It’s funny when I started this survey I was concerned about the many recent instances of transgendered women that have been attacking feminists and lesbians that goes on largely unreported in the wider world and by the attack on Z at Pantheacon and how little respect was paid to her and the Dianic tradition by outside non Dianic pagans.
But this survey is bringing back memories for me about things I had forgotten. When Comma was asked to put on the first women’s only ritual at Harvest Moon we never in the world thought it would be a big deal but it became one for some people. One gay man insisted he be allowed into the circle because a gay man was the same as a lesbian. He literally had a temper tantrum and had to be led away.
After the circle was done and before the main ritual was started and we were cleaning up one male coven leader came over and made a big deal about how noisy and disrespectful he thought we were. He is a right wing conservative pagan and he was royally pissed that his wife had gone to the circle and had had a good time. I asked the main ritual runners if they could hear us afterward and they hadn’t heard a thing. I guess he had told others that he didn’t approve of single sex rituals.
A few years later when I was on the Pallas Society board I was going around to the presenters at Harvest Moon to make sure everything was alright and Otter Zell as he was at the time, told me he didn’t approve of all the lesbians there giving workshops and doing the Women’s Ritual. He said he didn’t like us because “we weren’t available to him.” I remember standing there in front of him in shock and he did it in front of Morning Glory and she never said a word.
But I have also felt discrimination from Dianics for being too butch. At a Dianic wedding my partner and I were seated with the groom and his men. The groom wasn’t even allowed to sit with his bride and my partner was not allowed to be a priestess at the ritual with the other mostly straight or femmy women. She was only allowed to clear the space, something they said “she was really good at.” Really?
B had been a part of this large group for many years and they used to talk down to me because I wasn’t a member of their group and as far as they were concerned I couldn’t possibly be a powerful witch. I heard one of them say I wasn’t in touch with my feminine side. I never once said anything to disabuse them of this notion because most of the time it amused the hell out of me but I was regularly pissed off at the way they treated B.
I got my revenge at their 25th anniversary ritual honouring Z and the Women’s spirituality community when my coven was honoured as the third oldest Dianic coven in LA. When I showed up they wanted to seat me in the back but we were called up front to sit as honourees and it was fun to see some mouths drop open. Especially the one that had lectured me one night that all you needed to celebrate Samhain was a large pomegranate to stab to get rid of negativity. All because I mentioned to someone else in her hearing that I was planning my groups Samhain. Uh No!
The butcher women always have had a problem in any group of women. They know you aren’t men but they don’t know how to deal with someone who may look more masculine but then turn around and do something they consider feminine behaviour and some of them can’t deal instead of allowing for a full expression of a woman’s behaviour. If you look like a man you must be a man. Hell no!
And they don’t take into consideration that a lot of the women who look butcher are the ones that have suffered the most from males like being abused as children or raped. And that by acting from a position of strength and competence they find their protection and safety in the world. And some feel, the more butch they are the less safe they feel around some transgendered mtf’s because sometimes mtfs still behave like men and assume they will be accepted and welcomed in any group.
The majority of women never would assume they will be accepted in any group. Women usually have their feelers out to see what the weather is in a group. Men as a whole, do not. So when they enter groups from that socialization they get rejected because their energy is too strong. As someone who was molested when I was 6 and almost raped twice in college this does not make me feel like I’m in a safe space and other women feel the same way. This is all not helped by what Frontiers magazine used to define as the “ick factor” way before Friends in the early 80’s that is the fact that for gay men women’s genitalia is gross and vice versa for a lot of lesbians. The thought of a pre-surgical mtf is the ick factor and that is something straight or bisexuals can not or will not understand.