Pagan News and Views Since 1998
This was the topic of discussion at the FHOC this evening. So bear with me and look up Z. Budapest's Ritual announcement on Pg. 40 of this link ... https://pantheacon.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Panthea... ... A silent protest was held to support the transgendered women that were turned away from this event ... in apparent response to this silent protest Z. Budapest has written this in her blog ... http://blog.zbudapest.com/2012/02/13/nobody-loves-women/ ... thoughts on the matter?? And do you think she had the right to limit the Ritual to "genetic" women only??
This is an issue which has been around for a while--if you divide groups up into "male/masculine" and "female/feminine" for some rites, and have other rites base their roles on working with gender polarity, what do you do about the people who don't fit into the two mainstream gender categories? Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, butch women and feminine men--do they have to pretend to be something that they're not to fit in when they're doing polarity magic?
In trying to understand what happened, there is more to the story. Some of it was summarized on the Wild Hunt blog here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildhunt/2012/02/pantheacon-unity-dive... One thing that is significant is that this happened last year, too. The Amazon Priestess Tribe, one sub-group of the Come As You Are Coven (CAYA) did a "Rite of Lilith" for women only, and turned away transgender women at the door, although that had not been specified in the program. The past year has been full of debate about the issue because of that incident. There is an anthology of articles written with many viewpoints: http://cerridwen.st4r.org/wiki/index.php/Gender_and_Transgender_in_...
This year at PantheaCon, CAYA made a point of holding an inclusive ritual. What baffles me is that Z. Budapest made a point of holding this ritual for "genetic women only" this year at the same convention, and then got upset when people reacted the same way they did last year. Did she think she was going to get a different reaction than CAYA?
It is sad because Z. Budapest has been such a strong and influential voice for women's rights and the Dianic movement, but now it seems like she has such a narrow focus. Why should we only care about equality for women and protecting their spiritual spaces while denying any rights for other people? It is the same system of patriarchy which oppresses transgender and transsexual individuals. Equality should be for everyone. Trans women have feminine bodies, feminine qualities, just like any other feminine woman. They identify with and worship the Goddess. The experience of being a woman is so much more than just have a uterus or an XX chromosome. I do not think that the Goddess cares who worships Her, what kind of parts they have, or wants Her followers to submit to genetic testing to prove their worthiness. If She is a being of love and understanding, why can't She embrace the trans women as well as the cis women?
Of course, anyone who is planning an event has the "right" to decide who they want to come. Z. Budapest has the "right" to say these things. Other people also have the right to be upset about not being included, or seeing their friends turned away. Planning her ritual at such a large, public venue where there is a diverse audience meant that Z. Budapest made a very public statement about her personal beliefs when it comes to trans Pagans. Some people chose to respond with the silent protest, which was within their rights because it was a public space, and they didn't disrupt the ritual itself.
It will be interesting to see how the dialogue develops. CAYA Coven responded to the debate rather articulately last year. I wonder if Z. Budapest will choose to address the issue more directly, or if she will just continue to repeat her views about defending women from patriarchy and avoid talking about trans issues.
Okay I didn't phrase my second question very well and I still don't really see how to ask the question I have but lets try this ... If your going to limit a ritual to "genetic" women only how do you verify and do you keep the women that have had gender reassignment surgery to become men out?? how do you verify these things quickly and efficiently??
You can't verify it at all, especially if someone had surgery and appears to be a woman but was once a man. It seems very unfair to exclude a group of people in the same way that most feminists feel men exclude them. Seems very hypocritical. Especially a group of people struggling with their own gender identity and who might look for acceptance among people who walk a "different path" ie : pagans.
The Olympics committee uses genetic testing on event winners to determine if they qualified for the event that they won. Some states require genetic testing to prove the sex of partners applying for a marriage license. I do not think this process is quick or efficient. Another option would be to require people to show their bodies and look for signs of surgery scars. Or you could ask people to present their birth certificates as legal proof of their sex at birth.
Or you could just trust that, if you put into the program description that genetic women only would be allowed, that transwomen would not show up at the event. Trust is an inherent part of working magic--if you can't trust who you are working with, that makes it very difficult to do anything else. Last year, the issue was that CAYA Coven did not previously state that only ciswomen could attend their Rite of Lilith in the event program, and so transwomen attempted to attend because they had no reason to believe that they would be turned away. Perhaps Z. Budapest felt that if she were clear in her own event description ahead of time, then she would not encounter this problem.
Z Budapest has been asked over and over about her "women born women" and "genetic" women prejudices... and yes, they ARE prejudices. For many people what we are PHYSICALLY is all we are, and unfortunately I'm not talking about non-pagans here. There is a tendency for people to forget that the real person is more than the physical shell we wear. What this means is that many pagans will accept gay or straight men and women, but look at transgender people of ANY kind as unnatural and suspect. They cannot see that sexual preference and identity is a function of the brain, not that which resides between the legs. All they see is the DIFFERENCE.
Once that was me, not because I was knowingly prejudiced, but because I had never even considered the possibility of transgender and its accompanying controversy. Now I know people who are transgender, of both born male to female and born female to male. Now I know some to whom the genetic lottery gave both male AND female attributes at birth.
And guess what? THEY'RE JUST PEOPLE.
Wow! Isn't that a discovery worth remembering... worth shouting? Would I ever denounce someone for being different to me? not any more. Those differences are what make us enjoy each other as friends, lovers, sparring partners, work mates and fellow travellers on the journey of life. VIVE LA DIFFERENCE!
Now back to the issue: does she have the right to limit the ritual this way? Unfortunately, yes she does. Any leader of rituals knows what they wish the ritual to do, and to limit the possibilities of distraction from that intent. Wise or not, morally correct or not isn't the point. She leads a ritual... it is HER choice who may attend. And it is OURS whether to try participate in her ritual or not. Personally, I will NEVER voluntarily attend a ritual which promotes physical fact over spiritual truth.
She has always had that view, to belong to her covens, must be born woman.
It is even in their manifesto, so why put yourself thru that, These women arent gonna change their mind, they havent for the last 30 years.
Why would you want to belong to something that is not going to accept you, you are putting yourself thru pain and suffering because of the rejection you already knew you were gonna get.
I would think it would be wiser to find people who would love and respect you and join with them.
I think z.buddapist is a great woman, she is the reason we all can read tarot cards at public events and charge money for readings, don't forget.
She stood up in a time where woman were still thought to be barefoot pregnant, the man ruled, and no personal opinion at all, you were to be a good little wife and stay home.
I have nothing but respect for her.