FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Families United Against Hate (FUAH) Contacts: Carolyn Wagner (479) 577-3069 Gabi Clayton (360) 888-5291 email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: http://www.fuah.org
September 5, 2006
Families United Against Hate was elated to hear that the “Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival” had ended their 31 year long policy of discrimination toward transgender women. This was not to last, however, as we learned that the “Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival” spokesperson, Lisa Vogel issued a long and protracted statement which essentially said nothing has changed: the Festival is intended for women-born women, and those who seek to purchase tickets are asked to respect that intention. Vogel emphasized, “If a transwoman purchased a ticket, it represents nothing more than that womon choosing to disrespect the stated intention of this Festival.”
In the days that followed we read responses from Camp Trans (a camp of people who meet at the same time each year with the purpose of protesting this policy of exclusion, educating the organizers of WWTMC and other organizations and individuals about transphobia).
Now we are compelled to respond. On August 30, 2006, Carolyn Wagner, co-founder of FUAH called WWTMC and spoke with a spokesperson named Sandy who reiterated their position, and stated that it would not be changed even with our offer of mediation.
We deeply regret this ongoing act of bias toward our transgender family members and friends, especially when both we and WWTMC know that transgender women are targeted for such an extreme amount of bias-motivated discrimination and violence. The time could not be more urgent and crucial for WWTMC to open their arms to welcome their trans sisters, to eradicate any previous emotions of bias and pain.
Gabi Clayton, co-founder of FUAH states, “As the mother of a son who was assaulted because he identified as bisexual, I am all too aware of how marginalization contributes to beliefs that eventually lead to hatred and violence. The current attitude held by WWTMC toward transwomen is marginalization, pure and simple.”
Carolyn Wagner also stated that, “I now believe that the Michigan Women’s Music Festival is asking all transgender women to cooperatively and actively participate in their own oppression as a form of self imposed segregation. Having grown up in the south during the days of segregation, this would be equivalent to having people of color cooperating with their oppression such as sitting in the back of the bus, the segregated lunch counters, and so forth.”
We believe that to remain silent regarding this ongoing act of blatant discrimination toward transwomen enables such bias to continue and plants those seeds that we know can and do lead to violence and the destruction of lives we all hold to be precious. We invite individuals and other organizations to join us in denouncing such forms of discrimination regardless of how such bias is cloaked or who is perpetrating it, such as, sadly, this time when is the bias comes from those we would believe were within our own communities.
Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
We regret that while we had heard in the past of the exclusion of trans-women from the Michigan Women’s Music Festival, we did not act. We now seek to correct that error and we beg the forgiveness of transgender people, their families and loved ones for our taking this long.
FUAH’s position regarding federal hate crime legislation http://www.fuah.org/federal_legislation.html
Remember Our Dead http://gender.org/remember/ ___________________
FAMILIES UNITED AGAINST HATE (FUAH) is a nonprofit grassroots organization created by and for families and survivors of hate motivated violence, in collaboration with other individuals and organizations.
We offer support, guidance and assistance to families* and individuals dealing with incidents based on bias; and to the people, organizations and agencies who serve and support them.
* We define family broadly to include biological, extended and chosen family. # September 7, 2006
On the Camp Trans 2006 website: Our Goals and Frequently asked questions and objections http://camptrans.squarespace.com/trans-inclusion-and-michfest/