Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists are a vocal subset of the overall feminist movement that are known for their vilification of transgender people, men, and anyone who does not agree with their hateful views.
The average TERF is a middle-aged white lesbian, but there are a small population of people of colour, "political lesbians" (women who are heterosexual but are celibate or occasionally date women), straight women (the most famous being comedienne Roseanne Barr, who claims to not hate trans women, but wants them out of "womonspace"), and even a few men.
The intention of the TERF is simple- they declare transgender women to be men, and wants them to be barred from "womonspace". Such spaces include public restrooms, lockerrooms, lesbian bars, bathhouses, feminist speaking events, and protests. The queen of Womyn-Born-Womyn events is the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, where gender policing is the norm. Suspected transsexuals are harassed and womyn known to be trans are refused admittance or kicked out.
One of the perennial headliners is folk-rock group Indigo Girls. They've graced the MWMF stage as long as I can remember and I was an out lesbian for almost 20 years before transitioning (the fact that I am a trans man is well-known, but really irrelevant). They are a fixture- dykes love them, build shrines to them, and probably pray to them before retreating to their tents at night. Suffice it to say, they're the big cheeses.
A couple of days ago, frontwomyn Amy and Emily took to their blog at IndigoGirls.com. In a post about the festival, they expressed their desire to see the inclusion of trans womyn and clearly stated that it will be their last appearance until the attacks and exclusion cease. Even more, the money they earn playing this year's MWMF show will be donated to trans activist causes. The piece expressed solidarity with ALL womyn, acknowledges the fact that their "trans sisters" are singled out for hate crimes, and their sincere wish to unite the queer womyn's community. It's a fantastic piece, it's well-written and thoughtful, and not just queer folks should read it. (there's a link below)
It's nice to see the Girls take a stand, once and for all. While they may have quietly hoped that MWMF would change their policy, they are certainly not silent now. Their statement was thoughtful and kind, but simultaneously a firm statement of their current ideals, as well as their wishes for the future of queer feminism. Just as they've evolved, the queer feminist movement needs to undergo a metamorphosis. With their antiquated policy, the Festival has cast aside important voices whilst calling it solidarity.
In giving a voice to the most marginalized members of their community, Indigo Girls may have lost a few fans, but they've gained so much more. It's said that respect is earned, and even though I don't have the same stake in the game anymore, they've earned mine.
There's never a bad time to do the right thing.
READ the entire piece HERE
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