Portland’s TransActive Gender Center embroiled in Controversy: Founder responds by posting bizarre “Transgender Children Conspiracy” video
May 12, 2015
TransActive Gender Center, the Portland-based transgender children’s lobbying group that bills itself as “the only transgender youth nonprofit in the country with actual office space,” came under fire last week when it was revealed on GenderTrender that the organization had falsified its status as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization. TransActive announced that it is actually sponsored under the purview of another non-profit organization, which it then refused to name. Their spokesperson further admitted that TransActive had never in their 8 year existence made their financials publicly available as required by 501(c)3 non-profits under federal law. “We will, of course, make our financial statement public… on our timetable, not yours.” Said founder, director, and spokesperson Jenn Burleton on Friday, going on to insist that “zero percent” of TransActive funding comes from individuals or organizations that financially profit from the experimental practice of medically transgendering children. (The process espoused by TransActive renders the children both sterile and lifetime-dependent on an off-label pharmaceutical regimen). “We choose not to disclose our fiscal partner’s identity because we operate in most respects independently of them.” Burleton stated, clarifying in all caps when questioned: “They are the fiscal SPONSOR, not partner.”
Criticism was also leveled at TransActive for their “In A Bind” program, which sends out chest binders directly to children in unmarked packages so they can compress their rib cages and crush pubescent breast tissue without their legal guardian’s awareness or consent.
TransActive continued to court controversy today as founder and director Jenn Burleton uploaded a bizarre self-produced video about a Transgender Children “Conspiracy”. The video, which has been characterized as “unhinged” by some observers, plays portions of videos by transgender activists Mark Angelo Cummings and Lynna Arielle (hosts of the long-running Transition Radio program) overlaid with commentary by the TransActive head.
Burleton accuses the two of endangering children by engaging in frank public discussion of transgender de-transition, and also claims that children who transition in adolescence change their minds zero percent of the time. “…research shows that adolescents who present with gender variance, or transgender identity go on to be transgender older adolescents and adults 100% of the time.” [sic. bolding by him]. Burleton accuses de-transitioner “liars”, the “radical feminist left”, the “radical christian right” and the “black helicopter fringe” of…. It isn’t clear what. A conspiracy to create a conspiracy?
More confusingly, Burleton posts statements confirming that the medicines that his TransActive group lobbies government health agencies and legislatures to normalize have serious side-effects, are controversial, and he even posts part of a New York Times article from 2001 regarding an $875 million dollar settlement paid out by the manufacturers to settle criminal charges they had “illegally manipulated the Medicare and Medicaid programs”. Whew! Which side is Burleton arguing?!
It gets stranger as he posts a long montage from conservative media sources (Fox news, etc.) criticizing the practice of medically transgendering children. Then Jenn posts a definition of autogynephilia, followed up with accusations that transactivist Mark Angelo Cummings is “currying approval” from “radical feminists” as part of a “scam” , the point of which Burleton doesn’t define, (but it certainly wouldn’t include any monetary gain!). Anyway the whole thing goes on and on in a very long, breathless and disjointed fashion, tons of verbal abuse is heaped onto Burleton’s purported enemies, most especially Mark Angelo Cummings. The whole presentation is alarming, in the sort of way that one hopes that some members of Jenn’s support system might want to check in on him. It’s alarming in the sort of way that one might be concerned that this individual heads an organization that works largely with vulnerable children under the age of twelve. Only one part of his message is perfectly clear: TransActive Gender Center’s Jenn Burleton is very, very upset at whatever it is that Mark Angelo Cummings has to say.
*UPDATE: Mark Angelo Cummings and Lynna Arielle have just uploaded a new video, where they discuss the TransActive controversies on GenderTrender last week (without mentioning the source, naturally), as well as the practice of medically transgendering children in general. Watch it here:
May 11, 2015
April 30, 2015
April 29, 2015
Lisa Vogel, the creator and visionary behind the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival announced today that the legendary multi-generational women’s encampment and music festival will end this year.
After four decades of overcoming every sort of challenge imaginable in order to create the miracle that is Michfest, Vogel posted the following announcement an hour ago on the festival’s Facebook page:
Dear Sisters, Amazon, Festival family,
It has been my honor and privilege to produce the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival for 40 years. It has been my life’s work, my deepest commitment, my constant challenge and my most profound joy. Every single thing of value I have learned in the world I have learned in the process of being part of building this beloved community. Almost every friend and family member who I cherish I have met on that hallowed ground, and every single way I have learned to put my mind/heart/shoulder into the purpose of creating something beautiful that honors womyn has come from the sweat I earned on that Land.
I am writing to tell you that the 40th Festival will be the last Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. The spirit of this community will live on forever, the friends and family we have found on the Land are eternal. Everything we have created together will feed the inspiration for what comes next. It’s possible that I will come back with something else, or that other sisters will take the inspiration of the Michigan community and create the next expression of our Amazon culture. What is true for me is that now is the time to bring this 40-year cycle to a close, stepping out on joy at our most incredible anniversary celebration.
We have known in our hearts for some years that the life cycle of the Festival was coming to a time of closure. Too often in our culture, change is met only with fear, the true cycle of life is denied to avoid the grief of loss. But change is the ultimate truth of life. Sisters – I ask you to remember that our 40 year Festival has outlived nearly all of her kin. She has served us well. I want us all to have the opportunity to experience the incredible full life cycle of our beloved Festival, consciously, with time to celebrate and yes, time to grieve.
There have been struggles; there is no doubt about that. This is part of our truth, but it is not–and never has been–our defining story. The Festival has been the crucible for nearly every critical cultural and political issue the lesbian feminist community has grappled with for four decades. Those struggles have been a beautiful part of our collective strength; they have never been a weakness.
For many of us this one week in the woods is the all too rare place and time where we experience validation for our female bodies, and where the female experience presides at the center of our community focus. A place to lay our burden down from the misogyny that pervades our lives from cradle to grave…a place to live in intergenerational community, and to live in harmony with Mother Earth. I know this is true for me. And I have a deep trust that each and every one of us can take what we have experienced on that Land and continue to create space that feeds our spirit, creates diverse community, honors our experience and supports our struggle as womyn making our way through the patriarchal world. Please take what you love about Michigan and use it to create something new and beautiful.
It is important that each and every one of us knows she is empowered to build on what we have experienced together on the Land. Everything you feel on the Land, everything you see – is something of spirit, and love, and passion for female empowerment….for womyn’s community. The Festival’s 40 years of culture and community are a powerful seed and our communal experiences have created fertile ground to plant in. I know that we will find inspiration and vision to create our next time and space.
For those of us who will be gathering for our 40th anniversary this August – let’s joyously hold up our incredible community and allow ourselves to be strong enough to consciously let go of this incarnation of her, with all the love we each hold in our beautiful hearts. Let us gather this August knowing that what we truly cherish about the Festival lives on in each of us, and more will come from this fertile ground. Let’s do this up together – Amazon proud!
I will meet you there in August – my eyes meeting yours, heart wide open.
With all of my love and respect,