Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Episode 68: Inciting A Conventional Riot

Episode 68: Inciting A Conventional Riot is a timely look at the ongoing conversation surrounding the controversy from the 2012 PantheaCon event that specifically excluded transgender women from a 'women-only' event.

Special guest Sophia Catherine of the Divine Community podcast joins me to discuss the various aspects of the controversy and to provide some perspective on the issue.

It should be noted: no specific conclusions or decisions, for lack of a better term, are reached in this episode. It would not be fair to make such assumptions, as all parties involved have not had a chance to speak.

It should also be noted, however, that both Z. Budapest and the organizers of Pantheacon were contacted for interview and/or statement. Z. did not respond, and the one PantheaCon representative that was interested in speaking was later denied permission to speak by Glenn Turner, the head of PantheaCon. 

When I reached out for interviews, I contacted the 'programming' email address and the 'info' email address. A reply came from Jamie, the co-head of Programming for Pantheacon 2012. She was willing to give an interview if Glenn Turner, the chair of Pantheacon gave permission. I replied to both Glenn and Jamie, thanking them for their time and assuring them I would love the opportunity for them to speak for themselves rather than reading third party information online. This is the response I received this morning from Glenn:

Hi Fire Lyte
I'm sorry but Jamie is NOT authorized to speak for PantheaCon in aninterview such as you suggest.
I just got home yesterday at 4 pm and went straight to bed with  asore throat. However I would NOT be interested in an interview todayor likely any day. Words can too easily be taken out of context.
Perhaps in a while, once I've had some time to finish my work with theCon and my shop, I can craft a statement.

Personally, I wish the organizers would actually speak to the public, and further answer questions - or at least not stop someone who is willing to speak from doing so. However, that is their prerogative. Draw your own conclusions about what their decision not to speak on the matter means about the importance they place on the controversy at hand.

Please send any thoughts on these issues to IncitingARiotPodcast@gmail.com.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte


1 comment:

  1. Awesome episode! I'm SO glad that you covered this issue on the blog and the podcast. It was a really charged issue for me (and many others), and I'm grateful that you investigated it and gave it your full focus. It meant a lot to me to hear this discussed, and that all sides of the issue were brought to light for analysis. Bravo FL and Sophia!

    My take: it was discriminatory and offensive to EVERYONE indiscriminately (women, men, trans-gendered, queer, llamas, etc.). I, as a cisgendered woman, was insulted beyond belief that my gender group would be defined as exclusive to other women. Being female is more than being born with female genitalia, and it's insulting and regressive for women—and all peoples, of any gender identification—to imply otherwise...let alone enforce such an ordinance.

    Budapest's ritual explicitly stated that its PURPOSE was to celebrate the female essence and sacred physical body as a form of power and to promote healing. How is that non-inclusive to trans-women? Nothing about that rules-out trans-women as participants. Are not their bodies sacred? Are they not in need of empowerment, positive body image, and healing? If you prick them do they not bleed? A woman is a woman whether she is born with a penis or two vaginas or two-heads. EVERY woman's body is sacred no matter what stage it's in.

    Last year, Budapest argued that her ritual centered on the female fertility, and therefore, trans-gendered women couldn't participate since they don't have the experience of the female reproductive system. Soooooo, wouldn't that mean that women who didn't experience their menstruation—say...post-menopausal women and pre-menstrual girls...or childless women for that matter—also shouldn't have attended? That was my question.

    No matter what she claims her rituals to be about, she always tries to find a way to discriminate against trans-women. She's like the elderly mildly-racist relative we all have somewhere in our family. (You know the ones. They make every Thanksgiving awkward and prompt your annual self-reflection on whether or not you were left on the doorstep as an infant by your real family who may still be out there somewhere having a normal meal while not saying things like 'colored' when referring to the President.) We tolerate their bigotry because we assume they're just out-of-touch and too old to change. It's wrong. Budapest isn't mad-uncle-Charlie, she's a pagan leader and role-model in the community...and a bigot.

    Again, the bottom line is that the PURPOSE of the ritual could have been performed and beneficial for trans-women as well as "genetic" women without any reconfiguration of the rite (besides providing blindfolds for all the bigoted participants I suppose—serious, who attended this thing?).

    So, here's the deal Budapest. If you want to make this stubborn, discriminatory stance you've taken on this issue fly, you're gonna have to come up with a ritual that discriminates against trans-women naturally and practically. The purpose and form of the ritual itself is going to have to be naturally exclusive, and NOT JUST BECAUSE YOU SAID SO. Although, as I mentioned above, you may end up unintentionally discriminating against women too if you're not careful.

    My suggestion for a ritual that is both naturally and practically exclusive to cisgendered women: "The Crimson Tide Ritual: celebrate the woman within yourself and your sisters by using menstrual blood to anoint yourself and receive the blessings of the goddess in the grossest, most pretentious way possible. Bleeding bitches only."

    Try that.

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