Getting some hits
My statcounter tells me that an old post of mine is getting hits lately. It all goes back to an interesting post by Maia at Touchingly Naive in which she describes her political journey on the subject of the transgender community.
Maia's posts got a lot of comments and she's closed the thread. In the comments, the question came up, that if you wanted to have women-only space, where do you draw the line?
And I’ve been in plenty of spaces where the line is perfectly well kept. People who live fulltime as women, surgery -not- required, and yes, it’s taken on the honor system, but you know, in my fairly extensive experience with trans-inclusive womens’-only spaces, generally, gawking fratboys who just want to see the wimmins’ commune and dress up in drag for a gag don’t exist outside of movies like “Sorority Boys.”
As for why they want to come: because they’re women, because they’re feminists, because they have things to offer the community, because they’re (sometimes, yeah) lesbian, for the same damn reasons everyone else wants to be there.
This thread is going to appropriate this issue for a different community altogether. My community is that of anti-imperialist activists. I've been doing this ever since October of 1983 when the U.S. invaded Grenada and pissed me off permanently. But, one thing we like to do as we plan our activities, is to get together with other groups who are specifically anti-imperialist and who agree on the issue. If this is not your issue, then go somewhere else and find someone else to play with, right?
However, the anti-imperialist movement has had to deal with spies in our midst. You can read about the FBI's harrassment of people working with the people of El Salvador here. Looks like their up their old tricks again. There's a long history of the Red Squads as well.
So any activist who wasn't born yesterday pretty much has to assume that there are people out there trying to invade our space, spy on us, disrupt our activities and generally be a pest. It's not paranoid, because it keeps happening. And it's also not particularly bothersome because the antiwar movement is strong and effective. We've learned their tricks and we refuse to fall for it. It will grow to be a bigger problem as the date approaches for the Republican National Convention this September.
In recent years, I've learned to identify the police spies fairly easily. At an anti-klan rally in St. Paul in 2001, the undercover cops were fairly ludicrously out of place in their tie-dyed bandanas and Birkenstocks as they tried to stir up violence within the anti-racist groups. But I never assume I'm right. One time I thought I had a fellow pegged, but when I talked to him I discovered he was a visitor from Germany with some kick-ass ideas about anti-war work.
I'm wondering why anyone who holds an event in which 7,000 or more people attend, the Michigan Women's Musical Festival, can think for even a second that their event is completely devoid of men or any other kind of "spy". Of course there will be spies trying to figure out what you are doing and if they can find some kind of secret information about what you do. They may be police spies, they may be conservative women who hate feminists, they may be men. And they will be there, one way or the other. It's something to be expected.
Look around the internet. Google "moon-bat" and "anti-war" and you'll see all kinds of anti anti-war activists who attend anti-war events just for the opportunity to call everyone they disagree with a commie, flag-burning moonbat.
I assume spying is going to happen. I want to learn how to react intelligently. How about we say, "Yeah, there may be one or two spies, but that in no way detracts from the value of what we do when we bring together people who want to change the world."
I just don't get why feminist think that our activities will somehow be devoid of all the crap every other activist group has endured for years. Read about Cointelpro. Read Agents of Oppression about the FBI's war on the American Indian Movement and the Black Panthers.
If you are at all effective, you have to assume that there will be spies out there.
And just to make it clear, I absolutely object to the transhating that was going on in that thread and I acknowledge a bit of guilt for taking the discussion to riff off another issue entirely. To make up for this, I encourage you to read some awesome transgender voices, including:
I know I'm missing important bloggers here. Help me out and I will add to the list!