Lorrraine (lorrraine) wrote in festforallwomyn,

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On Boycotts (public)

Hi All,

I wanted to share some of my personal thoughts about boycotts.I'm speaking only for myself and I would love to hear what other folks think.

I have heard a few folks agitating on the web to return to the days of boycotting Fest. To the best of my knowledge no organized boycott exists at this time. I hope it stays that way. I believe that an organized boycott would make other ways of bringing about change at Fest much more difficult, would not bring about positive change at Fest, and would damage Fest.

I also believe that boycotts have done some good in the past. I also honor and appreciate the choice made by individual womyn now and in the past and future not to attend Fest because of the treatemnt of Trans Womyn.

An organized boycott would reduce the number of Womyn who want to welcome and fully include Trans Womyn at Fest.It would do so both by persuading some womyn not to attend, and by discouraging womyn who want to attend from supporting Trans Womyn. A boycott divides all womyn into two groups, Trans Womyn's supporters who do not go to Fest and non-supporters who go to Fest.

Previous changes have happened at Fest, such as allowing BDSM in the Twilight Zone, because of the work of Womyn within Fest. The more womyn who support welcoming and including Trans Womyn within Fest, the more it becomes clear that statements favoring exclusion don't represent everyone at Fest, but only a small vocal minority.

Lisa Vogel can and will resist a boycott forever. She is a proud, strong willed, womon, who identifies as a lifelong lesbian feminist and who has devoted her life to standing up for what she believes in against any outside pressure. Lisa Vogel has land, money, and a sizeable core group of womyn who will attend Fest no matter what. A lot of womyn care more about Fest than they do about Trans Womyn one way or another. These core Fest supporters will continue to attend no matter how Fest organizers respond to Trans Womyn.

A boycott could shrink Fest. It could harm Fest by reducing the diversity of womyn who choose to attend. A boycott cannot force Lisa Vogel to change her mind.

Boycotts have done some good in the past. They have made people around the world aware of the issue of exclusion of Trans Womyn in a very real and concrete way. Boycotts empowered Trans Womyn to take active roles and leadership roles in responding to our own exclusion. Boycotts made it clear that organizing for inclusion needed to involve Trans Womyn in active roles.

Official exclusion of Trans Womyn from Feminist, Lesbian, and, Womyn-only spaces is slowly coming to an end. De facto exclusion remains in a lot of places, but that too is slowly becoming less prevalent. Even at Fest, Trans Womyn can openly attend and find welcome from other attendees if not from Lisa Vogel.

An organized boycott becomes very problematic now. It becomes an especially large problem when folks other than Trans Womyn try to tell Trans Womyn how we should organize to resist our own discrimination.

I still respect that individual Womyn refuse to give money to an organization that does not fully welcome Trans Womyn. I respect that individual Womyn refuse to enter a space that does not fully welcome Trans Womyn. I encourage any Womon who makes such a choice to make her choice and her reasons known to the Fest office, not just this year, but every year that they make such a decision.

I think that both the decision to walk away from Fest and the decision to stay at Fest and work alongside Trans Womyn for change have merit.

I dislike the idea of a boycott because I don't like the idea of telling womyn what to do. A boycott says the only right answer is to leave. I think that any answer that shows respect for all Womyn, including Trans Womyn, is a right answer.

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For me the boycott sort of made sense if transwomen were not going to be allowed at fest at all.

but now that they are selling tickets to transwomen... it seems really counter-productive. If all the inclusion-supportive people are told not to go, then transwomen are going to be greeted only by people who don't want "them" there. It seems like it would be much better to encourage people to attend and to be openly inclusion-supportive so that when a traswoman does enter the festival, she can look around and see that other women welcome her and support her.

I also want to say that I think a LOT of women really just have no idea what this is all about. Even my friend, who is coming with me this year... I told her I wanted to camp with Fest For All Womyn so we were talking about it and I could tell she was uncomfortable. I asked her what her feelings were. She said "I just don't understand... I mean, if they are Men now, why are they at a womens festival?" She's been to fest three times and she STILL thought the issue was about FtMs. When I explained that this was about MtF... people who live as WOMEN now, she replied "Of course they should be there!"

we talked about this stuff for awhile... and part of why she was so confused was that at her first festival, Camp Trans people were talking to women in the line. a couple of men talked to her. She assumed they were FtM and wanted to be at fest but weren't allowed and were upset about it.

I hope that I worded all that okay.
my intentions are always good... but I don't have much experience talking about these issues and I sometimes sort of fumble around.
If I fucked something up, let me know. I want to learn to be the most respectful ally I can be.
here here, lorrraine! as i can respect people that chose to not support institutions financially that do not allow trans people inside...i cannot support people that are calling for a mass boycott and condemning individuals that do very valid and very visable work "inside". i do not believe that there is a right way or a wrong way. i believe that all ways brought together in solidarity are what make change occur. it is the strength of many voices all together in many different forms that fosters change. that is the power of a movement. no right way. no wrong way.

and if everyone were to boycott this year - then the few but fierce voices on the BB win because we are no longer in "their" festival. not to mention that i am whole heartedly stepping back and listening to the Trans Womyn that have taken active roles this year...seeing what they want...what they feel...what they need. also, like gingerstarr says, i find multiple people EVERY SINGLE YEAR that still do not understand that there is/was a policy or what it says and/or what it means. every year. i'm not ready to give up the belief that the people i talk with every year hopefully bring that message home with them to wherever they're from and it spreads from there.

i would also like to say that i do believe there was a time for a boycott in the past. i stand behind CT's choice last year to call out for victory. and i believe that this year is a year to step back and see where things move. i firmly believe and feel the power of womyn creating this change from within and the power of womyn fighting from the outside as well.

as for me...this year my main focus is visabilty. more than a yellow armband and some flyers - i plan to have my banner/posters/flyers/armbands/shirts/ect waving at all times. because i am a MWMF womon. i am a part of this movement. my voice, my dissent, my politics, my words do matter as part of creating this community. LV owns the land...not the community.