by Zeph Fish
Recently I spent a bunch of time reading the online forums of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, trying to understand why many attendees feel like it’s so important to exclude trans women from this event. I was drawn to a thread called “Inclusion from a Butch Lesbian Perspective.” I am a middle-aged butch dyke (also two-spirit, and genderqueer, and a lot of other names). I read the posts in this thread with a lot of grief. Grief that butch women have to fight so hard in the world to be who we are. Grief that so many of these posts are about pain and struggle, and that safe space is so hard to come by.
Yes, out there in the mainstream world, patriarchy wants to keep all the categories simple. The good ol' boys know that Men are Men, Women are Women, period. And if they meet anybody who confuses those categories, they react with fear and anger, with questions and accusations.