Bil Browning

Kendell & Carey Clarify Their Reversal on Michfest Stance

Filed By Bil Browning | April 11, 2015 6:45 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement

backwards.jpgNational Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell and National LGBTQ Task Force head Rea Carey have issued a joint statement about recent reports that their respective organizations have withdrawn from a campaign to pressure the Michigan Womyn's Festival to accept transgender women.

While the two again reiterate their respect and love for transgender people, they haven't helped the messaging disaster that this has become. Instead of simply saying why they're backing out, they couch it in generalities and corporate-speak. They say they're doing it "in order to pursue an active, intentional dialogue which we hope and believe will be a more productive course," but fail to say why they think doing an about-face on their previous stance is a good idea.

What makes this "intentional dialogue" a better option? What is wrong with the campaign that could compel the groups to abandon it without telling all of their partners and after it had garnered significant publicity? Until those questions are answered, no amount of talking - whether "intentional" or accidental - will be heard by the community at large.

We are writing to state clearly our commitment to the full inclusion and welcome of transgender women, as women, in the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (Michfest). We will continue to actively work to fulfill that goal.

After a number of conversations, we do not believe the petition/boycott is going to be ultimately productive in achieving the goal of a fully inclusive Michfest.

There have been a number of misstatements and distortions that have been included in some media reports, social media and blogs about our positions regarding Michfest that have wrongly equated taking our names off the petition with a lack of support for trans women.

We have not abandoned our efforts to work for a fully inclusive Michfest. Our goal is a Michfest that fully welcomes Trans women.

What we have done is remove our names from the petition in order to pursue an active, intentional dialogue which we hope and believe will be a more productive course in achieving the goal of a fully inclusive Michfest.

We encourage people who have not done so to read our full letters below.

We first reported on the organizations' shifting stance on the campaign yesterday and included copies of both letters in that post.

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