A storm is brewing, perhaps already broke about a fundraising effort by the (Budapestian) Dianic Witch, Ruth Barrett for her anthology, Female Erasure.With entries like “Transgender Rights: The Elimination of the Human Rights of Women,” “The Attack On Female Sovereign Space In Pagan Community,” and “Destruction Of A Marriage: My Husband’s Descent Into Transgenderism” it’s clear that this will be a manifesto of hate and exclusion.
I just finished reading Gender and Transgender in Modern Paganism, which includes an essay by Barrett’s. I think I understand her core position, as well as that of many transgendered pagans.
A few transgendered people have pushed for what I see is an extreme position: asking for access to space that Barrett’s Tradition holds for what they call genetic women. Barrett’s Tradition refuses entry to anyone not ‘born woman’ — no MtF. I think she takes for granted that no FtM person would want access to her rituals, but it seems to me that such a person would be allowed . . . being ‘born woman’ and all. Which is, of course, a flaw in the Traditions’ thinking.
Then again, the entire situation has gotten extreme. She thinks the transgender community hates her, and I’m positive that some members do. But it’s a big group, and they’ve got more important things to worry about. They are finding Traditions who welcome them, who invite them into ‘woman only’ or ‘men only’ space to share and celebrate the Mysteries. They are creating their own rituals and Deities. They are finding that many of us are happy to have them.
Sad Ms. Barrett is raising money to fund hatred, creating hostility, and provoking discord. She is afraid of something in her own head, and fear (as we all know) makes us do stupid things. I’ll agree with her, a MtF is not ‘more Dianic’ or more ‘woman’ than a genetic or born woman is: that’s a silly statement, and she took someone who wasn’t perfect, who said something they probably later were ashamed of, and has made it into her war banner. ‘Born men are becoming women just to take our safe space away’ she cries. And most of the rest of us blink, and sigh, and feel pity. We think they are working out identity and language in a way that seems really similar to what all those newly fledged witch groups were doing back in the 70s. Some of us want to help them, maybe ease the process. You know, like our children, so they don’ t have to struggle as hard as we did?
Hatred like this led to the recent mass killing of 49 beautiful LGBT people in their safe space. It leads to killing, maiming and brutality all of the time. So I am distressed to discover that this proposed piece of hatred is already 1/2 way to its funding goal.