The Boston Dyke March claims that "everyone is welcome" at this year's march. That's wonderful, but how can everyone be welcome when an actively transphobic performer has been scheduled?
The musician Bitch plays this years Dyke March, and proudly plays the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. She is scheduled to play the MWMF (also known as Michfest) again this year. The MWMF has a "womyn-born-womyn" only policy, which means that a woman who was assigned male at birth is not allowed to attend, unless she is seen as a non-trans female 100% of the time and keeps her past a secret. This means that male-to-female transsexual women are not only not allowed, but, by virtue of being kept out of a space that's designated for women, considered not women at all. This is offensive, insulting, and degrading to women who didn't have the privilege of being born into a body that aligned with their mind. This policy is a very well-known one among fest performers and attendees, and those who participate in the fest without voicing opposition are complicit, and performers who profit off of a fest that excludes even worse.
Bitch is part of that second club, and doesn't try to hide it. The August 20th, 2005 entry of her web diary (http://bitchmusic.com/bdiary.htm) she says that:
what an act of rebelliousness for us to gather like that. claim our space. and you know what? it's fucking beautiful. out of this distinct oppression that people who all suffered girl-hoods share, comes such a vision of peace in the world, such a commitment to safety for everyone who comes there and all the creatures who stay there.
While women's space can be considered an act of rebelliousness--and I am absolutely pro women's space--there is no rebellion in transphobia. The commitment to safety she speaks of doesn't apply to the transwoman who have been forcibly ejected from the land, and is incongruent with accounts of transwomen who, while on Michfest property, were tailed by Fest attendees shouting "Man on the land!" Transwomen have as much peace in their hearts as any other women, and a women's community that excludes certain women hardly sends a peaceful message. While Bitch may consider herself to be trans-positive because her partner, Daniela Sea, plays Max, a female-to-male transgendered person on the L Word, supporting trans people includes supporting trans-woman, which does NOT include performing for and profitting off of those who do not include all women in women's community.
As a concerned person who was planning on marching with the Ask.Tell.Act Coalition at the March, and as a supporter of the March's grassroots efforts and positions, I will still be attending, and I encourage others who have been planning to go to do so. Instead of watching Bitch's show, turn your backs on her and start a conversation on this issue. Carry signs that show support for transwomen in dyke communities. I am not against the Dyke March, (nor am I against Michfest, for that matter), I am just opposed to policies or people who exclude transwomen from women's groups and events. The Dyke March is a positive event, and although I am critiquing one element of this year's event, I have no desire to protest the March itself. I applaud the Dyke March for attempting to create a trans-positive atmosphere by saying that everyone is welcome, however, their choice of performers is contradictory to their intent.