The official stance of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival indicates that the Festival is open only to cisgender women and that transgender women are not officially allowed on the grounds as volunteers or attendees. This is in accordance with a long-standing policy of exclusion that founder and producer Lisa Vogel confirmed as recently as 2006. (http://eminism.org/michigan/20060822-mwmf.txt) . Although in the past some of the staff has “looked the other way,” the policy against trans women that is in place has cultivated a climate of transphobia at the Festival. This situation is unwelcoming and unsafe for transgender women and has become a divisive influence on feminist communities, both at Fest and around the US.
The reality is that Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival is not safe for any women until it is welcoming for all women.
We are asking you, as a musician, and as a person who believes in the dignity and equality of all women, to stand in solidarity with transgender women and our allies and to not attend or perform at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival until Lisa Vogel and the other organizers fully and openly welcome all self-identified women.
Although there is a small, devoted group of individuals working from within to change the transphobic policies put into place and enforced by the organizers, we believe that real change can not happen until all women are welcome to attend the Festival. We are asking you to respect the boycott of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival until real, substantive change has taken place.
We believe that the markers of substantive change are three simple things:
1) The organizers must amend the festival policy to explicitly welcome all self-identified women to the annual MWMF.
2) The organizers must recognize the destructive impact that 20+ years of transphobic policies have had on our feminist and queer communities and issue a formal statement acknowledging and apologizing for this injustice.
3) The organizers must program at least one performer who is a transgender woman to perform at the Festival. This will show that transgender women are truly welcome and that they have a legitimate place and voice in the MWMF community.
Until these three demands are met, we call on you to not attend or perform at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. You are implored to respect the call to boycott this event because the organizers have maintained destructive and transphobic policies that are unwelcoming and unsafe for all women in our communities.
This petition calls upon all attendees and performers of the 2013 Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival to boycott the Festival until substantive change is achieved.
The list of performers of MichFest 2013 is posted here: http://michfest.com/performances/index.htm
JD Samson & MEN
Sick of Sarah
Aima the Dreamer
Hills to Hollers with Laurie Lewis, Linda Tillery and Barbara Higbie
God Des and She
Big Bad Gina