Monday, February 28, 2011

Dianic Rites, Gender Identification and Gender Essentialism

At a recent womyn's ritual to Lilith at Pantheacon, several transgender MtFs were turned away at the door and told that the ceremony was only for "women born women."  While the organizers and the event sponsors work toward a mutually agreeable compromise and consensus, the blogosphere continues to hum with the questions of what happens when the right to gender identity and freedom of association and religious expression run headlong into each other. And though there has been a great deal of heat, we have also seen a fair amount of enlightening discourse.

Anya Kless, a priestess of Lilith, offered commentary on Fruit of Pain, and received a rather heated response from legendary witch and elder Z Budapest.  Budapest's post follows, as does my response.  There is a great deal more discussion on Anya's blog regarding this and many other topics: if you haven't bookmarked Fruit of Pain yet, you really should.

Z Budapest in italics.


This struggle has been going since the Women’s Mysteries first appeared. These individuals selfishly never think about the following: if women allow men to be incorporated into Dianic Mysteries,What will women own on their own? Nothing! Again! Transies who attack us only care about themselves.
We women need our own culture, our own resourcing, our own traditions.

You can tell these are men, They don’t care if women loose the Only tradition reclaimed after much research and practice ,the Dianic Tradition. Men simply want in. its their will. How dare us women not let them in and give away the ONLY spiritual home we have!

Men want to worship the Goddess? Why not put in the WORK and create your own trads. The order of ATTIS for example,(dormant since the 4rth century) used to be for trans gendered people, also the castrata, men who castrated themselves to be more like the Goddess.

Why are we the ONLY tradition they want? Go Gardnerian!Go Druid! Go Ecclectic!

Filled with women, and men. They would fit fine.

But if you claim to be one of us, you have to have sometimes in your life a womb, and overies and MOON bleed and not die.

Women are born not made by men on operating tables.

This comment ill suits your status as an Elder, a Witch, and one of the most important philosophers and thinkers in contemporary Feminism and Neopaganism. I urge you to consider the importance of your words, and to remember that there are sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, lovers and allies on both sides of this argument. If we must disagree, let us do so in a spirit of love. If there must be boundaries between us, let them be drawn in a spirit of cooperation.

I do not dispute the right of CAYA, or any other Dianic group, to define “Womyn” as they see fit. I accept your right to exclude me. Since I identify as third-gendered rather than female, I would never seek entry into your Mysteries. I also accept your right to exclude my transgendered sisters or anyone else whom I might identify as a woman. They are your Mysteries, and you are welcome to share them as you will. I respect your rights to association, belief and expression.

However, I also respect the right of my transgendered sisters to their identity – an identity for which they have suffered and for which they continue to suffer. I will speak out against discrimination and hatred when it is aimed at them, and I will encourage others to do so. If Dianic Wiccans wish to shut out transgendered women from public events held by Pantheacon (particularly if they do so with hateful remarks about “being made on operating tables” and the like), I would encourage the organizers of Pantheacon to withdraw their public support for those workshops and those rituals.

This would not stop Dianics from holding private ceremonies and rituals in their own suites, as many groups do. And just as the OTO or other lodges and orders can restrict events to members only, the Dianic groups would be free to open their doors to whomever they saw fit. This would strike me as an appropriate compromise which would at least go some way toward acknowledging everyone’s rights and feelings. (Granted, it’s sure to dissatisfy just about everyone on one level or another, but that’s the nature of compromise).