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Feminist festival that ‘bans’ trans women to end after 40 years

Naith Payton April 22, 2015
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The founder of a feminist festival that bans transgender women has announced this year’s event will be the last.

Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival – which says that only “womyn-born womyn” should attend, and not transgender women – has long been dogged by accusations of transphobia.

However, it has been announced that the long-running music festival is finally coming to an end.

Founder Lisa Vogel said on Facebook: “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.

“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.”

Over the years, artists such as Indigo Girls pulled out of the event, and LGBT groups boycotted it, over the festival’s “womyn-born-womyn only” policy.

Ms Vogel said in August last year: “We have said that this space, for this week, is intended to be for womyn who were born female, raised as girls and who continue to identify as womyn.

“It is not a policy, or a ban on anyone … We do not and will not question anyone’s gender. Rather, we trust the greater queer community to respect this intention, leaving the onus on each individual to choose whether or how to respect it.”

Related topics: Michfest, Michigan, Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, US

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