Thursday, August 24, 2006

Talking Space.

There's been some fuss lately about the whole Michigan Womyn's festival and their policy in 
regards to trans-women vs. "bio-women."   This has been addressed elsewhere by people 
who understand the whole thing much better than I do, but there is one aspect of it that I'd like 
to address.

A lot of the comments I've been reading deal with the whole "segregationist" nature of the 
festival itself; that is, the fact that they exclude anyone, including men, is seen as a wrong step.  
 I disagree.  

Here's the thing: minority groups--no, wait.  Let's define our terms, first.  Minority/majority relationships have little to do with the actual relative sizes of the groups in question, and everything to do with their relative power.  Thus, even though women outnumber men, they
hold fewer of the reins of power in modern society and are thus a disadvantaged, or minority, group.  The same goes when you compare people of colour to whites, gays to straights, the poor to the rich, and so on.

So.   One thing about majority groups is that they are used to being in charge (because most of the time, they are). You put them in a situation where something needs to be done, 
they want to take charge and make sure that it gets done the best way.   Often with the best of 
intentions, they talk over the minorities around them, leaving them without a voice in what might be their own issues.  This is why separatist women's groups exist, and why they are important.  They give women a place where their own voices can be heard (straight, white men have no need for such places,  because their voices are heard everywhere already.  To quote the sage Homer Simpson, "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are.").

That said, I agree that the refusal to allow trans-womyn into the festival is unfair and prejudicial.

This will probably be the last time I try to handle something deep.

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