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Thread: Dianic Rites, Gender Identification and Gender Essentialism

  1. #11
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    Wow. Well then. Good to see that hypocrisy is alive and well.

    If anything, MTF transgendered women see femininity and womanhood as a sacred status, with far more respect and desire to achieve such status than most "women born women."

    I don't know what transgendered folks these reconstructionists are used to dealing with, but my stepmom Susan sure as hell was born a woman - she can't help it that her physical body came equipped with a penis instead. She spent a tortured life trying to be what everyone around her told her to be, and has only recently, in her late 50s/early 60s, been able to become the woman she has always been.

    Geeze, I cannot STAND the kind of blind prejudice this Dianic group has expressed. Not only are men not evil, but transgendered women AREN'T men. If you are a truly spiritual person, and you acknowledge that the spirit is an entity unto itself, then why is it so difficult to realize that the spirit can be different than the body?

    I'm a fat pansexual white chick. That doesn't mean that my spirit is fat, white, and ambiguous about sexual partners! (Um, lol.)

    I happen to be quite happy as a chick, but I don't begrudge those who feel that their body doesn't match their spirit. If anything, they are deserving of sympathy and understanding... not outright asshattery.
    "The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star stuff.
    We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."

    Carl Sagan, as quoted by The Symphony of Science

  2. #12
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    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.

    So couldn't that technically mean an FtM, with or without going through surgery, could join? Since they do/did have a womb, ovaries, and "moon bleed," even if they identify as male, right?

    I think what they did was hurtful, even if it was a "misunderstanding," and I would not want to associate with that kind of group anyway. It's their right to be exclusive to whoever they want and keep people out of their little clubhouse, but when you say things that try to take away the legitimancy of someone's basic essence and identity, that's going too far.

    I don't hate feminism, but when it goes to the extreme, it does become a mirror of what it's trying to fight against. It's no more virtuous to hate men than it is to hate women. Extreme feminism doesn't even this out, it just changes the oppressed to the oppressor. I have to echo Sylver in saying "Et tu, Paganism?"

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windsmith View Post
    On the other hand, I would hope that Pagan MTFs can acknowledge that they have some differences from cisgendered women. Unless they were fortunate enough to live as female from, like, age 3, they were enculturated as male and raised with certain expectations and behaviors that some women raised as women have discomfort with. I've had two significant others who are MTF and two who are cisgendered female. The transwomen are in no way "less" women or "fake" women, but they are different women, and it's down to the gender expectations they were raised with. If our trans-sisters hope for their rightful integration into women's circles, they need to be aware of behaviors that might, all unknowing, create the kind of atmosphere that women come to these circles to escape.

    This is an issue that recently came up for me, as my coven hived off & the new incarnation has agreed to accept MtF transgenders, and I do have an issue with that for the very reasons stated above. I know that I would not be able to share my truth honestly & without judgement, no matter how I may try, when I'm sitting next to someone who may have been functioning in society as a man a week ago. Society has different expectations & different standards for men than women, and even though someone may believe they were born a female in a male body, the outter vehicle that society sees means you get treated a certain way. Furthermore, I firmly believe that we arrive in this life as male or female because we have lessons to learn from those gender assignments. So, I wonder, what lessons are being missing by deciding to change gender.

    Maybe it's because I was raised in a very repressive & chauvinistic culture, but I do believe that transgenders need to consider that their issues, while VERY REAL, are also different than those of women who were born & raised as women and different than those of men who were born & raised as men. Even in my husband's church they have combined services and then separate study groups for men & women to address issues that are particular to each.

    On another note, as a private group, there is no reason that any coven or tradition should be forced to open up to allow anyone they don't want to. I think Z Budapest has a point in asking "why don't they start their own group instead of crashing mine?" (paraphrased).


  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mab View Post
    I firmly believe that we arrive in this life as male or female because we have lessons to learn from those gender assignments. So, I wonder, what lessons are being missing by deciding to change gender.
    Did it ever occur to you that "changing" genders - AKA identifying the gender of one's mind/spirit as being different than one's body - might carry with it genuine, unique, and vital lessons of its own? And that these lessons are what was intended for transgendered individuals?

    Or did it not occur to you that the lessons learned in the struggle for equality and recognition, love and compassion, and knowledge of SELF, are just as valuable as any lesson learned by conforming to others' ideas of who you ought to be?

    There's something to be said for learning life's lessons by being TRUE TO ONESELF beyond all others' opinions.
    "The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star stuff.
    We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."

    Carl Sagan, as quoted by The Symphony of Science

  5. #15
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    As I said, it is what I believe. It is not something I'm asking you, or anyone else to agree with. In all honesty, I have considered this from many angles, and I really don't appreciate the implication that I'm stupid or narrowminded because my beliefs don't match someone else's.

    The bigger issue here is that a private group has a right to deny entry to anyone they choose. If you don't like it, start your own group, build support, and watch the other die out. Forcing anyone to accept your beliefs (the collective "you") is no better than being forced yourself to accept someone else's beliefs.


  6. #16
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    Well I for one think she had no right to say what she did. When I was old enough for the conversation to come up my mother told me people become transgendered when they end up in the wrong gendered body. Babies don't have souls until they cry for the first time and get their name, so if there is a still birth the soul will go into the first body it finds reguardless of gender. Their still women even if they happen to look like men or did at one time. This does not mean we have the right to tell them their not female enough even if they may have at one time looked male.
    As I was walking all alane, I heard twa corbies making a mane, the tane unto the nither did day, What sall we gang and dine the day?

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mab View Post
    As I said, it is what I believe. It is not something I'm asking you, or anyone else to agree with. In all honesty, I have considered this from many angles, and I really don't appreciate the implication that I'm stupid or narrowminded because my beliefs don't match someone else's.
    If you think that the only major lessons to be learned with regards to gender are by conforming to society's "norms" regarding gender, then yes, you are thinking narrowmindedly.

    Sorry pot/kettle, but you're black.

    The bigger issue here is that a private group has a right to deny entry to anyone they choose. If you don't like it, start your own group, build support, and watch the other die out. Forcing anyone to accept your beliefs (the collective "you") is no better than being forced yourself to accept someone else's beliefs.
    I never said that the group should be forced to accept them. As you say, they're a private group, they can do what they want. What I DID say is that they expressed an astonishing amount of prejudice... and they deserve to be duly recognized for that.
    Last edited by Sequoia; April 25th, 2011 at 11:16 PM.
    "The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star stuff.
    We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."

    Carl Sagan, as quoted by The Symphony of Science

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sequoia View Post
    If you think that the only major lessons to be learned with regards to gender are by conforming to society's "norms" regarding gender, then yes, you are thinking narrowmindedly.

    Sorry pot/kettle, but you're black.
    I love how it's ok for some to judge & for others it's not. I guess hypocrisy really does know no bounds.

    But just for the record, I never said anything about the only major lessons being learned by conforming to society's norms. I'm sorry you feel it's ok for you to believe what you believe, but it's not ok for me to believe what I believe.

    And on that note.....

    I should have known better than to have expressed any opinion on this topic that didn't match what has already been expressed by others. I'll be leaving the thread now. Have fun.


  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mab View Post
    I love how it's ok for some to judge & for others it's not. I guess hypocrisy really does know no bounds.

    But just for the record, I never said anything about the only major lessons being learned by conforming to society's norms. I'm sorry you feel it's ok for you to believe what you believe, but it's not ok for me to believe what I believe.

    And on that note.....

    I should have known better than to have expressed any opinion on this topic that didn't match what has already been expressed by others. I'll be leaving the thread now. Have fun.
    You said that the lessons to be learned were through one's physical birth gender, which requires conforming to the "norm" of what a physical birth gender is.

    I'm sorry you feel that you need to run away. I wish you could do some introspection instead, but... maybe you need to be alone to do that.
    "The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star stuff.
    We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."

    Carl Sagan, as quoted by The Symphony of Science

  10. #20
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    Sheesh! I was initiated into Z's tradition by Ruth Barrett, and I'm embarrassed by that rant. Unfortunately, and I have personal experience with this, the leadership of the Dianic trad are still living in the early 80s when the Amazon Nation was being threatened by those evil, male-identified leatherdykes; they're miles away from engaging with the concepts of trans and genderqueer. Not that I've engaged with it sufficiently myself, but at least I don't think transwomen are the spearhead of a patriarchal plot to destroy wimmin's religion . I honor the sometimes dangerous struggle to carve out space for women to be with and talk to other women without male interruption and interference (the women who held the first panel for/about women at Worldcon got death threats), but to call transwomen "men" is to be willfully ignorant of their very painful struggle for acceptance.

    Is there a real justification for separating "woman-born women" from transwomen beyond personal discomfort? I think discomfort is the plain root of it, under a heap of gender essentialism. I also feel, inchoately, that there are Mysteries of living as female in a female body, that there are Mysteries of living as male in a male body, and there are Mysteries of living with a soul of one gender and a body of another, which are distinct from the other two Mysteries. My tradition presents itself as Women's Blood Mysteries, and I can understand the older women's confusion as to why transpeople would participate in rituals built on experiences other than their own.

    Oh, and to answer XercesBlue's question, a woman who is in the process of transitioning to male does not identify as a woman, so he would not be welcome to a ritual by my teachers' coven, regardless of the actual physical equipment. One of my fellow students quit the priestess program and shortly afterwards began to transition; I haven't heard anything of him since (we live in different states, or I might have been able to track him down through the local GLBT community).

    The main problem here seems not so much to be that the ritual was for woman-born-women but the massive fail in how it was handled. It appears to not have been clearly posted as a WBW event, and it should have been, not only in the program book but on the door and on any materials posted in hallways, on lit tables or elsewhere. The discussion afterward should have been short on defensiveness and long on thoughtful clarification. And Z should have kept her mouth shut and let the actual participants work it out for themselves.

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