Critical of “Gender Critical:” Part V of the ‘Sexing the Body is Gender’ Series
August 15, 2014
TERFism as an Obsessive Sadistic Fetish: Part VI of the ‘Sexing the Body is Gender’ Series
August 16, 2014

TERF hate and Sandy Stone

By Cristan Williams
@cristanwilliams

 

Sandy Stone was a problem that Janice Raymond, author of The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male, decided to take care of. Raymond felt that Stone — an out trans woman who was part of the radical feminist lesbian separatist music collective, Olivia Records — didn’t belong. Raymond engineered a smear campaign that nearly destroyed the Collective and put Stone’s life in jeopardy, culminating in armed TERFs asserting their intention to murder Stone.

Olivia Records was a successful radical feminist lesbian separatist music collective located in California. The Collective was widely seen as the powerhouse behind the 1970s women’s music movement. It was also a trans-inclusive space.  Not only did this RadFem space welcome Stone as the woman she was, the Collective helped Stone access the trans medical care she needed.

What follows is a detailed account of what Stone – and this Radical Feminist women’s community – endured at the hands of the TERF movement.


Cristan Williams: Can you tell me how you first became aware of the TERF movement?

Sandy Stone: That would have been the Janice Raymond incident. That came in the context of my work with Olivia Records.  When I was first approached by representatives of Olivia Records, which I think was in 1974, I immediately told them that I was trans and in fact, they had already heard that I was trans from Leslie Ann Jones, who was an assistant recording engineer in San Francisco. So, we were already in clear communication about the fact that I was trans and they were very open to working with me. They mostly wanted to know if our politics agreed and whether or not I could work with a lesbian separatist collective. They badly needed engineering skills.

The collective was very clear that they considered me to be a woman. We spent a long time – about a year, maybe more – in which we got to know each other and by the time that I actually joined the collective, we felt that we knew all that we needed to know about how we were going to get along together. And so, I joined the collective and went to live with them in Wilshire District of LA, where we had three houses: two next to each other and one across the street. There were 13 members of the collective after a while. I think that when I joined there were 11.

That’s the background.  I wanted to give you that background because what happened with Raymond was so betraying, so bizarre and so completely unexpected.

We received an 11 x 14 envelope containing parts of the chapter of her book that she would later title Sappho by Surgery. The copy we received to review didn’t name me personally, but it was clearly pitched to out me. The Collective passed the piece around, with our usual comment sheet attached, and by the time it got to me there were maybe eight or nine comments on it already. The comments were, “This is garbage!” and “Holy cow, what’s wrong with this person!” and “This bears no relation to reality.” and “Where does she get this stuff?” As the only trans women in the Collective that I knew of, I felt it my obligation to take a moderate position on it and although I thought that it was disgusting and completely out of left field – I mean, none of us recognized that what we were dealing with was hate, it just looked like another weirdo writing a pseudoscientific paper — so, my comment was, “The world really needs a book on this topic, but this is not that book.” That was all I said and I passed it on to Judy and we sent it back to Raymond with the comment sheet attached and we thought that that was the end of it. We just didn’t understand the depth of hate.

Then, we began to get hate mail. Before all of that, we’d been just working along – we had a lot of stuff on our plates – we had a distribution network, we were making albums, we were doing PR, but mainly, we were all concentrated on making women’s music for women as a political act of love and hopefully, make enough money to keep the collective going.

All of a sudden came this thing from left field. We were being broadsided by hate mail. The hate mail initially took a form that was so recognizable that Ginny Berson diagrammed it out. We’d get a letter and the letter would attack one of our albums because of the way that it was engineered and mixed. There were very clear ideas of what constituted a “male” mix and a “female” mix, which nobody had ever heard of before. What it came down to was that “male” mixes had drums, which was linked back to “throbbing male energy.”

Cristan: [Laughs] I’m sorry. That’s just ridiculous!

Sandy Stone at Olivia Records

Sandy: Believe me, I’m glad to have someone laugh along because it was funny to me at the time, but it was deadly serious to the people who were writing and it turned out to be catastrophic for us as a Collective, although we didn’t realize it at the time. I was a process of being educated to the level of [anti-trans] hatred. At this time, within the Collective, I was planning on converting the living room of the house next door to be a school so that we could teach women to record, so that there would be a lot of women with engineering skills. In the meantime, we’re getting hate mail about me. After a while the hate mail got so vicious that Sandy, who worked in the mail room, made a decision to not pass that mail along to me. This was vile stuff. A lot of it included death threats. They would let me know about the death threats after a while. The death threats were directed at me, but there were violent consequences proposed for the Collective if they didn’t get rid of me.

The more hate mail that arrived, the more we could perceive that there was organizing going on, outside of the Collective, that had to do with transphobia and with isolating trans people wherever they popped up. I was not alone.

This pattern escalated. We were organizing what was for us, a major tour. We wanted to tour the country and provide women’s music for women in major cities along our route. It was the first time anything like that had been attempted. We were very intent on it and it was extremely energy-absorbing. It took all our energy to get it going. We had an entire network of lesbian separatist producers, people who could organize local logistical support, people who could advertise tickets and handle the selling and we wanted it to be completely done by women.

Anyway, we had organized this tour and we had gotten a letter telling us that when we got to Seattle that there was a separatist paramilitary group called the Gorgons. The Gorgons was a group of women who wore cammo gear, shaved their heads and carried live weapons. We were told that when we got to town, they were going to kill me.

Cristan: Wait, they said that they were going to KILL you if you came to Seattle?

Sandy: Yes, but we kind of laughed about it. We thought that was just talk, but then we heard it was actually true. So, we began checking this out and the women who had booked the hall for us said, “Yes! These people are real and you guys had better do something about this because they’re serious!”

We did, in fact, go to Seattle, but we went as probably the only women’s music tour that was ever done with serious muscle security. They were very alert for weapons and, in fact, Gorgons did come and they did have guns taken away from them.

I was pants-wetting scared at that event. I was terrified. During a break between a musical number someone shouted out “GORGONS!” and I made it from my seat at the console to under the table the console was on at something like superluminal speed. I stayed under there until it was clear that I wasn’t about to be shot… Not that it would have done me any good to be under there.

Cristan: The sheer oppressive weight of this impending violence that was hanging over your head, that’s ready to drop upon you and the people you work with and care about at any moment… That had to feel like terrorism; it’s terror inducing. How did you deal with that kind of pressure, day in, day out, when it became clear that that there were TERFs who were prepared to kill you for being trans?

TERF letter published in Sister, 1977

Sandy: [Long pause] I dealt with it in stages.  In the beginning, I felt really protected by the women of the Collective. I felt that we, as a collective unit, would stand in solidarity. In fact, the Collective sent a letter to… I’d have to go look for the name of the publication. I can’t remember.

Cristan: Was it Sister?

Sandy: Yes!


Published in the June, 1977 issue of Sister, what follows are excerpts from the Collective’s response to TERF hate:

Because Sandy decided to give up completely and permanently her male identity and live as a woman and a lesbian, she is now faced with the same kinds of oppression that other women and lesbians face. She must also cope with the ostracism that all of society imposes on a transsexual. In evaluating whom we trust as a close ally, we take a person’s history into consideration, but our focus as political lesbians is on what her actions are now. If she is a person who comes from privilege, has she renounced that which is oppressive in her privilege, and is she sharing with other women that which is useful? Is she aware of her own oppression? Is she open to struggle around class, race, and other aspects of lesbian feminist politics? These were our yardsticks in deciding whether to work with a woman who grew up with male privilege. We felt that Sandy met those same criteria that we apply to any woman with whom we plan to work closely.

As to why we did not immediately bring this issue to the attention of the national women’s community, we have to say that to us, Sandy Stone is a person, not an issue.

All of us are looking forward to the day when work can begin on our studio and Sandy can start training other women. As we do of each other, we ask everything of Sandy, and she gives it. She has chosen to make her life with us and we expect to grow old together working and sharing.


Sandy: That was the way the Collective was responding to the public debate. Then we had a very foul debate in which, when we looked around, the people affiliated with the Collective, who lived in Oakland, immediately said that, “Wait, these women are not from here. There’s a group here from Chicago that are known to be head breakers!” I think she meant that they were there to stir up trouble.

We brought four or five women from the Collective, and me, and our idea was – very naively – that we would have a rational discussion about trans people and the women’s community. It started off with a woman, I’d never met her and I have no idea who she was, standing up and delivering a long statement which consisted of bizarre misinformation about the psychological origin of being trans, that is was a twisted pathological state and that trans people posed a danger, because of our pathology, and how we were perverting the women’s community and bringing pathological energy into it. While she was saying all of this, several women from the Collective were looking at me with their eyebrows up in shock and I was sitting there with my jaw dropping, and when she finished, the Collective women on either side of me said that I should respond to it. I was, just without words. I said the totally wrong thing. I think anything that I said would probably have been seen as being wrong, but I think I picked the most wrong thing to say. All I could think of to say was – in a normal speaking tone – “But… But, this is bullshit.”

The meeting immediately erupted in screaming. People were standing on tables, screaming about me and about the evils of me, and about how it was all true because here was the proof because I had not engaged in a “womanly” way. Nobody could stop it. Nobody could calm it down. The TERFs refused to stop disrupting the meeting unless I left the room. After a while, we did a little huddle and some of the Collective women said, “We can’t have Sandy leave. That’s just not acceptable.” I said, “Look, I think I’d better leave because this is not going to go anywhere with me here.”  Eventually we agreed on that and I left.

I went back to the Wilshire District in LA because all I wanted to do was to crawl into a hole, in a fetal position and try to shake it off. The rest of the group came back traumatized. They said that after I had left, that there was no rational discussion, that there was a lot of hate about me, and a lot of anger with the Collective for employing me – which I wasn’t; I was a member, not an employee – and they began to realize for the first time that there wasn’t going to be a rational debate. They really began to understand that something was going on that was quite loathsome and that we couldn’t respond to in any reasonable way.

Cristan: So, coming to recognize that you and the Collective were facing real hate, how were you able to deal with such animosity?

Sandy: We realized that we just couldn’t respond to that level of hate. We stopped responding to the hate mail. We used to respond to the hate mail even if it was to say, “Thank you letter, we appreciate your opinion.” But even that just became impossible. Dealing with the hate was taking up too much time. We all dealt with it by focusing more on our work. However, that didn’t mean that that much hate didn’t affect me.

Cristan: It’s not uncommon to hear from victims of TERF abuse talk about experiencing something akin to PTSD, after trying unsuccessfully to stop months of harassment. I mean, it’s hard enough being trans, but add onto that the experience of having some extreme hate directed at you personally, it’s not a benign thing. It really does affect the lives of their victims.

Sandy: I had begun to think that we potentially had a worse situation than I thought we’d had.  The consequence for me was that it was an emotional roller coaster.  As I had mentioned, there was the tour that we were trying to do. I was putting up a front of being okay and the consequence was that after the Seattle gig, I passed out while trying to work.

Cristan: So, wait… You had gone from really coming to understand the visceral hate you were facing from that meeting, to having so much hate mail that the Collective just stopped dealing with it, to having this TERF group announce its intention to murder you…

Sandy: Well, there was more. We couldn’t afford to buy touring equipment, like Pas, mic stands, the mixer board; I built all that stuff from scratch out of whatever parts I could find to support the tour. That was a hell of a lot there, adding to the strain too because it all had to be built well and work right because we couldn’t stop to repair anything en rout, and, fortunately, it actually all worked as it was supposed to. But all of that was going on too.

It would be reasonable to say that I was under a bit of pressure and that it wasn’t easy and that it really affected me.

When we had the boycott threat, that was when I decided to leave the Collective.

Cristan: I’ve done several interviews around the trans caricatures Janice Raymond created for the TERF community to go after. I talked to Robin Tyler and she told me about how TERFs physically attacked her for standing between them and a trans women they wanted to beat at the 1973 Lesbian Conference. These radical feminist institutions – the 73 Conference, Olivia Records – they were trans-inclusive. Each time TERFs turned to harassment and violence to insert themselves into feminist spaces. Thus far ,TERFs like Raymond have gotten away with creating this false narrative about how their Radical Feminist spaces were being invaded by violent trans women and it’s just not the case.

So, what happened after all of this? For years you had been living in this very public pressure cooker with visceral and tangible hate directed at you – being vulnerable in that way — in the context of trying to cope with it all, and then it comes to an end, what happened then?

Sandy: I left still loving the Collective and the individual women in it. Every one of them. And I still do. Every single one of them. They have a very special place in my heart.

I went back to Santa Cruz, and I took up my life, and the Santa Cruz community was extremely supportive. Shortly after I returned, a TERF called a community meeting in which the question was raised, whether I was a woman and whether I would be allowed into “women’s spaces.”

Cristan: Wait. So this is AFTER you left Olivia? This was after you went home and even then, they wouldn’t stop?

Sandy: After Olivia, I couldn’t go anywhere without being a lightning rod. Now, at this point, the question was, “Are we going to let trans women – who are men – into our community?” Well, Janice Raymond said something like “trans people divide women.” So, I “divided” my local women’s community.

This only serves to enhance his previously dominant role and to divide women, as men frequently do, when they make their presence necessary and vital to women. Having produced such divisiveness, one would think that if Stone’s commitment to and identification with women were genuinely woman-centered, he would have removed himself from Olivia and assumed some responsibility for the divisiveness. – Janice Raymond, PhD, The Transsexual Empire, The Making of the She-Male, page 102

The community voted on whether I would be “allowed into women’s spaces” and at that time at least 50 women came to the meeting. The vote was 49 to 1. There was one TERF at the meeting that refused to accept me. So, in fact I did divide the community. The TERF went off in a huff and I never heard from her again and that was the end of that. Since then, I’ve just been another member of the GLBT community in Santa Cruz, California. I consider this to be my heart’s home.

Life went on except for the fact that I have this kind of parallel identity, this kind of Gollum named “Sandy Stone” that walks around and does things that I don’t know anything about and shows up at places that I’ve never been.

Cristan: [Laughs]

Sandy: It’s been more or less like that, to a diminishing extent, ever since. Occasionally, nice things will happen but then I’ll get broadsided by stuff.  But then I met Donna Haraway, who was doing research for her paper on cyborgs, and I became involved with a university through a completely random chance event and I found my home in academic life. As soon as I said that “the university felt like home,” the whole universe — the Goddess – really pushed me into academia and essentially, I’ve been in academia ever since.

I don’t know if that answers your question of what happened afterwards, but what happened was that I fell into history in the sense that time began to pass in a way that it didn’t when I was with the Collective and in the years immediately after. I got an academic career, I felt more grounded, I got married, I have a kid and a grandkid and a family of 15 people here in town; time began to pass. That’s what I mean by, “I fell into history.” Life began to go on. I got happy. I guess that’s the best possible way to put that. I got happy and I’m still happy. I walk every day by the ocean, Cynbe comes home and we talk about geek stuff, I’ll work on some project, my kid will come around with a grandkid, I’ll have dinner for the rest of the family, they’ll all come over… I’m living life. If there was anything that I never expected to have in my life, it was contentment.

And I’m as astonished by that as I can possibly be.


Sandy Stone is the Founding Director of the Advanced Communication Technologies Laboratory (ACTLab) and the Convergent Media program of the University of Texas at Austin; Senior Artist at the Banff Centre for the Arts; and Fellow of the Humanities Research Institute, University of California, Irvine. In various incarnations she has been a filmmaker, rock ‘n roll music engineer, neurologist, social scientist, cultural theorist, and performer. She is the author of numerous publications including “The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto” and “The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age”, both of which are available in a wide selection of translated editions. She lives in Austin, Texas and Santa Cruz, California with her husband Cynbe ru Taren (aka Jeffrey Prothero) and their cat, /dev/cat.

This article is part of an ongoing series exploring trans issues with feminist opinion leaders:
  • Catharine A. MacKinnon: Iconic radical feminist/legal theorist.
  • Judith Butler: Iconic queer feminist/gender theorist.
  • Frances “Poppy” Northcutt: Early trans-inclusive leader in the Southern feminist movement, president of Texas NOW.
  • Janis Walworth: Radical Lesbian who organized the movement that became Camp Trans.
  • Sandy Stone: After surviving an attempted murder by TERFs, wrote a foundational document for trans feminism: The Empire Strikes Back: A Post-Transsexual Manefesto.
  • Robin Tyler: Iconic radical feminist activist, pioneered trans-inclusive Women's Fests, was beaten by TERFs for protecting a trans woman from thier bashing.

  • Radical Women: Conversation with an early trans-inclusive 2nd wave feminist group formed in 1967.
  • Libertarian Feminism: Interview with a trans-inclusive libertarian feminist organization formed in 1973.

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Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter in the South and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable healthcare for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at the social justice sites TransAdvocate.com and TheTERFs.com, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group.

31 Comments

  1. J.D. says:

    The only aspect of this that I’m not in full support of is when trans activists seek to label transwomen as “women” and transmen as “men” — because they’re not the same. There are biological differences that are relevant to people — people who hold no bias against the trans community. Sexuality, for example, is not only about gender, it is also about sex. Because sex-reassignment surgery doesn’t completely change the sex of the individual and many traits still remain from the sex they were born, it is relevant to the sexuality of many individuals that someone meet certain biological criteria. There are men and women who find the idea of their partner having a womb to be a source of attraction to them — it is the sexualizing of the biology of the sex that they’re attracted to which is completely normal. There are men and women who find the idea of their partner having testes to be a source of attraction to them, and this is also completely normal. So, it’s not reasonable to call people “transphobic” when they find someone without these traits to be unattractive because attraction is not chosen any more than gender identity is. One watches their body and mind and comes to find out what they respond to, one cannot tell their body to react where it doesn’t. — And if one is turned off by the idea of something, that is still a legitimate aspect of attraction because one doesn’t choose to be turned off by the idea of something, either.

    So, I really wish that this aspect of things gets improved upon. I’m completely for supporting the full healthcare of trans individuals, more research into treatment options and efficacy, and full protection under the law. But, I’m not for having my sexuality vilified because I don’t happen to be attracted to transsexuals. I’m not attracted to men or very “butch” or “femme” women either, but I don’t hate them at all and I’m certainly not prejudiced against them. It’s just not how my sexuality works. I hope that one day there’s terminology to describe whether one is oriented towards being attracted to trans individuals or not, because trans individuals are unique and valid as a group of people and it warrants a proper term to describe it. I know of many people oriented that way, but when someone’s not, it’s not necessary to vilify them. Let’s just respect each other.

    • Cristan says:

      I can understand why it’s important to a certain worldview to ontologically construct non-intersex and non-trans men and women as being non-men and non-women. It preserves a certain subject-object power relationship that underpins certain cultural understandings as being axiomatic. Giving up that level of privilege is a big ask.

    • Morgan says:

      Okay, but the fact that some people are only attracted to women with wombs doesn’t make women without wombs not women. You’ve said yourself, you’re not attracted to trans women – or high butch or high femme women. But you don’t deny the womanhood of butch women or femme women based on whether or not you’re attracted to them.

      The thing about defining people as men/women based on their anatomy is that there are always exceptions, even leaving trans and intersex people out of it. If having a womb is a key part of being a woman, what about a woman who has had a hysterectomy, for instance? You might no longer be attracted to her, if ‘having a womb’ is a key part of your attraction to women, but I doubt you’d deny that she was a woman.

      I’m always really bemused and rather upset by this whole argument, which is one that comes up a lot. There are several reasons. There’s the obvious biological argument that I’ve raised above. People who say they can’t be attracted to trans people because of their reproductive organs usually go for the ‘I [dis]like vaginas’/’I [dis]like penises’, version, which you’ve at least sidestepped – presumably because it’s easier to counter with the fact that SRS exists, so who has a vagina/penis doesn’t necessarily equate to who was born with one. Moving the argument to testes and uteri sidesteps this, but is also pushing it, because how many people really are only attracted to people based on their internal organs?

      And why are they the ones whose attractions are prioritized? Because there are plenty of people who are attracted to women because they look and act like women, not because they have a functioning uterus, or attracted to men because they look and act like men, not because they were born with a set of testes. Do their attractions not contribute to the definition of men and women?

      But none of that really cuts to the core of why this is a HORRIBLE argument.
      To wit – are we really going to define whether people are real men/real women based purely on whether we’re sexually attracted to them? Because, frankly, EW. Are the only women who are women really the ones who you’re attracted to? Or who some hypothetical person whose sexuality revolves around whether their partner has a uterus and not around whether they’re, you know, nice, or pretty, or anything, is attracted to? If we’re using sexual desirability as a criteria for womanhood, are ugly women not women? If reproductive capacity is important, are infertile women not women? Are women who don’t want to have sex and whose desirability is therefore frankly irrelevant to anyone not women? If you’re not attracted to redheads, are ginger women no longer women?

      We complain about reduction of women to sexual objects when men do it, so why is it okay to define trans women’s womanhood based on whether or not you’d fuck them? Or for that matter, trans men’s? Or anyone’s? No-one’s worth or personhood or identity or, for that matter, gender, should be defined by whether or not people want to fuck them. Because that would be abhorrent.

  2. Page Contents

    The BackgroundExcerpts from Vogel’s letter to OliviaThe Beginning of Organized Resistance The 1992 Trans-Inclusive MichFest SurveyCamp TransCamp Trans: 1994
    Janis Walworth, a radical lesbian activist and progenitor of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MichFest) protest that came to be known as Camp Trans, speaks about the structural practice of sex essentialism within a community constructed to be a feminist safe space. Walworth recounts the incidents leading up to the establishment of Camp Trans as well as her research revealing that a majority of MichFest attendees were welcoming of trans women.
    Keywords: SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONISM Lesbian Feminism Sex Gender

    Questioning Sex Essentialism As Feminist Practice: An Interview With Janis Walworth
    BY Cristan Williams@cristanwilliams
    0SHARESFacebookTwitter
    [blog_subscription_form]
    The Background
    In the middle of a cool August night in 1991, Nancy Burkholder was expelled from the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MichFest) because she was an admitted trans woman.  Burkholder’s friend, Janis Walworth –a cisgender radical Lesbian feminist– became outraged that MichFest would engage in anti-trans discrimination. In response, Walworth immediately began educating MichFest attendees about trans people. After coping with threats of violence and dealing with having her consciousness-raising space vandalized, she –with body guard protection from the Lesbian Avengers– helped form what became known as Camp Trans.

    She told that I had I had to leave the festival and that I would not even be allowed to return to my campsite to retrieve my equipment. I realized that Chris and Del were expelling me in spite of all the irrefutable legal and anatomical proof that I was a women. I knew there was nothing more I could say to these women. I resigned myself to the fact that these women were expelling me from the festival. – Nancy Burkholder, 1991

    Camp Trans consisted of several dozen transsexual women and supporters who leafleted MichFest attendees, held workshops and readings that attracted hundreds of MichFest women. The significance of this protest was noted by trans and intersex activist Riki Wilchins who wrote, “… it was the first time that significant numbers of the hard-core lesbian feminist community backed us”Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community</i>, 523. NY, NY: Oxford University Press, 2014.”>1
    Go to top
     
    Cristan Williams: I understand that you were very active in the first response to the trans-exclusionary policy at the MichFest. Can you talk about that?
    Janis Walworth: From what I understand, MichFest had a trans exclusion policy before Nancy [Burkholder] was thrown out of the festival, that this policy had been discussed quite some time before, like in the late 1970s.
    Williams: Ah, yes. Lisa Vogel – the owner of the MichFest – and several MichFest acts were active in the effort to put pressure on Olivia Records, a radical feminist Lesbian-separatist music collective, for being trans-inclusive in the late 1970s. All of that culminated in armed sex essentialist women asserting their desire to murder Sand Stone, the trans woman who was a member of the Olivia Collective. There’s a newspaper from 1977 that published an open letter to the Olivia collective that Lisa Vogel signed onto, condemning Olivia’s trans-inclusive policies. I can understand how that anti-trans ideology was there in the early days of MichFest.

    Excerpts from Vogel’s letter to Olivia

    Dear Olivia:
    We are writing concerning your decision to employ Sandy Stone as your recording engineer and sound technician. We feel that it was and is irresponsible of you to have presented this person as a woman to the women’s community when in fact he is a post-operative transsexual.
    Given the narrow options available to us, it is also likely that many of us would have to work with Stone. Some of us have already done so without the knowledge that this person was not a woman. When we did discover the truth about Stone and tried to discuss this with you, we were told that you considered him very much a woman, a lesbian, and that you trusted him more than middle class, heterosexual women. This was very painful to hear and indicated a great lack of respect and love for women and our struggle. We do not believe that a man without a penis is a woman any more than we would accept a white woman with dyed skin as a Black woman.

    Fig 1: Open Letter to Olivia published in Sister, 1977 | Photo: Williams

    Walworth: Yes, there apparently was a policy, which was never promulgated in any significant way. Although, the festival organizers apparently understood that the phrase “womyn-born-womyn” was meant to exclude trans women, other people didn’t necessarily understand the meaning the festival gave to that phrase.
    Williams: So, after you heard about Nancy’s expulsion from the festival, what was your response to the festival’s behavior?
    Walworth: I had been a friend of Nancy’s for a while before that. She and I had both gone to the festival in 1990 and there were no incidents. So, she had come there in 1991, I was there also, she had come with her friend. Laura and I had seen Nancy at the beginning of the festival, and then I didn’t see her again, for several days. I began to wonder — of course, there are so many people in there, it’s easy enough to not run into people — but, I had really been keeping an eye out for her and had not seen her. Finally, Laura found me and told me what had happened.
    I then called Nancy and talked to her about it and we agreed that it was important for as many people as possible to know out this and I spent the rest of my time at that festival talking to people and just letting them know what had happened. And most people I talked to were horrified. I remember talking to one person – someone that I had known personally for a long time – whose response was, “Well, that’s the way that it should be.” So, there was a range of responses, but really, most people I talked to were like, “REALLY?!? That’s unbelievable!”
    So, that was the initial response to what had happened. It was in 1991 when Nancy was thrown out. We were just all in shock about it and we were just trying to let as many people as possible know about what happened.
    After the festival, we began a letter-writing campaign, writing gay newspapers and stuff like that, just to make sure that people knew.
    Williams: So, when the 1992 festival rolled around, were you involved in any of actions that happened hat year?
    The Beginning of Organized Resistance
    Walworth: Oh yeah. Yes. In 1992 it was decided that – I mean, I had been talking with Nancy and with some other trans activists – we decided that somebody needed to go back to the festival and let people know what was going on and to make our voices heard so that we could start doing some education.
    So, I went back there and I went there with Davina Gabriel, my sister went with me, another woman named Brandy and another woman from Kansas City. So, the four of us went and we had a lot of literature. I had written up what I called, Gender Myths – they were just a short statement of some belief some people held about trans women and men and then under that, the Fact, a little paragraph explaining what was factual – and we had these printed up in bright colors and we posted those in the port-o-potties. We went around every day, with handfuls of these things. I mean, a lot of people put literature in the port-o-potties because, while you’re sitting there, it’s something to read. So, we posted these Gender Myths in ALL the port-o-potties. They got torn down on a regular basis, and so we went around, every single day, and posted them again, sometimes twice a day.
    Fig 2: Distributing “Gender Myths” | Photo: Walworth
    We also had a table out at the area called One World, which is the area for literature, and they have tables set up there so that people can put up litterateur there. People usually just put literature out and walk away. We actually took a table and brought some chairs and sat behind it and talked to people as they went by, which was kind of unheard of in that area, at the time.
    Fig 3: Full set of “Gender Myths”| Photo: Walworth
    We had buttons made up like “Friend of Nancy” and you know, a lot of people took these buttons and wore them around. One of the biggest things we did that year was a survey because I wanted to find out exactly how much support we had.
    Fig 4: Pro-Inclusive MichFest Buttons, 1992 | Photo: Walworth
    Williams: WOW! I’ve never heard of this survey before!
    Walworth: Yeah, it was a really important thing for us to do because I felt like we could sit there and hand out literature all day, but we didn’t really have any basis for doing a real protest without knowing what our support-base was.
    The 1992 Trans-Inclusive MichFest Survey

    Gender Opinion Survey:
    Do you think that male-to-female transsexuals should be welcome at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MWMF)?
    Circle one:                           YES   NO
    Why or why not?             ________________________________________________
    If not, what would be the best way to determine if a person is a male-to-female transsexual?
    _________________________________________________________________
    Do you think that female-to-male transsexuals should be welcome at the MWMF?
    Circle one:                           YES   NO
    Why or why not?             ________________________________________________
    If not, what would be the best way to determine if a person is a female-to-male transsexual?
    ____________________________________________________________________
    Use the back of this paper to tell any personal experiences you have had or beliefs and philosophies you hold that contribute to your views about this topic.
    Thank you!

    Walworth: We had a box at our table so that when they got done with the survey, they could drop it into the box. Every night we took the survey all the way back out to my car and locked them in the car because we were afraid that somebody would vandalize them if we left them out. Other tables had surveys that were left out so that people could just do them around the clock, but we were afraid that if we left them unattended, something would happen to them.
    Fig 5: “Baby-Born Woman” at the Gender Survey table | Photo: Walworth
    I have the results. We did a total of 633 surveys and there were about 7,500 attendees that year which gave us a response rate of 8.4%. The margin of error was 3.8%. We did this right [laughs].
    In answer to the first question, YES responses were 73.1%; NO responses were 22.6% and the other 4.3% were things like, “I’m not sure” or simply did not answer.
    Given these results, the chance that the majority of 7500 MichFest participants believe transsexuals should not be admitted would be less than 1 in 100,000. This calculation assumes that our sample was randomly selected, which it certainly was not. However, even if half of the YES answers are attributed to the bias of the sample and eliminated from the calculation, there is still a better than 999 in 1000 chance that most Festigoers would welcome transsexuals.
    The reasons Festigoers gave for wanting to exclude transsexuals were:
    They are not women
    They are not women-born women
    They make others uncomfortable
    They have been socialized as males
    They have had male privilege
    They think like men
    They have male energy
    They have penises
    They behave like men
    They are too feminine
    Reasons given for including transsexuals were:
    They are women
     They identify as women
     They have made a commitment to womanhood
    They have been through enough
    We should not oppress others
    They have chosen to be women
    We should be inclusive
    We should not judge an individual’s choice
    They can benefit from the women’s community
    Internally they are women
    They are oppressed as women
    They are living as women
    They share women’s goals and perspectives
    They are not threatening
    In answer to the question, “What is the best way to determine whether an individual is a male-to-female transsexual?” there was a considerable range of opinion. Of the 227 responses, 126 were from those against inclusion, 86 from those women in favor of inclusion and 15 from those without a clear opinion about inclusion. And here are the reasons that people gave:
    Ask them
    Trust them to be honest
    Don’t know
    Announce the policy clearly
    Check their genitals
    There is no accurate way to tell
    Driver’s license or picture ID
    There is no dignified way to tell
    Self-identification should be sufficient
    We shouldn’t try
    Surgery should be complete
    By their behavior
    Genetic testing, [laughs] I love that one! Do these people think we are going to do genetic testing in the woods?
    Birth certificate
    Written exam or questionnaire
    Medical certificate
    Of course, these people are not thinking about the fact that, in order for this to work, everybody has to bring this documentation! They’re just thinking that stuff like this would only apply to trans women when, in fact, everybody would have to do this!
    Cristan: [Laughs] Genital checks and genetic testing! [Laughs]
    Walworth: [Laughs] Additionally, two were in favor of interviews, having a friend vouch for them and “intuition.”
    Cristan: [Laughs]
    Walworth: [Laughs] I guess they were thinking that there would be psychics posted at the gate entrance.
    Cristan: And this was in 1992, right?
    Walworth: Yes, yes. Another response was that everyone should have their testosterone levels checked and that everyone’s bone structure should be scrutinized.
    Cristan: [Laughs] Wow!
    Walworth: So there you go!
    Camp Trans
    Cristan: So in 1992, that was where the momentum for Camp Trans began?
    Walworth: That first year, 1992, we did the survey with the intention of continuing on with some kind of protest or engagement with the festival. So yes, this was the groundwork. This was the beginning. We spent our time at the table doing education with the Gender Myths and doing the survey to figure out what our support base was like.
    We also had an engagement with Alix Dobkin that year.
    Cristan: Oh? Alix was one of the sex essentialists who signed onto that horrible open letter to Olivia, attacking Sandy Stone.
    Walworth: Yes, she is very anti-trans. She came to do a community forum and her workshop area had like, more than 100 people. It was just an opportunity for people to ask questions and she would answer them. And so, I went there and I was wearing a shirt that Anne Ogborn had given me. She wasn’t able to be there, so I wore the shirt she had given me and the shirt read, in these huge letters: SEX CHANGE.
    Cristan: [Laughs]
    Walworth: And so I went to Alix Dobkin’s workshop wearing Anne’s t-shirt. Alix did her thing and people would ask questions and, it’s not like she knew the names of anyone who she was calling on to ask her a question, so she would call on people by saying things like, “You with the curly hair and sunglasses.” When it came time for me to ask a question, Alix pointed at me and said, “Yes, you – sex change.”
    Cristan: [Laughs]
    Walworth: One of the things she was talking about was how she was tired of people whining about how things aren’t the way they wanted and if people wanted to change things about the festival, they should come here and engage in dialogue. So, when she called on me, I asked, “How can people show up when they are not allowed through the front gate?” To which she didn’t have a response.
    She came by our table and we asked her to fill out a survey. She was [pause], she was not friendly toward us. I mean, we wanted to dialogue with people and so we were always very civil.
    In 1993, we went back again. There were four trans women and me in 93. We were prepared to be thrown out.  We again set up a table, like we had before and we proceeded to do our educational outreach.
    Some people in the festival began harassing us and then around noon on Wednesday or Thursday, the festival security stopped by and told us that the trans women in our group would have to leave, “for their own safety.”
    Cristan: For your own SAFETY? Are you saying that sex essentialists were talking about attacking your group?
    Walworth: Tensions were definitely rising, we were told. We had scheduled to do some workshops and some folks were definitely hostile. We were told that, for our own safety, the trans women would need to leave the festival as soon as possible. It was a situation.
    We had decided before all of this that if they asked us to leave, we would leave. We had all of our camping gear and had decided that we would just set up across the street from the festival.
    Fig 6: Leaving MichFest, 1993 | Photo: Walworth
    We decided that I would stay inside the festival to continue educating people and the other folks would set up camp across the street from the festival in protest.
    They made very slow progress out of the festival because people kept stopping them and asking why they were leaving and then they would explain the whole thing – which was a great educational moment – but the leather Dykes has stopped them.
    The leather Dykes were trying to convince our folks to not leave the festival. They said that they would provide body guard protection for our group, in their camp. They were very adamant that the threatened violence was wrong, that forcing the victims of the threatened violence to leave was wrong, and that the entire policy was wrong.
    Ultimately, we stuck to our plan and we set camp for the trans folk.
    The next day, I made sure our education table was set up, and then went to visit the Camp. They had put up an amazing sign. It was bright neon pink banner and on it was written in big letters, “Transsexual Womyn Expelled From Festival: Too Out To Be In!”
    Fig 7: “Transsexual Womyn Expelled from Festival! Too Out To Be In!” First Trans Camp, 1993 | Photo: Walworth
    There was no way that you couldn’t see the banner, coming or going from the festival. They had set up a tarp and a table with all of our literature there.  That space became a really cool thing because you could not miss this camp. Every woman who left the festival or who came back into the festival saw this sign.
    People wanted to know what was going on. A lot of people stopped and talked with us out there. People came out from the festival to specifically talk with us. We had workshops that were scheduled inside the festival, so we posted that they would be happening outside the festival, and people came out of the festival to attend our workshop.
    People came out and they brought food, and water, and flowers, I mean, it was an amazing, amazing thing.
    I spent time going back and forth between the Camp and our table inside, because I was the only one who could do anything inside. Our table, inside the festival, was vandalized while I was at the Camp. They had taken our stuff from our table – buttons, literature, supplies — and dumped it into a port-o-potty. I informed security because it was going to cause problem when it came time to clean it out.
    I started putting out only a few things while I was gone so that when it would be vandalized, we would still have some things to put out afterwards. The literature that we put up, was torn down routinely.
    Camp Trans: 1994
    Fig 8: (L to R) Unknown, Leslie Feinberg, Unknown, Jamison Green | Photo: TransSisters
    Camp Trans really came into focus in 1994. We had a year to organize and let people know where we were going to be. Riki Wilchins had showed up at the end of the 1993 Camp and she really became involved in 1994. I think she was the one who thought up the name, “Camp Trans.”
    That year we went back with the intention of not going back into the festival because we could do our work outside the festival. We were WAY more visible across the road. For that festival, we made a banner that said, “Camp Trans: For Humyns-Born-Humyns.” There were 28 people who came to camp that year.  There was Riki, who brought a lot of people from New York, Leslie Feinberg and Minnie Bruce Pratt, an intersex woman, an older grandmotherly woman, a friend of mine and her partner and their 4 year old and Nancy Burkholder was there again. So, we had the camp made up of all kinds of people, ages four to 70-something and every sort of gender you can think of.
    Fig 9: Leslie Feinberg speaking at Camp Trans | Photo: TransSisters
    Cristan: [Laughs] That’s awesome!
    Walworth: As people were coming into the festival, we were handing out literature. The festival organizers didn’t like it. They were telling folks not to take our literature, the sheriff came out, and the park ranger came out. They would do things like wait until five in the morning when we were all asleep and blare loud music at us.
    Cristan: Oh wow! So, the festival really worked to try and silence you.
    Walworth: Yeah, but we kept doing our education. What we were doing was amazing, though. I mean, we had this lesbian couple come out to Camp Trans to get married. One of the trans women was a minister and this couple thought that the best place to have their wedding was at Camp Trans!
    The grandmotherly women went up to the festival gate to go into the festival because she knew that she had a friend inside that she wanted to see. Since she was over 65, she didn’t have to pay and so when she got up there, the security people at the gate knew that she was from Camp Trans. They debated over what to do and they finally allowed her to go in with a security detail, “for her own protection,” they said.  She said, “Why do I need protection. I’m a grandmother. Are you saying that an old woman like me can’t go safely into your festival? What kind of place is this?”
    Cristan: [Laughter] I can’t believe that she had to have protection! That’s horrible!
    Fig 10: Camp Trans, 1994 | Photo: TransSisters
    Walworth: There were a whole bunch of Lesbian Avengers inside the festival and they were going to have a workshop. Some of them had come out to our Camp and they wanted us to come to their workshop. We explained the safety situation with them and they said, “Well, what if we send out a bunch of Lesbian Avengers out to escort you in?” They were offering to guard us. Knowing that we would have them as guards, we thought that maybe we could do it. Some of the folks from our Camp felt like they would be okay going inside and so, we had this contingent who would go to the Lesbian Avengers meeting and then they would walk us out.
    So, everyone from our Camp who self-identified as a womyn-born-womyn decided to purchase a day ticket so they could go to the Lesbian Avengers meeting. We also had a training on how to deal with hostility, if anything happened. So, when the time came, a big group of Lesbian Avengers came out and met our group and they escorted our group to their meeting.  The Lesbian Avengers came, they were beating drums and singing songs and welcomed our group into their own. They marched all the way to the meeting, they did the workshop and then, the Lesbian Avengers marched our contingent through the rest of the festival. So, all of this was highly visible. After the show of solidarity, the Lesbian Avengers marched back down to Camp Trans, safely returning our group to us.
    Cristan: Wow! That’s, just amazing!
    Walworth: Yes, it really was. The Camp Trans experience was a beautiful thing and the support that so many of the festival goers was just fantastic!
    Go to top
     

    About Latest Posts Cristan WilliamsCristan Williams is a trans historian and activist. She started one of the first trans homeless shelters and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable healthcare for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at the social justice sites TransAdvocate.com and TheTERFs.com, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group, is the jurisdictional representative to the Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services (UCHAPS), serves on the national steering body for UCHAPS and is the Executive Director of the Transgender Foundation of America. Latest posts by Cristan Williams (see all) Commentary Testing – November 13, 2015 Sex, Gender, and Sexuality: An Interview With Catharine A. MacKinnon – November 27, 2015 Gender Performance: An interview with Judith Butler – November 28, 2015 Share this:TweetShare on TumblrPocketSchroth, Laura. “US History.” In Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community, 523. NY, NY: Oxford University Press, 2014.Like this:Like Loading…

    Related

  3. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Joseph Goebbels
    “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”   George Orwell
    If there ever were such a thing as a Joseph Goebbels/George Orwell award, Cristan Williams (http://www.transadvocate.com) would be the 2015 winner, or at least runner up for his creative way of rewriting women’s history. Women’s history really does matter, and I won’t let someone with an obvious biased political opinion twist, bend, and rewrite our history.
    I’m calling the creator of these outrageous distortions of women’s history a liar. There is no evidence that any of these things that supposedly happened 40 years ago really happened. Delusional transgender activists with a deep seated and long standing hatred of “TERFs” don’t get to rewrite women’s history.  In his dogged attempt to root out any and all “TERFs’ from the beginning of time to today, Williams drags up things that supposedly happened in the mid-1970s.   No one knew what a “TERF” was in 1977 because the term has only been around for about 10 years at the most, and few people are familiar with the term. To drum up a little “TERF” witch hunt hysteria, I just wonder how far Williams would go back in time in order brand women “TERF”.  If he read something written in 1600 AD by women that stated a penis isn’t a female organ, he probably would retroactively declare the whole lot of the uppity women “TERFs”. Dead women can’t speak for themselves.   Retroactively declaring women “TERF” takes the “TERF” witch hunt to an entirely new level.
    A “TERF” is basically any woman that transgender activists can’t bully or intimidate into silence. Feminist Current explains how “TERF” is used as a handy tool to silence women.
    How ‘TERF’ works
    July 29, 2014 by Sarah Ditum
    “Pay attention, if you’re not already neck-deep in the gender wars of online feminism. TERF is an acronym for “Trans Exclusive Radical Feminist” that its users claim is applied purely descriptively. Critics of the term point out that it is not used neutrally, but in all cases pejoratively: TERF is a curse word used solely against women, a version of “bitch” that liberals can feel OK saying. “TERFs” are charged with inciting and inflicting violence against transgender people, despite the fact that violence against transgender people, like all violence, is overwhelmingly committed by men and not by feminists of any stripe.
    The definition of TERF is extraordinarily loose: what one is supposed to be excluding trans people from is never identified. To state that male and female bodies exist can be enough to win the TERF label; to state that the division of sex is the foundation of sexual oppression is more than sufficient. (If your observations of reality have led you to believe that sexual dimorphism in humans is both real and socially relevant, you may be confused to learn that acknowledging this is now deemed evidence of bigotry in some quarters.)  It is also a highly toxic definition to apply to someone, both because of the intimation of violence, and because there is a hefty taboo within the left at large against “excluding” anyone.
    Vague in meaning, powerful in effect — two qualities which combine to mean that the word TERF is incredibly handy for anyone who wishes to stop women from discussing our oppression as women, by men. (Who wants to stop women discussing our oppression by men? Usually men, of course.) It is a thought-stopper extraordinaire. ”
    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2014/07/29/how-terf-works/
    In 2015, deeply disturbing threats of violence against women are being made by males. What is their reply to all this terrifying misogyny? Williams goes back nearly 40 years to try and drag up some shit that never happened. Most of the people who were involved, or remotely involved at the time are either dead or are pushing 80 by now. Note that his “interviews” with Stone and others are dated 2014. A 79 year old transwoman, Sandy Stone, is supposed to remember the details of events that happened almost 40 years ago.
    http://terfisaslur.com/ and here: https://radfemsrespond.wordpress.com/recent-anti-feminist-hate-speech

     

    There are more examples here: http://terfisaslur.com/ and here: https://radfemsrespond.wordpress.com/recent-anti-feminist-hate-speech
    The very title of his articles are biased, and notice how he makes sure “TERF” is in every title.  Any time a woman  has the audacity to open her mouth and state that males aren’t women, and  lesbians aren’t born with a penis, it’s “hatred”.   Sandy Stone is a transgender identified  heterosexual male.  Despite the fact that trans identifying males have referred to themselves as “lesbian”, Sandy Stone is not a lesbian.  The 1970s women’s recording company Olivia Records was a collective of women artists, and many of these women were lesbian.   So, in 1970 in the heyday of second wave feminism a male who is sexually attracted to women was able to sneak into a collective of mostly lesbian feminists.  There certainly was  some  verbal disagreement, but it’s  trumped up bullshit to state, “armed TERFs “ threatened Sandy Stone.
    Below is one example of his “TERF” rants.
    “TERF hate and Sandy Stone”
    “….Raymond engineered a smear campaign that nearly destroyed the Collective and put Stone’s life in jeopardy, culminating in armed TERFs asserting their intention to murder Stone.”
    Raymond didn’t engineer anything. The 21 women listed below questioned why a heterosexual male felt the need to enter a women’s collective that was mostly lesbian without openly acknowledging that he is male.. The comments are rather respectful, and at no time was Stone ever threatened.
    http://www.transadvocate.com/terf-violence-and-sandy-stone_n_14360.htm
    Scroll down to read the actual letter sent to the 1970s women’s recording company, Olivia. Only in the petty and delusional mind of Cristan Williams does stating the fact that males aren’t women equal to “armed TERFs asserting their attention to murder” a poor transwoman.
    This article was written in August 16, 2014. At least, that is the date on the webpage. No one knows when, or if, there was an actual interview. Sandy Stone was born in 1936. Olivia was a 1970’s women’s music company that went out of business in the mid 1970’s. I’m sure a 79 year old transwoman can remember what happened almost 40 years ago.
    It’s no secret that Sandy Stone disagreed with Janice Raymond. Every person has a right to his or her own opinions, but to Williams and Stone, it only goes one way. In addition to believing that Professor Raymond has no right to her opinion, Stone has repeatedly referred to Professor Janice Raymond as Nazi. In some of these screen capped comments, Stone discusses ways to best portray Raymond as a Nazi in order to discredit her.
    http://genderidentitywatch.com/2014/04/22/sandy-stone-usa/
    Professor Raymond has written numerous books on important feminist issues such on prostitution and the sex trafficking of women. They will never leave this distinguished professor alone.
    As to Stone, show me the evidence.   I’m calling Cristan Williams a liar.
    (1.) There were no police reports of “armed terfs” threatening Sandy Stone in 1977, or at any time.
    (2.) There were no eyewitnesses that can recall what, if anything, happened in 1977 or 1978.
    (3.) Not that Wikepedia can be trusted, but there is no mention of “armed terfs” threatening Stone.
    Again, stating that males are not female is not the same as threatening someone.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Stone_(artist)#cite_note-shapiro1995-6
    (4.) There is no mention of “armed terfs” threatening Stone in this interview. This is a LGBT website.
    http://lgbtweekly.com/2015/05/21/an-interview-with-sandy-stone-part-1/
    (5.) In this interview, there is no mention of “terfs” threatening Stone.
    http://theheroines.blogspot.com/2015/10/interview-with-sandy-stone.html
    (6.) In this interview, there is no mention of “terfs” threatening Stone.
    http://switch.sjsu.edu/web/v5n1/stone/
    (7.) In this extensive interview with Sandy Stone, Stone speaks at length about his work with Olivia in the mid- 1970s. In a meeting in Berkeley, Stone describes a heated discussion with some women, but Stone was not physically threated.
    http://sandystone.com/interviews/stone-transisters-interview.pdf
    (8.) In Stone’s 1993 article, “The Empire Strikes Back”, there is no mention of “terfs” threatening Sandy Stone. .
    http://uberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/trans-manifesto.pdf
    This is the letter sent to Olivia regarding Sandy Stone.

    Sister, June 1977 Issue
    (Published Letter)
    Dear Olivia:
    We are writing concerning your decision to employ Sandy Stone (formerly ) as your recording engineer and sound technician. We feel that it was and is irresponsible of you to have presented this person as a woman to the women’s community when in fact he is a post-operative transsexual. The decision to work with a transsexual is one issue in itself; but the omission of this information from the public of women who support you was an unwise choice.
    We feel that it was deceptive not to share this process with the women’s community. Many women give you their financial support precisely because they trust you to work with women exclusively, and you are not being accountable to these women.
    As performers, sound technicians, radio women, producers, and managers — women who put most of our energy and commitment into the field of women’s culture — we are particularly concerned because of the effect this has on us. We were told that Stone was going to be doing sound at an upcoming concert billed as a women-only event. This seemed an odd choice, since there are more than a few competent women sound technicians in the Bay Area. In this instance a transsexual was taking work away from women who have to struggle to gain access to these skills and whose opportunities are extremely limited.
    Given the narrow options available to us, it is also likely that many of us would have to work with Stone. Some of us have already done so without the knowledge that this person was not a woman. When we did discover the truth about Stone and tried to discuss this with you, we were told that you considered him very much a woman, a lesbian, and that you trusted him more than middle class, heterosexual women. This was very painful to hear and indicated a great lack of respect and love for women and our struggle.
    We do not believe that a man without a penis is a woman any more than we would accept a white woman with dyed skin as a Black woman. Sandy Stone grew up as a white male in this culture, with all the privileges and attitudes that that insures [sic]. It was his white male privilege that gave him access to the recording studio and the opportunity to gain engineering practice in the first place. He has never had to suffer the discrimination, self-hatred or fear that a woman must endure and survive in her life. And he cannot possess the special courage, brilliance, sensitivity and compassion that derives from that experience. How can we share feelings of sisterhood and solidarity with someone who has not had a woman’s experience?
    We are aware of the unfortunate necessity to call upon male knowledge or skills on occasion, because women have been so excluded from certain fields. But we would like to trust that it is only used as a last resort, when there are no women available to do the job, and that it is done honestly — not as a hushed-up secret.
     
    In Sisterhood,
    D.A. ‘011ie’ Oliveira
    Evan Paxton
    Sally Piano
    Gael Sapiro
    Leni Schwendinger
    Ruth Scovill
    Pat Tinkler
    Karla Tonella
    Fran Tornabene
    Lisa Vogel
    Shehar Windstone
    Martha Oeiman
    JoAnne Barry
    Bobbie Birleffi
    Alix Dobkin
    Susan Elisabeth
    Maxine Feldman
    Sue Hyde
    Bonnie Lockhart
    Margot McFederies
    Joan Medlin
    Copa Mountainmoon
     
     
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  4. […] blamed the entirety of the world’s problems on them. Radical lesbians have threatened trans women with violence (and vice versa unfortunately). Other religious, cultural, and racial movements have members that […]

  5. […] a 1977 letter to the Olivia Records Collective threatening all the women working with trans woman Sandy Stone, TERFs – including leaders of Michfest – wrote, “We do not believe that a man without a […]

  6. […] distinguish between the trans-supportive Radical Feminism of Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, The Olivia Collective or the West Coast Lesbian Conference and sex essentialist anti-trans feminism of Janice Raymond, […]

  7. […] Sandy Stone’s seminal 1993 piece ‘The Empire Strikes Back: A Post Transsexual Manifesto’ destroyed much of the poisonous legacy of Janice Raymond’s 1979 The Transsexual Empire. Stone’s riposte to Raymond, in addition to […]

  8. […] lesbian killers on her trail. If you don’t take my word for this, check the interview that Transadvocate had with […]

  9. […] was engineered by an out trans woman because the RadFem Lesbian Separatist music collective, “Olivia” was itself trans-inclusive. Moreover, the largest gathering of RadFem Lesbians ever – the West Coast Lesbian Conference […]

  10. […] – the owner of the MWMF – and several MWMF acts were active in the effort to put pressure on Olivia Records, a Radical Feminist, lesbian-separatist music collective, for being trans inclusive in the late […]

  11. […] Stone, a trans woman who was targeted for death by armed TERFs, said, “There is no ‘natural’ sex, because ‘sex’ itself as a medical or cultural […]

  12. […] Stone, a trans woman who was targeted for death by armed TERFs, said, “There is no ‘natural’ sex, because ‘sex’ itself as a medical or cultural […]

  13. […] la entrevista de Cristan Williams, “TERF hate and Sandy Stone” publicada en “The Transadvocate” el 16 de agosto de 2014. […]

  14. […] “intention”). You are right Lisa, that has been your goal for the last four decades, I’m sure Sandy Stone would agree; you went out of your way to attack a space that completely accepted her, demanding […]

  15. Liz says:

    Sandy- they say that the best revenge is to live well. While other forms may seem more… cathartic, living well probably has the longest effect. It seems that you’re doing that, so keep on having your revenge!

    BTW- why was saying ‘that’s bullshit’ the worst thing you could have said? It was bullshit! What did they expect you to do, I wonder? Cry? Faint? Have a fit of the vapours? Ugh. Poisonous idiots.

    Much love and hugs to you.

  16. […] of a Radical Feminist, Lesbian-separatist  music collective for being trans-inclusive and led to armed TERFs threatening the life of a trans […]

  17. AUnicornsGhost says:

    It amazes me how these people claim to be against gender. Trans people are the most active affront against gender that there is. Gender is a barrier and how do you defeat a barrier? By crossing it. You don’t sit around and be critical of it, you brake it down and make it infinity cross-able. What if people had decided that rather then trampling the Berlin wall they would sit around being critical of it? As an actual Post-gender person I clearly see their stance as indefensible. They claim to be “Against gender” while at the same time supporting the strict enforcement of traditionalist gender roles and standards. They worship gender as a god, demanding it define the lives of others as it does their own. No individuality, no sense, no empathy, and an identity entirely based around their genitals. They have a paranoid world view where that trans-teen shopping in H&M is actually an “Infiltrator spy”, and every public restroom is a rape-o-torium. It’s pathetic and sad. What a horrid color to paint our world, just for some meaningless sense of exclusivity and community. It may fill in the hole where your personality is supposed to be, but it won’t be very pretty.

    • Dee Omally says:

      Oh if only it was so simple for hate and loathing offend but only the host until, like the stench of a cadaver-smelling fart it flees from the host and offends…and offends and offends again and again and again—-for decades. Thank you for your keen insight…it is time to stop being so gentle and go on the offensive, metaphorically speaking of course. No expletives, no farts, no stench…just plain-English “you stink and you stink bad” graphic and yet truthful depictions of their behavior.

      No need to defend gender—the government and doctors already do(ID). No need to keep educating those that refuse such (Trans exclusive history). No need to play dirty, or we soil our own underpants. No need for expletives and vulgarity…that’s “manhandling” which they excel at far better than any schoolyard bully. No need to try and make sense out of nonsense—sense and nonsense refuse to be bedfellows. No need to specify the players: they already proudly self-identify; indeed their actions speak far better than any label. No need to seek others who articulate well: we are already blessed with plenty, self excluded of course. No need to seek passion. We have an abundance of passion. No need to do anything but to say what we mean and mean what we say. When we say “you are scum”, we mean “you are scum”, not as an expletive phrase but literally scum based on comportment, hate, backstabbing, and violent outbursts of psychological torment that has and continues to result in trans trauma.

      The absolute biggest mistake we can make, and some of us have, is not to get angry for anger is a perfectly reasonable emotion, but to “respond in kind”…..that is reciprocated anger. Everyone when wronged becomes flush with anger however to express it toward our adversaries is to bite the bait and fall into their trap. It is exactly as you say: they are gender foes while at the same time advocating for and violating gender expectations (masculine garb, masculine aesthetics, hair, and above all behavior). This is why I have reached the conclusion that they are trans men who, by attacking the concept of trans femininity, satiate some inner demons that make their soul their home. How on earth can an objective person conclude that these are females on all counts? Forget whatever their privates are…they are private and have zero bearing, despite their constant focus on Mr. Penis and Mrs. Vagina.

      These are walking, talking, farting (from upper orifice and nether regions) contradictions! Again, it’s not hyperbole—it is precisely as you say! Nonsense = no sense. They cry “RAPE!!!!” where there is no rape…except of course that rapist back in anytown, USA who did rape…and so nonsense says that predictably all males rape! This started back when lesbians, no longer prey as lesbians continue to be across the world…many of which pay for their sexual choice with their own lives…..lesbians, free from no longer having to fight for their right of sexual choice, turned their lust for power and supremacy on other females, merely for being guilty of having been born male. The mainstream dictionaries have an incomplete synonym list for “nonsense”: it is missing TERF as a synonym.

  18. […] TERF hate and Sandy Stone | The TransAdvocate […]

  19. […] the time that TERFs were sending death threats to the radical-feminist lesbian-separatist music collective, Olivia Records for being […]

  20. Dee Omally says:

    Those of us who not only swore to protect our nation from “enemies foreign and domestic, only to take another oath as civilian enforcers, never ever initiate a public contact with an expectation that gender A is safer than gender B. A bullet has no male or female face, just a skull and crossbones, a point well made in this superb article. This reality is borne out in the existence of female prisons and female gang members. Anger, temperament and violence have never been solely masculine traits—ever. Males always win this contest by virtue of sheer size and the potent steroid of testosterone. The truth that females are capable of aggression is demonstrated by the fact that female soldiers comprise a not insignificant role in a nation’s arsenal, as soldiers trained to be lethal in defense or offense.

    Ironically, the psychological warfare spearheaded by TERF f-star imbecile bigot general J. Raymond to oust Stone employed the very violence that TERFs claim as the reason for excluding trans females in the first place. If in fact this is a true depiction of what did occur, and I am not trying to imply or say otherwise, then the TERF movement was borne of the same lunacy as other militant groups. It is a lunacy that exists outside of reasonable thought or understanding. It is an illness deep in the mind that mimics the ferocity of a cornered animal. As is the case today, it involves a militant group of women who step outside of their sphere of concern and invade other spheres, in this case Olivia records. Displaying this very lunacy, they exile Sandy Stone from the altar of the female goddess, only to then adopt a defensive posture and defend “female spaces” at all costs. This “commit evil” in the name of good is nothing new, and continues even today.

    To think that this began deceptively innocuous “we welcome your comments” and escalated to anonymous all-out-war with cowardice leading the way—-wow…..where’s the reasonable actions here? In my home state of California, making such threats would now be enforceable under CA PC section 422. The TERF movement presupposes, even at its birth, that we who have a transitioned history have played “previously dominant roles…to divide women, as men frequently do”. Such is not the history of most of us. To the contrary, most of us, self included, lacking such male dominance, have been bullied and called “sissies”, for being too soft or not “male-strong”. Before the arrival of the internet which introduced “non-dominant” trans children to the world, their garbage-bag full of lies sounded plausible. Trans children are showing the world that we’ve always been here, even if the Internet was not.

    The TERFs didn’t know when to stop crying wolf, and now it’s too late. While the presence of trans children serves to vindicate trans adults, ironically their very presence serves to indict TERFs. The gnashing of teeth resonates in increasing decibels with every trans victory. Soon TERFs will find their rightful place in trans history…their role of trans nemesis will never go away, but history is very quickly directing them to the nearest —————EXIT. It isn’t that gender hurts, but that Raymond and Jeffries hurt…precisely as this story says so itself.

  21. kenneth says:

    How can you run a piece entitled ‘TERF Hate” and invoke so much hatred here? Just sayin’.

    • Kathy11 says:

      How does telling the truth about the history of violence and discrimination directed towards some women in particular – and as a group – invoke hate? Should it have remained a story that was covered up?

    • Lisa Harney says:

      How can you post something so thoroughly dishonest as to suggest that Cristan Williams is the one invoking hatred?

    • Dee Omally says:

      EZ. You answered your own question. Kinda hard to write about hate…well without writing about hate, no mate?

    • How do idiots like you keep confusing “Telling the factual truth” with hatred? If a factual truth invokes hatred of TERFs, it is a direct result of TERF BEHAVIOUR, not of that behaviour being exposed.

  22. […] in breathtaking acts of Lateral Violence – repeatedly conflate cruelty with empowerment. When harm is inflicted, they conflate the pain they inspire with a strike against the oppression they face.  While this […]

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