poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, September 03, 2004

Greetings from (rainy) Camp Trans

Dear BTL,

Camp Trans is the ongoing protest of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival's policy of excluding any womyn who they can identify as transgender.

I attended Camp Trans for my second year- this time for a full week. CT is an amazing space where the varieties of gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and sexual interests go beyond a two-dimensional rainbow into some bizarre mathematical construct of combinations and possibilities. As an out and proud transwoman I love the novelty of a space where I'm not only normal, but even a little bit boring.

Activism provides the focus for Camp Trans. We get our message to MWMF attendees through approaching them as they line up to enter, talking with visitors, and the assistance of many wonderful allies within their borders. Toys in Babeland (a vendor) was amazingly helpful all week. Ember Swift (a performer) was another amazing ally. (Buy their stuff.) Many other allies took actions from handing out fliers, to wearing armbands, to speaking positively about including transwomyn. And many more quietly agree that all womyn should be allowed to attend MWMF.

Our allies are helping to get transwomyn's voices heard on the land. Toys in Babeland displayed a posterboard full of written statements by transwomyn and many allies passed out fliers with excerpts from these statements. I was particularly proud to be able to say, "The policy doesn't keep out transwomyn. Some transwomyn can and do attend. The policy excludes transwomyn's voices. It silences us."


WESTMINSTER, Calif. (AP) - With help from a Christian legal rights group, the school board voted to sue the state Department of Education in an effort to change the definition of the word "gender" in the anti-discrimination policy for all California schools.

Board members Judy Ahrens, Helena Rutkowski and Blossie Marquez consider a state law that defines gender as "a person's actual or perceived sex" as immoral and they voted Thursday to challenge the definition in court.

The Westminster School District board members believe the state education definition conflicts with the state penal code - which defines gender as "a person's biological sex" - and therefore schools should not be required to comply with it

The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian organization that wages legal battles promoting traditional religious views, agreed to represent the district and pay all legal costs.


Transmissions: Going it alone
By Gwendolyn Ann Smith

The transgender community is a diverse one, containing any number of identities and presentations. More than this, the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community contains four distinct larger categories.

I have often spoken of some of the frictions that came come up between transgender people and the larger community. This friction can be unavoidable when discussing the Human Rights Campaign in recent weeks, or the recent Michigan Womyn's Music Festival - or quite frankly just about anything. It often seems that if there's the possibility of friction, then there's the probability of friction.

Because of this often frustrating and seemingly endless series of conflicts, the thought often gets floated of just going it alone. That is - rather than continuing to try and work with organizations and others who can not or will not consider trans needs as equal with their own - why not simply promote "transgender" as something separate from the larger community and avoid all these problems.


Court Says Anti-Gay Amendment Should Go To Michigan Voters
by Newscenter Staff

(Lansing, Michigan) The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Friday that a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage should be placed on the November ballot.

Citizens for the Protection of Marriage, gathered far more than the 317,757 signatures required to place the issue on the ballot but the Board of State Canvassers deadlocked on whether the issue should go to voters.

Under the rules of the election board the issue died.  But the CPM went to court.

The main issue of contention was the wording of the question to be put to voters. Democrats on the committee and LGBT rights groups said it was misleading.


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