Posted by: anyakless | February 27, 2011

In Response to the “Lilith Rite” at PantheaCon

I did not attend PantheaCon this year, but since it ended I’ve been hearing bits and pieces of reports about an incident that took place at the “Lilith Rite” held by CAYA Coven’s group Amazon Priestess Tribe. Those reports were confirmed today when I read a blog post by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, “PantheaCon and Gender Matters.”

In his blog post, Lupus listed the program listings for both the rite and the group running it:

The Rite of Lilith

Amazon Priestess Tribe

Dark Queen, known to all as the One Who Would Not Be Conquered. Matron Goddess of fierce women who know their power. Sacred whore of antiquity, whose lust purifies and cleanses. Join the Amazon Priestess Tribe for an ecstatic, undulating, life-affirming ritual in honor of Lilith. This ritual will be skyclad to the degree you are comfortable, so please come prepared with a light wrap or blanket as needed.

Amazon Priestess Tribe

The Amazon Priestess Tribe is C[ome] A[s] Y[ou] A[re] Coven’s spiritual sisterhood of High Priestesses in the Amazon Dianic Tradition. Founded by Rabbit, this Tribe of “queens among queens” serves the Goddess by creating powerful, transformational, evocative rituals designed to honor the beauty, intellect, power, and wisdom of all women. Join us for women’s clothing-optional Sabbats in the East Bay. www.cayacoven.com

In his blog, Lupus gives the following report on the incident:

“The difficulty which emerged in this ritual was that a male, and several transwomen, wanted to attend the ritual, but were turned away at the door. If I understand correctly, those turned away did not interpret the program description given in the book as being something which would be exclusively available for participation to genetic females (or “women-born-women,” as some prefer), and were thus rather upset when they had cleared their schedules and waited in line to attend ending up having their admission refused. Given the legacy of transphobia and gender-based discrimination against trans people, this pushed a lot of buttons immediately for many of them, and quite understandably so.”

 

To the credit of all those involved (and those organizing PantheaCon) a time was made available the next day for a discussion of the incident. While it doesn’t seem from Lupus’s own account that much headway was made, it does seem laudable that people on both sides were willing to engage in a civil, open discussion.

As a priestess of Lilith, I have my own perspective on this incident. As someone who has done a fair amount of research on Her, had a fair amount of personal interaction with Her, and written a book about Her, I feel confident saying that I know Her well. I’m not here to police how others honor Her, but it is my responsibility to respond when something counter to Her nature is done in Her name. Even if I did not have the responsibility of “Lilith Public Relations,” my work with Her also involves serving Her community, and that community includes a lot of people who identify as transgender.

As I wrote in Lilith: Queen of the Desert, many of Lilith’s creation stories (of which there are several) imagine Her as a creature of hermaphroditic or androgynous roots. Rather than rehearsing all of that scholarship here, I want to turn to those that have worked with Lilith primarily in this vein. In the devotional section of my book, I was honored to have essays by transgendered people—people whom Lilith had mentored during their transitions. Here’s an excerpt from one of those essays by Raven Kaldera (Kaldera has also written about Lilith as a transgender deity in his own book Hermaphrodeities). This is taken from his piece “Scirocco Goddess”:

“When I read about Lilith, I found her source material to be filled with contradictions. Part of that was because she seemed to cross mythologies and cosmologies, turning up in a variety of Semitic-origin tales. Some things stood out, though, chillingly. I read that she was called the Hairy Goddess, covered in hair like an animal – a trait which stood out against all the more modern sensibilities of her being shown as a feminine, if aggressive, “pretty” demon. (But, of course, she’s one of the shapeshifting Gods, so she can look like whatever she wants, I’m sure.) I read the warnings about her overwhelming libido, and the hermaphroditic gender-switching children that she was supposed to have birthed by the hundreds – the incubi/succubi. I read about her gift of barrenness – coming between a couple at night in their own bed and making them both unable to breed. I recognized these traits, with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew that she had not been sent for no reason.

 

“When I hit puberty, my (heretofore female) body went crazy with a plethora of secondary sex characteristics. I grew breasts and grew hair on them, I got irregular and painful menses and clitoral growth, my hips broadened and my voice cracked and hair grew on my chin. I was shapeshifting into something weird and terrible and awe-inspiring. I would discover later that the name of my intersex condition was secondary congenital adrenal hyperplasia, but at the time all I knew was that my mother freaked out, took me to a series of doctors, got me put on estrogens, and told me that I had a “hormone problem”. It was hammered into my head: I must do everything in my power to stay female. My mother, who believed in female superiority and had said that she could never love a son, wanted to make sure that I was pointed in the right direction, permanently. (I was lucky that she was too much of a prude to ever ask to see my teenage genitalia, and I was too fearful to mention what was happening to them.)

 

“So in my twenties, I read the stories of Lilith, and something clicked in me on a deep level. I knew what it was to live in a female body that was hairy, infertile, and lustful (due to high testosterone levels that drove my libido up). The myth of Lilith was reflected in my medical condition … or, possibly, my medical condition was reflected in the myth of Lilith. I wonder, still, when I think about those uncomfortable interstices between human history and experience and divine Otherworldliness, how much of the wondrous experience of being a monster like me went into the stories of this ambivalent goddess who was likewise treated like a monster for so many centuries.”

Here’s an excerpt from another submission, “Chosen” by Aiden Fyre:

“As the goddess of lust and vitality, Lilith empowers us to seek and share pleasure. We honor Her when we bask in the pleasures of the flesh and give in to our desires. It is Her energy that courses through me when I allow passion to fuel me. Bridging the worlds of earth and sky, mind and body, Lilith has also helped me to delve deep into my convictions about sexuality.

 

“A shape-shifter and hermaphrodite, Lilith gives birth to transformation and change as a transmasculine deity. She, along with the transfeminine god, Shiva Ardhanarishvara, give me strength and permission to delve into the many facets within me and morph at will. As I flux between genders and inhabit the middle space between worlds, I feel Their influence and power. Without a doubt, it is this transcendence of gender and conventional sexuality that has defined who I am and directly impacted my relations with people and the work that I do.”

Even though Lilith doesn’t come to me in this form, I recognize Her in these accounts, some core reality of Her being in these deeply personal and honest writings. And yet, here’s the cruel irony: if the face of Lilith that these two devotees honor showed up to the PantheaCon ritual, She (It? They?) would have been turned away.

Thus, it seems particularly wrong to me that a Lilith Rite would exclude transgender people. To me, it’s the equivalent of barring alcohol from a Dionysus Rite because it was being run by a “dry” coven, only much worse. While many groups choose to work with a certain aspect of a deity that suits their own identity and goals, this can only be taken so far. Lilith Rituals in particular seem to embrace one aspect of her (the lusty, sexy, independent feminine) while disavowing another that might be messier (the hermaphrodite, the killer of children, the scourge of traditional society). If you don’t want transgender people to participate in your rite, then perhaps Lilith, goddess of outsiders and transformation, isn’t the best choice for your group.

This incident, however, also highlights larger issues the pagan community will need to consider. I should start by saying that I am not opposed to spiritual groups that choose to limit their membership based on some agreed upon criteria. For several years, I ran a coven that was de facto exclusively women. We just didn’t have any men, and we didn’t suffer for their absence. I am also not opposed to the idea that there are “Women’s Mysteries,” “Men’s Mysteries,” or “Queer Mysteries” for that matter, and that being in a spiritual group with people like you can be supportive and empowering.

In groups or rituals that limit themselves by gender, however, determining membership can become problematic. Not because it’s “sexist” to exclude one gender or the other, but rather because it assumes that everyone falls into one of two gender categories. It reinforces a binary of male/female, man/woman, even while it may be accepting of variant sexualities. Spaces, groups, or events that limit participation by gender may find themselves policing gender, deciding who “counts” as “real.”

In the collection Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation (ed. Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman), Telyn Kusalik’s essay “Identity, Scmidentity” takes up this issue. The essay addresses how “women only” spaces have dealt with transgender people:

“For decades there has been a vocal part of the feminist community which attempts (and often succeeds) in keeping transwomen out of women’s space on the grounds that they’re not actually “real” women. For most of this time there has also been a very vocal group of transfolk and allies protesting this exclusion. Both sides rely on identity-based arguments to support their case. The question, as debated and discussed, is whether or not transwomen are women.”

As Kusalik shrewdly argues, however, both sides often reach an impasse by making the debate about identity:

“But this debate doesn’t have to be about who is and is not a woman. These sorts of considerations become irrelevant if we start organizing our events, meetings, and working groups in terms of experience of sexism, rather than identity. I would venture that it is clear to all parties involved in the debate that most transwomen are perceived as women, and therefore experience sexism in many contexts. Even if a particular transwoman is being “read” as having other than female history by someone policing gendered inclusion, she can point to her real-life experiences of sexism as evidence that she belongs….I hope that we can move away from thinking about things in terms of identity and move toward a paradigm based upon experience.”

 

I love this final line and the possibility it holds. What would it really mean to base our thinking of ourselves and others on experience rather than expressions of identity? What would happen if groups like CAYA Coven’s Amazon Priestess Tribe embraced this new ideology? How would that change their definition of who “counts” as an Amazon? CAYA Coven’s website has a section in their FAQ on “Diversity.” Within this section, they list the following methodology:

“CAYA Coven is committed to honoring gender-diverse Deities.

 

“LGBT, Queer and gender-variant Deities are given places of honor at many rituals, as are non gendered Deities. We do not wish to limit the Divine.”

 

This is a laudable statement, one that many other groups would be better for adopting themselves. At the same time, it seems that the best way CAYA Coven can honor this commitment is to make space for “gender-variant” people in their rituals. Surely this is the best way to honor such Deities? Surely these “gender-variant” people might have deep experience and wisdom to bring to any ritual, regardless of the gender identity of the deity in question?

CAYA Coven also lists this statement:

“We believe in the power of women. We are grateful to our mothers for our miraculous births. We recognize that women have been greatly maligned in many different cultures and by most pervasive religions. Our feminist stance is not against honoring men or the divine masculine. Rather, we believe that our Coven’s commitment to feminism creates a crucial balance of power in a world where both women and men have been injured by patriarchy.”

 

Again, there’s much to agree with here. Women have been treated as second-class citizens for centuries, and there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done toward our equality and spiritual healing. Despite this, I can’t help but notice the binary thinking about gender present here. It seems to me that the people who have been “injured by patriarchy” more than anyone else are those that aren’t publicly recognized as either woman or man. Whether a transgendered person chooses to place themselves in a gendered category or not, they exist. And the “balance of power” single-sex groups claim to desire cannot be achieved without some consideration of those that shatter the gender binary. A commitment to feminism will always remain inauthentic if it merely reenacts oppression on an even more “maligned” group.

And if any divine figure can help us find our way through this new age of gender, it’s Lilith. She has much to teach us, if we will listen.

[Note: an electronic copy of this essay has been respectfully submitted to CAYA Coven]


Responses

  1. Thank you for saying this; it needed to be said.

  2. At your request, a quote from my (locked) blog on the event. Please forgive the more personal tone, which is a consequence of the kind of blog mine is.

    After that, as kind of a last-minute decision, I went to the Rite of Lilith, which will require some behind-the-scenes story as well as ritual wrap-up. In the program, the description (including the skyclad nature) and the fact it was being put on by the “Amazon Priestess Tribe” seemed to imply something that was going to be women-only… but it didn’t say so explicitly, although usually such things do. T and I agreed that it was probably women-only, so he didn’t go. I was afraid not everyone would make the mental jump, and sure enough, they didn’t – I saw at least one man show up and get turned away, and heard later that there were also transgendered people who did likewise, and one of them was unhappy enough to complain, which led to there being a series of impromptu talks on “gender/sexuality bias in Paganism” and so on happening later in the weekend. Which kind of sucks all around. The Amazons are connected to CAYA, which is normally considered queer-friendly and is in fact an Ekklesia ally, which makes it seem unlikely that the slight was intentional. And while on one hand I understand that transgendered folk are already dealing with a shitload of issues around real and possible rejection without having to face it unexpectedly in their spiritual environment, on the other hand sometimes MTF people and cisgendered women have non-identical work to do and non-identical needs as to what will make them feel safe. When you’re dealing with the type of Dianic rite that is working with a bunch of naked women reclaiming their bodies and sexuality – all too frequently as healing from some form of sexual trauma – you really, honestly can’t run the risk of throwing a penis into the mix, no matter who it’s attached to. And that means that whichever way you resolve this objection, there’s really no way to make one set of people feel safe without making the other set feel unsafe. And that puts them into the inevitably ugly “who’s more oppressed” fight against each other instead of actually talking about what else they can do for each other. Which bleah.

    As implied above, it is usually understood in this region of the country that “Dianic” usually means “women born women only.” Whether or not one finds that appropriate is its own nest of thorns, but the point is that rituals with that limitation are not uncommon at Pantheacon – there are several each year, in fact – and usually the fact goes unprotested. The reason that it became an issue this time was that the Amazon Tribe neglected to state the limitation overtly in their description, which lead to people who didn’t know the “code” showing up and being turned away, which never feels good for anyone.

    • Thanks for sharing this. As a note, I have a transgendered, pagan friend who has had bottom surgery and no longer has male genitalia. I wonder if she would have “made the cut”, if it really is a matter of that pesky penis getting in the way.

      As transgendered people become a larger population of the pagan community, groups are definitely going to have to be more explicit if they want to exclude them. The assumption of two genders is simply not the reality. Frankly, I hope this leads to a rethinking of this binary altogether. If anything, I think women’s groups and feminists have just as much to gain from that.

      • As I said, the dominant (though not only) local Dianic culture is “women born women only.” For the record, I myself am not about that, and for my purposes you’re a woman if you say you are.

        In answer to your question, no, a post-op trans woman might not have been let in, given the local culture. But it’s really still a penis problem, because think about it: how are they going to know the difference at the door between pre-op and post-op? Does *anybody* want to go to a ritual where the bouncers are doing a peen-check as they go in? So by the nature of that kind of ritual, they’re going to draw the line in a conservative place, because their interest is the emotional safety of those the ritual is intended for, not (for better or worse) those they’re not planning to have present. As has been universally agreed, the presence and placement of that line should have been announced clearly in the program.

        • “think about it: how are they going to know the difference at the door between pre-op and post-op? Does *anybody* want to go to a ritual where the bouncers are doing a peen-check as they go in?”

          And I think that right there illustrates the arbitrary and ridiculous rationale of defining womanhood by one’s genitalia.

          “Their interest is the emotional safety of those the ritual is intended for, not (for better or worse) those they’re not planning to have present.”

          Emotional safety is not something that can be guaranteed. For example, I have medical condition that prevents me from having children. What if the sight of a woman’s C-section scar or stretch marks triggers me? My mother is a cancer survivor. What if someone’s mastectomy scars trigger me?

          There’s too much focus on one, dangling piece of skin.

      • At least one post-op transwoman was denied access.

    • Anya:

      This is a serious issue that needs to be talked about. The emotional safety of trans women never seems to be taken into account in these discussions – for example, it makes me feel extremely unsafe to have my gender externally interrogated, or to be excluded based on something I view as a birth defect that I am taking active steps to have corrected. Yet somehow MY safety never gets around to being discussed, because it’s easier to go EWW PEENAR and completely sidestep the questions of privilege that make my gender visible and someone else’s invisible. So in everything from kink to religion to public services, I am demanded in terms both invasive and derogatory to “make my own space,” which would be insulting because I don’t want to inhabit a separate space where I can be ignored and isolated (a fate worse than death to me), I want to inhabit the space occupied by other people – even if those resources were not in fact systematically denied to me.

      Because it seems very strongly that people don’t want trans people to occupy ANY spaces – they just want us to go away and die quietly.

      We’re tired of dying.

      We want to be part of community.

      We LONG to be part of community.

      There is no other credible reason why we would continue to try to return to spaces that we are continually denied.

  3. Thanks for posting this. Am following you now.

    • Thanks for reading and following!

  4. Thanks as always Anya for being willing to wade in where angels fear to tread. Your bravery (and I don’t mean that lightly) honors your husband as much as your forthrightness honors Lilith (and your “ah fuck-it, I’m saying what needs saying” attitude has got to tickle Loki pink).

    • Thanks for your support. It makes this type of thing easier.

  5. [...] http://fruitofpain.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/in-response-to-the-lilith-rite-at-pantheacon/ [...]

  6. If I ever make it back to Pantheacon, I am going to organize a Northern Tradition ritual specifically for people of Northern European ancestry. To make sure I get the appropriate audience, I will ask respectfully that all people of color not attend. And when people protest, I will talk about all our members who have been mugged by Mexicans and raped by black men and how it might traumatize them to share ritual space with these non-Europeans.

    (It’s not that I have anything against them, mind you — it’s just that they were socialized differently as children. And no matter how much they might WANT to be Northern European, they never will be. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you: it’s just that we want to have a space where Whites Born Whites can feel comfortable.)

    Soon afterwards I will pull the “oppression” card, talking about how those damn non-Europeans want to silence my rights to expression and religious freedom. You see, I’m not being the oppressor by keeping out those damn darkies — YOU are oppressing me by calling me on my racism. After all, if I can’t hold rituals only for my fellow White people you are denying me the right to hold rituals at all. Fascists.

    I don’t dispute CAYA’s right to hold rituals for “women born women.” I question whether this sort of exclusionary ritual is appropriate for a gathering like Pantheacon. I would not attend a ritual which discriminated against transfolk, nor would I attend a convention which tolerated discrimination against transfolk: I would also urge my fellow transpeople and trans allies to follow suit.

    • Of course, because we all know that those feminist bitches are the same as nazis.

      • I for one am a proud Feminist Bitch, but that doesn’t mean I won’t question something I see as wrong, just because a woman is doing it. It is particular disturbing to me when feminists take up the tools and paradigms of patriarchy to enforce gender roles.

      • Of course, because we all know that those feminist bitches are the same as nazis.

        In terms of their right to freedom of expression and association, you are exactly the same. Both “Nazis” and “feminist bitches” (your words, not mine) are allowed to believe as they like and associate with whom they will. This does not mean that I have to agree with them: it means that my agreement or disagreement is irrelevant.

        I would support the right of a Dianic group to exclude transwomen from their private rituals, even if they happened at a public event. I would also support the right of a Romova (Lithuanian Paganism), Romani or other Slavic/European reconstructionist group to hold private meetings which were only open to those of the appropriate heritage. What’s more, I’d happily attend public workshops wherein they told us more about their tradition, their culture, and their faith.

        I would not feel comfortable with a public ritual wherein Mexican-Americans and South Asians were turned away because they didn’t have the proper ancestry – or wherein someone who identified as a Lithuanian was turned away because i.e. his heritage was Jewish or Rrom and not ethnic Lithuanian. This would be especially true if well-regarded members of the group made comments about “thieving Jews/Gypsies who just want to get their groping little fingers into our culture” and similar drivel.

      • It sometimes amazes me, given the bad history between the feminist movement and trans women, but in spite of everything I am still a feminist and still a total fucking bitch when I need to be. ;)

    • Kenaz, I love you, and I want to have your babies! :)

    • @Kenaz,

      I really, really hope you were going for sarcasm. As it was, it failed. As a Person of Color following the Northern Tradition your attempt at race based humor fell flat and was uncalled for.

      • I don’t want to put words in Kenaz’s mouth, but I think the comment meant to convey that excluding transwomen from women-only events is as abhorrent to Kenaz as when some factions of Heathenry exclude those who aren’t purely of Northern European descent. (Luckily, such race-based groups are in the extreme minority).

  7. This struggle has been going since the Women’s Mysteries first appeared. These individuals selfishly never think about the following: if women allow men to be incorporated into Dianic Mysteries,What will women own on their own? Nothing! Again! Transies who attack us only care about themselves.
    We women need our own culture, our own resourcing, our own traditions.
    You can tell these are men, They don’t care if women loose the Only tradition reclaimed after much research and practice ,the Dianic Tradition. Men simply want in. its their will. How dare us women not let them in and give away the ONLY spiritual home we have!
    Men want to worship the Goddess? Why not put in the WORK and create your own trads. The order of ATTIS for example,(dormant since the 4rth century) used to be for trans gendered people, also the castrata, men who castrated themselves to be more like the Goddess.
    Why are we the ONLY tradition they want? Go Gardnerian!Go Druid! Go Ecclectic!
    Filled with women, and men. They would fit fine.
    But if you claim to be one of us, you have to have sometimes in your life a womb, and overies and MOON bleed and not die.
    Women are born not made by men on operating tables.

    • In the Introduction to the “Second Sex,” Simone de Beauvoir laments the idea that men have defined women as “Tota mulier in utero” – “woman is a womb.” Feminists have always fought against the limits of defining womanhood in such a way. I find it both incredibly ironic and tragic to see people returning to this line of limiting thought.

      Transwoman are not men. They are not your oppressors. It’s a shame that the Dianic Tradition cannot see outside a binary of male/female, masculine/feminine. It’s more of a shame that they demonize and exclude those who have also been brutalized in the name of patriarchy.

      • Embracing and celebrating one’s womb-spirit is not the same as being caged within it. As much as trans-women are not men (in the context of gender), they are also NOT the same as women-born women. That doesn’t mean their experience isn’t valid. It just means that to place the burdon of trans-equality upon Dianics in this context is itself an act of oppression.

        • Lesbians and straight women are not the same. African American women and White women are not the same. Rich women and poor women are not the same. And yet, they are assumed to have enough in common to share a space. Asking a a “women’s only” group to rethink their definition of what a woman is does not constitute oppression.

      • Lesbian or straight, tan or brown, rich or poor, we share the common thread of the blood mysteries–to deny that fact is a trivialization and an act of oppression. This act is perhaps most offensive when it is internalized.

        • As I noted in another comment, some women cannot menstruate – never have and never will. Do you discount them as women?

          Are we really solely to be defined by our wombs? Isn’t that exactly what feminism has been working against for generations?

        • Er… Not all cisgender women menstruate or have ever menstruated. Nor are all people who menstruate or have ever menstruated cisgender women. Defining a woman’s worth based on a physical characteristic not necessarily shared by all seems the antithesis of “feminist”, to me. But hey, I’m just some guy, don’t take it from me (and yes, the author of the comic has given me permission to replace “curves” with “ovaries”).

      • Amenorrhea is a medical condition, just like hirsutism. The same argument could be applied to cancer patients who have lost their reproductive organs. I don’t think anyone would deny that they’re still women. The goal of feminism is empowerment, not denial of self. For Dianics, the blood mysteries are a beautiful gift and a source of divine empowerment. It is our birthrite and our birthright.

        • “The goal of feminism is empowerment, not denial of self.”

          At last we agree.

      • I agree completely that womanhood can’t be broken down to just the womb – what we’ve learned about brain chemistry, if nothing else, makes that clear. And in fact the whole idea of basing my whole religious practice on any aspect of my gender is queer to me (hahaha, look what I did there, I’m so funny), so I have never been a full-time Dianic.

        That said, there have been times in my life when I really *did* need that separate space, and when anything that compromised it, even with wholesomely inclusive intentions, would have not only prevented my growth but been a PTSD trigger. A deep ritual working is not the same thing as an open community ritual: it potentially touches on deep, dark places where we have to proceed carefully, and not always in ways that will make sense to those who don’t need or want that exact work. It’s a very tricky line to walk at an event like Pantheacon, and it’s not at all uncommon for groups to fall from it in various directions – too inclusive or too exclusive, too shallow or too deep.

        Also, denying centrality to the womb and the blood mysteries does not make them go away entirely. I don’t imagine my whole world revolves around my period, but I *did* train in the blood mysteries (not through the Dianics), and they are there, and trans women as well as women who never bleed for whatever other reason don’t have them. It’s a difference, and insofar as a group is marking the blood mysteries, it is a valid difference. It doesn’t mean trans women (or never-bleeding women of other sorts) should necessarily be unwelcome, but honestly I don’t know what presence at blood mystery work would do for them other than feel alienating.

        (I’m aware the Lilith ritual wasn’t blood-focused: I’m speaking more generally now.)

        But to go back to the point about feeling safe in deep work, it IS important to a great many women who focus on Dianic and similar traditions. They are often working through feelings of repression, of being silenced or forced to do other than their own will or told their voices carry no weight. To take the approach of telling them that they *have* to do something because people outside their community want them to is just doomed from the outset. It’s a trigger rather than an invitation to discussion.

      • (In which she wanders slightly OT but stays in the realm of where trans women fit into “women’s mysteries.”)

        I have known women who lost their wombs who, although thereafter not feeling involved or included in the blood mysteries in the same way, took benefit from being able to mourn that part of their bodies. I wonder if trans women would benefit from an opportunity to mourn never having that part.

      • @Julie I can’t count the number of times I have mourned – and will mourn, for the rest of my time in this incarnation – the children I will never bear.

        There are times when I think I would benefit to be able to do so in a public setting, with the support of other women – but events like these make me fearful of doing so; fearful of being judged less a woman than others.

        What benefit does it POSSIBLY net somebody to judge others’ womanhood and be allowed to find it wanting? What POSSIBLE sense does that make, to shred someone else’s life and make them feel ashamed of their bodies, ashamed of the curses that have been laid on them and destroy them for your own pleasure? What possible good does such an act accomplish that even comes close to balancing the harm that it inflicts?

      • @Kate: Thank you for responding. I’m trying to get a handle on what exactly it is that hurts and what those of us who aren’t Dianic can do to help, since it doesn’t seem to me like they should be shouldering all the responsibility. As such, I’m assuming that if someone were to hold a ritual with the purpose of “mourning the womb that was lost or never received,” women who were going to be judgmental toward other women for not having wombs would, by definition, not show up.

        However, I’ve also seen in a couple of places now where transwomen have said they are reluctant to trust that they will be accepted even into events that explicitly claim to be trans-friendly. What do you think it would take to assure transwomen that a women-oriented event was, in fact, intended as a safe space for them?

      • I have had the experience of being the only trans person in an OVERWHELMINGLY white/cis LGBT pride organization and also the only trans woman in a granted welcoming women’s pagan circle. Both are difficult and scary because you’re going into a situation that has historically not been very trans welcoming (the gay movement and feminist movement in the 1970s and 80s both made themselves profoundly and sustainedly hostile to transsexual people, which has lingered to the present day). It’s a scary, scary world to live in when you’re trans (even more so than usual), and being asked to trust has entirely too often led us to pain or death.

        From this trans woman’s perspective, in order for trans women to trust the intentions of a woman-oriented event, we need to be part of planning it. We have a position that is entirely uncomfortable. We want to be part of women’s space because we are women – yet when the invitation is extended to us we are wary of accepting it because of the harm and pain and rejection we’ve experienced.

      • “From this trans woman’s perspective, in order for trans women to trust the intentions of a woman-oriented event, we need to be part of planning it. ”

        That makes sense. For the purposes of discussing public ritual (since we started from talking about P-con), how is the “we” to be established? Does it necessitate the creation of a group focused on “women-identified women” rather than “women-born-women”? If a ritual is put on by a group other than that which includes trans women, do they have to put a rider on all their flyers saying “we had a trans woman at the meetings!”? Is it the kind of thing that has to start with just trans women themselves – if so, how would “born” women be attracted into the effort?

      • One of the best things that anyone can do when they are approaching another group from a position of privilege – and cissexuals do by definition approach trans people from a position of privilege, regardless of gender – is to ST&L. Stop Talking, and Listen.

        We have voices.

        We know who we are. We have known who we are from the moment we had identities. My mother (and her sister-in-law, who also acted as my second mother for many years) let me know that I expressed my gender from the time I was four, very clearly, and they simply didn’t know how to listen.

        All we want is to be taken for who we are. That is literally what we are asking – sometimes begging.

        We want the human right to be ourselves, and to be accepted for who we are.

      • @Kate: Yes, but I am asking specifically in terms of creating ritual spaces to which trans women will feel safe enough to come and be listened to in the first place. If a group *does* want to accept and welcome you and hear what your needs are, how does it get you in the door?

      • That depends, do you want an easy, feel-good response, or the hard one that’s going to take actual work?

      • @Kate: ah, here you are. Damn this limited nesting of comments – it’s getting harder and harder to find my place.

        For the record, I *always* want the real answer. If the “feel-good” answer is not one that would actually lead to the desired outcome, there’s no point to it.

      • The hard answer is, that you have to be prepared to pretty much completely uncenter your expectations. And that does take work – and it’s going to make you uncomfortable.

        When I went looking for a coven, two things were of primary importance to me: First, that it was for women. Second, that I would be encouraged to find meaning in myself and my life, for myself, among them.

        It’s easy to say, “outreach is important” – and it is – but outreach isn’t going to work when the people you’re trying to reach out to have heard this song and dance before and don’t really want to play unless they’re going to be treated with respect. What you have to remember is that by and large, trans people are pretty perceptive, we can put patterns together, and we get approached all the time by groups wanting a little credibility.

        It does help, though, to specifically say that trans women are welcome. Many of us skip over events that are billed as “women’s events,” even “queer women’s events,” because in our experiences they don’t mean the kind of woman we are.

        Making a point to participate trans-centric events like the Trans March (if your area has one), and yes, even the dreaded Transgender Day of Remembrance (incidentally, why is it fair that “our day” is a dark, cold night in late November where we mourn our dead? It’s incredibly depressing) helps.

        Expect low turnout until you start to build up a reputation in the trans community, though. Remember, it’s hard to trust when you’ve been hurt.

        I genuinely hope this helps.

      • @Kate: You’ve been refreshingly polite and informative. Thank you. I’m not actively priestessing any more, but if I go back to it, I will keep these things in mind in trying to build inclusively. (It looks like “coming out of retirement” just for the odd public ritual wouldn’t work out especially well, though. Well, maybe people with active ministries will take note.)

    • Your attitude about transwomen is disgusting in the extreme. You, of all people, should know better than to try to impose your own prejudices on a group you apparently know little to nothing about. And yes, transwomen ARE women. Make no mistake about that. They may not have been born with uteruses, but they are women. No one goes through the pain, rejection, degredation, suffering, and very real risk to life and limb that transgendered women do on a daily basis, just for the pettiness of ruining for the so-called “real” women, as you seem to think is the case.

      I was born female, am genderqueer, and choose not to enter “only” space, for reasons of my own. But I would never deny anybody, including you, the right to that kind of space, even if you and yours choose to require the possession of a womb for entrance to it. Fine. Folks should make that a little clearer when such rituals are set up; the PantheaCon flap appears to be mostly about miscommunication anyway.

      But you should understand that by denying that transgendered women are “real” women, you are reinforcing all the sick, ignorant, and hateful crap that transgendered people have to deal with at all times, not just at the entrance to some ritual at a Pagan convention. You, madam, are behaving in the same way that ignorant, patriarchal men are. How does it feel to be one of Them, for a change? Also, while trans-only spaces are just as valid as anything else, you seem to be saying that “those people” should go off and do their own thing rather than making you uncomfortable by trying to “infiltrate” your space. Having been a lifelong feminist, and, one assumes, well-read, you should also understand that ghettoizing others is not the surest and sanest path to equality.

      In short, I think you’ve acted like an asshole. And yes, I know who you are and about your standing in the Dianic community. That doesn’t excuse it. By the contrary, it makes it that much worse.

      • “I would never deny anybody, including you, the right to that kind of space, even if you and yours choose to require the possession of a womb for entrance to it”

        This is the crux of the argument. Do women-born women have the right to hold their own sacred space? If so, do they have the right to be angry if/when that space is violated?

        Trans-women may empathize and experience the world in a similar way to women. They are valid and wonderful and sacred. But they do not share in our blood mysteries. To repeatedly push for inclusion in these rituals is an act of aggression.

        • Some women, due to hormonal imbalances, never bleed. They’ve never experienced menstruation. Are they not women either?

      • Yes, and some women experience hirsutism or lose their wombs to cancer. That doesn’t answer my question. Do women-born women have the right to hold their own sacred space? And, if so, do they have the right to be angry when that space has been violated?

        • Of course you have the right. No one is saying that you don’t. The Scouts have the right to exclude homosexuals. That doesn’t keep people from questioning their judgment in doing so. That doesn’t keep me from lamenting the fact that the vast experience of being a woman is being boiled down to menstruation. That doesn’t keep me from seeing the hypocrisy of a group of feminists using binary, patriarchal thinking to tell other women they don’t count as real.

          There was a time women were told they weren’t real if they wore pants, worked a 9-5 job, or went to college. Now we think that’s silly, and I think we’re quickly approaching a time when telling a woman she’s not a real woman because she doesn’t have a womb will be seen as equally short-sighted and wrong.

      • “This is the crux of the argument. Do women-born women have the right to hold their own sacred space? If so, do they have the right to be angry if/when that space is violated?”

        No, I don’t think that’s entirely it. I mean, that’s a lot of it, but part of what’s being missed is that PantheaCon *isn’t private space*. Do women of any kind, born or otherwise have a right to hold *their own* sacred space? Whether I agree or not, that’s NOT equivalent to saying they have a right to hold *PantheaCon* sacred space.

        –Ember–

      • @anyakless: “they don’t count as real” – I’m not saying that. I’m saying they’re not the same. If you think they are the same, that tells me you think my experience doesn’t count. This does not have to be a binary conclusion–my experience can be just as valid among a myriad of options.

        @Ember, I see your point. They probably should have made it more clear to avoid turning anyone away. I understand how that could embarrass or hurt someone. That said, there are all sorts of restrictions at PantheaCon. For example, you can’t take any pictures, there are child oriented sessions (you woudn’t expect to worship skyclad in those), and all manner of special interest sessions (from focused traditions to polyamory). There’s sosmething for everyone!

      • “For example, you can’t take any pictures, there are child oriented sessions (you woudn’t expect to worship skyclad in those), and all manner of special interest sessions (from focused traditions to polyamory). There’s sosmething for everyone!”

        True, although most of your examples are restrictions on *behavior*, not restrictions on who is and is not acceptable to attend a ritual, and special interest isn’t actually a restriction at all – no one is required to prove they are specially interested.

        You are also correct that there have been all along certain allowances for restrictions on attendance for various criteria, as long as they’re clearly labeled in advance.

        That said, “it’s always been done this way” has never been a very good argument for continuing to do something that marginalizes a group of people – if it were, feminism would never have gotten off the ground in the first place.

        This have changed. Things will continue to change. PantheaCon is not immune to this, and neither is the Pagan community at large. In my personal opinion, as long as the change is in the direction of greater freedom and equality, we’re doing pretty well. There’s bound to be some stumbling blocks along the way no matter what we do.

        –Ember–

    • By reducing the definition of what a woman is/is down to what is/is not between her legs, you are puppeting and playing into the dominant, hetero-centric, male-privileged paradigm that you are screaming until you are red in the face about. You have become exactly what you claim to hate. Feminism has NEVER been about policing what is between someone’s legs–it is about assuring that there is equality between genders and sexes. It is sad to see that your beliefs seem stuck in 1970.

      Sadder still is that you, as an Elder of your tradition and a well-known voice in the pagan community, are driving nails into the coffin of the Dianic tradition(s). Separatist space is dying because of hateful rhetoric such as this. I think gendered spaces are wonderful, but when those who facilitation such things cannot change their views and beliefs to suit a changing world, the tradition dies. Would you rather be open-minded or would you rather watch your tradition wither because of things YOU have said publicly? Were I a member of a cover with you, I would be embarrassed to read what you had written–it smacks of ignorance and fear.

      Continuing down the ‘sad’ road, this does nothing to bring people closer to their Gods. If anything, it drives them away. While I do not identify as trans, I can imagine a young transwoman or transman reading what you have read and seeing that there is no place for them with the God/Goddess they believe they are called to follow. That’s a heavy load to carry.

      Finally. I would hope you would actually research what a person who transitions to a female gender actually goes through. If you think a male-identified person is going to go through multiple surgeries, long-term hormone therapy, endless therapy sessions, risk losing their families and loved ones, and limit their chances of employment due to the close-mindedness you have expressed, you really need to come down from the ivory tower of your seclusion and ego.

      I wish you peace on your journey to find whatever it is that you are seeking.

      • Why do we have to divorce ourselves from our bodies in order to be equal? Women reclaiming their physical connection to the feminine divine is a truly awesome path to empowerment. It is our birthrite!

        • The problem is that bodies are increasingly failing to fall into two, neatly distinct categories. And that cannot be ignored.

          If you want only attendance from people with certain bodies, that needs to be made explicit. You need to say “people designed female at birth who currently present in a way that is widely accepted as female.” You can’t just say “women only” – that assumes everyone shares your definition of what “woman” means.

      • Oh, Abbie
        I don’t think anyone is suggesting you should divorce yourself from your body, just that there is more to life and gender issues than biology. Yes, as women, our wombs are used by society to define us, limit us and objectify us. I doubt anyone here would deny that. But isn’t there more to us than our wombs? I for one certainly hope so!

      • @anyakless: Covens that hold women-born women space usually do clearly designate as such (not sure why that was omitted on this specific session). There were other sessions that were marked as such and these sessions also seemed to be in high demand.

        @verdant: Connecting to the feminine divine through your physical self is a life changing experience for many women. It doesn’t mean it’s the sum total of your womanhood or that you negate anyone else’s experience. Why must we be described as red-faced, hysterical lunatics or compared to white supremacists or anti-male when we defend that space?

      • @Abbie Nobody is saying you should divorce yourself from your body. What IS being said is that biology does not determine destiny. There is no one understanding of what a woman is and, if you read current feminist, sociological, and scientific research, you’ll find that supported. Regarding your comments that ammenorhea is a medical condition, so is Gender Identity Disorder. It’s a formal diagnosis recognized by medical doctors and institutions. The medical argument doesn’t hold weight.

        “It doesn’t mean it’s the sum total of your womanhood or that you negate anyone else’s experience. ”

        But that is EXACTLY what is done when someone refers to another woman as being born on an operating table or that she’s really a man. That is an incredibly transphobic, ignorant, hurtful way to describe someone’s experience of being human. It’s right up there with saying that a woman is only a lesbian because she just hasn’t met the right cock. When your genitals become the arbiter of your womanhood, it IS a sum total and that IS what is being said above. It’s an incredibly privileged viewpoint from a cisgendered person.

        “Why must we be described as red-faced, hysterical lunatics or compared to white supremacists or anti-male when we defend that space?”

        There is a large difference between defending a gendered space and putting people down. When someone spews rhetoric that is privileged, ignorant, and transphobic, it distinctly reminds me of temper tantrums and resembles the characteristics of a dominant class [non-trans people] oppressing another [trans folks] by telling them they are lesser, are wrong, and making disparaging remarks about their genitals and identities. Sounds a lot like the things feminists have been fighting for all along, only turned backwards. That’s why folks who espouse those techniques of oppression get that comparison. It’s very fitting.

      • Z makes a valid point, however blunt or hurtful it may be. Trans-women and cis-women are not the same. Cis-women have the right to their own sacred space and to insist that space is not valid is an act of aggression which will invariably be met with rejection in return.

      • @Abbie

        “Z makes a valid point, however blunt or hurtful it may be. Trans-women and cis-women are not the same. Cis-women have the right to their own sacred space and to insist that space is not valid is an act of aggression which will invariably be met with rejection in return.”

        Sure, you have the right. At your own private events where the policy is clearly spelled out and not slid under the table in a dirty manner. The language with which Ms Budapest chose to communicate is disrespectful, ugly, and completely inappropriate for a learned woman in her position of power to use. It’s interesting how, in all your responses, you ignore the fact that Ms Budapest has used outright insults and transphobic language to dismiss and denigrate the experience of ~5% of American society, more outside the US. That kind of language makes any valid point she might have had get lost in the shuffle because her blatant ignorance and prejudice comes glaring through.

        Women’s space that includes trans women is NOT met with rejection and, in almost every other community, it’s the bar to be met. Pantheacon right now is caught in a spiral of ‘holy shit, what did we do?’. The hosting group is doing much of the same. One way or another, the pagan community will catch up or it will fall away, like everything else that preaches a nasty brand of discrimination.

      • “At your own private events where the policy is clearly spelled out and not slid under the table in a dirty manner.”

        It was certainly NOT “slid under the table in a dirty manner.” I am telling you as an eye witness that it was very obviously an oversight in writing the description that was met with a “holy shit, what SHOULD we do?” when they realized what had happened. Given that at that point, there was no way out that would NOT have angered a good many people, I feel that Rabbit handled it as gracefully as she could. To imply ill intent on CAYA’s part or that of all Dianics everywhere, based on the admittedly virulent words of ONE woman who was not at the ritual at all, is just not fair.

    • A question, then, Z: what about a transman? Female-to-male transmen have had uteruses, ovaries, and have menstruated at some point; many who have not had surgery still do have all those organs and have gone through those processes. If a transman, who might have a beard and look very male, showed up at such an event, would he be turned away?

      I would be genuinely interested in hearing your thoughts on this, if you would wish to share them.

      • This. A thousand times this.

      • aediculaantinoi, I am one such person. In addition to being FtM, I’ve given birth four times (planned home births), nursed each child for at least two years, and am still Mom to them, beard and all, male habitus and all. To sweep all that life experience under the rug and insist I’m “dad” would be absurd to me. They have a dad–my husband.

        They rail against gender essentialism being applied to women, while insisting on their very own brand of gender essentialism. If one hopes to be persuasive in an argument, it helps to have cogent logic.

      • Thank you for sharing, Jalkr. That makes complete sense to me, and demonstrates how diverse and wondrously complex issues like this are, and ought to be in order to deal with the reality of human (and divine) diversity.

        It is exactly experiences like yours that, I would have thought, should give people like Z. pause in their statements. But, I guess “human complexity” is not always the chapter most often consulted in the Big Book of Dealing With Practical Spirituality in many situations like this.

    • Wow, Z. “Transies”? Do you also call people of color “darkies”?

      Aside from any other issues at all, this is utterly disgusting. Do you have any idea how much more likely my trans friends are to be murdered for being who and what they are than anyone else in US society? One in every 1,000 homicides in the US is an anti-trans hate crime, according to the HRC. That statistic despite the reluctance of the trans community to report anything to the police because of the hideous discrimination they face there, as well. One Transgender Day of Remembrance site says “The murder rate of transgender persons is 17 times the national average; the highest rate of any minority group.” Consider that in proportion to how few transgendered persons there actually are out there compared to the cisgendered population.

      Hate is hate, no matter how you slice it.

      • You are absolutely right Erynn. Tell me how it helps the situation for you to reduce my experience to that of “a mythologized/sacralized breeding machine” on related blog? In order to move past this rhetoric and become allies, we must respect one another–and that respect needs to travel in both directions.

        • Abbie, it’s hard for transpeople to see Dianics as their allies when transpeople are being accused of trying to take something away from Dianics.

        • what?

          I know this is an old thread, by the majority is this comment is so patently absurd, so completely not about anything that Erynn had actually said, that I’m honestly stupefied that nobody has pointed it out to you yet. In fact, I can say that of a lot of your comments I’ve so-far read, but this one is its own breed of special — it needs some kind of Razzie Award for blogging named after it.

      • A trans-person who trivializes my personal connection to the feminine divine and reduces my spiritual practice to that of a “breeding machine” is most definitly attempting to take something away from me. If we are going to call people out for hurtful language–which is totally in bounds–we need to be willing to look at the ways we use language ourselves.

        • It’s a mistake to judge a group by one person’s comments, whether that one person is transgender or a Dianic elder. Both sides need to restrain themselves from name-calling and generalizing based on individual statements.

      • Exactamundo!

      • Abbie — first off, I’m not trans. I was born with a uterus, which has given me nothing but trouble my entire life. I’m sitting here right now with a migraine because I’m going into yet another menstrual cycle, and I would just as soon rip the damned girlparts out to end this misery, but the Veterans Administration doesn’t do that kind of elective surgery when there is no physical damage to the organs in question.

        Secondly, I was speaking of my own personal disgust with the idea of being reduced to a breeding machine; this is my personal experience with some aspects of Goddess religion. My experience in the overculture as a woman who never wanted children was that doctors denied me surgical sterilization until I was 39 years old and even then they wanted me to get my then-husband’s *written permission* for a tubal ligation. I have quite literally been reduced to a breeding machine by the system. I hate that and I resent it deeply.

        Your mileage will obviously vary.

      • anyakless posed her statement that way, not me. Since you mention it, however, the fact that you were born with uterus doesn’t make your comments any less offensive or hypocritical. Not sure what your tubal ligation or surgical sterilization has to do with the Dianic tradition either. None of this illustrates how or why it is wrong for me to connect with the feminine divine through my “girlparts” (seriously?!?) in collaboration with other women who have “girlparts” if that is my path.

      • Abbie — I have zero issues with women-only space and rituals on general principle. Full disclosure: I’m also a member of Daughters of the Flame, a women-only group. We are an internet community so I have no idea if some of the women are transwomen; I assume there’s probably at least one out there, given that we don’t do a penis-check at the door and we only ever actually “meet” in an online email list. If we do have trans members, I am perfectly okay with that and do not question their right to be members of the group.

        You can relate to your own body and your own spirituality however you please. Your comment above —

        “A trans-person who trivializes my personal connection to the feminine divine and reduces my spiritual practice to that of a “breeding machine” is most definitly attempting to take something away from me.”

        — which I assume was aimed at me, assumed that I was trans. I am not. I have a very different relationship to my body than you have to yours. I am, as I stated, speaking to my personal experience as someone with a uterus who would really much rather not have the damned thing. That doesn’t make me trans in any particular direction. I wasn’t dealing with that statement from a “this is about Dianic religion” angle at all, nor did I say I was, beyond the fact that both are dealing with this particular aspect of the experience of being female and that it was one which did in fact reduce me to a breeding machine. With that in mind, perhaps you can understand why I might personally be less than comfortable with a spirituality that appears to center around menstruation and having a uterus as its defining factor.

        I do have issues with people telling transwomen they’re not “real” women.

        I would refer you to the CAYA Coven statement that just came out at http://www.cayacoven.org/gender.html for details of what actually happened at the con.

      • Addendum to Abbie — Given that it was my parts I was referring to, I was under the impression I could refer to them as anything I wanted to. You can call yours what you want to. If I’m trivializing anything, it’s myself, which is my right.

      • Actually, I recognize your name and believe I am familiar with your work, so I did *not* understand you to be trans. Clearly we relate to our bodies in very different ways, but we also agree in many more ways than you may realize. What I take issue with is the way you attribute your personal experience to “aspects of Goddess religion” and the terms you use to describe those attributes we share. Since they are shared, when you trivialize yourself you trivialize me. I’m glad to hear you support a woman only space, but it seems like you stop short of endorsing the idea of woman-born woman only space. It also seemed to me that the “aspects of Goddess religion” you were referring to were, in fact, Dianic. Please correct me if that isn’t so, but it’s worth making your position crystal clear either way.

      • Abbie – I was under the impression that there are a number of different types of Dianic religion, some of which actually include men (I know a male Dianic), all of which are Goddess religions. Some of them I find problematic or even distasteful, others I don’t have any problem with at all. So yes, some aspects of Goddess religion or some aspects of Dianic religion, but not all. It isn’t an all or nothing proposition in that particular instance.

        And yes, I do stop short of endorsing a “women born women” only space as used here. I believe transwomen are born women, but the phrase used this way is intended to exclude them. I believe this exclusion is wrong. I also believe we are entitled to disagree with one another, and even to disagree vehemently.

        If you’re talking specifically about “women who are currently capable of menstruating,” that’s a different kettle of fish, given that it also excludes other women who were, in your phrasing “women born women.” In that case it’s not about exclusion of transwomen by implying they are not “real” women, but excluding women of any sort who are simply not currently capable of doing a particular thing for any reason at all. To me, that’s more akin to having a ritual for, say, people who knit that excludes people who don’t knit, and I don’t have a problem with it because the definition of “people who knit” or “women who are currently capable of menstruating” is self-evident, unlike gender, which is a messy, tangled thing at the best of times.

        At any rate, what you do in your living room or your back yard is your business because it is private. I’m not about to tell you what you can and can’t do there, whether I agree with it or not. Excluding people at a public ritual without first telling them they’re excluded is just rude, or an exercise in mangled miscommunication. The PantheaCon ritual in question happened to be the latter. CAYA issued a statement on the issue a couple of hours ago which included an apology for the miscommunication and took responsibility for what happened, and I applaud them for that. I’m a member of the Ekklesía Antínoou, and CAYA is one of our formal allies; what they do is of concern to me for that reason, and I am pleased with how they are handling the situation. They’ve been entirely above-board and honorable about it and are inviting dialogue with the wider community in a mature and open way.

        As to the error in my perception regarding whether or not you thought I was trans, I apologize. It was how I read the comment, given my understanding of the conversation and the fact that the sentence in question was quoting something (“breeding machines”) I have actually said on more than one occasion.

        Language is a powerful thing. I’ll refer to my own body in ways that suit me and in ways that reflect my own relationship to it, even when that relationship is often a difficult one. If that bothers you, there’s not much I can do about that.

      • Thanks for clarifying. And I will continue my spiritual practice in a way that reflects my own physical relationship with the divine feminine. If that bothers you, there’s not much I can do about.

    • @Julie – I really appreciate your comments, and especially like your suggestion of mourning for the womb never had.

      @Abbie – having connected to the feminine divine through my own body, I do get what you’re saying. And I too get deepily angry that my justified anger is put down to ‘that time of the month’ or dismissed ‘as out of character for a woman’. However, I understood that this discussion mostly stemmed not from negative reactions to ‘women only’ space, but from reasonable reactions to a situation where people who identified themselves as women were barred from joining a rite that was not actually advertised as ‘biological women only’.
      BTW I also believe that men, too can access the divine feminine through their bodies, just as I have also accessed non-feminine divinity through this female body. However, in my experience, most of the divine is not so easily segregated into neat groupings of masculine and feminine – but then I hang out with goddesses like the Morrigan and Sekhmet, so maybe my view is a little skewed?!

    • A womb does not make a woman. This, as others have noted, is key. Z, do you know any trans women? Really, like go out to tea with them and talk about their lives? If you could step outside your insular, hate filled world you would realize that the feminine spirit flows as freely in them as any “women-born-women”. Whatever that is. Last time I checked people only became women at puberty or later. In fact, despite once possessing this magical womb you get your panties in a bunch about, I grew up to be a man. And as a man, I have no interest in women’s space. I find it uncomfortable. However, I do have an interest that my sisters with a trans history have a place to honor their femininity in the same way my sisters without a trans history could. Gender is more complicated than man or woman. There is not only two, there never has been and there never will be. The sooner you realize that, the less hurt you will do to vulnerable women. You have no idea what sort of trauma a trans person incurs when at every turn they are forced to justify something as basic as their gender to every random person. We have a very high unemployment rate, we have trouble getting medical services, trans women are at very high risk of attack by men, the list goes on. Most people turn to spirituality for comfort and it is a sad state of affairs when we are denied compassion in that realm as well.

      I thank whatever chance it was that I broke with my mother’s dianic pagan leanings back in Santa Cruz early enough to not have to deal with the same bullsh*t transphobia wrapped in pseudo-religion from the Pagans that trans people get from the Christians. No one likes the freaks, eh?

      So, one last time, since you appear to seriously not get it. When you say things like “These individuals selfishly never think about the following: if women allow men to be incorporated into Dianic Mysteries,What will women own on their own?” That is transphobic. That is oppressive. Trans women are not men. They never were men. They did not turn into women on the operating table. Modern western medicine allows us to change our bodies to match our minds, genderwise. It is a confirmation process. It is you who is being selfish. You are oppressing other women and excluding them. That is what is shameful here.

      • I am hoping that you will hear this as an honest question about gender identity and the limits of essentialism.

        If your gender identity didn’t need to be defined and validated by your physical form to at least some extent, why did you need to change your body from female to male? It seems to me that the body parts did indeed make a difference to you, perhaps even more so than those of us who don’t have to have surgery to make them fit our heads.

      • Julie,

        If you had a birth defect that was entirely correctable… wouldn’t you?

        Quoting a wise friend of mine, “The God/dess/es often push us beyond our comfort zone. For some folks, They need to bitchslap them beyond their comfort zone.”

      • If your gender identity didn’t need to be defined and validated by your physical form to at least some extent, why did you need to change your body from female to male? It seems to me that the body parts did indeed make a difference to you, perhaps even more so than those of us who don’t have to have surgery to make them fit our heads.

        Because you’re not really considered to be serious about your gender identity until you’ve had, and I quote, “Irreversible Surgery”. For example, until that happens you can’t get an ID with your correct gender identity printed on it. This outs you to absolutely every single person who ever looks at your government-issued ID. … And most people will then ask you about your genitals, or your chromosomes, or just make fun of you behind your back.

        At least after surgery, people (including strangers) stop trying to talk you out of it.

        In some states, surgery isn’t even enough to get your birth certificate corrected. So for the rest of your life, people who initially think you’re a man or woman (as the case may be) – because that’s what you look and sound like, will suddenly bring up all this bullshit from your past, over and over again, as soon as they learn about your background. And generally if they are in a position of power over you, like, say your employer, or landlord, then can just fire you or evict you because they feel like it. After all, there’s no civil rights protections for transsexuals.

      • … Oh and also,

        If you haven’t had surgery, when you’re arrested by the police, they’ll put you in the men’s prison, no matter how large your breasts are. This kind of thing is practiced not only in the United Arab Emirates, but in the United States as well… “Oops! How did all those rapists get in that cell holding the tranny?

      • @Kate: I’m asking because I would think that if the body doesn’t matter, you wouldn’t think of the distinction between shape and brain as a birth defect. That said:

        @J: Ah, okay. So is it the case that not all mtf women who go through the surgery are doing so because they themselves expect to feel more comfortable with themselves in a female shape?

      • So is it the case that not all mtf women who go through the surgery are doing so because they themselves expect to feel more comfortable with themselves in a female shape?

        No one goes through the surgery on accident. Everyone who does, wants it, and must move the heavens ad Earth to get it. I can’t speak for everyone, but of all the possible reasons for getting surgery, the one that every MTF has in common is wanting to correct their genitalia. (And thus feel more comfortable with themselves.) No MTF will ever get surgery if they want to keep their penis.

      • @J: So I would have assumed. I ask for clarity because your previous answer suggested several reasons for having the surgery other than purely self-based need for it – concerns more to do with fitting society than fitting one’s own head.

        My original point was that if every woman who has a penis removed is acting out of a sincere, self-based desire not to have it, then that seems to suggest a recognition that its presence or absence does have an importance.

        Now, just stay with me at this point for a minute, and don’t jump ahead to “so you admit gender essentialism and that means trans women don’t count,” because that is NOT where I’m going. So, just here, we’re agreed (I think) that there are brain-based differences between men and women – meaning ALL women here – and also that ciswomen and post-op trans women agree that they feel more comfortable in their womanhood minus a penis. Yes?

        But we are also aware that there are trans women who do NOT, for whatever reason, feel it necessary to go through the step of surgically aligning body to brain. So for some trans women it is an absolutely necessary step, and for others it is not. This would seem to mean that there is a grey area between the genders, which indeed is one of the points a number of people have tried to make.

        So how can anyone try to dictate to everyone else where the line is to be drawn through a grey area? We can’t just say “don’t draw a line at all,” because most people here have also acknowledged that many have legitimate uses for gendered space. If each person does nothing but say “This is MY experience, therefore the line goes on that side of ME” without hearing the perspectives of other people, we seem to get trans women feeling like ciswomen want them dead and ciswomen who feel like trans women want to steal something precious from them that they worked hard to get for themselves.

      • J — Actually, I have a transman friend who had a double radical mastectomy due to breast cancer. They wanted him to have reconstructive surgery to give him breasts again and he refused because this way he didn’t have to worry about a mastectomy later. So “by accident” yes, but he definitely wanted the surgery anyway. It’s never just a yes/no in stuff like this.

      • I can’t speak for everyone, but of all the possible reasons for getting surgery, the one that every MTF has in common is wanting to correct their genitalia.

        Oh, and I forgot to mention. Before a MTF or FTM has surgery, there is a tremendous amount of pressure applied by friends, family, strangers, society, and government policies. Both for and against having surgery. So, while you’ll satisfy ignorant people, and the government that you’re really female or male by having surgery, ultimately, everyone must have surgery for themselves.

      • Oh, and I forgot to mention…

        Oh, and I forgot to mention, and it one of the reasons that’s not really obvious before surgery, is after surgery you’re far less paranoid and anxious, and much much more self confident. Because it’s a much easier position to argue from when you encounter bigots.

        If the bigot won’t believe you’re a women, well, hey look, no penis! And since in their universe penis=man, non-penis=woman, they’ll begrudgingly leave you alone.

        You no longer have to constantly worry that someone will find out that you’re trans. (After surgery, generally no one can tell.) And you’re much more likely to survive a rape. Since if a rapist discovers that you have a penis, they will generally just murder you in cold blood. (Since you’ve now made them gay.) The legal penalty for killing transsexuals is generally a slap on the wrist. You know… because it’s the woman’s transsexual’s fault — That’s not satire, it’s been used in court to defend premeditated murder of transsexuals. And the juries believe this and let the guilty off.

        Take a look at the murder of Gwen Araujo…

        Gwen was not murdered in an instant of rage. She was brutally assaulted. The assault was stopped, while all the witnesses, who were not participating in the murder, were permitted to leave the home. There is testimony that Cazares and Nabors then went to get shovels to bury Gwen — while she was alive. Upon their return from getting the shovels, Gwen was viciously assaulted again. Then her mouth was gagged. Then her hands and feet were bound. Then there was some discussion. Then Gwen was taken into the garage. Then Gwen’s arms, torso, and legs were bound with a 37 foot rope. Then Magidson strangled Gwen with the end of the 37 foot rope. The timeline could have been an hour or more, or as little as 10 or 15 minutes.

        [ from http://gwenaraujo.blogspot.com/2005/08/final-day-of-argument.html ]

        The jury deadlocked on a conviction, and a mistrial was declared.

        As Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Chris Lamiero said, “I don’t think most jurors are going to think it’s OK to engage someone in sexual activity knowing they assume you have one sexual anatomy when you don’t.”

        … you know, because that’s worse than cold-blooded murder by a gang of men.

        Also, take a look at how the trial of the murder of Angie Zapata initially went.

    • I was at Pantheacon briefly. I couldn’t take time off from work, so I wasn’t around on Friday or Monday, and I didn’t hear about this until several days later.

      For safety reasons, I’m not really out as trans. I normally don’t write things like this, but I hope this helps you to understand.

      When I was a child, I was constantly teased and physically beaten for being too “girly”. When I was six years old, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t go with the other girls when the class got divided into groups, or why I couldn’t get girl’s toys, or why I had to have short hair unlike all the other girls. When I was eleven years old, I finally became consciously aware that I wanted to be a woman, and hated that my body wasn’t coopering with this. I fell into a deep depression that lasted for years. I prayed, begged, bargained, with any deity who would listen to make me into a normal woman, even if for just one day.

      At the age of sixteen, twenty years ago, I learned that this was an actual medical condition that could be treated. But, I couldn’t let anyone know I was a transsexual, I had to keep it a secret. I was currently being emotionally and physically abused by my step-parent… for being too feminine. I shouldn’t have gone back to them the day that they told me that ‘I make them sick’, and kicked out into the cold Idaho winter without a coat. (I was 16 and needed food and shelter.) I eventually ran away from home and began living as a woman within months. I put myself through college on student loans mostly. I was living in the dorms when the school found out that I was trans. Within two days, they did everything they legally could do to get me to move out. They said that I couldn’t live in the men’s dorm, because I wasn’t a man, and I couldn’t live in the woman’s dorm because, according to them, I wasn’t a woman. Within about two days the entire school found out, and no one would talk to me or even look me in the eye. Oh, well except to scream things like: “FUCKING FAGGOT!” and throw things at me from moving vehicles. Or women threatening to call the cops on me when using the public bathrooms. I was there for about one more semester (my senior year), until somehow my student loans got messed up by the bank, and I couldn’t pay for my tuition in time. And I was given 48 hours notice to vacate my apartment – which was on campus. (And only rentable by current students.) I was told by a friend, that after I left, they cleaned out my apartment in hazmat suits. This was in Idaho by the way. So, encountering racist bigots was a common occurrence.

      I spent the next three years unable to gain employment anywhere. Even gas stations and pizza delivery. Broke and homeless I couldn’t even afford medical treatment for my “gender disorder”. The years of abuse never drove me to consider suicide, but what did was my body experiencing the male puberty that it had never had.

      This is getting long, so I’ll summarize…

      I’ve lost friends and family, because I’m trans.
      I’ve been denied jobs, because I’m trans.
      I’ve been denied housing, twice, because I’m trans. (Different from above stories, I was directly told to my face that they wouldn’t rent to me because a background check indicated that I was trans.)
      I’ve been denied medical treatment, because I’m trans.
      I’ve been denied medical insurance, because I’m trans.
      I’ve been unable to rent a car, because I’m trans.
      I’m considered “An abomination before the Lord”, because I’m trans.
      I’ve had Kafkaesque arguments with strangers telling me that I’m a man, because I’m trans.
      I’ve had complete strangers ask me intimate details about my genitalia, genetic makeup, and medical history, because I’m trans. (And for the record, I don’t actually know if I have an XX or XY set of sex chromosomes; I’ve never been tested. Have you? Look up AIS sometime.)
      I’ve been unable to obtain a passport for international travel, because I’m trans.
      I’ve been physically assaulted, because I’m trans.
      I have physical scars, because I’m trans.
      No one listens to me at work, because I’m a woman.
      I work twice as hard as anyone else at work, and make 20% less than any other man doing the same time, because I’m a woman. (And possibly 50% to 100% less considering my skills.)
      I’ve been sexually assaulted, because I’m a woman… and the police didn’t want to investigate, because I’m trans. (That and the guy ran away when I fought him. The stakes are much higher if you’re trans, because most rapes lead to murder when the assailant finds out your trans.) The guy is still on the loose somewhere.
      Also, I’ve been stalked a few times, and sexual assaulted another time, and another time before that.

      The most recent statistic I heard is that the murder rate for transsexual women is about ONE IN TWELVE. There is a trans murder about every two days somewhere on Earth.

      I’ve been assaulted five times in the past two years. All by men. I’m extremely uncomfortable being around men now. And now I don’t feel welcome by women… because I’m allegedly not a woman. Despite having had estrogen flowing through my veins for many years longer than testosterone ever did. (I don’t know who I can trust or turn to. Everyone hates me and want to attack me.)

      I have shed so many tears, over being robbed of a childhood, over being unable to have my own children, over the hateful things people say to me, over being made to feel like filth by bigots.

      In my life, I have had many painful encounters with ignorant bigots. And, if you really are Z. Budapest, and not an imposer, I must sadly inform you that you are grossly bigoted, as much as any white supremacist rationalizing why black people are not like humans. (And they should go form their own separate groups.)

      Do you speak for all the followers of the Dianic Mysteries? You’re sensitive to energies are you not? Go back and read your post, and notice how much hateful negative energy is in it. I am disappointed to discover that a well respected authority such as yourself is so full hate and ignorance.

      • J., thanks for sharing your story. It shows a lot of heart and courage.

      • Oh, so in summary: For my entire life since I was a baby, people have tried to stop me, often violently, from living my life just like any other woman (or girl as I was growing up). They failed. I would rather die than be forced to become a man, wouldn’t you?

        These days, no one tries because no one knows – and had I been at that ritual, you wouldn’t have know either. It’s only when someone learns of a biological accident that happened to me over three decades ago at birth, than they suddenly try to force me to stop being a woman, or force me into being a man against my will. Why is that?

        I’ve never been a man in my entire life. The only reason I didn’t have a ‘normal’ girl childhood, was because I was tortured and abused by everyone around me trying to prevent it from happening.

        And even today, people, like Z. Budapest, selfishly want to block transsexual women, from practicing woman’s culture and traditions. Transsexual women who have fought tooth and nail their entire lives (and sometimes literally to the death), just to be recognized and live as any other cissexual women.

        You don’t know how fortunate you are that when you were a little girl, no one was trying to turn you into a boy against your will. And if they had, would you no longer consider yourself to be a woman?

      • It must have taken incredible courage to type all of that out. Thank you.

      • Thanking for sharing all of that, J. It was informative and humbling.

        While I’m still not sure how happy I am with forcing the entire Dianic community to change its self-definition, I do see that there is a need for the space, somewhere in the community, not only for “queer issues” generally but for welcoming trans women into the sisterhood of women. That would shift the focus of existing groups too much to ask for if they are focused on something like blood mysteries, but that is no reason why new strands of Dianic work or new traditions cannot be built that include that welcoming and exploring of “femaleness” beyond birth gender.

        I wonder if that would be a ritual one might want to put on at Pantheacon.

        Oh, fsck me, gods, I’m supposed to be retired! No? More of a sabbatical? :P

        • This is getting kind of “ridiculously late,” but considering that the category of “womyn-born-womyn” was created in the 1970s for the specific reason of discriminating against trans women, you’ll forgive me if I feel spit upon when people try to claim that trans-eliminationism is some kind of sacred right.

      • Thank you for that.

      • J., your story moved me to tears. As someone who counts many transfolk among my friends, however, it is sadly not the only story of its kind that I’ve heard. Thank you for saying what needed to be said.

      • Thank you. So many people will never speak out about their experiences. Sharing yours honors us all.

    • Z Budapest –

      I realize that you are just a bigoted troll. For that reason, I’m not going to bother responding to most of your vitriol. There is one thing I wanted to mention, though:

      “Why are we the ONLY tradition they want?”

      Get over yourself. There are plenty of us trans women (and yes, we are women, and we’ll keep being women regardless of how much ignorant gender essentialism you spout) who happily follow other paths.

      Just thought you might want to know. You aren’t as special as you think.

      – an Ásatrúar trans woman happily enjoying the company of people who aren’t bigots

    • it’s incredibly saddening that one that’s so prominent in the Pagan community would react with such horrid sexism…

      if your words are a true reflection of what the Dianic path is about, it’s telling me, right now, that it’s about furthering the divide between the sexes and about being bigoted and selfish.

      you have lost a great deal of respect. i hope the gods will help you understand what it is you have said here and how it is both incredibly sexist and hurtful.

    • Z-

      Thank you for pointing out that women are born women not created by men on the operating table. You’re right, we are.

      Each and everyone single MTF transgender who suffers through the hours of recovery time in making their soul shine through so that they are recognized as the WOMEN THEY ARE.

      You dare to say that a woman may only be defined by the blood she spills on the ground, by the breasts that pain her once a month, by the cramps that double her over once a month to the point of having to stay away from society by calling in sick? That’s a mystery. Science explained that one. The deeper mystery the one you can’t seem to grasp or prefer not to, is the mystery of the transgendered women who seek to connect to that DESPITE not having ever experienced it.

      You are sadly caught in a mentality that negates the purpose of each and everyone of those women. You are sadly blinded by the penis that used to be there, when they themselves would have cast it away long ago. The ones who honor and worship a female divine, by giving their femininity a home and creating their bodies to be better temples than mine, and YES! theirs is a better temple for I have YET to see a transgendered female who doesn’t make a more beautiful girl than I do. And I was born one. I’m not a woman a lot of time though, as I’m one of those genderqueers who recognizes that she’s more masculine than need be for most cisgendered women.

      However, I too experienced my Mysteries; and you know what? I learned more about me and my attitudes about gender and my place on that issue than I did about connecting to my blood. I was already connected to it, to the point where I could tell myself when and if I wanted to bleed that month. You want power, talk to a transgendered woman about paying to have her soul and her physical body match.

      You deny the soul of a woman merely because of the trappings of her skin.

      That is asinine.

      That is bigoted.

      That is a FAILURE of the Dianic in you to recognize a SISTER.

      Of all people, you were someone I’ve been told is important to the greater community, someone to respect and acknowledge, and I’ve been made to read your works, however, this I cannot abide by.

      You’ve lost my respect, but then again, I’m not a fully embodied female, maybe I never had yours to begin with.

    • I wasn’t at PantheaCon, and on top of that I’m biologically male and identify as such. So perhaps I don’t really have the right to enter this discussion. But I would, as a bisexual man who has been in a relationship with another man for the past 11 years, like to make one observation on two things that have been said here by Abbie Adams:

      Amenorrhea is a medical condition, just like hirsutism. The same argument could be applied to cancer patients who have lost their reproductive organs. I don’t think anyone would deny that they’re still women.

      “they don’t count as real” – I’m not saying that. I’m saying they’re not the same.

      This rhetoric is very familiar to me. I’ve heard it many times over the past several years, in discussions of same-sex marriage. We’re told that same sex marriages are not the same as marriages that bring new human beings into the world. We’re told we can have our own space, civil unions, instead. But that marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples since only heterosexual couples are capable of reproduction. And when we bring up the many heterosexual couples who either have no desire to have children, or indeed are not capable of it, yet are still allowed to marry we’re told that while they may not have actual reproductive capacity they still represent the reproductive ideal.

      I’d say that’s what this really comes down to. It’s not about moon-blood or Mysteries. It’s about the “ideal” of being born a woman and the idea that anyone who does not meet that “ideal” should seek their own spaces. And that sharing a space would violate its sanctity for those women who do meet the “ideal”.

      If I’m wrong in this perception I apologize, but the rhetoric as it’s been presented does sound precisely the same to me.

      • Hi Jarandhel,

        Anyone is welcome to comment here, regardless of your sex / gender / sexuality / spiritual labels. Thanks for sharing.

        Best,
        Anya

      • Red Herring!

      • @Abbie – why is this a red herring?
        A comment about the rhetoric of discrimination in a thread about discrimination doesn’t seem much like a red herring to me.

      • The implication that similar sounding rhetoric indicates similar intentions and/or similar results is a fallacy. I could list all the ways these concepts are thoroughly different in nature, but that’s another topic and a distraction from the core issues at hand–which is why it’s red herring.

      • It’s not just “similar sounding”, Abbie. Your arguments for excluding trans women from this sacred space take an identical logical form as the arguments by conservative christians for excluding gay couples from the sacred space of marriage. Which in turn tend to take an identical logical form to even older arguments for excluding mixed race couples from that sacred space. Logically identical arguments in favor of discrimination do tend to reveal similar biases.

        You have presented the argument that this is about moon-blood and Mysteries in which trans-women cannot share. That this makes trans-women qualitatively different than “women born women” Yet when it is pointed out to you, in turn, that there are “women born women” who would have been welcomed at the Lillith Rite who have never experienced menstruation and also cannot share in these mysteries you’ve responded that you “don’t think anyone would deny that they’re still women.” So, clearly, moon-blood and it’s associated mysteries are NOT the criteria that are really being used to determine who has access to this rite. It’s purely the “ideal” of being born a woman that is the real selector. Much the same way that it is not really reproductive ability that is being used as a criteria to deny same-sex marriages, it’s purely the “ideal” of heterosexual relationships that is the real selector in conservative christian circles.

      • “It’s not just “similar sounding”, Abbie. Your arguments for excluding trans women from this sacred space take an identical logical form as the arguments by conservative christians for excluding gay couples from the sacred space of marriage. Which in turn tend to take an identical logical form to even older arguments for excluding mixed race couples from that sacred space. Logically identical arguments in favor of discrimination do tend to reveal similar biases.”

        Actually there is a substantial difference: the fact that the term “marriage” conflates legal and religious definitions of partnership. If Christian churches had no power to declare that NO gay couples could marry simply because those churches were unwilling to recognize the pairings, the whole issue of “gay marriage” could already have been resolved. People who wanted to belong to a church that didn’t recognize gay marriage could do so; people who didn’t like that stance could go to or found other churches where gay marriage was recognized, or simply *be joined in wedlock by the state rather than a church,* and on we could all merrily go.

        The Dianics have no power to say that NO groups will exist that work with “women” in a way that includes trans women, only to say that THEY don’t want to. They have no power to say that NO ONE must acknowledge trans women as women; only that they are not invited into (some!) Dianic groups.

        Also, while it is technically true that ciswomen whose wombs don’t work normally would be accepted into blood mystery space (for the practical reason that it’s not obvious on first sight, if nothing else), there is also an embedded assumption that a ciswoman who did not *experience* the blood mysteries would have very little interest in attending a ritual dedicated to them anyway. Likewise, even if one is otherwise sympathetic with the plight of trans women, one wonders what they imagine getting out of a style of working that focuses on a biological process they don’t go through.

      • Julie:

        Actually there is a substantial difference: the fact that the term “marriage” conflates legal and religious definitions of partnership.

        That fact may make the influence of the church on the issue of gay marriage more egregious, but it does not fundamentally alter the arguments being used. Look at the rhetoric. We are told that cis-women need spaces of their own. Abbie has specifically described trans-women wishing to be included in women’s ritual space as an act of aggression. How is this different from the “defense of marriage”, wherein homosexuals entering the institution of marriage are seen and portrayed as a threat to marriage itself?

        If Christian churches had no power to declare that NO gay couples could marry simply because those churches were unwilling to recognize the pairings, the whole issue of “gay marriage” could already have been resolved. People who wanted to belong to a church that didn’t recognize gay marriage could do so; people who didn’t like that stance could go to or found other churches where gay marriage was recognized, or simply *be joined in wedlock by the state rather than a church,* and on we could all merrily go.

        Again, the extent to which the churches have become involved in the political process to block the legalization of same-sex marriages is a separate issue from the rhetoric they use to do so. My point was that the rhetoric and logic being applied is identical, not that the exclusion of transgendered women from this one ritual has implications which are as far-reaching. Pagan groups, whatever their beliefs, simply do not wield that level of political influence. If they did, who can say what those who have spoken up against the inclusion of transgendered women in “cis-women’s spaces” would do politically? Would they, as Christian Conservatives in Florida did in 2009, fight for the repeal of laws allowing transgendered individuals to use whatever restroom they feel most comfortable using? It is not a far step from the rhetoric that cis-women need spaces where they are safe from the intrusion of transgendered women to such conclusions.

        The Dianics have no power to say that NO groups will exist that work with “women” in a way that includes trans women, only to say that THEY don’t want to. They have no power to say that NO ONE must acknowledge trans women as women; only that they are not invited into (some!) Dianic groups.

        All of this is true, yet it is utterly irrelevant to a discussion of what rhetoric and what logical arguments are being applied to support the idea that they are justified in not inviting transwomen into such groups. The KKK, in 2010, is not in a position to say that no groups may include blacks. Does that make their rhetoric or logical arguments any more reasonable?

        Also, while it is technically true that ciswomen whose wombs don’t work normally would be accepted into blood mystery space (for the practical reason that it’s not obvious on first sight, if nothing else), there is also an embedded assumption that a ciswoman who did not *experience* the blood mysteries would have very little interest in attending a ritual dedicated to them anyway.

        This is a slight diversion, I think, because I understand the ritual we are actually discussing was *not* a ritual dedicated to blood mysteries and was *not* “blood-mystery space”. Yet, according to Abbie, the fact that transwomen are not capable of participating in blood mysteries is itself enough justification to exclude them from other (cis)women-only spaces such as this ritual.

        Likewise, even if one is otherwise sympathetic with the plight of trans women, one wonders what they imagine getting out of a style of working that focuses on a biological process they don’t go through.

        Since you’ve specifically stated that the rite of Lilith was not blood-focused, I’m not sure what you’re referring to here. What biological process that is not experienced by transwomen did the Rite of Lilith focus on?

      • @Jarandhel:

        *sigh* I’m not qualified to say what purpose the Amazon Tribe ultimately hoped to serve through the ritual, or whether or not it would have been equally well-served in a ritual that also included trans women. But a second ago we were talking about, in your theory, the spurious logic of ANY ciswomen requiring ANY ritual space separate from others, so we can’t just shift the ground back and forth between the two issues whenever it serves us, because they are separate and distinct issues.

        The KKK advocates violence: I have not heard any Dianic person, up to and including Z Budapest, do so. (By the same reasoning I could assume that because trans people and their allies are speaking so stridently in favor of assimilation and against those moving too slowly, they may as well be the Black Panthers and we should check them for guns.) The KKK claims to defend the *superiority* of one race over another; the Dianics (with the possible exception of Z, this time) only a non-identical status and separate needs. Lastly, at the very least the blood mysteries certainly do exist and are simply *not relevant* to trans women, so to the extent that a group is focused on said mysteries (and I have read that the Amazon Tribe is, even though the particular ritual was not), that group is *not relevant* to trans women. Not because they’re inferior or not women, but because they need the blood mysteries like a fish needs a bicycle.

        For all these reasons, Sir or Madam, I find your parallel more offensive than helpful.

      • *sigh* I’m not qualified to say what purpose the Amazon Tribe ultimately hoped to serve through the ritual, or whether or not it would have been equally well-served in a ritual that also included trans women. But a second ago we were talking about, in your theory, the spurious logic of ANY ciswomen requiring ANY ritual space separate from others, so we can’t just shift the ground back and forth between the two issues whenever it serves us, because they are separate and distinct issues.

        And it remains spurious logic. You may not have noticed, but the situation you just described wherein blood mysteries are specially being worked with and there is a general assumption that women who are not capable of participating in them will not attend is NOT an example of a need for cis-women specific ritual space. It is an example of ritual space for women who are menstruating or have experienced menstruation, because they are specifically working with the blood-mysteries. There are plenty of cis-women who do not fit that criteria, as has already been pointed out. There are also plenty of FtM transgendered men who do fit it.

        The KKK advocates violence: I have not heard any Dianic person, up to and including Z Budapest, do so. (By the same reasoning I could assume that because trans people and their allies are speaking so stridently in favor of assimilation and against those moving too slowly, they may as well be the Black Panthers and we should check them for guns.) The KKK claims to defend the *superiority* of one race over another; the Dianics (with the possible exception of Z, this time) only a non-identical status and separate needs.

        You should look closer into the history and public rhetoric of the KKK. Take this as an example:

        “Just because there are nice black people don’t mean whites and blacks should mix together.

        All the races in the world are different. That is OK because that is how God made them. He didn’t make all the people the same. If God wanted all the people in the world to mix all up and become one brown race than He would have made them that way in the beginning. But God didn’t make everyone the same. We are all different.”

        http://kkk.bz/?page_id=448

        Sound familiar? They’re not bad, they’re just different

        Lastly, at the very least the blood mysteries certainly do exist and are simply *not relevant* to trans women, so to the extent that a group is focused on said mysteries (and I have read that the Amazon Tribe is, even though the particular ritual was not), that group is *not relevant* to trans women. Not because they’re inferior or not women, but because they need the blood mysteries like a fish needs a bicycle.

        And again, that is a deflection since the ritual in question had literally nothing to do with the blood mysteries, yet the inability to participate in the blood mysteries is being held up as the criteria for excluding them from this rite.

        For all these reasons, Sir or Madam, I find your parallel more offensive than helpful.

        I’m sure you do. But it remains an accurate one.

        And, btw, one would think you might wish to be more conscious of the gender-identification of others in a discussion regarding cisgendered and transgendered individuals. I clearly stated which I am, and what biological gender I am, at the beginning of my first post in this thread.

      • @Jarandhel: Do you really, honestly think I can remember the stated gender-identification of every stranger in every thread on this increasingly huge and difficult-to-navigate board? Do you know how long it takes to even find the comment I’m trying to respond to at this point? I thought you’d rather be “Sir or Madam” than have me guess it wrong.

        And now you’re arguing that anyone who acknowledges DIFFERENCE between people at all is on the slippery slope to KKK territory. Again, the KKK is making the point that “them” and “us” shouldn’t marry, shouldn’t be schooled together, and so on. Again, these are things that *no one here has said* about trans people. You are stacking one fallacy on top of another on top of several misrepresentations of the relevant arguments and then accusing me of bad logic. Sadly, this is a harder tactic to get away with when you argue with someone who has actually taken classes in it.

        Now, can you state your objections *without* going ad hominem?

      • Julie:

        Do you really, honestly think I can remember the stated gender-identification of every stranger in every thread on this increasingly huge and difficult-to-navigate board? Do you know how long it takes to even find the comment I’m trying to respond to at this point? I thought you’d rather be “Sir or Madam” than have me guess it wrong.

        Considering that you have to return to the top of the comment I made in it, where the statement of my gender is clearly visible, in order to click on the link to post a reply within this same thread, yes I do think you’re capable of remembering my stated gender. No guessing required.

        And now you’re arguing that anyone who acknowledges DIFFERENCE between people at all is on the slippery slope to KKK territory. Again, the KKK is making the point that “them” and “us” shouldn’t marry, shouldn’t be schooled together, and so on.

        No, you’re just saying that they shouldn’t mix in ritual space, for now. That cisgendered women have a right to spaces all their own, and that transgendered women attempting to join such spaces is an act of “aggression” and “oppression”. You are painting transgendered women as an outright threat to cisgendered women’s spaces.

        Again, these are things that *no one here has said* about trans people. You are stacking one fallacy on top of another on top of several misrepresentations of the relevant arguments and then accusing me of bad logic. Sadly, this is a harder tactic to get away with when you argue with someone who has actually taken classes in it.

        Nor did I say they had said those specific things about transgendered people. Tell me, did your classes include the concept of a “straw man” fallacy? That would be what you’re engaging in presently.

        What I did say, and what I will now repeat, is that the KKK, in 2010, is not in a position to say that no groups may include blacks. Does that make their rhetoric or logical arguments any more reasonable?

        My point was that simply because this group does not have the political or social influence to say that no women-only groups should include trans-women that does not make their rhetoric and logical arguments against including trans-women in women’s-only space any more logical or reasonable. I used the KKK as a clear example of a group whose logic and rhetoric we know to be unreasonable, and who is clearly not made more reasonable due to their lack of power, thus demonstrating the point. That’s not an ad hominem argument. You are the one who then tried to make it about comparing the two groups.

      • “No, you’re just saying that they shouldn’t mix in ritual space, for now. That cisgendered women have a right to spaces all their own, and that transgendered women attempting to join such spaces is an act of “aggression” and “oppression”. You are painting transgendered women as an outright threat to cisgendered women’s spaces.”

        Okay, if we want to get catty, let’s break this paragraph down step by step.

        1. You’re just saying that they shouldn’t mix in ritual space

        …is in itself inaccurate. No one has said they shouldn’t mix in ritual space. Some Dianics have said that it is not appropriate to mix them within the Dianic context. If you’re going to throw around terms like “Straw Man,” you need to put down the straw.

        At this point your whole paragraph is invalid. But we’ll go on:

        2. …for now.

        “Slippery slope.” Not an official fallacy, but widely recognized as bad logic. You are forecasting, not showing.

        3. That cisgendered women have a right to spaces all their own,

        Yes, that one is correct: there are actually people who have said that. Are you proposing that cisgendered women do not have any right to space all their own? If so, how do you support the position?

        4. and that transgendered women attempting to join such spaces is an act of “aggression” and “oppression”.

        Given that the only time you provided any of these propositions with a subject, it was “I,” referring to me, I must again inform you that a platform of your argument is invalid. I have not myself said any such thing nor implied that I believed it. Surely, since you scroll down past so many of my previous posts to get to this one to reply, you can recall that this is so.

        Now, if you don’t mind, some people are trying to actually have a conversation about how to create a community that honors both ciswomen and trans women’s need for acceptance and safety.

      • @Jarandhel

        You have gone as far as to lump this issue as one of Dianics versus the trans community.

        You have used examples that are far more-reaching than any other I have seen on this topic in any other blog/site/forum/whatever you want to call it.

        I personally would recommend that you keep your own counsel and re-read the following statements:

        http://cerridwen.st4r.org/wiki/index.php/Pantheacon_2011 from the Circle of Cerridwen and the main reason it is posted to the Dianics is because they were the only ones (from what I can recall and remember) who bothered to show up to the Gender Discrimination forum on Monday at Pantheacon.

        http://www.cayacoven.org/gender.html this is from the Clergy of CAYA Coven and an important piece to your puzzle that is lacking.

        I suggest you re-read these facts and ask questions of the people who were there (me, if you feel the need although I have spoken at length) about any other questions you might have.

        Now, I do believe that before you say ANOTHER word, you take this and sit with it.

        This discussion is bigger than the Dianics and the transcommunity; it’s bigger than we could possibly have expected when some of us gathered on Sunday at the firepit, but at the very least, the most I can ask of you.

        Civility, do no use examples as spurious and as vitriolic as the ones you have used.

        It helps no one and furthers the conversation NOT AT ALL.

        Lina

      • Okay, if we want to get catty, let’s break this paragraph down step by step.

        1. You’re just saying that they shouldn’t mix in ritual space

        …is in itself inaccurate. No one has said they shouldn’t mix in ritual space. Some Dianics have said that it is not appropriate to mix them within the Dianic context.

        Oh, of course… No one has said they “shouldn’t” mix in ritual space. Just, y’know, not in YOUR ritual space. With, again, descriptions of transexual women as a threat (and as men, rather than women) if they wish to be included in spaces that celebrate Women’s Mysteries. Which are, I trust, more inclusive than just the blood mysteries. Anyone here think the mystery of Motherhood is exclusive to those who have physically given birth, rather than to those who have actually raised children, biological or otherwise?

        If you’re going to throw around terms like “Straw Man,” you need to put down the straw.

        Generally, it’s fair to say that if someone is opposed to someone in their family being in a same-sex relationship, they’re opposed to same-sex relationships in general. The way you choose to organize spaces under your direct control tends to be illustrative of broader views.

        At this point your whole paragraph is invalid. But we’ll go on:

        Actually, if I may refresh your memory regarding the way logic works, every premise in an argument may be false or fallacious and the premise may still be true. A single fallacy, even if there had been one in my statements, would not have magically invalidated my entire paragraph.

        2. …for now.

        “Slippery slope.” Not an official fallacy, but widely recognized as bad logic. You are forecasting, not showing.

        Actually, slippery slope involves claiming that one thing will lead to another, and another, in a direct series. Such that A directly yields Z, disregarding the steps between them. That’s not what “for now” does. My point was that, for now, you have not called for the degree of segregation that the KKK calls for. But the position you’re in right now is hardly one that lends itself to taking a hard-line stance against transgendered persons even if you did feel that way. You’re under a great deal of scrutiny, both by the transgendered community and their allies. It’s logical that you restrict your rhetoric in order to try to appear more reasonable. We see this same behavior all the time on the subject of gay rights. Perhaps no example illustrates that better than Uganda and the proposed bill to execute gays. This bill was prompted by American Evangelicals speaking about the “gay agenda”. Yet they claim that was never their intention. One even said “Some of the nicest people I have ever met are gay people.” After giving seminars on how gay people could be “converted” to heterosexuality.

        3. That cisgendered women have a right to spaces all their own,

        Yes, that one is correct: there are actually people who have said that. Are you proposing that cisgendered women do not have any right to space all their own? If so, how do you support the position?

        Yes, I am proposing that. In fact, it’s blatantly obvious. It’s the reason why you don’t see Straight Pride Parades, or the NAAWP, or the Congressional Caucasian Caucus. Spaces wherein the majority purposefully excludes the minority are oppressive. They marginalize the minority. Separate is not equal.

        4. and that transgendered women attempting to join such spaces is an act of “aggression” and “oppression”.

        Given that the only time you provided any of these propositions with a subject, it was “I,” referring to me, I must again inform you that a platform of your argument is invalid. I have not myself said any such thing nor implied that I believed it. Surely, since you scroll down past so many of my previous posts to get to this one to reply, you can recall that this is so.

        Actually, I used the pronoun “you”. In English, “you” is both singular and plural. Would it make you feel better if I said “the side you have aligned yourself with in this argument”, or perhaps the grammatically incorrect “y’all”? You stepped in to respond to my comments to Abbie, and seem to have been defending her position throughout your comments. Am I supposed to somehow infer from that, that you do NOT agree with her that transgendered women are being aggressive towards and oppressive of cisgendered women by wanting to be included?

        Now, if you don’t mind, some people are trying to actually have a conversation about how to create a community that honors both ciswomen and trans women’s need for acceptance and safety.

        I know, I’ve seen them. They’re the ones that have been asking why it’s alright to exclude transgendered women on the basis that they do menstruate when cisgendered women who have never menstruated are excluded. They’re the ones actually examining and challenging the prejudice and privilege involved. They’re the ones who have dared to ask the question: what, exactly, is it about transgendered women that cisgendered women need to feel “safe” from?

      • Sorry, it’s late, that should have been:

        why it’s alright to exclude transgendered women on the basis that they do not menstruate when cisgendered women who have never menstruated are not excluded

      • “Just, y’know, not in YOUR ritual space.”

        MY ritual space? You mean, the ritual space in which I used to have mtf transgendered students who I first met in a “women’s pagan group” that met at a bookstore and agreed by consensus to include trans women?

        You make a lot of assumptions and put a lot of words into people’s mouths. It would seem that the only way to make you stop is to stop giving you fuel. You go back to being a cisman lecturing ciswomen about their privilege, and have fun with that.

      • MY ritual space? You mean, the ritual space in which I used to have mtf transgendered students who I first met in a “women’s pagan group” that met at a bookstore and agreed by consensus to include trans women?

        Again, apparently not getting the fact that “your” in English is both singular and plural.

        You make a lot of assumptions and put a lot of words into people’s mouths. It would seem that the only way to make you stop is to stop giving you fuel. You go back to being a cisman lecturing ciswomen about their privilege, and have fun with that.

        Funny thing about that; I’m not the one trying to rhetorically justify the use of my privilege as a cisman to exclude those who do not share in it, in any context.

      • “Again, apparently not getting the fact that “your” in English is both singular and plural.”

        Another fun grammatical fact: if you had not meant to cover me in the accusation, you would have used “their.”

      • Another fun grammatical fact: if you had not meant to cover me in the accusation, you would have used “their.”

        Referring to a plurality which includes you as an individual, as in “the side you have chosen to represent in this argument”, is not the same as referring to a specific group you individually run (or ran at some point in the past) whether I say your or their. I don’t know you, I don’t know your history beyond what you’ve posted here, but what I do know is that the arguments you are making stand in favor of excluding transgendered women from cisgendered spaces in the name of creating safe and accepting environments for cisgendered women. Yet you refuse to present an actual argument indicating how transgendered women are any sort of threat to the safety and acceptance of cisgendered women. At most you’ve suggested the sight of a penis (if preoperative transwomen choose to attend a clothing option women’s event skyclad, a fairly unlikely scenario) may be triggering for those women who have suffered some form of sexual abuse. But if we’re going down that route, the sight of a naked female other than herself might be triggering for a woman who was sexually abused by another woman. And you’ve said yourself post-operative transexuals would also not make the cut, despite not having the offending organ. So how is this about anything other than the “ideal” that women should be born in female bodies? As I said in my very first post.

      • You’re right, you don’t know me.

        I have yet to argue a “side.” I have yet to acknowledge the existence of “sides.” I have asked a great variety of questions from a variety of vantage points, and I have made a number of theoretical musings. They’re all still there: you can go and peruse them more deeply if you want to understand my “position,” insofar as I have one.

      • @Linda

        You have gone as far as to lump this issue as one of Dianics versus the trans community.

        And exactly how else do you think this should be taken? You’ve provided a few links to PR pieces, but further down in the comments we have a link to the blog of ladybug, one of the Amazons who put on this ritual.

        http://ladybugsadventures.blogspot.com/2011/03/gender-and-magic.html

        It says, verbatim: “Dianic witchcraft serves only female-born women who have need of that blood mystery magic, because it is a specialized type of service.”

        This stands in rather sharp contrast to what she says in her comment here, where she only says that transgendered women are asked not to attend blood mysteries:

        “I support the rights of transwomen to have access to women’s sacred space. I am also a Dianic witch who participates in blood mysteries, where transwomen are asked to respectfully not attend, but not because they are “not women.” I do not define myself as a woman because I bleed and have a womb, but, at the same time, I get a great deal of good out of working with the blood mysteries. There is no need to define who is a woman by whether or not they can go to cisgendered safe space.”

        She has specifically been asked what it was about the Lillith rite which prompted the exclusion of transgendered women, since it was not a blood mystery rite. So far, I haven’t seen a response other than a promise that there is an email conversation ongoing with the organizers to try to work that out.

        You have used examples that are far more-reaching than any other I have seen on this topic in any other blog/site/forum/whatever you want to call it.

        I’ve used examples that are accurate. They might hurt, I know the religious right hate having their “defense of marriage” campaigns compared to earlier campaigns against interracial marriage, but the parallels are there.

        I personally would recommend that you keep your own counsel and re-read the following statements:

        http://cerridwen.st4r.org/wiki/index.php/Pantheacon_2011 from the Circle of Cerridwen and the main reason it is posted to the Dianics is because they were the only ones (from what I can recall and remember) who bothered to show up to the Gender Discrimination forum on Monday at Pantheacon.

        I’m not sure quite what you think this illustrates. To me, it very clearly shows that the Dianics who showed up to the Gender Discrimination forum wanted and intend to continue their practice of Gender Discrimination. To quote:

        “Wendy Griffin, toward the end, got quite upset, stating that the issue is effectively one of religious freedom, and that what was being proposed effectively would prevent her from engaging in her religion. Ruth Barrett, who I must admit showed astonishing strength in retaining composure throughout the event — for her, the issue was that she wanted to continue to run events at Pantheacon, but that a non-discrimination policy would effectively mean that she could not continue to do so.”

        http://www.cayacoven.org/gender.html this is from the Clergy of CAYA Coven and an important piece to your puzzle that is lacking.

        Not at all, I’ve read that piece several times. It’s a beautiful PR piece, but ultimately it says very little. The one apology, such as it is, is for leaving information out — not for excluding transgendered women in the first place. And while we are told that “the Amazon Priestess Tribe recognizes that safe space for the exploration of womanhood has similarly been withheld from Trans sisters”, nowhere does the connection seem to be made that THEY are one of the groups withholding that space from transgendered women.

        I suggest you re-read these facts and ask questions of the people who were there (me, if you feel the need although I have spoken at length) about any other questions you might have.

        I do not have questions. I have observations, which I have already made. Ones that remain valid.

        Now, I do believe that before you say ANOTHER word, you take this and sit with it.

        Frankly, I believe that you have no right to tell me what to do. This is not your blog, and the owner of this blog has not asked me to tone down my statements. Nor, I note, have any transgendered women taking part in this discussion disagreed with my characterizations. In fact, I’ve received messages from some transgendered friends who have read this article and the comments here stating that they agree with me.

        This discussion is bigger than the Dianics and the transcommunity;

        How so? I don’t see any groups other than the Dianics saying that their freedom of religion requires the exclusion of transgendered women. From what you’ve said, only the Dianics showed up to the discussion to represent the opposing view. So in what way is this larger than the Dianics and the trans community?

        it’s bigger than we could possibly have expected when some of us gathered on Sunday at the firepit, but at the very least, the most I can ask of you.

        Civility, do no use examples as spurious and as vitriolic as the ones you have used.

        It helps no one and furthers the conversation NOT AT ALL.

        My examples have not been spurious, and they have been “vitriolic” only in the sense that the actions and statements of the Amazon Tribe and the Dianics who attended the Gender Discrimination discussion were also vitriolic. If people are going to engage in discrimination against transgendered women, then no. Comparable examples of discrimination against other groups are NOT going to be fluffy and pleasant. They are going to be just as vitriolic. And the conversation is not going to be forwarded until there is recognition that these acts are in fact parallel examples of discrimination and people learn to stop discriminating.

        Seriously, think about this for a moment: imagine if instead of an Amazon group holding a ritual at Pantheacon this had been a “Folkish” Heathen group, and instead of trans women being turned away it was anyone who wasn’t caucasian. Hell, lets even say they DID state this in the description of the ritual on the program. Would that scenario be in any way acceptable to you? If not (and I stress the IF in this statement) why are you more tolerant of discrimination against trans women?

      • Sorry, that should have said Lina not Linda. Typo and I didn’t notice it until after I hit submit.

      • Because this can be applied to any group that chooses to discriminate based on gender; this isn’t just Dianics who can do this, Stregans can too, Thelemics can too, Heathens can too.

        This is about asking of ourselves and our covens and our traditions; where do we stand on this issue? Where do we stand within ourselves, before we start asking where we stand in comparison to the outside world.

        So far, I haven’t seen a response other than a promise that there is an email conversation ongoing with the organizers to try to work that out.

        You’re right, you haven’t. You’re not that involved. You’re an outside observer (and since you yourself have said you have NO questions, then that’s the only title you can have) and the things that are going on in email and in back-channels (which exist, as I’m sure you know since technically your conversation with your friends outside this board would be considered back-channel) are going on, I’m in part of them. Believe me, this is still being discussed by the organizers of Pantheacon, by the Amazons, by CAYA collectively, by the Circle of Cerridwen, by lots of people NOT on this board. And it’s more than emails going back and forth, it’s phone calls and face-to-face discussions.

        And you’re right, I can’t tell you what to do, no better than you can tell the Dianic tradition that they MUST accept transgender women. Some Dianic groups already do, some are discussing this, however, each group worships as they see fit and drawn to. Some groups gather and share the blood mysteries and a need for a gluten-free, meat-free, completely vegan cooking group. I fit one of those but not all of those and while I would probably be welcome, I know that I wouldn’t be COMFORTABLE. So I seek a place where I would be. Does that make sense? Follow along because this is the main point coming up.

        People will do as they see fit, associate and worship as they see fit. Do I agree? Probably not always. Then again, if there is a coven of Dianic mothers who have given birth at least twice, not the group for me. If there are enough of them, and their program meets the criteria for a presentation at Pantheacon, let them have it. There are plethora other things I will probably want to be doing (sleep!) at that time.

        Arguing to force full inclusion of the Dianics means that we have to force nonracist Northern Traditionalists to accept the Northern Traditionalists that ARE racists.

        I have first-hand experience in that one; I am a Northern Traditionalist (have to be, claimed by Odin and all) and I live by the 9 Virtues; it is my path. However, I’ve come across the (my own words) racist dickhead contingencies (end my own words) and you know what? They can have their space. Odin, Loki, and I will walk away and find a group that will accept me.

        A better example: two years ago, at my first Pantheacon, I saw the description for a Rom bloodnaming. I have always wanted to know more about them. My mother tells good stories of her growing up and having them travel through her town. However, the ritual didn’t specify that one had to be Rom to attend. I got all dolled-up to find out that the event had been cancelled. Bummer. I later heard that they took the ritual to a private room (never was able to confirm that) and made it specifically for Rom only. Double bummer, but you know what? It’s their right to do as they see fit.

        Just as I have the right to join with those like me, or not like me (but accepting of me), if I choose to.

        Now, care to offer a way to make both groups happy? A way that serves the Dianic tradition as there are some that want to worship without feeling attacked (which people are doing, completely negating the groups that do accept men, transgender, purples and anyone else interested in Dianic worship) or like they should stay away for the greater community? A way that helps transgender men and women feel comfortable enough in an unknown environment with people they may not know to worship as they are called to do?

        I would really like to read ideas you might have instead of just jumping ,as you yourself have said, with just OBSERVATIONS.

        Lina

    • “Fuck anyone who thinks my power comes from my ability to bleed and not die. Screw anyone who values a woman and identifies her based on her ability to breed. She wants men not to control women? Then how about not defining us by narrow parameters based on our ability as birthers.”

      (my friend Teri. Who officiated my wedding. She is awesome)

      • A valid POV for those it works for – but what happens when you say this to women who *do* find power in not having those aspects either totally co-opted by men’s interests or dismissed entirely? Do they just not count as much as women who are “too good” for that?

    • @Z Budapest:
      I was very saddened to read the vitriolic, hate-filled tone of this post. While you are certainly entitled to have your own opinions, the sort of denigrating, belittling way you expressed your viewpoint was hurtful in the extreme. When someone who has such a high profile paints such a nasty picture with such a broad brush…it seems to validate the sort of fear-mongering and discrimination that we women have been on the receiving end of all too often. I was born with a uterus, have it to this day and identify as female. But my feeling female is not predicated on the exclusion of other women who may have had a different set of circumstances or a different backstory. Trans women are women. If you want to disagree you can, but I would have hoped that you could make a case *for* your position without devolving into finger-pointing and invalidating a whole section of the population. It reeks of bigotry and I have no patience for such ignorance and maliciousness. I lost all respect for you reading this…

    • Well said, Z.

      I think we all must offer our support and respect to the Diansies in their ongoing quest to reclaim misogyny from the patriarchy and put it in the control of womensies-born-womensies where it belongs. Why should men be the only ones allowed to reduce women to a thing that bleeds once a month without dying? I stand in sublime awe of the way that you have taken a bad sexist joke and turned it into your theology, and vice-versa.

      Bravo! No, indeed, brava.

    • My 76 year old Catholic grandmother accepts who her lesbian, transsexual, Wiccan granddaughter is more than Z Budapest does.

      Z Budapest deserves to be very, very ashamed of herself.

    • I found the thread out of basic interest in learning more about where I may be able to *fit* as a Solitary Pagan at least in regards to organized groups. My wish is simply to expand my knowledge of how Goddess is worshipped by others so that I may serve Her better.

      Currently, I have been reading both the Time and Moon books of Z’s so when I saw her posting, It caught My eye…

      ..and I also have lost complete respect for this woman that I had only just this morning… “Women are born not made by men on operating tables” ?
      The tone of Z’s comments show that she obviously has a sexist and closed minded view that isolates some with a label. Aphrodite and Hermes had a child who represented both genders… would Z have turned THEM away with a sexist remark?

      I am transgendered. Since my earliest years, I have always associated as female yet was forced to live and grow as a male simply because it was what society would find acceptable.

      Still I will read Z’s books for her wisdom in rituals.. yet her expressions and views are now tainted and I can’t see Myself holding her in the high regard I did before today

    • Maybe the following can help define something…

      Let’s take for example a human being born with a learning disability. Let’s further add that this person, well into their late 20’s still has an IQ and mannerisms equivalent to that of a 6 year old child. Now, in an environment where activities are made available oriented towards children, what if that one individual felt best suited to participating in the child oriented activities? Would it be proper or even ethical to restrict them from things that they could get the most out of?

      If your answer is “Yes, they shouldn’t be allowed because they’re in their late 20’s, and child oriented activities means children only” without taking into account that despite that one person’s physical age, that they’re really a child, albeit a large one in relation to the other children. It’s My belief that the other children might have the situation explained and that the children would accept and welcome that late 20’s child… Why? because they might feel they fit in with the rest of them.. all without the influence of ignorance that so many adults seem to harbor these days.

      Take it from this person of faith that what’s between a person’s legs does not define us. Gender is more than a piece of flesh… Goddess has confirmed Me as a Lady and a woman.. some others should follow Her lead.

  8. This comment ill suits your status as an Elder, a Witch, and one of the most important philosophers and thinkers in contemporary Feminism and Neopaganism. I urge you to consider the importance of your words, and to remember that there are sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, lovers and allies on both sides of this argument. If we must disagree, let us do so in a spirit of love. If there must be boundaries between us, let them be drawn in a spirit of cooperation.

    I do not dispute the right of CAYA, or any other Dianic group, to define “Womyn” as they see fit. I accept your right to exclude me. Since I identify as third-gendered rather than female, I would never seek entry into your Mysteries. I also accept your right to exclude my transgendered sisters or anyone else whom I might identify as a woman. They are your Mysteries, and you are welcome to share them as you will. I respect your rights to association, belief and expression.

    However, I also respect the right of my transgendered sisters to their identity – an identity for which they have suffered and for which they continue to suffer. I will speak out against discrimination and hatred when it is aimed at them, and I will encourage others to do so. If Dianic Wiccans wish to shut out transgendered women from public events held by Pantheacon (particularly if they do so with hateful remarks about “being made on operating tables” and the like), I would encourage the organizers of Pantheacon to withdraw their public support for those workshops and those rituals.

    This would not stop Dianics from holding private ceremonies and rituals in their own suites, as many groups do. And just as the OTO or other lodges and orders can restrict events to members only, the Dianic groups would be free to open their doors to whomever they saw fit. This would strike me as an appropriate compromise which would at least go some way toward acknowledging everyone’s rights and feelings. (Granted, it’s sure to dissatisfy just about everyone on one level or another, but that’s the nature of compromise).

    • Let’s be very clear who we’re painting with what brush: nobody from CAYA said anything about operating tables. That was Z, who was not at the Lilith ritual, and is only attributable to her.

      The appropriateness of gendered space at Pantheacon is a valid and open question, but the incident itself, for those who were there to see it, was clearly more about failure to communicate than institutional hatred or fear of transgender.

  9. Thanks, Anya, for a thought-provoking post.
    Thanks, too, Z Budapest – your comment has really helped make up my mind about whether I explore the Dianic tradition further.
    As an earth-goddess focused, feminist, cis woman, I was interested in exploring your tradition as a source of feminine power and useful devotional practice.
    Now I’m not going to bother.
    I don’t have room in my life for prejudice.
    I can celebrate my life without having to resort to labelling and excluding others. I prefer to fight prejudice without adding to it.
    Here’s to living in love!
    Ngea

    • Thanks for reading!

  10. [...] Responsible ritual announcing By Jenett, on February 28th, 2011 I’ve been thinking a lot about conversations around a ritual at last week’s Pantheacon that turned away both transgender women and men at the door without previously making it clear that it was a limited-access ritual. (Two posts with background and links to additional comments can be found here and here.) [...]

  11. [...] blogosphere, including in a post by my friend and colleague and Mystes Antínoou Finnchuill, and on Anya Kless’ blog. Though both are excellent, I particularly recommend reading the latter because of the comments on [...]

  12. I can’t help but reflect on the pain shown by so many who have commented here. It seems so sad that we end up fighting each other, rather than the source of that pain (which, as a feminist I identify as ‘patriarchy’ and its associated social effects).
    It is my earnest, heartfelt prayer that we can each rise enough above our own pain to join with those who also suffer and to change this world little by little.
    In love
    Ngea

  13. Hi, Anya.

    Thanks for the enlightening commentary. As someone who hasn’t worked with Lilith, I found it helped provide additional context. Awareness and discussion of what happened rippled through the convention; while not a direct witness, I found it impossible not to be troubled by the event.

  14. Anya,

    Thanks you for this very illuminating post.
    I’ve linked it to my own blog post on gender essentialism at Pantheacon. http://finnchuillsmast.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/pantheacon-the-two-party-system/

    Finnchuill

    • Thanks for the link! I read your post and am following you now.

      -Anya

      • Great! I sure hope all the dialogue pushes some real change for future PantheaCons and in the wider community.

  15. I’ve faced the Dianic feminist rhetoric before, intimately. A former lover of mine questioned every step of my transition from her deeply held second wave feminist sensibilities.

    It seemed odd to me, to hear that “women-born-women” had some essential quality that belonged to them alone, and by which they would and should defend their space. For, if there’s one thing feminism holds dear, it is “biology is not destiny” except, perhaps when it suits the intentions of those who would exclude in a disingenuous manner.

    Okay: I have given birth, four times. I nursed my babies for over two years, all of them. I nearly bled to death, while bearing one of them. I’m 47, past childbearing, but am a full-time Mom who is at home with my family. Additionally, I’m a survivor of sexual abuse…the last incident of which was perpetrated upon me within weeks of my hysterectomy by that second-wave feminist Dianic lover I used to have. “I thought you wanted it,” was her defense. Sound familiar?

    I am also FtM and have a beard, flat chest, male pattern baldness and completely male ID records. So, who is a woman and who is a man, and who deserves admittance to “womyn only” events, and who gets to decide what is “real” and what is not? It’s a fair bet that many Dianic devotees haven’t borne children, as have I, or nursed them, as have I, and yet these “Blood Mysteries” being referred to are held as the lynchpin of identity.

    None of the metrics being suggested by those who oppose transwomen being admitted hold any water whatever. Why try to dress discrimination in noble-sounding rhetoric? Call it what it is: rigid policing by an ugly exclusionary indefensible standard, thankfully passing into oblivion.

    • Thanks for sharing such a personal account.

      • You’re welcome. I used to be much more in the forefront of questioning gender essentialism but have been obliged to spend time in other arenas, these days. But, when there seems to be an opportunity to give witness I still do so.

    • @Jalkr: We seem to have established general consensus that gender identity is determined by the individual and that we all deserve respect and validation. Your personal experiences highlight how the trans-experience is unique and distinct from the biological experience. I get that the Dianic path didn’t resonate with you. But that doesn’t make my sacred work any less “authentic” or my experience any less valid because it does resonate within that space. I am a straight (but definitely not narrow), married, minority, woman-born woman who lovingly raised an openly trans-sibling from the age of 6. I don’t believe I am “trans-phobic” any more than I am an “angry lesbian” or a “man-hater.” We shouldn’t have to justify ourselves for wanting a little space that’s just for us. It is our birthrite.

      • Abbie, I think you need to read Jalkr’s post a little more closely re: His experiences with Dianic thought. He’s not saying that the Dianic path “didn’t resonate” with Him.

      • You want to split hairs between Dianic thought and the Dianic path? Now you’re just being obtuse.

        • It’s not splitting hairs at all. Someone shared a traumatic incident He had with a Dianic feminist – saying “sorry it didn’t resonate with you” trivializes that trauma.

      • Now you’re putting words in my mouth. I didn’t say I was sorry. I said someone else’s bad experiences don’t make my positive experiences any less authentic.

        • My apologies. I should have said: in response to someone sharing their traumatic experience with a Dianic feminist, you said, “I get that the Dianic path didn’t resonate with you.” This language trivializes their traumatic experience. It’s like if a friend of mine visited NYC, was sexually assaulted, and I replied, “I get that NYC didn’t resonate with you.”

      • Oh, I see. It’s not enough to voice that we all deserve respect and validation. I’m supposed to personally apologize on behalf of all Dianics everywhere. Then I’m supposed to ignore the remainder of his comments. He said holding space for women-born women seemed “odd” to from the start. That’s fine, it’s not for everyone. It resonates profoundly for me, however, and I’m not willing to take on any shame or guilt about it.

  16. I AM an Amazon Warrior and a Butch Dyke. I circle in mostly Dianic circles and certainly women only ones. I also teach Amazon mysteries and for me, they are meant to be for bio female women born women only…the womb is a part of it, but there is also an energy between women that stems from our bodies since birth, and for those retaining their Female proud identity. While Z spoke perhaps unskillfully about the Dianic tradition, and it’s unfortunate that Rabbit didn’t make it clearer that the Amazon workshop was exclusively for born females only, there has been an onslaught against not just women born women space, i.e Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival both by those born male living as transfemales, but also those born female living as male/genderqueer. I’ve heard all the trans rhetoric before, have known my fair share of trans of either gender, ect. ect. ect. There is an impasse. In many folks mind there is NO reason why we should defend born female space, by and for those born as females, whether you’re Butch, Femme, androgynous, Amazon, whatever, living in a Female body AS a Female. And Females come in many stripes.

    Those born male have had privileges they won’t own up to, especially autogynophilic transsexuals/transgenders who had successful careers as powerful men, married to women AS A MAN, with very male privilege, then come into the Lesbian community and expecting us to kowtow to them and their needs in the same manner as straight women kowtowed to them in the straight world. A stridency and assumption of privilege NEVER taking ‘no’ for an answer.

    Those transitioning or considering themselves male or some version of male don’t belong in women born women space either because they are not Female Proud. They reject their female identity. I understand the pain being a Butch Lesbian of the discrimination in the work world, out on the street and in my own family of what it is like not to be ‘feminine’ and rejecting of femininity WHICH DOES NOT EQUAL WOMONHOOD OR FEMALENESS, ANY MORE THAN MASCULINITY EQUALS MALENESS, both are social constructs, and NOT physical or sexual realities, and the discrimination for not fitting into society’s boxes. This I do thoroughly understand and have my OWN incidents on the streets and with folks in the world for not being ‘gender conforming’.

    And yet Dianic Wicca has given me immense pride in being Female, in being a Lesbian(the Dyke Witches brought me out)and in the POWER of bio Females of all stripes coming together to worship Goddess. There is a special magic to it that goes beyond words, but to pure energy. I have felt it particularly in Amazon rituals I have led where there are more Butch Females present, many Lesbians and very strong Femmes. It IS a bio-female Mystery. And the Amazon Traditions are somewhat different and even a bit wilder than strictly Dianic Wicca….but very parallel to that Tradition in many ways. AND WBW ONLY!

    Trans individuals HAVE THEIR OWN MYSTERIES to explore rather than riding the coattails of Lesbians, Lesbian and Female Traditions, communities or spaces, and it goes back to the Castrati of the Goddess Kybele, who removed their male members(penises) in ecstatic rites to the Goddess Kybele, and lived as eunuchs and/or MTFs the rest of their lives. Janus was another bi-gendered Diety as well that could be honored, and there’s NOBODY saying that ANY individual cannot invoke ANY Diety, Male or Female or Both or Inbetween that Calls to them.

    What we are saying is that we have our OWN Rites and it is just as discriminatory to INSIST on having access to them, as it would be if I INSISTED on attending Native American ceremonies without permission by actual Natives because I ‘vibe’ with Native Traditions and identify hugely with their people and energies….OR I ‘vibe’ with African American folks and insist on being part of THEIR rites, whether invited or not, because I have a right to, and they’re being discriminatory if they don’t allow me….that is cooptation at it’s very worst, and the trans community in either direction have particularly focussed on the bio female women’s communities and Lesbian communities and INSISTED on their ‘rights’ to be in our spaces, whether we agree to it or not.

    There is an integrity to the Female body, from birth, from coming outside our Mother’s wombs as born Females, being raised as Females whether we conformed to appropiate ‘gender roles’ or not, or resisted feminization like so many Butches have, went through puberty AS FEMALES, came into menarche AS FEMALES, and chose whether to have children or not, come out as Lesbians and be free from childbearing, or practiced a lifetime of birth control, and looked to all of the world for a place to find home, as I have with Amazon mysteries, from the age of 10, in 5th Grade, when the Goddess first Called to me through studying the Greek religion and myths in school, searching for a Female Diety that more reflected my Female body, and a people that reflected my tomboy sensibilities that WAS NOT MALE…the Amazons, and the Maidens of Artemis. To get into the martial arts in the mid ’70’s when few girls or women were doing martial arts, and even full contact, that grew my Amazon capabilities; and to see that same Amazonian energy in other bio Female women I sparred; and to eventually come out as a Dyke and to meet Dyke Witches in my Feminism and Philosophy Class and go to my first women only rituals and wake up something that has stirred inside me lifelong.

    This is a VERY DIFFERENT Path than what those born male, or even intersex have gone through, and later decide to transition to female; and certainly those who decide they really are male and that Lesbian or Butch identity is not enough for them and they really feel they are males.

    -To my Sister Amazons, Female proud Butches and Dianics stay strong,
    -FeistyAmazon

    • @Feisty Amazon,

      It’s ironic to me that many people even today might say Dykes aren’t “real women” for a variety of reasons (not presenting as “feminine enough,” not having sex with men, etc). For you, your womanhood is linked to your body, particularly the fact that you were assigned to the female sex at birth. I still say that using biology as a gatekeeper for womanhood is both simplistic (in that it can’t account for those who don’t fit neatly in one body or another due to intersex conditions) and taking up the language of patriarchy, which has defined women by they bodies for centuries.

      I think those born cis-gender need to own up to their own privileges. How lucky for you to be a woman in a “bio woman” body.

      To say over and over again “but they’re different” also seems disingenuous. Surely straight women are different from lesbians? Femmes different from dykes? Surely they all have different “energy” when they’re around each other. I bet, however, if I went up to random women on this spectrum and said to them “you know what makes you a woman? The fact that a (probably male) doctor examined you at birth and deemed your sex to be female.” I imagine most of them would take that to be quite an arbitrary and limiting definition.

    • @Feisty:

      If you want a firsthand look at “transgender privilege,” you should read J’s post below.

    • @FiestyAmazon

      I am not trying to be confrontational, but understand your tradition’s perspective on biology and spirituality. There are congenital and acquired medical conditions that prevent the female reproductive system from working properly (in some cases from ever working properly). In your tradition, would a woman who has never be able to menstruate, or perhaps has lost the ability due to accident or illness still be considered able to access the Mysteries of your practice?

      I ask because I was doing research years ago on unrelated communities within the pagan demographic and I was surprised by how many stories I found of people being denied access or required to leave their circles or covens due to medical conditions. If the womb is the seat of power in your tradition, it would seem that while someone who’s had a hysterectomy could be seen as artificially entering into the Mysteries of the Crone, someone who’s womb has never worked could not fit within your tradition’s sphere of practice.

    • @FeistyAmazon: in thinking about the history of the Amazon, they are almost always described in Classical Literature as slicing off a breast in order to better hold a shield against their bodies. If the “integrity of the female body” is so important, do you advocate following this physical act? In such a reading, transmen who have undergone mastectomies are actually closer to embodying the Amazon body.

    • If I am not “female proud” then why is it that I not only gave birth to four babies, at home, minus any kind of radical medical intervention (midwives attended all the births); nursed all four til they were ready to wean on their own; and still deeply embrace the honorific “Mom?” What is giving birth, if not one of the most intense of these so-called Blood Mysteries?

      The assumption, too, that all non-feminine females are or would be lesbian or dyke or butch–where did that come from? I grew up in Provincetown, from second through fifth grades. I roamed the beaches at all hours and in all seasons. I played baseball, wrestled, boxed, went barefoot and feral all over the place. I was the epitome of unladylike, and glad of it.

      I was never a lesbian, or dyke, or butch (much to the disappointment of my former GF, who tried like anything to make me conform to HER ideals of how a proud butch ought to be). I was me: unwilling to play a role ANYONE laid out for me, especially to suit some dubious social agenda or to become living currency for a demographic. I didn’t transition to gain privilege (stay at home, non-employed, gay appearing queers don’t get any–I checked) or to “reject” my femaleness. I did it to be myself—a radical notion which you surely can understand, even if you do approach it from a vastly different perspective.

      I owe my transition to a lesbian feminist Dianic wiccan. It was she who loved me so passionately that she fought with me tooth and nail, and made me articulate why realizing my needs was not at all the same as “rejecting femaleness.” There’s a huge difference in a decision made out of affirmation and evolving into oneself, as opposed to denial and self-hatred. Again, I would hope we have some common ground in this area.

      As a thought: there are some who would say procuring an abortion is rejecting femaleness: the ability to generate life from the womb being a female attribute. And yet I am sure you wouldn’t deny women the right to choose, would you?

    • @Feisty:

      “Those born male have had privileges they won’t own up to, especially autogynophilic transsexuals/transgenders who had successful careers as powerful men, married to women AS A MAN, with very male privilege, then come into the Lesbian community and expecting us to kowtow to them and their needs in the same manner as straight women kowtowed to them in the straight world. A stridency and assumption of privilege NEVER taking ‘no’ for an answer.”

      While there is no doubt in my mind that people like this do exist, and that folks socialized as male have a harder time fitting into female-exclusive groups, I should point out that J’s post above is more typical of MtF trans experience than “powerful men…with very male privilege.”

      Most of those I know, and I know quite a few, shied away from identifying as male as soon as they could safely get away with it, and in so doing lost their jobs, families, friends, and most opportunities for self-support, shelter, and often, physical safety. Many of the others that I don’t know are dead because someone took issue with their identity.

      “Those transitioning or considering themselves male or some version of male don’t belong in women born women space either because they are not Female Proud. They reject their female identity.”

      Actually, pretty much all of my transmen friends would probably agree with you there. They don’t consider themselves female at all regardless of what their bodies looked like at birth, and therefore, they generally aren’t interested in woman-only space, whether it’s cis-exclusive or not *shrug*

      No one’s arguing about that here, though, so I don’t see what relevance there is in bringing it up except to provide you another platform to argue that “those people” (i.e. transfolk, however they identify) ought to get far, far away from you and yours.

      • “No one’s arguing about that here, though, so I don’t see what relevance there is in bringing it up except to provide you another platform to argue that “those people” (i.e. transfolk, however they identify) ought to get far, far away from you and yours.”

        Actually, the question was raised up in an earlier thread off of Z’s post.

      • I should clarify that I am not trying to cancel out what Jalkr said re: being “female proud” with my second comment. I know three transmen who gave birth to children before transitioning, and I am not qualified to tell them or anyone else how to think of themselves as parents. I simply meant to point out that transMEN don’t generally ID as female anyway and usually aren’t interested in being in female-only space, from what I have observed.

      • @Julie: Ah. I must have missed that. It’s getting hard for me to keep up with all the threads and subthreads here. Apologies, then, for misinterpreting that second quote of FA’s.

    • Hi there,

      “I didn’t transition to gain privilege (stay at home, non-employed, gay appearing queers don’t get any–I checked) or to “reject” my femaleness. I did it to be myself—a radical notion which you surely can understand, even if you do approach it from a vastly different perspective.”

      I have yet to meet a transperson who would tell you they transitioned for any other reason than what you have so clearly stated. And yet, they would find more compassion and empathy for you and your path/journey than you have afforded them in your words here. I can’t say that I understand your anger or entitlement [that's what it comes across as to me] regarding your practices, gender expression, or personal politics but I respect your right to be angry and entitled as much as I support the right of ALL women to be valued as such.

      I’m saddened that your worldview appears so myopic and that you value politics more than you value the suffering of your fellow humans. I only hope that you are able to find some enlightenment..after all, Diana has historically had male followers and does in modern culture as well.

      Alex Bettencourt

  17. [...] to read the comments unless you’ve got about a gallon of your favorite adult beverage handy. This response to the issue from a priestess of Lilith is pretty rad, [...]

  18. I find I’m in some minor, partial, agreement with a number of the posters here. I say this, because of a suspected fundamental difference in how I view “The Mysteries”.
    My take on the “Mysteries” is fairly, overly simplistic (and sometimes inflammatory):
    Women’s (or Womyn’s) Mysteries: All women bleed for a few days a month for a significant portion of their lives.
    Men’s Mysteries: All men, without equivocation, hunt, fight, kill, drink, lie, boast, and frack; in one form or another.
    A cookie to everyone who understands the biggest glaring difference there.

    So what’s my point? With some (one would hope, very rare and) very specific exceptions, Paganism in all it’s forms is about Balance. Balance with nature, balance within our lives, balance between things masculine and feminine. It boils down, in it’s most basic levels, to what so many (and most newbie pagans) hold dear: a dualistic theology, a balance of male and female in the divine. Ok, so a lot of us (myself included) are polytheistic, but the point of balance within that paradigm is still valid.
    So, if balance is supposed to be one of our key aspects, then why the bloody frack do we still need to have these exclusionistic mysteries??!!??!!?? And yes, I’m including the “new and equally exclusionary queer and transgendered mysteries” in this WTF shinnanegans/BS flag. All they seem to do is foster disunity and situations (spectacles) like at PantheaCon. I would think that we should be beyond this whole monotheistic “Male Good, Woman Bad” (or vice versa) crock of steaming BS. I’d like to think (and perhaps this is just the idealist in me) that if it hasn’t already, society as a whole is working on moving far enough past the traditional concept of “Gender Roles” that “Gender” is becoming a neutral term and extremely out of place in our modern world. And if Society is getting there, shouldn’t we, the “supposedly more enlightened pagans” already be there?

    • A small digression, a difference of opinion, not at all intended as hostile:

      The idealist in me would love the opportunity to consider myself “post-feminist”, “humanist” or otherwise living in a society where gender only came into play in a positive manner in situations in which people agreed it was significant.

      As a woman coming of age in the 1990s, that seemed to hover on the horizon as a plausible possibility.

      Living in America in 2011, that stance feels to me like it would be delusional.

      So much current legislation in process, on both state and Federal levels, is openly misogynistic. It’s proposed and supported by people who are in theory acting as our representative agents, but apparently only count the men in their jurisdictions as “real” people. I don’t even see how the measures under discussion even benefit the patriarchy directly, except for providing the satisfaction of punishing uppity women who need to be reminded of their proper, subordinate place in American culture as defined by the Bible.

      The ruling caste of “Society” in America is regressing re: gender politics. IMO, the term is anything but neutral. I cannot tell you how much I would prefer to have the luxury of being spiritually gender-blind, but that’s not a self-loving or community-supportive choice right now.

    • Personally, I don’t think that paganism is about balance in any way. I know – especially as the Equinox nears I’m practically typing heresy! I don’t seek to balance progress in human rights for a time or area with regression in another, for instance, or progress in cleaning the environment here or there with increasing pollution in other areas. I think the idea of balance is over rated.

      But I’ve a rather reconstructionist soul – I think that paganism is more about Honor, being true to one’s word and one’s Self.

      I see honor in the work of trans men and women to be true to their Selves.

      I see NO honor in the hate spewed by the person posting as Z Budapest (and while this isn’t a new theme by Z, I DO hope that was a troll who posted under Z’s name).

      • Besides which, even if the point of one’s path is “balance,” in what sense does one mean it? The tradition I taught worked on balance on a purely internal level – which turned out, without my conscious intent, to mostly appeal to women who were bi, mtf, or otherwise more than usually “masculine” in some way. (We had a few men come through; they were typically linked to member women and a little “queer” as well, though I doubt any of them would knowingly take on that label – they preferred to think of themselves as just personally odd.) We still found it to have limits for us because it was modeled on a modified form of Wiccan gender polarity, and I myself no longer practice in quite the same way.

        But that was us. Trads that work with gender polarity in a more hardcore way like to have balance in the gender presentations between the usual two, and to choose their gods accordingly. I have heard Dianics argue that they are “balanced” in not a personal but a communal sense, in that they are building the presence of pure feminine energy in a world and culture that, overall, is toxically overskewed toward masculinity.

      • @disirdottir: You’re absolutely right. The religious right and the tea baggers are doing their damnedest to try and put women’s, worker’s and class rights back 40-50 years. But just because these idiots are being the most vocal with the most active voting base, does that mean we should just give up parts of our spirituality? If we can rise above society and perhaps provide a better example of how to live and treat our fellow humans, should we just give that up because mundane society is trying to take a couple evolutionary steps back? I think not.

        @Fern: How nice to see you would so precisely choose which definition of balance to use in your comment there. By all means, let’s follow in the example of the “Civil Rights” movement and instead of obtaining an actual balance to move into the future and grow/evolve with, let’s tip the scales to an opposite extreme because that will SURELY compensate for all the douche baggery that’s been done by the oppressors. Yes, finding a balance where everyone is equal and respected, or where people live in balance with our planet and environment is OBVIOUSLY idiotic if the counter point is all the oppression, pollution and destruction committed against us/nature previously.
        From what I can read of your post, I’d suggest actually THINKING about the issues and what a little balance might mean in your life. As for your path, unspecified Recon or fluff bunny white lighter (see, two indemnical extremes, just like you used), perhaps a bit of work on critical thinking, debating, apologetics, and philosophy might help. Here’s a start: a free book that’s a great help in identifying and avoiding logical fallacies. The Fallacy Recognition Handbook at http://www.entish.org/fallacies.html

        @Julie: Balance would be where all parts are equal in value and weight. Between the sexes it means no single gender has any greater importance or power over than any other. Between humans and nature: there is a harmony and respect given in how we live, how we use resources, and the footprints we leave behind.
        I am most definitively NOT wiccan. It’s been my experience that most (and while I dislike the term, it fits) “baby pagans” and wiccans who are some of the biggest proponents of these sex or gender based “mysteries” are not actually working with an idea of balance, but rather a polarity where one side or the other might take precedence, if only for “a season”, and something counter to male patriarchy can have dominance over society’s generalized oppression. Personally, I think the “mysteries” are abhorrent and counter intuitive to the ideals of so many pagan paths.
        The ideal of balance is not to tip the scales to the opposite extreme for a while to “pay” for the excesses committed by the other side, it’s about finding a place in the middle where neither side has more of a voice, or power than anyone else. Where everyone involved has personal accountability and responsibility for their own actions.

  19. [...] let this go without mentioning the transphobic fail that I’ve read reports of at PantheaCon. Linky linky [...]

  20. For the record, I don’t want to “invade” anyone’s space.

    I would just like to see that space not defined and defended with transphobic bullshit.

    • I can get behind that! Help us define what that looks like.

    • Hear, hear.

    • Absolutely!

  21. [...] Finally, Anya Kless, a priestess of Lilith, offers her own response. [...]

  22. To everyone,

    I’m saying this here as I have said in my own personal LJ about this because I was at the following:

    -the ritual itself
    -the discussion at the fireplace in the lobby
    -the end of the discussion
    -lunch with the coordinators

    At the ritual, it wasn’t made clear that the ritual was for biological females only. THAT was the CAYA Amazon’s biggest mistake, a copy-editing one. NOT transphobia, NOT gender bias, BUT a mistake to be rectified, unfortunately, as graceful as the mistake was, it could have and should have been one that was not OVERLOOKED.

    It lead to the discussion (that was not sanctioned by the programmers on Sunday) I say this because the chain of events is not listed correctly in this blog post. We who had gathered to discuss the issue were approached by the staff of PantheaCon, we were asked to not hold this meeting here in a public area, but we were also told that we could have a ballroom on Monday, we took it. We sat around for a bit and discussed our triumph and the meeting went from discussion to organization for the next day. I left at that point because I had another presentation to attend.

    We all prepared for Monday, unfortunately, the programmers had available the only time on Monday that also had a queer spirituality panel going at the same time, this is why I was unable to attend the entire discussion, I was with the Ekklesia Antinoou panelists. Someone from CAYA was at that discussion as well and we mentioned the concurrent discussion and our intent to walk over there, en masse, and join them after we were done. She did not know about it, but she joined us in walking over.

    This woman was NOT a spokesperson from CAYA, but she was a member and she was allowed to speak and she stated that she was not aware of this issue and if ANYONE wished to speak to her afterward about it, she would make time for it.

    I arrived at the tail-end and because I am not aware that I can say anything that was said in that circle, I leave it to say that it felt constructive and that there were points made on both sides as to the nature of the event and that language would be adopted by the programmers in order to avoid such MISCOMMUNICATIONS in the future and that a discussion and presentation on these topics would be well served to have next year, many of us are currently working on this.

    There have been other blog posts on this situation, however, the ones I take issue with are the ones calling Lillith on CAYA and the Amazons, or the ones that stir up things without offering solutions.

    We want to have a dialogue and sadly, Z’s words offer themselves up to dialogue about, if the Dianics feel so strongly about that, why isn’t that part of their descriptions in their tradition? Why don’t Dianic covens admit that from the beginning and save some of us the bother? As it was put during the lunch discussions, “if you can’t admit why you won’t let us into your ritual, it’s probably because it’s not a good reason”(paraphrased).

    If anyone has any questions as to the events or the steps after them or what all actually happened, please, email me, or ask to speak to someone who was there, but ask them what they were there for. Julie keeps pointing out that she was there, but her comments seem to be batted to the side. What she witnessed, I know for a fact because I saw it too, I attended the ritual as well, I also saw them turn away a biological male, I heard the part where they admitted that the ritual was for biological women only. I’m not going to say it wasn’t a good ritual, it was a very healing ritual for a lot of women there, but their lack of copy-editing was clearly evident.

    Respectfully,
    Lina

    • Dear Lina,

      Thank you for sharing the parts of the process you witnessed. It is important. I would respectfully note that while people have disagreed with Julie in the comments, these tend to be based on differences of opinion, not discounting what she saw. I definitely don’t want to create a policed atmosphere of “you weren’t there, so you can’t have an opinion on this issue.” As I’ve posted elsewhere, I think CAYA Coven did have a miscommunication and, from what I’ve heard from those close to them, have been working to make things right. However, that miscommunication sparked a larger conversation about definitions of “womanhood” in pagan groups, single-gendered space, and transgender experiences of paganism. To say that this was just about copy-editing misses the larger issues that people clearly have a need to discuss. It’s not that this issue is caused by CAYA Coven, but the incident at PantheaCon did serve as a catalyst for this conversation.

      • “It’s not that this issue is caused by CAYA Coven, but the incident at PantheaCon did serve as a catalyst for this conversation.”

        I am glad to see you say so, since originally CAYA and the ritual in question were being vilified, and that was the aspect that concerned me and made me feel it was so important that people who were actually present speak and be heard. I am all for the conversation about general principles and the right of all people to be in that conversation: what I don’t want is to watch people make specific claims about a specific event who did not see said event.

        • I definitely don’t think CAYA coven should be vilified at all. As I mention briefly at the end of my original post, I did email CAYA coven with a copy of this essay and a request to speak with them about the ritual. I’m sure they’ve been so flooded, however, that I’m not expecting to hear back anytime soon. I’m also on a closed list with people involved with PCon and friendly with CAYA coven members. There’s an active attempt to find out as much information as possible by tracking down those present. Again, that’s probably going to take a little while to all come out.

  23. As usual my words are misconstrued. I stand by what I say. I also worship the Yoni of my choice, as well as my own. All bio-female women possess one whether they are still bleeding or not, have had hysterectomies or not, ect. ect.. Sorry, but a penis does not a woman make, no matter what the outside trappings are.

    That whole Amazon myth of slicing off a breast is one of those tales told to scare women off the Amazon Path, then and now. And perhaps it was one tribe that did it , BUT NOT ALL. Some breast cancer survivors do work with that aspect of the stories….but that is NOT a transmale mystery. I don’t teach that aspect of the myth as it’s one of those patriarchal tactics to scare women off from honoring their Sacred Sisterhood and fierce Divine Female POWER, and escaping from the growing patriarchies and limitations of their freedoms and roles, as is happening in modern day America, and has been happening throughout the world. As long as Lesbians are executed for practicing lesbian sex in certain third world countries, bio-female women condemned to death for ‘adultery’ or even for being victims of rape in same, genital mutilation of female bodies for the pleasure of and control of women by men, thus eliminating their entire sexuality as any kind of pleasure, herding into professions that pay less, sold as sexual slaves worldwide, Lesbians or even girls who display tomboy/Butch behavior are forced to femme up and wear dresses, or slapped around for being independent and feisty, these ALL are purviews of Amazon ritual and the Amazon Path. These ALL concern us.

    And to compare breast cancer to voluntary removal of breasts to be male is just as disingenious as to compare hysterectomy to a sex change operation to be female. There is an integrity to the born female body, mind and spirit which cannot be denied….except by those who want to silence wearers of said body, mind and spirit…..and all KINDS of bio female women are welcome within Amazon Mysteries and Dianic circles, not just feminine ones….especially those transgressing those small boxes, and still LIVING as Female. I said this in the above post.

    There are places for Female only rites, Male only rites, rites of particular cultures, trans rites, queer rites ect….saying we should just be ‘one happy family’ and that it is all about the ‘balance’ meaning the ‘balance’ between male and female is just as heteropatriarchal as so many male/female traditional covens claim and that the Great Rite should be practiced, even if the practitioners are Lesbian/Gay, ONLY between a Male and Female….

    Dianic and Amazon oriented Wicca/Goddess worship posits that balance can come between QUALITIES women possess, whole and complete unto ourselves, like in the 4 directions, some women are more fiery, some more watery, some are earthy, some are more airy fairy or intellectual(ruled by Air). We have different temperaments and they can all be recognized by the Goddess of 10,000 Names, of different faces, female body types(large, skinny, muscular, gigantic, vouluptous) or temperaments: Warrior, Lover, Earth Mother, Celestial Mother, Fierce Amazon Daughter, Wild Womon in the Woods, Fierce Crone, GrandMother, as reflected by all the Faces of the Moon, and the cycles of the Sun…….we honor the Sacred Female on ALL levels, sexual, emotional, intellectual, psychic and Spiritual…She is whole and complete for Us, and Her Sacred Yoni is the Gateway to some of Her deepest and most powerful Mysteries as the Cave to both pleasure and to Her Womb. For me, this is enough…I don’t need that hetero centered and sometimes even trans centered gendered ‘balance’ or to go beyond the ‘gender binary’. She is complete enough as Female to encompass it all…every race and every appearance a bio-Female can take on, or embody.

    There ARE dieties that go between genders, or are bi gendered or alternate between a male and female sex, and these are dieties worth exploring and honoring for trans individuals, not demanding that they are entitled to EVERY SINGLE Female centered circle or Tradition. Create those traditions for the third and fourth sex, for those who have bodies and/or minds that encompass both realities. Do not deny us our Rites. Because then you are just as close minded as those who state you can’t really honor Goddess unless you also honor the male diety….and male dieties of whatever stripe for those of us either Amazon or Dianic oriented have had ENOUGH sway in this patriarchal world of ours!

    -FeistyAmazon

    • I have a question, FeistyAmazon, about some of the arguments you’ve made in this thread.

      If Dianic rites are about reclaiming the power of women–which I think is a very good and legitimate position to have, not that my opinion on it matters, but anyway–why is it so easy to undermine the entire edifice of that noble and worthy project simply because there is a penis (not attached to someone who either attempts to claim or actually possesses male privilege) in the space where this is going on? What of one of the women present were pregnant with a male fetus at the time–would that invalidate her ability to take part?

      (And, as the ritual in the case that started all of this off was skyclad-optional and not required/enforced, no one would have been forced to reveal anything they didn’t want to, nor be forced to look at things they may not have wanted to…Many trans women I know aren’t real comfortable bearing all in front of others if they are pre-op, so I don’t know if that would have really been an issue in this case, realistically.)

      I don’t know, but from the position of attempting to reclaim one’s power, both personally and as an entire gender, it seems like there’s an awful lot of power being invested in something that, at the end of the day, really isn’t very powerful or significant or of any threat. Yes, atrocities occur far too many times daily throughout the world against women by men, but I don’t think very many of the potential perpetrators of such things were at PantheaCon, or would be seeking entry into an event like this…and, the trans women who might have been seeking entrance have been victims of such male violence as equally as many of the cisgendered women present…I’m just wondering, is the “power” of a penis so extreme and unavoidable that the mere presence of one in a group of people in a location , tucked away behind clothes and not brandished at all, is somehow “kryptonite” to Dianic women’s spirituality?

      • I can’t point you to the studies right now, but I remember there being a number of them showing that the dynamic of a group shifts very distinctly when even one man is added into a group of women. They are immediately more withdrawn and reluctant to speak “out of turn.” I’ve always been something of an exception in that regard (*COUGH COUGH*) but then again, that’s an aspect of me that’s more “masculine.” Because I have a female body, I have still witnessed the truth of the phenomenon myself – and at certain points in my life, even I have needed the kind of space that really does only seem to exist when only women are present. It is possible for individual men to break through that invisible wall and see women behave naturally, but typically they all have to know him well and be able to interact with him in certain ways, and you just can’t work that out at something like Pantheacon.

        (This does not address the question of where trans women fit into that equation, which seems like it would be a major point of interest in this discussion. It is a general answer to the general issue you raised.)

      • “Yes, atrocities occur far too many times daily throughout the world against women by men, but I don’t think very many of the potential perpetrators of such things were at PantheaCon, or would be seeking entry into an event like this”

        Oh, god, you’d be fucking surprised. You really would.

  24. “Sorry, but a penis does not a woman make, no matter what the outside trappings are.”

    Being born with a penis does not UNMAKE a woman, either. I can tell you right now that my transwoman friends have not experienced a lot of privileges based on their having them. Rather, they’ve experienced a notable lack of privilege and a kind of oppression that is even worse than most other women have to deal with — and they, for the most part, usually don’t have any kind of support network to make it bearable. The suicide rate among transpeople is truly horrific, and partly it is because of the ignorance and misunderstanding that exists in the world about what being transgender really means.

    It is comments like the one you’ve made above, and the one Z Budapest made about women being born and not made on operating tables, that deeply anger and offend me — not the idea of people having, for whatever reasons, “only” space of any kind. That is why I’ve bothered to comment here at Anya’s blog — because transphobia has made life that much harder for many of my friends, and impossible for many unfortunate others.

  25. PatheaCon is wrong for allowing cissexist rituals to take place at their con. Denying the essential womanhood of transgender women is as bigoted as denying the essential humanity of people of color or any other minority group.

    If you want to hold exclusive rituals celebrating your cisgender privilege and flaunting it in the face of those of us that have been denied the privilege of being assigned the correct gender at birth… fine. Go be bigots. But don’t do it in my face. PantheaCon should not endorse this in any way and should treat it the same way they’d treat a white-supremacist group asking for space to do this.

    I respect the idea that there should be gendered spaces at cons, due to the different mysteries and privileges afforded the genders. I even can stomach the idea that women without functioning reproductive systems might be denied access to rituals that center on those reproductive systems, so long as that denial was equally extended to both transgender and cisgender women.

    But to blanketly deny the right of transgender women to participate in female-only space is to deny the reality of their gender and to maintain and continue the oppression that we face day after day. We are being raped, murdered, and driven to suicide at an alarming rate. Words such as those uttered by Z Budapest above are not innocuous. They are violent words that result in the real deaths of transgender women and men throughout the world.

    Pcon, you need to take a stand against discrimination and cissexism. Z Budapest, you have blood on your hands.

  26. Sorry, if they’re still living with one, it doesn’t make ‘em female…transgendered maybe, a 3rd or 4th sex, but not female.

    • I hope that, in your next life, you return as a transgendered woman born in a male body. I hope that it teaches you the compassion and understanding for others that you so obviously lack, even if that means you have to bear the brunt of the hatred and judgmental, cis-privileged, patriarchy-reinforcing bullshit that other transwomen live with every day, and that you are spouting right this minute. I hope something or someone forces you to understand then, because it seems painfully obvious to me that in this life, you never will.

    • In the trans population conservative calculations put the premature mortality rate at between 60/70 percent , over 50 percent having at least 1 suicide attempt by age 20. of which 31 percent of those reported are successful. The gender clinic system is a tool of patriarchy for 1 major reason. It seeks to tell people who and what they should be based on their genitals alone, it reduces us down to our ability to breed and places that above all other things including the welfare and happiness of the person. By the way if you want to know where those stats came from , a suicide prevention site for the trans population called Lauras Playground, a place that in 5 years running has dealt with over 78,800 suicide attempts, they conduct the research based on these experiences as nobody else seems to give a shit enough to help. Thanks Amazon for yet again reducing us down to the 1 thing we despise. For the record have been raped 3 times sexually abused spat at in the street and assaulted over 30 times including twice held at knifepoint in the past 10 years, if you ever see any of this male privilege I’m supposed to have please let me know. Meantime I’ll be at home recovering from the latest beating.

  27. Here’s another look at it: In Iran, they will PAY for men to have surgeries to transition to female, if caught doing homosexual acts. It will PAY for women who are caught doing Lesbian acts to transition to male, but it will PUT TO DEATH those who INSIST on being and living as homosexuals, whether they are effeminate males or masculine/Butch Females or not…..there is a hugely conservative, patriarchal side to the trans movement that is NEVER addressed. As well as total support by the rich doctors and psychiatrists that make good money off of it.

    You can say Z Budapest has blood on her hands, but it is highly unlikely she is the one putting transsexuals or Butches, or effeminate gay men to death….another tactic to silence bio females and those who defend bio female territory, ways of being, ect. I have read the intense and painful experiences many experience here and elsewhere. But the same could be said of many bio female women who have experienced terrors or horrors for stepping out of bounds too, like Butch Dykes who retain their Femaleness, both myself and my partner, and the effeminate gay men. 1 in 3 women are victims of rape. 1 in 3 homosexual (gay or lesbian) folks end up as addicts/alcoholics and either are lucky enough to find recovery or not. The pressures are there. The suicide rate for gay/lesbian kids is also enormously high.

    We feel we NEED our bio female space, and yet the MTF’s always INSIST on their right to crash it. The same with SOME FTM’s who because they were born female and lived as female INSIST on their right to have access whether at Michfest, at every single venue that is listed for Lesbians and/or women in San Francisco is a Women and Trans event(both sides)…while denying their very femaleness!

    You simply can’t have it both ways. And wearing a bio flesh penis into a women only space makes MANY bio female women, Lesbians and others hugely uncomfortable. Many are too polite to say a word or may not know the exact physical status of said individual. But they feel uncomfortable nonetheless, and especially those who brag about having one, like at Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival this year where an MTF bragged about their ‘Tranny Cock’ and INSISTING on their way in….it seems to me that the trans community would completely eliminate any single sex environment or thoroughly coopt it if they had their way…..while silencing Lesbians,Amazons or other bio females who object and don’t want their identities, struggles and needs completely subsumed, invisibilized, silenced or erased.

    I won’t crash people of color, FTM or trans events, I respect your right to have your space. I ask for the same, and we can then come together at larger pansexual events and times and places as allies then, rather than as enemies or feeling constantly under siege.
    -FeistyAmazon

    • I can understand your perspective, but can you not see how it could make someone feel under siege or dehumanized at a big community event like PantheaCon to be excluded from a ritual based on something as immutable as their gender identity?

      Have cis-female only rituals. But maybe places like these are not the best place to do them.

      Years ago, and still in many circles, gay men and lesbians were being told we didn’t belong in pagan and wiccan rituals because of our “rejection” of the great rite. As a butch lesbian (or myself as a gay man) imagine how we’d feel at a big community event like PantheaCon if a group held a healing ritual, but not until we got there did we find out that it was for heterosexuals only, because the event would be sky-clad and having LGB people there would make the straight people uncomfortable.

      As to the penis issue, several Dianics have been very clear (not that I believe in any way that surgery defines the gender) that post-bottom surgery MtF women are still not welcome in their spaces, which would seem to invalidate the “looking at a penis” argument.

    • Some people still don’t seem to get it, so I’ll put it simply:

      I am a woman.I have always been a woman.I have always been a woman, DAMNIT!I have never been a man.

      What’s so hard to understand about this?

      I was born with an unusually large clitoris, and so the doctor wrote ‘male’ on my birth certificate. And my parents believed him, and tried to force me to be a boy. (And so did public school.) But I knew from an early age that something was very wrong with this.

      If you met me in person, you would not know that I’d had this medical problem in my past. Most people who know me currently don’t know. And amusingly, everyone who knew me when I began living as a woman, was not the slightest bit surprised by my transition. I started taking female hormones about a year after I started to grow scraggly facial hair, and breasts! The doctor thought I might have been intersexed, but, oh well, it’d cost to much to test, and the treatment is hormones anyway.)

      I’d live an ordinary life, if only bigots didn’t keep bringing all this bullshit up. I’m sure as hell not a man, but I can’t enter spaces restricted to women born with small clitorises, because I have no ‘feminine integrity’, and my body and mind are ‘invalid’. I’d be ‘ruining’ it for the other ‘real-women’ (distinct from the unreal-women like me). And ‘invading’ their space like some kind of lurking rapist; ‘Desecrating’ their ‘sacred’ space. So, of course it’s ok if they are angry and hate me, since simply wishing to be treated like any other woman on Earth is an act of aggression. (Oh, except I do get occasionally raped, and payed less for more work, in the ways that most other women are treated.)

      The goddess can encompass all women, except for those with genital birth defects, which she is unable to take on. My identity, struggle and needs are completely subsumed, invisibilized, silenced or erased.

      When I hear people say these things it makes me want to kill myself. I’m serious. I’m trying not to cry while reading through these blog comments. I would rather kill myself than be forced to be a man. But when women, authoritative feminists, tell me that my entire life is a lie, and I’ll never be even a fraction of the women that they are, and that I’m just a filthy man, and there will never be a safe place for me; I want to die. What am I living for?

      So, I have a question for the women (and men) reading this. Why did you choose to be a woman (or man)?

      If you had the choice, why would you choose to become a man or a woman?

      P.S. No I’m not going to kill myself. I’ve survived far worse shit than this for decades now. At this point now, nothing can kill me. (As Nietzsche said.)

    • “We feel we NEED our bio female space, and yet the MTF’s always INSIST on their right to crash it.”

      MTFs *ARE* “bio females,” if you accept the increasing scientific evidence that many of our brains are biologically female.

      Your insistence that transgender women are not women is an act of violence against those of us that don’t have the privilege of being born with physical attributes that resulted in doctors assigning us with the correct gender at birth.

      ” 1 in 3 women are victims of rape.”

      And 2 in 3 transgender people are victims of sexual assault, with 1 in 12 transgender people the victims of murder. You really want to play oppression olympics? We’re all getting shit on here. By the same typically heterosexual white cisgender males, no less. There’s no need for you to be shitting on us while we fight the same enemy.

      Their boot on both our necks hurts enough. We don’t need your boot on our necks as well.

      “You can say Z Budapest has blood on her hands, but it is highly unlikely she is the one putting transsexuals or Butches, or effeminate gay men to death”

      I’m not talking about butches or effeminate gay men. I’m talking about transgender people. And yes, harassment and hate speech such as that being spoken by you and Z Budapest contributes to the incredible suffering that transgender people experience. (See this link for more info on our suffering: http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/reports/ntds_full.pdf)

      Our blood is on her hands. By her words, she is contributing to a society of rape and murder that is quite literally killing us.

      “And wearing a bio flesh penis into a women only space makes MANY bio female women, Lesbians and others hugely uncomfortable. ”

      Fine. What about post-operative transgender women, then? Do you just have a problem with penises or with transgender women in general?

      Look… You want to know why transgender people “crash” your exclusive clubs and whatnot? It is an act of protest against you and your cissexist views of binary gender that are being perpetuated upon us by you and the cissexist society that empowers you.

      Transgender people are continually denied access to many elements of society because our genders are not seen as real or valid. We are excluded from groups because we are not seen as woman or man enough to be part of their groups. We are pariahs. We are lepers. We are the unclean.

      We protest your discriminatory exclusion because this violence must stop. This attitude that our genders are invalid must stop. We demand the right to have the gender that we were born with: The gender that we’ve known was in our hearts from nearly the moment we were born. We demand the right to our biological gender as determined by the physical structures of our brains. We demand that this society stop treating us like second class citizens and recognize that our genders are valid and real. That our lives are not forever bound to the inaccurate ramblings of the doctors that labelled us as one gender or the other at birth.

      Let’s be real here. You are not choosing to exclude us because you believe that transgender women and cisgender women need separate spaces. You are not excluding us because we don’t bleed or because some of us have penises. You are choosing to exclude us because you outright deny us our gender. As Z Budapest so succinctly put it, “Women are born not made by men on operating tables.”. Or as you said, “Sorry, but a penis does not a woman make, no matter what the outside trappings are.”

      In this denial, you are practicing violence against us.

      Our choice as a community is to fight back or continue dying. We choose to fight.

      • Here it is: “It is an act of protest against you.”

      • Abbie: You either really only look for the comments that get to you and that you seem to think give you some sort of g*d given right to defend your space which I don’t want to take from you let alone inhabit at the same time or you’re wanting to play much more obtuse than you have been up to this point.

        Do you know why it’s called a protest? It’s because in the end, there is a female soul that wishes to commune (as in create COMMUNITY) with its sisters. You can’t see that because you’re caught up in a penis that isn’t there anymore.

        The day you realize what it means to have been born in the wrong sexual body is the day you will look back at all you have written here with SHAME.

        Do you know no women who seem a little too butch? Who are a little too ‘masculine’? Or does your brain shut that part down?

        Here’s my example, and this is about me, so bear with it:

        I’m biologically female. I produce testosterone (just like you and every other human being, we all produce both estrogen and testosterone, it’s a fact, look it up) at a higher rate/level/whatever you want to call it then the average. It means I have facial hair, a lot of it.

        Enough to cover the area of a beard, if I wanted it to. Sometimes, I do. Sometimes, I want that. And then there are times when I don’t. When I remove it and play up the DDs that g*ddess in his infinite wisdom chose to give me. I have a uterus, it bleeds (heavy and for a long time), and it pains me with cramps and headaches that are just dull enough to not require meds, but long lasting enough to stay with me, even after a full eight hours sleep.

        I joined the Lilith rite, despite all this. I’m genderqueer, but you know what? You couldn’t pick me out of a fucking line-up. That’s my saving grace.

        Except, of course, when I have a full five o’clock or longer shadow.

        Do you see how asinine it is to draw one tiny phrase, blow it out of proportion and then hang on to it in the hopes that someone will join your plight?

        It’s not a plight to be insular, but it is a damnable position.

        Have your women born women only spaces, you’ll soon realize that there are new modalities of thinking and pretty soon, our transgendered female sisters will find ways to celebrate their femininity, all the while inviting you to join them. What stops you now?

        Not any of the transwomen I know appreciates their penis, most of them can’t wait to get rid of it. I don’t think they would go around waving it in front of you, if that’s the case. There are bigger issues than your space and the need for it to be inviolate. I won’t and am not saying don’t have them. But don’t be surprised if more and more transwomen and genderqueer women and effeminate g*ddess loving men show up wanting to know about Her, they will find a way to learn. We all do in this world.

        Whether you let us in when we come knocking, well that’s your choice.

    • You do NOT respect anyone who is trans, FeistyAmazon. This biofemale, proudly lesbian (enough so that I don’t need to capitalize it like I come from the Greek island) AND high femme at that, does not wish for you to speak for her. GET. OFF. MY. SIDE. I am over here with my trans sisters (and brothers). It doesn’t matter what they tumbled out of their mother’s womb with. Sometimes that was made wrong. What matters is that they live as the gender they know they are, and that we TREAT THEM THAT WAY.

      Don’t you remember when you were a LittleAmazon? How you liked girls and it felt good but society told you that was bad? How long did you live with boyfriends and awkward sex and sloppy kissing and all of that crap before you took the step to free yourself? Imagine being stuck like that. FOREVER. Imagine being trapped like that. Don’t like it much, do you? This is what trans people LIVE. Every single moment they can’t live as the gender they know they are, they are TRAPPED. Trapped like you were. Like I was. Where is your empathy? You’re too busy waving your freedom around like a freaking PENIS, slapping anyone whose gonads didn’t form a uterus in the face with it.

      You go on and wave that FREEDOM PENIS, you Amazon you. You’re not even worthy to receive my spit upon your brow. You are no woman. No REAL woman would deny her sisters in bondage. And like it or not, SISTERS they damn well are, the trans women. SISTERS.

    • Oddly enough for your argument about Iran’s forced ‘transsexualizations’ not one person in the trans community has advocated what Iran is doing. To the contrary, what Iran does is contrary to the notion of living authentically, in any way, shape, or form. It sets our cause back not even because of misguided arguments such as this, but because it violates, in brutal fashion, no less, the free will that any human being should be able to exercise over their own body.

    • You think I don’t know what goes on in iran? you think it doesn’t horrify me? You think I don’t do everything I can to stop one of the most abhorent practices imaginable. Here’s a little news, to a trans person one of the most repugnant things you can ever do is deny a person their identity. To take away a persons rights to decide how to treat their own body . To remove a persons rights to be themselves based not on facts but on misguided misconceptions. Nobody has the right to define a persons identity but themselves, whether in iran in the uk or in the states that fact should always remain. Sadly it does not so bigotry and privilege define the rules. I thought the pagan community would have evolved as a whole beyond that, it seems not. As for the flashing issue there is 1 simple solution, remove the 1 person deal with the individual not an entire group of human beings based on a snap judgement based on the actions of a single person. To do any less is to pre judge an entire group based on the actions of 1, the very definition of prejudice itself.

  28. Leaving aside the question of whether a 3000 person community event is the best place to hold an exclusionary ritual, and in truth, if PatheaCon has no problem with cis-only rituals due to the beliefs of their organizers that is none of my business. I would honestly hope that a Northern Traditions group could have a ritual for people only of white or European decent or an Afro-Caribbean group hold one for people of African decent. Both as common and spiritual valid as the born-womyn Dianic belief system.

    What interested me and our conversation has drifted away from is the fundamental question of Lilith.

    FiestyAmazon, in her post says that “There ARE dieties that go between genders, or are bi gendered or alternate between a male and female sex, and these are dieties worth exploring and honoring for trans individuals…”

    One of the essential issues raised by the priestess whose blog this is, but not addressed at length here is that in a great deal of Lilith mythology, she is in fact one of those deities who goes between the genders.

    This debate and conversation is not simply about trans individuals being excluded from an event held by a group whose fundamental(ist) belief systems deny trans experience. It is specifically about a ritual that honored Lilith by attacking transgender individuals (in that the group believes that their presence would have dishonored/displeased Her). If the only compromise acceptable to people like FiestyAmazon is for trans people to accept that they have no place in their spaces, perhaps, at least when it comes to public events, groups that want no part of trans people should also refrain from having a part in deities with strongly trans or genderqueer oriented mythologies.

    • “It is specifically about a ritual that honored Lilith by attacking transgender individuals (in that the group believes that their presence would have dishonored/displeased Her).”

      Yeah, that would have been awful, wouldn’t it? But it’s not how it went down. The exclusion had to do with the work done, not ANY notion that Lilith wouldn’t have wanted them there. Women often have women-only rituals for Artemis or Diana, too, and that doesn’t mean there’s any thought that those Goddesses hate transsexuals. (Or even men, for that matter.) And likewise, the fact that Artemis and Diana don’t hate transsexuals and men DOESN’T mean they hate all-women rituals.

      Humans don’t own the Gods.

      • “Humans don’t own the Gods.” Quite true. I think it’s that very sentiment, however, that Wintersong is getting at in his post. In honoring a deity in a rite, some thought must be put into that deity’s own lore and preferences. Women-only rituals are often held for Diana and Artemis in the belief that those deities have a strong connection to women. They would consider it wrong for a woman to be barred from an Artemis ritual. There’s the same logic here. As I note in my blog, Lilith has a strong affinity for transpeople. I honestly believe that the organizers of that rite did not know this. However, the result was that people Lilith has a strong connection to (and who perhaps relate even more strongly to Her own origin stories) were excluded.

      • Goddammit would you *please* stop referring to cis-women-only rituals as “women-only” or else admit that no, you don’t think trans women are really women so we know what we’re dealing with. Distinguishing between “trans women” on one hand amd “women” on the other is NOT OKAY, any more than distinguishing between lesbian women and women would be okay.

      • @Lareyne: “What you’re dealing with” is someone who is really trying very, very hard to understand the issue from all sides and to do so with as much courtesy as possible, so if you could not swear at me and assume I’m a hater without reading the body of my comments, that would be awesome.

      • The whole crux of the matter is that trans women ARE WOMEN.

        A ritual that excludes trans women is, perforce, NOT a “women only” ritual because that implies that trans women are NOT women.

  29. Can someone please define “women-born-women”? Some here seem to think it’s the ability to menstruate, some seem to think it’s being born with a womb. Query: If a non-female identified woman were to enter this space, would it violate it? That is, “she” was born with a womb, has a cycle, but identifies as male, androgynous, etc. “She” meets the physical qualifications, but does “her” identification as another gender eliminate “her” as someone who can possibly participate?

    What about those who were born with XX chromosomes, but due to hormonal imbalances in the womb came out physically male (note: this has actually happened). Are they women, because of their genetic make up, or men because they have a penis? This goes the other way as well, much more commonly, there are those with XY chromosomes, but they come out physically female. Which would be allowed to participate?

    And what about hermaphrodites who have lived their entire lives as female?

    Brain wave studies have indicated that trans women will have similar brain wave structures to cis-women. Would you say that those who can pass a brain wave scan as a woman are welcome?

    I’m curious as to the answers to these questions, as there does not seem like there’s a well defined line. Considering that both gender and sexuality exist on spectra, rather than on a binary switch, I feel it’s unhelpful to have unclear guidelines about whom should be included and not included.

    • I think part of the answer to that in practice – and I will be the first to say that it is neither optimal nor fortunate – is that it’s easier to turn the penis away at the door than to do brain scans on everybody. And for those who have a gut reaction to boy parts, whether fairly or unfairly, that gut reaction is triggered by appearance.

      In theory, that also means that a trans woman who *looked* enough like her body was born female could get into such rituals and not be questioned. The problem would be that of anyone else who “passes,” in that if a trans woman gained access to “women-born-women only” space she would be left with worries about her own integrity on one hand and about getting found out on the other.

      Is that instinctive impression of gender being what one sees at first glance worth pushing the boundaries of? Absolutely. But when you’re pushing the boundaries of people who already feel threatened, and in fact invalidated for wanting boundaries in the first place, I think that deserves some thought as to how to proceed without doing harm.

  30. I am really disappointed at the discussion of cis women space as a valid concept, along side the non stated assumption that trans women don’t need space to heal from emotional and sexual trauma and that these groups see there intended audience as cis women.

    • Dealing with the same idea in a class last semester drove me into a severe panic attack.

      Cissexuals do not “need” space set apart from trans people to feel “safe.” Z Budapest’s rant is eerily reminiscent of the massive privilege and arrogance of Lisa Vogel’s insistence that we should “respect” “womyn-born-womyn” as an “honorable gender identity” – and completely ignore the fact that cissexuals are the vast majority – if anyone needs protection, WE need protection from the massive amounts of trauma that they are capable of heedlessly inflicting upon us. Yet while cissexual pseudofeminists are quick to demand that we “respect” the possibility of trans women’s penises offending them, they are equally quick to dismiss the idea that their arrogant dismissals of our womanhood might be significantly traumatic in and of themselves, not simply merely “offensive.”

      • I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. While I feel %100 that it was wrong to have a cis-exclusive ritual at a public event, I think that cis-folk have a right to private exclusive space if that is part of their spiritual practice.

        I also support the right of NT folk to limit private ritual to white europeans, but not to do it at a private gathering, or afro-caribbean traditions to people of african decent. Not for reasons of feeling “safe” which is as you point out is particularly ridiculous in the case of cis-gendered people who make up the lion’s share of the populace, but because that is what their beliefs call on them to do.

        I do think that as queer/LGBT people there is also an argument to be made for us setting aside exclusionary space where we feel “safe” to practice (as opposed to being mandated by our spritual beliefs) but I don’t think it would be any more appropriate at an event like PantheaCon than other exclusive space.

      • “Cissexuals do not “need” space set apart from trans people to feel “safe.””

        With all due respect, how do you know that? I assume you wouldn’t want cissexuals dictating to trans people what *they* did or did not need to feel “safe,” correct?

      • Julie:

        It is the same reason that as a white person, I do not need a separate space from persons of color to feel “safe” from them – and were I bigoted enough to demand such space, I would be wrong to do so and would need correcting.

        The cissexual people’s space is “the entire world.” Not only that, but trans people are systematically denied space – not only through the usual means, but through cissexual lesbians invading trans spaces via their trans male boyfriends and converting them into lesbian spaces. Cis lesbians show up; they start making trans women feel unwelcome in the space, and then we lose one more space to the aggressors.

      • Julie:

        I assume you wouldn’t want cissexuals dictating to trans people what *they* did or did not need to feel “safe,” correct?

        And yet here you are. Fancy that.

      • @Alexandra:

        “And yet here you are. Fancy that.”

        Wow. I’m pretty sure that all I’ve done here is discuss what *some* ciswomen feel they need, *ask* (repeatedly) about what transwomen need, and discuss the related issues in what I’ve hoped was a courteous and open way. If you can point me to where in the conversation I earned a slap just for being here, I’d be grateful.

      • Julie:

        Who said you deserve a slap for being here? I said “And yet here you are” specifically in response to your saying “I assume you wouldn’t want cissexuals dictating to trans people…”

        I’m not saying your presence here is wrong. I’m saying, no, we don’t want cissexuals dictating things to us, and yet here you are, cis, and dictating. It would be faster for me to compile a list of the comments you’ve made here that are not insulting, disrespectful, or Othering than it would be for me to point out the ones where you’ve earned a “slap”. Bisexual and trans women are more masculine than heterosexual cis women? No. No. No. Wrong. Incorrect. That’s not respectful, and it’s not asking anything… it’s dictating.

        And further, there’s a difference between trans folk saying something to cis folk and cis folk saying the same thing to trans folk. There’s a serious power differential. When it comes to the cis/trans divide, YOU OWN THE WORLD. I’d say you have privilege but evidently that doesn’t get the message across, so I’ll say it in the simplest terms: YOU OWN THE WORLD. You represent the status quo. You have all the leverage.

        Example: if we’re out and about separately doing our business when we both have to, ah, “do our business”, all you have to do is scream that I’m in the bathroom with you and you have fucked my life six ways to Sunday. What can I do to you?

        The law is on your side, society is on your side, privilege is on your side.

        That’s why you don’t need a “safe space” from trans folk. That’s why trans folk might need a safe space form you. Your safe space is everywhere. No matter how much some people cry about the supposed power of bullying “transies” or the “PC police”, when you speak out against the presence of trans folk you can count on the world to be on your side.

        Witness this conversation, where it seems like most people think “Well, they should make it clear the ‘transies’ aren’t welcome and that will solve everything.” is the reasonable answer.

      • @Alexandria:

        “Bisexual and trans women are more masculine than heterosexual cis women?”

        Whoa, where do you think I said *that?* And where did I dictate to anyone, cis or trans, what *I* thought they were *supposed* to need? The objections you’re raising to me specifically are so far from what I’ve said – or been trying to say, at any rate – that I’m literally left wondering if you’ve got the right person.

      • @Kate:

        Also, the assertion “Your safe space is everywhere” is flat out untrue. If I were to lay out for you every counterexample I have of that in my own experience alone, WE’D BE HERE ALL DAY, and it would still be of no service to anyone because it wouldn’t address the issue of how to welcome trans women deeper into the community of Pagan women.

      • No, no, that last one was still addressed to Alexandria, not to Kate. Sorry, Kate.

      • Accept that we need safe space.

        Accept that we need communal space where our presence is unquestioned and automatic.

        Accept that when you create “women’s space” and specifically exclude trans women, you are perpetuating the same cycle of bigotry that keeps us from being part of the communal spaces that we need so badly.

        As long as you want “women’s space” that is trans free, you WILL NOT GET TRANS WOMEN IN THE SPACES YOU WANT US IN. Because we will KNOW that our presence there is conditional and revocable, and we will not go.

      • Alexandra – No, announcing that it was ciswomen only space would not by any means have “solved” the problem, but it would have at least lessened the hurt of the group having turned people away at the door in that particular instance.

        The group in question has issued an apology and is opening a dialogue with the community and with transwomen in an attempt to understand and resolve their own issues, which I think is a step in the right direction.

        Beyond that, the incident has opened a large and very visible dialogue in the Pagan community at large, which is also a step in the right direction. Is it the perfect solution? No, of course not. Could the Pagan community’s response have been better? Absolutely.

        Trust me, there are an awful lot of people who a week ago had no idea this issue even existed who are now thinking about and discussing it. On balance, I think that is a good thing, and it’s my hope that something positive will come of it.

      • @Erynn:

        Imagine that somebody walks up to you on the street and punches you in the face, then says, “Wow, I can see that you’re hurt and now I realize that punching people in the face is wrong. I will never do that again.” Would you classify that act of assault as a good thing because it was a learning experience, or would you classify it as a bad thing that is only partially mitigated (if at all) by the sincere-sounding promise that the person who did it won’t do it again?

        It’s not a good thing that this bigotry happened, whatever positive thing seems to come of it. Trans women (not “transwoman”. There aren’t women and transwomen. There are women. Some are cis, some are trans.) aren’t Magical Life Lesson Triggers walking around so that regular ol’ normal-type folks can become better people.

        @Julie:

        With regards the trans/cis issue, the whole world is your safe space. Yes, it is. I mean, there are statistically insignificant portions of it… like, say, inside particular private homes… that this doesn’t apply, but even in a queer-friendly/GLBT-heavy context you can almost always assume that cis is default, that your ignorance will be tolerated and excused, and that if someone else being trans is making you uncomfortable this will be a bigger deal in everyone’s eyes than if your cis-ness makes someone else uncomfortable.

        You win. You own the world. Denying this is a spectacular display of privilege.

        And unless there are two or more Julies here (I admit the possibility), I will quote you directly on the masculine thing:

        “The tradition I taught worked on balance on a purely internal level – which turned out, without my conscious intent, to mostly appeal to women who were bi, mtf, or otherwise more than usually “masculine” in some way

        Julie, if you want to know how to better welcome trans women and men into the GLBT community: stop trying. If you personally stop trying to reach out on this subject, the situation will immediately improve. You need to educate yourself before you try to have these conversations, because you’re just insulting and dismissing and missing points. Up above where J. says she doesn’t want to join a group for “transies” because she doesn’t want to be classed as a transsexual for an accident of birth. Your response to that is… well, you missed her point. She’s not saying she has some version of what you would consider an intersex condition. She would totally be turned away from the Dianic ritual if they noticed her.

        The accident of birth she’s referring to is not the “medical mislabeling” you’re thinking of. The accident of birth is having a Y chromosome and a penis. In other words, she is what you would consider a transsexual. I, in her position, would probably identify as a transsexual. But she doesn’t consider herself to be a transsexual. She considers herself to be a woman with an unusual (but not unheard of) birth condition. This is not actually that uncommon in the trans community. It’s maybe not the majority position, I don’t know, we don’t exactly do a census… and here’s a key thing: folks who don’t identify as a trans wouldn’t participate in a trans census if we did.

        You make so little real effort to understand what is being said to you, Julie, and so much effort to appear to be understanding. You’re not welcoming anyone. No matter how politely you couch your words, they aren’t respectful.

        Stuff like the absolutely unapologetically bigoted and misogynistic shit spouted by Z. Budapest and others isn’t what keeps more trans women from participating in organized and semi-organized paganism. Really, it isn’t. We can just avoid them. It’s the more pervasive attitudes, the expectations that -we- must educate others (though we can’t make them listen), that -we- must understand where the bigots are coming from, that if one side believes that we’re a bunch of privileged men who want to wave our dicks and former dicks around and invade your sacredladyspaces while we believe that we’re just women, just human beings, just humble practitioners and fellow travelers on many paths the truth must lie somewhere in the middle… you can spend all the time you like looking for a truth that lies somewhere between “we’re just folks” and “we’re deceptive invading monsters”, but in doing so, you’re siding with Z.

        There is no compromise here. There is no such thing as half hatred. There is no such thing as half acceptance.

        Julie, I want you to do one of two things: tell me I’m a woman, I’m just a woman, and that’s that… or tell me I’m a monster and I should get the fuck away from you and your religion. There is no middle ground, so tell me which is true to you.

      • Alexandra —

        *It’s not a good thing that this bigotry happened, whatever positive thing seems to come of it. *

        No, it is not a good thing that it happened. I don’t believe I ever said it was. It was hurtful, it was meanspirited, and it should never have happened.

        *Trans women (not “transwoman”. There aren’t women and transwomen. There are women. Some are cis, some are trans.) aren’t Magical Life Lesson Triggers walking around so that regular ol’ normal-type folks can become better people.*

        Absolutely, trans people are not Magical Life Lesson Triggers. I apologize if I am not on top of how you want me to write the words. I will try to do better.

        Like most of the other people commenting here, I wish it had never happened, but it did. We can’t change the past. We can change the future.

        I would rather see progress made in the community, and not have anyone shove it under a rug, ignore it, and pretend it didn’t happen or that it won’t happen ever again. I would rather see people talking about it and working on getting past it, changing their attitudes, and changing the community and the way it organizes itself in regards to gender.

        I may make mistakes in the way I say things, but my intent is to stand with my friends and work to see the community realize how fucked up it is over this issue.

        Does that make it okay that the incident happened? No. Never.

        CAYA screwed up and hurt people; I know that, I acknowledge that. They are working on putting things right, and I also acknowledge that. Working on putting things right is how justice happens.

        If somebody walked up to me and punched me in the face, I would be angry. Anger is perfectly justified. If they then apologized and changed their behavior, I might not trust them for a long time, but if in watching their changed behavior over an extended period of time I realized that they had genuinely had a change of heart, I would also be inclined to eventually forgive them and move on.

        It is too early to know if this has been a genuine change, but I don’t see the problem in at least giving them the chance to show the community their change or their progress.

      • @ Alexandra Erin

        You have gone above and beyond in this attack on Julie.

        You know nothing about her except what she has written here and if you had bothered to read to the bottom of the comment stream she posted her experience in her life as a cisgender woman (at least because she PASSES) but she for the fact of the matter is the embodiment of so much more.

        I speak as one of those queer, mtf, bi, wtfareyou females she trained. She didn’t make out to form a coven and a tradition that appealed to queer women, it just turned out that way. We were all masculine; loud, opinionated, strong, independent. All those things that before meant we were dangerous, would get us labeled loose, or worse.

        And she trained me to the embodiment of whatever I am.

        Genderqueer, biologically female. Yes, born female, with female bits inside and projecting outside.

        However, a full beard if I let it grow out it’s a matter of choice for me to embody male or female.

        People don’t know whether to Sir or Ma’am me.

        This attack does nothing to further the discussion.

        I know her, I’ve been in circle with her. She asks questions that force us to answer, to say these things that we normally would not know about.

        Without her questions, we wouldn’t have gotten from J. the strong reasons for why transfolk go through the trials and tribulations of surgery, we wouldn’t have had the chance to read that, if she hadn’t asked.

        She offered up a beautiful idea of mourning the womb one never had. In WHATEVER way one does that; whether the cisgender woman who wanted to be a mother more than anything or the transwoman who can’t but desperately wishes the same.

        Don’t throw your words out as insignificant to the pain you are causing someone who merely happened to be there AS A WITNESS and was voicing herself as such.

        She’s not the person you need to direct your ire to.

        Dianics are NOT the ones you need to direct your ire to.

        Turn it inwards and keep your counsel because tossing invictives like this without recognizing the need to remove the emotional edge to them, takes this from dialogue to argument.

        Civility needs to win the higher ground. Please. I don’t know how many more times I can ask for this, from everyone.

        Lina

      • Lina:

        I respond to the words that Julie has so carelessly flung into the public sphere. My response is the response those words merit. Not above. Not beyond. Measured and equal. If you wish to restore civility, I suggest you ask her to sincerely apologize.

      • @Lina:

        Also, as they say dans la belle internet, Fixed It For You:

        “Without her questions, we wouldn’t have gotten from J. the strong reasons for why transfolk go J went through the trials and tribulations of surgery, we wouldn’t have had the chance to read that, if she hadn’t asked.”

        J is not trans folk (trans_folk. The space matters. Words mean things, people. I am folk, just like you, not some strange new kind of folk, Adjectives describe nouns, they don’t change the essential nature of them. Trans woman. Trans folk. Note I’m not leveling any invective for this, because I know you’re not being hurtful.) J is J.

        J’s reasons are her reasons. J’s experience are her experiences. The fact that you say it like that demonstrates how little you’re actually listening and that tells me how little you actually care. You want civility to win? All civility wins is more civility. If you and Julie say “Please” and “thank you” while treating me like I’m a second class citizen, while looking down at me, while not listening to me, and I say “please” and “thank you” back, then all I have won from you with my civility is more of the same.

        You’ll all go home thinking “Isn’t it nice we were all able to get along?” and nothing will change.

        Fuck your civility. Give me respect and then we’ll work on civility.

      • No Alexandra, you don’t get to fuck my civility.

        J wasn’t speaking about her reasons for transitioning. The question was asked as to what those reasons were; I had answered in another area but having never gone through the process myself, I only knew what I knew from discussing with friends over the decision and the struggle to receive any sort of understanding and having to fight tooth and nail as the why.

        J’s comments (if you are willing to scroll through) denote that there is a safety that can come about, a sense of peace, and legal standing that can be the result of transitioning.

        However, not everyone wishes to, or can afford to take those steps.

        Julie asked questions, Julie furthered the dialogue, Julie got those answers out there for those who may not be aware of why someone would go through the hours of surgery and recovery, the therapy, the possibility of having it not work (and on that one I’m familiar with; a friend just had their top surgery done and the bandaging was preventing blood flow to a graft, hopefully it was caught in time and he won’t look “out of balance” [his words] without his other nipple, sorry if TMI).

        You have no idea how much I’m listening and how much I care. I was THERE. For a lot of what happened, I won’t ask if the same can be said of you, because that’s not the point.

        If you want to further the discussion, then offer up ideas, ways that we can make this work. Other corners of the internet have done so.

        No one is looking down on anyone here, (save for a few of the Dianics and yes, even some allies, here and elsewhere) no one considers you a second-class citizen.

        So go ahead if you still want to, fuck my civility. When you’re done with that, ask yourself if that felt like the victory you wish for the rest of the transgender community.

        I know it’s not. I’ve been working closely with lots of different people to get this all sorted out and to get things accomplished, this isn’t what victory to them looks like.

        You’ve had my respect and the acceptance of your humanity from the moment you spoke here, did I have yours? Or must I wrest it from you after you go ahead and say what you want to say from a place that provides nothing constructive?

        I offer you an apology if you did not realize it. I truly am sorry.

        Now, care to offer solutions? Care to join in creating something new and wonderful and long-lasting for Pagans many generations from now?

        I’d love a hand with that creation. Bringing about change isn’t easy when we refuse to work hand in hand and heart to heart.

        Lina

    • Please take this comment as it is offered, in a spirit of respect.

      As a ciswoman, I have control over my own actions and decisions. I can for my own part refuse to take part in events listed as being “for women” that actually exclude self-declared women for any reason whatever. That is my preference.

      The situation that came about at Pantheacon this year has certainly taught me that I can never let my own personal ease of entry into “women’s events” lull me into the assumption that those holding such events have the same desire to be as inclusive as I would prefer. Even if inclusiveness has happened in the past and has been stated as a goal, I must *always* ask, and I have to always be prepared for the possible disappointment of not attending if the answer is that there are limits on who gets counted as a woman. If I’m serious about my preference, I need to be ready and willing to walk away any and every time there are such limits, and to say clearly to the organizers at that time why I am leaving, and why I will not choose to seek entry to any of their events in the future.

      If I discover ahead of time that an event will be held that might exclude some women, I can protest, complain, advocate, boycott and attempt to convince others not to attend.

      I cannot prevent such events happening, and can’t guarantee my awareness of their planning so that I can know to protest.

      I do not feel, however, that I can in good conscience say that it is unethical for such events to occur, or unethical for other ciswomen to feel they are necessary.

      Similarly – whether or not women who were excluded from such events *want* to hold events where ciswomen are excluded in turn – if they DID want to hold such an event, I would respect that there was a women’s event where I was not wanted and make no effort to attend.

      I’m a ciswoman who doesn’t want exclusivist ciswomen space. That’s fine. That doesn’t mean all women’s spaces need to be inclusive by default. If an excluded woman says to me when I suggest we work together “No, you don’t get it, I need to be with women who have experiences like mine and can understand.” On those grounds I don’t qualify, and I accept that.

      I’m most definitely not saying that mutually segregated events are “the solution” – I’d personally prefer to work with anyone who says she’s a woman, rather than those who would draw boundaries of qualification and exclusion.

      I am not a ciswoman who finds ciswoman-only events interesting, useful or productive, any more than I am a transwoman or queer. I cannot speak for exclusivist ciswomen, or answer for them. I cannot speak as a transwoman or queer to excluvistist ciswomen about the reasonableness of their choices.

      I can certainly speak as an inclusivist ciswoman to the exclusivist ciswomen, but I can’t make them hear me any more than they can convince me that their boundaries make sense for me personally.

      And I won’t say that the exclusivist ciswomen or the excluded women would either of them be *wrong* for wanting their own separate spaces, whether I could get in or not.

      I’m one person, and can only be one voice, and try to speak as clearly as I can to the issues that are within my reach.

  31. Thank you all for helping me to put my finger on the REAL reason I’m uncomfortable with PantheaCon. It isn’t that I’m not Pagan enough. I’m simply not politically correct enough. And, of course, when it comes to PC, too much is _never_ enough–no matter how firm a stance you take on the right–sorry, the left–side of the issue, somebody (e.g, cypheroftyr) will misconstrue and take offense.

    I didn’t attend PantheaCon this year. Thank you, Goddess, for protecting me from your followers.

  32. On a related subject, a dear friend has written a swingeing call to action for trans Pagans who need to see themselves represented in images of the Gods and Goddesses, a blaring reminder that the Female Divine includes the trans female, the Male Divine includes the trans male, and that trans bodies are as sacred images of the Goddesses and Gods as all other bodies. Do read and signal-boost.

    http://foxfetch.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/in-our-own-image-transcentric-paganism/

    • I love this. It’s fantastic and beautiful and exactly what I needed to read this morning.

  33. I made it through all the comments without a drink!

    I just love you all, I know you don’t think it’s possible. I grew up with dianic mothers and, goddess bless them, almost every single one is in the psych ward. Long term use is an issue, ESL, …. SMH! They are from another time. Right now Z must be wondering whether to say it was a troll, apologize, or retire.

    I’m sorry if this conversation was hard on anybody, but I’m glad it
    happened. I never would have gotten to hear all these stories and passionate viewpoints. The whole debate has led me to look further into the role of transgendered people in shamanic cultures and in mythology.

    You are beautiful,
    Love,
    Iona

  34. On behalf of CAYA Coven, I would like to say that it is apparent that this is an issue that has hit a nerve for many in the Pagan community. We sincerely appreciate everyone who has taken the time to share their point of view on this, in this blog and others. As we encourage open discussion around this topic, we would like to also offer our own views on gender and ritual space, which can be found here- http://www.cayacoven.org/gender.html.

    Thank you,
    Pax,
    Thora

    • Dear Thora,

      Thank you for sharing that here. I, too, hope that everyone in this conversation can create some productive dialog and ideas for going forward as a community.

      Best,
      Anya

  35. [...] a public ritual, DO specify this in the advertising material.] You can read some of the discussion here and I think there are links there to other commentary – including a well-written, thoughtful [...]

  36. [...] [As an aside, I'd also like to thank those who have responded on this matter in this blog for keeping it very civil. What has gone on in some other sectors has been rather excessive, often on more than one side.] [...]

  37. This is the first I’ve heard of all of this – being a UK pagan, PantheaCon isn’t something that gets talked about over here. I can’t even read all the comments because so many of them are plain bigotry and just vile. I’ll probably try again later when I’ve more time and I’m not in a rush.

    But I just wanted to say thank you for posting this, Anya. As has been said elsewhere, your desire to step up and say what no one else appears to be saying is brave and clearly, inviting a lot of criticism. You do yourself and your gods credit.

  38. If Lilith had appeared at this ritual, or Diana at some other Dianic ritual, and told members that She was outraged at the banning of transwomen at rituals that invoked Her or were done in a tradition that used Her name …. what would Dianics do?

    • Convert to Sapphism I guess…

  39. [...] it. To help clarify matters I have taken the step of illustrating Dianic elder Z. Budapest’s commentary for your [...]

  40. I got wind of this because I am a transsexual. I see a lot of good comments on this board, more trans-friendly than I would have expected honestly. You know, you start to get used to seeing hate directed at your being everywhere you turn, so, seeing all the positive comments made me smile and have a bit more hope for the future.

    Of course, Z Bedapest’s comments, and other like-minded comments, remind me of why exactly I personally will NEVER have any affinity to any ‘woman’s-only’ group, of any kind. The history is there, years of it, of anti-trans sentiment, from everywhere, and I pretty much know I am not welcome. So, way to go Z and the ilk! Thank you for ensuring that I, and others like me (and OMG, there are many, many more like me than you can even imagine) will never give a second moment’s thought towards inclusion into your group.

    Sadly, in my experience, it’s seems it’s just more perversion of feminist theory, but that’s just my opinion. I don’t too often run across much trans-positive feminist postings, so forgive me, I do not think highly of it, or at least of what I’ve seen spouted off across the various pages on the net. I noticed there was trans-positive stuff in these comments from self-proclaimed feminists above and that makes me happy as I stated when I began this comment.

    So much hate and so much energy has and is being expelled from so many sources just to keep trans persons at bay. It’s such a waste, such a shame, and in reality, such a total waste of time. It’s not like we are going anywhere and in this day and age of near-instant communication it seems like more and more of us are finding our voice and popping up everywhere. Someone already mentioned it, the exclusionary Diana-crowd had best figure out how to keep up with the times and the environment in which they practice, else they will soon find themselves extinct as an organization, as have many religions throughout history.

    If their solution to keeping up with the times is to codify exclusionary definitions for their membership then so be it, they are a religion with all rights afforded religions in this country. At the same time, keep your religion out of our Public spaces.

    It appears the major gaffe was the failure to properly describe the ritual as cis-women only. This is the proper, current, most accurate way to describe the setting, judging by the comments found here. Someone already said it, but stop describing such places as ‘Woman’ only or ‘Woman born Woman’. I am a woman, I was born a woman, so are all the other women out there, your description of the space is severely lacking/totally incorrect and to cling to the label of such space as ‘woman only’ reeks of transphobia. It’s 2011, get with the program.

    Anyways, love the thread, was very interesting to read through a majority of these comments and learn something new about the world I live in, re: Pagans. It’s such a strange and diverse planet isn’t it? :)

  41. Wow, now I know what happened ! This event is totally absent from the French Web…

    Thank you very much for this article. I think it is marvellous : well written, clear, and “professional”. Close to neutrality, taking responsability… Nice job. It’s inspiring.

  42. I’ve found a couple of links that may help explain a trans perspective to those of us who are cis:
    http://tranarchism.com/2010/11/26/not-your-moms-trans-101/ (warning: doesn’t bother pulling its punches, so don’t read if you’re cis and feeling defensive!)
    http://tranarchism.com/2011/02/18/school-sucks/ – which includes an essay entitled “Locating Trans Women’s Experience in the Feminist Analysis of the Body”
    I’m finding this very interesting and illuminating reading.
    My thanks to those here who have shared so much from the heart – you have really rasied my awareness. Now to do something useful with that…

  43. I blogged about this recently: http://ladybugsadventures.blogspot.com/2011/03/gender-and-magic.html

    I am one of the Amazons who put on the Lilith ritual, and I can say it was not meant to deny the womanhood of transwomen in any way, and it was a clerical error only. To make sure our rituals do not get interpreted that way again, we are going to make a point that we provide ritual for all self-identifying women at Pantheacon and other public venues in the future, if we have the chance to do so. I support the rights of transwomen to have access to women’s sacred space. I am also a Dianic witch who participates in blood mysteries, where transwomen are asked to respectfully not attend, but not because they are “not women.” I do not define myself as a woman because I bleed and have a womb, but, at the same time, I get a great deal of good out of working with the blood mysteries. There is no need to define who is a woman by whether or not they can go to cisgendered safe space. I am committed to a present and a future where transwomen are regarded simply as “women,” and I also respect their rights, should they choose to, to form private magical rituals that support their journey at the exclusion of myself and others who identify as cisgendered. I also respect and participate in magical circles who don’t worry about things like which gender label we use, if any, for ourselves, or whether there really is such a thing as “cisgendered.” There is much room for mutual support and openheartedness here.

    In CAYA we provide safe space both for women who need cisgendered space and women who do not, and we will continue to do whatever we can to further the highest good of all. There is room for further expansion on this concept, within CAYA and everywhere. I plan to take part in a study/action group within CAYA to help us determine how to be supportive for trans persons. I want to thank all of the people who have put energy into this blog post discussing how that could happen. I truly appreciate the personal stories, and am trying my best to “shut up and listen.” Please keep talking.

    • Dear Ladybug,

      Thank you so much for posting your comment and the link to your blog here. The eloquence, honesty, respect, and heartfelt nature of your response does credit to Dianic witches, CAYA coven, and the Amazons.

      If you’re willing and able to answer, I have a few questions about the planning of Lilith Rite at PantheaCon:

      1. What aspect(s) of the Lilith Rite determined the decision to limit attendance to cisgendered women?
      2. Were members of the planning group aware of the “transgendered” elements of Lilith’s own origin stories and lore (hermaphroditism, androgyny, transgressing limits of gender)?
      3. Were members of the planning group aware that Lilith has a special affinity with transgendered people?
      4. If no to #2 or #3, would that knowledge have affected the attendance limits?
      5. Would it have affected the choice of Lilith for a cisgendered-women only rite?

      If you would rather not answer these questions on a public forum, please feel free to email me privately (anyakless AT gmail DOT com).

      Respectfully,
      Anya

      • Thank you, Anya. It means a lot to me that you heard me.

        I do want to respond to your questions, but want to make sure I’m not just talking from my own point of view. So, I’ve started conversation on the Amazon e-mail list asking the other ladies to talk about your questions. I’ll respond as soon as I am sure I can give you accurate and meaningful answers that represent the mindset of those behind the ritual planning. I might actually need to write a blog about it, since I don’t want to be rude and take up tons of space on your blog. Also, I’ve been asked in person by other people, too, with basically the same questions, so I can only assume there must be lots of people who want to know.

        Thank you so much for this. The more we can talk, the more we can understand and move forward.

        • Ladybug,

          I appreciate that these questions are being discussed by the Amazons as a group. If you do decide to post these answers in your own blog, please let me know. As a priestess of Lilith, I have a particular interest in them. I can also post them in a separate entry on this blog, or post them as an interview. In any case, I’ll share the answers on this blog so that others who might be wondering here can see the response.

          Thanks for your thoughtfulness.

    • Thank you and bless you. I think you rock.

  44. On the topic of “Bio-females”

    All humans have essentially the same genome, which a few small differences for things like eye and skin color, being able to roll your tongue and wiggle your ears, and making Cilantro taste like soap. Every human being has all of the genetic code necessary to grow a completely formed and healthy man or woman.

    The genes for growing breasts for example, are present in all men and women. They are only expressed when the cells in the body are exposed to estrogen, progesterone, and miscellaneous other steroids (but mostly just those two). Most of the time these steroids are produced in large quantities by the ovaries beginning at puberty. Adipose tissue in both men and women also produces estrogens.

    The cells don’t care where the estrogen comes from, if you feed anyone enough estrogen for long enough, they will grow breasts, no matter how old they are, and whether they have ovaries.

    The is only a single gene responsible for causing embryonic gonads to develop into testis or ovaries. And once that is expressed, there is another gene switched on in the gonads, which expresses either estrogen or testosterone production, but mostly not until puberty. In mammals and marsupials, this single gene is on the sex-determining Y chromosome. In all other animals, it’s typically on an X chromosome. And an organism with a Y sex-chromosome will be female. In some humans (and other animals), the Sex Determining Region can crossover from the Y sex-chromosome to the X sex-chromosome during genetic recombination. These “women” are phenotypically men, and most never realize anything is unusual. Additionally, if there is a transcription error in the Sex Determining Region on the Y chromosome, then the “man” will be born phenotypically woman, and go most of their life without realizing it — until they get tested to compete in the Olympics or something.

    (Oh yeah, also, if you leave out the human Y sex-chromosome completely – that is X0 syndrome – you get a well-formed phenotypical female human body.)

    I’m currently on the exact same HRT medications that post-menopausal women take. … Because, like post-menopausal women, and women with hysterectomies, my ovaries are not producing enough estrogen. I have breasts, which I’ve grown just like every other woman. They’ll even lactate if I get my hormone levels out of whack (I’ll also get all the symptoms of PMS when my progesterone level drops.) And, while I’ve not experienced this much with the specific hormone regiment I’m on; Transsexual women do experience painful menstrual cramps. Our bodies don’t know that there isn’t a uterus there, they just do what they’re told to by the hormones.

    See Also:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SRY

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testis_determining_factor

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZW_sex-determination_system

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swyer_syndrome

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XX_male_syndrome

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y_chromosome

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersexuality

  45. On the topic of “Separate but equal

    I have read many people say: “Why don’t the transies just go and make their own exclusive space/rituals/religious?” The answer is that I don’t identify as a transsexual; I don’t want to be a transsexual! I’m a woman; And because of some historical accident as a baby, I’m classified as transsexual against my will.

    I want to do all the things that women do, because I’m a woman. I have no interest in creating my own religion about ancient hermaphroditic deities.

    • I need to stop hitting the “Post Comment” button so soon…. I was also going to present this analogy.

      A person gets into a car accident, and becomes paralyzed from the waist down.
      Since there is no way for them to physically participate in the mysteries of the able-bodied, everyone tells them that they can no longer worship the able-bodied deities in sacred spaces. Well, that, but mostly the wheelchair makes some people feel uncomfortable. They should go start their own religions about the mysteries of being partially paralyzed, (where they can’t be seen), and leave everyone else alone.

      What’s so discriminatory about that?” everyone asks. “They have a completely different life experience from able-bodied people, and can’t possibly understand what it’s like to walk. There’s nothing for them in our able-bodied religion.

    • To J:

      Yeah – although I’m sure that people who go to work on trans-specific mysteries and hermaphroditic deities will be doing something that is good for some people, I suspected that it wasn’t addressing the point for a lot of trans women.

      So let me ask you: does the desire to be included into, say, Dianic space constitute an end of itself – that it would be an inclusion and a recognition of you as a woman – or are there particular things you feel you would get from and offer to such a space that would not be possible elsewhere?

      (This question doesn’t just come from the trans label. There are lots of ciswomen who don’t feel drawn toward gendered space, or who get it in other ways than going to Dianic-style rituals. Also, if you were never in fact “male” physically and are the victim of medical mislabeling, I can’t imagine there aren’t groups, even Dianic ones, who would accept you as a woman – although I understand that given all the other problems that can arise you don’t want to be put in the position of having to ask.)

      • @Julie

        So let me ask you: does the desire to be included into, say, Dianic space constitute an end of itself – that it would be an inclusion and a recognition of you as a woman – or are there particular things you feel you would get from and offer to such a space that would not be possible elsewhere?

        A friend of mine was going, and invited me along with them. I thought, hmm.. A Lilith ritual, that sounds new and interesting, I’ve always considered learning more about Lilith, so this might be a good opportunity.

        My Pantheacon schedule is rather chaotic and unplanned. I’ll tend to just wander into whatever talks people mention that might be interesting, or even whatever is next in this room. After all, what’s the point of like, 240 hours of talks and rituals all in the same place at the same time? I generally only read the descriptions after the con to see what I missed.

        Also, if you were never in fact “male” physically and are the victim of medical mislabeling, I can’t imagine there aren’t groups, even Dianic ones, who would accept you as a woman

        I’m not sure exactly what your question is. I had a penis as a baby that I never used for anything (except urination). And I was mostly unaware of it until puberty hit, when I desperately wanted nothing more than to rid myself of it. If you met me in person today (or anytime in the past decade), you’d look at my face, and classify me as a woman, and possibly look at my breasts for confirmation. And then you’d interact with me as a woman… because, you’re interacting with me, not my genitals. If we’re not having sexual intercourse, is doesn’t matter what’s between our legs.

        If you were at Pantheacon, you may have already met me without realizing.

        There’s a phenomenon I’ve observed with people when they find out I’m trans. The person says they’re ok with it, and are quite open minded and stuff, and they never say anything bad about it, and are a great supporter of my struggle, etc. But, when they find out, they treat me subtly different than they did before they knew that I was anything but a cisgender woman. A clear example, guys will suddenly stop flirting with me when they find out.

        You stop being a women in people’s minds, and become a man in a dress.

  46. Okay. Apparently my tendency to question more than answer has started confusing more people than it is prompting deeper into thought, so I think I will make a “full disclosure” and a closing statement or two, and leave my participation in your poor, groaning blog at that.

    Disclosure: I am a bisexual ciswoman with boobs. I mean, really BIG ones. And that has colored my experience of what would otherwise have been a fairly androgynous life very, very deeply. Throughout my teens I was constantly harassed, molested, and occasionally threatened with rape. I was frequently singled out by adults I assume meant well for my lack of girliness (while on the other hand, my even more andro mother used “girl” as an insult). Even as an adult, I have had to come to terms with the fact that almost EVERYONE – including women of every stripe and gay men – seems to think it’s okay to TOUCH them, as if they’re public property.

    In other words, my own experience constantly forces the negatives of gender essentialism into my face: so if I sound overly protective of the one good thing it has ever given me, that is why. That said, I am NOT a Dianic nor ever have been, even though I could be perceived to be defending aspects of their position. (In fact, ironically enough, I have never knowingly participated in “women-born women only” ritual space until now, even when I taught blood mysteries.) In my own life I have always accepted people by their own definitions; to start going on the “why, some of my best friends have been trans!” track will just sound stupid and trite. But I was, in the larger context, queer-friendly long before I knew that *I* was queer, and I hold to that as a core value. My initial concern in the way this issue came to light was that CAYA, the specific group in question, was being vilified when in fact they are on the whole much MORE open and accepting than a great many groups of their sort, and so to my mind are a positive example rather than a negative one, minus the obvious communication debacle. Having been present at the ritual myself, I wanted to make it clear to people who wanted accurate accounts what really did and did not take place on the ground. That’s all.

    Transgendered readers: I am sorry about all of the struggles you face, both internally and externally. I am sorry you have to go through so much just to claim what you are only to have it rejected by those you hoped would accept you as sisters. I no longer priestess in the community, but I will examine my own actions further to see if there are ways I unwittingly contribute to this sense of rejection.

    Dianic readers: I am sorry that you are left feeling attacked suddenly from all sides, accused of being as good as Nazis for having built yourselves a sanctuary from the ravages of patriarchy. I have myself made use of some of your teachings and that sense of sanctuary, and whether or not I am active in your tradition or even agree with every aspect of your current practice – and I realize that you are not monolithic, and that not all groups even make the distinction for which you are all being taken to task here – I owe you my thanks for that.

    Both: I thank you deeply for sharing your stories and your reasoning, and I especially thank those of you who kept your heads while doing so, which I know (shit howdy) is difficult when emotions are running high. I think that in some places, we broke through the easy rhetoric and accusations and started reaching ideas we can really carry forward in creating a community that better serves both ciswomen and trans women.

    That said, I’m going to try really hard to take a break.

    • You know what? It’s not your tendency to question more than answer that caused confusion. It’s your tendency to say shitty things that caused anger.

      Words mean things, Julie. When you say you attract a coven of people who are “bisexual, mtf, or otherwise more masculine than normal”… look at those words in isolation. The thing that you’re saying depends upon an understanding that being bisexual and being MTF are more masculine than the alternatives. Otherwise that “otherwise” is out of place, and even without the otherwise… well, why are these things grouped together? Female bisexuality, female transness, and being masculine? You can’t pretend you’re not trying to link those things together because your acolyte Lina made it explicit.

      I’m not particularly ladylike at the moment (but then, I’m hardly being treated as a lady), but that is some hurtful, hateful stereotypical shit. Somebody call me out for using “invective”, but when you’ve had shit dumped on you all your life, you know it when you smell it. You know it when it hits you in the face. It’s the double bind, the catch-22 of being a trans woman. All women know about double binds, or should.

      Have sex? You’re a slut. Don’t have sex? You’re a prude. Do what a man wants? You’re easy. Don’t do what a man wants? You’re a bitch. Madonna and whore. Virgin and slut. Double bind.

      Trans women get those, and we get our own special ones. If we act up, if we raise our voices, if we express how it makes us feel to have enlightened and polite people politely slinging shit in our faces, then we’re “masculine”, we’re showing “male energy” or “male privilege”. If we are demure, if we overcompensate in the other direction, then we’re mere caricatures of femininity, we’re reinforcing gender stereotypes, we’re performing a burlesque of the female gender.

      We can’t win, no matter what we do.

      You also tried to set up a hierarchy of femininity that puts J. and trans women who have had or are on track for surgery as being more feminine or more real women than those like me who are non-op, for various reasons.

      That’s… that’s messed up, Julie. When you do things like that, you are aligning yourself with bigots. You are throwing your support in with people who call us “transies”, or who think we need to be taught a lesson or stomped out of existence.

      Because of course once we’ve accepted that there’s a sliding scale of actual womanhood that a post-op woman who doesn’t identify as trans is higher on than I am, well, of course the Women Born Women who never had an op and were never classed by anyone as trans must be higher than J., mustn’t they? It only makes sense, doesn’t it? Once we’ve set up that scale.

      You can play it off as you were merely posing a question, but if someone poses a question like “What sort of idiot are you?” and then says “I was just trying to lead you to deeper insights about yourself,” I hope you’d be clever enough to see that this is a transparent ruse. Having a Wise Mentor Schtick is not a Get-Out-Of-Saying-Massively-Insulting-Things-Free Card.

      If you have ignorant things to say about people, it doesn’t matter if you phrase them as questions or as answers. You’d be better off listening to what people with lived experience as trans women have to say than thinking that your “androgynous” existence and experience as a leader of “masculine” women who put up with your Socrates impression qualifies you to, ah, prompt deep thought.

      If a community wants to serve both trans women and cis women, it needs to start by serving women. There may be practical details that need to be hashed out, but no real progress… no real welcoming… can happen as long as it’s being debated if some women are real women, if some women are as womanly as other women, etc.

      This would be the part where a lot of trans women who’ve taken real umbrage to your words would say something like “I’m twice the woman you are.” You know what? I’m not going to say that. I’m exactly the same amount of woman you are, Julie. I am going to leave you with some advice, as one woman who is an equally qualified spiritual instructor as you are:

      If you’re going to make your schtick to be asking people questions, you need to be prepared for two things. You need to be prepared for people to answer you, and you need to be prepared to listen.

      Try again next time. I’m out.

      • Okay… at the risk of looking like the kind of person who sticks around multiply flouncing the same place, which I normally don’t like to think I would do, I’m bringing this one thing.

        Alexandria, you have asked – no, *demanded* of one of my former students – that I come back and issue you a formal apology.

        In a word, no.

        In more words, no, because we’ve established that you don’t like politeness, even when it is sincere. You want “honesty,” which is to say, raw invective. So no. I don’t acknowledge your false dichotomy, from an earlier demand you made, between “a woman exactly like me” and “a monster I hate.” I don’t acknowledge that it is wrong to ask questions about things you don’t know. (Because, while my student was very kind in ascribing Socrates-like traits to me and I do hope that my questions sometimes provoke deeper thought for others besides myself – an effort which obviously sometimes fails – mostly I ask questions *because I want to know things.*) For that matter, I don’t acknowledge your assertion that I should not reach out to trans women until I understand them, because I don’t see how you imagine I am supposed to understand them until I reach out to them. I don’t acknowledge that you, Alexandria, can simultaneously get angry at other people for lumping together all trans people, and then get on your soapbox and speak for all trans people.

        By the way, I was totally with you on the masculine vs. feminine thing. The reason I used the term was that, *as* a bisexual and androgynous woman, it was one that got thrown at me and at all the people I was talking about. I thought it might be one of those experiences we would have in common – you know, both being women who fell outside the stereotype and were punished for it. So much for that.

        I was prepared to be answered, and I was prepared to listen. I hope that both things happened while I was here, and again I would like to thank Kate and J in particular for being so instructive and giving me real things to think about in the future. If anything I said was offensive or hurtful to them, or to trans women who did not have the courage to post here, then I apologize. *To them.* You, however, have contributed nothing anywhere that I’ve seen except for vitriol; not only did you not address the issues, you didn’t even speak your own pain honestly – you went straight to insulting everyone who didn’t agree with you and stayed there. Maybe that speaks to the level of pain you’re having to deal with, and if so that’s a damned shame. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to step into your black and white world where people are either in exact agreement with me or the enemy who wants to “stomp me out of existence.” And I’m not going to apologize for not doing it.

        Please, and I mean this sincerely, have a better life.

  47. Being an Amazon is all about transgressing gender limitations and boxes imposed on us from heteropatriarchal society, but that doesn’t mean we’re no longer women, or don’t need wbw space. This is what the historical Amazons did, and what modern day Amazons and especially Butch DykeAmazons continue to do, while still honoring our potent fierce Femaleness.

    And the Amazon Path in particular, at least the one I work with, honored us Butches especially because many of us didn’t fit into the traditional Maiden/Mother/Crone so we tapped into the Amazon category as another aspect which better reflected our fierce Female Butch Warrior Selves connected with the Ancient Amazons….Many of us would defend and protect the integrity of born female space till the day we die, because we KNOW it represents a reality many of us cannot possibly express to the outside world, and is so needed.
    -FeistyAmazon

    • Here’s to stirring the pot, but perhaps the point will still be understood.
      “Being an Amazon is all about transgressing gender limitations and boxes imposed on us from heteropatriarchal society,”
      “And the Amazon Path in particular, at least the one I work with, honored us Butches especially because many of us didn’t fit into the traditional Maiden/Mother/Crone”

      FeistyAmazon: I have read your various posts and responses here and paid attention to not only WHAT you were saying, but HOW you were saying it. Your posts and writings, especially after this last one, leave me with but one inexorable conclusion:
      It seems to me that YOU, in particular, and quite possibly the rest of your amazons and no few of the “cis”women dianic’s, do indeed HAVE just as big a penis as I do, at least in the metaphorical sense; and should therefore exclude yourselves from these “women born women” rituals or “mysteries” just as you excluded the trans, gay, queer, and obviously male folks who tried to attend the Lilith Rite.
      Just thought I’d call a spade a spade and hopefully shed a tiny bit of light on the inanity of gender or sex based “mysteries” given the ideals behind so many of the various pagan paths. (Oh yes, and I have my thermal undies on. Thanks for asking.)

  48. To Ms. Budapest, and Ms. FeistyAmazon, and all the others who would seek to deny trans women our inherent and rightful womanhood:

    I fully intend to be an inconvenient and troublesome woman for you to the end of my days.

    As a certain Mr. Reynolds once said, “Sure as I know anything, I know this: I aim to misbehave.”

    • Kate, this is an interesting statement given that we’re talking about spiritual practice here.

      I wonder, once a transgenered person “misbehaves” and gets herself forcefully into a blood-mysteries ritual – what next?

      What type of contribution is going to be made by that person for the mysteries? How is the group experience going to be enchanced or at least, kept intact, which, I’m sure you know, is essential for all mysteries experience. More than that, how is the individual experience for that person going to be generated?

      Or is the purpose of “misbehavior” just to disrupt and prevent others from practicing their path or experiencing what their soul desires?

      • You ARE missing the point – and a ritual to Lilith, of all Goddesses, is NOT exactly an appropriate one to be banning trans women from, either.

        I can’t count the number of times that I’ve read the words “well-behaved women never make history.” Well, I’m not well-behaved. I refuse to be boxed in because others want me to be quiet and demure, and to die without speaking my voice.

        I aim to misbehave because well-behaved trans women die just as surely as ill-behaved ones.

        The purpose of “misbehavior” is to be inconvenient to those who insist that trans women are “men,” to those who would prevent me from experiencing what MY soul desires. If I prevent you from practicing your path, I do so only to the same extent that Audre Lorde and bell hooks prevent white women from practicing a racially-exclusive feminism.

        If I am criticized, assaulted, threatened for standing up for myself, I shall count myself in the same rank as Alice Paul.

        I’m willing to face violence for my conviction that I am equal to any other woman.

        Are you willing to commit that violence?

        Are you?

  49. If they are excluding womyn based on their appearance because they don’t “look feminine enough,” then they will be excluding womyn born womyn who happen to be very butch or just happen to have coarser features. Is it a requirement to pass some sort of kyriarchal type of “beauty contest” to be allowed to participate in Dianic rites at Pantheacon?

    They might be better off WITH a genital check if being triggered by seeing penises is the main consideration in excluding trans women. Not a “You look female to ME” check at the door, how insulting and vile.

  50. Maybe the “female” check at the door is not based on looks, but on reading someone’s”energy.” As Friday Jones pointed out, checking by looks is not valid to determine who is female.

    Oh, wait. Checking by energy is just as unreliable! I had someone once asked me when I transitioned. Considering I am a cisgendered female who looks and presents traditionally female, I thought the question rather odd.

    I told the questioner I was cisgendered and asked why he had asked me that. He told me my energy read as gender-neutral.

    The point of this little story? Gender is ambiguous and fluid. Therefore, any kind of gender check at the door is nonsensical at best.

    J, thank you for your posts about your experience. I am so sorry you have experienced so much pain.

  51. I think if people want to announce their events as for “women-born-women only” or “men-born-men only,” or “mermaids-born-with-fishtails only” then that’s their perfect right, because everyone, at least in this country, has a perfect Constitutional right to say whatever they want to at any time. (Otherwise Fox News would not exist.)

    For my part I have a perfect right not to attend their fandangos, and to make fun of them mercilessly behind their backs.

    However, if they don’t specify their events as being “hamsters-born-hamsters only” then they shouldn’t be shocked if ferrets show up. Announce your hamster pride openly, own it!

    God Hirself is a lot bigger than the pictures people paint of Hir and the names people call Hir. If somebody wants to claim that they, and only they, have a Direct Line to Goddess due to their dangly/wrinkly bits, then more power to them, but I reserve the right to call Bullshit; So Do I, because Tat Tvam Asi, Thou Art That, as the Upanishads tell us.

    Or as is said in another sacred ritual: “There is no part of me that is not of the Gods.”

    I personally have little use for anyone who would attempt to exclude me from my relationship with the Divine because of whatever dangly bits I do or do not possess. If they want to exclude me from their relationship with the Divine that’s their business, because obviously their Divine is not my Divine – so why should I get involved with their drama? “These are fools that men adore; both their Gods & their men are fools.”

    Never try to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig. My advice, for what it is worth (which is absolutely and completely nothing): Move On, bright spirits, Move On. Let the dead bury the dead. You are Divine, right here and now. You don’t need anyone’s authorization or blessing or sermonization or ratiocination or invocation or convocation. You’re It. Be It.

    “Do as thou wilt; be as thou wilt; let no one tell ye who and what thou art, who doth not live inside thy skin, breathe with thy lungs, see with thine eyes, or kiss with thy lips the lips of thy choice.”

  52. I’m not a psychologist, but a biologist and honestly I am not a pagan nor do I care one way or another about this issue. I came across this doing a search for another topic and became engrossed in the rhetoric. honestly, wouldn’t it be better to use the term “genetically female” or “genetically male” in such an argument instead of talking about menstruation or the status of one’s reproductive organs? One can change the outward phenotype, but not the genotype. One will always be. XX or XY (and please don’t jump to extremes about those that are XXX and XXY – I’m aware of the possibility).

    • Short answer: Not really.

      Long answer: Genetics mean less than you’d think. An XY embryo with a malfunctional or missing SRY gene is going to develop as a normal girl.

      Best way to deal with it is “woman” or “man” with the modifier “trans” or “cis” when and if it becomes necessary.

      I challenge anyone to find one difference that’s worth a bean between, say, Kim Petras and any other German teenage girl.

  53. If you’re following comments to this post, please note that I’ve posted an update in my most recent blog entry:

    http://fruitofpain.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/update-on-pcon-incident-and-subsequent-conversations/

    Best,
    Anya

  54. Kate – you’re not answering my question. I’m not challenging your right to fight for your rights, or “misbehave” politically. I’m definitely not challenging your right for life. Even a good life.

    I’m asking what this misbehavior means in our context of public ritual. Once you’ve got into a ritual that is related to blood-mysteries – what will be your contribution to its mysteries? And if there is no contribution, then what is the purpose of your “misbehavior” towards those that organize and/or need that ritual, and *can* contribute to it?

    • Was the ritual in question actually about blood mysteries? Or is that simply an excuse that was forwarded so that the organizers wouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of the fact that they were excluding members of an oppressed minority on the basis of the fact that they belonged to an oppressed minority?

      I chose not to answer your question because your very assumptions, from their bases, revolved around trans women as interlopers and aggressors in women’s space, as people who have nothing to contribute, but demand presence anyway. I refused to answer because I will not apologize for my womanhood, or accept myself as a second-class woman. EVER.

      If I created a ritual about giving birth to oneself (actually, I ought to do just that), specifically intended for trans women, how long would it take for cis women to muscle THEIR way in? And how many cis women would accept being turned away because it and the space it takes place in are not intended for them?

  55. There are at least three distinct topics that everyone here seems to be conflating:

    1. The specific Lilith Rite at Pantheacon (which, incidentally wasn’t the only trans-exclusive one.)
    2. Whom the Dianic Tradition allows to participate.
    3. The exclusion of all transsexual women, from all “women-only” spaces.

    The Dianics, like the KKK, can keep whomever they want out of their secret club, but I’m addressing point number 3.

    You see… it’s not just this ritual that’s a problem. If you’re a transsexual woman, you face this kind of discrimination every fucking day, everywhere you go. For example, I auditioned for a play a few years ago. And after the audition, they said that they wouldn’t cast me, not because I’m a terrible actress, but because I’m trans. And it wouldn’t be right for me to play a woman on stage. I quit acting that day. What was I supposed to do? If I complained I’d be ‘aggressively asserting male-privilege’, and ‘ruining it for everyone else’. So I went away quietly. (I would not react so quietly if this happened to me today.)

    Or, here’s a recent example I saw. Let’s write a top-ten list of women in Computer Science…

    1. Ada Lovelace
    2. Grace Hopper
    3. Radia Perlman
    4. Jeri Ellsworth
    5. Lynn Conway
    6. Frances E. Allen
    7. Barbara H. Liskov
    8. Shafi Goldwasser
    9. Adele Goldberg
    10. Carla Meninsky

    All of these women are the top in their field, and deserve honor and praise… Oh, but wait a second you say, Lynn Conway is a transsexual women! And so she can’t be on this list, since she’s really a man under the delusional belief that he’s a woman.

    Do you see how this works?

    • … Oh, and someday when I’ve accomplished something great. I’m afraid that I’ll be disqualified from receiving any honors for it, because I’m “not a real woman”.

      “And the award for best female-whatever… goes to… NOT me!”

      It’s bad enough that I can’t rent certain housing because I’m trans. — And that’s not conjecture, I know this because I was specifically told this was the reason, and the argument behind it.

      You might argue, that a apartment building can rent to whomever they choose. If they don’t want black people, or Jews living there, then it’s ok to exclude them. It’s just those pesky civil-rights laws that make this illegal. Destroying our freedom of powerful entities being able to discriminating against minorities. Tsk-tsk.

      [Incidentally, gender identity is specifically excluded from civil-rights laws, so most people/organizations ever bothers to lie to me about it when they do it.]

  56. [...] whole thing, and for very understandable reasons. Anya Kless posted on the PantheaCon events in her blog , and got the following response from someone purporting to be Dianic elder Z [...]

  57. http://www.questioningtransphobia.com/?p=3631

    “You look at those numbers we’ve let outline us–the grief and the blood and the hurt, writ vast and cruel–and that is a truth. But I believe the greater truth is us: we looked at that world–that heartless world that tears us up and turns us away from every hearth-fire–and we looked at the option of deceiving it into letting us in, the option of pretending to be something we weren’t in order to survive, and we said, to a person: no. No, we will not lie, even in the face of starvation, of isolation, of loss, of torture, of death. No, even to escape the risk of a world that will never treat us right, we will not lie. We will not pretend. Not today. Not again. At some point, if you are here, and reading this, and calling yourself a trans person or something like, no matter how many compromises and illusions you had to throw up in front of you to make it to today alive, you eventually said “no more.” You refused to lie, even if only to yourself.

    “I believe in trans people because, above all, we know something about the great and terrible worth of the truth. Not because we have paid that price–it has hit some of us harder, and some of us have come through nearly unscathed. Not because whatever we have suffered has made us more special than any other person. Because each of us is a person who looked out at a very dangerous, risky landscape and chose, eventually, to travel through it because the truth mattered most. We know something about the truth. We know what it is worth. And we, as a people, surrounded by those who do not believe us and want us to pretend for them that they are right, chose that truth knowing it might cost us everything.”

    That is the long and short of it.

  58. Kate – you have every right to refuse answering my question. However, until I get a straight answer from you, or any other person (trans or not, doesn’t matter) about what type of contribution can be made to blood-mysteries by “misbehavior” of trans people (your words!), I remain unconvinced about your sincerity.

    To make things clear, this isn’t specifically about CAYA. There was miscommunication there. We’ve all realized that. I’m talking about blood mysteries rituals in general. Either you can tell me what kind of religious work you have there, or you can’t. It’s really that simple. Are you interested in the work? Are you interested in religion? Are you here because you want to make spiritual progress? If so, please, I’m very very interested – tell me about it. (and I’m not cynical either. I’d *REALLY* like to know).

    Despite what you’re saying, I make no assumptions of any kind. I’m simply questioning *your* statement that “misbehavior” is something appropriate for religious rituals. As a priestess, a ritual organizer at times, and a person committed to my religion, that statement is unclear to me. If you stand by your words, then explain to me what you mean by them in the context of religious ritual.

    • What I mean by “misbehavior” is simply a refusal to accept the box that other people want to throw me into.

      My position is that I am a woman, full stop. But others accuse me of misbehaving simply for being myself, therefore, “I aim to misbehave.”

  59. Not all Dianic Traditions exclude trans women from their rites and educational programs. Not all Dianic Traditions are for women only – women born or not. For us Dianic simply means that we honor Goddess as our Source. So simple – all of us come from Her!

    I cannot speak for all – I can only speak for those involved within the Apple Branch. My own personal vows have been made to focus my work on helping women find self-empowerment. I have never specified that they be “born” women. I have created the space in which to do this work and welcome all women. I am also perfectly willing to assist men in their coming to Goddess – yes Dianic men! I don’t however, do this in space created for women only.

    Global Goddess, founded in 2003, while not specifically Dianic, also has never specified women-born-women – all women are welcome.

    I know we are not alone and am greatly saddened that once more the concept of “Dianic” has been trashed based on one person’s statement.

    I do believe what has happened will, in the long run, be very beneficial to many. It is important that it be talked about, discussed, and that from it, new ideas and new ways of being in the world will be embraced.

    Blessings,
    Bendis

  60. Jarandhel you said “seriously, think about this for a moment: imagine if instead of an Amazon group holding a ritual at Pantheacon this had been a “Folkish” Heathen group, and instead of trans women being turned away it was anyone who wasn’t caucasian. Hell, lets even say they DID state this in the description of the ritual on the program. Would that scenario be in any way acceptable to you? If not (and I stress the IF in this statement) why are you more tolerant of discrimination against trans women?”

    This is the first thing I thought about when I heard about this incident. How would I, as a Hispanic woman of color interested in the Northern mysteries, feel if I was the one being turned away because of how I was born? And the answer is of course I would feel sad, disappointed and left out.

    However, I am aware that there are groups out there who have that “white-only” requirement. And it is their right. Attacking them, calling them racist and trying to make them understand that color is only skin deep, that genetically we’re exactly the same is just gonna make them defensive and want to stick to their beliefs even more.

    So same thing with ciswomen-only rituals. Neither one is ideal, but it’s their right. People will come up with all sorts of reasons to subdivide/segregate themselves. Sacred space is not the right place to fight for your (general you) rights if the officiants see you as the “other” they’re trying to keep out. Unless, of course the purpose of the ritual is to heal the divide.

    Now, it’s up to PantheaCon to decide whether they will continue to host rituals that will exclude an entire segment of the adult population.

  61. As we get further from the event, I am more and more having the sinking feeling that we are going to see a “resolution” which reifies the status quo and ensures that anti-transsexual-discrimination space continue to dominate women’s rituals, instead of a development of space that is inclusive and welcoming of all self-identified women

    • I assure you, Kate LBT that things are not being pushed quietly aside in favor of the next thing down the line.

      People are still talking and working and creating and causing for effective change. The work to get that change about isn’t just Pantheacon’s or CAYA’s or the Amazon’s. It’s everyone’s.

      The Circle of Cerridwen met last week and discussed the idea of creating an anthology on Gender Issues in Paganism. That should be making the rounds currently.

      Please, consider lending your voice to that anthology and spread the word about it far and wide.

      http://cerridwen.st4r.org/wiki/index.php/Gender_and_Transgender_in_Modern_Paganism

      Thanks,
      Lina

  62. What I haven’t seen in all of this back and forth is Dianic Wiccans stepping up and saying what they are willing to DO.

    Specifically, how are they willing to step outside of their comfort zone? One of the difficulties that trans women have ALWAYS had with cissexual feminists is that we are often given nebulous promises of support and solidarity, but when it actually comes to the nuts and bolts of inclusion, the actual act of showing solidarity and creating resources for trans women to use, they’re never there.

    Do you understand how difficult it is to trust, when Lucy keeps yanking the freaking football away?

  63. I know I am pretty late throwing my two cents in {such as it is} into this whole topic, but I just wanted to say that this is an excellent post.

    And I guess to express my disappointment about the bigotry that is being spewed by some of the commenters here too.

    If my other cis women feel the need to have “women born women” only spaces, that is no skin off my teeth. I enjoy being in women only spaces sometimes, but ones that include ALL of my sisters, whether they are cis like me, or trans.

    Slàinte!

    Laurel

  64. This has provided fascinating reading. I’ve been a solitary witch for 32 years now, never attended any conferences and only rarely share my celebrations with others…the Great Lakes can be a lonely place. The dispute between ciswomen and transgendered has long baffled me. Our sex may be genetically determined but our gendered self is a cultural construct and I have never noted male privilege being afforded my transgendered friends, acquaintances and students because they may have male genitalia. One or two of them may have derived some benefit in not being brought up to be biddable, and whatever else women are supposed to be, but all in all, my experience is that people respond to people based on what they know of them and see of them and for most of us, that is fairly superficial.
    I can understand some of Z. Budapest’s argument. I do believe that there are Women’s Mysteries and Men’s Mysteries, and Mysteries for others based on their experiences/reality. But, I would argue that it not so much our wombs that we celebrate in those mysteries as the combined experiences we have endured because we have, or are perceived to have, wombs. To paraphrase a few of the other writers here, no one knows what condition your womb is in, or even if you still have it.
    Sex may be genetic and it may be immutable, and it is not always clearly articulated. There are combinations out there beyond XX and XY. Gender however is truly fluid and mutable and its expression elicits social responses that result in the treatment and the oppression inferred in some of the postings above and experienced by many of us. Given that gender is social, is culturally constructed, I suggest that sisterhood exists in the way we act and are acted upon.

  65. [...] controversy at PantheaCon on the exclusion of trans women from certain events, and in particular the response of Z. Budapest in Anya Kless’ blog on the matter, to [...]

  66. I strongly suggest anyone who may consider joining CAYA to be very careful. After I left CAYA I had to seek out therapy because of the abuse I encountered there.

    • Anonymous, I would love to talk to you. (I may even know who you are.) I had a similar experience, except that leaving was very clean for me. My strongest emotion was disappointment. I was part of CAYA when it was truly “Come as you are,” and it really was wonderful before they divided the group by having clergy and a complex, authoritarian hierarchy. My email address is stenobauer@gmail.com.
      I hope to hear from you. Blessings, Cathryn Meer Bauer (the fiddler)

  67. [...] of CAYA. I first responded to this incident, from the perspective of a priestess of Lilith, here. A follow up post can be found [...]

  68. [...] shitstorm, which was quickly (or rather slowly, in Internet terms) followed by Z Budapest proving what a total embarrassment she is (it’s in the un-linkable comments. 1: I really have no idea where Ms. Budapest got that one; that was the first I’d heard or [...]

  69. [...] and overies and MOON bleed and not die. Women are born not made by men on operating tables.” – accessedfrom The Fruit of Pain blog comment posted on Feb 28, 2011 1:11 pm (accessed March 23, 2012 6:48 pm – This quote is posted by user name Z Budapest). Remember the [...]

  70. […] disturbing is the transphobia espoused by Z. Budapest, who responded to criticisms about a ritual at Pantheacon in 2011 excluding transwomen by […]

  71. […] In Response to the “Lilith Rite” at PantheaCon (more on Z. Budapest and her transmisogyny) […]


Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 94 other followers

%d bloggers like this: