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