Holding Beloved Community – part 2

55 Comments »

This morning, as I checked comments on yesterday’s blog post, one thoughtful commentator inquired as to how one could say that another was “in error” when one was not part of that person’s tradition. I left the following response, and realize now that my real “error” in first announcing that I would sit in silence last night was that I may not have been clear enough in my intentions. My hope is that this reply to my interlocutor will help to clarify, and further the discussion. If you have not read part 1 of this post, I request that you do so. Blessings, love, and respect.

What I feel is “in error” is not the holding of a Dianic ritual for cis-women only. It is not that this ritual occurred at Pantheacon. It was that — after the events, pain, and discussions of the last year, with so many of us doing our level best to learn from one another — we had this ritual led by a public figure who has made hateful comments which she had not retracted, or even apologized for. That this was her only offering to the Pantheacon gathering this year made it feel like even more of a slap in the face to me.

True pluralism is not simple tolerance. Pluralism requires us to make honest attempts to listen to each other and learn from one another, especially in the midst of strong disagreement. We cannot form a healthy, viable community if we only ever agree, or if we only ever say “you do your thing, I will do mine, and mostly we will ignore each other in the name of mutual tolerance.”

If we want to work toward love and justice, we must hold each other accountable sometimes and say, “This cannot stand.” Sitting in silent meditation last night was the best way I could think of to peacefully and respectfully say that, despite Z’s potent contributions to the community, the hate speech has gone on for too long.

Last night, I heard the pain and confusion in Z’s voice as she attempted – and failed – to get through her prepared statement to those gathered. I can be with her in that pain and still want to hold her accountable for words and actions. Public figures, by our sheer weight of influence, hold an even greater responsibility to do our level best to keep the Beloved Community in mind. Z’s influence, as we know, is large. This is not, therefore, only about privately held views and personal religious rites. This is about public discourse.

Pluralism requires open discourse, helped along, when possible, by private conversations. It is up to all of us to steer this process, contributing as best we can. 

Last night, instead of speaking, I sat in the public square, as it were. Eighty nine others – of mixed genders and sexual preferences – sat as well. We sat in silence, and we prayed. Some also wept. 

55 Responses to “Holding Beloved Community – part 2”

  1. Nicholas Farrell

    You always seem to have the most thought provoking articles. You and Andrew Bowen over at Project Conversion. Reading about your take on this whole transgender issue and his take on the role of the male in sexual spirituality! Amazing! :D

    Reply
  2. Spirit Fire

    Thorn, thank you so much for your strength, vision, voice and commpassion to lead us past our “sighted” lives to a “blind” one of pure love and acceptance for all. For any that have done work/studies on class & race – gender is just another piece of the same pie. For any that struggle w/ parts of Thorn’s post that label as Z budapest’s actions as wrong try replacing it with the idea of “diminished compassion” or acting with less integrity. We all have bad days and places where we get stuck. If Z would like some help getting unstuck I’ll be there for her. How about you? What else can we do to get our community unstuck and flowing with even more love?

    Reply
  3. John Beckett

    I wasn’t at Pantheacon last year and I wasn’t there this year, but I’ve read everything I could find on this issue.

    This is, I think, the best commentary I’ve seen on it. Thorn, you have acknowledged and honored the difficult and conflicting feelings surrounding this situation, while remaining true to the facts and to the principles involved.

    Leadership requires use of the Sword – to judge, to draw boundaries, to declare some things within and some things without. Wielding a sword peacefully is a major challenge, but hateful comments have no place within our – or any – community.

    I thank you for your perspective, your wisdom, and your leadership for our blessed community.

    Reply
  4. Elizabeth McNally

    Beautifully thought provoking, and spoken with dignity and sensitivity towards all. Transgender women and men have suffered much in becoming who they know they have always been within. May the discrimination and exclusion of this population cease, and may hearts and minds open to the deepening of the mysteries of the divine masculine and feminine these people embody.

    Reply
  5. rt

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful words and actions, Thorn. I was at the queer rites panel at PCon on Sunday morning and wanted to ask these very questions. I appreciate the work that Z and other feminists have done to promote women’s spirituality (and women’s rights in general), and I know they faced a lot of opposition in doing so. At the same time I cannot support the hateful words and actions that she and others have engaged in. (I didn’t ask about this partly because I didn’t want to bring down the conversation, but mostly because I wanted to hold space for people who have so often been excluded, marginalized, and hurt to speak up. And I loved the panel, by the way.) Thank you for your blog posts and your meditation. Had I not developed a cold and stayed at PCon I would have joined you. I hope that the protest gives Z some more to think about and that she begins to shift her thinking and open her heart.

    Reply
  6. Philip the Preacherman

    Thank you for writing this and for all the work you do to bring conversation and dialogue to our community. I completely agree with what you have to say in this post and your reason for sitting in silence. Thank you again for your continued work to hold each person responsible for their actions and to actually create true community.

    Reply
  7. Sarah

    Thank you for organizing us to sit. It was beautiful and important.

    With respect, I am curious about how you understand the value of cis-women-only rituals. I can have love and compassion for women who feel catagorically unsafe around men or anyone once identified as one, and I don’t want my being offended to limit other people’s private behavior. And at the same time, the politics of asserting a standard of womanhood, even if only for a few hours, trouble me deeply. So I am interested in hearing how you and other allies of the genderqueer resolve this tension. Thanks for keeping us talking.

    Reply
    • Thorn

      Sarah,

      (I oh so obviously need to get comment threading!!!)

      As I’ve said, it feels like a tricky issue and one I am not fully comfortable with. I have spoken with Dianics who run exclusively cis-women only rituals and, though I still do not fully comprehend their reasons, part of me recognizes “this is a Mystery, and as such, perhaps I need to say that I will never understand it, but that doesn’t mean it should not have a place”.

      We can use free speech and assembly laws to understand this also – we may have deep trouble with the politics of Group X, and still lobby for their right to meet. Now, some people say that meeting in a public space is the issue – and I’ve heard it argued both that Pantheacon is a public space and is *not* a public space. It is a co-created community space, at very least. So what decisions do we want to make, as a community?

      I’m drawing the line at hate speech right now, because it seems so clear to me. Until Z retracts and apologizes (or flat out says those statements I linked to in another comment were written by an imposter), I will keep pointing out that her teaching in spaces where trans brothers and sisters who are part of the Beloved Community are present is a problem. Holding a cis-woman only Dianic gathering? I will simply stay away. That is not my path. Come to a mixed community, particularly one that has been struggling with pain and trying to collectively work it out for a year? I need to point out that this feels unacceptable to me in the least violent, most compassionate way I can think of in the moment.

      Reply
  8. Shannon Moore

    Once again I am impressed with your ability to handle hurtful and difficult situations with grace.

    Reply
  9. Murias

    Thorn,
    From the deepest places in my heart, and from all of my own personal divinity, thank you so very much.

    In my tradition, according to brehonic law, when one opens a mouth unjustly, or unfairly, it was proper to sit in front of the offenders home, or place of business in peaceful unarmed silence. Had I known this was happening last night I would have offered my silence to be in front of that door.

    Respects to you and your courage.
    Murias

    Reply
    • Thorn

      Murias, I appreciate hearing about that piece of history.

      Amethyst, I am sad to hear you did not feel safe to attend this year.

      My hope is that we can all keep making attempts to act in good conscience, to speak when and where we can, and to continue to work toward love, justice, and clearer understanding.

      Reply
  10. Ursyl

    Thank-you for your continuing discussion of this issue.

    I am understanding, between this and other commentary, that the true problem is not a cis-woman only ritual as such, but statements that have been made by Z and others of a belittling and hateful nature towards other women.

    Is that correct?

    Because I do see value in space/time set aside for whatever segment of the population feels the need for a bit of such isolation, as long as such groups also come together inclusively with the greater community at other spaces/times.

    What I do not see value in is somehow proclaiming that some are real, while others are not.

    Reply
    • Thorn

      Ursyl,

      it is a tricky topic and one that many will disagree with me on, but yes, I still hold that if we are to try diversity, gay men can have their rituals and cisgender Dianics can also have theirs. I don’t comprehend it fully – being too queer myself, and loving mixing it up with all types of people for the richness of the experience – but I know too, that having been initiated into Mystery Traditions myself, sometimes those particular mysteries need to be revealed in specific ways that I, as an outsider, do not comprehend.

      Reply
  11. Laura

    I said it to you in person and I’ll say it again here: Thank you, Thorn, for organizing a peaceful protest grounded in love and respect. It was an honor to sit with you that night.

    Reply
  12. steward

    Thorn,

    you wrote in part: “I still hold that if we are to try diversity, gay men can have their rituals and cisgender Dianics can also have theirs. I don’t comprehend it fully…”

    I think this may be the sticking point for many who are feeling hurt by cis-ritual: the comprehension of why someone would need to have a specific, exclusionary ritual.

    It seems to me that metaphor is in order to comprehend this. There are so many differences among people, and many of those differences are not acknowledged or honored by society at large. One large one both politically and religiously is the issue of homosexuality: many people in the US believe that gays and lesbians *choose* to be gays and lesbians, while I think I’m fairly safe in opining that most neoPagans believe it is an innate nature of a person’s sexuality. I am reminded of boingboing’s video on “when did you choose to be straight?” :

    http://boingboing.net/2010/11/21/when-did-you-choose.html

    Trans-persons, in my opinion, do not – by and large – *choose* to identify with a different gender than their body type or genetics would indicate. However… we might all consider that there may be some persons who also do not *choose* to prefer cis-only ritual, but rather only feel a full connection to the divine in cis-only ritual. It’s just the way they are – just like straights don’t choose to be straight, gays and lesbians don’t make a choice, and so forth.

    -steward (Genetic: XXY Body type: Male Orientation: straight, although many of my gay friends say I’m “straight but queer” and I have no idea what it means – but as they’re my friends I take it as a compliment.)

    Reply
  13. oak

    THANK YOU THORN! You and my Pantheacon family are helping me heal very old wounds.

    Reply
  14. Silverwing

    I did not know that it was you who had organized the silent protest at Pantheacon. I was there too. I think it was the most important thing I did all weekend. Thank you.

    Reply
  15. Nicholas Farrell

    Thorn, you could try disqus.com for your comments. It’s user-friendly and allows for the use of different profiles (i.e. google, facebook, etc) when posting. It also allows you to see all of your comments you have made using disqus and all of the comments others have made on your site using disqus in one place. Depending on your previous format, if you made the switch to disqus, then you may be able to import comments from your older posts.

    Reply
  16. SwanSpirit

    Thorn , I am so glad you do see and agree with the ritual being held as it has been and was for WBW . I know you will also be glad to hear that Z has apologised and I quote Max Dashu who was present “to hear Z as she came out to speak to the protesters. She *apologized* for the intemperate words she spoke (what was it, two years ago?) and reasserted her desire not to hurt anyone. I heard her. Anyway, it would be a mistake to hang any future dialog on what any one person said or did not say.” I am also glad to know that in the interest of beloved community that there is also forgiveness compassion and moving on . As we grow in years we learn from the errors we make , and we improve as we go , but of course not expecting perfection of anyone .
    Blessings
    Swannie

    Reply
    • Thorn

      Swannie,

      Thanks for your blessings.

      I also heard Z, and that felt like a half-apology to me, interspersed with some excuses. Though I clearly heard/felt her pain and confusion, and felt compassion for her, I also need to say this: Apologizing for hurting someone’s feelings (which is what she did) is not the same as saying, for example, “Wow, I just realized I’ve been calling you hateful names like Transies, and saying you are men, and insulting the struggle and discrimination you go through on a daily basis. I will try my best to learn how to be a better ally. I will change my speech and behavior. Perhaps we can sit down some day soon and listen to each other’s stories…”

      Approximately one trans person is murdered every third day, largely transwomen. This is – in my mind – directly connected to the very misogyny Z has fought so long and hard against. Our community needs to not engage in hate speech against one another. We need to have each other’s backs, to hold each other up, and to learn to be our best people together. Even when we disagree.

      many blessings back to you – Thorn

      Reply
  17. SwanSpirit

    Thorn , You are most welcome . It seems just to me that is one thing to ask for an apology, and on receiving it , quantify it , or appear to be saying “well that is just not good enough for me ” when in the interest of community it might be better to help with the healing and to have compassion ; rather than hold hoops higher and higher . Especially when the feeling content in an apology is more palpable than the spoken word ,and also on a spiritual and emotional level rather than a strictly cerebral one . Three women are murdered every day and I am absolutely certain ,especially after all this time , as you must be , that Z intends no harm to anyone .
    Blessings
    Swannie

    Reply
    • Ruadhán

      > Thorn , You are most welcome . It seems just to me that
      > is one thing to ask for an apology, and on receiving it ,
      > quantify it , or appear to be saying “well that is just
      > not good enough for me ”

      Except that, in an apology, what is said very much matters, and if it’s very well possible that a specific apology won’t be good enough. What matters in an apology is not that some-one simply said “I’m sorry [pick one from a list of potential things to apologise for]“, or similar; what matters is that the person or people the apology is being issued to feel it’s an apology that actually addresses what was wrong.

      > Three [cisgender] women are murdered every day and I am
      > absolutely certain ,especially after all this time , as
      > you must be , that Z intends no harm to anyone .

      That is still, in percentage, far fewer than the rate at which trans women are murdered.

      And I highly doubt you or anybody else here is in a position to accurately state what Ms Budapest’s intentions really are.

      Reply
    • Thorn

      Swannie,

      I look forward to more dialogue on all sides, and further healing. I think some steps have been taken.

      blessings – Thorn

      Reply
  18. Maggie

    There’s so much I want to say about all this. But I wasna there.

    There is so much of importance on both sides.

    I’ve heard a little bit of mention of non-binary-gender-by-birth folks, but no mention of how Z would include or exclude them, or even recognize them as not-100%-XX-with-womb-etc. There’s a whole large discussion of the fact of intersex birth and intersex adulthood, a whole large discussion of the fact of gender-assignment-at-birth. If a woman has a woman-shaped body and has always thought she was a woman without ever questioning it, would that make up for her XY chromosomes? her XO chromosomes plus the sterility she didn’t discover until she had tried to conceive for a year?

    On the other hand, I’ve heard Z’s ciswomen-only ritual compared to a whites-only ritual, and that’s not quite fair. In anti-oppression work there is a well-understood awareness that marginalized groups need safe space to do their own venting and healing, away from the prying eyes and judging comments of the privileged group that benefits from their oppression, even at the same time that all or most events of the privileged group are better as inclusive of all.

    A better parallel might be if someone offered a ritual to Guadalupe and limited it to “Latinas & Latinos only.” Surely Pantheacon would have no trouble with that? (Oh, but what if someone showed up who was blonde and blue-eyed with an Anglo name?)

    Reply
    • Ace

      “On the other hand, I’ve heard Z’s ciswomen-only ritual compared to a whites-only ritual, and that’s not quite fair. In anti-oppression work there is a well-understood awareness that marginalized groups need safe space to do their own venting and healing, away from the prying eyes and judging comments of the privileged group that benefits from their oppression,…”

      I’m afraid I don’t understand. Surely you aren’t saying that trans women are privileged relative to cis women?

      Cis women excluding trans women isn’t a marginalized group excluding their privileged oppressors. It’s the opposite: a group excluding a marginalized group that they have privilege over.

      Reply
    • Shannon Moore

      All groups that seek Segregation have terrific justifications for doing so.

      Reply
  19. Maggie

    Oh and then I pressed Submit Comment without remarking how much I am appreciating the tone of this conversation, and how much I resonate with the need for clear and unambiguous apology for wrongs done, not just for feelings hurt. (One of the hardest things in my family is people’s habit of saying ‘I’m sorry you’re upset’ and imagining they’ve apologized).

    Many thanks for this work, Thorn and everyone.

    Reply
  20. Ruadhán

    @ZMaggie:
    > On the other hand, I’ve heard Z’s ciswomen-only ritual
    > compared to a whites-only ritual, and that’s not quite
    > fair. In anti-oppression work there is a well-understood
    > awareness that marginalized groups need safe space to do
    > their own venting and healing, away from the prying eyes
    > and judging comments of the privileged group that
    > benefits from their oppression, even at the same time
    > that all or most events of the privileged group are
    > better as inclusive of all.

    Maybe I’m not fully grasping what you’re saying I’ve read it several times and am not so sure right now) but comments like this are usually a sneaky way to say that trans women are “really men”. They are not. In fact, trans women are probably the most-marginalised group of women.

    People think that privilege exists as an absolute state, either you are or you’re not, and that’s where second wave feminism’s hypothesis of “patriarchy” ultimately fails, because ultimately Black men, by virtue of simply being men, are assumed under the patriarchy hypothesis to be on the same level as White men. The only useful way to discuss privilege and marginalisation is to consider Intersectionality, which puts the privilege and oppression of both individuals and groups more on a sliding scale, or rather a series of scales and tiers, showing it as far more complex than the old hypothesis of a privilege binary.

    While the average middle class white cisgender man may have a noticeable measure of privilege above the average middle class white cisgender woman, that particular woman still has considerable privilege over the average trans woman of similar ethnic and socio-economic class background. If anything, it’s trans women who need the occasional use of “safe space” from cisgender women, not the other way around.

    Reply
    • Maggie

      Um, no, this is not at all what I meant. But I do see that my comment was too brief.

      I heartily agree about intersectionality and the notion of interlocking circles of oppression.

      The transwomen I know are certainly NOT men (“really” or otherwise). And some of them have successfully “passed” as men for years or decades of adulthood, and have thus been socialized in male-privilege. My observation is that even long after transitioning some of these women continue to exhibit a certain kind of entitlement that seems familiar as a male-privilege-style assumption of authority. Like most of us, they are unaware of their assumption of privilege until it is pointed out … and then, like most of us, they have a hard time learning new ways to behave that don’t impose their privileged assumptions on other people.

      Unfortunately, at the same time this is going on in the particular transwoman’s unconscious behaviors, the other women in the group are going through their own socialized habits. For example, the habit of listening more attentively to the tall person, or the more contralto-voiced person. Or perhaps of feeling interrupted by someone whose conversational style might be less compliant and more direct.

      Add to this such things as pheromones and it is easy to see how disconcerted some people might be. But then there’s the question of whether one person’s “disconcerted” trumps another person’s “right to be included,” and vice versa.

      From my perspective it appears that BOTH groups have important needs. The ciswomen have an important need for safe space at the same time that the transwomen have an equally important need for inclusion. What can we do?

      I wish I had a solution to propose, but by now it seems obvious that if a simple solution existed it would have been found already.

      From my personal perspective, I think we could successfully (and gently, fairly, peaceably) hold “private” rituals for any narrowly-defined group as long as such rituals were accompanied by more inclusive rituals and as long as other narrow groups had the same opportunity. But first we would need a definition that was clear, neutral, and not loaded with hate speech.

      One of the problems for me, here, is the issue of definition. Who decides who fits the definition? How can the definition be stated so that it includes all the designer intends to include, and no others? How can the definition be communicated in a way that is honest, respectful, and clear enough so that no one gets hurt?

      Is there a way to identify the properties of the ritual that its designers see as needing to exclude certain women, and to understand why that might be so?

      I realize these questions could be inflammatory, so let me see if I can give a concrete, neutral example of what kind of thing I mean.

      For example, it is well-known that humans have different blood-type groups. If, for the sake of discussion, a ritual involved mixing the blood of everyone present and it was important for that blood not to clump, then probably everyone present should have the same blood type. An A-negative ritual would be ruined by the presence of even one B-positive.

      Since I don’t know (and perhaps should not be told) what aspect of the ritual is impacted by the presence of some women, I don’t know how to tell if I’m one of the ones invited or not. But surely “genetic women” is not the most useful (or accurate) label, and neither is “women with wombs.” (Unless, of course, it is, in which case ‘genetic women’ might include some who don’t qualify).

      It’s late. At various points in trying to write this, both tonight and in my previous comment, I have felt that I should stay out of the conversation. I don’t want to play the “some of my best friends are ___” card in either direction, though it is true in both. I don’t want to add fuel to the fire in either direction. My hope is that solutions can be found that are acceptable to all sides.

      In love and peace, and perfect trust

      Reply
      • Ruadhán

        > My observation is that even long after transitioning
        > some of these women continue to exhibit a certain kind
        > of entitlement that seems familiar as a male-privilege-
        > style assumption of authority. Like most of us, they are
        > unaware of their assumption of privilege until it is
        > pointed out … and then, like most of us, they have a
        > hard time learning new ways to behave that don’t impose
        > their privileged assumptions on other people.

        Reading this, I can’t help but wonder if you’d call the same behaviour from cis women “male privilege”, of if you’d assume that she’s simply asserting herself like any strong-willed feminist woman should be perfectly allowed to.

        I mean, really, what is it about Martha Stewart or Hilary Clinton or countless other cisgender women that makes them “cool and B.I.T.C.H.-y [Babe In Total Control of Herself]“, but if it’s a trans woman, she’s “displaying male privilege”? And it really is the same behaviours, a minimum of 99.99% of the time. I don’t get it, I really don’t understand this bizarre double standard at all. It’s really no practically different than calling a 1920s feminist a “she-male” cos “she’s acting like a male” when one calls the same feminist-minded assertiveness in trans women “evidence of internalised male entitlement”.

        Reply
  21. elfin

    Sitting there listening to Z struggle, and holding love for all, I felt a gret sadness. Z has such passion, expertise, and talent that it hurts to see all that withheld from women who need it.

    My wish is we can all can look beyond biology and listen to spirit. There are some mysteries that will always come with a woman’s body and there are those that come with having a woman’s soul. May there be space for the mysteries of the womb and space for the mysteries of the heart.

    One of the women who had been in the ritual called out to me after. We had a beautiful heart-felt chat that ended with a blessing. It was profoundly healing and gives me hope that we all can nurture the seeds of reconciliation.

    Reply
  22. Ruthroc

    Thorn,
    I really do not understand why the idea of women born women is so radical to you folks disputing Z’s right and will to celebrate with those she is most comfortable with. Mary Daly thought that men were not worth investing in, and that was her right as well. She did a lot to encourage women. I still read her books with tremendous gratitude as I wrestle with the terrible spectre of patriarchy. As much as I want to believe “we’ve come a long way, baby!” this is clearly not true. Women’s mysteries are for women, period. This is not a hard concept. I do not support this attack on Z, it is just more patriarchy coming down to harm a person who has a right to her own view and her own circle practice. Leave the women who wish to circle with women only alone. To me you have betrayed women and womanhood by siding with the guys. And Mary Daly, goddess rest her, would call you a fembot and walk away, clearly you do not understand the sacred fabric of female mystery.

    Reply
    • Ruthroc

      PS
      The groundbreaking work done by Mary Daly, Gimbutus, and many other women of brilliance in the 70’s and 80’s ought not to mean so little to the nouveau pagans. I am not at all impressed by the arrogance of those in this debate and this fakery that we are all one big family of the goddess. You still seem to be missing the point – women’s mysteries are theirs and theirs alone. Do not support the ripping off of mysteries and the bashing of Z when you are clearly unable to relate with compassion or consciousness to this issue. Time to have women only conferences to nip this whole conversation in the bud.

      Reply
        • Thorn

          [Everybody - thank you so much for keeping these comments civil. These recent comments are veering close to being uncivil and if any other comments get worse, they will not be approved.]

          Reply
  23. Swannie

    Thorn ,
    I think that your actions at the conference have consequences that you may not have anticipated. I know you said you may have not made yourself clear, so perhaps more clarification is called for on your part. Pagan women of the generation of Z have fought with blood, sweat, tears, jail, and their lives, for DECADES to achieve what has been your inheritance. Perhaps you did not expect such a strong response to your actions due to the lack of clarity ; and that your actions could be perceived as an actual attack on Z ; agism toward beloved foremothers , or even an attempt at attention seeking on your part . Of course people are very angry. I have seen those things in comments from people who are only reading what they have seen on FB or elsewhere on the net . This concerned me and that is why I am commenting here . I am sure you know that sometimes our actions have unintended outcomes . This very well may be one of those times .

    Reply
    • Thorn

      Swannie,

      Thanks for your thoughts – there is no way to anticipate the consequences of our actions. All we can do is try our best and take what comes.

      Others stirred things up online – people who were not even at the conference – before I even wrote about sitting in silence. I do not agree with many of those people. I’ve been trying to hold a clear and compassionate and reasonable space here on my blog. That feels like what I can do.

      I’ll keep thinking, sitting, and praying. And I will also keep holding Z in love, just as I did Sunday night.

      blessings – Thorn

      Reply
  24. Ruthroc

    Thorn, women born women need to be protected and in their own ritual space period. This seems a lot like the the young folks trying to put Z. who is our ELDER, down. We have mysteries. Trans gals are fine with me, but not in my circle. When they grow wombs, we will talk. UNTIL THEN they have no place in the circle of women’s mysteries, period. And the young folks need to go back and really read Mary Daly and the rest of our WISE CRONE foremamas. Try as you might, when it comes to the issue of women’s mysteries and our right to them, there is no sitting on the fence. It really is quite simple, quite black and white. Some circles are inclusive, some are not. What is sacred to some is not to others. When it comes to radical feminist thought recast in milk toasty terms, well that is just a misrepresentation of the ground breaking work that was done by these scholars and artists, teachers and ritualists. Therefore you can bash all you want at them but your argument of inclusion is still weak. Sometimes inclusion is not a workable thing.

    Reply
    • Becca

      At no point in this discussion has Thorn said that ciswomen should not have exclusive rituals. Have you even read her words?

      What she (and many others) have objected to is the hurtful way that Z (and now yourself, in my opinion) have referred to transwomen as if they are not really women. She used derogatory and insensitive language to justify their exclusion, when other choices were available. So it’s not so much the exclusion itself, but the hurtful words that accompanied it, both this year and last.

      Thorn’s words have been thoughtful, compassionate and skillful. This is a complex and difficult subject. I recommend reading her actual words, rather than letting defensiveness about ciswomen-only spaces drive you to produce yet more hurtful speech against our trans sisters.

      Reply
  25. Friday

    I’d like to add my thanks for this, Thorn, and for now do a little virtual holding space of my own about this, especially given there are a few more-contentious exchanges popping up.

    I’m pretty much in agreement with your take on this matter, and where the real issue may lie here: and it’s therefore seemed not to be yet time to speak. Except, perhaps, to say that there may be a tendency to polarize the matter in ways that the matter itself doesn’t call for.

    This is definitely something that’s touched me personally for a lot of years, and there are ways in which some of the battle lines (some of which are decades old) that some might draw actually run right through my neighborhood, so I’m very interested in certain things not escalating, but rather resolving. Peace can happen here. I know it.

    There’ll be contention, but perhaps those of us ‘between’ have a sacred role in trying to hold some peace for everyone in situations like this.

    So, again, my thanks.

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  26. A No-Nonsense TS/TG 101 For Pagans | Of Thespiae

    [...] Also, in all seriousness, if you find yourself in a convo with a trans woman asserting herself, ask yourself: “if she were cis, would I think she’s simply being ‘cool and B.I.T.C… Because, really, it’s overwhelmingly common for cis women to applaud the same kind of pointed [...]

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