The Human Rights Campaign took a decisive stand against transphobia on its blog today, condemning the infamous anti-trans policies of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival as "simply inexcusable."
Festival organizers claim that they don't officially exclude trans women and say instead that it's merely their "intention" for the festival to be a space reserved for people they call "womyn born womyn" -- meaning, as festival founder Lisa Vogel puts it, "womyn who were born female, raised as girls and who continue to identify as womyn." (Translation: trans women aren't banned, they're just not wanted.)
But HRC Senior Content Manager Beth Sherouse isn't buying it. Official or not, Sherouse writes, the policy "serves to further marginalize trans women, denying them access to one of the only exclusively female spaces in our society."
Trans women and ciswomen (another word for non-trans women) suffer under the same patriarchal oppression, similarly restrictive ideas of what it means to be a woman, and the same structural barriers that deny women control of their own lives and bodies. The festival attempts to provide a refuge from this; to exclude some women from this refuge is simply inexcusable...
As this year's festival approaches, Equality Michigan has added their voice to the outcry against MWMF's exclusion of trans women, stating, "We reject the premise that transgender women are lesser than, we reject that this belief is a tenet of feminism, and we will no longer respect the 'intention' or that 'leaving the onus on each individual to choose whether or how to respect it' equates to inclusion."
I and my many colleagues at the Human Rights Campaign stand in solidarity with Equality Michigan, the Indigo Girls and the many other proud feminists calling on MichFest to live its mission and provide a place for all women to celebrate.
Hear, hear. Trans women are women, period. Kudos to HRC for speaking out against transphobia.
h/t: Parker Molloy, The Advocate.