PantheaCon Releases Policy on Limited Access Events

Today, the organizers of PantheaCon, the largest indoor Pagan-oriented convention, released their policy on limited-access rituals. Most notably, for those who’ve been engaged in the ongoing dialog/debate over gender and the inclusion of transgendered individuals at officially scheduled events and rituals, the policy explicitly states that women-only or men-only events will be open “to all who self-identify as such.”

PantheaCon Logo

PantheaCon Logo

Here’s the entire policy statement:

“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.

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. Private rooms, including Hospitality Suites, at the DoubleTree are not subject to this policy. In the past, groups have held invitation-only events and skyclad rituals in private rooms, and PantheaCon will not interfere in these private arrangements.

PantheaCon aims to provide a safe environment for all of its attendees to enjoy their diverse paths. As we evolve, this policy may be subject to some nuanced changes in the future. We welcome any and all comments on this policy. Feel free to email feedback at pantheacon dot com – although we cannot promise a response, all emails will be read.”

This can only be seen as win for those asking for a clear policy regarding exclusive spaces at PantheaCon, and step forward for those fighting for the full inclusion of transgendered men and women within the Pagan community. Coming days after the announcement of the Amazon Priestess Tribe / Bloodroot Honey Priestess Tribe retiring from Z. Budapest’s lineage, and changing their official stance regarding gender, it’s clear that the “genetic women only” event at PantheaCon 2012 has sparked some deep reevaluations and changes. No doubt there will be a lot of comment and commentary on this clarification of policy, and I will keep you informed as they emerge. As always, please endeavor to keep discussions civil.

About Jason Pitzl-Waters
  • http://www.facebook.com/dsalisbury David Salisbury

    So joyous to see the organization come to this! Old oppressive ideologies are falling away and new, inclusive and equal ones are flowering in their place. This marks a great and positive move for Paganism in the new age.

  • http://twitter.com/ashareem HRM

    This announcement raises a point that I think many may have not previously considered – compliance with federal, state and local laws regarding discrimination. I applaud the PantheaCon organizers for this clarification and hope that this will allow healing to begin for the overall Pagan Community, Dianic Separatists and otherwise.

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

    So glad to see this! I’m glad we’re moving forward in an inclusive direction

  • Castus

    Disappointing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jackson-Nels-Thorson-Eflin/1367902057 Jackson Nels Thorson Eflin

      How so?

      • Guest

        Hello Jackson, If you enjoy things like hammering your own fingernails, you can read the comments on previous posts about Pantheacon and learn of everybody’s opinion

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527822420 C. Lee Vermeers

        To save you having to plow through a lot of comments, Castus is a self-described “fascist” (though his website spends a great deal of time unpacking what, exactly, that means to him – I recommend finding his website for further clarification) who has expressed the belief that matters of sex and gender are “black and white”, and that people who describe themselves as “transgender” or “transsexual” are deluding themselves and others.

        • http://lifencompass.com Scott @ Lifencompass

          That is very limiting, but note taken.

        • Castus

          A concise and seemingly unbiased statement. Thank you, Mr. Vermeers.

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

    Yeshe Rabbit of the Bloodroot Honey Priestess Tribe will be on Pagan Weekly News Monday night to talk a little about their decision to leave Budapest’s Dianic lineage and share some of her thoughts and impressions on the whole issue that has come up because of events last year and this year at PantheaCon.

    If you are interested, listen Monday at 7pm Central. Here is the link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pagan-musings/2012/03/13/pagan-weekly-news-33

    -RevKess of Pagan-Musings Podcast Channel

  • A Modern Druid

    I think this is a good conclusion. There are times for rituals and workings to deal with issues specific to certain needs, such as women, men, transgendered persons, perhaps even gingers (such as me – just a little levity to the serious discussion).

    I think in a setting such as Pantheacon, where people gather together from different paths, areas of the country, and backgrounds, it is important that the public workshop and ritual offerings shouldn’t be so segregated and exclusionary. Appropriate age limitations should be certainly considered regarding underage children. But for those situations where more specific workings require limited access should be reserved for private settings. I’m glad that PantheaCon organizers have clarified this for the publicly offered workshops and rituals.

    I have been pleased with the generally civil and thoughtful dialog that has come up in the blogs and podcasts that I have been able to read and listen to.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    The irony is devastating. Decades past, Z Budapest’s energy and persistence profoundly affected that space where Paganism and feminism intersect. Now her surliness and prejudice have done so again. Scary.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ainslie-Podulke/671619506 Ainslie Podulke

      Aw, come on, irony isn’t scary, it’s just irony!

  • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

    I think I would want to get clarity on this. While events that describe themselves as “women only” would not be able to exclude self-identifying women, the policy states that Pantheacon will “continue to schedule presentations that limit attendance to specific groups of individuals,” and that “Prospective presenters applying to make group-specific presentations should be clear in their language about limitations and observe these guidelines.” I could be reading the policy wrong but it sounds to me like you can still have a “genetic women only event” or some such other event that excludes someone so long as you’re clear on what exactly you’re excluding. It seems to me that this isn’t so much a radical policy change as it is a request for clarity in event descriptions so we don’t have a repeat of 2011 when “women only” meant cisgendered women only. I’m not sure it precludes a “genetic women only” event anymore than it would preclude a gay-men only event. I’m not a lawyer but the language does not seem to support a breaking open of the champagne yet.

    Any lawyers on the board that can break this down?

    • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

      I suspect that the intent is to bar cis-women only events outside hospitality suites, given the context and the the phrase, “All workshops or rituals that say ‘Women Only’ or ‘Men Only’ will be open to all who self-identify as such.”

      I’m sure it’s going to make me popular as all get-out, but I have to say that I am sorry to see Panthecon become irrelevant as a place where people of different traditions can experiment and compare and contrast approaches to conundrums in our religious movement. I realize those are strong words: here’s what I mean by them.

      Other than groups of cis-women who have performed Dianic rituals both with and without the presence and contributions of trans-women, NO ONE ACTUALLY KNOWS how the presence of trans-women affects the magic of Dianic workings. It may have absolutely no impact on the rituals; it may alter them in unimportant ways; it may change them profoundly for the worse or for the better.

      What we do know is that transgendered people suffer great stigma and prejudice in many places, including within our communities. And we know that trans-women tell us–with no conceivable basis for comparison–that they are exactly the same ritually and magickally as cis-women. That they were born with the spirit of women inside them.

      And maybe that is absolutely true. It is certainly a sincerely held conviction.

      And based on that, and perhaps influenced by our desire not to seem like meanies (as well as the fact that Z Budapest has one of the meanest mouths in the Pagan world and all the diplomatic skill of a tactical nuclear weapon) we have decided to eliminate the possibility of a public venue where trans-women and cis-women can work together to actually figure out an answer to the question.

      Which requires, as any experimentalist could tell you, a control group, an unchanged group.

      Which just became private-only, and at least in the context of Pantheacon, cut out of the mainstream of cross-pollination among traditions that allows for the kind of compare and contrast experiences that allow traditions to morph and change based on exposure to other ideas and approaches.

      Politically, I read this as a clear win for transgendered folks. And I’m genuinely happy for that…

      Except that this is not a (theoretically) a political venue we’re discussing.

      I’m not a Dianic. I don’t even play one on television.

      But I do know both that my own experiences with Other Sorts of Rituals have deeply influenced how I understand my own. And I know that one of the sorts of ritual I’ve had–women-only–did convince me that there is, at least, a difference energetically and magickally between a women-only group and a men-only group. There’s some subtle, non-physical thing that is different between single-gender and mixed-gender work, at least for women.

      I don’t know if it changes things or not for there to be trans-inclusion. I know there’s a very politically popular theory that says there is not.

      I know that trans-women can’t answer the question any more than I can look at the back of my own head. I need the help of a friend for that. And while Z is certainly no trans-woman’s friend, and has made that overwhelmingly clear, it doesn’t change the fact that we’ve eliminated one venue for having trans-women and cis-women work together to answer that question.

      Now, instead of two Dianic traditions (trans-inclusive and not) meeting and mingling and perhaps answering those questions, we’ve told the non-inclusive version to keep it private.

      We’ve decided that political considerations require us to accept a theory about how our spiritual lives work without testing it–at least at Panthea.

      On the one hand, as someone who believes transgendered folks deserve full respect and human dignity, I have no problem seeing someone like Z smacked down.

      On another, as a non-Dianic, I don’t care very much.

      But on my third hand (the one that coordinates with my third eye), as a Pagan who likes to see us evolve our spiritual practices based on experience and open eyes, I care very much about what this says about the lack of value we place on exposure to philosophies and practices that differ from what we conceive as correct within our community. We are beginning to value orthodoxy above direct experience of spirit, and that pains me.

      • Katie Berger Tremaine

        Yes, I can see it’s a REAL loss to the world that PantheaCon has decided that rituals which select participants on a basis of telling certain dispossessed minorities that they are less than fully human are no longer welcome on the Con’s dime.

        Oh wait, I can’t.

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

        “We are beginning to value orthodoxy above direct experience of spirit, and that pains me.”

        This, so much.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          I love your inverted logic.

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

            ???

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

          You know what I’d value? I’d value an explanation as to why it is that “Cis-” is insulting. Other than because it implies that cis-women and trans-women are both equally women, that is.

          • Guest

            Maybe because if you want to accept people who identify themselves as the same gender as whatever they state, then it follows to stop labeling people “cis” and “trans” (who don’t choose to be labeled said) because that lists two gender categories when there’s many more than that. Or maybe they don’t want to voice their determination for you, and keep that to themselves.. 99% of the time it should be no matter to anyone pagan.
            Besides, it’s inconsiderate to call people names, which is what someone is doing when after someone’s asked someone to not call them something, they insist on doing that. That’s no different from referring to someone as “Mr.” who prefers “Mrs.” Golden rule and all.

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

            Unless you’re prepared to recognize trans women as women full stop — in other words, unless you’re ready to jettison the “trans” prefix and any marginalization of trans women — you get to live with a prefix that distinguishes between the two groups. If you don’t like it, feel free to cry into your pillow at night and whine at the cruel world that mocks your anonymous postings.

            Besides, who is calling you “cis-” anyway? We have no way of knowing your gender identity or gender presentation, hence no way of marginalizing or mocking it. Given your anonymity and the quality of your contributions, I find she/he/it — or s/h/it for short — is a more accurate pronoun, which preserves your ambiguous identity while recognizing your true value to this forum.

          • Guest

            “Kenz”,
            I’m fine with calling you your choice in pronoun.
            I find she/he/it — or s/h/it for short — is a more accurate pronoun
            I find it rude, myself, and don’t prefer it.

          • Guest

            Oh, and you’re welcome.

          • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

            Well, you won’t get it from me. I have accepted that it is useful, and I now use it.

            At some point, one of the uses of the word may be to issue a statement that there is no significant ritual distinction between trans women and cis women; we’ll know that if/when we discover it together.

            I don’t think we’re there yet. Nor do I think that valuing the question is an insult to trans women. I do know that it is being heard as one at least by some (Sorry–genuinely sorry–about that, Katie) and I am unhappy about that.

            But at the moment, that’s what my honest sense of the question is, and I don’t think we’re ever really called to sacrifice honesty to silence, if the honesty rises from love.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Here is my observation on this: The people who claim that the distinction is ritually important are generally the same people who have a vested interest in anti-trans politics. Those who don’t, don’t seem to see a difference that is worth the pain that it causes to enforce it.

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

            > I don’t think we’re there yet. Nor do I
            > think that valuing the question is an
            > insult to trans women. I do know that
            > it is being heard as one at least by
            > some (Sorry–genuinely sorry–about
            > that, Katie) and I am unhappy about
            > that.

            I agree, it’s really not an insult because it acknowledges that there are some key differences between trans women and cis women, and similarly with trans and cis men. One can wax philosophical and hypothetical about various conditions that AFAB women possessing of an IS condition, but again, taking definitions of “womanhood” from people like Zsuzsanna Budapest at their very definition, IS woman are also “notwomen” and face the same sort of spiritual questions because they often have a path that is distinct enough from the assumed-typical cis female path that they may feel excluded from menstrual rites.

            I’m going to quote Galina Krasskova here: “A theology that keeps the Holy Powers safely distant from human affairs, a theology that is unlikely to impact or interfere with one’s life in any way, a theology that gives the devotee nothing to fear and nothing to which to aspire, and most of all, nothing to obey is, (to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, who hit the nail on the head with this one), the absolute antithesis of what any spiritual or religious experience should be.”

            What I get from that quote in relation to this whole… thing… is that there are too many people, both cis and trans, who won’t accept the real challenges of trans people in single-gender spaces. Not only are cis people obligated to challenge themselves as to what their gender actually means if, in certain spiritual contexts, a trans person can say they have just as much right to that gendered spaces, but trans people are also obligated to challenge themselves as to how this makes their path unique from cis people of the same gender. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated with a lot of my fellow TS people who appear unwilling to challenge themselves in that way, insisting that the only answer is to be treated completely the same as cis people, no matter what. I mean, that’s a great M.O. when devising legislation about a latrine at a public park, or a department store fitting room, but in a spiritual context, it offers nothing but hollow spirituality through forced homogenisation.

      • Scott

        Cat, I don’t see how this is a move toward orthodoxy. No one is being told what to believe. No one is being excluded from the pagan community, or from Pantheacon, on the basis of their belief. No one is being prevented from holding private genetic-gender-only ritual at Pantheacon. No one is preventing ciswomen-only groups and more inclusive groups from getting together at Pantheacon to talk about their experiences. There is nothing here that presents an actual barrier to the sort of energetic experimentation that you’re talking about.

        And provided we have a group of women willing to do those experiments (which I hope we do), we don’t have any means for enforcing or even validating their conclusions. There’s no peer-review system in the pagan community, let alone a central body that could declare the results of these experiments to be binding. They’d just be another data point in the discussion. That’s a feature of the community, in my eyes, rather than a bug.

        • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

          The orthodoxy is that we will simply accept as a given that there is no difference in ritual between cis and trans women.

          And the reason private ritual does not satisfy my desire to see the possibility of the question explored is that it tucks the question politely out of sight for most. Give it a year or two, and will newcomers even know there is a question to answer? Women who might have stepped forward to explore the question won’t think about it, because it will have been removed from public view.

          Tidy, but not helpful. That’s the barrier I see, at least at Panthea.

          Of course, other communities may be engaging in this exploration already. Thus far, I’ve heard from only one cis woman who has experienced women-only ritual both with and without trans women; she says she could feel no difference, for what that’s worth.

          A data point is not a line, and a single anecdote is not enough to base a tradition upon. I wish we were going to be more open to campfire discussions about this than I fear we will be.

          But, hey: listen to my hopes and not my fears, right? We’re having a discussion now, and perhaps there will be more of them.

          • Califried

            The orthodoxy is that we will simply accept as a given that there is no difference in ritual between cis and trans women.

            While this specific question may be of interest to you, I’m not sure why you think it has much bearing on whether trans-exclusive ritual events should be allowed at events that are open to the public.

            Of course, even if there was widespread agreement that this question needed to be answered in exactly the way you seem to be suggesting, it would still amount to cisgendered women deciding amongst themselves whether female-only ritual that includes transgendered women more closely resembles mixed-gender work. The good news is that the policy still gives you exactly what you claim to want: it allows you to work with transgendered women to answer this question.

            Best regards,
            Califried

          • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

            One of the reasons I cherish public Pagan events is for the cross-pollination and challenges that come up within that context. Though given the highly charged nature of this issue, it may simply be impossible for any public group to explore it at present. Which will slow the discussion and growth the community as a whole might otherwise manage… but the world will go as it will, and not as I might dream.

            I realize that it will still be cis women who will be the only folks who will be able to observe both trans inclusive and trans exclusive variations on women’s only ritual; I don’t see any way around that. However, discussing and thinking deeply about the observations that get shared is something that is open to everyone, and particularly to trans women.

            I myself am unlikely to be doing this work. As I mentioned, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Dianic Witch. What I _am_ is a woman with a deep interest in encouraging communities that can talk with one another candidly, courageously, and honestly about things that matter.

            I’ve seen this forum work in that way… and I’ve seen the opposite. I think a lot of what has come out of the controversy at PantheaCon has been very good… and a lot has not.

            But I’m a right-coast gal with a limited travel budget, so this one is not mine to decide or to move beyond. I’ll leave that to participants, whatever their ritual practices and sexual identities.

            Dialog and deep listening to Spirit are my vested interest. (Probably all of ours, at the root, though we may seek to nurture them differently.)

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Cat, what you are talking about is orthopraxy, not orthodoxy — perferred practice, not preferred belief (as Scott said).

            If PantheaCon’s rules, or anybody else’s, were imposed on all Pagans everywhere all the time, that would be an orthopraxy. But they’re not; they are how PC will choose to run its venue in the future. Paganism at large is still as open to experimentation as ever.

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

            The orthodoxy is that we will simply accept as a given that there is no difference in ritual between cis and trans women.

            I might say the question here is more “we will simply accept as a given that rituals and events which exclude a protected class have no place at Pantheacon for legal, logistical, and ethical reasons.” That’s not to say your question isn’t an interesting and valid one – but I’m not sure that Pantheacon (or more precisely, Pantheacon’s official calendar) offers an ideal lab for testing it.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            I don’t know if there is such a lab – Paganism contains no effective peer review mechanism (and honestly, thank the Gods for that). Personal gnosis being submitted for peer review? I quail to think of the consequences.

          • Anonymous

            Katie, it’s ironic that you say that because I literally just yesterday told someone that the Pagan community’s large, robust, and opinionated netsphere operates as exactly that– a sort of peer review process.

            After all, what else are we doing in these conversations, but peer-reviewing Z Budapest’s UPG about what constitutes a woman w/r/t her Dianic theology? You quail to think of the consequences, but you and I and everyone else on these threads are *part* of the consequences. I don’t see why that’s a bad thing, I think it’s a substantial advantage of Paganism over more top-down religious hierarchies.

      • Califried

        And while Z is certainly no trans-woman’s friend, and has made that overwhelmingly clear, it doesn’t change the fact that we’ve eliminated one venue for having trans-women and cis-women work together to answer that question.

        Given that the only thing barred by this policy are cisgendered-only rituals, it seems like you’re actually saying that it’s too bad that PantheaCon isn’t giving cisgendered women the opportunity to decide amongst themselves whether female-only ritual that includes transgendered women more closely resembles mixed-gender work.

        To be frank, I’m not sure how this change eliminates PantheaCon as a venue where transgendered and cisgendered women can work together to answer that specific question. Maybe you can help clarify!

        Best regards,
        Califried

        • Anonymous

          As I read it, Cat was referring to a two-ritual test situation, with a Panthea-defined women’s group on the one hand and a Z-defined control group on the other hand. It is the Z-defined control group that is not allowed, so a controlled experiment is not feasible.

          • Califried

            As I read it, Cat was referring to a two-ritual test situation, with a Panthea-defined women’s group on the one hand and a Z-defined control group on the other hand.
            I think you may have missed the point of the comment. In the case of a cisgendered-only ritual, transwomen are (by definition) excluded. The only individuals able to compare and contrast, therefore, would be cisgendered women, which amounts to cisgendered women deciding amongst themselves whether female-only ritual that includes transgendered women more closely resembles mixed-gender work. Nothing in this policy prevents transgendered and cisgendered women from working together to answer that question, which is what Cat C-B was claiming.

            Best regards,
            Califried

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

            > It is the Z-defined control group that is not
            > allowed, so a controlled experiment is not
            > feasible.

            Considering that even Pantheacon’s statement says that those sorts of rituals can be held off the main schedule in a private suite, I don’t see how this kind of experiment is both unallowed and unfeasable. Yes, it will rely on word-of-mouth, but that’s how private suite-rit has been done at Pantheacon for nearly two decades.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1183329613 Joseph Max

            It doesn’t have to be word-of-mouth necessarily. Many suites publish a list of activities in the program description of the suite. The next hurdle to be met is: will P-Con allow a private suite to place such a listing in the program as “cis-women only.” And if there is such a listing, will it cause the suite to be targeted for protest action anyway?

            I suppose in practical terms, a sit-down vigil would not be allowed in the hallways. But people could still raise loud objections over it, give out fliers, etc.

            Personally, I hope that this compromise will stop the disruption, but not the discussion.

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

            > The next hurdle to be met is: will
            > P-Con allow a private suite to place
            > such a listing in the program as
            > “cis-women only.”

            I’m just waxing hypothetical, but I’d say the best M.O. for such a rit to meet Pcon’s approval would be something like “menstrual women only”? I’m just pulling an idea out of my arse for the purpose of convo. The real question is, how dedicated are Budapestian Dianics to their insistence on ungendering language, and does that win out over their dedication to welcoming other menstrual women into their fold? Only time will tell.

      • Anonymous

        If the original policy excluding transwomen had really made it about whether or not transwomen were magically and spiritually different from ciswomen, then some of this might have affected my attitude towards the discussion.

        However, it was very quickly and very loudly made NOT AT ALL about the spirit of exploration, and entirely about how Z Budapest does not consider transwomen ‘real women’ so they have no place in women’s ritual. Your analysis of the situation seems to involve assigning positive motives to the negative behaviours of others so that you can reframe their attitudes to be supportive of your particular narrowly-defined agenda.

        This decision in no way prevents us as a community from further exploring the magical effects of gender and sexuality. It merely says that in a shared public space, we will not allow one person to determine the worth and validity of another person’s gender.

        Those very Dianics who usually practice exclusion can hold an ‘open to all who live as women’ ritual, and then hold a panel immediately afterward to talk about the very topic you suggest they’re being denied the right to explore, and talk about their experiences working in ‘genetic women only’ circles and their experiences working on ‘all woman’ circles, and how the two differ. It’s absolutely a perfect opportunity to explore direct experience of spirit.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ainslie-Podulke/671619506 Ainslie Podulke

          A situation where everybody is in conflict and up in arms is not an appropriate site for experimentation. It is an appropriate site for clear, fair policy in the interests of a minimum of justice.

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

            Well said.

        • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

          The original policy was a poorly considered one, and I’m glad it has come up for discussion. It deserved to be critiqued, and I’m glad that there are a large number of Dianics who are questioning the notion that cis women don’t belong in women’s only rituals. Z’s assertions, besides being couched in bigotted terms, deserve to be questioned.

          However, I think this policy change is a move toward orthodoxy, and away from exploration, as I said above.

          I’ll also say that the climate of antagonism toward cis-women only ritual–however understandable given Z’s position and the starting place of the controversy last year–is unlikely to encourage much open panel discussions. Being banished to a private suite is likely to make the community’s sense that cis-women only rituals are unwelcome quite clear.

          I think that is the overwhelming opinion of the community. I also think that it’s in danger of becoming a public orthodoxy, and I worry about that.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Perhaps the process of moving past orthodoxy into experimentation requires a number of years where the conditions enabling orthodoxy – the orthdoxy that trans women are not women, practiced by Z Budapest and many of her lineage – are suspended. If you ask me (and clearly, nobody has), the state of Pagan orthodoxy as such is very heterocentrist and very cis-centrist (seeing as how the central rite in many traditions is a symbolic act of heterosexual sex performed with stand-ins for gender-normative sex organs). “Experimentation,” then, I would submit, would involve creating conditions for alternate formulations to arise.

          • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

            I think you’re right here, Katie, and I definitely agree with you.

            It probably helps that I “grew up” as a Pagan in a tradition that practiced not just the typical Great Rite, but also a wand-to-wand and chalice-to chalice version simultaneously, and which rewrote the words of our traditional wine blessing to a gender-neutral version.

            I’ve always questioned the notion that boy-girl polarity is central to Wicca, because–having experienced that and having experienced other variants–I have not found it to be nearly as important as other differences and connections between and among people for generating magickal energy. Through trial and error, for instance, I learned neither to sit next to my beloved nor directly across a circle from him–it tended to create something like a magickal “short” in the group energy when we did so. (I suspect that, after 20 years, that might no longer be true; we’re still in love, but our energy together is very different now.)

            I like that the received wisdom is being questioned–and I think that initially, it needed not just to be questioned, it needed to be openly and vigorously defied! As it has been.

            But at this point, dialog needs to replace the shouting. I agree that that’s made harder by bigots who assail trans-women as “mutilated men,” and I have no beef with calling out such diatribes.

            I do, however, want to see less polemic and more listening from trans as well as cis women on this subject. Once you’ve gotten the attention of a community, patiently explaining yourself over and over may be tedious. But, as I remind myself when I have to explain to my 9th graders (again and again and AGAIN) the difference between a complete sentence and a fragment, these aren’t actually the same faces I had in front of me last time I gave this lesson. It only feels like I’m caught in a time-warp!

            There are a lot of people sitting this discussion out who need to be listening and learning. And if we can find ways to do this with kindness and in public–while honoring the fact that theories, experiences, and opinions still differ–you will not only have the usual allies on your side, but those whom you have made think, and convinced through evidence and explanation of the rightness of what you say.

            That trans-women are not men pretending to be women is simply a fact.

            What that implies about trans-women’s contributions to women’s ritual is not yet known to most women–trans or cis. Less shouting, more listening is the only way we’re ever going to know, and that’s hard, especially on trans women, especially after so many bad beginnings.

            But that’s how it’s going to get done. (I think.)

            I just hope we can have the openness to seek out and accept whatever answers we do eventually find.

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

          PS: I love your nickname. Badgerpants!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ainslie-Podulke/671619506 Ainslie Podulke

        Your conflated boundaries are stunning. It’s none of Pantheacon’s business what the actual magical stuff is in ritual. If it were, we would be having a lot more schisms than this, considering the fact of differing perspectives on magic within Paganism itself. As a public venue, moreover, it is also subject to basic non-discrimination policies.

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Not all such experimentation needs to take place at PantheaCon.

        • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

          And less of it will in future, I should think.

          But you’re right, and I hope other venues will become less embattled and be more open to dialog and discovery.

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

        > Other than groups of cis-women who have performed Dianic
        > rituals both with and without the presence and
        > contributions of trans-women, NO ONE ACTUALLY KNOWS
        > how the presence of trans-women affects the magic of
        > Dianic workings. It may have absolutely no impact on the
        > rituals; it may alter them in unimportant ways; it may
        > change them profoundly for the worse or for the better.

        While I agree that this is a great question, and indeed I can see the potential value of a ritual that’s exclusive to only those who have experienced certain biological functions, at the same time, I don’t mind this outcome for Pantheacon because it’s simply the coordinators’ way of saying “this shouldn’t be the place for that, and anyway, we don’t want to test the protected class statutes”. And there’s nothing that says that these things cannot be discussed, or even experimented with — rit exclusive to cis women, held in a private hospitality suite, doesn’t have to be held at the exact same time as an all-inclusive ritual. There can be formal discussions and workshops where women can discuss this together.

        As I’ve noted before, I can be pretty “traditional” at times, in that I recognise that our meat bodies can (and often do) have an effect on our spirits. I can make-believe all I want that I’ve had nothing but the exact same experiences as a physiologically typical cisgender man, but at the end of the day I haven’t —no trans person has; but at the same time, there are internalised experiences that coordinate far more easily, and that alone should be reason enough for there to be plenty of ways that trans and cis people of the same genders can have rituals together, share mysteries, and so on.

        There’s still plenty of room to experiment, it’s just that Pantheacon wants no official part of this experimentation for several pretty apparent reasons. That’s not a bad thing.

        • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

          “Like”

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

            Thanks. :-) It’s good to be liked.

      • Diana Heideman

        As a cis woman who HAS attended both “cis women only” and “all self-identified women” rituals? 

        There’s no damn difference in the energies.

        And sometimes it’s been groups where most or all of the other attendees didn’t know there were trans women present.  And y’know what? No one ever stopped and went “hang on, something’s wrong, there’s male energy here, who is it, who’s doing it, there’s got to secretly be a trans woman, we’ve got to find her” 

        Women’s ritual happened, it went on, it was wonderful, and no one ever did anything except talk about how healing and empowering it was. 

    • Califried

      I could be reading the policy wrong but it sounds to me like you can still have a “genetic women only event” or some such other event that excludes someone so long as you’re clear on what exactly you’re excluding.

      Given that the statement explicitly notes that “simply seeking to make restrictions on gender unambiguous is not sufficient” and “[a]ll workshops or rituals that say ‘Women Only’ or ‘Men Only’ will be open to all who self-identify as such,” two things seem clear:

      1. Cisgender-only events will not be on the official schedule
      2. The sentence you noted (i.e. they will “continue to schedule presentations that limit attendance to specific groups of individuals”) addresses those who argued that all rituals at PantheaCon be open to everyone (e.g. they will still allow rituals with age limitations, etc.)

      Best regards,
      Califried

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

        As I’m reading this, it would be OK to have i.e. a “Mother’s Ritual” for people who had given birth. This would exclude trans women (although it would be open to trans men like Raven Kaldera), but would also exclude childfree cis women. It would be OK to have a “Moon Blood Ritual” for people who have experienced menstruation. But it would not be OK to have a ritual or event for “women only” that was for “genetic women only.”

        I would have no particular problems with either of the first two events if they were offered in good faith. (Yes, I’m aware that someone could set up these or similar rituals just so they could exclude trans women. I’m also aware that a horny straight cismale could put on a dress and decide to infiltrate Dianic space just so he could stare at naked boobies. Humanity is an imperfect species and so anything we come up with is likely to be imperfect).

        I have no interest in fighting to “integrate” people-of-color space or freeing men from the tyranny of womynspace. But I do think that trans-exclusive space is inappropriate for the same reason that “homosexual-free space” or “whites only space” is inappropriate.

        • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

          There’s just so much subtle ambiguity in this policy that I can’t help but wonder if “cis-women only” will be ok so long as you’re clear about it in your presentation and don’t just say “women only.” It’s the ambiguity that concerns me.

        • Califried

          It would be OK to have a “Moon Blood Ritual” for people who have experienced menstruation.

          Honestly, it’s very difficult to imagine that the organizers would be so stupid as to schedule something like a “Moon Blood Ritual” in the wake of the controversy from the last two years. I can imagine a contemporary of Z’s interpreting the events of 2011 (as well as the subsequent discussion) as a need for clearer labeling – that, in my view, is the correct context for “simply seeking to make restrictions on gender unambiguous is not sufficient.” Anyone seeing the events of 2012 as solvable by clearer labeling alone probably needs to get out in the fresh air more ;)

          Best regards,
          Califried

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

          > I’m also aware that a horny HET ["straight"
          > is homophobic] cismale could put on a dress and
          > decide to infiltrate Dianic space just so he could
          > stare at naked boobies.

          Aside: Does this ever actually happen? No, seriously, dies it? I’m starting to think that it’s just some non-existent Dianic (and, interestingly, Fundie Evangelical Christian Conservative™) Hobgoblin that’s trotted out on occasion to scare people from TS woman-inclusive rit.

          I mean, seriously, the only incident of “transgender penis” at Michigan WomEn’s Music Fest was actually caused by a TS MAN, not a “pre-op” TS woman, who then insisted that because he’s “paid his dues” (whatever that’s supposed to mean), he had “every right” to essentially weasel his way into ostensibly women-only spaces at the expense of trans women. I can’t find any evidence of a single “het male in a dress” pulling the same crap and that could serve as an actual reason to be afraid of the dreaded not-woman trying to pass himself off as one.

          Seriously, this is starting to feel like an equivalent of the argument of “I support a woman’s right to abortion, just so long as it’s not her only form of birth control”. Nobody actually does that! Hell, the only time I’ve ever known of any woman having had multiple abortions was this girl I went to high school with, whose father took her to three different clinics between seventh and ninth grade (for three different abortions) to try and cover up the fact that his brother was raping her —and that’s so not the same thing as a woman choosing that as “her only form of birth control”. I mean, yeah, it’s possible that somewhere out there, is a woman spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars to have abortion after abortion because she can’t be bothered with any kind of contraceptive, and I suppose somewhere out there might be the sole bugaboo of the “horny het dude pretending to be trans to perv on women in the ladies’ room”, but I doubt it. If either ever actually happens, it’s so rare as to be statistically insignificant and unworthy of being brought up in serious conversation of either topic.

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

            Actually, I’m working on a book on abortion and in the Eastern Bloc countries and Soviet Union abortion was the primary form of birth control. Just an interesting factoid, and I’m not sure if that is still the case.

            Honestly, I doubt the theoretical “horny het guy in a dress” would go through all that trouble to infiltrate a Dianic ritual, seeing as how there are many other venues at PCon where he might see boobies. But if this were a genuine concern to the organizers of a “those who identify as women only” ritual, their wisest course of action would be to refrain from a skyclad public working. That would lead to the HHG in a dress – assuming he even exists – going elsewhere and should still allow for religious expression without requiring trans exclusion.

            People are regularly forced to make accommodations in their ceremonies at PCon. I would be surprised to find that it was impossible to hold an open Dianic ceremony wherein nudity was an absolute requirement.

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

            > Actually, I’m working on a book on
            > abortion and in the Eastern Bloc
            > countries and Soviet Union abortion
            > was the primary form of birth control.
            > Just an interesting factoid, and I’m not
            > sure if that is still the case.

            So, this was presumably before the advent of The Pill and the easy availability of rubbers to singles? Also, it’s great to talk about the different realities from outside one’s lived-in culture, but it’s kind of disingenuous to talk like it’s a common reality that is somehow universal.

            > Honestly, I doubt the theoretical “horny
            > het guy in a dress” would go through
            > all that trouble to infiltrate a Dianic
            > ritual, seeing as how there are many
            > other venues at PCon where he might
            > see boobies.

            As do I, for pretty much the same reason. I mean, he’d have to not only get a dress, but probably a wig (assuming he has cis-normative short hair), enough make-up applied well enough to make it at least look like he’s trying, enough body-waxing for the same purposes…. It’s just a lot of trouble for the purposes of “horny perv” when there are mixed-sex clothing-optional events where he won’t have to hear about menstruation.

            > But if this were a genuine concern to
            > the organizers of a “those who identify
            > as women only” ritual, their wisest
            > course of action would be to refrain
            > from a skyclad public working. That
            > would lead to the HHG in a dress -
            > assuming he even exists – going
            > elsewhere and should still allow for
            > religious expression without requiring
            > trans exclusion.

            That would be a great compromise, if it didn’t strike me as something of a dodge. Then again, I get great spiritual value from being nude at times, and if the ritual is best-designed for nudity, then you haven’t really solved anything. Maybe that sort of ritual thus has no place at Pantheacon, but I’d beg to differ.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Ruadhan, the use of abortion as birth control in the Eastern Bloc extended well into the period in which contraception had become highly available in the West. Like Kenan, I’m not sure what is the situation since the collapse of Communism.

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

            > Ruadhan, the use of abortion as birth
            > control in the Eastern Bloc extended
            > well into the period in which
            > contraception had become highly
            > available in the West. Like Kenan, I’m
            > not sure what is the situation since the
            > collapse of Communism.

            Well, I get that “availability in the West” doesn’t necessarily equate with “availability everywhere”. I mean, look at the disproportionate availability of clear drinking water. I’ve since edited that line to make specific what I referred to; and really, to equate Western contraceptives where abortion is a reasonable “last resort back-up”, after all else fails, with Eastern Bloc “no pills, no rubbers, plenty of back-alley abortions” [abortion in Russia was banned between 1936 and 1954, and even re-legalisation did not eliminate unlicensed abortion] is disingenuous in serious convo about the philosophical acceptability of abortion where contraceptive is easily available. Obviously a desperate situation will lead to desperate measures; it’s intellectually dishonest to equate the plight of Soviet women under a totalitarian government with that of women in the West where condoms have been available more-or-less easily since the 1930s and HBC since the 1960s.

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

            Ruadhan: I agree it’s an imperfect solution but that’s the nature of compromise. If you are going to hold an open event, you have little control over the people attending. Stopping trans women at the door because they don’t look “feminine” enough and hence are obviously Horny Het Guys looking for a thrill is not a viable option for any number of obvious reasons. Removing people based on behavior is always a possibility – if HHG behaves with his usual lack of clue, he’ll provide plenty of fodder for ejection. But that also leaves open the possibility of transphobes using “she creeped us all out so we asked her to leave” excuse to ensure a trans-free space. Making the place a naked boobies-free zone may be the best insurance available against HHG if you (the organizers, not you, Ruadhan) genuinely are afraid of the straight guy in a dress.

            Interesting anecdote: at last year’s FSG Kathy and I were at a class for expectant parents — primarily expectant mothers. A single guy stood at the perimeter listening as the presenter talked about some of the ways the medical industry can make childbirth something less than warm and sensitive. When she started talking about hospital gowns he raised his hand. He then proceeded to remind us that hospital gowns were embarrassing for men as well as women. After doing this, and reassuring himself that the male half of the species had been properly represented in conversation, he walked away. So I’m not entirely sure that some guy wouldn’t get the idea that he needed to integrate Dianic space just to stop the evils of anti-male feminist oppression … or to make sure that he wasn’t being excluded. :)

            WRT Soviet and Eastern Bloc abortions, I mentioned that as a historical curiosity more than anything else. Sorry if I seemed insensitive to your classmate’s plight. I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t sure what exactly one says in such a situation — “It sucks that her uncle was a rapist?” “That’s horrible?” “Wow, I hope she was able to get over that shitty situation?” Some combo of the above? Obviously no one in the US – where birth control is still relatively widely available and abortions are not free like they were in Communist Eurasia – considers abortion a primary form of birth control. And anyone who thinks they do is either willfully clueless or involuntarily so.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Ruadhan, there’s nothing disingenous or dishonest about reporting facts, nor do I presume to judge Soviet women. Don’t read into a remark what isn’t there.

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

            > I agree it’s an imperfect solution but
            > that’s the nature of compromise. If you
            > are going to hold an open event, you
            > have little control over the people
            > attending. Stopping trans women at
            > the door because they don’t look
            > “feminine” enough and hence are
            > obviously Horny Het Guys looking for a
            > thrill is not a viable option for any
            > number of obvious reasons. …. Making
            > the place a naked boobies-free zone
            > may be the best insurance available
            > against HHG if you (the organizers, not
            > you, Ruadhan) genuinely are afraid of
            > the straight guy in a dress.

            You’re right, at least with the current state of my imagination, I can’t think of an option that would be better –but then, at the same time, I doubt it’s really for either of us to decide, and this is just all waxing hypothetical (cos we like the sounds of our own e-voices, I imagine? LOL) I mean, from where I stand, I can go to a similar men-only ritual, and the fear of “transgina sneaking in to trick us into hetero sex” is practically non-existent (though I say it’s only so “practically” because, let me tell you, Internet, some people are CRAZY). I can bring up to Hypothetical Dianics that a trans woman on HRT is likely to experience some sort of chemical castration over time (as is often the case*), but then that creates the sticky circumstance of potentially barring women who either haven’t yet or who may have some spiritual taboos about medications. I dunno, the more this thread drifts off into this, the clearer it is to me that I really have no business suggesting to women what the best things to do are –especially when none of them have explicitly come to ask me for advice.

            > WRT Soviet and Eastern Bloc
            > abortions, I mentioned that as a
            > historical curiosity more than
            > anything else.

            Yeah, I figured, after I said anything, that was more the case —but like I said, Internet, some people, Insert Seinfeld Quote….

            > Sorry if I seemed insensitive to your
            > classmate’s plight. … Obviously no
            > one in the US – where birth control
            > is still relatively widely available and
            > abortions are not free like they were
            > in Communist Eurasia – considers
            > abortion a primary form of birth
            > control. And anyone who thinks they
            > do is either willfully clueless or
            > involuntarily so.

            And that’s really the only reason I brought it up in this context —cos I see an eerily similar paraller to the vast majority of people who bring up Hypothetical Het Perv Dude, somehow going through all sorts of unnecessary trouble to pose as a woman just to destroy women’s mysteries with his perv-alicious destructive energies: They only bring that up because of complete ignorant cluelessness, or because they’re just stubbornly and willfully so (if only cos feigning ignorance makes it easier for them to write off a trans woman’s experience as somehow a “man’s” experience). And unlike Eastern Bloc abortions, there’s not a single shred of evidence (not as far as I can tell, and I have spent who knows how many hours just pouring over various websites and news archives looking for the tiniest shred of evidence to possibly support any number of the irrational fears society has against trans people —just so I can easily argue against it, should it be brought up, ever) of “Horny Man In Dress” putting on some elaborate charade for no other purpose than to disrupt women’s spaces. The only thing that comes even close is the bizarre case of MWMF and trans-man Tony Baretto-Neto, who used the Michfest communal showers in spite of his years-old phalloplasty —but because, for some bizarre reason I can’t really wrap my head around (outside of succumbing to circular logic, I guess), the women at Michfest decided upon themselves that “no-one ‘woman-born’ can be that uncouth” and have twisted the story into something far from the truth in order to use it as “proof” that somehow one can’t trust trans women to be in women’s spaces. And I know trans women, one even “pre-op” below the belt, who somehow managed to get into Michfest, and the other women who attended would never know, cos she didn’t use the communal showers (I still don’t know how she even got in, but hey, not my place to ask).

            The whole hypothetical thought-experiment of “horny AMAB man dressing up to invade women’s spaces to disrupt things with his Wang of Oppression™” does not happen in real life; or, at least, I refuse to admit it does until some-one can show me proof that it has EVER happened. Some Like It Hot and Fatty Arbuckle (who really loved doing comedy drag) films aren’t proof. Waxing hypothetical about it isn’t proof. I’ve decided that the only reason to even wax hypothetical about it, by and large**, is to foster irrational fears about trans women in women’s spaces. I fear the more it’s even talked about, the more likely it is to enter “razor blades in Hallowe’en candy” territory —like, maybe eventually, it really will happen because some frat boys will think it’s funny or similar crap. Trans women really don’t need that kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.

            *as is often brought up in these convos, I Have a Friend Who’s An Exception, and all that jazz…
            **I’ll assume you were just throwing out cos, as you said, cos some women seem to believe it’s a genuine scenario to fear

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1183329613 Joseph Max

            @Kenaz: “People are regularly forced to make accommodations in their ceremonies at PCon.”

            Yes, like the no candles or incense rule. That’s a profound restriction for many magical paths, including all of the Golden Dawn rituals I’ve done at P-Con. Candles, incense and the ceremonial lighting thereof are prescribed ritual actions in the tradition.

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

            Ruadhan: What I’m trying to do here is to treat the objections raised to including trans women in women’s ritual seriously and assume they are being made in good faith. (I’m also making the assumption we’re talking about rituals at PCon or some other mixed faith/mixed gender/mixed gender identity gathering – as I’ve said before, I have no interest in forcing the Dianics or anyone else to change their private rituals).

            So you’re claiming you can’t have trans women in a women-only ritual because a rape survivor might be triggered by the sight of a penis? Fine: i respect your concerns. Would this woman be triggered if the ritual were performed clothed and no penises (or other naughty bits) were exposed to view? Afraid the horny het guy will come in to ogle your boobies? OK, let’s see what we can do. Could you keep said boobies covered and thereby remove the HHG’s motivation for crashing your party?

            I’ll grant you it’s not ideal – but then, it’s not ideal to ask Golden Dawn people to hold their rituals without candles or incense. Yet they manage to do rituals at Pantheacon which they find useful – and can then go home and light candles and burn incense until the place looks like the bastard child of a Catholic church and a head shop.

            If these objections are being raised in good faith, these suggestions provide at least a starting place for further discussion. I’m not saying they are the only or even the best solution – that decision has to be made by the parties involved. If they are just a nice way of saying “we don’t like trans women and aren’t interested in letting them in our rituals,” then that will soon become abundantly clear as well as new objections are raised or the suggestions are ignored altogether.

          • Guest

            whose father took her to three different clinics .. to try and cover up the fact that his brother was raping her horrible. what scum (the father and brother, to be clear)

            I don’t know of any het males pretending to be f to go to the ladies room either. wtf why.

            As for that person booted out of MWMF, having read part of that bizarre screed, I think the organizers made the common mistake of assuming changing a policy will prevent the occasional creep from coming in and disrespecting boundaries. I think someone doesn’t change policy (which would just hurt other people for no reason, and it sounds like it has), instead just banninate people who can’t play nice ASAP

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            The “occasional creep” at MWMF was a trans man, not a trans woman. The people running MWMF are so bigoted against trans women that they literally rewrote the incident to blame trans women for it.

          • Guest

            Desiree, Yes, I know that, and that wasn’t my point. Hir gender wasn’t what make hir a creep, and they should have just kicked hir out instead of making up new rules

      • Michael

        I read this the same way Christian did. I was actually surprised to begin reading all the comments here from folks who seemed to understand this to mean that “cis-only” public events would be disallowed. I didn’t read this as a change in policy on such events at all, but just as a stronger emphasis on the need for clear event descriptions and a specific definition of what the terms “women only” and “men only” would mean in the context of a public PantheaCon event moving forward.

        At this point, I’m unsure what they intended to communicate. I think the fact that different people are reading this in very different ways means the statement isn’t really clear enough.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          If all this changes is wording, the controversy will continue, because a huge part of the problem is that there are public rituals engaging in open gender policing.

          • Michael

            I’m not even sure if it really changes anything re: wording, since Z’s event this year was not simply described as “women only.” In some ways, this seems more like a response to the controversy of two years ago, rather than a clear response to what happened this year.

            I do agree with Califried that the phrase “simply seeking to make restrictions on gender unambiguous is not sufficient” suggests that cis-only events may be disallowed, but if that’s what they’re trying to say, why don’t they ever actually say it in this policy?

          • Califried

            if that’s what they’re trying to say, why don’t they ever actually say it in this policy?

            Possibly because the person who runs PantheaCon is not a communications professional? People assuming that PantheaCon would be articulating a new policy that does literally nothing to solve the issue it’s clearly intended to address isn’t something a small business owner can reasonably be expected to anticipate.

            Best regards,
            Califried

          • Michael

            Actually, I’m explicitly not assuming anything. That’s the whole point. I’m just reading what the statement actually says without inferring anything.

            I’m really not trying to be bitchy about it, and I understand no one is perfect at communication. But unclear communication has been such a big factor throughout this whole issue, I do think every effort should be made to avoid that.

        • Califried

          At this point, I’m unsure what they intended to communicate.

          The fact that the organizers very clearly stated 1) that “simply seeking to make restrictions on gender unambiguous is not sufficient” and 2) “[a]ll workshops or rituals that say ‘Women Only’ or ‘Men Only’ will be open to all who self-identify as such” seems to suggest that you’re overthinking things. There were enough people arguing that all events be open to everyone that the organizers probably needed to also state that they will continue to allow rituals with restrictions on entry, but I see nothing in the statement that leads me to conclude that they will be allowing “cisgender only, just stated in a different way” rituals.

          Best regards,
          Califried

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      I believe these are the operative words:

      ‘All workshops or rituals that say “Women Only” or “Men Only” will be open to all who self-identify as such.”

      • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

        Yes, but the following text seems to suggest that that phrase does not preclude more specific wordings of exclusion. I’m not saying that that’s not the case, but judging from the text itself, it’s pretty ambiguous.

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

    “. . . state and federal laws which require age limitations and non-discrimination on the basis of age, race, national origin or gender.”

    Do these laws mean that mean anyone who “self-identifies” as a man gets automatic entry to Catholic seminaries, the Bohemian Club, and the Freemasons, or else they can sue for discrimination?

    • Scott

      No. Private events have never been required to abide by non-discrimination policies (and since this is a pay-to-attend event, it’s “private” in the eyes of the law), and private organizations have substantial exemptions under the First Amendment freedoms of religion and association. Non-discrimination laws and specifically to prevent discrimination in *public* venues: restaurants, public transportation, housing, shops, etc. Pantheacon is here announcing its *voluntary* compliance with those laws as a matter of policy.

      Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.)

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

        Thank you for this clarification. :)

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

        Except that Pantheacon is not an organisation in the same way that the Catholic church, Freemasons, and similar are. Pantheacon is organised by a small group of mixed-path pagans and is an open invite for any self-identified pagan who can pay a minimum ticket price.

        It may technically qualify as “private”, but since its nature is not that of a formal club or institutionalised religion, its rules are going to be different. The “rules” it has to comply with will be more like the rules that, say, Projektfest or Penguicon or the Toronto Film Fest has to comply with. I’ve cleared this with an actual lawyer.

        • Deborah Bender

          Admission to PantheaCon is open to people who do not self-identify as pagan. People attend who were brought by a Pagan spouse or friend, are doing interfaith work, are academics curious about the pagan community, enjoy the camaraderie of working on staff, etc.

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

            And that. :-)

            …but yeah, you (hopefully) know what I mean.

        • Scott

          And thank *you* for *that* clarification!

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

      No, of course they don’t, but you knew that already. What they mean is that in many jurisdictions, including the city of San Jose, “gender identity” is a protected class and excluding a trans woman from a public event open to “women only” – especially if that exclusion is combined with hateful commentary about “mutilated men” – might well trigger the enforcement of various local ordinances and rules.

      It might also make the organizers and venue vulnerable to a lawsuit. Sure, they might win said lawsuit at a cost of several tens of thousands of dollars – but it’s just as easy to avoid the issue altogether for practical as well a ethical reasons.

      Now that we’ve cleared that up: any thoughts on why the prefix “cis-” is insulting, other than the fact that it implies cis-women and trans-women are both equally women?

  • Katie Berger Tremaine

    I read this policy as saying “if your events are ‘men only’ or ‘women only,’ you have to accept a person’s self-identification as a man or a woman as valid for purposes of entry.” Anything else would invite a repetition of the controversies of the last two years, and I doubt they want that. At the same time, it still seems to permit self-identification-specific smaller events, such as “gay men only” or “lesbians only,” and events which prohibit children.

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

      I suspect that their point about a more nuanced policy appearing later is probably because the Pantheacon organizers are still arguing over guidance about HOW to delineate the exclusions for events that are more exclusive than “men only” or “women only.”

    • Hiram

      I would say that “Gay or Lesbian” only is also problematic, does Bi count? what about a transgender that identifies as a man, and is attracted to men or one that ids as a women and loves women. I would agree that experiential divisions or age restrictions would work.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ainslie-Podulke/671619506 Ainslie Podulke

        Probably a queer-only thing would be welome to all who do not insist on derailing the conversation!

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

        Not probelmatic at all. I know several gay trans men and lesbian trans women. Gender and sexual orientation are not connected: one can identify as male and still be attracted to males no matter what the birth plumbing looks like.

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

          If only some of the surgeons and other doctors who work with TS people would get that memo.

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

        In the future, please say “trans man” and “trans woman” and not things like “a transgender that identifies as a man”. Here, this might help.

        • Guest

          It won’t help if one has eyes to see said combination of puce background and white lettering.

        • Hiram

          Already read that.. and I use the terms the people in my community use. When talking about both trans men and trans women as a group the community here uses the generic “trangender who Identifies as”, but we tend not to be very correct. As Kenaz says, I know several gay trans men and lesbian trans women. I also have seen them rejected, harshly, by the very people they wish to identify with. That is what I meant by problematic, I admit, I am only being concerned about the stories I have been told in session.

          I would hope that all would be welcome in a queer event as they were this year at Pcon. I guess I did not make my self clear from the get go, I really do not think any of the session at a public convention should be close to anyone for any reason, I would be willing to go along with age and possibly experiential requirements, but I think it would be better to ask those presenting to adapt their offering for everyone.

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

            > Already read that.. and I use the terms the
            > people in my community use.

            And I’m telling you that your “community” is wrong. That’s not hard to understand.

  • kenneth

    They adopted what seems to be a very sensible policy and did so in a very timely manner.

  • Tomskis Witch

    This issue is one I tend to stay away from, but I do have a perspective that seems to be overlooked. Firstly though, I honestly believe that in large gatherings meant to bring many people together there is no place for “exclusions,” to me that defeats the purpose(that’s just me).

    Anyway, once upon a time I was married to a biological man, who grew up with all the male privileges of a first born son. He went to college, got a degree, then went to work in a career where he was fully inducted to the ‘old boys club’ as an advertising director for a prominent advertising agency. He was quite successful and in the late 80′s was making a very manly salary of over 80,000 dollars with lots of additional fringe benefits. Despite this success and his distinctly accomplished position in life, he felt something was wrong.

    I was at his side during a period of much therapy, much medication, and many surgeries while that wrong was being righted. My marriage to a woman was happily annulled by a judge in a county courtroom a couple years later. During the time of being constant companion and personal nurse to this now woman while she went through her transition into what she felt she had always been inside, I got to meet several like her in different stages of their transitions.

    They all go through a lot to get to a place where they can feel comfortable in their own bodies, and they deserve respect just for having made it out the other side.

    I grew up as a girl whose math teachers ignored her, and who couldn’t walk through the halls of her high school without some jock thinking he had the right to put his hands on her ass. When I was eighteen the best friend of my friend’s fiancee decided that instead of just giving me a ride home, he would rape me first. I had started college, but couldn’t finish for various reasons. Then went to work in machining, tool & die work, on grinders and programming cnc mills and lathes, I made $15.00 per hour while expected to supervise the jobs that were on the floor being done by guys making $25.00 per hour.

    I have been a woman in a man’s world all my life and I have experienced things that are unique to that situation, just as transgendered men and women experience things that are unique to their situations. Just because the end result is the same that does not make the path traveled the same, and sometimes a ritual has to be about the path traveled. There is a time and a place for exclusion, it is not at a semi-public festival, but it does exist and I would not affiliate myself with any organization who did not recognize that people walk different paths and sometimes need to share a special energy with those who have walked a similar path.

    • Katie Berger Tremaine

      So I have some questions for you. When would you accept that trans women have the right to say that an exclusionary space is unnecessarily exclusionary? When would you accept that cissexuals go too far in creating and policing trans-exclusionary spaces? Right now it seems an awful lot like you’re saying that only mixed-gender spaces are appropriate for trans women.

      • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

        Katie, maybe this is something that sometimes trans and cis women can only say together.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          Key word: Together. It cannot be accomplished by cis women imposing their definitions of separateness on trans women by weight of numbers.

      • Anonymous

        Katie:
        I think that this is the operative part right here:
        “There is a time and a place for exclusion, __it is not at a semi-public festival,___ but it does exist and I would not affiliate myself with any organization who did not recognize that people walk different paths and sometimes need to share a special energy with those who have walked a similar path.”

    • Amadea

      Thank you for this thoughtful post.  I think it is sad that no one on this blog engaged you in dialogue about your views.  It has been my experience that when there is a thoughtful response like this one, it is either attacked or ignored. 

      • Cigfran

        I think it was a fine post. There, happy?

        Now…

        “There is a time and a place for exclusion, it is not at a semi-public festival, but it does exist”

        … emphasis mine, because it’s the point that just about everyone has been making but that you have totally closed your eyes to because it didn’t take very limited form that you recognize as “respectful dialogue.”

        • Amadea

          No.  Some people are making that point.  Others are saying that all exclusionary space is unwarranted, bad, or I believe I saw the word “foolish” in here.  Also, I didn’t miss the point you assume I missed. I said that the post was thoughtful.  I don’t have to agree with it to see it as thoughtful and as furthering dialogue.  That’s what dialogue is about, exchanging views, trying to understand the other person’s point of view, and adjusting one’s own when real dialogue leads to understanding.  I’m not interested in just arguing against every little thing someone says, as most of you are.  I’m interested in understanding and growing from that understanding — not merely scoring points. I’m finding very little in this discussion that is about understanding and growing (except from Jason White) — and mostly just arguing in opposition to score points. 

  • Guest

    This is good. It’s a ‘both’, not ‘or’, solution. PCon doesn’t want to be associated with a lot of mess.

  • Charles Cosimano

    The statement strikes me as good corporate-speak–be as ambiguous as possible and leave yourself as much wiggle room as possible. Of course from a legal standpoint, Pantheacon is in a totally grey area because it is a sort of religious clearing house-gathering and so while non-discrimination laws may apply to it, they would not apply to any ritual held during it, public, private or otherwise. (Just because a Catholic church is open to the public for Mass does not mean that anyone can sue because it has no women at the altar). So what you have is a confused sort of mish-mash which could result in the bizarre situation of Pantheacon being sued and The First Apostolic Free Pentecostal Holiness Church of Jesus Christ and Burning Witches filing a friend of the court brief on behalf of Pantheacon.

    Now that might be fun to see and I can imagine Eris laughing her divine head off, but it is probably the worst nightmare the organizers of Pantheacon can imagine.

  • Cedarcat

    Sad that the Pagan community so disrespects the Great Mother and an Elder and High Priestess of the Dianic community. All in the name of the power of men, who’ve had surgery and drugs to alter their sacred bodies, birthed by the Goddess, to dictate in yet another forum, how we define our sacred rites. Such people will NEVER experience the sacred blood mysteries, nor the giving of new life and the nurture and nourishment of a child with their own bodies. Another shameful act, proving that the Patriarchy is alive and well in the Pagan community. At the expense (once again) of its Wise Women and Crones. The male “power-over” triumphs again over the female “power-with”.

    So mote it be. We shall be separate from you as you wish. We will not give you coin nor audience to the Old Ways of the Wise Women. Those who seek will find us. We hold our power with the Great Mother, our powerful wombs and our mysterious blood that nourishes new life within us.

    • Katie Berger Tremaine

      Well you’ve certainly demonstrated who’s the most manly person in the room.

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

      > and the nurture and nourishment of a child with their own bodies

      I dunno about that. I’ve known a few trans women who can lactate, and so may be perfectly able to nourish an adopted child.

      Just sayin’. The more you know, and all.

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      Out of curiosity, is insulting transwomen, calling them “transies” (as Z Budapest did) and accusing them of being patriarchal infiltrators (as you imply), a “power-with” action? Was Thorn (and nearly 90 others) sitting silently outside Z’s ritual a “power-over” action?

      • Katie Berger Tremaine

        Apparently “power-with” is nonconsensually misgendering someone and demanding that they comply with that misgendering, while “power-over” is self-defining in a way that makes you extraordinarily vulnerable to others…

    • http://vermillionrush.wordpress.com Vermillion

      “Such people will NEVER experience the sacred blood mysteries, nor the giving of new life and the nurture and nourishment of a child with their own bodies.”

      Well I’m never going to give new life and nurture/nourishment a child as thanks to nature my chances are 10%. As for sacred blood mysteries the only mystery is how once a month I manage to not slaughter everyone in my path with my bitchiness. Guess I’m a member of the Patriarchy! Womp womp!

      • A.C. Fisher Aldag

        Sacred Women’s Mysteries Tip #195: During your holy wise women’s moon time, if you feel like murdering people, eat chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

    • Califried

      All in the name of the power of men, who’ve had surgery and drugs to alter their sacred bodies, birthed by the Goddess, to dictate in yet another forum, how we define our sacred rites….Another shameful act, proving that the Patriarchy is alive and well in the Pagan community.

      Cedarcat, many of us who are supportive of this change actively work against the Patriarchy every day. Views about transgendered women such as yours are a large part of why I struggled to call myself feminist for years – second-wave feminism empowered a generation, but it appears that its lasting legacy will be selected passages from The Transsexual Empire playing on an endless loop to progressively smaller audiences. Third-wave feminists largely look forward to a time when Janice Raymond is a footnote rather than the driving force behind one of the more problematic schisms in the feminist community.

      With that said, no one wishes a separation from you – the broader Pagan community will be here to welcome you back if you ever decide to end your self-imposed exile. Fortunately, however, there are many, many Wise Women and Crones who do not feel alienated by this change, and who recognize and include transgendered women as women. I suspect that those who have need of the Old Ways of the Wise Women won’t have much difficulty doing without you.

      Be well,
      Califried

      • Cedarcat

        The Old Ways of the Wise Women were for men and women to have separate sacred space, and come together on festivals together, e.g., the Sacred Rite. For several centuries, women have been blamed for all sin, and determined to be unclean and unholy by the patriarchy. I have nothing against transgendered people, and have many friends who are TG. It is not about that, however, it’s about respecting women’s space. And I know only one word to describe what I am. I am woman. Not cis-woman. You cannot redefine me for the sake of political correctness. Words matter. I am a Wise Woman. I am a Dianic witch. What you say about us reflects more about your own dream than about our reality. The hateful rhetoric spewing about women gives the lie to what this is really all about. The Great Mother loves all of us and we are all one. We are all connected. I’m not sure how much the TG community loves and respects their own self, as I see much sadness emanating from there. A profound discomfort. I wish them healing and peace and the love of the Mother.

        Paganism overall is focused on the Great Mother, and the God as consort, last time I checked, or that’s what I read when I got out of the Christian male-God world. Now the God has had a sex change operation, and seeks to dictate to the Mother. So, paganism reverts to the male-God patriarchy…

        Dianics do not seek power over these TG people. Simply to draw a boundary for their own space. TG people are welcome to do the same.

        I also note that exclusion of bleeding women will also be allowed, and several other exclusions, so it’s hard to see how this was not specifically aimed at Dianics.

        I have spent all the energy I intend to on this, and like debating politics with the GOP true believers, is a pointless waste of my energy.

        It is good to know who your true allies are, and I am grateful that this controversy has at least revealed that.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          So in repayment for this unclean/unholy treatment, you simply designate a less powerful group than you as unholy and transfer all the hate onto them?

          You don’t want to dismantle the Master’s house. You want to live in it and boss around the servants just like he did.

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

          I am a Wise Woman

          I think you mean “I am a woman who believes that some men mutilate themselves and go on hormones so they can infiltrate our Dianic rites and steal our precious womb-moon mysteries.”

          In other words “a frothing fruitbat.”

          Paganism overall is focused on the Great Mother, and the God as consort, last time I checked, or that’s what I read when I got out of the Christian male-God world. Now the God has had a sex change operation, and seeks to dictate to the Mother. So, paganism reverts to the male-God patriarchy…

          Yep, “frothing fruitbat” just about covers it.

          Hope that helps.

        • Califried

          The Old Ways of the Wise Women were for men and women to have separate sacred space, and come together on festivals together, e.g., the Sacred Rite.

          You and I both know that it refers to much more than that, my friend. I think the point is made, however. The broader pagan community will welcome you back should you ever choose to end your self-imposed exile. In the meantime, however, don’t expect to be missed – wiser women than you remain.

          I have nothing against transgendered people, and have many friends who are TG. It is not about that, however, it’s about respecting women’s space. And I know only one word to describe what I am. I am woman. Not cis-woman.

          It is certainly true that what you write often says more about the writer than her audience or topic. That is certainly my experience with most individuals looking to draw a distinction between transgendered and cisgendered women, to identify an authentic difference that will allow them to unproblematically exclude an oppressed minority. You, by and large, are talking to people who fight the Patriarchy on a daily basis; telling us that in supporting an oppressed minority we are really supporting the Patriarchy is not just insulting, it is obviously a false claim.

          I am your ally when it comes to the feminist struggle, but your feminism is not my feminism. My sense of social justice does not allow me to see you define transgendered women as men without speaking up. It does not allow me to silently assent to a basically second-wave feminist framing of an issue as important as this, not when the vast majority of feminists (and even many, many Dianic witches) have moved past the gender essentialism baked into your own religious practice.

          One final point:

          I also note that exclusion of bleeding women will also be allowed, and several other exclusions, so it’s hard to see how this was not specifically aimed at Dianics.

          I’ve seen this particular line repeated ad infinitum, but it’s probably worth refuting yet again. The event at PantheaCon that you are referencing does not exclude menstruating women. Anyone who is bleeding or has blood on their skin is welcome to attend but asked not the salute the spirit honored in that ritual. Put in that context, it’s easy to see that the new policy isn’t “aimed at Dianics.”

          Be well,
          Califried

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          “I am a Wise Woman.”

          I would argue that wisdom would be better served by not letting one’s preconceptions color one’s view of the world, but unlike you I don’t consider myself wise. I consider myself fortunate to be one of the ones who, after jumping off the cliff, managed to finish building her wings before she hit the ground.

        • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

          The rainforest is being depleted and there’s a shortage of wood. Can some of you please try to limit the number of crosses you’re hoping to erect for yourselves? Men can’t possibly be victimizing you as much as you say because you’ve already done a fantastic job of it yourselves.

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

          > And I know only one word to describe what I am. I
          > am woman. Not cis-woman. You cannot redefine
          > me for the sake of political correctness. Words
          > matter.

          I don’t see any-one re-defining you any more than the neologisms of the late 19th Century redefined heterosexuals as, well, anything more than they were prior to the then-new word of heterosexual. You’re still what you always were, but now there’s a new word that, in certain conversations, will simply acknowledge that both trans women and cisgender women are women in a neutral way.

          > The hateful rhetoric spewing about women gives
          > the lie to what this is really all about.

          What hateful rhetoric?

          > Paganism overall is focused on the Great Mother,
          > and the God as consort, last time I checked, or
          > that’s what I read when I got out of the Christian
          > male-God world.

          You clearly don’t understand all paganism. “The ancients” had no concept of a single god and a single goddess, and many modern pagans, dissatisgied with the ultimately monistic duality of Wicca and Wicca-derived paganism have sought to restore that. Polytheists recognise many gods and goddesses, goddesses who don’t need to conform to some wholly modern “Divine Feminine = Great Mother” archetype to be just as divine and just as great. Goddesses like Artemis, the feral huntress; Athene, the maiden warrior; Enyo, the destroyer; Kybele, the Greco-Phrygian Great Mother born Intersex. As a tranditional polytheist, I don’t understand your inherently monistic understanding of paganism; my paganism is pluralistic, and as such, I accept many forms of man and many forms of woman –and I make no sweeping assumptions of what “paganism overall” must conform to.

          > Dianics do not seek power over these TG people.
          > Simply to draw a boundary for their own space.

          No-one has said that you cannot have your own space. Pantheacon has only say that, due to their local laws, they don’t want to test the boundaries of protected classes, and so Dianic spaces should be off the primary schedule.

          > I also note that exclusion of bleeding women will
          > also be allowed, and several other exclusions, so
          > it’s hard to see how this was not specifically
          > aimed at Dianics.

          What? Where do you see this?

          I think you’ve confused this announcement with *one* Pcon2012 rit, an African Diasporic ritual, that barred *anybody* bleeding from participaton, because the god that honoured considers bleeding to be dirty. This “bleeding” was not limited to menstruation.

        • Charles Cosimano

          Welcome to the ranks of the outlaws. There are few things more liberating than the knowledge that by walking away, you no longer have to be nice and when the anger has passed, that you have made not only the necessary choice, but the wisest one as well and the rage will give way a peace that can only be understood by those who have done it as well.

          You cannot live constantly explaining and appologizing. The time comes when you have to take the good patriarchal action of cutting the gordian knot and saying, “No more. We are gone.” If the cost of remaining, of mass acceptance, is to be untrue to your own ways, then that cost is too high and whatever the pain and cost of separation may be, it is miniscule compared to the benefits to the soul that come from it.

          There are things in life far far more important than being popular at Pantheacon.

        • Deborah Bender

          “I’m not sure how much the TG community loves and respects their own self, as I see much sadness emanating from there. A profound discomfort.”

          Do you understand how condescending you are being? When transgendered people don’t agree with you, it is because they are emotionally unhealthy and don’t have self respect. How is this different from men dismissing the complaints of women by calling them hysterical and irrational?

          “I wish them healing and peace and the love of the Mother.” Yeah, and there are Christians praying for your soul right now and hoping you will be saved by the love of Jesus.

          What’s sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose. You see sadness, profound discomfort and a lack of self love emanating from the TG community. I attended the first two Defining Dianic Wicca gatherings organized by the Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess back in the 90′s. While there, I observed a great amount of fear, anger and defensiveness emanating from some of the separatist lesbians. To my eyes, they were stuck in reaction to terrible past experiences; their fear and anger was blocking their ability to access their inborn power as women. They couldn’t feel safe or relax anywhere but in a very restricted male-free environment because they had not experienced themselves as the divine beings they are. it wasn’t my business to tell them that or give them advice, and I didn’t.

          I’m for variety and that includes groups and rituals with restricted admission policies and groups and rituals with open admission policies. I’m also for civility and basic respect in our conversations with each other, even if our private opinions are not so sweet.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1183329613 Joseph Max

          @Cedarcat: “Paganism overall is focused on the Great Mother, and the God as consort, last time I checked, or that’s what I read when I got out of the Christian male-God world.”

          That certainly is *not* “Paganism overall”. That is Wicca, specifically. Norse Paganism is more male-centric, for example. I’d venture to say most Pagan paths today are fairly balanced in female/male energies. I can’t think of a single Pagan I know who thinks women are “unclean and unholy.” Could you be more specific about the “hateful rhetoric spewing about women” from anyone in this debate? I haven’t seen it.

          No one is saying you must circle with anyone you do not wish to. You’re reacting as if you think the transgender patriarchy police will be raiding your esbats. This issue is only pertinent to P-Con itself, which is certainly a special case and requires special guidelines to preserve the comity of the event.

          (BTW:you do realize that saying, “[I] have many friends who are TG…” comes off sounding like, “some of my best friends are Black.”)

        • Cigfran

          > And I know only one word to describe what I am. I am woman. Not cis-woman.

          So, so tired of this particular trope.

          Would these people object to strenuously to being referred to, when context required it, as white women? Women of color? Differently-abled women? Or any other common classification of women useful for holding a particular kind of conversation, especially in the domain of social justice?

          Of course not. Because the cis/trans distinction does nothing but enable a bit of non-prejudicial equity when considering trans women.

          And that, of course, is just not permissible, is it?

          • Guest

            Cigfran, so you don’t like that someone dosen’t want to be called a label of YOUR choice.
            Why does this make you angry? “Unpack” that about yourself, rather than respond with insults.
            A person isn’t prejudiced because they don’t like people profiling them because someone is too lazy or disinterested in treating them like individuals.

          • A.C. Fisher Aldag

            Kinda / sorta not a completely valid comparison. There are some things that some differently-abled women aren’t ever gonna be able to do, such a drive, lift heavy things, run across a field and get more candles for the ceremony. There are some things that some transgendered people are not gonna be able to do, such as five birth to a baby. There are a very few times in Real Life when the labels are relevant.

            Yet we can all worship the Godesses and Gods (or honor, or identify with) (or spirits, or ancestors, or energies, or whatever we do!) We can all work magick. We can all enhance our spirituality. We can work to come to understandings with each other. That’s when the classifications are irrelevant.

            I’m seeing the labeling and classifications in this argument as a covert way to discriminate against people who aren’t Exactly Like US.

        • Anonymous

          Cedarcat wrote:
          Paganism overall is focused on the Great Mother, and the God as consort, last time I checked, or that’s what I read when I got out of the Christian male-God world.

          No. Not at all, even.
          Druids: no.
          Asatru: no.
          Khemetics: no.
          Hellenics: no.

          basically all of the recon paths, and probably less than half of the Wiccan and Wiccan-derivative paths, are Goddess-focused.

          Far more, we are focused on the _balance_ of male and female energies.

    • Lori F – MN

      What about women who become men?

      Do you really believe that men who change do better in ANY way than natural women? Think what they loose. Families. Jobs. Respect from peers. Or women to men. Same losses.

      What they have in common is becoming themselves and self realization.

      And not all women can give birth or even menstrate. So that’s an invalid argument.

      • Guest

        Lori, I think a study showed that someone with passing F-M transition got the benefits of males – better pay and higher status.

        • Anonymous

          [citation needed]

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

            I know the study s/h/it speaks of (failed to bookmark it, though) and in addition to the fact that it’s the only study of its kind that I know of, it’s only half-true: Trans men, if keeping the same job in-transition, may see either no pay raise, or a very tiny pay raise (meaning: we still don’t get paid as much as cis men); if changing jobs post-transition, including having completely “male” documentation, there may be a significantly higher pay-rate than women, but it’s still not as high as cisgender men, possibly due to heightism (we tend to be short). The same study also suggests that trans women get a pay loss that’s significantly less than cisgender women.

            Like I said, I can’t source it right now (wish I could), but as far as I know, it was the only study of its kind at the time I read about it, so I don’t know how easily it can be replicated. On the other hand, it does show that trans men may recieve slightly more workplace privilege (in pay rate) than cis women, but not as much as cis men, and overall, trans women get the least workplace privilege.

    • Guest

      The male “power-over” triumphs again over the female “power-with”.
      Wow.

      Your words are touched, because it took me a bit to understand this sentence, and then it hit me what you mean, and it’s deep.

      It’s the difference between “masculine” dictation from the top, and “feminine” consensus building and tending and care of the weaker. I use the genders understanding that these energies are not exclusive to a particular gender ID, but in one it more oftens tends to seat.

      Some of this, though..
      A lot of women who aren’t trans have had to alter their bodies and need regular medicine. There’s no bad thing about that.. a lot of gods are doctors or healers.
      There’s an overreliance and too much trust sometimes in some medical professionals, but that’s neither here nor there. Some of it saved my life. (Sturgeon’s Law – 95% of everything is crap. )

      I feel like Dianic has some things to teach now (or at least you do)
      Not for me, but for someone who needs it, I’m glad it’s there. And in more variety.
      Despite snarly rude people saying mean things, it’s not you vs. them. This doesn’t mean not preserving your treasures.
      Someone in an earlier thread said something beautifully about us being pagans, damnit and we decide for ourselves what we are and what we can be. Gods often love our creations, even if what you see won’t be recognizable among the previous patterns. (Sturgeon wrote “Slow Sculpture”, btw, which everybody should read. ) The old Irish myth was people were made of clay when the God got bored. (Is the clay baked? (maybe in California.. where its legal..))
      This was fun. Thanks for your inspiration.

    • kenneth

      There’s no “blood mystery wisdom” that you have that we can’t readily get from the growing majority of your sisters who aren’t mired in 19th Century notions of biology.

      • Cedarcat

        No, Kenneth, these mysteries are way older than the 19th century. Of course, being male, you would not understand or respect them.

        • kenneth

          If I didn’t respect them, I can’t imagine why I’d still be in a religion which is, at least, two-thirds female and which recognizes Goddess as primal or first among equals. The mysteries are as old as human consciousness. The orthodoxy surrounding modern Dianic conceptions of transgenderism has a provenance that is exactly one human generation deep – about the same as Z herself. Now, cronehood brings with it some wisdom, but 72 years is not the stuff of time-proven inerrant ageless wisdom.
          Moreover, the rationale for transgender exclusion rests entirely on assertions of science, not religious revelation of any sort. ALL of the arguments in favor of Z’s approach in the many hundreds of threads in recent weeks ultimately resort to a scientific assertion of fact. The assertion is that trans-women are not real women because anatomy and chromosomes are 100% determinative of gender. That assertion has been completely discredited by modern science. It has no more credibility than racial theories of intelligence, “luminiferous aether” or young Earth creationism.

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

            > Moreover, the rationale for transgender
            > exclusion rests entirely on assertions of
            > science, not religious revelation of any sort.
            > ALL of the arguments in favor of Z’s approach
            > in the many hundreds of threads in recent
            > weeks ultimately resort to a scientific
            > assertion of fact. The assertion is that
            > trans-women are not real women because
            > anatomy and chromosomes are 100%
            > determinative of gender. That assertion
            > has been completely discredited by modern
            > science. It has no more credibility than racial
            > theories of intelligence, “luminiferous aether”
            > or young Earth creationism.

            Yes. SO MUCH of this. :)

        • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

          If you’d read what he said, he wasn’t saying that the mysteries weren’t older than the 19th century, but rather that the ideals of your group are rooted in a very limited sense of female biology and that he could learn those ancient mysteries from those not so rooted.

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

      With all due respect, Z offers Goddess Mysteries. As in “rituals whose secrets are reserved for initiates into the tradition.” She’s welcome to share those mysteries as she sees fit, and her initiates are welcome to create a community amongst themselves wherein they can deepen their understanding of those mysteries.

      Nobody is stopping Z from offering those mysteries. No one has forced her to open up her “Goddess Spirituality” events to trans women; nobody has put a gun to her head and forced her to welcome anyone trans or otherwise into her mysteries; nobody has forced her to allow trans subscribers on her mailing lists or recognize trans women as women or even as human beings. But since this is a mystery tradition, that shouldn’t matter to you. So long as outsiders leave you alone to do your own thing that’s as much as you can hope for or expect.

      Butthurt whimpering about how badly Pantheacon is patriarchally abusing wombmoons because they won’t allow cisgender-only rituals on the PCon calendar is missing the whole point of your tradition. Go forth, separate and learn the Mysteries of Z Budapest among those you choose as your peers. Go with our blessings. But go on your own dime and in your own space.

    • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

      This is such a paranoid way of looking at all this, just as Z’s words of last year were. Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that trans-women are just mentally screwed men who wanna get their breasts and penis lobbed off. While I do not believe that, let’s just say. Even if this extreme were the case, I highly doubt that *anywhere* on their agenda of surgery, hormone treatments, and therapy is included a line item to steal women’s power and make it their own, dominate women, invade their safe-spaces, or, to use Janice Raymond’s terminology, “rape them.” How narcissistic does one have to be in order to postulate such a fantasy? Regardless of why a person realizes that he or she is transgendered, whether the true motivation be biological, psychological, or spiritual, nothing I have ever seen in the writings of transgendered people has ever suggested to me that they’re doing it to target “real” women in some way.

    • Gareth

      To me this this is the worst kind feminism: radical supremacist feminism. It helps no one and holds women back (I’ll make it clear that I believe feminism has been and still is a good thing). The Dianics’ ways aren’t that old, your blood isn’t particularly mysterious, and squeezing out yet more brats from your “powerful wombs” is one of the most destructive things you can do to the Earth given the impact people have.

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

        It’s not even pure blood, it’s about 90% endometrial tissue and about 5% mucus. In fact, if it’s ever more than, like, 5% blood, that’s a sign of something seriously wrong. The only woman I’ve ever known who genuinely bled from her uterus had an HPV-related infection, and it was so not “wonderful and magickal”, the way she tells it.

        • Guest

          A lot of women have chronic anemia and faint because they lose too much blood that time of month, so I think you’re talking about those having “average” or “light”.

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

            Anaemia is unserious? Damn, could’ve fooled me. Ah well, live and learn.

    • Anonymous

      This really irritates me. Hi, I’m a cis woman and I will never experience the “giving of new life and nourishment of a child” with my own body, because I’ve chosen to be childfree. I also use “drugs to alter my sacred body”, that prevent me from menstruating, because my “sacred body” has crippling migraines every damn time it bleeds and they last for weeks. By your logic, I’m just as much of a non-woman as a trans woman is.

      This is not the Mystery of the Goddess that I’ve experienced. The one I experienced says that it doesn’t matter if one of us isn’t mother, one of us is trans, one of us has never bled, because She is *all women*, and through Her, we are all women. We walk in as strangers and meet in the circle as sisters, seeing Her looking out from the eyes of a woman you may have never met before. Whatever divisions you may have had in the outside world, in that space, you look on her and she looks on you, and both see “holy”, “beauty”, “sacred”, “power”. That’s the Goddess Spirituality that has been so inspirational and so healing to me, not this thing that draws lines in the sand to divide woman from woman and decide which of us measure up to some Ur-example that is, at the end of the day, itself no more than a fragment of what She is.

      • WhiteBirch

        Your description made my day, thank you.

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

        Your theology is not my theology, but damn, that was absolutely beautiful. It’s comments like this that’s why I still see value in interacting with other pagans and polytheists outside my own path. :)

      • Krystal H.

        I wish I could “Like” this a billion times!

    • A.C. Fisher Aldag

      Oh Drat. I don’t get to be a woman any more, because I had “surgery and drugs” to “alter (my) sacred body” when I had a hysterectomy and oovectomy to stop me from dying of ovarian cancer. Guess that makes me a patriarch. Or something. I guess that also excludes some pals I have who are Lesbians, who never experienced the “nurture and nourishment of a child with their own bodies”, who instead chose to adopt some high-risk special needs kids. Darn. Somebody’s prolly gonna revoke our Grandma Licenses and remove our Goddess-given power to bake cookies, kiss owies, and read stories. I suppose this also excludes women who decide not to have kids at all, but instead have full-time careers in science or law enforcement or something traditionally associated with males only. They can’t be “Wise Women” or “Crones”. Here all this time, I was thinking these ladies were real women, but I guess I was mistaken.

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

        Word on the street? Athene is an abomination to the Budapestian “Great Mother” and is thus a notgoddess that has nothing to do with women’s spirituality.

        And here all this time, I thought She was an awesome and powerful deathless goddess.

  • MommaCat65

    I’m going to get blasted over this comment, but here it goes.

    Those trans-women who insist, nay, DEMAND, that they be included in women only rituals are being men in the sense that their way is the only way to go. It has been the same kind of attitude that men have been using with women since patriarchy took over in the time of the Romans.

    Speaking for myself, as a genetic, biological, moon-time having, carrier of children within my womb woman, I have sympathized and empathized with all of the true-born women who have come before me. To feel the struggle that all of my sisters have had throughout history is something unique to growing up and being identified as a woman my entire life.

    I have been in bad relationships that had a man holding dominion over me. I have known what it feels like to be thought less of because I was a woman.

    I have a body that is mine and mine alone. No hormones. No surgeries. I have breasts that get in the way. I have curves that current fashion deems unacceptable. (Don’t get me started on fashion, That’s a whole other discussion.)

    Men rule most everything in this world. Business, medicine, technology, food (how many high-caliber women chefs do you see?), and just about anything else you can name, men run. In this country alone, women had to FIGHT for the right to vote, and have only had it for a little less than 100 years.

    Trans-women can be men when they choose to be. When it is advantageous to be so. I don’t have that luxury. I will always be looked at as a woman. I will always carry a woman’s name.

    So for trans-women to insist that they should be included in women only rituals when it is obvious that the presenter means GENETIC women only, is another situation where MEN are demanding that they be included in something that is wholly, truly, and beautifully female.

    Trans-women are still men in terms of chromosomes and skeletal build. When their bodies die and decay and their bones are found, they will be identified as MALE. DNA will reveal them to be MALE. I understand that their spirit is female, but they will still be MEN. Same with women who identify as men.

    And one last thing before I go. Why don’t self-identified men (aka trans-men) demand that they be included in the men-only rituals? Because they have be raised as women and therefore don’t go pushing in where they are not meant to be.

    • Desiree Arceneaux

      As a matter of fact, trans men don’t need to demand to be included in men-only rituals because it’s pretty much unheard of to exclude them. For the most part, this particular form of cissexist bigotry is exclusive to women’s events because it is rooted in the toxic influence of the second-wave feminist movement.

    • Desiree Arceneaux

      As for the idea that cis women are the only “genetic women” and that “genetic women” are the only “true” women. . . you’ve clearly missed the last…oh, thirty-odd years of research in developmental biology. Human genetics are a lot more complicated than you believe, and that’s just the beginning of the complexity which goes into biological sex.

      But hey, what would I know about it? I only interned under a Nobel Laureate in developmental genetics.

      • kenneth

        Honestly, I think a lot of this arises from the appalling state of science education and literacy in this country. We have huge numbers of people without even a basic grasp of evolution or how the scientific process works to test and revise theories. Z’s views on transgenderism boil down to the same argument used by the Catholics and others. Transgenderism isn’t real because “everyone knows” that’s not how it works. It’s counter-intuitive, and uncomfortable, so that establishes it can’t be a real phenomenon. Whenever someone insists that science always confirms common sense assumptions about anything, I know right away they’ve never done any work in the sciences or even any serious reading about it.

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

          > Honestly, I think a lot of this arises from the appalling
          > state of science education and literacy in this
          > country.

          No argument there. And when I was a kid, the United $tates was only #14 in the world on maths skills —I know that’s dropped, since.

        • Anonymous

          This. It’s also worth noting that Dianism is the last branch of Paganism to hold on so firmly to BS pseudo-history about matriarchies that didn’t exist and 9 million witches burned that didn’t happen– I have yet to see any other segment of our religions cling so stubbornly to this nonsense after it has been conclusively proven wrong.

          It’s a tremendous shame. Instead of learning the awesome things *actual* historical women did that could inspire us, they turn their back on their ancestresses in favor of fictional events and fictional groups that never existed. (And there’s room for saying “this is a poetic history, a vision of a life that could be”, but they don’t go that route.) Instead of embracing the idea of “all goddesses are Goddess” as a Mystery, they have to talk it up as literal, destroying the individuality of each goddess in favor of a sanitized Great Goddess that was never worshipped the way they say she was. Instead of embracing the diversity of actual real women– trans women, childfree women, women who take meds developed by “big pharma”, women with all kinds of genetic differences, women who aren’t stereotypically feminine– and what they bring to the table of embodying Her, they reject them in favor of one model of Real Woman and divide womanhood in twain. In every case, choosing the simple and sterile over the richly nuanced, living tapestry of what actually is.

          Goddess religion is capable of so much more than that.

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

            I think you summed up succinctly a conversation I vaguely remember having with my mother about why she remained “a social Anglican with pagan sympathies” rather than aligning herself with the Goddess Religion movement in the 1970s, even though it seemed perfectly designed for women like her at the time.

      • Guest

        So why if you know it is complex, you want two labels that people don’t like?

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

          “Trans” people may not care for being labeled as “trans,” but recognize that they are involuntarily and unavoidably “othered” within our society. So they generally accept the label while holding their noses.

          None of us really care how some anonymous troll feels about being labeled “cis,” so your opinion isn’t very important to us. Not that you’re going to quit whining about it, but I just thought you should know.

          The easy solution for this problem is to assume that trans women and cis women are both women and there’s no need to draw a distinction between them in any aspect of life. But until that happens we’re going to need some way of distinguishing between women assigned-female-at-birth and women-not-assigned-female-at-birth. And “trans” and “cis” are the best labels we’ve come up with so far.

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            More to the point, “trans” and “cis” are clinical/scientific terms comparable to “homosexual” and “heterosexual”. While slang terms equivalent to “gay” and “straight” are likely to evolve in the future and become the preferred terms in social contexts, “trans” and “cis” will almost certainly remain the preferred terms in technical contexts.

            Those who complain about “cis” without suggesting alternative terms which do not imply that trans women are less real than cis women are clearly arguing from a position of trying to keep their privilege. As such, those arguments should be dismissed.

          • Guest

            Desiree, I think the only person really looking for insulting alternative pronouns been who you are answering to, who literally came up with “s/h/it”

          • Guest

            Oh, and if you think he was only meaning to say that about “some” people you’re gullible.

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

            I really hope the term “straight” as a synonym for “heterosexual” vanishes from the vocabulary in my lifetime as “bent” for “bi-/homosexual” has. Considering how “straight” evolved (from criminal subcultures), it’s incredibly heterosexist and I see it as a self-identity to be an act of homophobia.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mirage358 Jason White

          Good thing there are a lot more than two terms (not so much labels) for this very subject!

          Let’s start with the easy ones (that have been discussed here ad-nauseum):
          Cisgendered – your gender identity matches your physical sex
          Transgendered – your gender identity is the reverse of your physical sex

          But wait, there’s more!
          Bigendered – you identify as both a man and a woman *simultaneously*
          Agendered – you identify as neither as a man, nor a woman
          Genderfluid – sometimes you identify as a man, and sometimes you identify as a woman
          Genderqueer – your gender identity is something outside the binary of man-woman

          The core idea behind all of this, however, is that gender is all about self-identification. You know, kind of like what we call Paganism. So if you say you’re a woman, great! If you say you’re a man, great! If you say that you are neither, both, or something else entirely, great! Your gender is yours alone to decide, no one else’s.

          Further, these terms only matter in the context of gender identity discussion, and they exist for the purpose of description. They’re not about division into camps. They’re not about making you less than what you are. They are about describing what you are more accurately, when it matters to do so. And hey, as with anything descriptive, the map is not the territory — everything is shades of grey.

          So, if your displeasure is that you have been incorrectly labeled as having your physical sex match your gender, that is perfectly understandable. If your displeasure is that the term is inelegant, I can buy that too – just don’t expect someone else to come up with a better one, that’s lazy.

          But if your displeasure is the fact that a term for that *exists at all*, then you are either protesting against the expansion of human understanding of gender identity (a peculiar form of epistemophobia), or you are protesting the fact that anyone whose gender does not match their physical sex is being given an equal (i.e. not abnormal) footing with those whose gender and sex are in alignment (outright bigotry).

    • kenneth

      To your last point, trans-men haven’t put up the same fuss primarily because the men’s ritual groups, so far as I know, have not found it necessary to exclude them. My experience in this area is limited, but I just can’t imagine a men’s mystery group doing an anatomical “loyalty test” or getting hung up on criteria for who is a “real man.” For my part, I would be delighted to welcome a trans-man into any ritual or workshop I hold. Who could have a deeper understanding of the male mysteries than someone who has dedicated a lifetime of struggle to even claim their manhood?
      That’s the real tragedy and absurdity for Z’s group and others like it. Groups which are only for “born” men or women are like a seafaring society of people who have all spent their lives navigating familiar waters in sight of land. Nothing wrong with that, and plenty of wisdom to share, but think about the irony of how they treat trans-folk. Their journeys to gender are every bit the equivalent of Magellan’s voyages and these gender mystery groups are telling them, in effect, they’re not welcome because they can’t know anything about the sea!

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

        There are men-only circles and rituals at several events I attend. I’ve never heard of any of them turning trans men away: indeed, I can state categorically that the circle leaders I know would welcome trans men and would defend their trans brothers against anyone who wanted to exclude them. Not saying that discrimination against trans men doesn’t happen in men’s circles, but it doesn’t seem to be anywhere near as prevalent as among the womyn’s mysteries crew.

        • kenneth

          Who knows, that might be the next big thing in this debate, though I doubt it. Maybe there just aren’t as many trans-men around or around in pagan circles. Maybe such discrimination does happen but just hasn’t caught fire by happening at a high-profile public event.
          I think much of it comes down to the fact that men’s mystery groups don’t tend to define those mysteries in terms of one biological facet of male-ness. At least in the male workings I’ve done, we contemplate many aspects of male archetypes – father, protector, son, hunter, various aspects of the Horned God, etc.
          So fatherhood is part of that, but we’ve never defined ourselves primarily in terms of our ability to impregnate. And outside of things like sweat lodge work, there simply isn’t much of a skyclad tradition. I can’t imagine too many men’s groups, especially ones full of average straight guys, would find a comfort level with a ritual designed to make them show what they’re “packing” to other men before they enter circle!
          The more I think about it, I think the exclusivist tradition in the Dianic world is just the product of past oppression. Every oppressed minority sooner or later adopts radical separatism as a mode of rebellion and survival. It probably serves a useful function for all of them for a time, but sooner or later, they all figure out that it becomes more of a roadblock than a bridge.

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

            > So fatherhood is part of that, but we’ve never
            > defined ourselves primarily in terms of our
            > ability to impregnate. And outside of things
            > like sweat lodge work, there simply isn’t much
            > of a skyclad tradition.

            Well, as a TS man, myself, I think you’ve hit on a major part of it: Men’s mysteries tend to define themselves in all sorts of ways, many of which have been revived from ancient times. If memory serves me, there’s even a Dionysian rite that involves cross-dressing as a way of better understanding His role as a God.

            The fact that women’s mysteries, in their current state, are so obsessed with menstruation and child-bearing is, in my opinion as a mythology and ancient religion buff, a great disservice to the pagan community –and a great disservice to the ancient ways as a whole. Even just with my knowledge of the pantheon of Hellenismos, there are far more “goddess archetypes” than simply “womb with a body attached to it”. Even Aphrodite has a gender-bent form (technically two, though many modern Hellenists consider one of Them a separate deity). Athene is a warrior, and the very definition of Parthenos (often defined in English as “virgin”, its actual ancient meaning is more nuanced and along the lines of “she who cannot be owned by a man”), and the only child She “had” was adopted. Hestia equally unowned, never rearing any children, and yet was considered the very centre of every ancient household. Most of the Muses are equally non-mothers. Artemis’ role in childbirth is as midwife, not as mother, and most of Her mythos portray her a pretty feral. Maybe as a man I’m over-reaching, but seeing as I’m of a tradition with clearly so many types of women portrayed in its pantheon, thus so many possible things for mortal women to aspire to, I see so much more potential to women’s mysteries than simply “a woman’s purpose is to menstruate and bare children”, which always struck me as incredibly sexist; while there is a sacredness to giving birth, there’s also a sacredness to women who pursue other paths that don’t necessitate putting one’s uterus to its intended purpose. Heck, even Hekate, mother of Kirke, is less a “mother goddess” and clearly better known for other pursuits.

          • BlackSphinx

            I keep pressing the like button, but it only went up by one! ;x

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

            @BlackSphinx

            Thanks :) There are so many comments to this post I wish I could “Like” more than once.

          • Anonymous

            I genuinely don’t know how or when that happened. One of the things I liked about Z. Budapest (vs. the other big camp at the time, Jade and RCG-I) is that she saw so many different sides to Goddess, that she accepted the darker goddesses and the idea that sometimes you have to harm to defend yourself. She absolutely embraced goddess-as-virgin (in the “owned by no man” sense rather than the “never been penetrated” sense) and goddess-as-warrior. That’s what I’ve always genuinely loved about the Goddess movement, that it spits in the face of a society that tells women that our bodies are evil, dirty, broken, and sinful by saying that all women– gay, straight, bi, fat, thin, mother, maiden, crone, nurturing, warlike, brown, pale, disabled, abled– are all equally holy.

            There’s a profound beauty, freedom, and emotional resonance to that which I’ve never been able to quite locate in any of the mixed-gender rituals I’ve participated in. While I like what I’m doing now (participating in Heathenry), and I find some of the blots I’ve been to very moving, I still feel there’s something missing. I guess I was spoiled being able to so let down my walls in ritual space.

            That she’d reverse all of that now is just disheartening. That she’d do it to exclude one type of woman and say “not holy” to her is even more disheartening. It’s not what I eagerly devoured in books and zines in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it doesn’t do justice to some of what I’ve led or participated in. That this is the image that people are now left with for all of women’s spirituality is incredibly unfortunate.

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

            @Northern_Light_27
            > …[snipped for length]… That she’d
            > reverse all of that now is just
            > disheartening. That she’d do it to
            > exclude one type of woman and say
            > “not holy” to her is even more
            > disheartening. It’s not what I eagerly
            > devoured in books and zines in the late
            > ’80s and early ’90s, it doesn’t do
            > justice to some of what I’ve led or
            > participated in. That this is the image
            > that people are now left with for all of
            > women’s spirituality is incredibly
            > unfortunate.

            To be fair, it’s been ages since I’ve read any of Ms Budapest’s earlier work, so I can’t say with any certainty if your memories match mine, or what. And as I’ve noted before, as a man of TS history (no matter how many times I flip-flopped on that between the ages of 12 and 25, sometimes out of fear of being seen as woman-hating, sometimes out of a misguided conviction that the only way for any trans person to “do it right” is to adopt a Third Sex identity), all I remember is that there was too much that didn’t resonate with me on some deep level, and so I stopped digging deeper and (as this was my teen years) went on to my own blend of neo-Druidry and Celtic Reconstruction (which I later gave up for LaVey, and which I later gave up for Hellenismos).

            For all I know, you’re right, and there was something deeper and more positive to her earlier work —considering this, that makes her blog and the apparent current state of her beliefs and lineage all the sadder. Of course, Fred Phelps was a Civil Rights lawyer in the 1960s —no shit— and we all see how that turned out.

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

        > To your last point, trans-men haven’t put up the same fuss
        > primarily because the men’s ritual groups, so far as I know,
        > have not found it necessary to exclude them. My
        > experience in this area is limited, but I just can’t imagine a
        > men’s mystery group doing an anatomical “loyalty test” or
        > getting hung up on criteria for who is a “real man.”

        For the most part, this is true. Yeah, there are some men’s groups out there that are rabidly anti-trans, but by and large, most men in the pagan community generally lack a fear of “transgina infiltration”, or whatever. Most pagan men generally accept trans men to be men, just men of a unique male experience and one that can be learned from.

        Now, outside the pagan community is a whole different story, and there can be very real fears (go look up Brandon Teena, as the best-known example), but if you *really* think about it, these are fears that ANY man who doesn’t “measure up” to the notion of “real man” in some obvious way is going to have. The notion that “patriarchy” somehow leaves all men unaffected and unharmed and somehow “on top” of all women is a crock. Seriously, there is no shortage of first-hand accounts of gay men, especially those flamboyantly effete, or those just perceived to be effete, who have been assaulted, raped, even murdered; many trans men are naturally at a higher risk of this. One UK study even shows that some offices will pay men under 5’5″ less than they pay women of the same height; many trans men naturally are at a higher risk of this.

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

        I like your analogy and wish to add your blog to my Google Reader.

    • Katie Berger Tremaine

      Congratulations. You’re defending women’s space from other women, and making phenomenally incorrect scientific claims in the process of doing it. Way to go.

    • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

      I am blown away by the blatant sexism in your post.

      You wrote: “Those trans-women who insist, nay, DEMAND, that they be included in women only rituals are being men in the sense that their way is the only way to go.”

      Really? Really? Because I’ve never met a woman who thought her way was the only way to go. Heck, I’ve met lots of men like that too, but certainly no more men than I have women. I do not believe that either gender has a corner on the market of domineering behavior and your blatant stereotyping is really not helping your cause or Z’s. If anyone, man or woman, said, “yeah, it’s just like a woman to …” or, “yeah, typical broad,” you’d be crying–no, screaming–foul.

      There is another issue here beyond just the rights of trans-women. This constant denigration of men in general is just sickening and other people may tiptoe around it but, well, I’m not other people. I’ve met abusive men in my day and I’ve met abusive women as well. Why do some of you on this thread have to frame everything in terms of the value of women versus men? It’s just plain pedestrian.

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

        > Really? Really? Because I’ve never met a woman who
        > thought her way was the only way to go. Heck, I’ve met
        > lots of men like that too, but certainly no more men than I
        > have women.

        Think about it: By the very logic she posits, Zsuzsanna Budapest is clearly a man. Stubborn? Outspoken? “My way or the highway” attitude? I mean, clearly “Ms” Budapest is a man! You’re right, the blatant sexism in her post (and not to mention perverse double-standards) is just flabbergasting.

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

        If I’m reading these Z-supporters right, a woman’s identity is all about having a warm wet hole between her legs from whence she can squeeze out offspring. I’m not quite sure how this is an improvement from the patriarchal view that a woman’s place is in the home and that she has value only as a mother and an object of male sexual desire. But then, I suppose that’s just a sign I am part of the Unenlightened Patriarchy.

        • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

          I’m glad you noticed this. What do they say to the idea that some women can’t have children? Some women have never had a period? Will they say that this was always a potentiality or ideal? That would certainly be in step with religious right arguments that marriage is only between a man and a woman because the potentiality or idea is having children even if there are aberrations where this doesn’t happen. The arguments are already starting to sound similar.

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

            > The arguments are already starting to sound
            > similar.

            Absolutely.

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

          Yes, this occurred to me, as well. Seriously, might as well have Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh in here telling any woman who cannot or simply chooses not to bake him a pie and squeeze out his larvae that she’s some kind of Nazi bent on “destroying freedom”. If you’re really a woman, you’ll sit down, shut up, and make babies —or the terrorists will win!

          …but hey, here it’s under the guise of “Goddess worship”, so that makes it OK!

          Seriously, though, I have absolutely no problem with any woman who CHOOSES that life, uncoerced and of her own free will. I recognise that there can be a sacredness to that path, but the Budapestian Dianics here are not presenting that as A choice, they’re making it look like it’s THE ONLY choice any woman should have, lest she risk being seen as less of a woman or even subhuman. As a hard polytheist, I see all sorts of Goddesses in addition to a Great Mother, and thus I see any path a woman (or man) chooses as having sacred potential. In theory, I have no problem with Budapest’s Dianic Cult of Womb, but I have a problem with her and her cadre using that cult to shame other women who don’t choose that path. I say this as a man who has all sorts of women as friends, mothers, chaste librarians, artists, warriors. Neither mother nor non-mother deserves the level of woman-hating I see from Budapest’s lineage.

          • Anonymous

            I agree with the rest, but hold on here on the equating Z Budapest with Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich. Yes, what she’s saying is hurtful, and yes, she has privilege as a cis woman over trans women.

            But Z Budapest is not privileged over rich, straight, cis white men. Z Budapest is not capable of enshrining discrimination into law. And Z Budapest did, at a time when it plain wasn’t being otherwise done, stand up for the sacredness of women, women’s bodies, and women’s role in saying “fuck that” to patriarchal, Abrahamic religions and setting forth our own religion. She did that when it wasn’t popular, and at the cost of a lot of discrimination and even police harassment (against her as a diviner). She has done a lot of things since that make me want to bean my head against a wall, but please don’t disparage– especially as you’re a man– the importance she’s had w/r/t feminist religion as a whole.

            I would never tell you that you don’t have a place in this conversation, as you’re trans, but I would like to say “oh, please” to the cis men wailing about how those mean feminists are anti-male. Gosh, wonder why that might be. Funny, I don’t hear Rush Limbaugh calling *them* sluts for having the temerity to speak in a public hearing.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            So are you saying that all men should have to pay the price for what people like Rush Limbaugh say? That’s just ludicrous, but yet that’s how most of these missives have been coming across. Rush Limbaugh is responsible for Rush Limbaugh, I’m responsible for me, and you’re responsible for you. In a world where decision makers in the media, male and female alike, create templated images of men and women, do you really want to be a cardboard cutout of what you define as woman? Frankly, I see no difference between Z. Budapest and Rush Limbaugh. This is a woman who I personally heard say that sex between a man and a woman is rape. Frankly, were it not for their politics, I’m sure the two of them would get along great.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            And, as for telling people that somehow, as a man, someone shouldn’t be weighing in, well, you have the right to request that and this is one man that will simply ignore that as the presumptuous request that it is. If you don’t like the men weighing in, then scroll past us. I’m sure that won’t be too hard.

            What Z. said about transgendered (and, frankly, women doctors) may not have been quite as crass as Mr. Limbaugh’s insults, but they were most certainly just as vicious.

            When some of you (and yes, more than one of you has) paint all men with broad brushes of “patriarchy” and oppression using rehearsed rhetoric and extreme talking points, it makes it terribly easy to dismiss you as the extreme fringe. Perhaps that’s what some of you want, but it isn’t going to push the needle of your cause forward one bit. Horrid as Limbaugh is, he doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If there’s anything I’ve learned in this life, it’s that folks are like pendulums. When one choice appears bad to them, they often careen to the other end. Some of the invective of the extreme feminists is so toxic and hostile that it gives idiots like Limbaugh an audience of those seeking the other extreme in reaction to it. Happy medium, folks. Try it sometime.

            Lumping all men together in some evil cabal, as Z’s words in particular have continued to do, is no way to actually convince anyone of the value of her cause.

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

            I agree, it’s not a perfect analogy, but I don’t think it has to be to illustrate how damaging that sort of speech can be. I think there’s a pretty broad range of workable analogies before falling into reductio ad absurdum territory. I agree that there’s a huge difference between Zsuzsanna Budapest and Rush Limbaugh, and contextually the nuances even make their very similar words technically different, but I think Ms Budapest’s recent rants and raves about motherhood being the only sacred path for women to be, effectively, just as damaging as Limbaugh (incorrectly) claiming that HBC availability is all about encouraging women to be prostitutes. Sure, the context of that damage is different, but I think it may very well be of equal measure, and that it shares a lot of overlap, ideologically.

            You don’t have to agree with me on this, but I just figured I’d explain why I thought the analogy worked, because you certainly made me think about what caused me to make it in the first place.

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

            @Christian Day
            > So are you saying that all men should
            > have to pay the price for what people
            > like Rush Limbaugh say?

            I don’t see how Northern_Light_27 said that at all. Furthermore, we don’t live in little bubbles where our words and actions are always treated individually, and if you think that, you’re probably in a position of relative potential privilege. Yes, the Second Wave model of “patriarchy” as a theory of power is flawed, that’s why well-informed Third Wave feminists reject that for intersectionality of potential power and kyriarchy as a theory of societal power.

            > And, as for telling people that
            > somehow, as a man, someone shouldn’t
            > be weighing in…

            I don’t think anybody here, and I know that Northern_Lights_27 never said that. But if you think that, as an ostensibly cisgender man, that what you say in a convo about trans women in women’s spirituality has as much weight as any woman’s cis or trans, then you’d be mistaken. Hell, as a trans man, I admit that my say isn’t going to be as much as that of a woman, so I think about how I’m going to say things and *not* make it look like I’m trying to be authoritative over the women in the thread —and believe me, my TS status has nothing to do with my ability to do that, I can only do it as well as I do now (and I still need some work, I’m sure) after four years of actively trying to be better about that.

    • WhiteBirch

      “Trans-women can be men when they choose to be. When it is advantageous to be so. I don’t have that luxury. I will always be looked at as a woman. I will always carry a woman’s name.”

      From the (admittedly limited) acquaintance I have with trans folk, it seems to me less that they can present as whatever gender is “convenient,” but that they’re rarely accepted as either women OR men, biology and self identification be damned.

      • kenneth

        It’s also a foolish statement to anyone who knows how gender transition works. Once a MTF person starts the transition process and gets hormone and/or surgically induced breasts and feminine proportions, that pretty well kills the “luxury” of passing as men!

        • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

          I’m glad somebody said that.

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

          Yes. Also: Trans women experience a reduction in bone density, reduction in muscle mass, widening of the pelvis, softening and clearing of the skin, and (mosre often than not, age depending) a cessation and reversal of baldness. Things like a brow ridge and Adam’s apple prominence can be fixed surgically, but the latter doesn’t need to be —sometimes androgen blockers will reel it in, sometimes it can simply be “trained down” with certain exercises or home-made devices.

          Trans men? Well, we get denser skeletons, the “manly Neandertal brow-ridge” (one guy in my own TS/TG group in Ann Arbor can serve a dinner for twelve on his brow ridge), prominence of the Adam’s apple, a narrowing of the pelvis, broadening of the rib-cage, all the fat shifts out of the limbs, hips, buttocks and chest and sits in the middle, mammary tissue reduces, the acne never ends, greasy hair (and greasy smile, o Lord this must be my destination), and (often, though at a lesser rate than with cis men –like, 25% rather than 47%) male-pattern baldness. Seriously, I lost a lot of weight in my first six months of HRT, but gained most of it back when my bones got heavier over the following year (and not “bigger” or “thicker”, I still have a “medium” bone-structure for my size, according to my doctor, my skeleton is just very dense for its size, now).

          • Scott

            On top of everything else, props for the John Mellencamp reference!

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

            Hey, anybody who threatened Ronald Reagan with a lawsuit (over his 1984 campaign’s unauthorised use of “Pink Houses”; the fact that Mellencamp has always been anti-Republican just made it better for him) deserves to be quoted!

    • http://twitter.com/whitestagforest Aine Llewellyn

      Something I’ve always wanted to do to people who /demand/ to misgender others is to misgender that person –

      Congrats, you are now a man!

      • J. Dawn

        Reading all of these posts was exhausting and disheartening. Labels being thrown everywhere. People just wanting to be accepted as people. Snide, sarcastic comments when clearly it was asked that conversations be kept civil. Right vs. Wrong. You vs. Me. Us vs. Them. I don’t want to be labeled anymore than anyone else does but at the same time isn’t that exactly what we do ALL the time- label ourselves. When it’s self-labeling we all seem to be just fine but when someone else moves in to try and define us with their definition all hell breaks loose. And rightfully so sometimes. At the end of the day I am a genetically born woman who doesn’t yet identify with the word cis-woman, Dianic witch, who does not necessarily “follow” Z Budapest and I happen to practice in genetic born women only circles. I am not opposed to circling with all types of self-identified women and I prefer to do my deep spiritual work with genetic born women. I don’t feel like a separatist per se and I definitely don’t feel like a bigot. If you knew me you would be hard pressed to call me a bigot I think. I feel so very open minded and live my life teaching that to my children and trying to walk that open path. Me wanting to practice with a specific group of people I don’t think makes me a “second generation feminist” or whatever other label has been thrown around. Someone earlier posted that they could learn our blood mysteries through others and disagree. There is no way to teach that which you cannot experience. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way but in the same way that no matter how much I read about men’s experiences will I have truly “know” a man’s experience. I truly find it impossible. In the same way I find it impossible to know any other person’s experience because I am literally not them. As a woman I have lived my life with the constant reminder that I am less than, different, stupid, unworthy, manipulative, etc… I have been paid less, stalked by crazy lovers, raped, ogled in public, humiliated. So I am so very used to being told that I am not allowed to exist the way I WANT to exist. And that’s exactly how this argument feels to me. Yet again I am told that I am not ok, wrong, bigoted, hateful, uneducated, less than, antiquated and unaccommodating because I want to practice with a certain group of people that I identify with.
        I see transgendered people as who they identify as- men or woman and I acknowledge their self identification and yet I don’t think we are the same and that’s ok. I know it’s not to you clearly but I don’t need us to be the same- you do. Why can’t we be women together on a parallel path that sometimes intersects and sometimes doesn’t based on our inherent differences. Why is it so bad to be different? I DO NOT support how the world at large mistreats you or anybody that is no treated with respect. It frankly sucks because I have been on the receiving end of misinterpretation.
        I would love if this whole dialogue could continue without sarcasm and snarcky remarks though. It really dilutes and diminishes a very important dialogue and belittles our intelligence regardless of our viewpoints. And yes, I do believe that Z used very unkind words and stuck her foot in her mouth but such is the way sometimes when the universe is ready to move forward and we are not. From the many Dianics that I know I do not know one that would defend who choice of words. To lump us all together under once proverbial Z umbrella is to lump all TG people under an umbrella or ALL of anything under an umbrella. I can’t believe in your hearts that anyone actually believes that.

        • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

          J. Dawn, I don’t think you understood what was meant by the blood mysteries comment.

          Cedarcat wrote: “Such people will NEVER experience the sacred blood mysteries, nor the giving of new life and the nurture and nourishment of a child with their own bodies.”

          And someone replied that they would learn them from someone who wasn’t rooted in such separatism. If they are not learnable by people outside of that group at all, then it would logically render Cedercat’s original point entirely moot anyway. :)

        • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

          And frankly, as quite possibly the most sarcastic person here, I think I prefer that to the rampant anti-male abuse on here. You know, I don’t see the men on here spewing their abuse stories in some desperate attempt to score a cheap point or two. I’ve seen plenty of abuse in my life and so have many men I know, and a lot of it at the hands of women. Never once do we use that as a scorecard in a battle of the sexes because it’s just ridiculous. To measure all men against one’s rapist or abuser is just another way to shut down debate and, thankfully, I think most folks are wise to that tactic.

          • J. Dawn

            Wow. That’s out of left field for me. I wasn’t trying to score points nor do I hate men or feel my post attacked men individually. I was speaking to my experience as a women living in a patriarchal society. One that also understands discrimination and violence. No points for that. I don’t want to live in a homogenized society. I like our diversity. Please don’t interpret my posts under your definitions and write them as facts. I’ld appreciate you check in with me first before you suppose a position for me. I experience your reply to me as needlessly inflammatory for no reason. I could be wrong but that’s how it felt.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            J. Dawn, yours was one of several that kept using past violent experiences with men as a justification for this policy of exclusion of transgendered people and it just comes across as so over the top. As a person who has experienced abuse, I know it doesn’t feel great, but I wish you could see how it comes across when that comes out in every other person’s defense of this.

          • Guest

            Christian Day, perhaps look at her writing as from hir individual viewpoint.
            The borg isn’t here, yet.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            Guest wrote: “Christian Day, perhaps look at her writing as from hir individual viewpoint. The borg isn’t here, yet.”

            You could have fooled me.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1183329613 Joseph Max

          @J. Dawn: “I am not opposed to circling with all types of self-identified women and I prefer to do my deep spiritual work with genetic born women.”

          No one is telling you not to! Circle with whoever you want and exclude whoever you want.

          Just about every objection raised by Dianics in this thread (and others) seems to come off like the Pagan community at-large is demanding that all Dianic covens admit trans-women as members. This discussion is ONLY about P-Con policy, and I don’t think the P-Con programming department has jurisdiction over your own private circle, which I assume meets more often than 3 days a year and not in the Doubletree Hotel.

          For various reasons, there are some activities that are not allowed at P-Con. I wish I could burn candles and incense, but I can’t. Those things are very central to my magical practice, but I have to make accommodations and work around the restriction.

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

          “As a woman I have lived my life with the constant reminder that I am less than, different, stupid, unworthy, manipulative, etc… I have been paid less, stalked by crazy lovers, raped, ogled in public, humiliated. So I am so very used to being told that I am not allowed to exist the way I WANT to exist. And that’s exactly how this argument feels to me. Yet again I am told that I am not ok, wrong, bigoted, hateful, uneducated, less than, antiquated and unaccommodating because I want to practice with a certain group of people that I identify with.”

          Very well stated. Thank you for expressing this so well. I agree with you and others in this thread that this policy making and drama appear to be just another way of controlling women: their identity, their boundaries, and their spiritual freedom.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            “As a woman I have lived my life with the constant reminder that I am less than, different, stupid, unworthy, manipulative, etc… I have been paid less, stalked by crazy lovers, raped, ogled in public, humiliated. So I am so very used to being told that I am not allowed to exist the way I WANT to exist.”

            Maybe this is because it’s 6:30 AM but this is really bothering me. The arrogance of assumption that these are experiences trans women don’t share. The arrogance of assumption that trans women have some kind of unique “out” from misogynist body shaming.

            Look up “bathroom panic” and tell me with a straight face that trans women’s bodies aren’t degraded and policed. Listen to the stories of MANY trans women and tell me that trans women are not raped. Watch the video of Chrissy Polis being beaten into a seizure by two cis women for trying to use a public restroom, and tell me that trans women aren’t attacked. Live in my skin for an HOUR and tell me that trans women aren’t ogled or humiliated in public.

            By the way, that little “grab the crotch to see if you’re talking to a woman” thing that some people like to think they’re entitled to? That’s sexual harassment. Quit it. Next person who does it is getting a drink in the face.

            “I prefer to do my deep spiritual work with genetic born women. I don’t feel like a separatist per se and I definitely don’t feel like a bigot.”

            That you have that choice? That’s privilege. You live near enough other Pagan women to be able to circle with all cissexual women (I’m sorry, I’m not using “genetic” because unless you’ve done karyotypes on all of your coven members, that’s not something you know), and presumably turn away any women who aren’t. Guess what – I know four Pagan trans women in my area, myself included, two of whom are solitaries and one of whom practices a radically different tradition than I do, which I am not culturally part of. Circling with only other trans women is not an option I have open to me. If I want to do work with other women, I HAVE to seek out women’s circles that allow all kinds of women, not just those who pretend that real women are the kind that bleed and fake women are the kind that don’t.

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

            Katie, judging from the free time you have to reply to nearly every single post in this long discussion, you appear to enjoy as much “privilege” as anyone else taking part in the discussion.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Mary, did you see a single word in my response other than “privilege?” Did any of it tweak any sort of response at all? Did you see me expand that particular thought, rather than leaving it at “privilege”?

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

            Katie, perhaps it’s hypocritical to talk about other people’s “privilege” without also acknowledging your own. I imagine you do enjoy more privilege than most of the world’s population.

          • Cigfran

            Yes, yes… World Hunger is totally germane to the present discussion. As is Nuclear Power, Globalization, Climate Change and the Death of the Reefs.

            Do the horde of “guests” know how to do anything but derail?

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Mary, my privilege relative to a poor woman in Sub-Saharan Africa or a factory worker in China is not relevant at all to the conversation. We are talking about relative privilege between two white, middle-class Pagan women in the United States.

          • Amadea

            Those circles exist. CAYA had them even before their change in policy.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Great, now engage the rest of my comment instead of just sniping at the easy target on the end?

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            LOL. Really? Somehow, I think if I ever decide to lob off my breasts, cut off my penis, and try to find some fabulous Cavalli dresses and Jimmy Choo shoes in my size, it’s not going to be so I can force my way into “womyn’s” safespace and control their identities. Do you read this stuff before you write it? Do you really think that’s the motivation here? Really???

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

            Infiltrating Dianic spaces would make your shopping a lot easier. Instead of looking for Cavalli and Jimmy Choo you could just buy your wardrobe at your local Army/Navy ;)

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            *snickersnort*

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

            > Somehow, I think if I ever decide to lob
            > off my breasts, cut off my penis,

            Buh?

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            I was being dramatic for effect. ;-D

          • Amadea

            This is respectful dialogue?  I think I put this in the category of the person who wrote about women’s “wet holes.”  I guess I define respectful a lot differently than those posting on here.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            It’s because your arguments are ridiculous across the board. If you told me space aliens were floating around your room right now pouring you martinis, I would probably have responded about the same. 

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

             @christianday:disqus

            I was being dramatic for effect. ;-D

            I get that.  I just seldom see a man admit he has breasts.  Even more rarely do I see him think they’d be a disadvantage toward passing as a woman.

            …now, maybe if he removed one he could pass for an Amazon…

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            Oy. Now I get it. Color me dumb on that one. Talk about mixed metaphors! I don’t have moobs! LOL

          • Cigfran

             @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus

            >This is respectful dialogue?

            No, this is the normal flow of conversation in the real world.

            This isn’t one of your closed encounter groups, you know.

        • Guest

          J. Dawn, you aren’t a prejudiced bigot only because you don’t like being called insults from Usenet that don’t feel right or appropriate.
          You’re human and individual and should be treated that way, and people who refuse to do that are _____ who should go out of paganism and stay in a faith where there are again two camps to make their life easy – one on the side that is going to heaven, and one side going to hell. They’ll never like us.
          Because some of us KNOW of a rainbow, and shades, not just b/w.

          I stand for your rights.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            If you want another word that does the same thing, make it up. But don’t expect me or ANYONE to accept that a “real woman-trans woman” binary exists – that ship has sailed and it ain’t coming back.

          • Guest

            Anybody paying attention thinks there are more gender variances than those, than two. You dont have to convince me cis and trans suggests a binary that does not exist.

          • Cigfran

            I love how our “Guest” has managed to derail the entire issue into hir manufactured concern over the cis/trans prefixes, which sie has so thoroughly drilled into the ground.

            It’s like playing bridge with someone who only ever holds one card and they’re really damn sure it’s trumps.

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

            After Z Budapest admitted to posting the original hateful comment, s/h/it could no longer derail conversation with “Nobody has proven that Z posted that.” So of course s/h/it had to find a new way of obfuscating the issue, this one being “OMG when you say I am cis- you is OPPRESSING ME!!!!”

          • Guest

            “Kenz” all you HAVE is name-calling and insults, so of COURSE you defend using terms nobody likes.

            Desiree holds her nose at “trans” which make ME (someone who wasn’t raised in a barn) look to prefer calling her something else.. I just simply say don’t call me “cis” and you LOSE YOUR MIND

          • Guest

            You prefer the pronoun s/h/it. But don’t call me what I haven’t asked to be called or YOU ARE TRYING TO OPPRESS ME. because INSULTS and dehumanization ARE the tactic of the bully.
            It’s fact.

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

            s/h/it said

            Desiree holds her nose at “trans” which make ME (someone who wasn’t raised in a barn) look to prefer calling her something else.. I just simply say don’t call me “cis” and you LOSE YOUR MIND

            You mean the same Desiree who said this?

            More to the point, “trans” and “cis” are clinical/scientific terms comparable to “homosexual” and “heterosexual”. While slang terms equivalent to “gay” and “straight” are likely to evolve in the future and become the preferred terms in social contexts, “trans” and “cis” will almost certainly remain the preferred terms in technical contexts.

            Those who complain about “cis” without suggesting alternative terms which do not imply that trans women are less real than cis women are clearly arguing from a position of trying to keep their privilege. As such, those arguments should be dismissed.

            Or this?

            As a trans woman of color raised in a multicultural environment, I’m going to point out that the childhood experiences of a white trans woman and a white cis women are in so many ways more similar to each other than either of them is to me. From where I stand as a woman of color, the idea that all cis women share a unique set of life experiences is very plainly based on grossly overgeneralizing the experiences of white Western women and assuming that cis women in other cultures must inherently share them. THIS. IS. NOT. TRUE.

            But do keep on with your efforts to derail the conversation by endless screeds about the use of “cis-” do deep emotional damage to your anonymous posting identity. After all, you no longer have the “WE CANNOT PROVE IN A COURT OF LAW THAT Z POSTED THAT HATE SCREED, THAT BLOG WAS DODGY AND MAYBE HACKER X DID IT FOR THE PATRIARCHY” line to fall back on now that Fearless Leader has confessed to posting it. So this is about the best you can do.

        • Amadea

          I wish others on this blog would be as respectful and heartfelt as you have been — especially as you spoke with vulnerability from your own experience. (I know that some transwomen do not like the term “genetic women,” and we may need to dialogue more about what to call ourselves. But I do think our name should come from us, not others.) Still, I am very sorry to see the vitriol coming at you when you made such a sensitive attempt to foster understanding. Where are the transwomen and their supporters who can engage in dialogue that is respectful? I’m not seeing that, not even in response to a post like yours that clearly was an effort in that direction.

          • Cigfran

            > Where are the transwomen and their supporters who can engage in dialogue that is respectful?

            For the most part, the trans participants have been exceptionally forthright, substantive and comprehensive in their remarks… as any minority group has to be when faced with the endless interrogations, straw men and demands for education which must be addressed while risking the almost inevitable “tone argument.” Oversharing is not the point here… getting something accomplished in the face of prejudice and belligerence is.

            > But I do think our name should come from us, not others.

            I welcome, truly, any term for ‘non-trans woman’ that doesn’t equate to ‘real woman.’

          • Amadea

            There are many sexual identifications, and I think binary terms are not helpful. I think we need many terms to identify us all. I saw something to that effect somewhere on this comment board. I like “female-born” woman to identify me and some others. “Female” is a species neutral term. I don’t think it connotes “real” vs. “unreal.” Personally, I think “transwoman” is just as problematic as “cis-women.” It connotes always being in transition or somehow being misaligned. Surely there is a better name that identifies that type of women without those overtones. But however you want to be identified is up to you.

          • Cigfran

            @Amadea:

            “Female-born” is just “woman-born-woman,” which is toxic in this context.

            The neutral version of what you’re suggesting is actually “Female Assigned at Birth” (FAAB)… which actually is in use among more current activists and educators.

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

            > For the most part, the trans
            > participants have been exceptionally
            > forthright, substantive and
            > comprehensive in their remarks… as
            > any minority group has to be when
            > faced with the endless interrogations,
            > straw men and demands for education
            > which must be addressed while risking
            > the almost inevitable “tone argument.”
            > Oversharing is not the point here…
            > getting something accomplished in the
            > face of prejudice and belligerence is.

            Yes, all of this. And seriously now, the place for emotionally charged life stories? Not here; get a blog. I even have some DreamWidth codes I can share. The only reason to overshare like that in the comments is in hopes of emotionally manipulating the argument to one’s own side —and those on society’s margins can see right through that, it’s been happening in some form or another for centuries.

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

            @Amadea
            > I like “female-born” woman to identify
            > me and some others. “Female” is a
            > species neutral term. I don’t think it
            > connotes “real” vs. “unreal.”

            Except that, outside biology-field jargon, and even that is changing, it kind of does. It also ignores the fact that there is a growing pile of evidence that trans women (and, similarly, trans men) have a brain easily described as “female” (or “male”), and that trans people were born with these brains structured in this way. How does that not make trans women, in some way, female-born?

            It’s things like this that make it apparent that cis- and trans- are sufficient designations, at least for the time being.

            > It connotes always being in transition
            > or somehow being misaligned.

            Not really. It’s derived from Latin, where “trans” means “on that side” (ex: “Transylvania” = “on that side of the forest”); “cis” is also Latin-derived, meaning “on this side”. On the other hand, many trans people will always be marginalised for all sorts of reasons that may or may not be directly related to being TS/TG (as a quick example, I haven’t a doubt in my mind that if I was even AMAB, I’d still be very short —the tallest man in my family was 5’7″, and my father died at 5’4½”).

          • Amadea

            @ Ruadhan J McElroy “Yes, all of this. And seriously now, the place for emotionally charged life stories? Not here; get a blog. I even have some DreamWidth codes I can share. The only reason to overshare like that in the comments is in hopes of emotionally manipulating the argument to one’s own side —and those on society’s margins can see right through that, it’s been happening in some form or another for centuries.”  Ruadhan: This comment was especially hurtful to me and totally mischaracterized the reason for my story — and any stories.  In the Dianic tradition, we often use stories to work toward understanding.  Also, it is widely acknowledged in communication literature that narratives from experience are often a better way to dialogue than disembodied arguments. It is profoundly disheartening to me than you could attack even that.

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

            @Amadea:twitter

            Ruadhan: This comment was especially hurtful to me and totally mischaracterized the reason for my story — and any stories.  In the
            Dianic tradition, we often use stories to work toward understanding.
             Also, it is widely acknowledged in communication literature that
            narratives from experience are often a better way to dialogue than
            disembodied arguments. It is profoundly disheartening to me than you
            could attack even that.

            Clearly, there are very few people in this thread of your tradition, and so that’s not something that you should assume is going to be readily understood and accepted across the board.  I’m sure that works great in your own tradition, but that’s really not a common practise amongst all pagans outside certain closed environments, which this is not.

            Personal narratives are also a well-documented form of not only persuasive but manipulative rhetoric.  It’s swayed legal cases since the ancient Greeks, and even now, not necessarily from “better understanding”, but because emotions have been skilfully played to the advantage of a particular party.

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

            > (I know that some transwomen do not like the
            > term “genetic women,” and we may need to
            > dialogue more about what to call ourselves.
            > But I do think our name should come from us,
            > not others.)

            You are aware that transgender people didn’t think up that term, right?

            > Where are the transwomen and their
            > supporters who can engage in dialogue that is
            > respectful?

            Funny, cos as one of those supporters of trans women, I see plenty of that.

      • Guest

        I bet she never heard that one before, having been a radical lesbian feminist for a long time. :(

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

          Considering that “Ms” Budapest clearly forgotten this, I don’t see your point.

          Oh, that’s right, your point is to troll. My bad.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            Yeah, I’m sorta over the whole guest thing, especially since there seems to be more than one of them and of differing views. It just makes the conversation harder to follow and it’s not like he or she can’t at least create a fake screen name that makes her positions easily identifiable? Why intentionally obfuscate your position? Heck, I always use my name, the name I was born with no less. If I’m going to be loved or hated for my views, I wanna get the credit.

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

            > If I’m going to be loved or hated for my
            > views, I wanna get the credit.

            I’m with you, but I’m not completely sure there is even more than one “guest”; I’m open to that, but I’m also open to the notion that there may just be one with a lot of time on s/h/its hands and truly dedicated to sowing discord.

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

      > Those trans-women who insist, nay, DEMAND, that they be
      > included in women only rituals are being men in the sense that
      > their way is the only way to go.

      Well, that settles it, then: Any woman demanding things her way, refusing to budge on anything she doesn’t feel like —she’s being a man. Kleopatra? Man! Susan B Anthony? Man! Martha Stewart? Man! Brenda Howard? Man! Mary Daly? Man! Zsuzsanna Budapest? Man!

      Wanting things your way = man; you said it, not me. Good thing we’re clear on that, now.

      > Trans-women are still men in terms of chromosomes and skeletal
      > build. When their bodies die and decay and their bones are found,
      > they will be identified as MALE. DNA will reveal them to be MALE. I
      > understand that their spirit is female, but they will still be MEN.
      > Same with women who identify as men.

      LOL You clearly don’t understand a thing about TS anatomy. Nice piece of unintentional comedy, though. Do you know what androgen blockers do to the skeletal system? What testosterone does? ROFL, seriously, keep yapping like you think you know any real-life trans people.

      > And one last thing before I go. Why don’t self-identified men (aka
      > trans-men) demand that they be included in the men-only rituals?
      > Because they have be raised as women and therefore don’t go
      > pushing in where they are not meant to be.

      If you don’t see it, then it’s cos you’re not paying attention. And sorry, but you’re wrong —I demand PLENTY, when I have to. I push my way in when I have to. And how I was raised had no effect on my manners, because I never assumed any lessons of “ladies do / don’t do that” ever applied to me. But hey, just sit back and convince yourself that you know more about me and my life than I do, and keep talking about it like you are now, too; you’re fupping hilarious with how much you don’t realise you don’t know.

      But in the case of Pantheacon and men-only rit? Look up the 2012 program guide, the men-only rits were plenty open to trans men, so there’s no need to demand something that’s freely given.

      • Guest

        I’ve been around long enough to remember a furor over trans exclusion in some Male Mysteries circles. Local-ish situation, not nationally noticed, where Pantheacon gets national notice.
        It was some years ago, though, and that’s been worked out. But no, males aren’t above the same behaviour at all.

      • A.C. Fisher Aldag

        DNA does NOT always reveal what gender someone is. Some people with male-appearing bodies have female chromosomes, and vice-versa. And some have XXY, or fragile X, or… the list goes on.

        Cripes, are we gonna discriminate now based on hormones and DNA? Really? Okay, I refuse to hire any diabetics and give insurance to anyone whose ancestors come from Eastern Europe and allow anyone housing whose ancestor committed a felony.

        • Anonymous

          dammit, AC, if I was diabetic, I’d have all three strikes against me :(

          (I know you’re just kidding, its all good).

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

          Yep.

    • Cigfran

      > Trans-women can be men when they choose to be.

      I think you have trans women confused with part-time heterosexual crossdressers.

      • Katie Berger Tremaine

        That’s been obvious for a while.

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

        And don’t forget Drag Queens! Can’t leave out cross dressing for the sake of art!

      • Amadea

        Cigfran: There are some trans women who choose where to be male and where to be female. There are trans men who chose venues for male or female identity, too. Your above post seems to want to place them in a different category. This exchange shows how necessary dialogue with real understanding is.

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

          And there are a great number of trans people who live full time as their gender rather than “choos[ing] venues.” The fact that you refuse to acknowledge this suggests you are more interested in justifying your prejudice than in having any kind of a dialogue with the trans people and trans allies on this board.

          Luckily for you, you needn’t worry about having a dialogue with anyone save your Dianic sisters. We have no interest in integrating your private rituals and no mechanism by which we could do so even if we did. What we consider appropriate for open events is another matter: it appears that the consensus of opinion is that you don’t get to exclude trans women from open “womyn only” rituals at PCon and need to take that to private space.

          Once you reframe the conversation back there, where it belongs, your efforts at justification and “communication” become unnecessary and in fact appear to be privileged whining about how you don’t get a gold star for your controversial and frankly offensive to many views on who is or is not a real woman. No one is suppressing your private rituals – we’re just not interested in promoting them at open events we support with our money and time.

          • Amadea

            I didn’t “refuse to acknowledge” that. I was pointing out that there didn’t seem to be an acknowledgment of the venue-changing transpeople in the conversation here. The issue of whether women-identified persons who have not transitioned physically present a different issue than those who have is a topic of much needed discussion. That was my point. Of course, I know that there are many transwomen who are always women in every venue, as there are transmen who are always men in every venue. Please do not attribute views (or ignorances) to me that I do not hold and that nothing in my posts could have reasonably been interpreted to mean. Thank you in advance for that.

          • Cigfran

            > I was pointing out that there didn’t seem to be an acknowledgment of the venue-changing transpeople in the conversation here.

            So what? The flat assertion was this:

            “Trans-women can be men when they choose to be.”

            And that was presented without qualification, inferring that trans people as a class adopt gender like clothing for the sake of “advantage” and “luxury.”

            It’s hard to have a “dialogue with real understanding” with someone who can’t keep the referents straight.

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

          > There are some trans women who choose where to
          > be male and where to be female.

          [citation needed]

          Pro-tip: Early stages of transitioning don’t count. A trans woman occasionally deciding to “pass for male” at work, where she gets her medical insurance she cannot risk losing, before finally coming out on the job doesn’t count. A trans man with breasts too big to bind and using the Ladies’ latrine at Applebee’s doesn’t count. Think of it like being a lesbian and avoiding talk of your “girlfriend” in favour of talking about your “partner” in situations that might be hostile.

          > Your above post seems to want to place them in a
          > different category.

          Bigender people are in a different category. CD fetishists are in a different category. I could go on. Do they share some concerns with TS people (the “trans people” this conversation is overwhelmingly concerned with)? Sure, but so do ANY gender nonconformists, including a lot of lesbian women and gay men, including some heterosexuals. Sharing some socio-political concerns doesn’t necessarily make two people exactly the same thing.

          • Amadea

            Right.  That’s why I said that we need more engaged dialogue and not speak as though there is one transwoman category we are talking about or even one female born/identified at birth/designated at birth woman category.  Those binaries don’t aid the dialogue.

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

            @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus

            and not speak as though there is one transwoman category we are talking
            about or even one female born/identified at birth/designated at birth
            woman category.  Those binaries don’t aid the dialogue.

            Except for the fact that, for the purposes of this thread, it’s to be assumed that there is only one category of immediate concern, because they’re the category most-hurt by across-the-board TS/TG exclusion.

            No TS/TG person here, nor even their supporters has ever said that there is only one way to be trans, or has made any of the across-the-board, and not to mention obscenely inaccurtate statements that some Dianics have made here.

            But hey, apparently in your tradition, derailment and building strawmen leads to “understanding”.

    • Anonymous

      Momma Cat wrote:
      Trans-women are still men in terms of chromosomes and skeletal build. When their bodies die and decay and their bones are found, they will be identified as MALE. DNA will reveal them to be MALE. I understand that their spirit is female, but they will still be MEN. Same with women who identify as men.

      lol. I bet they’ll be awful confused by XY -androgen insensitive female skeletons, or with mine, as an XXY male…

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

        Well, the reality is that TS skeletons (and I specify TS as opposed to the umbrella-term of TG because the typical TS experience usually involves HRT), to hypothetical future archaeologists, will look and weight more like one’s transitioned-to sex/gender than they would the transitioned-from sex.

        Archaeologists and anthrolopogists, in sexing skeletons, look for three things, in order (and assuming a minimum of mostly-complete skeleton): pelvis shape, skull brow ridge, and then bone density. A trans man’s or woman’s pelvis often reshapes on long-term HRT, and maybe in a lot of cases, there’s a pelvis shape unique to trans men and trans women, but after, say, five or ten years on HRT, it will no longer look, respectively, like a typical woman’s or man’s pelvis. While trans women don’t typically lose a brow prominence, and trans men gain it, and yes, a surgically shaved brow-ridge will be apparent to any skilled archaeologist, that then moves on to bone density. If the bones have a low density for their size, the subject will be judged a woman, if a high density for their size, they’ll be judged a man. *At most* trans women and men will be judged by Hypothetical Future Archaeologists to be, respectively, women and men with some possibly anomalous features. To say that we won’t is to display a gross lack of knowledge of TS anatomy.

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

        It seems to me that the idea that far-future archaeologists would mistake a trans woman’s remains for those of a man is heavily predicated on the idea that there are no longer trans women in the far future.

    • Amadea

      Dear MommaCat65: Using terms like “true-born women” is not helpful. Many transwomen feel they were true-born women right from the start. We do not know their experience and should not assume something that we cannot verify. Rather we should try to understand and engage in dialogue for understanding. I think I understand the point you were trying to make, however. Correct me if I’m wrong. I thought you were trying to say something about growing up in a female body where demands were made of you, your body, and your space by men — and that you are experiencing the demand for inclusion by transwomen as yet another “demand” on your body and space. Right? It feels like that to me, too — now not by men, but by women. I, too, wonder to what degree this demand comes from previous male privilege and would like to explore that with transwomen to find out if that is happening or not. Perhaps it is and they are not awakened to it; perhaps it isn’t and we need to awaken to that. Only through respectful dialogue and understanding will we find out.

  • Amadea

    I am in the Amsterdam airport waiting for my flight to SF and reading with a very sad heart the comments on the trans issues on the Wild Hunt and Thorn Coyle’s site.

    Claire Flourish (who identified as trans) wrote: “If I want in, why should I not come in?”  This question sums it all up for me as a Feminist Witch (ie Dianic). I think everyone ought to meditate on that question with an open heart to the possibility that women who have grown up in bodies that have vaginas, menstruate, and become pregnant might have something significant to ritualize and heal and reclaim from Patriarchy. Then the community might come to a more enlightened view of what Dianics are about.  Our movement is not just about identity or feelings or chanting/dancing about the Goddess.

    In this context, consider this: It isn’t transwomen’s bodies that the right wing politicians seek to colonize with their promotion of policies against birth control and abortion and their advocation of submission to one’s husband. 

    If defining away all that makes such distinctions salient for us is now defined as “discrimination” in the minds of the majority of our community, then I think feminism’s third wave is long overdue and Dianic feminist craft is even more necessary. If being who I am as a woman is itself an affront to anyone and my efforts to own my own body and space is an unacceptable “exclusion,” all women’s health and well being are at risk.

    I would hope that our trans sisters would  stop focusing on what Z has said  rather stand with  Dianics in solidarity in our efforts to reclaim and honor all of our bodies in all the ways we need to do that whether together or separate. Then I think the answer to Claire’s question might become self-evident. 

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

      > In this context, consider this: It isn’t transwomen’s bodies that
      > the right wing politicians seek to colonize with their promotion of
      > policies against birth control and abortion and their advocation of
      > submission to one’s husband.

      Then please consider the fact that many trans women, even in the US, even those with medical insurance, are denied any medical care at all on the basis of being TS women. There are cases of TS women who EMT’s just left to bleed TO DEATH, judges even ruling it somehow an “accidental death” and not a murder. Why? Because she was trans.

      How is that male privilege? How is that a situation that even cis women cannot possibly understand on some basic level?

      You dare to imply a great wisdom to bestow, but I only read ignorance and steadfast denial of basic gendered dignity.

      • Amadea

        “I only read ignorance and steadfast denial of basic gendered dignity.” I wonder what you are reading because I didn’t say anything that would be counter to what you have written. I think you are arguing your point by reference to others or an imaginary foe. Of course, transwomen are discriminated against and suffer many abuses. Nothing I said denied that or indicated I don’t understand that. But I don’t see you making an effort to understand the point I was making with my statement. I’m hoping there are some transwomen and supporters who would like to try to understand, rather that make arguments in opposition that don’t really engage the point. I’ll say it again, we need engaged dialogue. Attributing views (or ignorances) to a speaker and then arguing against those views does nothing to further the discussion. I’m a lawyer. I know that anyone can argue anything past each other to score points, but this is not a courtroom. This is community. Scoring points only divides us further. Let’s come together in respectful dialogue in a real effort to understand.

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

          > I wonder what you are reading because I didn’t say
          > anything that would be counter to what you have
          > written. I think you are arguing your point by
          > reference to others or an imaginary foe. Of course,
          > transwomen are discriminated against and suffer
          > many abuses. Nothing I said denied that or indicated
          > I don’t understand that.

          Then why even bring up women’s reproductive rights, unless to imply all over the place that “trans women don’t know the REAL discriminations faced by womens”? Why even rant on about “It isn’t transwomen’s bodies that the right wing politicians seek to colonize…”, unless your hope is to score points by building up cis women over trans women? Think about it, if you think I’m inferring things you did not intend to imply, then perhaps there might be a striking resemblance between what you’ve said and the things said by those who do imply such things.

          For some-one who claims to be a lawyer, you don’t seem to argue your points very well.

          • Amadea

            You and others are caught up in this “real women” vs. “transwomen” argument that Z has promoted and I haven’t.  My posts have made clear that I don’t abide by that.  Because you are caught up in that divide, you aren’t able to see that I’m talking about my experience and the experience of women for whom the colonization of women’s bodies in the political sphere is salient. There are women for whom that isn’t salient.  It isn’t salient for me now at this point in my life, but it was once and I still identify with that time.  These differences are important whether or not they have anything to do with who is and who is not a “real” woman.  Also, I don’t think it helps dialogue for you to insult me or call my efforts at dialogue “ranting.”  I’m not ranting at all.  You are reading that into my posts.  In fact, I am writing almost always from a position of profound sadness and pain, not ranting anger.  I think it is important to note that most Dianics aren’t even trying to dialogue with you and others on this comment board because it is way too hostile to us.  I just have a stronger stomach for debate, although that stomach has about run out.  A couple of recent posts give me more hope.  For example, your other post to which I responded just a few minutes ago was more helpful to dialogue than this one perhaps because it was more recent and reflects you beginning to understand more about where I’m coming from.

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

      Thank you so much for this powerful statement.

      • Katie Berger Tremaine

        If you think trans women’s bodies aren’t politicized and attacked by the patriarchy, think again.

        • Guest

          Whenever anyone passes as women, they are usually treated worse then males.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Tell me something I don’t already know!

            Really. Tell me something that is not already in my life experience. Tell me something I haven’t learned by needing to be hypercompetent and hypervigilant when dealing with men.

          • Guest

            I think sometimes people whom society previously deemed male act a little surprised and sometimes like it just happens to them. And then lecture folks who’ve dealt with it their whole life about what that’s like and what it means, or minimize their circumstances.

            I don’t think that’s normal or typical — nor that you’ve done that —Emphasis–
            but I think it does happen.

            Someone who just experienced or learned of certain lack of privileges becoming the next spokesperson of rights is kind of strange – it happens a lot. It’s not that they’re usually doing anything wrong, but people act like it’d been invisible or less important before then, and it’s somehow worse because it happens now to someone who’d previously mattered.
            Sometimes there is something wrong – when they trod on top the other people who’d been fighting the fight before for longer, hoping to get a little higher.

            I am also leery when Caucasian people become the go-to authors on books about (in the US) primarily ethnic religions. Somebody who wasn’t raised in it does NOT has better perspective than those who haven’t. Yet, the majority of pagan favorites about Buddhism, Afro-Carribean religions, etc. tend to be that way. :(
            The other is the white pagan avoidance of interpersonal interaction with local teachers of same – because they are usually POC, or acting like they deserve intimate teaching just because they exist.

            Yeah, I chose to say what I think rather than “hold my nose” when someone says something rude. Obviously I should instead shut up like a “good” grrl, yeah? The () are talking. :(

            I would call you what gender definition you give. That’s respectful. I think doing otherwise is rudeness. ciao.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Just… when you tell someone something they know firsthand, in a tone that indicates that you think it’s some sort of revelation to them, they’re going to be frustrated and irritated.

            Believe it or not, I’ve been around the block a few times. I didn’t just transition yesterday – or last year.

        • Guest

          When I say “passing” I mean how other people often see others, not about how the person themself know and see themselves

        • Cigfran

          One of the many problems with separatism is that one lives in a vacuum.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            Another of the many problems with separatism is that nobody takes people who engage in it very seriously.

          • Amadea

            Yep. That is a profound statement, which actually supports points I’ve made above about the need for respectful dialogue. Until you take Dianics seriously in a real effort to understand, and engage in respectful dialogue, there will be no acceptance all the way around on all sides — because it wouldn’t be possible without that.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            In reply to Amadea: so far, you’ve really been the one voice of reasonable dialogue on this thread that has identified him or herself as Dianic. We are often judged by our peers. Heck, I was judged by Rush Limbaugh on this very thread simply because I’m a man and that’s a heck of a lot broader brush than Dianics. Moreover, the founder of your tradition carries a lot of weight in terms of what the “Dianic position” is and her comments have been hateful. As such, yes, you might be weighed against that. Is it fair? Not really, which is why I’m trying to address you a bit more individually, but so far, unless I’ve missed something, I haven’t seen you establish your view why transgendered women shouldn’t be part of Dianic circles at Pantheacon, which is the issue on the thread, so still all we have to go on is the Janice Raymond-style rhetoric of your fellow Dianics on the thread.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            Moreover, the world as it has become is just not conducive to groups that want to isolate themselves from general society the way that many Dianics have. In the age of Facebook and Twitter, we’re cross-communicating at levels never before heard of. I’ve personally always resisted being pigeonholed. I could never live in a gay ghetto and even being in a city full of Witches works on my last nerve sometimes. Despite being accused across the Pagan blogosphere of dressing in ways that aren’t accepted, I’m one of the only Witches in a city filled with Witches that’s truly accepted and understood by local business and political leaders, eyeliner and all, because I’ve stuck my foot in doors, got involved, and stepped out of my comfort zone, so it’s frustrating to see people spouting persecution when they’re unwilling to reach out and join the party.

          • Amadea

            I agree. I think that point can be made about the transfolk and their supporters on this list who haven’t made any effort to understand Dianics and who have not made an effort to reach out in understanding for engaged dialogue, as I have done. Where are the transwomen who want to get out of these boxes and exchange views respectfully? I am looking for you and hoping to find you.

          • Cigfran

            There are in fact such people as “trans separatists.” They are not represented by the people who comment here, and in my view are as misguided and worthless as separatists of any other kind.

            You’re dealing with the people who choose to communicate. Those who don’t… don’t.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            When the foundation statement of nearly all of those you’re asking them to try to understand is essentially “you’re not a real woman,” how can you really expect them not to be reactionary? Again, you’re the one voice of reasoned dialogue here among your peers and yet, while your communication style is respectful, I have not seen a lot of actual solutions.

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

            > Where are the transwomen who want
            > to get out of these boxes and
            > exchange views respectfully? I am
            > looking for you and hoping to find you.

            If you’re still looking for any trans women who fit that description, then you’re not looking hard enough, such women are not hard to find, especially not in this thread.

        • kenneth

          The great irony of course is that the rhetoric of the anti-trans pagans “fighting the patriarchy” is, word for word, the same as that used by the Santorum crowd and the pope where transgender issues are concerned.

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

            Yes. This is seriously one of those facts where I can’t tell if “it’s funny cos it’s true” or “it would be funny if it wasn’t so true”.

          • Amadea

            I haven’t seen any “anti-trans” pagans on this list. Could you point them out to me? I’m not one, for example.

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

            Read some of Cedar Cat’s comments, for starters.

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

            Reply to Ruadhan J McElroy’s cite:  And this was my response to her — “Dear MommaCat65: Using terms like “true-born women” is not helpful. Many transwomen feel they were true-born women right from the start. We do not know their experience and should not assume something that we cannot verify. Rather we should try to understand and engage in dialogue for understanding. I think I understand the point you were trying to make, however. Correct me if I’m wrong. I thought you were trying to say something about growing up in a female body where demands were made of you, your body, and your space by men — and that you are experiencing the demand for inclusion by transwomen as yet another “demand” on your body and space. Right? It feels like that to me, too — now not by men, but by women. I, too, wonder to what degree this demand comes from previous male privilege and would like to explore that with transwomen to find out if that is happening or not. Perhaps it is and they are not awakened to it; perhaps it isn’t and we need to awaken to that. Only through respectful dialogue and understanding will we find out.”

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

            @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus
            So then why do you ask where those who are “anti-trans” are?  Why did you ask to have their words pointed out to you?

        • Amadea

          Of course, I know that. I don’t think you’ve made an effort to understand where I’m coming from. See my post above to Christian Day. Perhaps that might clear things up. Generally, though, I think your responses come from a polarized place and not from a place of trying to understand and then respond. I recommend that you try that.

    • A.C. Fisher Aldag

      How’bout we have exclusive rituals in private, so we could enjoy the company of people who are exactly like us, and in public, where there are lots of people who are NOT exactly like us, we include everyone? This policy is in place at a large public gathering, not being enforced on you in your own home. It’s not being enforced on your Dianic coven which meets in the community center or someone’s backyard. If someone wishes to have a ceremony or festival for all born-women, or only people of European descent, or only people who enjoy gardening… they can have their OWN private event. I won’t have to pay the money to get in, then be told I can’t participate. Work for you?

      • Amadea

        I worry that the only separate space not permitted will be Dianic. That would be discrimination. If there were no exclusive spaces, I suppose that could be viewed as neutrality, but that too would be a sort of bias because it would valorize a majoritarian position. That would not serve diversity or pluralism, which I hold high as values in our community. I am very sad that others do not similarly hold these values in high regard, when diversity and pluralism conflict with their strongly held positions.

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

          I worry that the only separate space not permitted will be Dianic. That would be discrimination.

          Well then, you best get cracking on filing a lawsuit explaining that refusing to allow a group to exclude a protected class from their open rituals at a public gathering amounts to discrimination. Keep us posted on how that works out for you.

          • Amadea

            Let me try to explain with an illustration: I was once at a gathering that had a session called “White Women Privilege.” Black women were excluded from this ritual and those who showed up were turned away. That left space available for white women to explore their white privilege in a safe space where they could be vulnerable and would be treated sensitively as they explored the issue, and begin to understand what that privilege entails. Was this discrimination against black women?

            I’m not going to bring a lawsuit — and I hope others would not either. Glenn and the whole Pantheacon organization have provided a wonderful service to us all. We wouldn’t even be having this conversation (which is an important one to have), if it weren’t for them. This shouldn’t be about the law and I’m really shocked that transwomen think relying on the law is helpful to them. The law hasn’t always been their friend and may not be in the future (nor has it been any women’s friend). I think we should look for values beyond the law — values that our community can embrace together. That won’t happen when there isn’t (yet) any dialogue that engages each other respectfully. I’m still looking for transwomen and their supporters who would like to engage in respectful dialogue.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Let me try to explain with an illustration: I was once at a gathering that had a session called “White Women Privilege.” Black women were excluded from this ritual and those who showed up were turned away. That left space available for white women to explore their white privilege in a safe space where they could be vulnerable and would be treated sensitively as they explored the issue, and begin to understand what that privilege entails. Was this discrimination against black women?

            A MILLION times yes it was. Discussing your privilege in a space where those oppressed by said privilege are not allowed to offer their viewpoint is ABSOLUTELY discriminatory.

          • Amadea

            Reply to Katie Berger Tremaine below: I think your response shows very little understanding of what is required to overcome cultural biases. If black women had been present, the discussion would have been about their oppression. (That’s an important discussion too, but not what this was about.) What the event was doing was to bring white women together who already have some understanding of black women’s discrimination and want to explore ways that they experience privilege, even when they are sensitive to black women discrimination issues. That wouldn’t have happened without the white women only space. I learned so much from that event at the Michigan women’s festival — much more than I have learned from only being in spaces where black women explain their oppression. I and my black women friends and colleagues were very well served by me and others being able to look our white privilege in the face directly. White privilege is insidious; it is present even when we don’t realize it. That event helped us to see it more clearly. Exploring privilege is something we all should try to do more fully, in my view. It runs in many directions.

          • Cigfran

            @Amadea:

            Um. No.

            White privilege doesn’t “face itself” by huddling in cozy little corners where you can expose your little shames and pat each other on the back for your courage in coming clean. Privilege faces the world as it is, deals with the consequences as they are, and learns the hard way just like everyone else.

          • Cigfran

            The more I think about it, the idea that “the best way to overcome white privilege is not to talk about it around black people” is just about the most self-serving, cranio-rectally-inverted thing I’ve read in quite a while.

            I think my eyes just rolled right up to the back of my head.

          • http://www.sacredprofanity.com/ Lina

            Quote: What the event was doing was to bring white women together who already have some understanding of black women’s discrimination and want to explore ways that they experience privilege, even when they are sensitive to black women discrimination issues.

            Pardon me, but that’s not how talking about privilege WORKS. How can you know that as a group of white women, you are talking about privilege when there is not one there to tell you that yes, in fact, that is a privilege you have over Women of Color? Or People of Color for that matter?

            That’s like saying you were able to make your privilege live in a vacuum for a day or a couple of hours. . . do you see how ridiculous and ludicrous that sounds?

            By trying to paint this discussion in terms or race or to try and make it illustrated that way, you don’t add to the discussion, you detract from it. Because while we may think that Race and Gender can be conflated (if and when it serves our purpose) it can’t. They can intersect (and boy, howdy! do they) but they can’t be substituted one for the other.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            I would argue that discussing privilege in an environment where those not negatively impacted by said privilege is the OPPOSITE of vulnerable – it’s drawing your privilege into a protective shell where it can’t be directly interrogated by those whom it impacts.

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

            What?

            How can privilege be discussed in any meaningful way without the inclusion of those adversely affected by it?

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

            @Amadea
            > What the event was doing was to bring
            > white women together who already
            > have some understanding of black
            > women’s discrimination and want to
            > explore ways that they experience
            > privilege, even when they are sensitive
            > to black women discrimination issues.
            > That wouldn’t have happened without
            > the white women only space.

            I *highly* doubt it.

            > I and my black women friends and
            > colleagues were very well served by
            > me and others being able to look our
            > white privilege in the face directly.

            1) Were I in that situation or a similar one, I WOULD NOT be as presumptulous as you’re being, and 2) it is impossible to look your own privilege in the face directly when you’re excluding the people affected by it. Even if some sensitivity is assumed on behalf of those privileged, you’re not having a meaningful discussion of that privilege, you’re having an intellectual circle jerk.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1019767275 Lise Quinn

            YES! it would bewas discrimination. When people fail to uphold and obey the law, then YES legal action should be taken.
            How do you think blacks overcame suppression, it was through legislation. How do you think women overcame suppression, it was through legislation.

            As for values – discrimination is not a good value. But no amount of legislation with change someone’s mind, but lawsuits will bring attention to the wrongs, and may financially cripple those who violate state and federal laws so that they can no longer do so.

            These laws do not cover private events – the conference is not a private event but a public one, so indeed they must follow the law or risk getting sued.

            Let’s look at the history of white people’s views of blacks, not 300 years ago, whites labeled black as less than human and therefore justified their treating of blacks like animals. They were property, nothing more, with no rights. Once the Emancipation Proclamation, yes, blacks were ‘freed’ but the prejudice and repression was still there.

            (side note – if the general populace had been allowed to vote on ending slavery back then, we’d still have it now! This is why it had to be done by the government – it will be the same with gay marriage. It must be done by the federal government because the people are too prejudiced to allow it)  

            Women and their struggle to gain rights – In 1865 14th Amendment providing full civil rights for all blacks – not women. Finally, 55 years later women were allowed to vote. They didn’t get this right by being OK with segregation based on sex, they wanted the same rights as a man. 93 years later we are STILL fighting to maintain our rights, by way of protest and legislation born out of lawsuits.  Blacks continued their struggle for their rights all the way through to 1964 Civil Rights act.

            And Pagans – hell they burned them at the stake, made laws against the religious practices, and generally attacked and repressed their freedoms. This continues today and it getting worse thanks to the rise of evangelical Christianity

            Let’s look at the gay struggle, people thought they were freaks of nature, evil bad – AND most terrifyingly out to recruit anyone and everyone – they were a psychological disorder, a sin, a crime against nature, what is it that reverend Phelps says – “GOD HATES FAGS”
            (Kinda like blacks aren’t really human)
            But gay rights activists protested, they sued and here we are today with laws that protect gays and almost make them equal citizens.

            Transsexuals – because that is what this about – they are the next to ask for (and are entitled to ) equality under the law and in public treatment. Maybe fifty or a hundred years from now they will have finally received rights they should have had simply by being human, simply by being a citizen, they same rights you now hold.

            What really pisses me off about all this is that the unequal and rather bitter treatment of transsexuals are commuted by perpetrators who are people who had to struggle for the rights they would deny another.

            This whole little Z thing that happened at the conference is almost insignificant to the hatred and violence the transsexual community faces everyday. 

            You want to talk about it?

            Come on over to Facebook and join the Pagan Gender Issues group. There you will meet real transsexuals who felt real pain over this and other treatment.
            Lise Quinn

          • Amadea

            Wow Lise Quinn, you totally misunderstood my point.  I didn’t say using the legal action was never a good thing to move social issues forward.  My point was that relying on the law as one’s touchstone value-base doesn’t make sense because the law isn’t always in the right place.  For example, slavery was the law.  It wasn’t a good thing, so relying on it as law would have held no sway with me — nor you.

          • Amadea

            I would be willing to bet that none of you who responded to my illustration of the white women privilege workshop have participated in a workshop on privilege (which is different than discrimination, although it contributes to discrimination).  If you had, you would know that only those who have first explored oppression and discrimination with those who are oppressed and discriminated against attend such workshops.  They (we) do so for further deep work on the issue of privilege, not as an effort to figure it all out without some understanding of the oppressed group’s views and experiences.  I’m really concerned that those responding on this thread do not seem to understand the difference between privilege (which is insidious because it is invisible to those who have it) and outright discrimination, which is easier to identify, if one works at it.  

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

            @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus

            I’m really concerned that those responding on this thread do not seem to
            understand the difference between privilege (which is insidious because
            it is invisible to those who have it) and outright discrimination,
            which is easier to identify, if one works at it.

            I’d wager to the contrary.  People just disagree with you, and feel that for any meaningful discussion of how privilege works, then those adversely affected by it through discrimination need to be present.

          • Cigfran

             @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus

            > I would be willing to bet that none of you who responded to my
            illustration of the white women privilege workshop have participated in a
            workshop on privilege

            And you would be wrong.

            Next.

          • Amadea

            Reply to Cigfran: Was the workshop on privilege that you participated in one that was exploring your own privilege?

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

             @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus

            Reply to Cigfran: Was the workshop on privilege that you participated in one that was exploring your own privilege?

            Even if Cigfran says “yes”, you’re going to reject anything but a racist/cissexist/ableist/etc… “workshop” that only “explores one’s own privilege” by excluding any-one adversely affected by that privilege, because those adversely affected by that privilege might be able to point out anything that a privileged person has the luxury to take for granted.

            Maybe I don’t “know” you’d reject it, but the way you defend the appalling racism of MWMF’s “White Woman Privilege Discussed by White Women Only” workshop, combind with the fact that you’ve repeatedly ignored many things many people have said in favour of talking past them about whatever it is you’d rather talk about at the moment, makes it seem far more likely that you WOULD reject it.

        • Califried

          I worry that the only separate space not permitted will be Dianic. That would be discrimination.

          Fortunately, all groups looking to offer cisgender-only ritual are equally impacted by this new policy! In addition, there are many, many trans-inclusive Dianic circles, so I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s more than a bit of a stretch to argue that the policy might be discriminatory against Dianic practice.

          It’s also interesting to see you revisiting your pluralism argument from 2011. As a quick reminder, one can recognize the value of group self-definition while still believing that:

          1. failure to be pluralistic is not the only failure deserving of critique even assuming that pluralism is the main value for our community
          2. pluralism does not demand silence when worldviews or value systems conflict
          3. critique of power relations and of privilege, and giving those critiques a respectful hearing, is a necessary and important part of being part of a broader community that includes oppressed groups

          Best regards,
          Califried

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

          > I worry that the only separate space not permitted
          > will be Dianic. That would be discrimination.

          Since you say you’re a lawyer, then I suggest that you prepare a statement to the Pantheacon organisers to explain how that works, cos one of the reasons cited by Pantheacon for inclusiveness is their local laws, where TS/TG people are a protected class and Pantheacon, not being a religious organisation but more a social convention for multiple religious traditions, including those formally organised and not, does not get religious exemption, as a whole. If you really believe Budapestian Dianic lineages have a legal right to exclude TS/TG women at Pantheacon, in specific, then surely you can prepare a legally sound statement for Pantheacon that can detail this perceived right.

    • Califried

      Claire Flourish (who identified as trans) wrote: “If I want in, why should I not come in?” …I would hope that our trans sisters would stop focusing on what Z has said rather stand with Dianics in solidarity in our efforts to reclaim and honor all of our bodies in all the ways we need to do that whether together or separate. Then I think the answer to Claire’s question might become self-evident.
      It’s interesting that you would ask your trans sisters to stop focusing on Z’s hateful, privileged comments that deny that transgendered women are women while at the same time making reference to a question asked by a transgendered women as if it should inform this discussion. I think the context which Claire set for her question is important: “I want a clear reason why trans women should not attend this ritual. When those who exclude us state the reason, I think it will not reflect well on them. I think the reason is prejudice. What might we do, to damage the ritual? What do we symbolise?”

      Given the context, I think it’s clear that you’ve largely failed to answer the question through your rhetorical exercise above. This is not a question that “answers itself” as soon as one acknowledges that transgendered women do not menstruate. If you find Claire’s question on point, then I would expect you to do your level best to answer it. Why do you exclude transgendered women? Do you think they are going to damage your ritual? What do they symbolize that requires their exclusion?

      I think it’s also important for you to understand that the vast majority of us are not seeking to prevent you from defining safe space as you see fit. With that said, I am personally saying two things. First, defining transgendered women as not women (or not-sufficiently-woman) is experienced by transgendered women as oppression, and your private choices are open to criticism on that basis. If after hearing these criticisms you can continue to choose to exclude transgendered women, that is entirely between you and your sense of social justice. Second, as in 2011, we are specifically discussing policies at an event that is open to the public. I applaud the choice of PantheaCon’s organizers to eliminate trans-exclusive ritual from the official schedule because it has no place at such an event.

      One last point:

      If defining away all that makes such distinctions salient for us is now defined as “discrimination” in the minds of the majority of our community, then I think feminism’s third wave is long overdue and Dianic feminist craft is even more necessary.

      Fortunately, feminism’s third wave is already here. In fact, it’s exactly what you’ve been railing against since the aftermath of PantheaCon 2011!

      Best regards,
      Califried

      • Amadea

        I think one thing that makes this conversation less conducive to understanding is the tendency to package together points on one “side” of the debate and attribute all such views to the current speaker. This has happened in the response to my post. I don’t hold many of the views attributed to me. I am not, for example, ignorant of the many variations of gender. I have circled with transwomen, enjoy their friendship, admire their courage, empathize with their pain, and recognize that discrimination against them also arises in large part from Patriarchy. In my previous post I was hoping to find transwomen with similar interest, concern, and compassion for me. I am still hoping you are out there.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          When the logistical difficulties of having trans woman only ritual space become less than “nigh-on impossible,” we can talk about the practicality of doing so. Otherwise, you’re going to have to put up with trans women looking for entry into women’s spaces because there is nowhere else to go.

        • Califried

          I think one thing that makes this conversation less conducive to understanding is the tendency to package together points on one “side” of the debate and attribute all such views to the current speaker. This has happened in the response to my post.

          Given that I did no such thing, I can only assume that you chose my post at random :) As you no doubt remember, the bulk of my response asked you to respond to the question Claire was actually asking, to wit: “Why do you exclude transgendered women? Do you think they are going to damage your ritual? What do they symbolize that requires their exclusion?”

          I mention this largely because Claire’s working hypothesis is that your reason is prejudice. While I’m sure you have many, many trans friends, that fact is simply not relevant to the question of whether you, as a cisgendered woman, choosing to exclude transgendered women as not-sufficiently-female can be considered an exertion of cisgendered privilege that is experienced by transgendered women as oppression. I am not ascribing views to you that you do not hold: you, like all trans-exclusive Dianics, reserve authentic womanhood (and spiritual communion with other authentic women) as a privilege of being assigned female at birth. As I mentioned previously, whether you continue to do so in your private spiritual practice is entirely up to you and your sense of social justice. For my part, I will just note that while you may hope to persuade the broader community that you you can unproblematically exclude transwomen, it largely appears that that ship has sailed on a tide of comments like “Women are born not made by men on operating tables.”

          Best regards,
          Califried

          • Amadea

            Califried, you just did it — attributed a view to me I don’t hold. Also, you need a better understanding of Dianic Feminist practice, at least mine and most Dianics I know. I don’t want to exclude transwomen because they are “not-sufficiently-female.” I lunch with “the girls,” some of which are trans. They are plenty sufficiently women for me. But I want separate ritual space at times because transwomen don’t share my experience and the particularized weight of Patriarchy that I have had to overcome. Similarly, I don’t share the particularized weigh of Patriarchy that transwomen have to overcome (some of which they experience after becoming women!). See my post above to Christian Day. Perhaps that will help to clear up where I am coming from on this.

          • Califried

            Califried, you just did it — attributed a view to me I don’t hold. Also, you need a better understanding of Dianic Feminist practice, at least mine and most Dianics I know

            Just to be clear, the following:

            But I want separate ritual space at times because transwomen don’t share my experience and the particularized weight of Patriarchy that I have had to overcome.

            …literally means that you “reserve authentic womanhood (and spiritual communion with other authentic women) as a privilege of being assigned female at birth.” Hope that helps!

            Best regards,
            Califried

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

            > But I want separate ritual space at
            > times because transwomen don’t
            share
            > my experience and the particularized
            > weight of Patriarchy that I
            have had to
            > overcome. Similarly, I don’t share the
            > particularized weigh
            of Patriarchy that
            > transwomen have to overcome (some of
            > which they
            experience after becoming
            > women!).

            I think you’d be surprised at how much even I can see that you clearly don’t know.

        • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

          Amadea wrote: “I think one thing that makes this conversation less conducive to understanding is the tendency to package together points on one “side” of the debate and attribute all such views to the current speaker.”

          Well, hopefully then, you can relate to what the men on this board feel like being lumped in as some universal “patriarchy,” or being told that we’re being “like a man” as if there’s some standard way a man does things.

          • Amadea

            Yes, I can. Patriarchy is an institutionalized system that hurts all women and all men. It isn’t all men. I am married to a man who is also sensitive to these issues. That said, I am especially hurt that anyone would characterize real, lived experience of abuse by men as “male bashing,” which I’ve seen in some responses on this blog. Until I became middle-aged, I was poked, prodded, molested by boys (yes it started when I was about 12) and then men, and then raped by men — all of whom demanded my body and my space. I was discounted and had to prove myself to degrees that weren’t required of men. I could never make a mistake or it would doom my progress, while the men I worked with were given chance after chance. That isn’t male bashing or putting all men in one box. That is my experience in Patriarchy. It had a profound impact on how I perceived myself and my place in the world. Dianic Feminist Craft helped me to reclaim my body and mind and to reshape how I walk in the world. I am grateful for those workings and I am who I am today in part because of my Dianic sisters. Could that have happened in space shared my other women (who were once men)? I don’t believe so because I think the focus would shift to something more generic about all women and would obscure the specific needs of female persons who grew up in a female body in Patriarchal society. (The posts on this blog kind of bear that out as there is a tendency for transwomen and their supporters to advocate blurring those distinctions, which I think is not good for all women’s health and well-being.) But as I’ve said in many posts over the past couple of days, I’m interested in dialogue with real effort at understanding and where respect flows in both directions to find where our experiences can be healing to each other and where separate space is needed.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            It isn’t that I don’t sympathize with those who have been abused. What I don’t like is that it’s absolutely being used as an argumentative tactic as though it somehow justifies the over-the-top commentary of Z. and others like her. I have personally been physically and mentally abused by both a man and a woman in my lifetime and I think alcohol and drugs were far more responsible than patriarchy, but you won’t see me whip it out as a card to win an argument because if I shut myself off from both men and women because of it, then I have nobody to thank but myself for my own isolated state. The abuse card is starting to feel like the Godwin’s Law of this debate and it may sound insensitive on my part, but, since it’s also true, I’ll take the heat. Having been abused does not justify my discriminating against any group as a whole, whether it be men, transgendered people, or anyone else.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mirage358 Jason White

            I’m going to start by following my own advice farther down this comment: I respect you, and your right to hold cisgendered-only ritual. I respect that such ritual and safe space can be a good thing. Having started with respect (since I speak from a place of privilege), my reply to you is thus:

            I have yet to see a comment in any of these discussions claiming, in no uncertain terms, that cisgendered-women-only space is wholly and inherently bad. I have yet to see a single comment in which it is argued that transwomen should *always* be welcomed into *every* space.

            And I haven’t seen that claim because it is patently, 100% false. If you can link to such a claim in these comments, then I would wholeheartedly argue against it right alongside you. Cisgendered-only spaces can be very good, very positive things — as you are stating here, and as many men and women have stated.

            But they can also be used for harm — for example, when they are used to damn trans-, bi-, or pangendered persons as less than cisgendered persons, for *any* reason. When women’s empowerment says “except for you, because we do not consider you a woman,” it is hurtful, mean, and wrong. But it’s not the empowerment that is wrong — it’s the categorical statement that someone is not a woman, when they believe with every fibre of their being that they are. They are a *different kind* of woman, but not less. Nor does it make Cisgendered women less to acknowledge that transwomen are, in fact, women.

            Bloodroot Honey Tribe is a perfect example. It is still at it’s heart cisgendered-only, but has
            publicly made a stand against the sentiment that transwomen are not
            women, and made a commitment to regularly hosting all-inclusive women’s rituals. And what was the overwhelming reaction by most of those you’ve been arguing with here? Cheering. Celebration. Assertions that this is a Good Thing. Noone is demanding that they change the heart of their Tribe, and noone is demanding that you change the heart of your practice, either.

            It’s fine to say that sometimes, a cisgendered woman might want to
            celebrate those things unique to cisgendered women. But unless you would
            also celebrate those things that unite *all* women, then it
            does, very much, come across that you do not respect transwomen. And in
            the wake of a major Dianic figure saying exactly that, it’s very very
            easy to assume you share her sentiments unless you very specifically
            state that you do not.

            If you’re interested in real respect flowing both ways, don’t set up straw men. Don’t interpret slight criticism of one extreme statement as an outright attack on all cisgendered-only space, or even all Dianic space. Both smack of assuming others *do not* respect you from the start, when the opposite may be true.

            Once you’re open to the idea that others may already respect you, try reaching out with respect. Try analyzing what it really means when someone says that they would not circle with a transwoman — even if that does not apply to you — and how hurtful that can be. Maybe express that you feel that that is hurtful. Maybe even state that you fully believe that transwomen are women, and would include them in a ritual inclusive of all women.

            When you speak from a position of privilege, *you* need to show that you have respect first, *not* the other way around. And in any discussion of gender idenity, ciswomen have privilege over transwomen. Whether they can “pass” as men or not doesn’t matter, because any such ability is a symptom of their unique oppression — and one that ciswomen have the privilege of not ever having to deal with.

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

            > Yes, I can. Patriarchy is an
            > institutionalized system that hurts
            > all women and all men. It isn’t all
            > men.

            Thus we learn why Third Wave feminists who keep up with the changing face of social justice have switched to using the word “kyriarchy”, because it makes this concept you describe clear, that you’re not scapegoating all men, as “patriarchy” tends to inadvertently imply in English.

            > I am especially hurt that anyone would
            > characterize real, lived experience of
            > abuse by men as “male bashing,” which
            > I’ve seen in some responses on this
            > blog.

            Citation needed!  Now, what people *are* saying is that it’s wrong to use that abuse as a way to scapegoat trans women, shame them for the condition of their birth, and thus exclude them from women’s spaces.  Are you intentionally avoiding that fact?

            > Until I became middle-aged, I was
            > poked, prodded, molested by boys (yes
            > it started when I was about 12) and
            > then men, and then raped by men —
            all
            > of whom demanded my body and my
            > space.

            As have many trans women.  One trans women I know even said she was forced to fellate her own father when he caught her in her sister’s dress at the age of nine —you know “cos he said, if [she] was going to act like a girl, he’s show [her] what a girl’s life is supposed to be”.

            > Could that have happened in space
            > shared my other women (who were
            > once men)?

            Considering that TS women, neurologically, were not ever men, and the allegation that they ever were is simply a fallacy constructed by cis people to exclude them from women’s spaces, then yes, yes you could.

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

             @facebook-20716235:disqus You have made a *wonderful* reply to this.  Thank you!

          • Amadea

            Response to Jason White: I have done all of the things you say are necessary for real dialogue.  No one seems to notice.  Read all of my posts (and avoid the mischaracterization of them) and you will see that is true (although they are out of order on this blog and so the evolution of the discussion is obscured, thus my very late comment–in reaction to no effort at understanding after my efforts over and over again to reach out–about potentially seeing something true in Z’s comments is out of context and therefore easily misconstrued as meaning that I accept all she said and don’t reject most of it.).  BTW, thank you for your thoughtful (and welcome) post.  It is the first I’ve seen on that “side” of the debate that is an effort at real dialogue, although one or two of Christopher Day’s posts have come close, too.  (BTW, take a look at Kenaz Filan’s posts for examples of extreme views against Dianics. I don’t see the understanding there that you have shown. If Kenaz’s posts aren’t meant to say that Dianic’s space is wholly wrong, I’m having a hard time seeing that in the words used.)

          • Amadea

            Response to Ruadhan J
            McElroy’s effort at dialogue: First, thank you for introducing me to the term
            “kyriarchy.”  I will explore
            that.  Second, can you explain to
            me how my talking about my experience is scapegoating and shaming trans
            women?  I hope you aren’t saying
            that I can’t use my experience to talk about why I might need a particular
            exclusionary space without it scapegoating or shaming others.  I certainly don’t mean it that
            way.  Third, in response to your
            point that many trans women have experienced similar abuse – I have said many
            times on this comment board that we need to have a respectful dialogue to find
            out where our experiences converge and can be helpful to each other and where
            separate space may be needed.  I
            think it is important in that regard for you and others to acknowledge that
            there is a whole range of people calling themselves trans women.  Some are “neurologically” women from
            birth and some are not, but are men who dress as women and are
            women-identified.  And there is a
            whole range in between, including some who have not had the surgery, but would
            if they could afford it and some who don’t want the surgery, but still want to
            be identified as women while still walking around with a penis.  I think it is important to recognize
            that there might be different convergences with Dianic Feminists across this
            spectrum of trans women.  Only
            referencing those trans women closest to those of us born, identified, and/or
            assigned as female at birth when making your points, obscures this profound
            fact, which is one reason we are often talking past each other.  If all trans women were only those
            neurologically female from birth and who had similar experiences to us, we probably
            would be having a very different discussion overall.

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            “I have yet to see a comment in any of these discussions claiming, in no uncertain terms, that cisgendered-women-only space is wholly and inherently bad.”

            The fundamental problem with cisgender-women-only space is that certain cis women continue to loudly demand that all women’s space should always be cis women only space, or “at least” that all women’s space should be cis women only space by default. The less obvious version of this is to frame certain spaces in a way which unnecessarily excludes trans women.

            This is comparable to defining mothers’ space as exclusively for “women who have shared the experience of giving birth” — it seems reasonable at first glance, but in fact unnecessarily excludes adoptive mothers. That doesn’t mean that there are no spaces whatsoever which are only applicable to birth mothers, but those are a subset of mothers’ spaces and it is entirely appropriate to constructively question whether or not a given space has a legitimate functional need to draw itself so exclusively.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mirage358 Jason White

            @Amadea wrote:

            I have done all of the things you say are necessary for real dialogue.  No one seems to notice.  Read all of my posts (and avoid the mischaracterization of them) and you will see that is true [...]

            To show that I’m genuinely interested in respectful dialogue, I did exactly what you requested. I loaded every single comment in this thread, and I read every comment posted with the name “Amadea”. And among other things, I did not see that you did any of the things I suggested – anywhere. You did set up straw men. You did interpret slight criticism as outright attack (more on that in a moment). You did *not* try analyzing what it means to be a transwoman, and in many places confused transwomen with crossdressers, bigendered or genderfluid individuals, or simply repeated very offensive and untrue stereotypes. You *did* express that doing the same was “not helpful” when “MommaCat65″ made similar abrasive comments, but you did not express that those sentiments are in fact hurtful. At no point have you outright stated that you believe that transwomen are women, though you have suggested, implied, and otherwise danced around that statement.

            I would rather not have had to throw those things in your face, but respectful dialogue requires that both sides *listen* to one another — which is something you have not been good at, based on reading every single one of your comments and the comments they were in reply to. At one point, Ruadhan wrote:

            Think about it, if you think I’m inferring things you did not intend to imply, then perhaps there might be a striking resemblance between what you’ve said and the things said by those who do imply such things.

            And your (very recent)response was:

            You and others are caught up in this “real women” vs. “transwomen” argument that Z has promoted and I haven’t.

            from which you continued on complaining about hostility towards Dianic witches, and requesting respectful dialogue and an understanding of where you are coming from (which you have done ad nauseum), which was not related to what Ruadhan had said *at all*.

            If you want people to listen to you, you have to demonstrate that you are listening to them – a lesson that, from what I know of Dianic witchcraft, you should already know.

            Further, I’ll repeat what Ruadhan said before. If *everyone* is confusing where you stand and what you are saying, then maybe the fault isn’t that we’re not listening — maybe it’s that you aren’t saying it well. Maybe you shouldn’t use language, terms, examples, etc. that resemble what you specifically told “MommaCat65″ was not helpful, or that resemble what Z-Budapest said in the wake of PantheaCon 2011. At one point, you wrote:

            Please do not attribute views (or ignorances) to me that I do not hold and that nothing in my posts could have reasonably been interpreted to mean.

            But the unfortunate reality is, that from what you have posted it *is* reasonable to ascribe those views and ingnorances that you are claiming to not have. Even so, I would like to think that you do not have them, based on the fact that your speech hasn’t been entirely clear to everyone up to this point.

            I would still love to see you do the things I originally suggested: Assume respect to start. Really analyze what it means when someone says they will not circle with a transwoman, and how hurtful that can be. Express that you respect that it is hurtful. State that you fully believe that transwomen are women equal to ciswomen, and would include them in a ritual inclusive of all women.

            To that, now, I would add: Listen when people respond to you. Respond to what they actually say, and not what you feel is their attitude. And educate yourself on what “transgender” actually means, including making sure you know how that is different than being bigendered, a crossdresser, etc. You cannot have a conversation with someone, let alone a respectful one, if you are speaking a different language.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Jason, this is a neutral comment, not taking any sides. You wrote to Amadea:

            “Listen when people respond to you. Respond to what they actually say, and not what you feel is their attitude.”

            To some people, the emotional content of a comment screams out, and its logical internal connections are murky. To others the logical connections stand out sharply and the emotional nuances are obscure. I am of the latter sort. Amadea may be of the former.

            When these two style try to connect, the result may be breakdown of communication. (NOT merely my opinion; I once had management  training to this effect inflicted on me.)

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

            @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus, it’s comments like this:

            I
            think it is important in that regard for you and others to acknowledge that
            there is a whole range of people calling themselves trans women.  Some are “neurologically” women from
            birth and some are not, but are men who dress as women and are
            women-identified.

            Why I don’t think you’re understanding anything that trans women and their supporters have been saying in this thread.

            So, considering that the only real tests for this neurology are 1) an EEG scan, which to my largely anecdotal research, maybe only a quarter (at most) of trans people ever get (but enough to be statistically compelling evidence), or 2) post-morten dissection of the brain, what litmus test do you propose to differentiate those who are “neurologically women since birth” and those who are “men who dress as women and are woman-identified”?

            More importantly, do you understand what neurology is?  Judging by your comment alone, I don’t think you do, and I don’t believe I can meaningfully discuss this with you until I’m sure you understand this.

          • Cigfran

             > If Kenaz’s posts aren’t meant to say that Dianic’s space is wholly
            wrong, I’m having a hard time seeing that in the words used.

            As Jason has pointed out, you appear to hear attitudes, not words. Kenaz has repeatedly affirmed the right of certain Dianics to circle with whom they choose. But he has also made it clear that their choices render them foolish, and that qualification is the only part you’ve absorbed, because he’s especially skilled at sarcasm.

            Your repetitious pleas for “respectful dialogue” are empty if you do not actually pay attention to content of dialogue.

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

            @0b61b659c0e5c575e67c43726476fa72:disqus and @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus : I have no desire to force Dianics to open their private circles to trans women, to men, to women of color or to anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable.  My feelings on the wisdom of those decisions are, literally, irrelevant. I am not a Dianic and have no interest in being a Dianic: I have no desire to steal the Womyn’s Mysteries. 

            My point to Amadea was that trans women see the Dianic policy of excluding trans women as oppressive and marginalizing.  And until you come to terms with that and own it – and until you address the paranoid Janice Raymond/Z Budapest silliness about “mutilated men infiltrating womynspace to steal our mysteries and RAPE us” – you are not engaging in any kind of honest dialogue. Rather, you’re engaging in self-justification aimed at making you feel better about your privilege.  You are free to continue your exclusive circles in your private spaces for whatever reasons  you give yourself.  But don’t expect the trans community to pat you on the back and assuage any nagging guilt you may have about it.

          • Amadea

            Reply to Cigfran: recognizing something as a “right” is not the same as recognizing the value of it for its own sake. Kenaz Filan’s posts and others make clear that they recognize the right but totally disrespect the choice–and see no value in separate practice. I believe I have read those posts clearly. Jason White seemed to be making a different point–that recognized the value of separate space at times and did not seem to view the mere holding if such events — their existence — as oppression. I hooe I read that distinction correctly, I found it to be the recognition that separate space can be worthwhile for some while not being oppressive to others. I don’t think that those who recognize the right but not the value have the same understanding.

          • Amadea

            Responding again to Jason White: Once again I find your responses to be helpful. I will try to pull together the salient points I have made that I think show more clarity when they are in a better order. This will take some time because my points are all over the place on this comment board. I have to leave on another trip, so that may not come right away. I would like to say, however, that the “attitudes” expressed do carry as much weight with me as the content buried within the attitudes. It is difficult to be sympathetically listening when one is being directly insulted and referred to (for example) as a “wet hole.”

          • Cigfran

            @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus 

            Kenaz Filan’s posts and others make clear that they recognize the right but totally disrespect the choice

            Wow. For someone who has supposedly “workshopped” their privilege, you really have very little understanding of what real marginalization is, or how a free society works.

            Actually marginalized people who struggle for actual rights have to put up with underlying “disrespect” all the time. It sort of goes with the territory and is a completely different challenge than just getting an event like Pantheacon to establish a gender-affirmative policy.

            You do not require my respect, nor I, yours. What you do require is that I not interfere with you and your rights to privately assemble as you choose… and believe me, I have no wish to do so. My respect for you is as a fellow citizen and community member. To petulantly demand more is infantile.

          • Califried

            Kenaz Filan’s posts and others make clear that they recognize the right but totally disrespect the choice

            Amadea, I realize that you are pretty unlikely to ever be convinced on this point, but it really does bear repeating for anyone reading this discussion: one can recognize the value of group self-definition (as I do) while also valuing the rights of oppressed minorities.  In this specific discussion, there is tension between those two values.  You have heard multiple times now that your private choices are experienced by transgendered women as oppression, which means that you place greater value on group self-definition than you do on the rights of an oppressed minority.  That is ultimately your choice which only you can make – if your sense of social justice allows you to continue making that choice, then go with the Goddess.

            Best regards,
            Califried

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

            @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus

            Kenaz Filan’s posts and others make clear that they recognize the right
            but totally disrespect the choice–and see no value in separate
            practice.

            Why does the value for individual rights have to be exclusive of the right to find some individuals desiring of silly things?

            Proto-feminist Evelyn Hall once described the very principle of Freedom of Speech as “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (this has since been mis-attributed to Voltaire).  I don’t see how or why defending the right of the Budapestian Dianic lineages to have trans-excluding circles somehow must go hand-in-hand with treating those circles reverently, much less “understanding” why those Dianics feel it needs to be that way.

            Your sacred cows are not necessarily going to be held as such by others, but those who respect your right them, even if they don’t hold them, will have far more varied opinions than those feel you should not have that right.

            As @0b61b659c0e5c575e67c43726476fa72:disqus said:

            You do not require my respect, nor I, yours. What you do require is that
            I not interfere with you and your rights to privately assemble as you
            choose… and believe me, I have no wish to do so. My respect for you is
            as a fellow citizen and community member. To petulantly demand more is
            infantile.

            The respect anybody outside your traditions is obligated to show to your traditions ends at a farther point on the continuum that you clearly want it to.  Freedom of speech still allows for films to be universally panned, for non-fans to regard Lady Gaga as untalented in spite of all evidence to the contrary, and yes, even for those who respect your right to worship in whatever sorts of groups you want to based on whatever criteria you see fit —be that based on gender, reproductive potential of sex, skin-colour, ethnicity, or even height and weight— to think that criteria is silly.

            To re-phrase the long-passed and esteemed Ms Evelyn Hall: Just because I will defend to the death your rights to whatever religious assembly you choose does not obligate me to agree with that choice.

            The status of your rights affects the status of my rights, so I assure you, if that right ever came under true legal threat, I will be there in the frontlines (literally, if need be), and probably one of the first to go down defending it.  But I do not, not under any circumstances have to agree with it; my obligations as a supporter are not the obligations of either ally, friend, or believer.

      • Amadea

        I haven’t been “railing” against anyone. I have been seeking understanding — and not getting any. Again, I am seeking trans women and their supporters who are interested in real understanding that goes both ways and can engage in empathetic, respectful dialogue. That’s my hope. I suggest we start with Claire’s question, but I am open to other beginnings.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          Why? Because it puts the onus on trans women to justify ourselves? Forget that noise – you’ve been pulling that for 40 years and we’re sick of it.

          • Amadea

            I see that you are not interested in compassionate dialogue toward understanding at this point. I also see that you are angry and hurt. I will hold you in my heart and hope that someday we might be able to speak together respectfully and perhaps even become allies.

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

            So long as the Dianics exclude trans women from their circles, their policy is going to be seen as oppressive and marginalizing toward a disempowered minority. Full stop. There’s no reason for “dialogue” about the private religious practices of a mystery tradition, any more than there’s reason for “dialogue” about why a private country club refuses to admit Jews and blacks. Especially if that dialogue is going to provide nothing except for the same old justifications and excuses.

            Given your refusal to acknowledge or address the hateful comments made by many on your side — starting with Z’s comments and moving on to the Janice Raymond “Trans folk are mutiliated men seeking to steal our mysteries and rape us” line of horse crap — your sniffly comments about trans people being angry and hurt sound very like an abuser standing over his victim saying “why do you always have to get me mad, baby?”

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

            > I also see that you are angry and hurt.

            Maybe it’s cos she has a reason to be?  Did you ever consider that?  Or would you rather just have your little “Cis Women’s Privilege” circle-jerk so you can back-pat what a great ally you think you are and not actually own up to the fact that you’re telling trans women things that, no matter how you slice ‘em, add up to “You, so-called-lady, justify your very existence to me”, and that this is a hurtful thing to do?

            You know, the more you implicitly insist that yours is the only judgement that can determine “respectful discourse”, the less likely people are to want to give it to you.  People have been nothing but respectful to you, but you don’t want to examine anything they’re telling you and really absorb it, so you dismiss it as “disrespectful”, as if your tone arguments are actually worth the time you take to make them.  If what’s being said has any validity and truth to it, then tone won’t matter to those who want to see past their own privilege and consider the real meat of what’s been said.

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            Can you be anymore condescending?

        • Califried

          Since 2011, you have been railing against an imaginary “norm of all-inclusiveness,” against use of the term “cisgender,” and against the idea that your perpetuation of one of the primary narratives that underlies cisgender privilege (i.e. transgendered women are not women or not-sufficiently-woman) constitutes an exertion of cisgender privilege.

          As a trans ally, I’m interested in honest dialogue and real understanding. I agree that dialogue must begin with an accurate understanding of the current state of affairs. That’s why it’s important for you to understand that your personal choice to exclude transwomen from your circles is subject to criticism because you, as a cisgendered woman, possess privilege with respect to transgendered women.

          Best regards,
          Califried

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            *sighs* this is really frustrating. I’m starting to give up any hope at all.

          • Cigfran

            Nah. It’s just that it comes in waves. This time the one lapping at the shore is called Amadea.

            Pantheacon has done its thing. The rest is just debate, which we are free to take or leave at our leisure.

          • Amadea

            I feel the same way–giving up hope. I see no way to bridge the gap in this discussion. All I’m hearing is that I must give up entirely. I haven’t seen any post here that attempts to understand at all. That is truly sad. It is especially sad for me personally because I too was offended by Z’s insensitive comments. But the way the dialogue has proceeded on this comment board is making me reconsider that perhaps there was actually something right about what she said–as I don’t see any sisters here in the discussion–no attempt at solidarity, no attempt at compassion, even when I and others have bared our souls, sharing personal pain and have tried to reach out. Thank you for clearing things up for me. I now know for sure that there is no trans woman or trans supporter on this list with whom I would want to share sacred vulnerable space with whether as woman only or in all gender inclusive space. I had hoped to find allies of understanding through engaged dialogue. Apparently I have been looking in the wrong place. Signing off now as there is no one here who wants to work toward any kind of understanding. 

          • Cigfran


            I see no way to bridge the gap in this discussion

            Piffle. All you see is that not everyone feels it necessary to “bare their soul” in a public forum in order to have a straightforward discussion about an issue of social justice. 

            What I see, in contrast, is that you are so indoctrinated that you cannot hear any kind of communication at all if it is not offered to you in precisely the (soft, vulnerable, stereotypically ‘womanish’) language that you have accepted as exclusively authentic.

          • Califried

            It is especially sad for me personally because I too was offended by Z’s insensitive comments. But the way the dialogue has proceeded on this comment board is making me reconsider that perhaps there was actually something right about what she said–as I don’t see any sisters here in the discussion–no attempt at solidarity, no attempt at compassion, even when I and others have bared our souls, sharing personal pain and have tried to reach out.

            For what it’s worth, Amadea, I suspect that most of the transgendered women here aren’t particularly interested in “shar[ing] sacred vulnerable space” with someone who could be persuaded that Z’s comments (e.g. “Transies who attack us only care about themselves,” “You can tell these are men,” and “Women are born not made by men on operating tables.”) have any validity whatsoever.

            Of course, it’s pretty impressive that you would make this specific complaint after (yet again) rejecting standard terms used to distinguish between cisgendered and transgendered women for the purposes of discussions like this one.  This despite several transwomen “baring their souls” and “sharing personal pain” to try to explain why terms like “female-born” (your preference this year) and “chrom-woman” (your attempt from 2011) are pretty insulting to transwomen. It’s pretty tough to claim the moral high ground by criticizing other people for doing something that you’ve already done repeatedly. Hopefully, this fact won’t be lost on anyone reading the thread.

            If nothing else, it should be pretty clear at this point that explicitly or implicitly perpetuating the primary narrative that underlies cisgender privilege (i.e. that transgendered women are not women or not-sufficiently-woman) is experienced by transwomen as oppression.  What people do privately once they’ve heard and understood that argument is ultimately between them and their sense of social justice, although it’s worth repeating that their choices remain open to criticism from the broader community.  Something I hope won’t get lost in the shuffle, however, is that the context for this discussion is a policy change at an event that’s open to the public.  Even if we all agree that Dianic circles can unproblematically exclude transwomen (which we clearly do not), there appears to be very broad agreement that the PantheaCon policy change under discussion is the right one to make.  I, for one, am very happy to see consensus on that point at least.  Be well!

            Best regards,
            Califried

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

            @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus
            > It is especially sad for me personally
            > because I too was offended by Z’s
            > insensitive comments.
            But the way
            > the dialogue has proceeded on this
            > comment board is making me reconsider
            > that perhaps there was actually
            > something right about what she
            > said
            –as I don’t see any sisters
            > here in
            the discussion–no attempt at
            > solidarity, no attempt at compassion,
            > even
            when I and others have bared our
            > souls, sharing personal pain and have
            > tried to reach out.

            I think you just answered your own question of why no trans women have voluntarily “bared their souls” for you.

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

            @youngsoulrebel:disqus: Why am I reminded of the white person who shows up in PoC space, gets some honest answers about what “privilege” is and why the PoCs in question find it oppressive, and then politely states that they are all obviously “angry” and “militant” and that maybe there is something to that “anti-white racism” thing after all… ?

            Except Amadea would be far too polite to do something like that. She would only express those concerns in a white-only space where she could safely talk about racism (and engage in mutual backpatting about how enlightened everybody is for showing up) without having to deal with any of that icky anger.

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

            @facebook-556495406:disqus you’re probably getting that feeling for the same reasons I am.  I’m also becoming suspect of how much Budapestian Dianism is dependent on love-bombing to stay afloat as a religious path.  I’m stating to notice a lot of similarities between @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus’s pleas for “respect n discourse” with some of those of family members who got sucked in to The Moonies.  It’s not a perfect likeness, to be sure, but it’s similar enough to make me wonder.

    • Cigfran

      > It isn’t transwomen’s bodies that the right wing politicians seek to colonize with their promotion of policies against birth control

      Yeah, reproductive rights has nothing whatever to do with the sovereignty of one’s body, and thus is totally unrelated to trans issues.

      You really should do a little reading up on this. Even a cursory study – even a moment’s thought – will reveal that the misogyny, homophobia and transphobia demonstrated by the Right are inextricably linked, all aspects of the same basic stupidity, and that all of them are expressed every day in policy, rhetoric and action.

      And you know what? None of this has squat to do with gender-affirmative policies at Pantheacon, except as a means for you to assert that “the larger issues” erase what you want to set aside as the smaller.

      • Amadea

        Dear Cigfran: You show again and again (as do many others arguing similar points to yours) that you do not really know anything at all about the Dianic Feminist Witchcraft movement and what it is about. Because of that your arguments against us do not really engage the issues involved. Your above post actually proves the opposite of what you want to prove. It shows why you don’t belong in a Dianic circle. The first step to real dialogue would be at least an attempt at understanding and compassion instead of attacks and assertions of what you think is relevant to us. You appear to seek understanding only in one direction–yours. We Dianics have worked hard to overcome being defined by others against a society that understands “normative” in ways that erase our experiences and devalues and colonizes our bodies. If you and others understood this, we could have a more respectful dialogue about how we could support each other, because that society has similarly erased trans people too, although in different ways.  Also, the reason I said that I wished the trans community would stop focusing on Z’s statements is that her statements are not reflective of the context for most of us who have respect and compassion for trans people. And she had nothing to do with the ritual last year; she made an insensitive statement on this blog.  Feel free to express your anger or frustration against Z, of course.  But attributing her recent statements about transwomen to all Dianics gets in the way of understanding. Amadea (jet lagged at 4;00 a.m.)

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          When faced with evidence that what you are doing as an empowered majority (which it is impossible to argue that cissexuals are not vis-a-vis transsexuals) is hurting people belonging to a marginalized minority, you have two choices: Continue on the Path of What I Was Going To Do Anyway, or demonstrate compassion. So far, the Budapest Dianic lineage, with a handful of notable exceptions, has chosen the Path of What I Was Going To Do Anyway.

          • Amadea

            Dianics are a small minority in the Pagan movement.

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

            Dianics are a small minority in the Pagan movement.

            But as they are exclusively cis-women they have more power and privilege than trans-women. Fortune 500 CEOs are a small minority in the country but nobody would say they are disempowered. This has already been discussed to death here. The fact that you refuse to acknowledge the conversations which have already taken place makes me wonder how interested you really are in “dialogue.”

          • Amadea

            To Kenaz Filan’s point below (there wasn’t a reply button available): Of course I understand and acknowledge that in the world I have a kind of privilege over transwomen who do not “pass” as women. Transwomen who grew up male (and passed as male) also have a privilege over me in that those particular persons did not grow up with the continued discounting of them as women. When those particular persons (and certainly not all transwomen are in this category) become women, they have the advantage of being a women without the same baggage females who grew up in a woman’s body have. Acknowleding all of these privileges and differences is important for our community. It doesn’t erase the need for Dianic separate space, however. [Please do not respond with all sorts of examples of transwomen who do not have the advantage I've identified. I am not ignorant of them. I am talking only about a particular subset and trying to show that privilege can be found in many places.]

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            “Transwomen who grew up male (and passed as male) also have a privilege over me in that those particular persons did not grow up with the continued discounting of them as women.”

            “they have the advantage of being a woman without the same baggage females who grew up in a woman’s body have.”Because of course trans women TOTALLY didn’t grow up in a society that treated us like sex objects, punch lines of many comedians’ jokes, an “it” to be used and discarded, the object of mockery on late-night talk shows, a salacious scandal for the gossip rags, a creature not even worthy of a pronoun other than “it.” There was totally not a critically-acclaimed, Oscar-winning movie where the most famous scene of the movie was a transsexual woman character revealing herself to her lover, only to be attacked and for her lover to vomit at the thought of having had sex with her (in real life, we don’t risk being slapped when we come out to a partner, we risk being murdered). We TOTALLY didn’t grow up in a society that mercilessly beat us into a pulp for trying to be ourselves. Sure enough, society doesn’t expend ANY energy to make sure that trans girls know they’re less than dirt.How someone can even type this and not realize how completely ugly and wrong it sounds is beyond me. I’m just… really, honestly baffled how you could have said this and meant it.

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

             Nice technicality, however, it’s not one relevant to this discussion.

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

             @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus
            > Transwomen who grew up male (and
            > passed as male) also have a privilege
            > over me in that those particular persons
            > did not grow up with the
            continued
            > discounting of them as women.

            You’re right, they often grew up with the plight of being “insufficiently male and worse than a woman”.

            > When those particular persons (and
            > certainly not all transwomen are in
            this
            > category) become women, they have
            > the advantage of being a women
            > without the same baggage females who
            > grew up in a woman’s body have.

            What?

            I seriously doubt you know any trans women at all.  This statement of yours, as I know it, judging from the trans women I actually know (both on-line and off), is neither factually based nor possessing of any logic that would work in the real world, outside the little “thought experiments” I’m sure you entertain yourself with at your little “privileged women only” circle-jerks at MWMF.

          • Amadea

            Are you one of those who think holding any separate space is wrong? I’m wondering because Jason White wrote that there aren’t any who hold that view.

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

            What the hell did Katherine say to make you think that?  I don’t see anything she’s said as even hinting that perhaps she finds any separate spaces wrong.

        • Cigfran

          > It shows why you don’t belong in a Dianic circle.

          I, for one, have never claimed that I did, and my trans status has nothing do with it. So this is another straw man.

          > We Dianics have worked hard to overcome being defined by others against a society that understands “normative” in ways that erase our experiences and devalues and colonizes our bodies.

          You seem to think you have a monopoly on this. You also fail to see that a pretty significant feminist faction has only redefined ‘normative’ in way that erases others.

          And finally, the focus is on Z Budapest and her attitudes – as opposed to the alleged attitudes of the larger Dianic community – because she is the inspiration, instigator and main actor of a pair of actual events, backed by a specific set of rhetorical strategies, not just one unkind word.

          • Amadea

            Please re-read my whole post — the one you responded to.  You will see that you took your first quote of me out of context, and so you misconstrued me as saying I advocated that, which I clearly didn’t.  And you will see that your second quote of me follows with a clear statement that I don’t think I have a monopoly on that.  This is a good example of failing to participate with respect and in engaged understanding.  

          • Califried

            You will see that you took your first quote of me out of context.

            When you write things (across multiple comments!) like “I don’t see any sisters here,” “[I] think perhaps there was actually something right about what [Z] said, or “[Your comment] shows why [Cigfran doesn't] belong in a Dianic circle,”  you can reasonably expect that people will interpret them pretty negatively. Those negative interpretations are also, frankly, not at all unreasonable.

            Put away the dogwhistles (and, frankly, some of your more poorly phrased comments) and you may find a better reception.

            Best regards,
            Califried

    • Katie Berger Tremaine

      Since you STARTED this post by trying to score points against a trans woman, I think it’s really, really hypocritical for you to decry “scoring points” when the points run against you.

      • Amadea

        I think there is a different between respectful dialogue that does not attribute views to the person to whom one is responding and snarky remarks that do not engage the points being made. The latter is what I meant by scoring points. I haven’t done that.

  • A.C. Fisher Aldag

    Yup, I’m sure that thousands of transgendered people go through years of expensive, painful surgery, adjustment counseling, just so they can infiltrate women-only events.

    I live in mortal fear that a man, cleverly disguised as a woman, might be working out next to me in my ladies-only gym, and it’s preventing me from spinning and losing weight. Can’t concentrate, as I am too busy scanning all the other people working out, in case I spot a “package” under the purple spangled bodysuit. Cuz you know, you let those trannies in women’s rituals, next we’ll have to allow them at “Curves”.

    I was pretty sure I saw a transexual ahead of me in line at the American Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary potluck. Next they’ll be wantin’ to put on the silly little blue hat, take up a flag, and march in our Vet’s Day parade. In high heels. Which would immediately cause the downfall of society.

    Next, shudder, there will be men posing as women in our lactation classes, just so they can get a glimpse of boobies! The horror!

    Pretty audacious of those transgender people, to suffer ridicule and possibly gettin’ killed by thugs in mainstream society, maybe losing their job, all so they can spy on and infiltrate us naturally-borned, hormonally-correct, menstruating, birth-giving whymmin… Better watch out, next they’ll be wanting outrageous things like marriage equality and parity in the workplace and the right to vote, and stuff.

    While we’re at it, let’s exclude women who never menstruated because they haven’t the hormones, and women who had hysterectomies / oovectomies, and women who never gave birth — let’s make that women who had C-sections — naw, let’s make that women who had anesthesia during birth — okay, women who didn’t do complete natural childbirth at home while listening to ritual drumming. Cuz that is what REAL women do, right? I’ve already been told that real women don’t join the military, (by both feminists and radical right wingers) and how real women have to have relationships (with only other women, with only one man exclusively, joined as a virgin and til death do us part). Menopausal women, you’re suspect, too…!!!

    Gee, that’s gonna be a pretty sparse women’s only ceremony. I can’t even go to it. Darn.

    • Cigfran

      As your excellent satire points out, much of this is motivated by the projection of fear-of-men onto trans women. As if trans people were regularly motivated to enact actual violence against non-trans people.

      As opposed to, you know, the other way around.

      • Amadea

        It isn’t “fear-of-men” that is motivating me (although I think it does motivate some others). It is the demand for inclusion in the intimate sharing of my experiences with people who cannot relate to them fully. Some transwomen have had very difficult experiences, too. We can share our experiences in some spaces. I’d like to work through real understanding and engaged dialogue to find out where those spaces are. But I’m only seeing attacks by too many. That doesn’t help me to want to be vulnerable with them, as my practice often requires. That’s why I keep asking where are the transwomen who are willing and able to engage in heartfelt dialogue and understanding? If you are out there, please respond.

        • Cigfran

          > It is the demand for inclusion in the intimate sharing of my experiences with people who cannot relate to them fully.

          Actually, it’s an insistence that exclusion not be based on false distinctions, supportive of prejudice, and communicated with vulgarity.

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

          > It is the demand for inclusion in the intimate sharing
          > of my experiences with people who cannot relate to
          > them fully.

          Well, news flash, but not everybody with a uterus (woman or otherwise) can “fully relate” to a LOT of the things you may have gone through.  Sorry you had to learn that this way.

    • Amadea

      See my reply to Cigfran above. Your post also shows no understanding at all about the Dianic Feminist movement. Nothing you have said above is helpful to real dialogue. Every post that mischaracterizes Dianics only serves to prove that trans women don’t belong in our circles. I think that is the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. Why not seek understanding first and then find places of convergence where we can support one another– rather than continuously attack?  Most of us have already been attacked enough. Understanding must go both ways. I’m not seeing an effort to understand us by the trans community (at least not on this blog), only demands that we adopt the trans perspective that is promoted here.  I am still hoping for real dialogue with compassionate trans women. Are you out there?

      • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

        Z. and many of her supporters here haven’t exactly been the embodiment of compassion. Quite the contrary.

        • Amadea

          I agree that Z and a couple (not many) of Z’s supporters “haven’t exactly been the embodiment of compassion.” I’m not them and neither are some of the others on this blog who are trying to explain Dianic experience and asking for respectful dialogue. It is very disheartening to us that respect is asked to only go one way. I went to a panel at Pantheacon where a transwomen made all sorts of disrespectful comments about Dianics and was cheered by the audience. Then she said that we need respectful dialogue. No one seemed to notice the incongruity. This is very disturbing. Where is the respectful dialogue coming from transwomen and their supporters?

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            Amadea: I haven’t really seen a whole lot of love on either side of this. I’ve had mixed feelings about the whole issue from the beginning because, until now, I haven’t really been able to relate to either Dianic or transgendered issues, and this has been quite the education. My aggravation is coming mostly from reading the lumping of men into some sort of universal oppressive force and it’s not just Z. communicating this. I’ve seen even worse comments from others on her Facebook and some pretty bad ones even here on this thread. I find it incredulous to believe this idea that the only reason transwomen want to be in Dianic circles is to invade womens’ spaces and, now that I’ve had the time to research Janice Raymond a little bit, I feel that a number of Dianics are taking their talking points almost directly from her and those ideas are just antiquated. I don’t deny that there are transgendered people who are angry and reacting but I honestly see that as a reaction to being accused of trying to “infiltrate” womens spaces in some insidious plot and, speaking as someone who is neither Dianic nor transgender, and doesn’t really fully understand either, the sympathies here in the cheap seats seems to be going towards Team Transgendered.

            I suppose it doesn’t help my perspective that I’ve personally had dealings with Z. that brought her from personal folk hero of mine to object of utter disgust in that she helped to prop up a woman who handed out false accusations against a number of men (including me) like they were trick-or-treat candy at Halloween, whose swath of ridiculous accusations just had to be true simply because she had a vagina. When I spoke out against it, Lori Bruno and I were were told that sex between men and women was rape and then I got threatened with “Hungarian ire,” whatever that’s supposed to be. I told her off with a little tinge of Portuguese ire and called it a day but seeing all this just makes me realize how off the deep end she’s really gone and I sympathize with the Pagan community having to tiptoe around her like she was some ranting racist relative at the Thanksgiving Dinner table. They may feel the need to tiptoe. I do not.

            All that said, I do realize that these issues are much bigger than Z. Budapest and her bigotry and I am very interested in seeing the various angles of the issue, to the point where I’ve invited YesheRabbit Matthews as a guest on my radio show to speak on the formation of the Pan-Dianic tradition. I’m also having Kenaz Filan on an episode as well. I am willing to look at these issues but one thing I am not willing to do is listen to ridiculous theories without right of snarky commentary, especially on the show. In my opinion, the fact that people are so passionate about an issue should drive them to be more honest with themselves and more factual, not less, and the Janice Raymond hypothesis is about as ludicrous as these silly Youtube theories that Whitney Houston was killed by the Illuminati and I shall address them as thus. :-D

          • Amadea

            I am married to a wonderful man and do not hold those radical views of men or male/female sex that have offended you. I don’t equate Patriarchy with all men. But I do think there is something of Patriarchy in the insistence on inclusion in Dianic ritual space by some transwomen on this comment board and in the failure to even attempt any understanding of why women who grew up in a female body in patriarchal society might need separate sacred space for ritual. ( I thought I’d signed off in an earlier post but when I saw your comment and found I needed one more post. Goodbye for now.)  All the Best, Amadea.

          • Cigfran

            @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus:

            the failure to even attempt any understanding of why women who grew up in a female body in patriarchal society 

            Got a time limit on that? Because some people transition pretty young. How long would “growing up in a female body” would qualify a woman for having sufficiently experienced patriarchy to be considered for inclusion?

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            I feel like there’s not going to be any real advancement in any argument regarding trans women having space in women’s Pagan spaces until there is an understanding that trans women are not women, second class (provisional) and that our womanhood can’t be just casually stripped away for someone else’s convenience.

            Until the point where that happens, “respectful” dialogue can’t happen, because the preconditions for respect won’t exist.

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

            > I agree that Z and a couple (not many) of Z’s
            > supporters “haven’t exactly been the
            > embodiment of compassion.”

            So then why make excuses for people who spout those vile words?

            What’s your real purpose here?  Dialogue and discussion, or concern trolling?

            > Where is the respectful dialogue coming from
            > trans women and their supporters?

            It’s all over this thread, but you don’t want to accept it.

          • Amadea

            I haven’t made any such excuses. You must be thinking of someone else.  And I have no idea what “concern trolling” is.  Next: read through the posts.  The dialogue is inflammatory, insulting, hostile, name-calling, snarky, and mischaracterizing of participants’ views.  It is everything but respectful — with the exception of only a couple of recent posts.  But the vast majority is extremely hostile. I’m not providing any cites because just reading through generally will reveal numerous examples.  It is the reason why very few Dianics are even trying to participate in this discussion.

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

            @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus

            I haven’t made any such excuses. You must be thinking of someone else.

            No, I’m thinking of you.  I’d pull up and dissect every singe statement *again*, even the ones other people have had to explain to you, but it’s already been done.

            And I have no idea what “concern trolling” is.

            Then read the link.  Here, let me post it again for you.

            Next: read through the posts.

            I have.  Even from the people I usually ignore.

            The dialogue is inflammatory, insulting, hostile, name-calling, snarky, and mischaracterizing of participants’ views.

            Not all of it.  In fact, most isn’t.  Kenaz Filan and Christian day are the only people who have consistently been as you describe.  Everybody else has been pretty ding-dang respectful to you, all in spite of the fact that you have yet to prove that you’ve actually been reading anything we say.

          • Cigfran

             @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus
            >The dialogue is inflammatory, insulting, hostile, name-calling, snarky

            You have repeatedly referred to the “mischaracterization” of Dianics, but you have been the dominant Dianic voice in this exchange.

            And while you pretended to a degree of sympathy, you have used the excuse of “hostility” to reinforce your own prejudice and assert that transwomen have no place in Dianic circles after all.

            If I were to accept your own example as representative of Dianics in general, I would have to conclude the grace and coherence of Lady Yeshe Rabbit and her group are the exception, and that Dianics as a rule live in and speak from a hermetically-sealed bubble of confusion and prudishness.

            If this is a mischaracterization, I would welcome an actual counter-example, rather than yet another unsubstantiated claim.

      • Katie Berger Tremaine

        When we see you and Z’s other supporters here dealing with trans women as women and not as stereotypes, let’s talk (btw, ACFA is not trans – and in fact I don’t often find myself agreeing with her). What I don’t see that would make any sort of dialogue possible is an acknowledgment that trans women have valid grievances with the Dianic Feminist movement.

        • Amadea

          If I saw some real understanding of the Dianic Feminist movement instead of all of the mischaracterization, I might better understand the grievances someone might have with the Dianic Feminist movement. But what I’m seeing is grievances with a mischaracterized conception of the Dianic Feminist movement. That’s why I still think real engaged dialogue with understanding instead of attacks is what is needed. Otherwise, we are just talking past each other.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            If it’s a mischaracterization, it’s a mischaracterization largely based on a mismatch between words and actions. We cannot take words seriously when actions contradict them.

          • Amadea

            Reply to Ruadhan: I find it very disturbing that you can be so insulting and then call that respectful dialogue. I find most of what you have posted as being totally insulting and insensitive, making no effort to understand, igoring my efforts and others to reach out. I made it very clear that I was not responding as a lawyer, even though I am one. I said that scoring lawyer points as in a courtroom was not conducive to community. (BTW, I wouldn’t have someone for a client who is mainly a flamethrower. Such people make horrible witnesses.)

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

            @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus

            I find it very disturbing that you can be so insulting and then call that respectful dialogue.

            I’ve been perfectly respectful.  The fact that you cannot define how I have otherwise is reflective more of you and your claims than of me.

            (BTW, I wouldn’t have someone for a client who is mainly a flamethrower. Such people make horrible witnesses.)

            And now you’re being homophobic.  GREAT!

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

            > If I saw some real understanding of the Dianic
            > Feminist movement instead
            of all of the
            > mischaracterization, I might better understand
            > the
            grievances someone might have with the
            > Dianic Feminist movement.

            If you think there have been mischaracterisations, then first ask yourself if there are any prominent Dianics who might have contributed to that image you find false.  Cos I myself am only going on what Zsuzsanna Budapest and those who claim to be of her lineage have actually said.

            You’ve said nothing to rectify and redeem this picture; you’ve only made the vaguest and least useful allegations of “mischaracterisation”.

          • Amadea

            Please read my posts about how I view what the Dianic movement is about. That will clear this up.

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

            @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus
            I have.  Yet I still can’t figure out what it is you feel mischaracterises Dianics.

            As an aside, I’m starting to doubt your claim that you’re a lawyer.  I’ve argued with lawyers before; they’ve always made themselves far more clear than you do, and actually prove the listening/reading skills that you have yet to.  Basically, they’re better at discourse, especially rhetoric, than you are.  If you you speak truth with that claim, I don’t think I’d ever hire you.

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

        Every post that mischaracterizes Dianics only serves to prove that trans women don’t belong in our circles.

        Umm, you do know that A.C. is a wombmoon-born-wombmoon who has passed menstrual blood and even babies through her Sacred Vagina, right? Given that, I’m not sure how her commentary would prove anything about the Dianic position re. trans women, save to prove that even many cis-women find your position untenable and laughable.

        • Amadea

          That doesn’t matter to the point I made. I see no effort to understand Dianics and continued conflation of the worst statement of Z Budapest with my points. That doesn’t serve understanding and real engaged dialogue.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            If you want real engaged dialogue, there’s a need for some kind of gesture of good faith from the empowered party.

          • Amadea

            I’ve been making that gesture over and over again on this comment board. Where is the gesture from the trans community?

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

            What have you contributed to make people better understand Dianics?

          • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

            I’ve been wondering this myself. For all her compassionate reaching out, she hasn’t really said anything.

      • Califried

        Every post that mischaracterizes Dianics only serves to prove that trans women don’t belong in our circles.

        That’s really interesting, Amadea! See, you keep asking transgendered women to move beyond the comments made by Z and many others in the trans-exclusive Dianic community (including several right here in this comment thread). And yet, despite the fact that you apparently have transgendered friends, you apparently want to generalize the comments made in one thread on one blog to a justification to continue excluding transgendered women from your circles. I personally find the contradiction fascinating.

        Your rhetorical strategy this year seems to be to beat the tone drum as often as possible. As I noted in a separate comment, however, these exchanges already represent honest, real dialogue. Unfortunately, your starting assumption is that you are doing nothing problematic in excluding transwomen from your circles. You show no interest in reconsidering that position, which means that it’s personally difficult for me to conclude that you’re interested in anything but convincing the broader community that you’re doing nothing wrong. As I’ve already noted, I think that ship has sailed on a tide of comments like “Women are born not made by men on operating tables.”

        Best regards,
        Califried

    • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

      I love you and wanna have your baby. Oh wait. I can’t. I’m a man. ;-D

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

        I take it you haven’t seen Junior?

        • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

          I’ve seen it years ago. What am I supposed to be remembering?

          Oh, now I remember. I didn’t see my comment you were replying to. LOL

  • Desiree Arceneaux

    Those who try to draw “objective” lines separating all trans women from all cis women inevitably find that they must either blatantly ignore everything modern science tells us about sex and gender, because any attempt at a definition of “biological woman” which excludes trans women inevitably excludes a substantial number of cis women as well.

    In the end, these people end up defining woman as “able-bodied woman” and defining womanhood as “the life experiences of modern middle-to-upper-class Western women”. Do we really have to point out how inherently oppressive that is?

    As a trans woman of color raised in a multicultural (American, French, and Vietnamese) environment, I’m going to point out that the childhood experiences of a white trans woman and a white cis women are in so many ways more similar to each other than either of them is to me. The idea that all cis women share a unique set of life experiences is very plainly based on grossly overgeneralizing the experiences of white Western women and assuming that cis women in other cultures must inherently share them. THIS. IS. NOT. TRUE..

  • Katie Berger Tremaine

    I have a privilege that a lot of trans women lack – I am consistently and predictably gendered by others as female, which allows me a relative amount of comfort in being treated as my correct gender. Which… is not always “comfortable” in the technical sense of the term because that means that I’m subject to the same sexism as any other woman. But it’s more “comfortable” than what trans women who are not consistently or predictably gendered as female experience, by a long, long way. Trans women who are not consistently gendered as female get treated like subhumans by a lot of people (including, depressingly, by many trans women – horizontal hostility, hello – but even more so by cis women).

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

    Cigfran and Katie: that kind of derailing is sadly typical of a lot of second wave feminist discourse. It’s all about the empowerment of women – which generally meant college educated middle-class and higher white women. Women of color and poor women were expected to put aside their petty concerns and concentrate on the empowerment of (college-educated middle-class and higher white) women. This is one of the main problems which led to the development of Third Wave feminism. (I am sure you both knew that, but thought I would point it out for Ye peanut Gallery).

    “Guest”‘s efforts to turn attention to poor people elsewhere are pretty standard for people confronted with their own privilege. A black person complains about racism in America and is reminded that things are much worse in Africa. Someone tries to talk about hunger in America to a republican and gets told that children are starving in (insert impoverished country here). The message is the same no matter the variation — your concerns are petty so stop whining.

  • guest

    Kenaz, how are your repeated name-calling and insults any less hateful than Z Budapest’s now admitted statement that sparked this whole controversy?

    • Desiree Arceneaux

      None of Kenaz’s statements can be rationally construed as “name-calling” or in any way insulting.

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

        > None of Kenaz’s statements can be rationally construed as
        > “name-calling” or in any way insulting.

        Well, except to a troll like our “Guest”.

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

        To be honest, I’d say my posts have been insulting to those who deserved it. When someone claims with a straight face that mutilated men are taking hormones and having their penises removed so they can steal teh sacred womb-moon mysteries, I don’t have any compunctions about calling her a frothing fruitbat. When someone spends an inordinate amount of time engaging in anonymous trolling about how painful and triggering s/h/it finds the prefix “cis-” I’m always happy to provide an alternate and more descriptive pronoun. If one drives a little car into the center ring and then hops out wearing floppy shoes, a red nose and a frizzy wig one can hardly be offended at being treated like a clown.

        • Amadea

          You, Christopher Day (at times), and Ruadhan have been insulting to me and I haven’t made any of those claims. 

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

             @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus, that’s cos @facebook-556495406:disqus was talking about a quote from Zsuzsanna Budapest.  Please learn to follow all of what’s not only been said, but is relevant to the conversation.

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

            @youngsoulrebel:disqus: I’d also note that
            @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus steadfastly refused to refute the words of Mary Daly and Janice Raymond regarding trans women, yet was wounded to the quick by people who called her “whining” and “privileged.” Basically, from where I stand it looks like she came here seeking to be offended, so she could go back to her circle of friends and say “I tried talking to those trans people, but they’re all so ANGRY and MILITANT.”  

            Given that she was looking for sarcasm, I figure the least I could present her with some that was reasonably entertaining.

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

             Well-said.  I myself have finally given up and decided to toss a little of my own her way, to boot.  Less frustrating (a state she seems to think I enjoy being in).

    • http://www.facebook.com/mirage358 Jason White

      This sounds an awful lot like “not promoting my views is intolerance.” There is no hate, none at all, in using a generic, descriptive, and neutral term for “people whose gender identity matches their physical sex.”

      These terms only matter in the context of gender identity discussion, and they exist for the purpose of description. They’re not about division into camps. They’re not about making you less than what you are. They are about describing what you are more accurately, when it matters to do so. And hey, as with anything descriptive, the map is not the territory — everything is shades of grey.

      If your displeasure is that you have been incorrectly labeled as having your physical sex match your gender, that is perfectly understandable. If your displeasure is that the term is inelegant, I can buy that too – just don’t expect someone else to come up with a better one, that’s lazy.

      But if your displeasure is the fact that a term for that *exists at all*, then you are either protesting against the expansion of human understanding of gender identity (a peculiar form of epistemophobia), or you are protesting the fact that anyone whose gender does not match their physical sex is being given an equal (i.e. not abnormal) footing with those whose gender and sex are in alignment (outright bigotry).

      • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

        You summed up perfectly what Guest so obviously (to most here I imagine) refuses to address.

  • Califried

    I wanted to quickly address one of the recurring themes in this comment thread. A number of opponents of the new PantheaCon policy have asked, one way or another, why transgendered women and trans allies are not engaging in “respectful dialogue.” There are a few points that need to be made:

    1. There has been plenty of respectful dialogue to date.
    2. Asking transgendered women to be not-angry is a close cousin to the tone argument, the generalized form of which is: “I would have replied to what you just said, but I don’t like the words you used to express yourself.” Oppressed groups are absolutely allowed to be angry, particularly when conversations touch on (and some of their interlocutors are literally advocating for) their oppression.
    3. Respect is earned. The majority of Dianic commenters at The Wild Hunt have gone out of their way to assert that transgendered women are actually men and to argue that arguments in favor of trans inclusion amount to patriarchal intrusions into women-born-women space. This unfortunate fact means that new entrants into the conversation who are interested in advocating for trans exclusion need to recognize that they need to work a bit harder to demonstrate that they are arguing in good faith.

    Where is the respectful dialogue? It’s taking place right here and right now. I hope that this fact is clear to everyone.

    Best regards,
    Califried

    • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

      Two points:
      I’m not so sure that your assertion that “The majority of Dianic commenters at The Wild Hunt have gone out of their way to assert that transgendered women are actually men” is actually correct. An inflammatory minority have done so, and I think the assumption has often been made that reservations about any part of the change in policy are rooted in such a sentiment. But I don’t think I’m alone in finding that some assumptions have been made about me (such as the presumption that I’m a Dianic, when I’m not, as well as an assumption that I’m interested in excluding trans-women from women’s only spaces) were projections.

      Second point: Yeah, it’s totally unfair that an oppressed class of people should be expected to be patient and gentle in dealing with those whose privilege has blinded them to the experiences that they’ve undergone. Why in justice should it be up to survivors to “clean up Dodge City?”

      Unfortunately, whether or not it is fair, it is necessary. Patient and kind voices get heard more clearly than those that have given way to the (understandable, human) temptation to shout. There are a lot of Pagans who are tuning this discussion out entirely… and that might ultimately be “their own problem,” but the lack of empathy and actions that stem from it quickly become everybody’s problem

      Do we want to focus on what’s fair in creating communal changes, or what’s effective?

      Which is more important–to mandate trans-inclusive rituals only, or to have more and more understanding of the rightness of trans-inclusive rituals? Do we want to change rules or hearts, here?

      If we were a political community, I’d be content with the first. For a spiritual community? Anything but the second is not enough.

      • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

        Also–you are right in saying that this is also the respectful dialog. Though hopefully not the end of it.

        I am VERY interested in the experiences of those Dianics who are now experimenting with trans-inclusive ritual. I hope that most of them also have experience in cis-women-only ritual with which to compare the newer, inclusive variant, and so we’ll get word back within a few years about what the trans and cis women pioneers have learned about gender and ritual.

        I may not be a Dianic, but I do love when we manage to compare and contrast our Work together–based on experiences, not merely theory.

        • Califried

          I am VERY interested in the experiences of those Dianics who are now experimenting with trans-inclusive ritual.

          In case there’s any confusion on this point, there’s nothing experimental about it – there are Dianic circles that have been trans-inclusive for years. For my part, I just have to reiterate that a call for cisgendered women to decide amongst themselves whether trans-inclusive ritual is more like mixed-gender work is pretty problematic. If you want to work with transgendered women on that point, however, consider attending PantheaCon or reaching out to one of the many trans-inclusive Dianic circles out there.

          Best regards,
          Califried

      • Califried

        I’m not so sure that your assertion that “The majority of Dianic commenters at The Wild Hunt have gone out of their way to assert that transgendered women are actually men” is actually correct. An inflammatory minority have done so, and I think the assumption has often been made that reservations about any part of the change in policy are rooted in such a sentiment.

        By my count, MommaCat and Cedarcat represent a majority of the self-identified Dianic commenters on this thread! An inflammatory minority of commenters in general, a majority of Dianic commenters. Of course, that’s just detail – if there were dozens and dozens of Dianic witches in this thread who were demonstrating their desire to be trans allies, there might be value in calling that fact out. In reailty, there are very, very few Dianic commenters, and two of them identified transgendered women arguing in favor of inclusion as men and/or behaving like men. Hope that helps!

        Unfortunately, whether or not it is fair, it is necessary. Patient and kind voices get heard more clearly than those that have given way to the (understandable, human) temptation to shout.

        And while it may be the case that being patient and kind voice get heard more clearly, it is never incumbent on the oppressed minority to be patient and kind particularly in light of many of the comments made in this thread. It is certainly not “necessary” in any sense of the word. As to the question of whether trans individuals and trans allies want change of rules or change of heart, I think it’s pretty clear that the change of heart has already happened! Since the remaining hearts are not likely to be changed any time soon, if ever, and we already have a meaningful rule change, it’s a pretty moot point.

        Best regards,
        Califried

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

          > By my count, MommaCat and Cedarcat represent a
          > majority of the
          self-identified Dianic commenters on
          > this thread! An inflammatory
          minority of commenters
          > in general, a majority of Dianic
          commenters. Of
          > course, that’s just detail – if there were dozens and
          > dozens of Dianic witches in this thread who were
          > demonstrating their
          desire to be trans allies, there
          > might be value in calling that fact
          out. In reailty,
          > there are very, very few Dianic commenters, and two
          > of
          them identified transgendered women arguing in
          > favor of inclusion as
          men and/or behaving like men.

          Yep, that’s pretty much what I saw, as well.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    I am grateful but exhausted to have witnessed this discussion. I have learned thing I didn’t know about biology, trans-women, and Dianic theory and practice.

    But much of the back-and-forth leaves me sad. I’ve seen it so often before, in cadence if not phrasing: Two groups of people who have experienced unjustified lack of privilege, going at each other. I’ve seen it between lesbians over what is politically correct sex practice. I’ve seen it between black and white gay people; between black and white feminist women.

    It grieves me to see people who could be writing their own scripts, living out someone else’s that frankly (to the perception of an elderly white straight cismale) led nowhere in the first place.

    At least some of the commentary is clearly Goddess-inspired. I’m glad of that.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    ATTN CHRISTIAN DAY:

    You wrote:

    “[...S]he helped to prop up a woman who handed out false accusations against a number of men (including me) like they were trick-or-treat candy at Halloween, whose swath of ridiculous accusations just had to be true simply because she had a vagina. When I spoke out against it, Lori Bruno and I were were told that sex between men and women was rape [...]”

    Christian, this is part of what people mean when they say Z is coming out of Second Wave feminism. This sort of anti-male stuff used to be very thick on the ground in feminism. What was more distressing was that so many feminist women who *didn’t* share it had a collective blind spot to it, and often would treat the whole subject as an effort to denigrate the legitimate feminist agenda.

    Sad to be reminded of all that.

    • http://festivalofthedead.com Christian Day

      I appreciate the experience you have in this. It’s frustrating to me because I don’t see how all men or all women can conform to the broad brushes being painted here.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    There’s been discussion of whether angry or gentle voices are needed from those subject to oppression, to effect real change.

    From the experience of anti-oppression campaigns since the 1950s (when I started paying attention) it’s not eitiher/or, it’s both/and. You’ve got to get their attention AND you’ve got to arrange a conversation in which both parties can participate. AFAIK no movement ever orchestrates this; it emerges from the personalities and politics of the people involved.

    If one sort seems to predominate in this discussion — well, this *is* the internet…

    • Cigfran

      Agreed.

      But it’s sort of hard to know what the appropriate balance is supposed to be when simply making your case and refusing to be deflected is taken as being “angry.”

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        It may be a gauge of how upset the other party is made by you simply making your case and refusing to be deflected, assuming that you are replying reasonably to reasonable statements during the rest of the conversation.

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

      > From the experience of anti-oppression campaigns since the 1950s
      > (when I
      started paying attention) it’s not either/or, it’s both/and.

      Yep, that’s what I’ve learned from my studies of civil liberties movements.  The loud and angry bring the problem to wider attentions, and the diplomatic offer up the negotiations in hopes of bringing peace.

  • Katie Berger Tremaine

    I wish I knew what Amadea’s conditions for a “respectful” dialogue were, because they seemed an awful lot like “accept as given that cis-only women’s space is nonoppressive.”

  • Katie Berger Tremaine

    Parents

    If you love your kids, let them know that being trans is ok and that they can talk to you about it. They won’t know unless you tell them. Don’t assume that kids know your love extends to this, they are absorbing message after message from our culture that trans people of all flavors are disturbed and disgusting.

    Trans children need the explicit knowledge that they are loved to counteract the sea of hate and the truth is that you most likely won’t know they needed you until they work up the courage to tell you… if they ever do. Some, like myself, spend their teenage years buried in depression and self hate.

    Some aren’t even that lucky.

    Talk to your kids. Let them know that you love them. Period. Full stop. Not “regardless of if you’re trans”, not “would love you anyway”… to people who are hurting, both of these imply that being trans is bad. Just that you love them, love all of who they are.

    Thank you for your time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mirage358 Jason White

    Pulling this out of the deep-thread way below, because discussion gets more difficult when you can’t reply directly.

    @google-3a2b156863fa3e65eb10a77b8ebcd4cf:disqus wrote:

    The fundamental problem with cisgender-women-only space is that certain cis women continue to loudly demand that all women’s space should always be cis women only space, or “at least” that all women’s space should be cis women only space by default.

    Yes. This. Ciswomen only space can be a good thing – specifically, for ciswomen that need that space, at that time (as the woman who submitted a letter to PNC Minnesota). But when trans-exclusive space becomes the default, or the norm, or is demanded at *all* times, it is doing harm.

    For those that need them because of trauma, ciswomen-only spaces should be available. But the goal should always be, at all times, to help them heal so that they do not need these spaces. The real tragedy of using “the patriarchy” to justify the continual exclusion of transwomen because they are transwomen is that doing so thereby upholds it.

    I believe that establishing exclusionary space declares that either something is wrong with those it is made for (in which case it is made to overcome that flaw), or something is wrong with those it is excluding. I support sincere efforts at the former, and decry the latter.

    And anticipating responses to this: Creating space primarily focused around the needs of a group is very different from creating space that excludes those outside the group. A group can focus on it’s needs and issues while also allowing outsiders to attend and participate respectfully.

    @youngsoulrebel:disqus  wrote:

    Thus we learn why Third Wave feminists who keep up with the changing face of social justice have switched to using the word “kyriarchy,” because it makes [it] clear, that you’re not scapegoating all men, as “patriarchy” tends to inadvertently imply in English.

    Thank you for this – I had never heard this term before, and love it. The implication of a philosophy of “No Masters” is so much better.

    • Amadea

      I am not one who thinks all women’s space should be “cis-women” space. As I’ve said in several posts (which seems to have been missed), I have circled with transwomen. I have also said that I think there are places where we can come together in support of one another and that respectful dialogue toward understanding is the way to find out where those places are and where separate space might be needed.  On the other hand, there are some on this list who have indicated (even if they recognize the right) that separate Dianic space is wrong, bad, misinformed, or foolish.  Such all or nothing thinking on both sides is misplaced, in my view.

      • Califried

        On the other hand, there are some on this list who have indicated (even if they recognize the right) that separate Dianic space is wrong, bad, misinformed, or foolish.

        Transgendered women and trans-exclusive Dianics are both part of the broader Pagan community, and discussions like these are of vital importance - I personally take part in these conversations in a spirit of healing and community building.  While it is inarguable there are cisgendered women who have benefited from trans-exclusive Dianic practice, my honest analysis of the situation is that is that Dianic space as you define it (specifically your definition of “woman,” which perpetuates the primary narrative that underlies cisgender privilege) represents an exertion of cisgender privilege that is experienced by transgendered women as oppression.

        Of course, that’s not at all the same thing as saying that Dianic space is “wrong, bad, misinformed, or foolish.”  What it does, however, is make you aware of the impact your personal choices have on other people and on the community.  Where you go from here is entirely up to you.  For now, it appears that you will continue down the same path, but I hold out hope that you might change your mind some day.

        There is one thing we can all agree on: there appears to be very broad
        agreement that the PantheaCon policy change under discussion is the
        right one to make.  I, for one, am very happy to see consensus on that
        point at least.

        Best regards,
        Califried

      • Cigfran

        I fail to see how taking the position of supporting your right to free private assembly while criticizing the ideology that you use to determine your boundaries constitutes “all or nothing thinking.”

        What does strike me as such thinking, however, is the attitude that voiced frustration in one place entirely invalidates all content everywhere else… or the evident belief that a set of voices that don’t meet your delicate criteria necessarily equates to an angry horde arrayed against you.

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

           Precisely.

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

         @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus

        On the other hand, there are some on this list who have indicated (even
        if they recognize the right) that separate Dianic space is wrong, bad,
        misinformed, or foolish.

        I can think that your cisgender-only space is as misguided and foolish as I want to, but I will still defend to the death your right to it.  Freedom of speech and expression does not entitle you to a cheering section.

        Such all or nothing thinking on both sides is misplaced, in my view.

        So then why, apparently, do you expect it?  Why do you expect that anybody who supports your right to whatever spaces you want to worship in must fit your definition of “respecting” that choice?  That’s a very all-or-nothing sort of opinion to hold.

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

    Amadea: as Ronald Reagan once said “there you go again.” I (and so far as I can see, every trans person and trans ally participating in this discussion) have affirmed your right to determine whom you do or do not want to circle with in your private rituals.  

    I at least have not questioned the value of exclusionary spaces: in fact, I have specifically stated on a couple of occasions that “I am not interested in ‘integrating’ people of color space or ‘freeing men from the oppression’ of woman-only space.”  I question the wisdom of excluding a protected class from an open ritual at a large public event for a number of reasons, not the least of which being the exposure it creates for the convention and the venue. (As an attorney, I’m sure you can understand that). But I have stood up for the right of Dianics to free association and to share or withhold their Mysteries as they see fit. By the same token, I also recognize the right of people to question the wisdom of excluding trans women from Dianic circles and even to criticize Dianics for doing so.  

    But that’s not enough for you.  You don’t just want the right to exclude trans women. You want trans women and their allies to pat you on your back while you are doing it and tell you it’s OK, we know you’re a good person, we don’t think you’re exercising your cis privilege and we don’t find your policies oppressive and marginalizing.  And when they refuse to do that, you complain that they’re not interested in “dialogue.”  

    If you want dialogue, let’s talk about Janice Raymond’s Transexual Empire and her contention that trans women are “mutilated men” who take hormones and have surgery so they can infiltrate the Matriarchy, and that every gender reassignment/realignment surgery  is tantamount to an act of rape.  I’m not going to put words in your mouth and say that you agree with this. But I will note that several people have mentioned Raymond and you’ve yet to come out and say “No, I think that’s silly and hurtful and I do not buy into those ideas at all.”  

    If you want to establish a respectful dialogue with trans women, stating categorically that you don’t believe they are “Frankestein monsters” (Mary Daly) or male infiltrators for the patriarchy (Janice Raymond, Cedar Cat) would be a splendid place to start and could go a long way toward establishing a genuine and productive conversation.  If, on the other hand, you’re just looking for trans women and allies to assuage your guilt or to tell you that Dianic policies of exclusion aren’t hurtful to them, I suspect you’ll be waiting an awfully long time. 

    • Amadea

      You know, your whole way of approaching the subject is very insulting and offensive.  I’m not asking for a pat on the back at all — I don’t need one.  I know who I am and what I need.  That’s the whole point.  If you paid attention to the discourse, you would see that I was responding to Jason White who said: 

      “I have yet to see a comment in any of these discussions claiming, in no uncertain terms, that cisgendered-women-only space is wholly and inherently bad. I have yet to see a single comment in which it is argued that transwomen should *always* be welcomed into *every* space.And I haven’t seen that claim because it is patently, 100% false. If you can link to such a claim in these comments, then I would wholeheartedly argue against it right alongside you. Cisgendered-only spaces can be very good, very positive things — as you are stating here, and as many men and women have stated.”I think you are one who thinks that Dianic separate space is a bad thing, even if you recognize the right.  I think you’ve made that quite clear.  I don’t need your approval and it is offensive for you to suggest such a thing.  I just wanted to clarify to Jason White that there are trans people and their supporters on this list who think any space that excludes transwomen is unworthy.  There are some.  You are one of them.I also agree with Jason that there hopefully will come a time when those spaces are no longer needed.  That time has not yet arrived, as the attacks and insults on this list and the failure to dialogue with respect and compassion prove again and again.

      • Katie Berger Tremaine

        Demanding that others not criticize your choices is neither respectful nor compassionate.

        • Amadea

          I have no problem with respectful critiques, as my posts to Jason White show. He has been respectfully critical. One can learn from that. But there is no excuse for anyone referring to me as “whining” nor any of the other name calling on this list. I see that that Jason is the only one interested in dialogue that moves toward understanding. Everyone else is just enjoying bashing. I’m not sure what you all hope to accomplish with that. It certainly doesn’t make me or anyone else empathize with your cause. Interestingly, I was approaching this with an open heart when I started participating, but you and others on this list have convinced me that that was misplaced. If that was your goal, you achieved it. My only further post on this list will be the one promised to Jason, which won’t be until next week.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Concern trolling strikes again.

          • Cigfran

            I’m figuring a ρ of what, about 11,000?

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

            You are to be commended. Despite the tears in your eyes and the pain in your heart you still managed to bang out a “Goodbye Cruel Forum” post. I wonder why you didn’t take the time to  answer the question concerning how you feel about the anti-trans rhetoric used by Mary Daly, Janice Raymond, and a fair number of people who identify as Dianics.  But hey, being told you are “whining” is SO much more painful than being called a Frankenstein monster, a freak, a mutilated man and a rapist. 

            Ah well, so long, go with Goddess, don’t let the doorknob hit you, &c.

          • Cigfran

            You know who was interested in actual dialogue, and not just self-serving blather? Who listened as well as spoke, and understood that real words come in different ways, not just those that reinforce your comfort zone? Who has shown actual integrity, an open heart through action, not through repeated claims belied by a fallback on prejudice and doctrine?

            Lady Yeshe Rabbit.

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

             Yes.

            I have to say, I still don’t get her on several levels, at least judging by her blog, but by Olympos, I swear that she’s possibly the only major self-identified Dianic I’ve seen come out of this whole… thing… and meaningfully address the concerns of trans women, and is one of the few Dianics I’ve seen, overall, to say and do anything truly supportive.  Heck, she even managed to keep true to the common Dianic focus of menstrual mysteries and still keep her group and fork in the lineage as something open to and supportive of trans women.

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

             @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus

            I have no problem with respectful critiques, as my posts to Jason White show. He has been respectfully critical.

            No he hasn’t.  He’s been stoic and objective.  BIG difference.

            You still have yet to actually address any of @facebook-20716235:disqus’s posts, by the way.  All you do is say “thanks for being so respectful” and then wax poetic about “discourse” some more.

            Everyone else is just enjoying bashing.

            Not me.  I’m not enjoying this in the least.  I think it needs to be aid, but I don’t enjoy saying it.

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

        I have also said that I have no problem with, for example, a “Birth Ritual” which is only open to women who have given birth. By its very nature this would exclude trans women, but it would also exclude childfree cis women. I wouldn’t even object to a “moon blood ritual” open only to women who have experienced menstruation.  (IIRC, one of the problems in 2011 was that when questions about women with AIS or Turner Syndrome came up the goalposts shifted to “women socialized as women” – so for many was that the purported “purpose” of the ritual was a thin ruse to keep out trans women).

        But hey, do keep on whining about how badly you’re being treated here.  That is so much easier than actually addressing the pain your exclusionary rituals have caused, or the hateful, inflammatory and frankly lunatic statements a few people on your side have made and which you refuse to comment upon.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          Such a ritual would also exclude non-bearing lesbian mothers and adoptive mothers with no biological children… I’m not sure if I could support that…

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

            I referred to it as a “Birth Ritual” rather than a “Mother’s Ritual” because I assumed it would be focused on the body experience of pregnancy and childbirth rather than on mothering in general.  I can definitely see where it would be problematic for the reasons you mentioned, but I can also see where it could be a spiritually useful and non-oppressive example of a ritual which would only be open to cis women. 

            Another sorta kinda related example: I could imagine a Hellenic group that had a subgroup of athletes who went running for Hermes and considered their runs to be a prayer ritual. That would exclude wheelchair-bound members — but would be something quite different than saying “because healthy bodies were important to the Hellenic Gods, we don’t want disabled people in our group.” 

            Being a lawyer, I’m surprised that Amadea isn’t able to grasp these sorts of distinctions. But then, I think it’s pretty clear that her main goal in coming here was to get offended so she could run back to her cis woman only space and talk about how horribly she was treated by the awful oppressive trans people and their allies. 

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

         @6c5558d2f3ebcbade762bfabf166ad73:disqus

        I don’t need your approval and it is offensive for you to suggest such a thing.

        Then why apparently demand it of anybody, lest to dismiss them as “disrespectful” or “uninterested in discourse”?  That question really was the meat of @facebook-556495406:disqus’s comment, and you have yet to answer it in any meaningful way.

  • Amadea

    Several of you have contended that most everyone has approached the subject in thoughtful respectful ways with the exception only of two people.  I have not found that to be true.  I’m wondering if any of you think this recent post from Ruadhan falls within the respectful dialogue approach.  “I’m sure you entertain yourself with at your little ‘privileged women only” circle-jerks at MWMF.’”

    • Cigfran

      While I sympathize in principle with your complaint, you don’t dictate the terms of discussion.

      People put up with quite a lot around here – trans people have recently been described as definitively insane and their utterances therefore utterly worthless – but rather than whine about it over and over and over again, we’re still here making the case as best we can.

      There is no talking stick here. There are only a few basic rules of decorum, and being a little snotty sometimes is not only well within those rules, it is called for.

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

      And I wonder why it is you keep whining about how rude the trans women and trans allies are and how badly they keep hurting your precious fee-fees instead of addressing straightforward and to-the-point comments like this:

      If you want dialogue, let’s talk about Janice Raymond’s Transexual Empire and her contention that trans women are “mutilated men” who take hormones and have surgery so they can infiltrate the Matriarchy, and that every gender reassignment/realignment surgery  is tantamount to an act of rape.  I’m not going to put words in your mouth and say that you agree with this. But I will note that several people have mentioned Raymond and you’ve yet to come out and say “No, I think that’s silly and hurtful and I do not buy into those ideas at all.” 

      If you want to establish a respectful dialogue with trans women, stating categorically that you don’t believe they are “Frankestein monsters” (Mary Daly) or male infiltrators for the patriarchy (Janice Raymond, Cedar Cat) would be a splendid place to start and could go a long way toward establishing a genuine and productive conversation.  If, on the other hand, you’re just looking for trans women and allies to assuage your guilt or to tell you that Dianic policies of exclusion aren’t hurtful to them, I suspect you’ll be waiting an awfully long time.

      Whether you like it or not many trans women and trans allies see policies which privilege “womyn born womyn/chromo women/genetic women/women born and socialized as women/women who aren’t mutiliated men made on operating tables” and shut out trans women as inherently marginalizing and oppressive. And until you understand and address that you’re not going to have any kind of dialogue.  Quite a few people have pointed that out. Most have done so with considerably more patience and manners than yrs. truly.  Yet you seem far more interested in complaining about how uppity those people are than in actually addressing their concerns.

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

         @facebook-556495406:disqus

        your precious fee-fees

        I don’t know why, but that phrase just gave me a major attack of the sillies.

    • Califried

       I’m wondering if any of you think this recent post from Ruadhan falls within the respectful dialogue approach.  “I’m sure you entertain yourself with at your little ‘privileged women only” circle-jerks at MWMF.’”

      Amadea, I think I would agree that some of Kenaz’s comments in this thread have been unnecessary.

      Having said that, it’s interesting that you would choose that specific quote as an example of disrespectful dialogue.  See, Ruadhan made that comment in response to a post where you asserted that there are transgendered women who possess privilege with respect to you because they “have the advantage of being a women without the same baggage females who grew up in a woman’s body have.”  Your specific comment brings the conflict at hand into sharp relief: you believe that you do not possess cisgender privilege, or that a material number of transgendered women possess privilege with respect to you.  I can only assume that this belief in part underlies your insistence that your definition of “woman” for the purposes of your Dianic practice is not problematic.

      Ruadhan’s comment is not respectful by your lights, but it’s a reasonable response to a comment which asserts that a material number of transgendered women derive privilege from their male upbringing, something that, in actuality, causes transgendered women a significant amount of pain and .  To be frank, if you know transgendered women, are friends with them and have heard and understood their personal pain, you should already know this to be the case.  Criticizing an oppressed minority for expressing their anger is pretty typical in discussions such as these, and also pretty problematic – I honestly don’t think you’re doing a particularly good job of showing that the responses you’ve received here (particularly from the transgendered women in the audience) have been unreasonable.  

      Best regards,
      Califried

      • Katie Berger Tremaine

        My experience, to be precise, is that trans girls and young non-transitioned trans women experience male privilege in the exact same way that closeted gay kids in homophobic communities experience heterosexual privilege. That is to say, not really.

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

        @9bf2c534ebe78e6a103c361c89714019:disqus: Diplomacy isn’t my strong point… to put it mildly.  OTOH, I’m not sure what purpose is served by trying to engage in “diplomatic dialogue” with people who believe trans women are mutilated men seeking to infiltrate the Matriarchy, etc.  Never mind hateful and hurtful – that’s some Grade A Tinfoil Hat Lunacy.

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

      I’m wondering why it is you keep on emphasizing all the people who have been mean to you rather than addressing this rather clear and reasonably polite statement:

      If you want dialogue, let’s talk about Janice Raymond’s Transexual Empire and her contention that trans women are “mutilated men” who take hormones and have surgery so they can infiltrate the Matriarchy, and that every gender reassignment/realignment surgery is tantamount to an act of rape. I’m not going to put words in your mouth and say that you agree with this. But I will note that several people have mentioned Raymond and you’ve yet to come out and say “No, I think that’s silly and hurtful and I do not buy into those ideas at all.” 

      If you want to establish a respectful dialogue with trans women, stating categorically that you don’t believe they are “Frankenstein monsters” (Mary Daly) or male infiltrators for the patriarchy (Janice Raymond, Cedar Cat) would be a splendid place to start and could go a long way toward establishing a genuine and productive conversation. If, on the other hand, you’re just looking for trans women and allies to assuage your guilt or to tell you that Dianic policies of exclusion aren’t hurtful to them, I suspect you’ll be waiting an awfully long time.

      Simple question: do you agree with Janice Raymond and Mary Daly or don’t you?

      If you disagree, do you understand just how hurtful and hateful those ideas are — far, far, FAR worse than snarky comments about “‘privileged women only” circle-jerks at MWMF.’”? And do you understand that a significant number of womyn who identify as “Dianics” appear to take these ideas seriously, and this is largely why self-proclaimed Dianics are meeting with a rather cool reception here?

      If you agree with her, then why would you be interested in any sort of dialogue with mutilated Frankenstein monster freaks? And more to the point, why would they be interested in dialogue with you?

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

       You haven’t found it to be true because you simply don’t want it to be true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mirage358 Jason White

    @f8949b81170097930c8d7e04ace68dd2:disqus wrote:

    To some people, the emotional content of a comment screams out, and its logical internal connections are murky. To others the logical connections stand out sharply and the emotional nuances are obscure. I am of the latter sort. Amadea may be of the former.

    I appreciate this comment – it’s something I’m familiar with, and is definitely worth bringing up. And it’s part of a larger conversation that I think we as a community should have.

    In response, I think that those of us who see logical connections sharply should look hard for the emotional nuances of what both we and others say, and those of us who see emotional nuances easily should endeavor to look hard for the logical connections of both what we and others say. Both are needed for strong communication, and it’s our own individual responsibility to fill in our weaknesses in these areas.

    I would go further, as well. Especially in the pagan community, I’ve seen a lot of what a good friend calls “myth traps” — that is, the stories that we cling to about how the world outside of us works, even in the face of contrary evidence.

    She describes that in any given exchange, there are four levels of our perception of meaning at work:
    1) what was done or said in a literal/physical sense, with no meanings attached to them
    2) the story we have about what actually happened
    3) the way we feel about the story
    4) underlying beliefs that feed both the story and the emotions

    The problem becomes that, based on our underlying beliefs about the world, we tell stories about what people have done or said that are by and large not true. Then we react to the story instead of responding to the events. (Yeshe Rabbit made a wonderful post about the difference between reaction and response, which I think is also invaluable to improving interpersonal communication).

    The only way to fix this is to step back before we react, and question the story we have about what was said/done. Look for more evidence. Seek to evaluate, and if necessary, revise that story *before* you form an emotional response to the original events/words. Often you may find you were right the first time around (especially with practice). But sometimes, especially in heated arguments, it’s best to deliberately take that extra step to really understand what was said or done.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mirage358 Jason White

      I feel that in this discussion, on this post, Amadea is in many cases telling herself a story that doesn’t correspond with what was literally said. That she is reacting to what she *thinks* someone’s motivations are, before questioning if that story holds up to scrutiny.

      Basically, that she’s jumping to conclusions about the people she’s conversing with, in the same way that she is accusing others of doing. And that she is refusing to alter her underlying belief of “I am being perfectly reasonable, but noone else here is” despite evidence to the contrary on both scores.

  • Anonymous

    This has been a fascinating discussion; I’ve learned a lot.  I’m still struggling to understand the nuances of sex and gender, as well as the biases and privileges that have been invisible to me until now.   I have to admit that I don’t particularly like the term “cis-woman,” but I can’t articulate why I feel this way.  In any event, I can see I need to do more research to better understand the issues.

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

      I wasn’t fond of the term “cisgender” at first, even as a trans man, but overall they’re superior to any alternatives and the Latin is relatively sound, as an opposite of “trans”.  Cis is therefore superior to any alternative because it merely addresses the gender of non-trans people on neutral ground.

    • Cigfran

       If it helps any, it’s not really ‘cis-woman’. It’s cis woman, short for cisgender or cissexual woman, as opposed to trans woman. Strictly speaking, a transgender or transsexual person isn’t a new kind of human, a “transperson.” By the same token, cis woman doesn’t create a new kind of person, it merely qualifies a normal person with a descriptor such as Tall or Blue. The shorthand we tend to use has the unfortunate effect of glossing over all that.

      It is inelegant, yes. But it has the virtue of being extremely neutral and concise.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    There’s been some exchanges about an all-white MWMF session on privilege. As a Unitarian Universalist I’ve heard about privilege in many settings (including the Internet). I have nothing to say about such a meeting as described *IF* it was part of a program of sessions with different composition, where people on both sides of the fence can contribute.


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