Sisterhood in the dirt

It’s that time of year again, when lesbians descend in droves onto The Land in the woods of eastern Michigan to…to what? Participate in drum circles? Celebrate the Earth Mother and talk about wombs? Listen to crappy folk music?

As you probably guessed, MichFest is not my cup of tea. It’s waaaay too hippietastic and Second-Wave for my liking. Yep, I’m a lady and I’m queer. I don’t need to go play in the dirt and bang on drums with a bunch of other lesbos to feel affirmed in my dykeness. And seriously ladies, there’s only so much damned folk music I can take, so I sure as hell don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with that as my sole soundtrack. Add to this the fact that it costs hundred of dollars to go sleep in the dirt and pee in port-a-potties for a week. Simply put, MichFest is not worth it.

But you know the most important reason it’s not worth it? Because it’s still a transphobic, exclusionary event. Yes, there are now trans women who attend the event and there are more and more allies there each year, especially thanks to the group Trans Women Belong Here (TWBH). But at its core, MichFest doesn’t want trans women there which is why the founders have refused to officially drop the “womyn-born-womyn” entrance policy. And this is not something I will support. I will not attend a festival created by transphobic radical feminists who refuse to see their hatred for what it is.

I know lots of women attend MichFest as trans allies, working with TWBH for the week, showing visible solidarity with our trans sisters and helping to provide safe spaces on The Land. I can see the need for that but I still can’t bring myself to give money to a transphobic organization. In my mind attending (especially if you are not actively volunteering with TWBH or some other trans ally group) is akin to supporting. You are paying these women to continue their exclusionary policy. Think on that.

I think it’s high time for a new summertime queer, woman-identified festival, one without incessant folk music and transphobia. And please, no drum circles either, I beg you. Who’s with me?

5 responses to “Sisterhood in the dirt

  1. Well said. How about Ohio Lesbian Festival? They’re trans inclusive, and boast an attendance around 1500. What if we could increase that number to 2500, bring a thousand womyn to the woods for music and fun and affirm that our feminism has no room for cissexism? I think that knocking michfest off its pedestal as THE womyn’s festival would be a lot more awesome than hanging out next door and walking the line.

  2. I am embarrassed to admit that until this very moment, I had never heard of the Ohio Lesbian Festival(or Womyn’s, as it appears they may be changing it). I grew up right next door in WV! How long has it been going on? It looks a million times more awesome than MichFest, and not just because it’s trans-inclusive. The past workshops are fantastic! (Though obviously, my eyes were drawn immediately to “belly dance” and I’m more than a bit biased there.) If I were to go lez camping, it would be here. Actually, scratch that, I’m a priss and I’d probably stay in a hotel. 😛

    Thanks so much for alerting me to this! I’m throwing my support behind it!

    • Ah, nevermind, I see that this will just be the second year for the festival. Now I don’t feel so bad for not knowing about it. Oh how happy I would have been had it existed back when I was a baby queer in WV.

  3. thank you for writing this, it is the same drum I have been beating for a while now as trans women beating their heads against the gate at Michfest seems to do no good as the board members are still so stuck in the backwards looking past, michfest will NEVER get one red cent from me, while more and more patrons are trans inclusive in their outlook the faculty there is NOT and for that reason attending to me would be about as empowering as attending a klan rally…as for trans folk the hate would be the same, hate based on what we are…and I cannot help but question the sincerity of a person who attends mich and says they are a trans ally as they give their monetary support to such an openly transphobic organization

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