Real women only

The Seven Sisters Festival in the Mornington Peninsula, South-East of Melbourne, is in trouble about whether to admit trans women. According to PinkNews, they would admit post-op trans women, but not pre-op: As we have advertised the festival as a sacred women’s only space – having individuals onsite who are physically men would be breaking the trust of many women.

We are however open to transgender women who have undertaken all operative measures to become a woman to come and partake in the festival.

Now, they have backed down a little: Seven Sisters have at no time expressed any official statement regarding our position on trans inclusivity, but we are now seeking legal advice on this matter, hearing the voices of our patrons as well as engaging into dialogue with the transgender community.

Therefore, as a part of maintaining the integrity of our community, in the next month, we will send a confidential survey to our fellow sisters who have and will be attending next years festival so they can share their opinions without fear of bullying.

Who is “Bullying” depends on your view. Some would say excluding those who experience ourselves as women is bullying, however formal and unemotional the language used to express the rule.

How would they know? Pre-op, if I was tucked and wearing tummy-control pants, and a pair of tights, lifting my skirt would not be enough: the suspicious TERF would have to put her hand between my legs to be sure. Though if I got in, I would have to be careful thereafter.

Possibly, excluding all trans women would offend cis women attenders. Excluding pre-op or non-op trans women might be a stance TERFs might feel they could defend, on the grounds of being “unsafe” if there are penises about, or feeling unsafe after life-long experience of violence from men, if they perceive the trans woman as a man.

In order to attend, we need the support of cis women. I want all trans women to be able to attend; I do not want to be the tolerated trans woman when sisters are excluded. But one Women’s Institute accepts trans women who intend to live the rest of their lives as women. There is another boundary: what of those who identify as outside the binary? This is a women’s festival. I want safe space for women.

I feel that the quiet calm expression of our feelings, and our desire to support and conciliate, should be enough to win over most women. Not everyone: on facebook, there are TERF statements like this: Seven Sisters, many womyn are holding our ground on this, and are rightfully pissed off that intimate gatherings and spaces are being invaded by the mentally un-well who think their taste in clothing and childhood toys make their lived experience the same or worse than females. These are males with aggrieved entitlement issues and their demands made on women to let them go and do as they please tell a very familiar tale. Behold the standard TERF tactic of dehumanising us and ridiculing our feelings to make monsters of us.

We need the cis women to answer this. And they do, for example: If i had a double mastectomy, and a full hysterectomy, am i no longer ‘female’? Sisterhood…celebrating the rising feminine energy, supporting, nourishing and empowering female energy is not what this festival is.

Every indigenous culture acknowledged, accepted and included transgenders, they were honoured as that which they were most inherantly identified with….(without genital reconstruction work).

There are a small minority, called TERFs, who are very very angry and loud about trans women. Give them their head, and they will alienate the majority. Excluding people is unattractive. When I was excluded from women’s space, cis women stood up for me.

I am grateful that this post has been featured on T-Central, a blog with links to a variety of trans blogs. Welcome, if you come from there. Please comment: how would you respond to the Festival organisers?

El Greco, Annunciation

12 thoughts on “Real women only

  1. Apart from anything else, it’s so ridiculously impractical! Will they accept pre-op trans men? I hope in consultation with their lawyers they can clear that up too, along with getting the necessary documentation for full genital inspection for attendees at the gate. If you’re organising a public festival aimed at a specific group of people, advertise it as you want, and welcome anyone who wants to turn up.


    • Do you do facebook? Would you like to pop over and tell them that? There are women commenting who are extremely angry and saying horrible things about my lot: they observe violence against women- eg., see yesterday’s post- and blame men. Then they see me as a man. If there were any peaceable Capulets, they might feel a little upset seeing a Montague at the Capulet ball, even if he was dressed as a Capulet.

      You and I know not all men are violent, particularly those weird, deluded men who imagine we are women, wear women’s clothes even if they don’t fit, take women’s names etc. I am peeved that on that facebook thread, there is someone I think is trans posting replies to the radfem comments including cartoons of vomiting and farting. This does not help. But there are several women taking the radfem perspective:

      Why can’t males that trans ever allow women that were born with female bodies, who went through female puberty, who suffered shared girlhood and socialization into womanhood, have a space of their own? Most places already include you. But you can’t let us have this. Pro tip- if I don’t like something, I go about my business. I don’t try to ruin it. And you are all cowards. Why not tackle the real issues, the people that would imprison you, or kill you- religious zealots, conservatives .But you go after an already weak group. Cowards. Can’t fight the real battles so you bash women. What a shock- MEN not letting women have a space without them.

      Note the men are bashing women. She is under attack, so reasonably defending herself: that is how she sees it.

      Did you “suffer” girlhood and socialisation into womanhood? Is that how you see it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Of course they’ll feel they can’t back down now, because the bad feeling has erupted and lines have been drawn. Lack of anticipation about where ‘banning’ would lead. And too many high profile feminists giving this kind of base exclusion instinct credence. I’m reading about safe spaces.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. If they would accept post-op, but not pre-op then they are coming from the assumption that the people in question miraculously become women when their physical bits are altered. Get rid of the dick and balls and hey presto, suddenly you’re allowed in, you count as ‘real’ now, as though the journey to reach the point of surgery doesn’t include being a woman within themselves at all.

    “What a shock- MEN not letting women have a space without them.” – A pure groan outloud at this. The reality goes way over their heads, and I think they want it to or they’d not be so damning, so bloody ignorant.

    I avoid facebook. It is the devil’s work.

    esme upon the Cloud

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am going to take a pacifist line on this. I am grateful for your support; however, accepting post-op trans women has some common sense to it. We have shown we are committed. Rape victims can feel uncomfortable in the presence of men, and can feel touch is unbearable.

      The basic radical feminist position is that apart from reproductive organs, the only differences between men and women are cultural, and enforced by patriarchy. Listen to that pain: suffered shared girlhood and socialization into womanhood. I don’t know if you “suffered” childhood, or enjoyed it; but the feminine stereotype fits some women more than others. I can really sympathise with that, as the masculine stereotype did not fit me at all. Some of us look like men. Someone complimented me: he had known me a whole 24 hours before he realised I am trans- and that is more than thirteen years after I changed my name.

      I want to be accepted because I am feminine. I would not be going to Melbourne, too far away, but this kind of thing is my thing: The Travelin Hearts is a craft space at Seven Sisters Festival where one can connect with sisters and create a heart from recycled fabric. The simple action of making a heart, with the intention of giving it to someone unknown, creates something truly special — a loving connection within. Celebrating the art of giving and receiving, story telling and sharing skills by crafting together. I could contribute to a women’s festival.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “We have shown we are committed.” – It is all so many shades of grey (how I hate that that term is now forever associated with a crap book, gah), sexuality. So many people seem welded to the idea it is black and white, and anything that deviates from that model is just that, a deviant, when in fact it is an evolving creature. I;m not sure I am committed to any definite, but I can see that as society stands, if born apparently one sex, and then becoming aware one is the opposite in order to get anywhere within organisations and groups some ‘proof’ may be needed. I’m trying hard to imagine the kind of men who are suspected of trying to infiltrate women’s private spaces by taking hormones for a long time, dressing as they would if they felt themselves to be a woman, and signed up for surgery, all to invade and take away something from women. I just don’t see that happening. And what of those who cannot bear the surgery, yet feel 100% they are women, they can spend the rest of their lives feeling they are not really who they know themselves to be? The rules above making them lesser in some way for not having surgery. I am an idealist mind you, so bear with me there, and I am not in anyone else’s shoes but my own.

    So far as ‘suffering’ goes, in relation to being a female…I looked like a boy, dressed like a boy when I could, and hated the idea of being a pink frilly thing with ribbons in my hair, and I don’t think I’m very rare in that respect. It was only an annoyance rather than any suffering in form. I had other demons to battle that are unconnected to sexuality which would fit into the ‘suffering’ folder. I’ve always felt a strong part of me is male and a strong part of me is female, and I feel lucky in the respect that it hasn’t been a problem for me at all, in fact, I think it’s an absolute boon. I feel very passionately that people shouldn’t be demonised just for being who they know themselves to be gender-wise, so as I say bear with me for I think I probably run about gibbering on without considering other sides. My heart is in the right place. laughs.

    Thanks for your response Clare. smiles.

    esme upon the Cloud


  4. From the moment a male is born, he’s taught he’s the center of the universe. Females on the other hand are taught to a accommodate males. These are two very different realities, and they are realities, and the act of switching garments doesn’t change a lifetime of sex bases socialization. That the trans activists never ask, but DEMAND to be made the centre of all womanhood, only serves to underline that genitals aside, they’re still thinking with their dicks!

    I’ve NEVER, repeat NEVER been in a social setting with an out Trans-woman who didn’t follow their male socialization to the letter. Changing the entire groups dynamics to make themselves, and their “journey” the most important thing in the room. Don’t believe me? Google any purely female groups from midwifery to abortion and rape you’ll find trans activists shaming the women there for daring to discussing their bodies and not include “women with peni!” So, yes, I support the seven sisters in their drawing a line in the sand, because what you have betwixt your legs affects your life way more than what you cover yourself with!


    • Welcome, and thank you for commenting.

      I am sorry to hear of your experience. My journey is never the most important thing, in any feminist gathering, as far as I see it. There are far more important issues than transsexualism: violence against women, the gender pay gap…

      I went to a camp where there were women only activities and asked to join. I was refused. I accepted the refusal precisely because I did not want to be the issue which the women only space considered, to the exclusion of other things. I like to think that I am not the only trans woman to respond like this. I hope your experience will not lead you to judge us all in the same way.


    • “Google any purely female groups from midwifery to abortion and rape you’ll find trans activists shaming the women there”

      Can you provide some links? I’ve never come across this before and a quick google isn’t bringing anything up.

      As you’re happy with the decision to exclude participants who weren’t born with appropriate genitalia, can I ask how you think they should enforce this decision? Are any suspicious looking women to be turned away or checked?

      I’m wondering from your comment if women who are only children should be excluded as well. They’ve often grown up thinking they’re the centre of the world, with all adults accommodating them, and might try to deflect attention from the real women.


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