Sunday, October 30, 2011

Even more Redux on the Lilith Rite at Pantheacon 2011

The comments keep coming, yrs. truly keeps on responding. Chas Clifton commented on my post concerning hate speech:
Somewhere under all of this there is — or used to be — religion and magical practice. But people would rather score points arguing about (a) history, (b) gender issues, or (c) lineage issues.
I can understand why Chas wearies of these arguments.  On the other hand, I'm not sure if "we should ignore these problems" is a useful response.  It's clear that all of the issues Chas has mentioned are contentious ones which evoke strong feelings amongst the various participants. To that end, I might suggest that we as a community need to set out boundaries as to what forms of discourse are acceptable and when "heated discussion" devolves into name-calling and hate speech.  And we need to make it clear that those who refuse to accept those boundaries are not representative of our community and that we do not support them.  Otherwise our silence becomes consent to and collusion in bullying and abuse.

Wade Long noted on G+:
First of all, if it was in fact true that it was a closed event with a private group then it shouldn't have been announced on the schedule as an open event. If they really had such issues with Teh Penus being present then they should have just made it invitation-only instead of putting it on the open schedule. 
Secondly, what kind of damage does a person have to HAVE in their soul that they have to focus on a person's junk instead of their magic? That's the pathetic part. Not only would I not even consider trying to crash a No Penis Allowed event, I wouldn't consider attending a No Vagina Allowed event either. It's pathetic. 
It reduces the full sum total of a person's spiritual experience and potential to what's between their legs instead of what's between their ears. And the after-the-fact apologetics aren't helping - having her post her new "Some of my best friends are penises!!!!!" blog entry was just sad.
I agree that a "cisgendered women only" event should have been invitation only if it were held at all.  But while I don't get the "admission based on genitalia" stuff, I figure everyone has a right to experience the Divine however they see fit.  Since a number of women have chimed in with testimonials about how Dianic Witchcraft has had a positive effect on them, I presume at least some people are getting something out of it.  It's not my thing, but it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg if a bunch of people want to get together for dick-swinging or Yoni-worshipping.  

What I find truly sad is that the Amazon Priestess Tribe still appears to have missed the point entirely, at least if Yeshe Rabbit's blog entry is to be believed:
So, where am I now, and where is CAYA now? CAYA proposed three rituals for PantheaCon 2012: one all-inclusive and two for self-identified men and women, respectively. The Amazons proposed one ritual: a naked ritual for women.
It has long been clear that the whole "womyn-born-womyn" issue is a major flashpoint for transgender women and trans allies. If it wasn't, I would think that the whole experience surrounding the PCon 2011 rite would have made it clear to the members of the Amazon Priestess tribe. Yet it appears that they still think the major problem lies with those damn "transgender activists" and that their right to hold a ritual to celebrate their bleeding vulvas trumps the feelings of those people who are being shut out.

I've found that one classic response to being called out on privilege is "I have a right to..."  I have a right to dress up like an "Indian buck" or a "Chinaman"; I have a right to tell offensive jokes; I have a right to call the waitress "honey" and "sweetheart" even if it clearly makes her uncomfortable.  And it's true that one has a right to do all these things and more.  But one also has a responsibility to accept the consequences of one's actions.  As I'm fond of putting it, "You have a right to take a steaming shit in the middle of your dining room table.  But if you do, don't be surprised if people start declining invitations to your candlelight suppers."

The Amazon Priestess Tribe appears to have no concern for the feelings of transgender attendees to Pantheacon, or about the hassles which their exclusionary ritual has caused and will cause for the organizers at Pantheacon.  Instead, they have chosen to assert their rights - from their position of privilege as cisgendered, college-educated, middle-class white women - against a disempowered minority and everyone else attending a popular convention. For all their talk about "patriarchal oppression," it seems they're quite happy to take the "I got mine: screw you all" approach when it suits their purposes.

Which brings us to a quote by Katie LBT in the comments to my first Redux post:
I'm really, REALLY uncomfortable with the comment about patriarchal domination. That's an accusation that is entirely too often thrown at trans women who are doing nothing more than refusing to back down from our own needs at the first moment a cissexual decides that (even phantom) dick is enough of a reason to kick the altogether too often lone transsexual out of the room. 
There's also the lack of distinction between the power of patriarchal dominance and the fear/anger response of someone who has had her back pushed so hard up against the wall that her only recourse is to lash out to get the people wielding power over her to back up and let her breathe. It's not acceptable, but it CAN be understood without resorting to accusations that implicitly center resistance and anger in masculine privilege.
I find it interesting how much gender-essentialist feminism plays into the commonly-held patriarchal stereotypes.  Fratboys and the gatekeepers at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival both reduce feminine identity to a warm wet hole between one's legs.  Evangelical preachers and "Amazon Priestesses" both appear to think that anger, resistance and standing up for one's rights are "unfeminine" and should be reserved for male-bodied types.  In their desire to escape the patriarchy, it seems many of these feminists have recreated it and bought in wholesale to many of its ugliest preconceptions.