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World is Full of Ambiguities

leave "women only" rule ambiguous

Date: 10/24/2001

I have been watching some of the conversation on the MWMF take place, and it makes me think: who WOULD we want to see there? As it is a women's (oh, sorry... wymyn's) music festival, would you want FTM's to be included as well? What about genderqueer folks who don't necessarily see themselves in a binary/easily quantifiable category? I agree that MTF's, or anyone who currently identifies as a woman, should be granted the freedom to participate freely. However, I also see that my previous sentence has limitations, for identifying as a "woman" can be complicated.

my answer to this question is to leave it ambiguous because world is full of ambiguities. i think it would be enough to say "this festival is for women" and not go into any specifics publicly. privately, of course, there can and will be mulitple interpretations.

it works similarly to how they handle "women of color" only area within michigan and elsewhere. these spaces generally do not define specifically who is and is not "women of color" enough. some women of color feel that light-skinned, white-appearing women don't belong; others feel that east asians don't because they are viewed as privileged. some feel that jews, including ashkenazi jews, qualify, but many don't. are people of spanish and portugese discent latina (and thus included), or are they european and therefore white? how much european blood is it okay to have if you are mixed-raced?

the only way it works, and people of color learned it hard way, is to *not* institute or enforce any specific interpretation of "women of color only" policy as the official one. the biggest problem with michigan's policy is not *where* border is drawn, but the fact it insists on drawing a clear, unnatural border.

"a borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. it is in a constant state of transition. the prohibited and forbidden are its inhabitants. los atravesados live here: the squint-eyed, the perverse, the queer, the troublesome, the mongrel, the mulato, the half-breed, the half dead... do not enter, trespassers will be raped, maimed, strangled, gassed, shot. the only 'legitimate' inhabitants are those in power, the whites and those who align themselves with whites. tension grips the inhabitants of the borderlands like a virus. ambivalence and unrest reside there and death is no stranger."
- gloria anzaldua, in "borderlands/la frontera"

emigrl * putting the emi back in feminism since 1975.