So recently at a Julie Ruin show (Kathleen Hanna’s new joint), folks unrolled a banner in the balcony that said “APOLOGIZE FOR MICHIGAN.”
Got that? The woman who isn’t playing this year, and hasn’t played for about 6 years, is being told to apologize to the trans community for ever having set foot at Michigan. Bow down, bitches.
I want everyone to recognize that Michigan is a space of liberation. All those individuals out there who have never set foot there, who only know it through the rampant ignorance they have read on the internet, Michigan is not fucking Lillith Fair. It isn’t a fucking white party. It sure as shit isn’t a Dinah Shore skirts weekend. Michigan is revolutionary. I am showing these pictures, because words can’t explain it until you are there.
Males are not allowed on the land (over the age of 10) except to suck the shit out of the porta-janes. We don’t even allow music with male voices in it. It is a space where we allow. females. to. reign. In that space, there are not threats of male violence. We walk in the woods, at night, without light and without fear. And for our trouble, every year when we show up there is graffiti from the local guys: ”DIE DYKES.” ”WE ARE GONNA GET YOU BITCHES.” One year, they even snuck on the land and hung the little girl’s dolls in nooses from the trees. Sound familiar?
And still we rise.
Why? Because in that space, women do everything. They build the stages, they put in the plumbing, they hang the lights, they put up the scaffolding, they cook the food, they chainsaw the trees, they build the files, they counsel, they serve. THEY PROTECT.
We leave our children to play without fear.
We leave our bodies out, as is, without shame.
We present in all of our gender non-conforming beauty, without ridicule.
We are fat, hairy, femme, gorgeous, bearded, skinny, pregnant, masectomied, and any and all combination stated and not. At Michigan, we are everything, unapologetically. All while being female. Clearly. Without question. We are this world.
We release from our bodies the years of protection and armoring that we carry within and upon ourselves; we dismantle our built up walls to protect ourselves from unwanted ogling, attention, violent words and thoughts. We release from our bodies things we have never lived without in patriarchy. We release the “close your legs,” “act more ladylike,” “ooh, you bled through your pants,” “stop being bossy”, “girls don’t…,” “I can smell your stinky pussy,” the”can’t you wear a dress?” We put it down entirely. It is gone. And you don’t understand the amount of space that fear holds in you until it is gone. And in that time that it is gone, the you of you fills that space. And that bell cannot be unrung.
and that you of you helps you survive the year a better, bigger, and more complete female.
This is enough to declare war. Because any woman who has become embodied is unstoppable. She is an amazon and a warrior and can do and will do anything. And this is why these people are trying to destroy or shame women out of this space.
There are several other women’s music festivals that welcome all women. These people aren’t going to those. They don’t care about the culture, about the music, about the recovery. They care only about the dominance.
This isn’t about equality. It is the patriarchal, colonial intent of “MINE.” And the women who assist these efforts are so brainwashed, so accustomed to male domination, that they walk alongside and facilitate it. The females who need this space the most are working hardest to undermine it.
I don’t fear Michigan disappearing because over 40 years, the community of Michigan (all those other weeks of the year) have spread; the tendrils are huge. We are immediate and real and true and we are all over the globe with those lights inside of us. So that cannot be erased; that power is in the world.
But there are more lives to be saved, and these people are trying to tear that down.
So for all trans women of conscience. I beg you. Get your girls. Speak out like Calpernia Addams in PUBLIC. Speak out using pseudonyms. Speak out, publicly, on FB, everywhere in support of this space. Of understanding what patriarchy does to females and how we need to recover from it. I beg you.
To females who understand what is happening, please, continue to fight for your right to survival. Please buy a ticket and support this festival. There is sliding scale. There is financial assistance. There is child care. There is disabled camping. There is ASL interpretation everywhere, at all events as well as deaf camping and meet-ups. There are ride shares. There is a tent just for women of color. Even if you think you can’t get there, you can. You can come as a worker which would make it free except for transportation and your tent. So get there if you can.
To those women who don’t know, haven’t been, don’t understand: this is not about going to a bar. Ask yourselves, really, like try to interrogate, how Michigan harms you. Ask yourselves, really, like try to interrogate, how female people might have a different road to hoe and why this might be a much different experience for them. Do some research. Note how Nancy Burklholder (the woman who launched a thousand ships) discusses her experience with the festival; how she was treated with respect and in safety even in the disagreement over her presence. Ask yourself if that would have happened in an all male environment for a F2M person? Ask any of the trans women who have attended against the wishes of the festival (Alice Kalafarski, who by the way, noted that she felt “out of place”) without harm. Think about that. Think about why.
But understand what you are doing and why. Because we don’t have spaces like this available to us. We ask you to understand what it is you are trying to take down. This isn’t about equality, it is about liberation.
snowflakeespecial mindergenfield auntyorthodox transcultist, help us. Pleas