NBJC Joins Call to End Transphobic Policy of Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival
Washington, DC — The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) joins the call for the organizers of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MWMF) to end their informal policy of not welcoming transgender women to participate in the international, all women music festival. Birthed out of the feminist movement of the late twentieth century, MWMF has provided an exclusive space built by and for women since 1976. This weeklong music and community festival, located in a small wooded area of Hart, Michigan, has maintained a policy that only women who were assigned female at birth should attend. This policy, known as the 'Womyn Born Womyn' intention, was first enforced during the 1991 MWMF when a transgender woman was asked to leave the festival because of her trans identity. It has been maintained by MWMF organizers every year since this initial incident.
“Our transgender sisters are simply women and deserve to be treated as such. It is baffling that at MWMF — an event organized by and built exclusively for women — imposes such blatant discrimination against one of the most marginalized groups of women in our society,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Executive Director and CEO. “NBJC joins with Equality Michigan and the host of other advocacy organizations calling on the organizers of MWMF to immediately end their policy of not welcoming transgender women. This unjust policy only perpetuates hate and stigma, and has no place in a space meant to empower women.”
As Michigan’s only statewide anti-violence and advocacy organization working primarily for Michigan’s LGBT communities, Equality Michigan led the effort against the MWMF’s discriminatory policy by launching an online petition against it last week. “[W]e reject the premise that transgender women are lesser than, we reject that this belief is a tenet of feminism, and we will no longer respect the 'intention' or that 'leaving the onus on each individual to choose whether or how to respect it' equates to inclusion,” Equality Michigan wrote.
“NBJC urges its entire constituency and all supporters to sign the Equality Michigan petition and show the organizers of MWMF that no form of discrimination against our transgender sisters is acceptable in 2014,” added Lettman-Hicks.