Saturday, January 3, 2015

Gaol Naofa and Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminism.

(source)
This has taken me a while to write. What I am talking about happened over a month ago at the near-end of November. The reason it took me so long to write is that it was very, very traumatic for me. I had put a lot of trust into the members of Gaol Naofa. Maybe faster than I should have. I was deeply hurt by how things transpired, especially how the President handled things--as I looked up to her the most. It's taken me a month to fully recover from the broken trust that shattered my heart. But it's time to address it, because unfortunately this is something that may concern future members of Gaol Naofa and I don't want to leave it unaddressed.

Trigger Warning: Trans-misogyny and rape discussed.

This all started with something I shared on my Facebook wall:


Then it just got nasty from here.

Now I made some mistakes while handling this in-the-moment that I hope to avoid now. One of those was disclosing more information than need be via screenshots. This conversation? It's on my Facebook wall. Anyone can see it. But other conversations between me and others on Private Messages will not be shared, since I gathered that they did not want those posted. (If anyone involved in those private messages wishes to screenshot them and post them in the comments, or post them elsewhere, you have my permission to post my part of the messages.) That said, I will be eventually paraphrasing what happened in those private talks because they influenced mine and others' decisions to leave Gaol Naofa.

Also, I won't disclose names unless they also appear on Gaol Naofa's Website.




This article by the organization I reposted this picture from mirrors my thoughts about trans-inclusionary feminism. And I think the idea that a space that is absent of penis-people isn't in
herently safe. I went to a college with mostly women and I was made to feel unsafe. And that was just with words and actions. 

I think a lot about safe spaces, and never has someone's genitals factored into how safe someone is. 

This isn't about showering in public--since that's its own issue since people feel uncomfortable showering with people of similar bodies. This isn't about religious ceremonies--since that has a lot of layers of meaning and purpose and tradition behind it that I am not in the position to deconstruct. 

But this is about what it means to be a women and why we shouldn't exclude some women over others. And how only making spaces for women who fit a certain category reinforces the ideas that there are certain ways to be a woman, and thus just replacing old gender roles with new ones instead of eliminating them compeltely." (copied from the "see more" right below)



Second See More: "But rape is also more likely to happen from someone a person knows. So going to an event with strangers, statistically you are less likely to be raped.

By your logic, we should not let people with penises into any private space. Checking pants constantly before letting someone onto the bus. Etc.

You are basing judgement on someone's body, and THAT type of policing is super unsafe in my eyes."


My friend Jared decided to help by joining the conversation as a non-binary person (though he never stated he was.) He was in the middle of doing finals, but he came to defend trans women nonetheless. Note: Jared isn't part of GN, so Kathryn and Sky weren't his council nor affiliated with him at all. So he had no need to hold back.






Reflection notes:
  • I couldn't find any information on this "dick waving" that happened at "Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival", but I did find a TERF blogger who posted this. Basically, it was trans women who showered in the women's showers and that got translated into "dick waving" by Kathryn's sources. (She couldn't back up what happened with a source, so unless there was another incident, I am pretty sure it's the same one as described by the TERF blogger linked above.)
  • Trans women can be lesbians too.
  • In this conversation alone, I found Kathryn saying 1, 4, 7, 11, 13, and 16 from this article: "You might be a TERF if..." That's 6/20 in just one conversation.


After this, Sky and my fiance talked on both the public forum as well in private messages. It became apparent to me afterwards--and even now--that Sky was having an entirely different conversation from that of me, Jared, and Kathryn. I don't know if she realized it.

Shortly after Sky and I talked, she posted a passive-aggressive status demeaning me and had other people join in, even though they didn't understand the circumstances. While I was upset that I was being attacked in such a way, I made a grave error of publicizing Sky and I's conversation in which information that Sky saw as harmful to her was made public. I should have just grabbed my part of the conversation to show that I never said what Sky accused me of saying, instead of showing the full conversation and putting Sky in danger (real or imaginary--Sky saw it as danger, and that is all that matters.) I still am apologizing for that because it was still wrong of me.

But Kathryn and Sky did take pot-shots at me on her status, then claimed I shouldn't be mad because they were "venting frustrations." In the conversation, Sky accused me and Jared of being racists against her--despite the fact that Jared did not know her ethnicity or age (Sky's picture wasn't of herself, neither was Kathryn's.) 

Meanwhile, I had been messaging the President of Gaol Naofa: Annie Loughlin, also the writer of Tairis. Up to this point, I had looked up to Annie. I had come to her twice in the past about issues concerning Gaol Naofa and about Gaelic Polytheism too. I messaged her about feeling unsafe about Kathryn, and that others were feeling unsafe too. She wrote back to me to say that I hadn't made any attempts to resolve the situation with them...despite feeling threatened by them. So, in short, Annie apparently wanted me to resolve the situation with people who I perceived to be very threatening. I was also called abusive, racist, and accused of a bunch of things.

This probably spawned from talking to my friends on a Skype group, which had 90% GN Members. I was showing them screencaps and leaning on them for support. They all saw the aggression from Kathryn that I saw and they all felt upset about the handling of the situation (eg: just siding with Kathryn without hearing me or others.) This later translated into Annie accusing me of brainwashing everyone against GN, though in reality all I did was show them screen shots and linked them to my public Facebook wall.

Also, the part of abuse I was accused of by Kathryn, Sky, and Annie was that I called Kathryn and Annie "TERFs." According to them, that word is a slur. But according to everyone else, it means Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism...which, to me, is a sign that you are a TERF if you think TERF is a slur. (Similar to how you are probably a racist if you think calling someone a racist is a slur.)

In short, a bunch of the problems that arose out of this mess:

  • Gaol Naofa leadership demeaning their younger members instead of listening to them.
  • Kathryn, not once, apologizing for being abrasive, jumping to conclusions, or passive-aggressively talking to me.
  • The President of an organization claiming I should have "worked it out" with the person whom I felt threatened by.
  • Members of the GN board view "TERF" as a slur, which is enough by my measure to consider them unsafe for anyone who identifies as trans.
I do appreciate that Sky did apologize for being passive aggressive and we did figure out where we were misunderstanding each other. This, unfortunately, wasn't possible with Kathryn.

I didn't post this to extend drama, but because I worry about anyone who is trans who might wish to join Gaol Naofa. I want them to be aware of this conversation and the Board's view of the word "TERF." I don't want anyone to be made unsafe like my genderqueer friend, or even those who empathize with our trans and non-binary friends.

45 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this Marcella. I love you lots.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm glad I found this post. I'd been looking into contacting Gaol Naofa about joining, and this would be a big red flag for me, as a cis person. I don't have time for radical feminism.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As my inbox continues to get messages about this post I felt the need to clarify some things.

    I'm not sure where I portrayed myself as transphobic. While it is not my place to decide if I am or not, nor is it your place Cella.

    Let me clarify some things. First, I addressed predatory behavior. It is my stance that predatory behavior is unacceptable. I have and continue to call out predators in the indigenous community. If individuals prey on others and cause harm, I feel that safety for those vulnerable trumps everything. I'm sorry but there is not one single segment of society that is free or predators.

    If I am transphobic because of my cultural stances, for that I am not going to apologize. There are/were roles in community for 'two-spirit' individuals. I refuse to take away what is traditionally and historically theirs. I would never assume to insert myself into a ceremonial role that belongs to two-spirit peoples. I would never impose that they conform to either male or female roles rather than what is theirs, because theirs is an important and necessary role in community. Certainly not a role that any straight person can come close to filling.

    I admit that I was venting about you on my page. I'm not sure why it is unacceptable for me to talk about my frustrations with people from my community. You evidently do not understand the importance of two-spirit peoples in my and other indigenous communities. Your entire reaction, including this blog entry, feels very racist to me. The fact that you and others feel that I am not allowed to discuss the issue with people from my own culture is oppressive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What you were doing, and what you are continuing to do in this comment, is conflate transwomen who have not transitioned with predators. Two-spirit people and their role in your community were absolutely never a part of this conversation; you and Kathryn both immediately jumped to conclusions, as absolutely everyone can see in these screenshots.

      Further, on behalf of all of our transgender friends, it is absolutely Cella's place, my place, and our other friends' place to tell you you are being transphobic.

      If you're going to continue to try to hammer any of these points home, you are ignoring the fact that literally everyone can see these posts and is drawing the same conclusions, and you are refusing to understand. This goes for all of you. End of.

      Delete
    2. To begin, I didn't post your full name or a link to your profile. So people messaging you had to have known you or dug around themselves.

      Secondly, let me quote myself from the blog above:

      "After this, Sky and my fiance talked on both the public forum as well in private messages. It became apparent to me afterwards--and even now--that Sky was having an entirely different conversation from that of me, Jared, and Kathryn. I don't know if she realized it."

      "I do appreciate that Sky did apologize for being passive aggressive and we did figure out where we were misunderstanding each other. This, unfortunately, wasn't possible with Kathryn."

      Furthermore, at no point did I in the blog post claim that you were transphobic because of your cultural and religious background. If I said that, please point to me where. Instead, you were involved in a conversation that involved transmisogyny from Kathryn.

      Speaking of the predatory behavior--since trans people are people, they are of course capable of predatory behavior. However, there hasn't been any valid record made of a cis person "pretending" to be a trans person in order to harass, assault, or otherwise attack people. The idea that there are appears to be a transphobic idea by TERFs to disallow trans inclusion in feminist spaces.

      Lastly, I have screenshots of the status you posted. I can post them and show how what you posted was more than a vent. It was demeaning me, putting words in my mouth, and overall passive-aggressive. Also it was not in some closed-off group that only people of your cultural could see. /I/ could see it and I'm not Native. I know of other non-Natives who saw the status. The idea that it was only limited to people of your cultural community is wrong and a grievous misunderstanding on how Facebook works. What you posted was public to anyone on your friends list, including me. I was very capable and able to see your status, which means that you should have been aware that I would and could.

      And one more thing--this blog post isn't about you. Even though you are part of Gaol Naofa to an extent, this is mostly about the leadership of Gaol Naofa in the president and one of the other huge contributors. This isn't about you, even if you participated in a forum discussion that involved the crux of the problem.

      Delete
    3. Ashley, your colonialism is preventing you from seeing my point actually. Your assumptions are racist. You obviously do not understand *my* point and where I am coming from culturally. I cannot force you to understand and it saddens me that you don't want to step outside of your privilege and see that. You clearly refuse to look at your own prejudice when it comes to other living cultures.

      Gaol Naofa has specific criteria for membership which includes a no tolerance stance on transphobia. There are trans members. What you are doing is simply fear mongering.

      Cella, I wish you well. I hope that you can understand that oppression olympics are a first world problem and that you consider the conduct of those you are involved with as you suggested (in not so many words) to me.

      Delete
    4. If it has not tolerance for transphobia, then why was Kathryn not reprimanded for her tranpshobic language? And before you say she wasn't, why is it that there isn't a single trans or non-binary person now in Gaol Naofa after this incident? Why is it that several people who read this on Tumblr have agreed with how transphobic behavior? That numerous people read JUST this interaction and agree that Gaol Naofa /is not a safe place/?

      Sky, I need you to realize that no one considers you Native online. This isn't about you, your race, your culture. No one is basing their opinions of you based on anything but what you wrote. And it would do you some good if you started to read what we are actually writing, instead of looking for racism that isn't there.

      Until you read what I actually write, I'm done responding. I implore you to quote me directly if you wish to state a point you think I am making to ensure that you aren't just misreading something.

      Delete
  4. Ashley, where did I equate that transwomen who have not transitioned were predators? Have you read what I wrote? I in no way think that all transwomen are predators. I DID say that there were people who are transwomen who are predators and that they should be called out. Just like there are people who are indians that are predators, straight women who are predators, predators are just that and have nothing to do with a persons sexuality O.o My community WAS part of the conversation. It was in the very first post I made in that thread for crying out loud. This shows me that you did.not.read.what.I.wrote. I understand that you do not understand what it is like being part of a living culture, where tradition is part of every day living, there is no separation. You can assume that simply because I did not specifically use the term two-spirit that those members of my community were not in my thoughts during the conversation that took place. I cannot be responsible for your white-washed perception just as you can't understand my cultural perception.

    Cella, people who know me are contacting me. One actually brought up the fact that my granddaughter's name is included and they thought I should be aware. Other people have contacted me because they are upset and I don't deny them being upset. Others still have contacted me because they are two-spirit and they were offended (because they read my first post).

    I am completely aware of who was able to see the post. The thread was set to friends. I was not about to vent my frustrations behind your back. I find back-biting backdoor behavior to be juvenile.

    Obviously people do think it's in part about me, Ashley certainly seems to think so without having even read what I wrote.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I am completely aware of who was able to see the post. The thread was set to friends. I was not about to vent my frustrations behind your back. I find back-biting backdoor behavior to be juvenile."

      So there you have it--you weren't behind closed doors and you knew that these passive-aggressive attacks would be seen by me and others.

      "My community WAS part of the conversation. It was in the very first post I made in that thread for crying out loud. "

      And then it was never brought up again. In fact, I even clarified in the second post how these were feminist events. And then Kathryn and I began to talk about THOSE events, and even if you perceived to be talking about the cultural ones--you were not by myself because that was NOT the conversation Kathryn and I were having.

      Let me reiterate: you were having a different conversation than I and others. And you still continue to have a different conversation than I and others. Until you show you are bringing yourself to the conversation at hand--again, quote me directly--I am not responding to you because it's not worth it.

      Delete
    2. Ya'at eeh. Roy yinishyé. K'aahanaanii nishłį́, Deeshchii'nii báshíshchíín, 'Azee'tsoh Dine'e dashicheii, Ma'iito dashinali. Ákót’éego diné nishłį́.
      Hello Allec. I am an older, 56 years and I am Two-Spirit. I am recognized as such by my community. I have read the disturbingly mean-spirited, racist, homophobic and dishonest words of you and your friends. You clearly seem to not be able to see beyond your own entitlement.

      Allec and Ashley, you come across as two angry, hateful racists. I am not on tumblr however I can tell you that my friends, who are from many walks of life; Two-Spirit, straight, gay, Native, white, black- they do not see what you are promoting as supposed fact. What they are seeing is a handful of brats bantering over words they obviously do not understand.

      For you to think that there are no people who are using the trans label to harm others is ignorant. People pretend to be what they are not all of the time in an attempt to hide their status as an abuser or predator. This is a real world issue, happening right now. Your ignorance and the promotion of it prevents people from being safe as you white wash reality.
      Allec, did you not say, ” Sky, I need you to realize that no one considers you Native online. This isn't about you, your race, your culture. No one is basing their opinions of you based on anything but what you wrote. And it would do you some good if you started to read what we are actually writing, instead of looking for racism that isn't there.” No one considers Sky Native online? There are plenty of people who consider Sky Native. Because SHE IS. This IS about race and culture, specifically because you say that people are basing their opinions on what she wrote. Sky can’t turn off her Native button. She can’t come out of character after shutting the video game off. This is because what she says or write is effected by her life experience as an indigenous person. You and your friend’s tone of belittlement has everything to do with her ethnicity and your racist, bigoted decision not to take that into account.
      Your words, your’s Allec, those of Ashley and Jared, are causing people of an older age group, people who represent what you and your friends are supposedly trying to ‘protect’, to shake their heads in astonishment at your conduct.
      You shame your ancestors with your conduct. I pray that one day you realize that the whole world need not express themselves specifically geared to your limited level of understanding and acceptance.

      Ahéhee’
      One last thing – I hope you did not jump on the band wagon of Leelah Alcorn because if you did you are blazing hypocrites. This young woman who felt it necessary to take her life and was not honored by her parents, referred to as a boy with her deadname, you dare do the same name. You Jared, who should know better decided to dishonor Marsha and Sylvia, YOU decided to be the authority on their sexuality and gender. Shame on you. They were both glorious, radical, fierce DRAG QUEENS. They were gay men of color. Shame on you.

      Delete
    3. Ok, this has gotten ridiculous. Most of this is addressed to "Diné Two-Spirit," who I'll abbreviate as DTS since I have no other way of addressing them. The point remains, as Allec said in her VERY FIRST REPLY that she was not talking about religious or cultural ceremonies in which being born with a uterus is necessary; Sky used that as an example. Allec then politely said that ceremonies of that sort weren't what she was discussing and that she was talking about feminism in a broader aspect. It's written in plain English and, as everyone here seems to have a firm grasp on that language, there's no reason that point shouldn't have been understood.

      "For you to think that there are no people who are using the trans label to harm others is ignorant. People pretend to be what they are not all of the time in an attempt to hide their status as an abuser or predator."
      Ya know what? This is accurate. Congratulations. There are horrible people everywhere. Does that mean that an entire group of people should be punished to prevent a "what if" situation? No. That's asinine. There are straight men that pretend to be gay on social media or dating apps to gets dates with gay men and beat or kill them. Does that mean I should never go on a date or talk to anyone that I don't already know? No. The percentage of the population that would go through the trouble of pretending to be something they're not to harm someone is so minuscule that it's unlikely most people will ever encounter someone like that. To refuse entrance to someone because you're afraid of the .0001% chance they're gonna be someone other than who they say they are shows a lot about how inclusive you really want to be. Again, no one here was ever talkin about specific, religious or cultural ceremonies except Sky. And that's a point that's appropriate to be made, but when someone says "yes, you're right, but that's not what we're talking about," try seeing that for what it is rather than screaming about ridiculousness that isn't there. There is plenty or racism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry in this world to keep everyone busy for a lifetime rather than create a situation that wasn't there.

      As for people not knowing Sky is Native, the point here is that people that don't know Sky already have no idea that she's Native. In fact, I know for a fact that Jared thought she was a mid-20s to early 30s white mother because her picture isn't wasn't her icon when this was all goin down. So, no, people that don't know her have no way of knowing that she's Native. NOWHERE in her comments does she identify herself as Native, the only reference being her first comment, but without knowing her, she could be of any culture and not necessarily even in the US.

      And lastly, WTF does Leelah Alcorn have to do with what we're talking about here, other than the tangential fact (to this conversation) that she was trans?!? Stop trying to feel high and mighty and think you're gonna sling mud on people you, presumably, don't even know. To think that everyone involved in this wasn't upset by Leelah's death shows how little of this situation you know, DTS. No one here would ever knowingly or intentionally misgender ANYONE. That is a huge part of what's so upsetting. Sky and Kathryn seem to be insisting that trans women AREN'T women if they have a penis and that caused a backlash that they can't seem to grasp. I can't believe that you read the same things I did and would still think that Allec, Ashley, or Jared would do that.

      Delete
    4. As for Sylvia and Marsha, it sounds like you're doing the same thing there, DTS. They are exclusively referred to with she/her/hers pronouns and were active trans advocates. Even Sylvia's obituary uses she pronouns. They lived primarily in feminine attire, but nowhere that I've ever seen did they specify their gender identity. Maybe they were trans, maybe they were genderqueer. Point is, you don't know any better on the subject than anyone else and to insinuate that you do is just ignorant.

      Delete
    5. DTS here. Anonymous, again, Sky cannot simply turn off her Indian button or come out of some video game character. Who she is culturally is not something that can be separated. It simply doesn't work that way. Understanding the English language has nothing to do with it. The same language differs among cultural and social constructs. To assume that everyone is white, well..that says a lot of where those individuals are coming from doesn't it? It is coming from their familiar social construct.

      I did not see anyone target an entire percentage of the population. I did see a lot of jumping to the wrong conclusion by knee jerk young people.

      Did you know Marsha and Sylvia? I did. In person. No need for me to Google them as I had them at my table several times when I was living in NYC and we were friends. There were no other Indian queers in the area at the time that I knew of, I hung with the other POC Queens. They were fabulous and flamboyant, beautiful gay men of color.

      Delete
    6. Ok, I’ve been reading along for a while, and even had some private discussions with Allec on this issue, but I can’t keep quiet any longer. Here is my biggest issue --> "No one here would ever knowingly or intentionally misgender ANYONE. That is a huge part of what's so upsetting."* AND YET YOU ARE DOING IT TO THE VERY PEOPLE WHO HAVE TOLD YOU THEY ARE NOT CIS. Kathryn is not cis. She has told me, she has told you (Allec), (and, for the record, has given me permission to discuss it here) - she isn’t cis. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and has been for years, and yet you are calling her a TERF. Hmm. Maybe that is why she and I and others are upset. Yes, you’re using this term as a slur, and you’re purposely misgendering someone, and act of violence that you claim to be above doing. This is hypocrisy in the worst form.

      "Sky and Kathryn seem to be insisting that trans women AREN'T women if they have a penis and that caused a backlash that they can't seem to grasp." - No. No one has ever once said that transwomen aren't women. No one has ever said that transwomen are inherently more dangerous. The lack of reading comprehension is astounding. Sky and Kathryn were simply pointing out that being a transwoman doesn’t automatically make you safe and non-predatory. It actually applies to everyone. Female bodied cis-women are also not automatically safe, nor are gay men, nor are people of color, nor are any of the other minority groups that are usually on the receiving end of violence (statistically speaking).

      - continued below

      Delete
    7. Sky mentioned the few instances in which there may be a cultural requirement for a person to be biologically female. Allec basically said "cool bro, that's not what I'm talking about"**, mentioned Michigan. Kathryn pointed out that is the only public venue which has a "policy", (which, if you did any more research, you'd find that even that policy isn't really a policy and is open to interpretation, though it's certainly controversial. Transwomen attend and have not been denied entrance or asked to leave.). Things really fell apart discussing safe space, because apparently saying small groups of women in female bodies should be able to define what safe spaces mean to them is wrong. EVERY GROUP should have the right to define what that means, and that may mean that sometimes female bodies want to be around only other female bodies. Should it be policy? no. Hoever we can’t dictate what does and doesn’t constitute safe-space for people who have lived experiences that are different than ours. Maybe some female-bodied rape survivors would be totally cool hanging with transwomen - maybe some wouldn’t. We can’t tell those people that they aren’t allowed to create themselves a safe space. (and this is a kind of strange example, but Trevor MacDonald is a trans father who used his biological female parts to grow his children, birth them, and now breastfeeds. Some breastfeeding mamas, like myself, think that’s super awesome and would welcome him into circles that are traditional held for female-bodies only; others would not feel comfortable.)
      - continued below

      Delete
    8. What seemed to happen is Allec and others taking this discussion about safe space and interpreting it is "transwomen should not be allowed in *any* feminist spaces". NO ONE EVER SAID THAT. No one is accusing ALL transwomen of being predators. No one is saying transwomen aren't women.

      How Gaol Naofa is even being pulled into this is beyond me. This post had nothing whatsoever to do with Gaelic Polytheism or GN as an organization, beyond the fact that members were involved in this discussion. This discussion was not on the GN/GP group, and had nothing to do with GN. Why go running to Annie? Why should Annie get involved in something that's clearly not GN business? I'm not surprised she asked you to work it out, because it's a personal discussion between adults. I’d also like to point out that, though your original post may now be public, when you first posted it and this discussion began it was not. I was one of the people you allowed to see it, but it was originally only open to less than 20 people. Even your screenshot shows that it was set to a custom audience ... so the people who chose to participate did so under the assumption that it was a closed discussion and then you were unhappy with what they said so you made it public and posted their personal information all over the fucking internet. While I’m glad you apologized, posting multiple screenshots of private conversations (some of which were PM’s, NOT this thread) with full names, names of children, names of other people who’s personal private information was being discussed - very bad form. That action alone makes ME feel like you’re not a safe person. You have my name and home address - how do I know you won’t post it online out of revenge? Your past actions make me feel wary. (And this is serving as a public request to NOT share my information - my facebook profile is locked down pretty tightly on purpose, and that’s why I blog under a penname. I have a stalkery ex I’d rather not have checking up on me. And if you’re reading this and you do see my info posted somewhere you’ll also see the hypocrisy in action).


      Did any of the trans/binary folks that left as a result of this actually lodge a complaint? Did any of them go to Annie and say that they felt their participation in this organization was being jeopardized because of another member? I don't know, but based on what you've written here it seems like that answer is no. So now you're starting a smear campaign against Annie and GN as well as Kathryn and Sky. You're also making some big assumptions about the other members - you have NO WAY of knowing who identifies as trans/cis/queer/gay/straight/bi/etc unless they've personally told you, so perhaps you should amend some of your previous statements. I can tell you for fact that there are still members of GN who are trans, and those members are fucking freaked out that this is happening - because they see it as a baseless attack on people they know, love, and trust.

      Marsaili

      *not sure who this annon commenter was but I assumed it was Ashley. My commentary still stands.

      **not an actual quote.

      Delete
    9. First, I want to mention that the people who left GN because they are trans or nonbinary did so because they didn't feel safe talking to Annie or Kathryn. When I approached Annie about how I felt threatened, she told me later I should have tried to amend things with Kathryn instead of approaching her. In other words: I should have approached the person I felt threatened by and tried to "work it out" with them.

      And as Kathryn is one of the leaders of GN, I a member of GN, I indeed felt like it was a GN matter. Kathryn cannot "turn off" her transmisogyny when doing GN-related things. If there were more than just two people leading GN, maybe things would be different, but as of those Facebook comments it was Kathryn and Annie running GN. If others were involved, they were invisible to me--a GN member.

      "I’d also like to point out that, though your original post may now be public, when you first posted it and this discussion began it was not." - No, it was always public to anyone on my Facebook. To think otherwise was a mistake on the posters and I regret if they thought that, but it isn't my fault they thought something public like a Facebook wall would be kept private.

      And the private message I did post was indeed in bad form and wrong of me. I again apologize.

      The anon commentor was not Ashley. The anon commentor is someone I know but wishes to remain anonymous because, like others, feel threatened by Kathryn's behavior.

      I am really interested in how I am attack GN when all I did was post what Kathryn said on a topic of transphobia and transmisogyny. Where is the attack in publicizing what happened and offering transparency to others?

      Delete
    10. I could continue to parse apart what you wrote and reply, but I first need to ask: What do you want from me?

      Delete
    11. "I’d also like to point out that, though your original post may now be public, when you first posted it and this discussion began it was not." - No, it was always public to anyone on my Facebook. To think otherwise was a mistake on the posters and I regret if they thought that, but it isn't my fault they thought something public like a Facebook wall would be kept private."

      You lied. The post in question was viewable by 17 people. Initially Annie could not even see it.

      Delete
    12. I don't lie. It's public to my Facebook friends. I've since changed my settings where anyone can see anything, instead of close friends. I could eventually go back to having my entire wall public like I did before my fiance's parents got stalkery.

      The idea that my facebook and its settings are for other people's protections is a misguided idea. Again, I'm sorry for anyone who thinks otherwise but they are mistaken in how Facebook works.

      Delete
  5. "Members of the GN board view "TERF" as a slur, which is enough by my measure to consider them unsafe for anyone who identifies as trans." - Perhaps the members of the GN Board that you're labeling TERFs are insulted because some of them have been and still are active members of the very community you're accusing them of vilifying. Perhaps some of the people you're calling transphobic are upset because their gender identity has been questioned and changed over the years, yet they're still being told they don't understand an experienced they have lived by cis people.

    "And before you say she wasn't, why is it that there isn't a single trans or non-binary person now in Gaol Naofa after this incident?" (quote from Allec's comments) - And you know this HOW? You have no way of saying this as fact. You have no way of knowing how people outside of your circle of confidence identify. It's not true, and to say that is to make a huge assumption.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. I have specific quotes that they called the word TERF a slur and that it shouldn't be used because it is used to attack feminists.

      You are correct--I don't know if there are or are not any nonbinary or trans people left in Gaol Naofa. I do know of several who have left because they felt threatened, though. I apologize for making a broad statement.

      Delete
  6. Allec, you said,” Sky, I need you to realize that no one considers you Native online. This isn't about you, your race, your culture. No one is basing their opinions of you based on anything but what you wrote. And it would do you some good if you started to read what we are actually writing, instead of looking for racism that isn't there.”
    You do not get to decide what is considered racism and what is not. You are white. While I obviously have no control over your friends assuming that I’m white like them, you are making broad, inaccurate assumptions stating that no one considers me Native online. That statement is seriously disturbing.

    “And then it was never brought up again. In fact, I even clarified in the second post how these were feminist events. And then Kathryn and I began to talk about THOSE events, and even if you perceived to be talking about the cultural ones--you were not by myself because that was NOT the conversation Kathryn and I were having.”

    I have no control over how anyone interprets a conversation. As Roy said a number of times, I simply cannot respond or communicate as a member of the dominant culture because I am NOT a member of the dominant culture.

    “Let me reiterate: you were having a different conversation than I and others. And you still continue to have a different conversation than I and others. Until you show you are bringing yourself to the conversation at hand--again, quote me directly--I am not responding to you because it's not worth it.”

    Sorry, I refuse to step into your world and your line of thinking. To demand that I do so is…RACIST.

    Anonymous, you said,” It's written in plain English and, as everyone here seems to have a firm grasp on that language, there's no reason that point shouldn't have been understood.”

    Wow. Just wow. Whomever you are, your privilege is astounding.

    “Again, no one here was ever talkin about specific, religious or cultural ceremonies except Sky. And that's a point that's appropriate to be made, but when someone says "yes, you're right, but that's not what we're talking about," try seeing that for what it is rather than screaming about ridiculousness that isn't there. There is plenty or racism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry in this world to keep everyone busy for a lifetime rather than create a situation that wasn't there.”

    Hmm. Racism is ridiculous? I wasn’t screaming, I’m still not screaming. I’m actually upset to know that there is still ignorant racist folks out there. You do not get to decide what is and what is not racist. If my life experience precluded me from participating in the conversation somebody should have told me there were no Indians allowed in the exchange.

    “As for people not knowing Sky is Native, the point here is that people that don't know Sky already have no idea that she's Native. In fact, I know for a fact that Jared thought she was a mid-20s to early 30s white mother because her picture isn't wasn't her icon when this was all goin down. So, no, people that don't know her have no way of knowing that she's Native. NOWHERE in her comments does she identify herself as Native, the only reference being her first comment, but without knowing her, she could be of any culture and not necessarily even in the US.”
    To assume that every person one interacts with is white is pretty scary.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Allec – “"I’d also like to point out that, though your original post may now be public, when you first posted it and this discussion began it was not." - No, it was always public to anyone on my Facebook. To think otherwise was a mistake on the posters and I regret if they thought that, but it isn't my fault they thought something public like a Facebook wall would be kept private.”

      The original post was visible to roughly 17 people. I responded because I was under the inaccurate assumption that your page was a safe place to have serious discussions and that your friends were accepting and understanding of other cultures. I cannot speak for anyone else who posted in the thread. If I had known it was going to later be made public I would not have participated because of the issue of appropriation. I would not have discussed even minimal aspects of culture and ceremony if I had know that the protection of such was going to be made public. You have failed your own Safe Space Challenge

      “No. I have specific quotes that they called the word TERF a slur and that it shouldn't be used because it is used to attack feminists.
      You are correct--I don't know if there are or are not any nonbinary or trans people left in Gaol Naofa. I do know of several who have left because they felt threatened, though. I apologize for making a broad statement.”

      There were nonbinary and trans folks in GN prior to you joining and there are still members, who participate regularly, that are nonbinary and trans.

      Delete
    2. Before I answer, I want to ask what I asked Marsaili above: What do you want from me?

      Delete
    3. Allec said,"Before I answer, I want to ask what I asked Marsaili above: What do you want from me?"

      Nothing. Why on earth would you assume I wanted something from you? I'm simply participating in discourse that I was named in.

      Delete
    4. Okay, but the discourse is done. The screenshots above are there to speak for themselves. I made specific mention that this post wasn't about you--even if your name is used in the screenshots. I've said this multiple times and I'll say it again: this blog post isn't and never was about you, but about the leadership of Gaol Naofa.

      So I ask: what do you want from me?

      Delete
    5. Well then if I am being dismissed I will leave you and your friends to your frightening delusions of not being racist.

      Again, I don't want anything from you. Your repeated assumption that I 'want' something from you shows how vested in a consumeristic lifestyle you are and the 'WANT!' mentality of many individuals.

      Delete
    6. I am not dismissing you; I am asking a question before we continue the discourse because I don't know where you wanted it to go, what you wanted to accomplish by commenting on this blog.

      And "want" doesn't necessary mean "consumer." If there's one thing I learned in theatre, is that every scene a character wants something. And all the world is a stage.

      Delete
    7. You said the discourse was over.

      And no, not everybody wants something.

      Delete
    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    9. If you didn't want anything, why comment in the first place?

      Don't answer that question: I want you to think on it instead and answer it to yourself. Because maybe not everyone wants something all the time, but I have a hunch you wanted something--even if what you wanted was a simple as to continue the discourse.

      Delete
    10. I don't want anything from you, but I'd like to offer the readers here more context. You think you're being objective and just presenting facts, but there are two (or more) sides to this story.

      The post was originally set to a private audience. You are just straight up lying about this. When you first emailed me you complained about Annie and I told you she couldn't even see the post- only 16 or so people could. You changed it after you wanted to publicly call them out and use the argument that "anyone could see it" ... and you're saying it's been public the entire time - THAT IS A LIE. It's just a bold faced lie.

      I am incredibly disturbed by the fact that you and some of the people commenting here (Ashley and whomever else) are purposely misgendering Kathryn - at the time of our last private conversation you were identifying (to me at least) as a cis woman - don't you see how hypocritical that action is???

      "I am really interested in how I am attack GN when all I did was post what Kathryn said on a topic of transphobia and transmisogyny. Where is the attack in publicizing what happened and offering transparency to others?" - You titled this post "Gaol Naofa and Trans-exclusionary Feminism" and you're asking why someone could think you're attacking Gaol Naofa? Kathryn is a member of GN but not everything she does falls into the realm of GN. This is like bitching to your boss about something your coworker did when you went out together after work. Not really related. You're on tumblr actively trying to dissuade people from joining GN because of this when really it never had anything to do with your interaction within that community. (and for those reading along who may not know - the Gaelic Polytheist Facebook group is run by the leaders of GN but it's not a GN group specifically. It's for the wider GP community. GN has it's own private forums, which Allec and other former members also had access to.)

      As to the term TERF - I'm very aware that there are real trans-exclusionary people out there, and some call themselves feminists. I'm aware that they pose a very real threat to the trans community and to trans individuals, are violent, are threatning, are really just awful people all around. I do not agree with these people (and I hope that's obvious). You must know that there are also people who use "TERF" to beget more violence - people who want to kill anyone labeled a TERF ... so now you've called people here TERFs when 1) they're not 2) implying that all the violence and hateful rhetoric that is spewed by actual trans-misogyinsts is on par with what's happening here and it absolutely is not.

      Marsaili

      Delete
    11. "You think you're being objective and just presenting facts, but there are two (or more) sides to this story."

      I never said I was being objective, but presenting primary evidence for why I and others left Gaol Naofa and felt threatened. I also presented how we were treated when I brought up this Facebook wall post's comments. If I could, I'd do nothing but post the screenshots.

      "The post was originally set to a private audience. You are just straight up lying about this."

      Regardless to what it was originally set at, Facebook can change it's wall settings as I determine them. As you clearly pointed out, I changed them throughout this. I've changed them since you blocked me on Facebook. I can change them again. These settings are there to serve me, and not the people commenting. There is no contract or obligation that my Facebook wall would stay as visible as it was--especially since just weeks before it was visible to anyone who found my Facebook friends or not.

      "I am incredibly disturbed by the fact that you and some of the people commenting here (Ashley and whomever else) are purposely misgendering Kathryn - at the time of our last private conversation you were identifying (to me at least) as a cis woman - don't you see how hypocritical that action is??? "

      I'm really confused about Kathryn's gender, actually. Up until this conversation, I actually remember specific incidences where she identified as a woman. If you still have access to Gaol Naofa's forum, you can look up the one post about water ceremonies in which Kathryn refers to herself as a woman. Granted, she could have since shifted her gender (gender is fluid), but I never saw her talk about it on any of the posts about gendered roles in ceremony.

      "You titled this post "Gaol Naofa and Trans-exclusionary Feminism" and you're asking why someone could think you're attacking Gaol Naofa?"

      Gaol Naofa, to me and most everyone I know, is Kathryn and Annie. Yes, there are others involved, but I never talked to them in Gaol Naofa. They never introduced themselves to me. They never talked to me. There were other members, but the leadership was certainly coming from Annie and Kathryn.

      "You must know that there are also people who use "TERF" to beget more violence"

      Really? I'd like you to show me a source on that.

      "I don't want anything from you, but I'd like to offer the readers here more context."
      What context is there?

      Delete
  7. Allec - "First, I want to mention that the people who left GN because they are trans or nonbinary did so because they didn't feel safe talking to Annie or Kathryn. When I approached Annie about how I felt threatened, she told me later I should have tried to amend things with Kathryn instead of approaching her. In other words: I should have approached the person I felt threatened by and tried to "work it out" with them.

    And as Kathryn is one of the leaders of GN, I a member of GN, I indeed felt like it was a GN matter. Kathryn cannot "turn off" her transmisogyny when doing GN-related things. If there were more than just two people leading GN, maybe things would be different, but as of those Facebook comments it was Kathryn and Annie running GN. If others were involved, they were invisible to me--a GN member."

    GN was never a part of the conversation. Annie should not be required to referee in a personal disagreement regardless of whom it is between because GN WAS NEVER PART OF THE CONVERSATION. If the conversation had occurred within GN that would be a different story.

    Evidently you never bothered to go to the page on the GN site that shows council members O.o The other members have been listed for quite some time.

    One can simply not please all of the people all of the time. To label Kathryn because you and a handful of others took her words to mean something they did not, well, there are trans people and nonbinary people who did not take her words that way.

    Also Allec, with regard to your potential interest in Erynn Rowan Laurie. She has no business being in possession of a Lakota mens pipe. She conducts, participates and promotes spiritual tourism and has participated in conferences that promote cultural appropriation and bastardization.

    ReplyDelete
  8. All of you are derailing like crazy and are completely impossible to follow - this is the EXACT PROBLEM that we had in the first place. You are pulling things out of thin air that were never relevant. "I responded because I was under the inaccurate assumption that your page was a safe place to have serious discussions and that your friends were accepting and understanding of other cultures." Bull fucking shit you actively made that assumption. All of you keep bringing up these "assumptions" you made, AFTER Allec refutes something. Seriously, cut the crap.

    Let me try and put this as simply as possible and them I'm disengaging: we are NOT saying that transwomen are incapable of being dangerous. What you have done is the same thing as saying "not all men!" in a feminist discussion - bringing up that well, yes, some transwomen can be dangerous is completely derailing the much broader problem that transwomen are much more frequently the ones being hurt, and much more frequently the ones being excluded.

    As regards our reading comprehension, maybe you should all contemplate the fact that we read what you said, comprehended it, and still disagreed. Cut the shit with the "maybe you didn't..." and "you didn't even read..." We did. I assure you.

    Above all, my problem remains not just with the views expressed; they are with the way you behaved and CONTINUE to behave. You are acting like angry screaming young teenagers on the internet throwing strawmen and red herrings, and you are becoming absolute satires of yourselves. I don't want to hear any denials that you were the ones to get venomous first, because as anyone can see from this post, that is the absolute truth. Other people don't need other context, all of it is right here in these screenshots. No one's personal information was shared, either, and how dare any of you accuse Allec of being capable of something so disgusting when YOU have the same personal information about her.

    You can continue to stomp and scream at us all you want, but I will tell you this: literally no one who is not part of Gaol Naofa and is not already personal friends with Gaol Naofa members, who has read all of this - INCLUDING your absolutely childish bratty comments - disagrees with the rest of us. So feel free to keep nailing your own coffin, because it's not accomplishing anything other than driving Allec and I fucking bananas. Which may be your goal, I don't know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, my reply was here for a while, and now it's been deleted! Fancy that. Here it is again:

      How dare [I] accuse her of doing something so disgusting", Ashley? Well, I'm not really accusing her since she has admitted and apologized for it, twice, on this very page!
      "While I was upset that I was being attacked in such a way, I made a grave error of publicizing Sky and I's conversation in which information that Sky saw as harmful to her was made public. I should have just grabbed my part of the conversation to show that I never said what Sky accused me of saying, instead of showing the full conversation and putting Sky in danger (real or imaginary--Sky saw it as danger, and that is all that matters.) I still am apologizing for that because it was still wrong of me."
      "And the private message I did post was indeed in bad form and wrong of me. I again apologize."
      In case you're *still* not clear- Allec took screenshots of a private conversation with full names (not only of participants but of minor children and others who wish to remain private) and posted it on imugr; once Sky voiced her concern the images were removed. At least Allec can admit that she did it, that she realized it was wrong, and apologized (thank you for that). I brought that up in the context as to why I now felt nervous that Allec also has my personal info. (In case I wasn't clear before- Allec has not, to my knowledge shared it, my statement was made as a preemptive request. I'm not accusing her of sharing *my* info. You're also correct that I have Allec's info but I never intended to hold that over her head as a threat, which is why I didn't mention it.)
      The above is why I seriously question your comprehension skills.
      Pointing out that Kathryn is non-binary is not trying to derail the conversation. No one has yet commented on the fact that you're treating her in the very same way you have claimed you have a problem with. The fact that Jared was demanding she answer "trans or CIS, trans or CIS?!" During the thread, or that Allec later demanded the same info in private- this is very threatening and aggressive behavior. It's no ones business and now you are also purposely misgendering her, which is another act of violence you all claim to be above committing. If someone had done the same to Jared (or anyone else) on this thread you'd be losing your shit, but now you've decided Kathryn is bad and you can be hypocritical to her.
      I'd also like to point out one more thing regarding the Gaol Naofa aspect: the organization has three designated hospitallers who have the role of acting as ombudsmen. If anyone was seriously afraid of Kathryn or Annie, one or all of those people could have been involved as a neutral third party. Allec chose to go directly to Annie, which is find, but there were other options. The fact that both of you act as if Annie and Kathryn are the only two leaders in GN also makes me question your reading comprehension, as all of this is clearly detailed on the GN website.

      Marsaili

      Delete
    2. I'll say here again that the conversation I posted from Sky was private but did not contain information that could be used to get her. In fact, I posted it on her Facebook wall so only people already Facebook-friends could see it. So yes, there is a HUGE difference between sharing a private conversation (that I was doing in attempts to clear up the accusations Sky was making about me) and posting someone's address. HUGE differences. And I'd like to reiterate that Imgur is hardly a site where you can find anything in the mess that is BILLIONS of pictures. Untagged and Facebook screenshots? Nonetheless, I took it down because of the danger Sky felt--not because there is any real danger.

      I'd also like to point out again that the GN designated hospitallers are shit-all at their jobs since none of them greeted me, Ashley, or really anyone else when we joined Gaol Naofa. No one knew how to contact them or how to get ahold of them. I had gone to Annie in the past for issues involving Gaol Naofa or Gaelic Polytheism, so I went to her again as she was my only resource.

      I'll point out again that up until Kathryn was being accused of trans misogyny, she had identified as a woman in the GRP Facebook Group and GN Forums whenever women roles were addressed. I can understand if she didn't feel safe to come out in the GRP Facebook Group, but I would think she would have addressed it at some point in GN when talking about handling a ceremony that calls traditionally has rigorous male and female roles. Instead, she described how she performed the latter as a woman. I don't have screenshots but if you are able to access those incidences, you can see what I mean.This isn't about purposely misgendering her, but a confusion as to why she came out to us all as non-binary in a conversation where it would be convenient for her while before she continued to identify as a woman in religious talks.

      We don't have reading comprehension problems, Marsaili, but we are trying to talk about what is being said than what is being implied. You, Sky, and others seem to be trying to find things between the lines that aren't being said.

      Delete
    3. I am unaware of GP ceremony that calls for rigorous male or female roles, outside of flametending (and GN does not have a flametending order). There were discussions about traditional gender roles then vs. now, how they've changed, how things like marriage have obviously changed to be inclusive. There was some discussion about gender in water ceremonies but it was more about female/male "energy" (for lack of a better term) than actual sex or gender, however the consensus was it was open to everyone, no matter their sex or gender.

      You are certainly trying to downplay the importance of the fact that you posted those images. "Nonetheless, I took it down because of the danger Sky felt--not because there is any real danger." an attempt to undermine the fact that Sky felt vulnerable.

      I can no longer participate in this conversation. Your last comment about how and when Kathryn shared her gender identity with you, and your suggestion that it was convenient or somehow a ploy to avoid blame (seriously, wtf) is just absurd and incredibly offensive.

      I'm not trying to see between the lines, I'm just trying to point out your logical fallacies, and the point that you have a double standard about how to treat people. In other words, as long as you don't like the person and you think they're "bad" it's ok to treat them like shit and do all the stuff you're accusing them of doing.

      M

      PS: IDK what happened to my other comment, it was there for 2 hours, then it wasn't.

      Delete
  9. I've also got a screencap of my comment, timestamped from 3:19pm central time. Just fyi.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay??? If I didn't want comments on this, I wouldn't have allowed them in the first place...

      Delete
  10. {Cis woman living in a heteronormative relationship here}.

    Yes, I am a Janey-come-lately to this whole entire thing and have not been privy to any of this outside of what I have been reading in public commentary over the last two or three days. Perhaps I am inserting myself into a situation that is none of my business, however I feel moved to say that I am saddened to see how this has all played out. While I may have never been a member of GN, as a GP and an ally of the Queer community {and as someone that holds a good amount of respect for individuals on both sides of this dispute} I do hope that all of this can be worked out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you read the above comments, you may find that such a hope isn't well founded.

      Regardless, no one is sadder than these turns out than myself, Ashley, and others who watched this played out from within Gaol Naofa. We went for help and were treated with disrespect. The only solace is that others have come forward about how they too were treated poorly by GN for gender issues and that having this public is a relief to them.

      Delete
    2. Perhaps not well founded, but hoped for all the same. Every upstanding member in a community should feel safe, respected and heard. It seems to me that this has all fallen by the wayside for everyone directly involved in this situation, which is too bad. At any rate, I just thought that I would throw in some outsider's perspective. If it is unwelcome,
      then my apologies.

      Delete
  11. Naomi J/Leithin CluanMarch 19, 2015 at 9:54 AM

    I had no idea this was going on. It has made me rethink all my associations with this group, however vague those associations are. Thank you for bringing this to light. It is *incredibly* brave of you to share this despite the continuing pressure you're coming under from people. Go mbeannaí na déithe duit. From an ally of the trans movement.

    ReplyDelete