cites at least one additional study with corroborating results. Some physical examinations of postmortem brains *do* suggest that transfolk have some physical structures in their brains that correspond with their self-perceived gender rather than with their genetic sex. This is clearly a complex issue physiologically.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            The control groups are heterosexual men and heterosexual women – the test group is lesbian trans women.

            There is no control group of cissexual lesbians.

            Sloppy research is sloppy.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            I think you just explained the problem with that study, yourself. Seriously, think about it: What does “gynephilia” mean?

            Id est: I wonder how cissexual lesbians compare to that control, and I wonder how trans lesbians compare to cis members of their own orientation.

            I don’t get it: People can consistently, even if only subconsciously, conflate being TS with being “just EXTREMELY homosexual”, and then wonder why trans lesbians (and trans gays) don’t always “match up” with hets of the corresponding cis genders, and then have the nerve to say “well, this doesn’t match what I expected, so clearly there’s something up here”, often hinting at dishonesty on part of the trans person —all the while completely accepting that cisgender homosexuals will have MRIs different from cis hets. Somehow, this is accepted as “valid research” for some reason o man I don’t even….

            No, seriously, Scott, you just explained what’s wrong with the conclusions of that study.

        • Bookhousegal

          There are valid questions about what you call ‘nuance,’ particularly in terms of the particular forms of embodiment: and especially regarding the mystical aspects of all kinds of people: the problem here is that that is not going to happen so well if people keep insisting on reducing it all to binaries, then expecting people and reality to either conform to those binaries or be considered non-men-or-women-who-need-to-be-excluded from the category of ‘real humans’ (of whatever sex) ‘

          Within my own lifetime, people would call you ‘Not a real woman’ or ‘not a real man,’ just for not acting straight enough, or for being too smart, or not looking right, or wearing the ‘wrong’ fashions, or not being suitably Christian, or available, or submissive in both ways… even for failing to join in on enforcing all those standards, never mind standing up for them or yourself.

          We all have realities of our bodies, souls, and situations… Living embodied spirit. We’re not going to *get* to the ‘nuances,’ never mind the emergent, wondrous, living, diverse, inner and interactive *realities* of them if all we do is argue about who’s ‘in’ or who’s ‘out’ of what binaries.

          No, not all people are the same. We shouldn’t have to be. But we won’t find out what that means if we’re just arguing about binary in-groups and then expecting anyone who doesn’t fit to ‘just go away.’

          We’re all embodied in varyingly-male-and-female brains and varyingly-male-and-female bodies. By common standards, yes, transwomen are women in assigned-at-birth-male-bodies. At least in most ways, transwomen are women. Also different.

          But to be human, they shouldn’t have to be. They aren’t ‘men,’ they aren’t ‘male people’ just because they looked like it, …the ‘genetics’ aren’t even as absolute as some ignorant people say.

          Whether it’s from the Christian Right or the second wave ‘feminists’ like Janice Raymond, who allied with Falwell and justified, if not invented the hatespeech that means transwomen can’t pee in Tennessee without risking prosecution, (Bathrooms are the excuse for the fact that transwomen have the worst poverty rates in the nation, you know: they can be fired or evicted simply for being trans in most states in the nation, fully legally, you know, and the Right wants to make this worse with just the same scare tactics.) It’s ‘gender policing. ‘

          Cause, really. If *we* let an elder say ‘Transwomen want to show penises, which we imagine as a threat, even if it doesn’t happen,’ …What’s to stop someone else from saying, ‘Let’s have genital screenings of *anyone* on demand? ‘ Is that ‘feminism?’ Demanding grope-checks? Really?

          Are we ‘Witches’ or *not?* What do we know about fear, perception, and power? If someone’s going to sour some vibe, shouldn’t that be obvious? And shouldn’t trans human beings be able to recognize that and, yes, know when to stay away if necessary ..Without sacrificing their human dignity in the process?

          If the difference is so f’n powerful, why *isn’t* it about that, instead of it being about ‘Man, woman, or nothing?’ (Or worse, ‘Transie,’ )

          I think we all have to allow ourselves to *be* trans, cis, straight, queer, *anything,* and when that’s *not* about someone dehumanizing someone, then we’ll all *really* be present and embodied. Maybe even trans people who find the present shape of their embodiment hurts: and I think that’s one of the worst things trans people go through, …the very idea they *aren’t* fully human until surgery, if ever.

          All cause of that binary gender essentialism we, as Pagans, have inherited.

          We don’t have to embrace those. We can be freakin’ magic. Right?

      • http://www.marysharratt.com/ guest

        This is problematic considering that “transwoman” is a completely self-defined, self-elected term and “biological woman” is generally a criterion backed up by objectively recognized medical and anatomical criteria.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          Cissexual woman (“biological” woman is incorrect. I’m a woman and wtf am I made of, silicon?) is a criterion backed up by nothing more than what a doctor said after looking at your genitals at birth.

          • http://www.marysharratt.com/ guest

            Katie, you don’t get to dictate your language choices to everyone else.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            You know how the term “cissexual” came about? The people who it described didn’t bother to come up with an alternative term that didn’t come out to “we are normal, you are weird and unnatural.” So just like “heterosexual” and “white,” the oppressed minority had to come up with a complementary term for the privileged majority, who naturally complained that they were being “dragged down” – openly admitting that they saw those they opposed as subhuman. So I’m sorry, but your concern trolling is noted in the proper place that it should be noted.

          • Guest

            Katie, I’m sure said group coined lots of “complementary terms” lol since wiki places its origins as a Usenet group in 1994, typically a bigger place for insults and trolls of all sorts than 4chan today.
            You’re funny.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            If you think it’s insulting to be placed on the same level as a trans person, the one who needs to change their mind is you and not me.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          The opposite of a biological woman is not a trans woman – the opposite of a biological woman is a gynoid.

    • Liz

      How is it “pure politics” to discuss the role of experienced gender in Paganism? That’s a disingenuous charge, and it does nothing to further any conversation. As for your other statements – where are these men who are “appropriating” your gender identity and faith? And how, exactly, are they accomplishing this? This is the same argument against gay marriage, just given new window dressing. No one is forcing you to do anything or circle with anyone you don’t wish to, and I fail to see how what someone else identifies as harms you in any way.
      Secondly, if you’re actually interested in understanding the issues under discussion you should read some of the above posts – your understanding of gender simply doesn’t align with reality. Who are women? It’s not as simple as you make it out to be, and again, it’s a conversation that’s not just political and is worth having. Is it defined by chromosomes, secondary sex characteristics, hormone levels, self-identification, genitalia, ability to menstruate, ability to give birth…….? If you found out that one of your coven sisters was born intersex and assigned a female identity at that time, would that make her less of a “woman” to you? Would you refuse to circle with her again? Please understand, I’m emphatically not saying there is a right answer to the questions I’m posing – for you, me, or anyone. But these are real, significant questions that deserve real thought and that can further our understanding of sex and gender in our faith and our faith community. Reducing the argument to “I will only circle with ‘real’ women” or “women-born-women” doesn’t cut it – not because you should ever feel pressured to circle with people you don’t wish to, but because it doesn’t adequately address who would fall into which camp from your point of view, given the multiplicity of variables that can be used to define “woman.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/katie.l.berger Katie Berger Tremaine

        I think it’s “pure politics” in the sense that “it raises questions we would prefer not to be raised.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

      And since Z is still holding women-born-women only rites and hosting women-born-women only groups, it looks like you’re in luck. So I’m not sure where your complaint lies: you have a place where you can go and never be troubled by transfolk and those who wish to support the trans community have a group which they feel they can support in good conscience.

    • Anonymous

      What?

      Transwomen ARE women. Just like lesbians are women, and just like you and I are women. There are a lot of women I don’t like, but I certainly don’t say hurtful things about them, or act as if my dislike somehow makes them not be women anymore.

      Also, no one is saying that Z Budapest can’t continue to exclude transfolk. We’re supporting the decision of a woman who doesn’t want to exclude transfolk from her coven to separate from Z Budapest’s group and do her own thing, leaving the Dianic Wicca tradition to keep doing what THEY were doing.

    • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

      Except that’s not what this is about.

  • Charles Haynes

    Wow. That they could still come to that clarity amidst all the anger and heat the subject has generated says volumes for them. I’m in awe.

  • Uraniamoon9

    To All Belov-eds Reading My Sacred Statement on ***WAY of the RABBIT*** Followed by the Important Amazon Priestess Tribe Statement of Their New Glorious Truths, Please Note that Fostering Co-ALLY-ship does Not Negate My Devotion to My Belov-ed High Priestess, Z. Budapest. I am Embracing Dianic, Pan-Dianic, and Everything In Between! ALL IS ONE………..*Bows with Reverence*

  • Uraniamoon9

    To All Belov-eds Reading My Sacred Statement on ***WAY of the RABBIT*** Followed by the Important Amazon Priestess Tribe Statement of Their New Glorious Truths, Please Note that Fostering Co-ALLY-ship does Not Negate My Devotion to My Belov-ed High Priestess, Z. Budapest. I am Embracing Dianic, Pan-Dianic, and Everything In Between! ALL IS ONE………..*Bows with Reverence*
    Sincerely,
    Rosmarinus Stehlik
    (Lady RO)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1006464595 Cathryn Bauer

    I think this is a remarkable achievement that is very much for the good of the greater Pagan achievement.

    Because of personal experience, I can never again be a friend of CAYA. But even coming from that standpoint, I can only admire their bravery and moral clarity here. I see these as truly Goddess-guided statements and actions and of the group’s individuation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=562316634 Lisa Cowley Morgenstern

    I guess it’s a historic change, but these sorts of breaks with traditions have been going on for a long time. Protean tradition breaking from Gardnerian, and other traditions which have chosen to break with their founding group and start their own type of tradition. It’s the nature of change and growth. Things do not stay the same.

  • Katie Berger Tremaine

    I keep seeing a disturbingly consistent silence after the question is asked, “why are abuse triggering arguments never used against any minority OTHER THAN trans women?”

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

      I think there’s two things going on. One of them, as I’ve noted before, is that at this point a Dianic coven in the Bay Area might well be more likely to run into a trans woman seeking admission than a black or Hispanic woman. Given the ethnic and cultural homogeneity of the Pagan community, it literally might not be an issue. The second is that, sadly, it would be seen as “racist” to openly exclude a black or Hispanic member while excluding trans women is seen as “preserving our safe space.”

      In practice, I’d respect the rights of any private coven to circle with the people of their choosing and to reject members for any reason or for no reason at all. I might disagree with those reasons but as an outsider it’s not my decision to make. If someone honestly feels they cannot do spiritual work with a trans person, a black person, a gay person, a fat person, etc. in the circle and their group agrees with them, then I feel the right to free association should be upheld – even if I have to hold my nose to uphold it.

    • Guest

      Katie, That’s an inaccurate presumption. I suggest you look over at discussions regarding feminist spaces and having ones without males.

      Many people may disagree with them, but Z’s views are pretty mainstream feminist.

      • Katie Berger Tremaine

        Men are not a “minority” in any sense but numerical. Saying that trans women should be excluded and then pointing to excluding men as an example is simply restating the false premise that trans women are actually men.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1040264388 Hayden Reynolds

          Katie could you unpack this a bit more: “And reinforces the fact that the exclusion of trans women is wholly based upon erasure.” Thanks!

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Trans woman exclusion certainly appears to be predicated upon a belief that we are actually men, or at least can be treated as men whenever convenient to exclude us. Thus, our identities are erased in order to accomodate others’ preconceptions.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1040264388 Hayden Reynolds

            Ah yes of course. I think the word “erasure” was throwing me off. I couldn’t get past the musical group!

      • Katie Berger Tremaine

        I would also disagree with the idea that Z’s views are “pretty mainstream feminist.” They were 40 years ago, and unfortunately they still are in feminist Pagan circles due to her and her immediate proteges forcing the debate onto their own terms rather than letting trans women have our say, but outside of the little Budapest-Dianic/MWMF bubble they’re not.

        • Guest

          It isn’t that long. 40 years ago there was different philosophy. I’ve seen this in debate in the past 5 years

          • kenneth

            Yes but where is the momentum on the issue now vs 40 years ago. The fact that some people hold old beliefs does not mean an issue is truly unsettled or completely up in the air. There are still more than a few people around today who believe the universe is 6,000 years old and was created in six of our solar days. There are still people who believe inter-racial marriage is an abomination before God’s natural order. There will always be contrarian voices on anything, and so much the better, but sooner or later, the arc of history does bend toward justice and refined understanding of things, and most of the world moves on from the holdouts.

      • Anonymous

        I’m a mainstream feminist, and I can’t get behind most of what I’ve heard from Z Budapest at all.

        • Guest

          There’s a lot of feminist philosophies, excluding those with penises as “feminists” or feminist spaces to create safe space is one. They are instead allies, etc. Said view is not one I agree with, either, btw.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            “There’s a lot of feminist philosophies”

            So true. I became a conscioius feminist in 1969 and a conscious Pagan in 1987 so I spent eighteen years, including the minefield we call the Seventies, framing women’s issues as a secular liberal.

            I began to not call myself a feminist aloud except among those (mostly fellow UUs) who knew me well enough to know I wasn’t buying into everything that went under that label. (A lot has been said on this post of a like nature.) The mass of what I wasn’t buying into began to bulk so large I was wondering if I still was a feminist. In a world where a women could define her own feminism, I wondered if a man could do the same.

            After I became Pagan in an epiphanal experience of the Goddess I became grounded in the Goddess, confident in defining my own feminism (which now included theological feminism) and closer to balance. But that eighteen-year slog left an invaluable collection of different angles from which to follow discussions like this.

          • Guest

            Thank you for your feminist viewpoint, Baruch.

      • kenneth

        Mainstream or not means nothing about their underlying rightness. George Wallace’s views were pretty mainstream for several hundred years.

        • Guest

          I agree with you about mainstream not necessarily being correct.
          If everyone thought it was, people here wouldn’t be here reading.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

        Z’s views are pretty mainstream feminist.

        Ummm, no. 40 years ago NOW and similar organizations considered Z and her ilk to be an embarrassment and a “lavender menace.” Today a significant number of feminists consider her to be an anachronism. Rush Limbaugh et al may consider lesbian separatism and Goddess spirituality (or caricatures thereof) to be representative of “mainstream feminism,” but I don’t know how many feminists would actually agree.

        • Guest

          Didn’t know you were a Rush Limbaugh fan. Good luck with that.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Still trolling, I see. Ready to offer any speculations as to who other than Z Budpaest posted that hateful screed from her computer, or answer any of the points in my post on the subject?

            Or to answer this question: if you think “cis-” and “trans-” unfairly divide one gender into two camps, are you prepared to say that trans women are women and should be treated as such by the organizers of Z’s “Goddess Spirituality” event and the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival? And if this is not the case, then why do you object to prefixes which honor the distinction which you draw between these two groups?

            Or to acknowledge the terms “circumstantial evidence” and “protected class” and the ways in which they relate to the “issues” you’ve raised over and over again without bothering to read the answers?

            I didn’t think so. But do continue on with your “defense” of Z Budapest and her hate speech. Between you, a guy who thinks all trans people are equal to schizophrenics and is not interested in hearing any evidence to the contrary and a Roman reconstructionist who asks us “What About All the Good Things Hitler Did?” Budapest has a fine collection of supporters standing up for her on Wild Hunt.

          • Guest

            Hey, the spammer”Kenaz” just broke Godwin’s law.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Guest: Godwin’s Law doesn’t apply in situations when you are discussing an actual Nazi sympathizer – and given that on his blog Castus expresses sympathy for “National Socialism” and “Blut and Boden,” it’s hardly unfair to say that he wants to focus on the good things Hitler did. See David Weigel’s “Hands Off Hitler” and Glenn Greenwald’s “The Odiousness of the Distorted Godwin’s Law” for further details.

            Now that we’ve cleared that up, and now that Z has taken ownership of that original “unproven” hateful comment you’ve been whining about, perhaps we can start working on these points:

            – If you think “cis-” and “trans-” unfairly divide one gender into two camps, are you prepared to say that trans women are women and should be treated as such by the organizers of Z’s “Goddess Spirituality” event and the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival? And if this is not the case, then why do you object to prefixes which honor the distinction which you draw between these two groups?

            – Can you acknowledge the terms “circumstantial evidence” and “protected class” and the ways in which they relate to the “issues” you’ve raised over and over again without bothering to read the answers?

          • Guest

            “Kenaz”
            I didn’t know you were talking to Castus or to other Guests. There’s at least one who cares whether Z said what, where I only cared that someone doesn’t have to pretend to “own” words they never said. Still think that’s true.

            I responded yesterday about the prefixes – not to you, but read above. I don’t feel like responding to your repeated spamming with more repeats. Beyond those reasons, like many feel, I don’t think “honor” is the right description for their tone/sound/vibe/intention/origin etc. As for said groups, I’m neither an organizer or a participant of those.

  • Kilmrnock

    Stef and others here …………take off your blinders . First off Dianic wicca has for most of it’s existance been feminist , radical left leaning in there views . This is nothing new .Secoundly, No ONE within the pagan community ,Particulary men, want to dominate Dianic wicca , or any other group for that matter.In the Wiccan general community men are out numbered at least 2 to 1 . Altho this may not be the case in the outside world , in general pagan men are on your side .Most Wiccan covens are female dominated and lead . The rest of the Pagan community is equalitarian in it’s make up and leadership . We , pagan men , are not your enemy , we are your suppoerters. Pagan men is general want a strong confident woman at our side as our equals , never subserviant.

  • Castus

    Question: Since when in gender something you can choose?

    • Castus

      *is

    • Anonymous

      Transgendered folk don’t choose their gender – they just happened to be mis-assigned at birth. Another thing to consider is, there have always been those who have decided to be something other than their obvious parts would indicate. For a historical example, see the Cult of Attis.

      • Castus

        ‘Mis-assigned’? Gender can’t be mis-assigned; gender is something one is born with. You are either a man or a woman. That’s it. How you ‘feel’ does not enter the equation and has never entered it. I can ‘feel’ like I was mis-assigned to humanity at birth. Perhaps I’m a squirrel. However rational people can look at me and say ‘no, no he’s not a squirrel’. It is, hands down, something you choose. And that’s fine. Choose whatever the hell makes you happy. But don’t expect people to always agree with you, and get pissy if they don’t.

        • Cigfran

          Thank you for your spectacularly well-informed opinion, coming as it so obviously does from decades of study of the neurobiology and physiology of sex and gender. The rest of us ignoramuses can all discard the entire body of contradictory data and complicating information in the brilliant illumination of your certainties.

          Or not.

          • Castus

            Sarcasm razor sharp. Quite appreciated. Do enlighten me on these decades of work in the field of gender sciences, psychology, etc. However my statement wasn’t rooted in those particular fields so I hardly see your point. Transwomen are NOT women. Period.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            > Do enlighten me on these decades of work in the field of gender
            > sciences, psychology, etc.

            http://www.justfuckinggoogleit.com

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            It must be nice to be living in a world where something is simple because you demand that the complexities not trammel your mind.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            [like-like-like-like-like-like-like-....]

            Damn, it’s only taking the first hit. :-(

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Just so you know who and what you are replying to, here’s an excerpt from Castus’ blog.

            I am a fascist.

            No, not really. I’m not. Both because I’m honestly not aligned with Classic Fascist ideology, and because it is outlawed by Nova Roman law. I’m a Great Depression style isolationist conservative with National Socialist anti-corporation and blut un boden influences. My preferred government style is neo-Hamiltonian and I occasionally call myself a National, or Volk, Federalist. I am a very strong supporter of Monarchy and the primacy of either the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Protestant churches within those monarchies; depending on the nation in question. I have a passing interest in racial theory although I believe that most of it is complete bullshit; if not all of it. Economically I prefer a State Monopoly on essential goods like transport and electricity accompanied by an old-fashioned Guild-system replacing most of the corporations of today; ensuring handmade quality goods with higher regulation than we see today. I support invading Mexico to disrupt the drug trade and restore the House of Iturbide.

            Kind of a mouthful, eh? So I go by fascist until it gets me into trouble and I spill the more truthful mouthful.

            Wilhelm Reich’s Mass Psychology of Fascism noted that fascists and authoritarian types generally had enormous problems dealing with any kind of “sexual deviance.” Which explains why trans people get Il Douchebag’s toga in a twist: this idiot is a walking violation of Godwin’s Law.

          • Castus

            Thank you, Mr. Filan, for this enlightening contribution. I’m glad that you have taken the time to research my person, as a few more blog hits can’t hurt.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            > this idiot is a walking violation of
            > Godwin’s Law.

            Well, he’s a violation of something, but “Godwin’s law” is merely a law of probability.

            Now, Reductio ad Hitlerum is a logical fallacy often confused for “Godwin’s law”, but that wouldn’t work here.

        • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

          > Mis-assigned’? Gender can’t be mis-assigned; gender is something
          > one is born with. You are either a man or a woman. That’s it. How
          > you ‘feel’ does not enter the equation and has never entered it.

          You’re right; when I was thirteen, I had an EEG that, among other things, showed I had a brainwave most-typical of young men in their twenties rather than young women at the age I was then or any other age bracket. Granted, my parents were forty when I was born, which increases the potential for twins, including conjoined twins and chimerism, so it’s quite possible that I’m one of those TS cases where my brain (or at least significant portions of it) has different DNA than the rest of my body. Sorry, dear, but science is an “imperfect” field (albeit, one designed to adjust for its imperfections) with new discoveries happening all the time; outdated information is replaced as needed, and sex and gender are not the black-and-white fields you were taught in fourth grade. Sorry you had to learn this way, and even more sorry if you refuse to accept the fact that scientific knowledge changes at an alarmingly fast-paced rate.

          The fact of the matter is: You don’t get to tell other people what their gender is. Even science can only explain some of the cases at the current time.

          • Castus

            Thank you for this illuminating response, Ruadhan. I still maintain that gender is indeed black and white (with the obvious exception of hermaphrodites), but I’ll have to do some more research. Gratias Maximas.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            You can maintain whatever wrong-headed opinions you like, the facts are still stacked against you.

        • Anonymous

          Please let me know where I would fall on that, as an XXY male. Or those who are XY females (androgen insensitivity, look it up). Or others who have both male and female genitalia.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            I think you’d all fall under “Fabulous People”, should you so choose.

            (Also, I realise this comment of mine might give off a “chaser vibe”, and if so, I apologise; my intent is to be light-hearted and IS-supportive, and if that doesn’t come across as such, I can accept that and work on it for the future.)

        • kenneth

          So of all of the thousands of complex processes that happen during fetal development, we’re to believe that this one, unlike ALL of the others, is somehow totally immune to mistakes, ever?

        • Christina

          Biological sex and gender (a social construct) are not the same thing.

          Sex can be male, female, or intersex.
          Gender can be woman, man, agender, genderqueer, genderfluid.

          When one’s sex and gender match, they are cis.
          When they do not, they are trans.

          When trans people decide they are another species entirely, get back to me. Until then, I’ll over here boggling at your ridiculous leaps in logic.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1040264388 Hayden Reynolds

      Have to use some broad strokes here:

      You are born with a sex: male, female (and actually there are others, you can easily do the research). It is about your physical body. Gender is the roles and norms that your society attaches to your sex. It is about the kinds of clothing, or occupations, etc. that you can have based on your physical sex. Transsexual men and women are born into bodies they feel don’t match their actual sex. Transgender people feel that the gender norms attached to their biological sex don’t match. Remember I’m painting with broad strokes here.

      I consider myself cissexual (male) and transgender. One is about not feeling in conflict with my physical body. The other is about feeling in conflict with what others tell me I can do with my body.

      There is at this point a good 50-60 years of prolific research on sex and gender. With a simple Google search you can begin to do your own research. There is medical, psychological, and even anthropological evidence that there is more going on than 2 sexes, 2 genders.

      If you want to be in dialogue, then you have to listen to what others are telling you, and not be dismissive because it doesn’t gel with your opinion.

      This goes for EVERYONE on these issues by the way.

      • Desiree Arceneaux

        Somewhat more precisely, there are four distinct layers to physical sex and three distinct layers to gender. Physical sex consists of genetics, hormones, neurology, and reproductive anatomy; gender consists of identity, role, and presentation.

  • Kilmrnock

    The only problem i had with the whole thing was the fact of holding an exclusioinary ritual at a public gathering . and Z’s caustic remarks . IMHO it just isn’t good policy to hold any exclusionary rituals at a large public event , especialy in light of last yrs problems at the same con . I personaly have no problem w/ any Dianic group and what they chose to do on their own time .I would think most in our community feel the same way . Seems to me the best way to handle a situation like this is to only hold all inclusive rituals at public gatherings, this will avoid any further problems . The LGBTQ people are welcome in our community , from what i can see the best route for these people is to start thier own groups where thier specific needs can be catered to . Or to find an open coed group that is all inclusive . Kilm

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    ATTN KATIE BERGER TREMAINE:

    Discus is overwhelmed and cannot connect me to your comment to which I wish to reply. In that comment you asked:

    “Do you – does ANYONE here – even understand how horrifying and painful it is to be told point-blank that your body is a horrible thing that can hurt others just by being present?”

    Yes. I am a man, and when I was a young man I gave my fealty to the resurgent feminist movement that would change the country. I met a *lot* of feminist women, some of whom had pretty much that attitude toward my body. I believe most were rape survivors. When I joined NOW I was informally challenged, despite the fact that the organization officially welcomed men, to the effect that my presence in the Cleveland chapter would make it impossible for some women to join and get the advantages of a feminist setting, and how was I contributing to make up for that? I replied by explaining the chapter committee work I was doing, and heard no more about it.

    I have certainly not felt the depth of your pain, but I can and do empathize.

    • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

      Just for the sake of informing people: The fact that you cannot reply more-directly to people when a thread gets x-posts deep is not a case of DisqUs being “overwhelmed”. My own blogs run DisqUs, and that’s a setting that each blog manager has the liberty to adjust as they see fit, usually for aesthetic purposes, but there are other reasons, I’m sure. Like, on TWH, even at maximum thread-depth on a 4:3 monitor (possibly even a 16:9 monitor, depending on the blog template settings), the option to share my comments on Twitter and Facebook is hidden by the “post reply” button.

      In theory, JP-W can change this setting any time he likes, but it’s set as it’s set for whatever reasons he’s decided are necessary. Just figured I’d explain why this happens so that people know.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Thanks for that info; transparency is good.

        My comment was reporting, however, that Disqus was not able to connect me with Kate’s comment, whatever its Reply-option status. That tends to happen when the comment count passes 100.

    • Christina

      There is a big difference, though, Baruch.

      As a man, you had privilege that the women did not. Transwomen are already a marginalized group, and to discriminate against them because of a factor beyond their control is to make them a marginalized group even within their already marginalized gender.

      I appreciate that you have a small sense of what Katie was speaking about, but she’s talking about a completely different paradigm.

  • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

    There is no Pagan “Pope”…

    There is, too! ;-D

  • Leanaalba

    I do believe that circles can create themselves according to their own desires and needs and that this may be exclusive at times to others but only because the ‘intent’ behind the gathering of that circle, for that ritual, may require it. For Dianic gatherings it seems to me that the concept of Dianic itself is rooted in genetically female only covens because core to these teachings are the blood mysteries and thus the beginning/continuing/cessation of our blood times are what mark us and identify us with the 3 faces of the Goddess. Therefore it is good and right for those who want to be non-exclusive to define themselves as something outside of the Dianic tradition. Anyone can love and worship the Goddess and anyone can identify and have access to the feminine energies that she symbolizes – but not everyone bleeds and so to take away this distinction, when it’s wanted or needed, is to neutralize once again women’s defining power. I am a Priestess, but not Dianic so i have no attachment politically/culturally to this issue. However as a Woman it seems to me that some things need to be taken for what they are and if it doesn,t work for you any longer than create something more to your liking – as this woman did. We each serve where we feel compelled and that is how it should be.

    • Katie Berger Tremaine

      There are records of blood rituals (yes, THOSE blood rituals) where participants who were not menstruating – not happening or not able – would ritually cut themselves and bleed that way. There were recently discovered the skeletons of trans women in a 10,000 year old grave site, buried the same as the other women of their tribe. The ancients simply did not see the sharp distinction that too many modern people take for granted.

    • Bookhousegal

      Oh, free gene-screening? Evohe! :) (Very few people in this world actually ever get their karyotype tested. When they started doing it to professional athletes, the results were interesting, to say the least. It’s nowhere near so cut-and-dried as they teach in elementary school. )

      ‘Genetic’ probably isn’t the right way to claim yer dimoprhism to begin with. :)

  • Katie Berger Tremaine

    PCon statement released today:

    https://pantheacon.com/wordpress/blog/2012/pantheacon-policy-on-limited-access-events/

    PantheaCon will adhere to state and federal laws which require age limitations and non-discrimination on the basis of age, race, national origin or gender. We also affirm the importance of safe space and will continue to schedule presentations that limit attendance to specific groups of individuals. All workshops or rituals that say “Women Only” or “Men Only” will be open to all who self-identify as such. (emphasis mine)

    • Guest

      Makes sense.
      Hopefully this resolves the issue for most people.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

      Fantastic. I am glad that we are seeing some kind of positive resolution on this whole affair.

      • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

        But is there? The document goes on to say: “PantheaCon cannot police all boundaries. One thing has become evident, simply seeking to make restrictions on gender unambiguous is not sufficient. Prospective presenters applying to make group-specific presentations should be clear in their language about limitations and observe these guidelines.”

        I could be wrong, but is this a complex way of saying that one could do “genetic women only” or some such so long as the language is clearly defined?

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          They have said that “men only” and “women only” rituals must be open to those who self-identify as male or female, respectively. So let’s see how that works out for PCon 2013.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            I get that, but it seems like it was already going in that direction already after the lack of clarity in 2011. I don’t really think it says much more than that, frankly. I addressed this in the new wild hunt blog post just up. From the way it reads to me, you can still do a “genetic women only” event so long as you’re clear in the language. I expect this controversy isn’t over yet.

        • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

          I saw that, too. I figured it was their way of saying either one of two things:

          1) Blanket descriptives of “men only” or “women only” have to allow everybody who identifies as such, but any further restrictions beyond that have to be worded in inoffensive language.

          or

          2) Further restricted-access rituals beyond simply “men only” and “women only” have to take it to a private suite.

          Honestly, because of that paragraph you quote, I’m still not certain, but I think (hope) they mean the latter.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            Something tells me its’ the former.

          • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

            Even if it is a case of the former [1) Blanket descriptives of "men only" or "women only" have to allow everybody who identifies as such, but any further restrictions beyond that have to be worded in inoffensive language], personally, I have no problem, as long as the trans women most likely to be excluded* agree that the language used is inoffensive.

            *I point this out because of two reason: 1) trans women are more likely than trans men to be excluded from anything, for reasons that never seemed especially clear to me, and 2) the most reasonable exclude for an event at Pantheacon to exclude trans women is only menstrual mystery related rit.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            Well that’s my whole point really. If it is in fact simply a request to be more clear and polite in describing who you’re excluding, I’m not really sure this controversy is over.

  • Elizabeth

    I think, reading all of these comments, my brother, who just told me that he thinks he wants to be a woman, would be more welcome in pagan circles than I would (born a woman). I wonder how many people who are throwing a fit over this whole situation would really even want to be in Z’s rituals. Probably none.

    • Bookhousegal

      I think you’re incorrect on all points.

      If you have a trans sibling and you think that is about ‘he’ ‘thinks’ he ‘wants’ ‘to be a woman,’ you’ve got some learning to do about what transpeople are before you try to make claims about how welcome women are in Pagan circles…

      (never mind ‘more.’ If you’ve decided to think women are *ever* excluded from Pagan rituals, you don’t know Paganism, either. If anything the boys are worried about ever having their own space. While tending to invite me on the hunt anyway.)

      So, you’re both wrong on trans and Pagan counts, and probably in need of some education about how to know and treat your trans sibling: cause you can have a ‘dead’ and/or ‘delusional’ ‘brother’ or a living trans sibling you know.

      What a time to come out, eh?

      You’re wrong, is the thing.

      Except on the point that trans people don’t *really* want to be in Z’s rituals. No transwoman tried to get into Z’s rituals. The point there was how she dehumanized all transpeople to justify making them unwelcome. After a previous year’s slipup which the very people who prompted this article sincerely looked at addressing… And this day renounced Z’s bigotry on that point.

      If you didn’t just make that sibling up to make a point, it’s time to remember what Wicca’s *really* about and find the spirit in living reality.

      • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

        > If you didn’t just make that sibling up to make a point, it’s time to
        > remember what Wicca’s *really* about and find the spirit in living
        > reality.

        I’m not a Wiccan, but if I recall correctly, the answer to that question of “what’s Wicca ‘really’ about” will differ between Traditional and Popular Wicca, and probably differ between different traditions and especially between different Popular-forms.

    • http://www.peacockfairy.com Ruadhán J McElroy

      Who’s throwing the fits you claim are happening? Source it, or admit it didn’t happen.

      • http://www.marysharratt.com/ guest

        LOL. Read all these discussion threads! :)

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          Deep frustration at continued, insistent misgendering does not count as “throwing a fit.”

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    ATTN CHRISTINA:

    I acknowledge the profound differences you sketch. Katie asked a deep question, and I provided an answer out of my experience.


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