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Emily Dievendorf- creator of the largest anti-Lesbian boycott in history

This afternoon Equality Michigan announced that Executive Director Emily Dievendorf has resigned. The surprise announcement comes on the heels of the withdrawal of support by The National Center for Lesbian Rights and The National LGBTQ Task Force for the controversial anti-Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival boycott authored by Dievendorf last year.

Dievendorf, a “Bisexual Rights” activist partnered with a male, organized the contentious boycott against members of the lesbian community who support the iconic annual 40-year-strong women-only music festival. The boycott targeted Lesbian artists, Lesbian musicians, and Lesbian vendors, as well as attendees of the event, calling for a financial attack on the women’s livelihoods. The justification for this boycott was Equality Michigan’s claim that lesbianism is a form of discrimination against male people, and that affinity groups based on the female experience are unfairly discriminatory against males. Last August, Dievendorf persuaded many national organizations that had formerly purported to advocate for lesbians to join the Equality Michigan campaign against Lesbian and Women’s Rights.

Since that time, Equality Michigan and all the signatories of the boycott have experienced a hemorrhaging of support, both financial and volunteer, from lesbians and the allies of lesbians and women. In effect, the boycott of lesbians and women resulted in the opposite effect: a withdrawal of support from the so-called “LGBT” organizations by the lesbians being boycotted. Somehow, this came as a big surprise to these organizations, who had long ago abandoned lesbian and women’s interests yet apparently believed that the ongoing, foundational, steady support of the very women fueling their “LGBT” orgs would continue even if they were targeted, insulted, and their livelihoods harmed. Finally, last week, NCLR and The Task Force, two of the largest signatories of the boycotts, publicly withdrew their names.

Two months ago, Dievendorf posted a muddled, confused statement on Facebook expressing her puzzlement over the withdrawal of lesbian support from her now formally anti-lesbian organization. It read:

Read the rest of this entry »

NCLR's Kate Kendell

NCLR’s Kate Kendell

Many in the Lesbian community were shocked last year when the National Center for Lesbian Rights, headed by Kate Kendell, announced that the first and only boycott in the history of the org would be against the rights of lesbians to hold private events that exclude males.

The NCLR, formerly a Lesbian Rights organization had, unbeknownst to some, shifted their mission to prioritize the rights of men, particularly wealthy heterosexual males who want to “identify as lesbians”. The Task Force (formerly the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force), headed by Rea Carey, followed suit.

After extended outcry, mockery, and withdrawal of support from the lesbian community Kendell announced this week that NCLR was reversing their stance on the boycott and requesting the name of their org be removed from the petition issued by the head of Michigan Equality, Emily Dievendorf,  a self-described “bisexual rights” activist partnered with a man.

Sara Toce at the Windy City Times quotes Kendell:

 “As you know, last summer NCLR signed the petition sponsored by Equality Michigan calling on the organizers of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival ( Michfest ) to embrace the presence of transgender women at the iconic gathering. In the wake of our signing, you contacted us to express your disappointment and anger that NCLR would sign a petition which called for a boycott of the festival.

 Many of the letters we received recognized transgender women as women and sisters in struggle, while also arguing that the intention of Michfest does not diminish the lived experience of transgender women.

 Since then, we have been involved in a number of conversations with Michfest womyn, Equality Michigan, transgender leaders and colleagues who signed the petition. These conversations have made clear that there are essential values and perspectives we all share and that the petition was not going to be an effective vehicle for a resolution.

 NCLR has removed our name from the petition and will be actively engaged in conversations in which we honor our differences while also pursuing a conclusion that supports the gender identity and inclusion of all women in Michfest. We have faith that such a resolution is possible.

 This entire process has been one of great learning for me and, while we may disagree on some issues, I think there are many values we share. I signed the petition on behalf of NCLR because our core passion and commitment is that we all be able to live fully and be embraced as our authentic selves.

 We are grounded in some deeply held principles, including the belief that discrimination and bigotry against lesbians is rooted in sexism, misogyny and the devaluation of women. We do not believe it is possible to win liberation for lesbians in a world where misogyny thrives. We also do not believe we can end the oppression of women and lesbians in a world where transgender women are reviled and targeted.

 NCLR has come to a deeper understanding of what Michfest means to our community and seeks to honor that through this process. We also acknowledge the Michfest organizers have been involved in an ongoing conversation over the years on this issue. We are committed to honest and forthright dialogue as a more constructive means for seeking resolution and common ground.

 Sincerely, Kate”

Rea Carey of The Task Force

Rea Carey of The Task Force

Today, I was forwarded an email sent out by Rea Carey of The Task Force. Like Kendell’s it was sent out to women who had written in protest of the boycott. It reads:

“Greetings,

Last year, the National LGBTQ Task Force signed onto a petition organized by Equality Michigan which called upon the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (Michfest) to fully welcome and include transgender women, as women, at the festival.

You took the time to write to me and I appreciate that you did – you and others shared with me your perspectives and experiences on the land that some described as “sacred,” “an annual touchstone,” iconic” and “home.” I heard that you are angry and hurt by the Task Force and other organizations signing the petition. I heard from you and others that Michfest is a truly historic and transformative annual event that has influenced, inspired and helped to liberate millions of womyn/women from the daily trials and tribulations of misogyny and sexism. It holds a very special place in the hearts of lesbians and other womyn/women.

In the months between then and now, I have talked with womyn/women who have attended, womyn/women who would like to attend, and other people who have a variety of views. I’ve talked with our colleagues at Equality Michigan, leaders of other organizations who have been engaged in this, and with transgender women. From these conversations, I have gleaned shared values, differing opinions, and have come to a view that in order to move forward in any type of dialogue we must move beyond the petition.

I am writing to let you know that the Task Force has asked that our name be removed from the Equality Michigan petition and we will be seeking other ways to be in dialogue about Michfest’s intention regarding transgender women. As we reflected on the petition’s contents and read carefully letters from concerned people like you, we came to understand that the point in the original petition that called for a boycott of vendors and performers was misaligned with our own support for womyn/women artists, craftspeople and musicians. Although that point was withdrawn from the petition, we recognize and share the deep concern about the possible economic impact on womyn/women striving every day to make a living through their art, craft and music.

Please know that the Task Force’s view regarding the MichFest intention is rooted in our core value of inclusiveness and the festival’s extraordinary transformative power. For over 40 years, the Task Force has worked for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer identified people in all areas of our lives – whether it be in the workplace, the government, companies and, yes, in our own community.

The Task Force will remain in active discussion with MichFest womyn/women, Equality Michigan, transgender colleagues, and other organizations that signed the petition. The Task Force is committed to productive discussions in which we honor our differences and also pursue our desire for MichFest to fully welcome the gender identities of all womyn/women at the festival, including transgender women.

For over 40 years, the Task Force has worked for a changed world. A world in which we can all experience liberation. A world in which misogyny cannot thrive. A world in which womyn/women, lesbians, bisexual women and transgender women no longer experience sexism, targeted attacks and the most horrible form of violence – murder. As we intensify our work to take on all of the challenges we face as a movement, know that these values are at the heart of what we do.

With care and in solidarity,
Rea”

Rumours abound that other Michfest boycott signatories, many of which like NCLR and The Task Force were once (at least tacitly) supportive of Lesbian and Women’s Rights are undergoing similar pressure to reverse what can only be described as an aggressively anti-women, anti-lesbian, stance.

To all lesbians reading this, and to our allies: Please withdraw all support, financial and otherwise, from organizations- especially those who purport to be “LGBT” centric- if those organizations do not explicitly support the rights of lesbians to hold lesbian-only or women-only events.

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Apologize To Michigan

April 29, 2014

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The Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival is a weeklong private event produced annually since 1976 by and for people who are female. For the last ten years, groups of male transgenders have protested the existence of the festival. Not only protested, but terrorized and harassed and tried to sabotage and destroy the festival. Their reason for doing so is their strong belief that people born female have no right to congregate on the basis of that commonality. The male transgender activists have literally formed an encampment each year outside the perimeter of the Michfest festival grounds, which they patrol with weapons and plan sabotage missions into the camp– to write graffiti, to cut the water lines to the handicapped showers, to slash tires, to wreck tents, to flier the camp with pictures of their penises. Last year many of the male transgenders fled their own encampment out of fear of the growing violence of their own group members. Why are these men so angry? Why do they want to destroy a private women’s music festival? Why do they want to force women to look at their penises?

The answer is that these men are angry because they weren’t invited to the festival, because people born male are not invited. Transgender male activists believe females have no right to exclusively female spaces, such as female sports programs, female support groups, female health services, female educational grants, female schools, female fitness centers, female domestic violence centers, female homeless shelters, sex-segregated prisons, female camps, sex-segregated hospital bed assignments, female bathrooms, female reproductive services, etc.

They believe that females have no rights to any space or service or gathering, public or private, that excludes the presence of males, or that exists for the benefit of female fellowship, or for the protection of females from potential male predation. It’s true! That’s what transgender activists believe, and that is what they are fighting- sometimes literally with violence and terrorism – to enforce on females. It’s also worth noting that female spaces and organizations (whether public or private) that exist for Lesbian women are the target of most of the terrorism harassment and boundary violation of these women-hating, homophobic males.

Some of these male-supremacist activists violate the boundaries of female spaces in the most direct manner. They simply ignore the wishes of the women and insert themselves in female spaces in a hostile act of unwanted penetration.

Here is a partial list of incidents involving these men at this year’s festival, as posted by Graceaware on the Michfest forum:

0.1. a female-born womon is told “I am more woman than you” by a trans woman

0.2. a trans woman’s detailed narrative about masturbating with her penis and cock ring is read aloud in a sex-for-one workshop for pre-orgasmic womyn, triggering the sexual trauma of one woman severely and upsetting and triggering several others. (Alice K)

0.3. a trans woman with a penis is seen nude at the shower by a woman born female and her four-year-old granddaughter

0.4. a trans woman’s erection is noticed at a party in the Zone

0.5.a penis is seen at the WOC Burlesque show

0.6. a WHITE trans woman wears a “Trans Women Belong Here” t-shirt to the WOC Burlesque show, offending womyn of color with the proclamation that she belongs in WOC space (Angel S)

0.7. a trans woman, seemingly high, wanders into the Teen Tent, causing a pre-teen to be asked by the other teens there to leave for her own safety due to her pro-Fest boundary t-shirt

0.8. the clothesline of a woman born female is stolen after she hangs up her shirt with “No They Don’t” on it (in response to “Trans Women Belong Here.”)

0.9. “IT WAS HERE” and the symbol for trans with an anarchist A in the middle was carved into janes at triangle.

0.11. many female butches’ sex and gender are questioned in the ONE place they used to be able to count on that NOT happening.

0.12. the stories of violation, trauma, and triggers on the Land as told by women born female are discounted and disbelieved.

0.13. in the “Allies in Understanding” workshop, a wbw who was paired up with a trans woman (Tobi H) asked the trans woman if she was trans. Tobi said yes. The wbw did not want to discuss the issue with a trans woman, she preferred to discuss it with another wbw with the opposite opinion so she did not engage. AT the end of the workshop Tobi said that the wbw she was paired up with “made assumptions about her” and therefore chose not to engage.

0.14. A trans woman elbowed a wbw in the breast as she shoved her way onto the dance floor at Night Stage (Alice K)

0.15. a wbw was harassed late at night by several trans women who followed her on the path and said things like “how does it feel to be the last one out late at night?” as the shone flashlights in her eyes.

0.16. a wbw at a fire was harassed by a trans woman who tried to press her into a conversation about the Issue, and would not take no for an answer, forcing the wbw to leave the fire.”

Who are these men that ignore the boundaries of women and expose themselves to four year old girls in women’s showers at a private women’s festival?

Let us start the list:

Alice Kalafarski

Alice Kalafarski – attends a pre-orgasmic workshop for women- many of whom are healing from male sexual predation and violence- he shares a graphic description of using a cock ring to beat his meat. When women attendees are traumatized he poo-poos them, and laughs. (Horrifyingly, he claims to volunteer at a rape crisis center) Says he snuck into fest because it was where “Michfest was made for queer women to celebrate their shared sisterhood and give each other lots of orgasms” and he wanted to see if he could find a lesbian to have sex with. Refused to perform the two work shifts all attendees are required to perform as condition of attendance. Interrupts a ritual goddess ceremony to announce to the women that “goddess stuff is silly”. Pushes women out of the way to force his way onto a crowded dancefloor- elbows one of them in the chest. (More incidents will be added as they come to light).

Tobi Hill-Meyer

Tobi Hill-Meyer-  Calls himself a trans butch lesbian (“TransDyke”). Protests flyers posted at fest honoring butch women as discriminatory, because the flyers didn’t mention that “men can be butch lesbians too”. Says: “Lisa Vogul hasn’t changed her stance saying that trans women shouldn’t come. But the fact is, we are coming.” Allowed other men to use his armband so they could enter without paying “I know that at least one person was re-using my arm band and I was under the impression that there were some other folks who re-used an armband or two or three as well.”

Gemma Seymour

Gemma Seymour

Gemma Seymour – A heterosexual man and father who trans-itioned into genderism in his forties: “I was born a woman, from a woman, and will always be a woman. My cunt may be only in my head for the time being, but at least I don’t use it like a dick.”

*UPDATE: Gemma is now claiming he has never ever set foot into Michfest, only encamped at the perimeter and stood at the gate. More info will be posted when available.

*UPDATE: Gemma Seymour’s Michfest “walking stick” :

https://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/camp-trans-organizer-gemma-seymours-michfest-walking-stick/

Annie Danger

Annie Danger

Annie Danger-  Penned the widely distributed “Open Letter to my friends who go to Michfest” where he asks attendees to ““Please do things while you’re there that show me that you really respect my body. My life. My womanhood.” And states: “I feel hurt and I am writing because want to trust that you have my back as a transwoman. I am having a hard time separating your attendance of MWMF and your silence with me about this issue from your level of respect for me; for my body.” You can see what he means by respecting his body And what he means by his “womanhood” if you skip to the six minute mark in the following video which he posted on youtube in children’s section (since removed by moderators).  *Warning- not for children or weak stomachs! *Second warning! Really, you’ve been warned! Once seen can never be unseen!

Skip to 6 minute mark. HERE. 

June Day

June Day

June Day / Angel N. S. – Self-described “Queer kinky trans redheaded pornstar” and Software Engineer. Male who performs in Tobi Hill-Meyer’s (above) lame and women-hating, lesbian-hating Porn movies. Seen in the Zone and at Daystage. Wore “Trans Women Belong Here” shirt into WOC space.

——————————————————————–More to be added—–

Michfest attendees have tried for years to discuss, talk, explain, ask nicely, converse, dialogue, and mediate with these men. They have tried to get the men to respect the boundaries of their private space- one week a year for females to gather at a private event for females only. Well guess what. It hasn’t worked. These men will never ever respect the boundaries of women, or respect the rights of females to congregate according to their constitutional rights as human beings. To these men, people born female are NOT human beings, and have no civil rights. No amount of talk will get them to respect the experiences and rights of those who are born and raised female in a male-supremacist world.

I’m going to continue to profile these men so that a list can be compiled before next year’s festival. I will add names and pictures to this post as they come in. Perhaps a separate website can be created to track the trespassers and identify them. Perhaps photos of the trespassers can be posted around the festival next year so the men can be escorted off the festival grounds. Perhaps next year womyn can photograph all the trespassers during festival so we can compile a complete list of predatory males.

When a man won’t take “No” for an answer, women must take whatever measures are necessary to protect their boundaries, their rights, and themselves. Enforce Boundaries, don’t just ask for them, because your requests are being denied.