Radical Feminist Lesbian Festival

An intimate gathering of radical feminists
May 25-28, 2007

The Radical-Feminist Lesbian Festival is a lesbian festival open to all radical feminist womyn (lesbian, straight, bi,undeclared, other). If you know that men are waging a war against women and that rape, battering, incest, pornography, and prostitution are some of the main instruments of male supremacy; and you’re unalterably opposed to all forms of domination and oppression, you share our radical feminist beliefs. This festival is designed to bring together womyn who share these beliefs for sustenance, support, encouragement, and plotting and scheming about the overthrow of patriarchy. See FAQ for more details.

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9 responses to “Radical Feminist Lesbian Festival

  1. AWESOME!!!

  2. AWESOME!!!

    Just a bit 🙂

  3. Spotted Elephant says:
    “The Radical-Feminist Lesbian Festival is a lesbian festival open to all radical feminist womyn (lesbian, straight, bi,undeclared, other).”

    Alas, but this festival is not open to ALL women:

    “And what about transgender issues, you might wonder? Surgical, chemical, and psychological mutilation does, in our view, fall under the definition of “harming.” In what kind of world is mutilating the bodies of individuals possibly a valid solution to the social problem of oppression? We are a group who came to political, Feminist understanding through our cumulative life experiences as girls and women, and we intend to stay this way. There may be times and places to debate these issues, but our Gatherings are not those times or places.”

    (Excerpted from FAQ #5: Every Group Has Lines That Can’t Be Crossed. Fess Up-What Are Yours? See: http://radlesfes.org/RLF/FAQ.htm)

    I am really saddened by this. Radical feminism has so much to offer to so many people and yet, so many of its adherents continue to stumble on anti-trans prejudice and exclusion.

    Granted, it’s a private festival and not a public service/accommodation. So, people have every right to decide who comes and who doesn’t. Nevertheless, on an *ethical* level… it leaves much to be desired.

  4. spotted elephant

    stacym-I didn’t read the FAQ. Bear with me, as I’m still learning and trying to figure things out for myself.

    I think it’s vitally important that every oppressed group has their own space to feel safe, to vent, to do whatever. So I think each of these 3 groups are very important:
    -trans only spaces
    -women born women only spaces
    -trans & women born women only spaces

    and I would put special emphasis on the last group. I think trans (I’m sorry, I don’t know which is preferred: trans or trans people?) and radical feminists desperately need to be talking and working through issues-such as this FAQ-together.

    I’m completely guessing, as I don’t know what the number of festivals/meetings really is, but if there were more opportunities for trans people and radfems to get together, the exclusionary meetings wouldn’t have the same impact, because there would be plenty of common meetings. What do you think?

  5. As far as language is concerned, things are pretty fluid: the language seems to be developing by the month and by the day. The prefix “trans” is often appended to many different words, on the fly, so to speak. However, tranwomen is generally used for MtF people, transmen is generally used for FtM people and transgender is often used as an umbrella term that covers a wide array of gender expression including but not limited to the aforementioned two groups of people. There’s also genderqueer, which includes people who do not see themselves as fitting into any gendered box. There is some debate over whether genderqueer exists as a group that is included within or is separate from transgender.

    To be honest, I find very little room for compromise on the issue of women’s space that excludes transwomen. Do people have a right to exclude transwomen from women only events? Well, yeah. However, do I see it as ethical? Absolutely not. It excludes only one group of women from an event that includes women of all other walks of life. That’s problematic and there’s simply no way of getting around it.

    For me, the one possible compromise lies here: having women only events that include separate spaces for both transwomen and cisgenderwomen (meaning non-transwomen) as a subset of a larger common space for everyone to intermingle. Under this compromise, no one is excluded from the event, but everyone has a chance to have time within subgroups of people who they might feel somewhat more comfortable around.

    On a more personal note, out of all the different branches of feminism that I encountered years ago, radical feminism made the most sense to me. Last winter, I began to discover many radical feminist blogs on the web. I was really excited. It was so refreshing to see radical feminist perspectives given a voice. The more “generic” feminist blogs felt kind of watered down in comparison.

    After few months of reading, however, a general pattern of anti-trans exclusion and prejudice became evident. I encountered so many radical feminists who embraced these perspectives that I no longer feel comfortable identifying as a radical feminist. I embrace much of what radical feminism espouses, but on these issues—transgender people and transwomen’s inclusion in women’s space—I must part company. But hey, that’s the nice thing about feminism: no one owns the concept. If one person’s feminism doesn’t make sense to another person, then she (or he) can formulate their own form of feminism.

    One thing that truly saddens me, though, is that the din over trans exclusion and anti-trans prejudice could very well drown out the general ideas and messages of radical feminism. If radical feminism continues to be associated with a prejudicial view of transpeople, the likelihood of this happening increases—particularly among other feminists. Witness the recent events at I Blame the Patriarchy and the multi-blog controversy that has ensued.

  6. spotted elephant

    stacym-

    Do people have a right to exclude transwomen from women only events? Well, yeah. However, do I see it as ethical? Absolutely not. It excludes only one group of women from an event that includes women of all other walks of life. That’s problematic and there’s simply no way of getting around it.

    I’m not trying to be dense, but it seemed like what I suggested was a way around it. Do you think it’s valuable to have transwomen only space? Obviously I’m an outsider, but I would think that would be extremely important, just like woc only space. So in the same light, I’d say that women born women only space has merit too.

    But please note my emphasis on women-only space-meaning ALL women (including transwomen) are welcome. Maybe I’m blowing smoke, but it seems to me that the lack of these inclusionary spaces is the greater problem, rather than ______-only spaces. Because of the lack of venues for transwomen and women born women to spend time together, current meetings are exclusionary since they’re not another type of meeting, but rather the only type. Does this make any sense?

  7. Sorry if this is a duplicate, I’m having trouble posting comments here.

    Just FTR, every women’s festival in the US except RLF, Michigan, and the landdyke gathering is open not only to transwomen, but to MEN. These three festivals are the only “women-born-women” or women-only space in the United States. AFAIK, the landdyke gathering is the only lesbian-only space.

  8. spotted elephant

    Amy-I had no idea that there were only three festivals limited to women born women. That puts a whole different spin on it, eh?

  9. Unfortunately, if the womens’ festival in question brings in MEN, then transwomen are still not participating in woman’s only spaces.

    I have a need to get away from men, too.

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