The PantheaCon Gender Conversation Continues

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  February 23, 2012 — 224 Comments

In the interests of keeping my readers abreast of the conversations centered around the 2012 PantheaCon in San Jose, where debate, protest, and controversy emerged around a scheduled “genetic women only” ritual led by Dianic elder Z. Budapest, I have rounded up a number of statements and meditations on the subject. I will start by sharing essays and posts by those who were at the 2012 PantheaCon, and then move to opinions and commentary by interested parties who were not in attendance.

  • Jonathan Korman of Solar Cross has penned an open letter to Glenn Turner and the other organizers of PantheaCon. In it he runs through the issue as he understands it, and ends with a call for an apology from PantheaCon, an apology and recantation from Z. Budapest if she wants to continue participating in that convention, and a clearer policy statement regarding what’s appropriate for restricted attendance rituals.
  • David Shorey, who participated in the silent protest led by T. Thorn Coyle, shares his experiences of that evening. His post begins with a quote by Howard Zinn: “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.”
  • Crystal Blanton, writing at Daughters of Eve, offers a mediation on discrimination. Quote: “We judge one another in order to define who is Black enough, spiritual enough, Pagan enough or oppressed enough and we miss the mark on the true gift of our community.  The best gift that we can give is to love more, understand more, empathize more , show more, give more, listen more, connect more and even identify more with those who have experienced this here journey called life.”
  • Sexuality educator Charlie Glickman pens an open letter to Z. Budapest. Quote: “When you told us that you are not the enemy of transgender people, I wanted to take you at your word. But I see your actions and I see a disconnect between the two. If you want me to not see you as the enemy of transgender people, then I invite you to not do the things that their enemies do. I invite you to use language that doesn’t rely on seeing transgender people as abnormal or deviant. I invite you to use language that reflects the genetic diversity that complicates our cultural notions of sex and gender. And I invite you to model that for your communities so that gender equality can flourish.”
  • Devin Hunter, who was part of the inclusive ritual held at the same time as Z’s ritual, and who held space between those sitting in silence, and those attending the ritual, writes about his experience of that evening. Quote: “After the ritual we came out to find several people who were not only upset with us for showing up at Z’s space before her statement but condemning us for doing so- shouting, “Liars” and “Biggots” at myself and temple members. One trans woman even felt the need to cuss me out as I tried to explain that we were not there in support of Z or anyone else but to be there in support of change. “ I was there!” she shouted “ So was I!” I responded.”
  • Tim Titus at The Juggler notes that there was unity in diversity at PantheaCon, and that for many, this debate wasn’t on their radar.
  • Draeden Wren shares her experiences at PantheaCon, including a discussion with Z. Budapest.
  • Storm Faerywolf, who was part of the inclusive ritual, and was also part of the contingent “holding the center,” shares his perspective of that evening, and of the issues surrounding it. Quote: “What is the answer in this? I know only of the first step: listening. It is a theme that has come up for me again, and again. In order to truly heal our wounds we need to be heard, we need to know that our feelings have been truly witnessed. I was there to bear witness… to Z… to the protesters… to those who chose to participate in Z’s ritual. I was there to witness them all… and to them all I send my love. I will not choose the road of hate. While that is an easy road to follow I know all too well where it leads. I choose the road of love.”
  • Teo Bishop from Bishop in the Grove, who sat with the protesters, has written up his experience of the evening. It is matter-of-fact, and essential reading for anyone who is interested in what exactly happened.

For more conversations from con participants, you may want to check out the PantheaCon Facebook Group.

Considering the nature of this discussion, and the prominence of those involved, it’s natural that many other Pagans who weren’t at PantheaCon would have an opinion about the ritual, the protest, and Z. Budapest’s words. Here are some of the more notable instances.

There’s even more out there, but I think this gives a pretty good picture of the conversation that has developed so far. If you have written something and would like me to include it in future roundups, you can either email me, or leave a link in the comments. As I’ve said previously, I want The Wild Hunt to be a space where all voices can come to be heard, in hopes of encouraging productive dialog and working towards understandings that collectively enrich us.

I’d also like to note that I will also have coverage of other events, talks, and panels that have taken place at PantheaCon 2012 coming up, but that this conversation has become so wide-ranging and intense that I felt it irresponsible to not do an update. I will do future updates on this as needed, in addition to working on sharing other important developments that emerged from the past weekend. I’d also like to remind everyone to keep comments here civil, as they have largely been, and to be generous in interpreting someone’s else’s words.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rheana-Powers/100000387813389 Rheana Powers

    I personally think the transgenders are not being discriminated against. I think Z created a space specific to her own needs and issues and doesn’t want that diluted with different needs and issues.

    I think the transgenders should stop acting like victims and just create their own tradition. They don’t need the Dianics to embrace their power. They can create what they need and want and make it specific to their own interests.

    I think people should get past the label “transgender” and just go about the business of being a person and a magickal being independently. You don’t need anyone else to approve of or endorse you in order to claim your power. That’s something you choose to do for yourself.

    In my group, we deny or remove members to preserve the integrity of our space. It has nothing to do with discrimnation. I would hate to not have the right to do that.

    • Nagaina

      Your astonishing ignorance and privilege are both showing.

      Move past the label “transgender?” Exactly how do you “move past a label” when the so-called “respected Elders” of your greater religious community explicitly refuse to acknowledge and actively denigrate your own lived experience of your own gender? That, my dear, is discrimination written bold in “genetic women only” lettering.

      The fact of the matter is that Z. Budapest outed herself as a transphobic bigot and now wants to make the fallout from her bigotry all about how those nasty trans women are oppressing *her.* The problem is: nobody in the greater pagan community *has* to tolerate her bigotry, or be silent about it, or even grant her views any degree of respect — a thing that usually has to be earned by being worth something.

      You are correct about one thing, however — no one needs the affirmation of the gender essentialist branches of the Dianic tradition to validate their womanhood. In fact, if I needed someone to tell me that my sole value as a numinous being was the value that resides in my uterus, I could get that from the Republican National Committee.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Wismom4 Debbie McNulty

        This is exactly what I am talking about. You assume that people understand that their language is offensive and then you assume that they have evil intent. I think that is making a big assumption. Here where I live in the midwest (Wisconsin) I had never heard of any of these terms before this issue came up, I had to go online and search to figure out what they mean and I am still deciding how I feel about them. All I’m saying is more understanding please.

        • Nagaina
        • NoStinkingBadgers

          I’m from Wisconsin, too. Part of Wisconsin the rest of Wisconsin makes fun of, actually.

          I knew all these terms, and I’m saying “more understanding, please.” Except it needs to come from those of you who are intent on using ungendering and erasure as tools of removal toward any people; you just have chosen to use it towards trans women.

          Like my youngest sister, who explodes into tears as one would expect when her faith and what she believes tells her she’s less than human, which is exactly what Z. and her mostly-white-male backup is doing. She’s 17, and guess what? The cruel, nasty world we live in is okay with who she is. She goes to work, goes to school, and everyone says “she”, “her”, and calls her by her chosen name…the same thing you and I take for granted that people will do.

          The faith we turn to to try to align body, mind, and planet, on the other hand, hates her. Don’t even try to play the “trans people need to find their own space” game because nobody told her that in school when she transitioned and nobody says that when she has to pee at the mall. It’s cruel to play this game to exclude our sisters, to exclude, well, my sister.

          When you say trans women need their own space, you’re saying they’re not women; you’re ungendering them, and you’re turning on other women, which is against Dianic principles. That is evil, and I don’t give a rat’s butt about the intent. When you do evil, you become evil, and that’s what Z. and her crowd have become. It hurts to watch, especially for those of us who found ourselves through much of what she has written and said in the past.

          Should you ever find yourself in Superior, don’t bother calling.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            I’m in Minneapolis and I visit Duluth every so often.

            You are freaking awesome.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cedar-Cat/100000282706489 Cedar Cat

        Z clearly felt under attack, and fought back. Harsh times demand strong action. Thank you, Z, for holding our space.

        Women bleed but do not die. Transgender women do not.

        Is that clear enough? Women’s mysteries. Men have their own. Rearranging body parts does not change the basic nature and chromosomal structure.

        Let us have our space! Do what ye will, and harm ye none.

        And show some respect for your Elders.

        And the heart of your power, wisdom and beauty as a woman lies in your womb.

        Mary Daly, Beyond God the Father, and Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman. Please read and see if this helps.

        And of course, The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries, Z’s book.

        • Cigfran

          Given the absolutism of your perspective, I’m surprised you bothered to use the term “transgendered women” at all. Given that you clearly believe that such people are men, pure and simple, the usage smacks of ass-covering dishonesty.

        • Harmonyfb

          Women bleed but do not die. Transgender women do not.

          Neither does Z. Budapest, as she is clearly post-menopausal.

        • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

          To clarify, Cedar Cat: trans women do bleed AND DIE far too often in this culture. They may not bleed from a particular orifice very often, but they certainly do exactly that if they have gender reassignment surgery.

          If you are going to quote the Wiccan Rede in this discussion, then consider that having your own space is one thing (and a thing to which you and those who feel the same are completely entitled…and, which very few people in this discussion would disagree about), but demeaning an entire other section of womanhood in delineating that space doesn’t “harm none” by any stretch of the imagination.

        • Nagaina

          I respect only what is worthy of respect.

          Bigotry? *Never* worthy of respect. You can dress it up in all the sacred mystery language you like. It is still the same class of religion-based bigotry that every other religion practices to justify hatred of those they officially despise.

    • Kyros

      I’m going to host a ritual. But you’re not invited – in fact, you’re not even allowed, because you’re a Female/Brunette/Blonde/Mother/Over 35/Under 35 (Pick those that apply). It’s to “preserve the integrity of our space”. You understand, right? I mean, you’re not being discriminated, just selectively unselected.

      Hate leads to hate. It’s exactly that simple. Discrimination is, without doubt, at any level, hate. It doesn’t matter who that discrimination is applied to, whether it’s based on gender, age, race, religion, motto, or anything else.

      It’s one thing to say “You’re not allowed into our ritual because you’re not part of our group” – Sure, I can understand that completely. I’ve had to lay down rules like that before. But it’s wrong and immoral to say “You’re not allowed into our ritual because of your gender/race/etc”.

      Unfortunately, we as humans find it easy to validate our hate when we aren’t the ones being hurt, whether we’re Dianic “leaders”, or radical Christians.

      • Guest

        But it’s wrong and immoral to say “You’re not allowed into our ritual because of your gender/race/etc”.
        This could really bother me, too but it seems to me most people are wanting things both ways – allowing rituals to discriminate on gender lines yet not at all.
        And some also want to say how Dianics (and particularly Z Budapest) should think and act.
        And they want to treat the whole group as if it was Fred Phelps and that not allowing everybody to the ritual is just as bad as his posters, which I won’t even quote here. Really, protesting two places – against Fred Phelps and against Z? Kind of an unbalance there, and on the latter, also a waste, since the difference between that and witch warring is a Fine Line and is does appear to have become personal.

        I don’t agree with Z. Budapest. I don’t want to become Dianic. I don’t think a space is safer necessarily just because it’s all one sex, however anybody or each person there wants to decide said gender.
        But witch wars are a waste of time and energy.

      • eruca

        “I’m going to host a ritual. But you’re not invited… because you’re a female/Brunette/Blonde/Mother/Over 35/Under 35.”

        And that’s your prerogative. The first sentence here is key. YOU are going to host a ritual. You get to decide who is invited.

        What people don’t seem to get about all this is that

        a) ritual is in the private sphere as opposed to the public. As with all private things I’m not obligated to invite anyone to my party or my bed OR MY RITUAL… and neither are you. By the same token if it occurs on the street or a park, you can’t kick anyone out.

        b) ritual is religion and you can’t force a religion to do anything it does not wish to do. (What do you say to Native Americans who don’t want you in their lodge? Bigot? Women who want to circle with bio-women are in an analogous situation to Ntv Ams.)

        Has everyone forgotten that the big flap last year was about the gender stipulation NOT being printed on the blurb? So this time it got printed. Your side even got an apology.

        The vigil (according to Coyle) was there to protest Z’s language-usage which many found offensive. The point was NOT activism against exclusive rituals.

        It’s really simple, if you are a bio-woman (who was born so and remains so etc.) who does not wish to attend a woman-only ritual, nothing forces you to. And if you are a man (or someone who was born and raised male), you really don’t have an experiential point-of-reference as to WHY a woman might wish to be in female-only space with other female-born women ONLY and therefore your opinion is kind of moot. There are so many people weighing in on this who have no dog in the race. I DO. I’d take all the activists a little more seriously if they picked their fights with real bigots instead of picking them with women who only want a little bit of autonomy and self-determination after a few thousand years of patriarchal subjugation. Instead they have chosen a vulnerable population within the greater Pagan community (which is also somewhat vulnerable at-large), in order to PRACTICE their activism. Kind of like boys who beat up their sisters in order to feel better after getting beat-up at school… or just for practice and fun.

        Really, from the point-of-view of a woman who was born, raised and remains female AND wishes to circle with others like her, this whole debacle is feeling VERY familiar and similar to all the unwanted intrusiveness, invasiveness and abuse I experienced growing up AS A GIRL. Right down to the language that insists that we are somehow bad, wrong, selfish, insensitive for ever wanting ANYTHING for ourselves or to the exclusion of males. How dare we think we can do something without males?!

        • http://twitter.com/whitestagforest Aine Llewellyn

          You’re still failing to understand that transwomen are /women/, not men.

          • eruca

            I hear you that how I feel is completely unimportant.

          • http://www.facebook.com/katie.l.berger Katie Berger Tremaine

            Yes, how you feel about the fact of my womanhood, and the womanhood of at minimum hundreds of thousands of other trans women is entirely unimportant.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Is there any particular reason your feelings should be important to anyone here, seeing as how you’ve shown precious little regard for the feelings of others?

            If “womyn-born-womyn” space is so important to you, why not attend Z’s event, the MWMF, or other spaces that cater to your feelings? Why do you feel that a large public event should cater to your feelings when, if this discussion is any indication, you’re greatly outnumbered by people who feel that Z’s ritual was inappropriate for PCon and that Z should be held to account for bigoted statements?

          • eruca

            Kenzaz, were you even AT Pcon? B/c wether a woman-only ritual could happen was not even part of the debate. The vigil was b/c many people were offended by ZB’s choice of words. But it looks like it got hijacked and then became all about wether exclusive rits are even ‘allowable’. Yelling the loudest doesn’t mean you’ll get exclusive rits eliminated from Pcon. It’s not going to happen b/c it would set a horrible precedent for ALL rituals of EMPOWERMENT created for any specific group of MARGINALIZED people. A lot of people actually agree with what I’m saying, they’re just not necessarily on here saying it.

            Since you aren’t getting it I will spell it out for you for the 10th time in 2 days. Whoever leads or creates the ritual gets to decide who gets invited. Them’s the rules, I didn’t make them up.

            My feelings are important b/c ZB’s rituals were created especially for women like me. I very much appreciate this since nothing else ever is. To me it feels like safe-space in a sea of hostility, yours being a case-in-point. You may not like it but Freedom of Association is a guaranteed Constitutional right as is Freedom of Religion.

          • eruca

            Katie, it’s not about how I feel about your womanhood, I agree that would be entirely immaterial and inappropriate. It’s about how I feel about what I consider mine: my space, my ritual, my autonomy, my choice to circle or not with someone in SOME contexts. You seem to think this is all about you, it’s actually not.

            There’s another human here, another type of woman, who has had some shared experiences and some completely different. I want to live in a world where both your experiences and mine can be honored and respected. When you call me a bigot b/c I want to circle with other women with certain shared life-experiences, I feel the opposite of honored and respected. The things I experienced as a girl, growing up as a girl, are not unimportant. Your oppression does not trump my oppression, nor mine yours. They are simply in different categories with some overlaps. We both suffer under patriarchy.

            There are so many people who are delighted to circle with you, (including myself in probably any other context). Why would you want to be in a circle with people who don’t want this? I realize different people handle things differently, it just seems so counterintuitive and somewhat vulnerable. When I think of all the battles you could pick, this really looks like a cheap shot to the easiest and most vulnerable target. It feels like you are attacking the very people you should be supporting and who could be supporting you. While not everyone shares ZB’s more adamant opinions, you aren’t making any friends by ramming down the door either. Please understand that if you were to prevail you would be helping to destroy an very vulnerable but important part of the women’s spirituality movement. Is that really what you want?

            It takes ALL of us to make the whole.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Eruca:

            So how does it feel to be poor, aging, reliant on government charity to sustain your existence, and rejected as irrelevant by all but a few similarly poor, aging and equally irrelevant bigots?

            Your curse, should you choose or not choose to accept it, is to watch the rest of the world pass you by as they take the achievements you and yours gave them into directions which you never anticipated and which you are powerless to control.

            Have a happy walk to the shadowlands.

            Oh, wait… you’re already there.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Eruca, after spouting that BS about the Catman, you do not have room to claim that you have any care for whether my experiences are honored and respected; you’ve demonstrated profound disrespect.

          • Ryan

            “therefore your opinion is kind of moot.”

            These were your words. Respect only works two ways. If you do not consider the feelings of another important, they will likely not consider yours to be so.

          • eruca

            Kenaz, so now I’m on government assistance. You just can’t stop making assumptions.

        • Kyros

          Hey, you know what, since we want to be in a circle with others like us, let’s go ahead and exclude people of a different race. I mean, they have a different life experience, right? Oh, and of course, people who are too young or too old, they can’t relate. Oh, and how about anyone from a different country? What about if they’re too poor or too rich?

          I mean, we’re just selecting people who are like us. We’re tired of the last hundred (if that) years of racial-class-age-country based mixing and subjugation. How dare anyone criticize us for excluding based on race or class! Why don’t they pick on real racists and real elitists!

          Protip: Excluding people based on X trait, makes you a bigot/racist/etc. Doesn’t matter if it’s in the context of religion or not. Still a bigot.

          But hey, congratulations, you’ve used an argument that’s been used in the past to: Exterminate Jews, Have Slaves, Deny women the right to vote, Limit marriage along racial lines.

          How would you feel if I held a public ritual that excluded anyone who wasn’t an old white guy with a lot of money?

          • eruca

            I would feel that I probably wouldn’t want to go.

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            The situation here is more like having a public ritual about celebrating the rich diversity of all peoples and cultures. . . and then at the very end, “Whites Only”.

        • kenneth

          Z.’s group is free to practice and believe as they wish – in their own space and time and on their own dollar. They have no inalienable right to carry out their bigotry at a public program which is funded one way or another by all of the participants. They also have no right to a judgment free zone.
          The American Pagan community, like most of America at large, is simply done with ignorance and bigotry of all kinds. 400 years was enough. We don’t have the power nor the desire to “ban” anything nor to change people’s minds if they are set. We do have the power to make the public sphere a very unwelcoming place for them to peddle their nonsense.
          We have a duty to help safeguard your right to believe and practice as you will, but that confers no obligation on us at all to support it with our money, or neutral silence or our attendance at events that choose to host it.

          • Alan Sheridan

            Agreed, that’s what I’ve been saying over on Facebook. The Transwomen paid their dues for the conference, just like everyone else. In public rooms at the conference, no one who paid to attend should be excluded. I’m fully aware that there were other exclusionary events, in addition to Z’s, and I feel the same way about them.

            If you’re at a public conference, you can’t exclude people from events they helped fund without calling it robbery. You’re free to have all the private exclusionary rituals you want in any private space you pay for.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paganswithdisabilities/ Tara “Masery” Miller

          Thank you for your words Eruca.

        • wat

          Anyone can tell religion to do whatever the fuck they want if it’s bigoted and archaic. Religion is not a license to hate.

    • http://twitter.com/whitestagforest Aine Llewellyn

      You say you want to “get past the label of ‘transgender'” right after you write that “the transgenders should stop acting like victims and just create their own tradition”. Which is it – they should go off and have their own space or people should move past the label?

      As many have said – transgender and transsexual women are /women/. What they need is for people to stop telling them that they are not ‘woman enough’.

      You don’t need someone else to approve or endorse you. But it doesn’t make it any less hurtful when someone attempts to invalidate the very core of who you are.

      • Guest

        If someone is not looking for validation from another person, their potentially negative opinion *is* less hurtful.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          Negation is the most powerful curse we have. To think that our acts of negation – as WITCHES of all people – can be carried out without real harm is at least mildly naive.;

          • Guest

            I think you decided to care about Z’s opinions.

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            Z’s opinions aren’t something one can choose _not_ to care about. Her position of power and privilege within the Pagan community makes those opinions carry a tremendous amount of influence in the community, especially when she chooses to use them to reinforce hatred against an already severely oppressed minority.

          • Guest

            I think transpeople outnumber Dianic Wiccans. Unlike Fred Phelps whom she’s been unfairly compared, she
            s not chasing people down with signs giving out her opinion. And all females are considered minorities who have to fight to keep their rights.

      • eruca

        Not everyone believes that “transgender and transexual women are /women/” and yelling it louder and more often isn’t going to convince any of the unconvinced. Not even resorting to bullying and name calling is going to convince.

        But that actually isn’t even the point. I’ll be first in line to stick up for someone who has been fired, evicted, assaulted on that basis. But exclusiveness in ritual is simply NOT in that category. It may be anyone’s right to go to rituals but going to any one specific ritual is NOT an entitlement, it is a privilege.

        • http://twitter.com/whitestagforest Aine Llewellyn

          I’m reminded of how many times I’ve heard anti-gay politicians and people say that they believe being gay is a choice.

        • http://www.facebook.com/katie.l.berger Katie Berger Tremaine

          Why do people seem to think that not being trans gives them veto power over whether I’m a woman or not? It doesn’t.

          • eruca

            Same reason this guy

            http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/photogalleries/localnews694/1.html

            doesn’t get recognized as a tiger by the felines.

          • Kamakhya

            OMG!!!!! That was a despicable comment. You should be ashamed. Really.

            I feel sorry for you.

          • Anonymous

            Not that often something on the internet makes me actually gasp out loud, but your comment did. That’s really, really hateful.

        • Desiree Arceneaux

          At this point in time, the sheer weight of both authentic life experiences and hard scientific evidence is such that anyone who continues to deny the reality of transgender and transsexual persons’ identities can safely be ignored as a hardcore, inveterate bigot whom no amount of reason will ever convince.

          Debating with such people is a waste of time; the only reason to talk to them is to strip away the veneer of civility they often mask themselves with and expose their seething hatred for what it is.

        • kenneth

          Holding rituals at a public event with limited time slots and space and the well being of all to consider is a privilege, not a right.

        • http://ianphanes.livejournal.com/ Ian Phanes

          “Not everyone believes that “transgender and transexual women are /women/” and yelling it louder and more often isn’t going to convince any of the unconvinced.”

          How about: Not everyone believes that women are equal to men, and yelling louder and more often isn’t going to convince any of the entrenched.

          In both cases, it’s called speaking truth to power, and it is a fundamental feminist practice.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Cosimano/613012064 Charles Cosimano

            But when power decides to speak to truth, it ain’t healthy to be on the side of truth. You can attack patriarchy all you wish, but if the patriarchy really decides to move, all these arguments aren’t going matter very much. Naked power is not very impressed by a roomful of naked Dianics.

            And this is, in end, about power, who is going to be in control. It may not seem relevant on the surface, but make no mistake, it is very much about who is going to be in charge, who is going to determine what everyone else does. And that being the case, do not be surprised if there are going to be those who are not going to back down, on either side. And remember, there is another force out there that could not care less about any of this. And that force wants your heads on a platter.

            They are called Evangelicals. And there are a lot more them than there are of you. You have far more important things to worry about, like not finding out what real oppression is.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds here like you’re saying we shouldn’t challenge current leaders and elders when they make bad/bigoted/wrong decisions, because the Patriarchy might see that as a sign of weakness?

            That is some really, really specious reasoning. Following leadership blindly, just because it’s leadership, is the mark of the patriarchy itself. Do we need to imitate the enemy in order to fight him? I would hope not.

            I don’t see a difference between Michele Bachmann saying “Biology is destiny” and Z Budapest saying it. It might be harsh, but it’s true.

    • Jorge

      There is something really wrong when we tell the oppresed to just get over it. Rheana, I think no one is going to take away the right of your group to deny or remove members as you see fit. However, do not delude yourself. If you remove someone from your group for characteristics inherent to them, then, yes, you are discriminating. Religious bigotry is still bigotry. Your group may have that right, but do not pretend it is not discrimination. If it is done based on things like gender identity, then it is bigotry.

    • kenneth

      Ah yes, “seperate but equal….”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=52804301 Candice Larrivee

    I am ashamed that this happened at all. I think that PantheaCon handled the situation well; allowing those who wanted the exclusive ritual to have their space, while also allowing those who protested it to have their own voice as well. I concur with the possibility of disallowing Z Budapest at PantheaCon in the future. Perhaps a one or two-year suspension is appropriate. I also think her actions need to be more publicly heard. It makes clear that Z has an agenda, that her motives are not for the betterment of others but only for the betterment of herself.

  • http://inkshaman.dreamwidth.org/ InkShaman

    You wouldn’t substitute the wrong equivalency of Eye of Newt, would you? Somethings you just need a uterus. you need to be a vessel. You need to be priapic. That’s really what the sign was about. Sometimes, in our urge to be inclusive and not hurt everyone’s feelings, we forget that rituals are like recipes. If you don’t have the right ingredients, things can– and do– go wrong. You wouldn’t want someone with a penis in his robes trying to call down the moon, would you? No matter how PC it would be?

    • http://sonneillon-v.livejournal.com/ Sonneillon

      I see absolutely nothing wrong with someone with a penis in her robes trying to draw down the moon. You’re creating exclusionary distinctions where none need to exist. Many of the deities are shape-shifters, including gender-switchers. They are what they want to be. Why shouldn’t they be trans*?

      • http://inkshaman.dreamwidth.org/ InkShaman

        No, i’m defending someone else’s right to be exclusionary based on what is generally seen as purist doctrine. i’m not justifying anything.

        • http://www.facebook.com/katie.l.berger Katie Berger Tremaine

          There is no reason to treat this any differently than traditions that teach that only white people can practice them. Traditions which preach marginalization of the already marginalized should be shunned.

          • http://inkshaman.dreamwidth.org/ InkShaman

            then shun them. if you don’t like going there, don’t. vote with your metaphysical wallet. i’m not saying you have to participate, or like it. i’m saying you have to honor them and give them space. If you don’t like what’s on the menu, eat somewhere else.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1183329613 Joseph Max

            But I did vote with my metaphysical wallet. My registration fees helped pay for the space that Budapest held her ritual that excluded me, so my “vote” was not counted. That’s why I hold that the solution is no more exclusionary rituals at P-Con in public space, but limited to private suites.

          • Anonymous

            Why should one honour something that doesn’t deserve it? Honour is earned, not given, and Z’s words are indicative of not having very much honour at all.

          • http://inkshaman.dreamwidth.org/ InkShaman

            and here’s some further food for thought: don’t you think that, by shunning them, you’re doing *exactly* the same thing? Becoming exclusionary? “Everybody but these guys can play..”

          • Cigfran

            Oh, look. Yet another in the seemingly endless parade of people who insist that their little “challenge,” their own bit of sophistry, is so devastating and special that it must be answered… because then the whole trans thing would just go away and stop being so bothersome.

            Take a number, dude, and while you’re waiting come up with something new.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Guess we’d better give NAMBLA a spot on the schedule next year, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses too. After all, we’re obligated to include everybody and shunning them would be horrible and exclusionary.

            Looking at your picture, I am guessing that you might benefit from this article. Pay close attention to the first fallacy: you’re soaking in it.

    • Harmonyfb

      You wouldn’t want someone with a penis in her robes trying to call down the moon, would you?

      Why not? The Gods are not us, and they are not bound by our definitions of gender or by our genitals.

      • http://inkshaman.dreamwidth.org/ InkShaman

        If the Gods tell you– by tradition, prophet, ancient scroll; pick the device, i don’t care– that it’s women only, and they define women as those without penises. Would you be comfortable participating in a ritual where one of your sisters had a penis in her robes? That’s the question.

        • http://www.facebook.com/katie.l.berger Katie Berger Tremaine

          … Change this for ANY other prejudice and would you be saying the same thing?

          • http://inkshaman.dreamwidth.org/ InkShaman

            but we already do: the Catholics can say only Catholics can take communion; we divide by gender in Orthodox services all the time; isolational sects still practice seperate rites of passage based on gender. Why is this any different?

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            You’re drifting from the topic here. Anyone may become Catholic and take Communion. Both genders participate in Orthodox services. Some gendered rite of passage is available to anyone in isolational sects.

            Your last two examples are drawn from what one might call trans-naive cultures, ones that have never had to deal with gender reassignment. Z Budapest doesn’t have that option; she and her tradition are embedded in a trans-aware culture and need to deal with it. (And are dealing with it; we are engaged in a great civil discussion of how well.)

          • http://inkshaman.dreamwidth.org/ InkShaman

            and to go one further: we seperate by cultural identifiers alllll the time. Seperate holidays, seperate functions. When we do it voluntarily, no one bats an eye and heck, it’s often encouraged.

          • Anonymous

            “so it’s hopeless. there’s no hope of ever being a full human being, ever. might as well die and try again next life. ”

            From another thread that won’t let me reply:
            Oh, Katie! You are a fully human child of Earth and Starry Heaven, and you are worthy of dignity and respect, whether or not you get them from others. But you do get respect and honor — I can speak for myself in that. I have read your posts, my sister, and I honor you and the gods who speak through you.

            You are a unique and wonderful woman, with much to teach and share, if you will. No one has walked the path you have walked, and there is much any of us could learn from you if we listen.

            Please, sister. Don’t hold your breath waiting for acknowledgement from those whose fears imprison them and cloud their vision. They can”t see you. Leave them to their fears, and their fears in the hands of their gods (just remember, Karma is a Bitch).

            Peace and Love and Blessings,
            RedBird

        • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

          One of the great things about Paganism is that we’re not defined by waiting on Divine commandments to tell us how our religions should be. We leave that kind of thinking to the monotheistic religions.

          • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

            Actually, some of us listen very carefully to divine commandments–from the gods we choose to worship.

            And the point that InkShaman is raising, that, if a Pagan’s understanding is that their gods do not accept trans women as participants in a women-only ritual, then it would be irreverent of that Pagan to be swayed by a political argument, however common sense it might be in a secular setting.

            Some of us believe that our gods are real, and see a benefit to listening to what they ask of us. And, no, my gods have never made any such distinctions between trans and cis women as were made at Z’s ritual; I don’t actually have much use for single-gender rituals at all, in fact.

            Which is irrelevant. In spite of the fact that it relies on the dreaded “Unverifiable Personal Gnosis” or perhaps on a human tradition–recent or ancient, I’m not sure it matters all that much–I don’t see it as my place to second guess teachers from other traditions, and tell them that their understandings of their gods are incorrect, because they don’t line up with my politics.

            Z may be utterly wrong about there being a difference that matters in a ritual setting between trans and cis women. But since I am not an experienced practitioner in her tradition, how could I possibly know? For me to shout her down based on my secular experience is for me to dismiss the bare possibility that an elder in a tradition understands it better than I, an outsider to that tradition, do.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            so it’s hopeless. there’s no hope of ever being a full human being, ever. might as well die and try again next life.

          • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

            “Some of us believe that our gods are real, and see a benefit to listening to what they ask of us.”

            Are you suggesting that because I do not believe in the existence of divine commandments that I do not believe the gods that I honor are real? Also, there is a difference in honoring what one believes that certain gods may *ask* of them as individuals versus a god giving a commandment which must be adhered to as some sort of universal rule. I also do not believe for a second that the exclusion of trans women from the event and ritual in question reflects the will of some divinity. I believe that it reflects the will of those people doing the ritual and any assertion that its actually at the command of a deity is disingenuous at best.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            There are quite a few European Pagan religions that believe theirs is a “blood religion” which can only be practiced by people of the proper ethnicity. Should a group of Russian Pagans be allowed to hold a Pantheacon ritual open only to those of “Slavic, non-Semitic ancestry?” Now suppose the leader of that group had gone on record with anti-Jewish, anti-Chechen and anti-Rroma statements? Should they still get a slot on the official calendar?

            I think we’re arguing two different things here. I have no interest in convincing Z Budapest that she should allow trans women to participate in her rituals. She has the right to free association and to grant or deny her Mysteries as she sees fit in her private ceremonies and I would gladly defend that right no matter what I think of her theology or her moral character.

            OTOH, I think that it is completely appropriate to ask what is gained by allowing someone who has made numerous hateful anti-transgender statements and who has never apologized for them to hold a “cisgendered women only” ritual at a large public event. And I think the organizers of PCon need to address that.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            This is a very interesting matter, Cat. I have not yet heard Z. say anything about being ordered, commanded, or in any way even suggested by any goddess(es) to do as she’s done; the decision sounds entirely human and in her own hands. I applaud that, in many respects, because people who hide behind the “my gods made me do it” excuse often do so as a way to avoid personal responsibility for their actions or opinions.

            But, that having been said, because she hasn’t done this, then that means it is a human decision, and one that can be negotiated or changed. And not having said “my goddess(es) made me do it” previously would make such a statement at this point seem rather disingenuous.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            Katie: (Sorry I couldn’t reply to you directly).

            I don’t think your efforts to be recognized as a woman are “hopeless.” In fact, I’d say the majority of people posting here – yrs. truly included – recognize you as a woman and would speak out (and have spoken out) against those who would belittle your femininity.

            I think your efforts to be recognized as a woman by Z Budapest and her followers may be hopeless and I understand that rejection is very painful for you. But don’t fall into the trap of “catastrophizing.” A few marginalized and largely discredited people trapped in the 1970s reject you – not the Pagan community at large.

            I’d also note that their efforts at belittling your femininity appear to be doing far more damage to their reputation and public standing than to yours. In a different world, Z’s name might be spoken in the same breath as Susan B Anthony or Gertrude Stein. The way she’s behaving now, she’s more likely to be identified with Valerie Solanas and similar forgettable fringe figures. Instead of being remembered as one of the most influential leaders of 20th century feminism, she’s doing her damnedest to go out as a bad joke. And while I recognize that she is the architect of her own misfortune, I also can’t help but feel sorry for anyone who throws away so much of her reputation tilting at windmills.

          • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

            In reply to Kauko: Some of those who object to ordering a tradition to meet the requirements of gods think those gods are unreal; some think humans cannot communicate with gods and so cannot justify following their direction; others think that observing the directives of gods in one’s tradition is optional.

            I am less interested in which of those descriptors fits you, Kauko, than I am in pointing out that for many of us, following the directives of our gods is part of what we signed up to do. This, too, is Paganism–and it’s disrespectful of me, as an outsider to a tradition that may be following such a practice, to dismiss it if it is not my own. As a Quaker–someone whose god has been known to ask action that could put the life of the individual Quaker at risk for a higher good–I take that obligation very seriously.

            Some of those who object to Z’s position (not her rhetoric of last year, which was simply hateful) are doing so from a vantage point where judging the requirements of gods and traditions is a simple human intellectual exercise. But there exists another valid perspective within Paganism, frustrating though it may be to acknowledge that–one that does not put human judgment as the highest level of insight possible in the universe.

          • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

            To P. Sufenas Virius Lupus:
            Well, and I’m actually far less interested in whether or not Z. looks at her practice through that lens than I am in the fact that the Pagan community does feel competent to judge the Mysteries of others without having experienced them. It reminds me, frankly, of missionary work, in which it was simply self-evident to Christian missionaries that whatever indigenous practices were happening around them, they were clearly superstitious at best, evil at worst, because as judged against their moral yardsticks, they didn’t meet the missionaries’ understanding of what a “good religion” should be.

            I get hinky whenever I see a group of Pagans talking to and of another group of Pagans as though they were on a mission of conversion. I don’t think this is the way we need to relate to one another, and a little more respect for what we don’t know would be deeply healthy for us. It is the rush to sit in judgment here in the forums that I am concerned with.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            Okay…Yes, I agree that not having experienced someone else’s mysteries is not a particularly good position via which to judge them–though there are exceptions to that. Exorcisms in certain religions that involve nearly killing children, for example, would be an exception; human sacrifice would be an exception; rituals in which people (particularly children) are sexually abused would be an exception. No, we’re not talking about that here, obviously. And yet, we are talking about a situation in which one group of women is defining who counts as a woman and who doesn’t, and is demeaning those they feel don’t count as women, which is promoting (at very least) disdain for that other group of women, which can easily lead to fear, violence, and hatred…which many people in this debate are finding upsettingly ironic, considering that is the exact same methodology that the entrenched patriarchy has traditionally used to divide, define, and trod down women. (And, lo and behold, it’s happening here again.)

            However, you’re also dodging the issue I raised in response to what you originally raised: Z. has at no point said, at least in any of her public statements as currently known, that her goddess(es) demand that these rituals be done in this way; and in absence of that, I think one must therefore conclude that the motivation for this element of the situation is human, not divine. (Which is fine–the gods rarely spell everything out, and a great deal has to be filled in by humans.) You are assuming that divine motivation is part of all this, which it may not be at all; it’s nice to impute good motives to others for whatever their behavior happens to be (as no one tends to say “I’m going to do something evil and hurtful to people” when deciding how to act), but imputing divinely directed motives to other people, even when they are operating within a spiritual context, is not at all necessary. (This is particularly so when something is so clearly harming courtesy and good order within a group of communities, I think–if the deities are behind this, then I think they should be questioned in their motives…it is perfectly possible as loyal and faithful pagans and polytheists to question and negotiate with deities, after all, because they’re not perfect either!) Instead, you’re saying that any judging of anyone else’s mysteries is like missionary work, which I don’t think it is remotely.

            Saying “I’m not interested in this” and not attending (which, note, was the reaction of most of the so-called “valid” women at PantheaCon last week–only 20 out of 1000+ likely cisgendered women attended the ritual) is one thing; saying “I don’t think this is the best way to go,” which many people in this discussion are doing, is also something perfectly valid for anyone to do; and both of those are as far from missionary activity as it is possible to be. Forced conversion and aggressive proselytization, which is the bread-and-butter of the missionary activity you’re speaking about, is simply not an option available to anyone in this current scenario–and, to be honest, if it were, I don’t know which side would attempt to use it more if it were available. I think we can agree that such conversionary motives are not exactly “correct” by any recognized modern pagan standards.

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          Did the Gods tell the Pantheacon organizers that they had to provide space to a public figure who was on record as making hateful and hurtful comments, so that said public figure could hold an exclusionary ritual guaranteed to cause even more hurt feelings?

          Should a worshipper of Ganymede be allowed to hold a workshop advocating adult-child sexual relations because his God told him that molesting pre-pubescent boys was an important part of their social and spiritual development? Would the folks at Pantheacon be impinging on his religious rights if they denied him a room and a spot on the official schedule?

          Again, the right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion does not guarantee the right to a cheering section. Neither does it guarantee the right to a spot on a Pagan conference’s calendar.

        • Harmonyfb

          My answer would be the same as the one I give to Catholics who think women can’t be priests, Mormons who think 12 year olds should be married to old men, or Muslims who think women shouldn’t be seen: B. S.

          To paraphrase a well-known quote, I am wary of people who claim to know what the gods want, since I note it usually coincides with their own prejudices.

        • Anonymous

          Hm. The Norse never seemed to have an issue with it.

    • Krystal H.

      In some cultures, the moon is male, so it would entirely appropriate for the person drawing down the moon to have a penis. :)

    • http://ianphanes.livejournal.com/ Ian Phanes

      I’ve invoked the Mother on a very masculine male. It worked, even with the beard.

      Mind you, I’m not arguing against separate space, I’m just saying that your argument isn’t a valid reason for separate space.

      • http://inkshaman.dreamwidth.org/ InkShaman

        if she were performing a Dianian ritual from a purist persepctive– one of the things that’s been in her resume, purist Dianic– then asking for genetic women hangs together. That was my point.

        • Krystal H.

          So, does that mean she does genetic testing at the door?

          Here is a picture of Eden Atwood: http://www.nagel.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/EdenAtwood.jpg

          Genetically, she’s XY, but doesn’t possess male genitals and was recognized and raised as a female from birth. Thing is, no one would know unless they tested her for it. So would she be welcome to circle with Budapest or not? She looks and sounds female, was raised as female, and lives her life as a female, she just happens to have a Y chromosome.

          • http://inkshaman.dreamwidth.org/ InkShaman

            You’re asking me to interpret what Budapest defines as a genetic woman; can’t do it. i’m not sure what her actual intent was. Perhaps what the sign should have read was “menses capable females only, please”… but then again, she prolly would have caught grief for that sign, too.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527822420 C. Lee Vermeers

            “Menses capable females” would exclude any woman who had undergone menopause, among others.

      • http://inkshaman.dreamwidth.org/ InkShaman

        Did you invoke Her as a male, or did you try to pass yourself off as a female?

    • Stephy

      Sin? Mani? Myesyats? Osiris? Tsuki-yomi? Jarih? Who were they again? Because the moon is ALWAYS female in EVERY tradition and couldn’t POSSIBLY be represented by a male deity. That’s research, not political correctness. Hooray for doing one’s homework.

      • Princess of Dork

        Sure, there are male deities associated with the moon, but not in the Dianic tradition, which is the path in question here. Budapest’s group follows a purist Dianic path and according to the traditions they follow (which are not the traditions that ALL Dianics follow), only genetic women can draw down the moon.

        The male deities you mentioned are interesting points, mind you, but not really relevant to the topic of Budapest and purist Dianics.

  • Bigmamabadger

    While I agree that discrimination is unacceptable I think it’s wrong to unilaterally call discrimination “hate”. Hate is a very powerful word and it should not be diluted by applying it to mere ignorance/misunderstanding/tactlessness. If you use the word “hate” to describe simple exclusion, what word are you going to use for e.g. a physical attack?
    The hate-card has become too easy a card to play.

    • http://sonneillon-v.livejournal.com/ Sonneillon

      Z. Budapest is on record saying trans* women are just men in diguise who are trying to leverage patriarchal privilege to invade women’s spaces for the purpose of intimidation.

      How is that not hate?

      • Guest

        Perhaps there are some Dianics who feel intimidated around penis.

        • http://www.facebook.com/katie.l.berger Katie Berger Tremaine

          “Some women have penises. Some men don’t. And the rest of the world really needs to get over it.” – Julia Serano

          • Guest

            More “get over it”.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            I want people to stop thinking my body is public property. I would think that I have that in common with every other woman on the planet. Obsessing about trans women’s genitalia is a way of making EVERY woman’s body public property, and it needs to stop – not just from a trans-feminist perspective, but from a plain old ordinary feminist perspective!!!

      • Bigmamabadger

        I don’t know what Z’s further agenda is, since I don’t know her, but that comment standing alone should not be described as hate. It suggests she feels “hated” by the trans women community which leaves her free to “hate” in turn. Hatred breeds hatred which is the point I’m trying to get across. Using that word escalates the conflict, whereas it should be a final resort when all other avenues have been explored.

        What I believe we have here is ignorance combined with fear and needs to be dealt with in a different way. Judging purely by that comment I would suggest Z doesn’t agree with the whole idea of trans people and that’s where the education should begin.

        I’m not in any way suggesting her actions were right, I just object to the language used.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          I don’t hate Z. I’m frustrated and disgusted by her words and actions, and I DEARLY wish she’d come around and start acting like a feminist and not like someone who wants to redirect oppression onto a less powerful minority, but that doesn’t sink to the level of hate.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Katie, I hate to admit it because I am one, but Z *is* acting like a feminist. This kind of divisiveness is old news within feminism: Lesbian vs straight, rough sex vs vanilla, strict lesbian vs bisexual, etc. Forty years and counting.

          • Princess of Dork

            I think, and I may be wrong here, but I think that Katie is suggesting that we need to create a new definition of feminism.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Not so much “new definition” as “we need more third-wave feminism and less second-wave feminism.”

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Nothing wrong with the definition (though it can always evolve). The problem is in the practice.

    • Jorge

      “Prejudice, we are beginning to understand, rises not from malice or hostile animus alone. It may result as well from insensitivity caused by simple want of careful, rational reflection or from some instinctive mechanism to guard against people who appear to be different in some respects from ourselves.”
      This quote was used in the recent opinion declaring DOMA unconstitutional. I think it reflects what you are saying. I agree with you. Sometimes, bigotry is hate, but sometimes something else is behind it it. Not acceptable either way, but perhaps this reminds us that there should be a different way to deal with it depending on the circumstances.
      Sometimes, you have to reach out to make the “other” less alien. Sometimes, you have to reach out and slap some sense into people (figuratively, of course).
      There are probably many “sometimes” between those two.

    • kenneth

      Hate isn’t always about skinheads beating people with bicycle locks or guys burning crosses. In fact, those are almost always the exception. Most of the system of racial discrimination in this country was carried out be everyday, normal often nice seeming folks who never threw a brick or firebomb at anyone. Few of them even would have even admitted to hating anyone. In their eyes, they were just preserving the self-evident God-given natural order of things. They thought they were “creating a safe space” for the white race, and they even though they were at some level protecting the interests of the minorities they were oppressing.

      • Bigmamabadger

        To me, hate implies a conscious choice. Those people who maintained the status quo (and we all do it to some extent) were doing just that, maintaining the status quo. They knew no different, they followed the teachings of their parents who in turn followed theirs. If, after education and understanding, they still chose to consider another race to be inferior then we come closer to the (to me) correct use of the word “hate”. Hate should be reserved for the bike chains and burning crosses and ignorance needs to be educated.

        Bleurgh, I don’t think I’m expressing myself all that well and I have to repeat I don’t consider these actions to be correct. Please understand I’m not defending Z’s action in any way, it was wrong.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, but Z. Budapest really has said some awful, hateful things about trans women. Yes, there are issues about the sheer fact that gender-exclusive spaces exist, and I think some people in the community are using this controversy to jump on Dianics as a whole (no need for women-only spaces now? a thing of the past? REALLY?). But above and beyond that, it’s clear that some old-school Dianics refuse to accept that trans women are women. That hostility is coming through loud and clear, and I think it’s unfortunate, because I also think women-only space (for all women) is a moving, healing, necessary, and deeply spiritual thing. But it has to move beyond these essentialist ideas of what a woman is.

      • Bigmamabadger

        My comments were meant to be more general since I’m only going on what I’ve read here. I can’t comment specifically on Z. Budapest herself because I’m not aware of this person – possibly because I’m not Wiccan and I live over the other side of the pond ;) but thank you for adding to my general knowledge.

        As far as I’m concerned a person is the gender they present themselves as. I do have a trans friend whom I got to know online first as a woman, and I was still unaware she’d ever “been a man” until someone else told me after I met her in person.

  • Princess of Dork

    There are some rites and rituals in which only people born into the gender can take part. It’s not about acceptance or discrimination, but genetics. There are rites, both male and female oriented, that can be adjusted to allow the inclusion of transgendered people. And there are those that can’t, or those that will be less-effective if they are. I don’t doubt that there were better ways to approach this ritual, and less hurtful ways to deal with those who were not allowed to participate. That said, if the tradition is that one has to have the ability to menstruate to take part, who has the right to tell them that their religion is wrong?

    • http://sonneillon-v.livejournal.com/ Sonneillon

      It is not about anything of the sort. It is about the arbitrary distinctions human beings draw in order to sort the divine into tidy little boxes based on what we THINK the world is like, rather than what it is actually like.

      • Princess of Dork

        And again I say, who has the right to tell someone that their “arbitrary distinctions” are wrong? Who has the authority to tell a group of people that what they “think the world is like” is wrong?

        I don’t think anyone knows what the world “is actually like”, so, for my own part, I try not to judge other people’s paths.

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          As I’ve said repeatedly, Z & Co. have the right to hold private rituals where they admit or deny whomever they will. I question the wisdom of allowing them to hold a “genetic women only” ritual at a public event wherein many attendees consider that distinction to be as hateful and bigoted as “white women only” – especially given that the event leader has a long history of bigoted, hateful, anti-trans comments.

          Arguments about whether or not Z & Co. are “right” to believe as they do are, I agree, fruitless for all concerned. They have the right to free association and to exclude whom they will. And so do others who disagree with their conclusions.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1492591684 Ben Lyons

          Z. Budapest’s

          • Princess of Dork

            I never said that I agreed with Z. Budapest’s attitudes toward transgendered people. What I said was that there ARE some rituals which, traditionally, require genetic gender to be taken into account. I also said, and I’ll quote it for clarity, “I don’t doubt that there were better ways to approach this ritual, and less hurtful ways to deal with those who were not allowed to participate.”

            I can disagree with people while still maintaining that freedom of religion and expression apply to them; the fact that I dislike Budapest’s words and attitudes about transgendered people doesn’t change the fact that she, like everyone else, has the right to her opinions and practices. The rights we, as pagans, are fighting for apply to everyone, even if we don’t agree with their path, choices, opinions, ideas, or practices.

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            Princess, there’s a Nobel Prize waiting for you if you can determine “genetic gender” without having to draw and process DNA samples.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            If a tradition is harming people, it’s our responsibility to change it. And by “our,” I mean “the people who are observing the tradition.”

            “A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things.”

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1492591684 Ben Lyons

            Princess, thank you for the clarification.

            I agree that Z has a right to hold exclusionary rituals. What I find deeply disappointing is the leadership of Pantheacon allow a hurtful ritual to be held in the public space they made at the con.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1183329613 Joseph Max

            @Ben Lyons: “What I find deeply disappointing is the leadership of Pantheacon allow a hurtful ritual to be held in the public space they made at the con.”

            This needs further examination. My first reaction was “what were they thinking!” and my second reaction was, “hmmm, what WERE they thinking?”

            Budapest is a famous “Big Nose Pagan” (as Ike Bonewits used to say) and it looks good to have her name “on the marquee”. She’s probably been a presenter at every P-Con ever. She probably has a personal friendly relationship with many of the organizers. So here’s the question: how much pressure were the program organizers under to include her no matter what she offered? Including pressure from Budapest herself and pressure from her friends and supporters in the P-Con organization? I would love to have been a fly on the wall to hear those conversations take place. Because I assume that neither Budapest nor the P-con programmers are stupid, or oblivious to what was going to happen. Was there an “either you let me hold my ritual the way I want and put “genetic women only” in the program or I refuse to come” moment? Was there any attempt by the programming staff to dissuade her, or was it “yes, Z, whatever you want, just please come we want your name on our marquee.”

            Ultimately, the P-con programming staff had the power to say “no.” So the buck stops with them. And I think they need to make a statement and clarify their reasons for letting something go forward that has caused so much hurt and divisiveness.

    • Handfasted1

      that’s what the antigay folks tell us about marriage, too. they’re just as wrong as you are here. we all have some masculine and some feminine in us. some more than others and it is not determined by how our nether regions are situated. tradition is great until it is not. we are not hide-bound idiots unable to reflect on what traditions are good and what traditions are not so good and change those that are not.

      • Princess of Dork

        True, traditions can be changed. However, my point was that we don’t get to decide what traditions other people choose to hold to. Freedom of religion applies to everyone (in theory, at least), even if other people disagree with how it’s applied.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1492591684 Ben Lyons

          Freedom of speech also allows us to tell them when they are causing direct harm with their actions. Which we are doing right now. :)

          Princess, a lot of us will agree that some rituals do need to have a focused set of requirements for attendance. However, saying that transwomen are not women is scientifically invalid. So a rite designed to celebrate the bodies of women really should, you know, celebrate the bodies of all women.

          • Princess of Dork

            Oh, I agree with the healthy debate that’s going on about the issue. If we can’t talk about things, freely and openly, the community will collapse. As I’ve said several times in the conversation here, I dislike Budapest’s attitudes. What bothers me are the people saying she has no right to claim that her traditions only allow certain things. MY traditions might say that’s she’s full of you-know-what but that doesn’t make her traditions less valid.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1183329613 Joseph Max

            Once again, the issue is not whether Budapest has the right to allow or not allow whatever she wishes in her own, private ritual space. But P-con is public space, and all of the attendees paid for that space. Therefore it is no longer her “right” to be exclusionary of any part of the convention-going public. It was a PRIVILEGE granted to her by the convention organizers.

    • Kyros

      I mean, we can extend your example to Marriage. It’s just one of those things that can’t be adjusted to allow people who aren’t White/Straight/Middle Class/Christian. It just wasn’t designed for it. Who are we to say that defining marriage that way is wrong? I mean, after all, marriage is a very religiously based institution.

      I can’t see, or find, any evidence of any ritual or rite that outside of certain biological requirements (“be pregnant”, “have lady parts”) is restrictive based on the nature of that ritual or rite alone. Even then, all faiths (even those outside of the Pagan umbrella) recognize that a large part of religion is what you put in to it. You can do a ritual that may call for physiological differences you lack and still merit success if you put your energy and will into it.

      As mentioned by Handfasted1, traditions are great until they are not. Then we change them. This is the difference between a living religion and a dead religion.

      • Princess of Dork

        It seems like quite a leap to me, to go from the idea that “some rites and rituals require a certain genetic gender according to some paths under the pagan umbrella” to “Oh, you must be against marriage equality”. The modern Western definition of marriage as being an affirmation of love between a man and a woman is a very recent thing, historically speaking. It’s actually a fascinating subject area to research, should you be interested.

        But back to the topic at hand…unless you are a follower of the Dianic path that Z. Budapest and Co. follow, you probably wouldn’t be able to find any evidence, as it’s a mystery faith that requires initiation. As I said in my original post, I agree that, in most cases, most gendered rituals can be adjusted for the presence of transgendered participants, thanks to the energy and will that you mentioned. If this particular rite couldn’t be adjusted, there were (also as I said in my original post) better ways to deal with it. As the author of the article said, they could have held a private ritual. Or they could have had one ritual for genetic woman and an adjusted one for all women. But it’s their choice not to do so. The beautiful thing about pagan paths is that there are so very many choices. People who don’t like the particular beliefs of Budapest’s group are welcome to find their own way and hold their own rituals.

    • kenneth

      I will never presume to tell them their trad or religion is wrong. But I do have the right to refuse to underwrite it in any way and to register my disgust with it.

      • Princess of Dork

        You absolutely do. As I’ve said several times in the course of the conversation, I don’t agree with how Budapest and her group handled the issue. However, I absolutely believe they have the right to set up their rites however they believe their tradition requires.

    • Harmonyfb

      That said, if the tradition is that one has to have the ability to menstruate to take part, who has the right to tell them that their religion is wrong?

      Freedom of religion does not mean one is free from criticism or critique, especially when one chooses to hold such a ritual at a public conference (whose theme is all about diversity). In doing so, and making a half-assed non-apology, they have opened themselves up to comment on their practices (which were clearly designed to be a slap in the face to those who weren’t exactly like Z. Budapest. She should be ashamed of herself, because she appears to have become that which she professes to despise.)

      (So you know where I’m coming from note: cis-gender het woman.)

      • Princess of Dork

        Oh, I’m not saying, by any means, that Budapest and her group shouldn’t be criticized for the choices they made. I’ve offered criticism of their choices myself, in this very conversation. But it’s kind of like the KKK…I disagree with their stance but defend their right to have them. As my partner says, “People have every right to be stupid and I have every right to make fun of them for it. But I defend their right to be stupid, to my last breath.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003312819742 Jeanne Anne Decosta

      “It’s not about acceptance or discrimination, but genetics.”

      It isn’t about genetics at all. Did cis-women have to prove their XX status in order to attend the ritual? I don’t think so! This issue is every bit about discrimination – the blatant hateful transphobic discrimination Z Budapest displayed in a public venue for the whole world to witness. A shameful display of bigotry that has no place in the Craft.

      “…if the tradition is that one has to have the ability to menstruate to take part, who has the right to tell them that their religion is wrong?”

      So now you would discriminate against women who have had hysterectomies too? This is really sad …

      • Princess of Dork

        Clearly, I should have said “have or had the ability to menstruate”, since I didn’t intend to leave out menopausal women (I know a Crone who would slap me silly if I tried to leave her out) or women who can have had hysterectomies.

        As to the first part of your reply, I’ve said numerous times in the conversation that I don’t think Budapest and her group handled this well. I do believe, though, that they have the right to say who can participate in their rituals.

        It would be nice to think that being on a pagan path means that no one is bigoted or racist or anything like that. Sadly, one’s religious choices don’t act as a guarantee against making hurtful decisions or statements. Humans are, after all, only human.

        • Katie Berger Tremaine

          As, sadly, we’ve seen up to and including in this very thread… and as you’ve noticed, days of dealing with people deciding “hey, I know better than you do who you are” can wear down anyone.

    • Changowoman

      Had this been, say, a childbirth ritual that required participants to have borne children, I could see your point. But it was set forth as a celebration of “each and every woman,” and of “the beauty and grace of the feminine form in all of her infinite variety.” That then said only some women were part of this variety. That is dismissing trans women as women.

    • http://ianphanes.livejournal.com/ Ian Phanes

      “if the tradition is that one has to have the ability to menstruate to take part”

      Ay, there’s the rub. They *don’t* require that one has the experience of menstruating. Female-born-and-reared women who have never menstruated for whatever reason are fully welcomed. Then they claim that transwomen aren’t acceptable because they’ve never had the experience of menstruating. That’s where their hypocrisy becomes explicit.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

        Nail. Head. Bang.

        I remember this discussion about “moon blood” coming up last year. When the examples of women with Turner Syndrome etc. were mentioned, the conversation shifted to “socialized as women.” It was all reminiscent of the “literacy tests” used in the south to ensure that no nig*ahem* illiterates (whose grandfather hadn’t voted) weren’t allowed at the polls.

      • Princess of Dork

        “Have (or had, as I should have said) the ability to menstruate” is not the same thing as not having had the experience. Experience and ability are not the same thing.

  • sln1987

    Z needs to understand that trans-women believe they are women and have always done so, that is why they have become women.

    I am also of the opinion if someone does not want you, don’t waste your energy on them. Give your energy to someone who opens their arms to you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1492591684 Ben Lyons

      But the question remains, why did the organizers of Pantheacon allow this ritual to happen at all? They knew full well that there would be controversy of this scale.

      • Guest

        And reputedly, there was lots to do available that wasn’t witch war

  • A.C. Fisher Aldag

    Gotta admit, I’m getting a bit burnt out on the issue. I wanna hear about contributions that PEOPLE make to society. People who were born into their current gender, people who had surgery to become their current gender…. I wanna hear about your accomplishments. Please tell me about books or articles you’ve written, homes you’ve built, families you’ve nourished, friends you’ve helped, awesome rites you’ve facilitated, gardens you’ve planted, classes you’ve taken, music and art you’ve created, your jobs, your style, your dreams, your hopes. I wanna see photos of your pets. Please trade recipes with me. Because that is what matters.

    • Anonymous

      1.oz vodka + 1.oz sweet vermouth, shake w/ some peel or a slice of favoured fruit, strain over ice and serve in a stemmed glass. Good for lessening headaches…. or causing them depending on how many you drink.

      roundabout way you’ve reminded me I need to track down some reading material for diy hydroponics.

      • Wtdees06

        3 oz black rum + 3 oz white rum + 1 oz vodka + 3 oz orange juice. Shake and pour over ice in a tall glass, and add a splash of grenadine. Garnish with orange slice, cherries, or any fruit that suits your fancy. This is a hurricane that will solve all your problems.

        Reading a new book called “Zeus: A Journey through Greece in the Footsteps of a God” by Tom Stone. Sort of a travel essay book following the life and legend of the Thunderer.

        I agree with A.C. Fisher Aldag that worth is what you do. The things you accomplish for your family/friends/coreligionists are what matters. I think Z. Budapest reveals her worth through her words and deeds. She’s done a lot for Dianic Wicca and feminism, but by the gods, this is the 21st century! I thought the only people who were this bass ackwards was the Tea Party.

        • Brannen

          Pint glass.
          Fill with whiskey.

          Really, its the simple things in life…

          Reading along through all this is wearing. And for as much as I yearn for locals I click with and could celebrate with, events like this make me glad its just me and the family.

          • Anonymous

            1shot Khaluah, 1shot spiced rum, 1shot irish cream, 1shot Buttershots, 1shot mead, 1/2shot SoCo, stir into 16oz of hot co-co made with 3 packets of swiss miss co-co. sip and scowl at the idiots that can’t remember that snow isn’t going to strike them dead, and made a 10min commute a 25min commute.. /rant rant rant (optional peppermint schnaps or Hot damn if either tickles your buds)

            Observing this unfold and explode has made me appreciate my natural dislike (for lack of a more accurate descriptor) of large groups and gatherings. Though I have been pondering what the unseen fall out might be, from Z’s.. choices.. Such as what about people of an opposite polarity to mine that thrive in large gatherings, but are now dissuaded from going.

            good and buzzed, pardon the ramblingness of the ramble.

    • http://twitter.com/whitestagforest Aine Llewellyn

      Thank you for that.

      I just got out of a Wicca 101 class run by the local Gardnerian coven. It is good to get involved in the local Pagan community!!

    • :D

      LALALA BIGOTRY IS AN UNCOMFORTABLE TOPIC LALALA I’M COVERING MY EARS YOU SHOULD TOOOOO YOU GUYS!

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    I just made a post about this, Jason: PantheaCon 2012: Transgender Inclusion/Exclusion. I’m happy to read any comments anyone may have on the matter on my blog, and if you wish to add it to your own coverage of this issue, I’d be most grateful. Thank you for your diligent work in keeping everyone updated on these matters, Jason!

    • Lyradora

      I just read your post, Phillupus. Articulate and well-thought and heart-felt, as always. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ainslie-Podulke/671619506 Ainslie Podulke

    As an assigned female at birth neutral gendered sexual abuse survivor who has a lot of affinity for radical feminism, I feel my issues are being misappropriated. At some point one is just a human being in need of sensitivity, being cast out.

  • Kamakhya

    I would have thought that this debate would have died years ago once people really got to understand that bigotry against gender is still bigotry. Sadly, some of our elders just can’t seem to get past that.

    On the plus side…I now know I never ever want to attend, get involved with, and will actively teach my daughter to avoid, anything to do with Dianics.

    • Bigmamabadger

      I agree. I know very little about Dianics, but what little I have heard suggests stories like this are not uncommon…

    • Alan Sheridan

      I wouldn’t go that far, Kamakhya. There are some awesome Dianics out there who include every gender in their path.

      • Princess of Dork

        You’re absolutely right. I’ve read a number of posts on various sites from Dianics who utterly disavow Budapest and her group’s actions.

  • Anonymous

    I see Z. is out trolling again.

    IMO there are many different threads of thought in the women’s spirituality movement. One set consists of women’s spirituality/Goddess/Dianic practitioners who genuinely want to build a religious practice that nurtures women, all women, and that sees women-only space as a vital and nourishing thing. One set consists of women’s spirituality/Goddess/Dianic practioners who want to build a religious practice that nurtures a certain kind of woman, based around mysteries that are said to be important to all women, but that not all women experience– including but not limited to menstruation and childbirth. (Lemme tell you, some women-only groups are fairly hostile to childfree women. It starts with being transphobic, but definitely doesn’t end there. There’s also the idea that women are nurturing by nature– never mind the ones who, well, aren’t.)

    And then there’s people like Z, who are part of the second set, but who also thrive on sparking controversy and reaction. Trolling, in essence. She could have had the same ritual in a private room. She chose to maximize reaction. Lots of things frustrate me about that, but not least the fact that one of the things mentioned in some places against the participation of trans women is that the presence of a penis can be triggering for some survivors. Which is absolutely true. But a ritual designed to be supportive for survivors, to celebrate a body that has been multiply wounded, as a point of controversy, designed as a “take that!” to trans people and trans allies, is also not a supportive, safe space for the people in that ritual. Their bodies have become politicized, in effect, by the way Z. went about this.

    I think the former is a wonderful thing, but having spent a decade or so going to as many women-only events as I could find in my area, the latter need to realize that the narrowness of the way they define womanhood does not serve women, but serves to further divide us and leave some on the outside, oppressed by society yet not “real woman” enough for the community formed to heal that and speak to the spirit of that. And P-Con needs to stop feeding trolls by letting a program description like that through.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here wrt “trolling.” Z is desperately trying to remain relevant in a community which has long outgrown many of her ideas. This is her version of the Kardashian wedding: it is designed to draw attention to Z Budapest and strengthen her brand name. She has apparently decided being loathed is better than being forgotten, which is truly a shame – I don’t think she was ever in danger of being dropped by the wayside, and the fact that many of her ideas are no longer useful is actually a sign of just how successful her 40 year quest was.

  • mandz

    Maybe it’s just me not quite “getting” it, but if someone is infamous for spreading bigotry and hatred about people like you, why would you even want to attend a ritual with that person in the first place? PantheaCon should have never invited Z to host a ritual at an event that is supposed to create ‘unity in diversity’. That’s just my 2 cents.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1620447304 Leanne Pemburn

    Thanks, Jason – this is very helpful! I’ve been getting a little overwhelmed trying to keep up with the posts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Wismom4 Debbie McNulty

    I have wanted to comment about this for a few days. I have resisted because I feel that people are behaving really ugly. Let me start by saying that I have circled with Dianic groups since I became pagan, in fact they were the first to embrace me. It has been about 12 years that I have been a practicing pagan.

    My gut feeling about this is that I’m not interested in being a part of a larger group (pagan) if what that means is that I must water down my faith and become (in my view) less diverse. I feel that so far from what I have read online, and it has been a lot of reading, the Dianics are being under represented in this debate. This bothers me. Then I feel they and Z are being accused of hate speech but I see many of the others on the other side of the issue using pretty harsh language. I don’t throw words like bigot around. This issue is compounded by the fact that many of us just don’t have an understanding of what language is appropriate for this situation. So people are innocently trying to communicate and they are being jumped on by members of community, called names, and basically being told they are stupid. This is not ok in my view. I feel that all of the harsh name calling and proclaiming Z to be the devil and no longer an elder just seems counter productive. I have seen a small number of Dianics trying to explain their view and I have seen them shut down with what seems like very little concern.

    In the end I am disappointed in the community. I wish that for once when something like this comes up we could all just treat each others like we believe we are divine. We could come bearing compassion for all sides and works towards peace not demanding it but cultivating it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003312819742 Jeanne Anne Decosta

      Bigotry in any form is hateful and deserves to be opposed with heart, feeling & enthusiasm! If you object to harsh language & name calling perhaps you should first object to the transphobic bigotry that inspired it.

    • Will

      Whenever I see Dianics trying to defend Z.’s choice of words and/or mindset those words reflect, they keep making the same mistake that Z. made in the first place.

      Trans-women *are* women. No, they do not have the internal organs that other women do, and so can never have babies. A lot of “women-born-women” can never have babies either, so that’s an unreasonable and illogical shibboleth.

      The argument is made that women who are survivors of patriarchy, physical violence, and rape (sexual violence) need a safe place to go to, and that allowing trans-women in would violate that sanctuary. This denies the experience of trans-women who are *also* survivors of patriarchy (and often physical and sexual violence), as well as *re-victimizing* these women who have gone through a lot to get what Z. takes for granted (internal and external womanhood). This is a thing that does not make sense–in order to be safe from victimization, we must also victimize others?

      At the same time, I do support the right of groups to run their rituals how they see fit. But I question the wisdom of holding such an obviously divisive ritual at a *public venue* like Pcon. Is there *nothing* else Z. could have done?

    • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

      There’s a lot of us quietly off in the margins, not posting a lot on this thread, who would agree with you, Debbie. I think it would be hard to find a less loving dialog anywhere in the world of religion just now.

      Just be aware, a lot of us are not being represented in this discussion at all, because the heat/light ratio in this forum discussion is clearly very poor.

      And I do wonder at the number of people who think that shaming and scolding are the route to take to open minds and hearts around trans issues. Even thinking about political strategy alone, that seems foolish to me.

      • Katie Berger Tremaine

        Making someone stop stabbing you has to happen before any healing can begin.

        • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

          Being turned away from a ritual with nine celebrants, at an event where an inclusive ritual of the same variety did occur is actually not much like being stabbed. The intensity of your emotional reaction (were you there, or is this vicarious violence being done you, Katie) doesn’t change that. There may have been women among the nine celebrants who had similarly intense feelings around the possibility of your inclusion. Would that justify excluding you?

          Stop with the rhetoric if you want to change hearts. Keep it up, of course, if cranking up the anger and divisiveness is your actual purpose.

          There’s a difference between speaking truth to power and shouting it with fists upraised. And especially when the “power” is another group of oppressed individuals, you wind up on shaky moral ground when you keep shouting.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Sunday, my reaction was more “Not this garbage again…” What you’re looking at is the net result of a week of being insulted and sexualized.

          • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

            Yes, if it was easy to stay measured and reasonable in our responses on a hard topic, everyone would do it.

  • Inspiraven

    This has been such an interesting, important topic to explore.

    Thank you Jason for your presentations of the situation,
    and for your clearing a space for conversations, explanations and porcupine quills.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003312819742 Jeanne Anne Decosta

    Now you must submit notarized documentation of your XX karyotype before being admitted to the ritual circle. XO, XXY, XY with androgen insensitivity syndrome & trans-women need not apply.

    This is just an example of transphobia, which is akin to homophobia, which is akin to racism & Naziism. Such prejudice has no place in Neopaganism or the Craft of the Wise… cuz it isn’t wise, it’s stupid. Z Budapest has lost all credibility as far as I, and many others, are concerned. She should keep her prejudices in her own broom closet and not bring them to PantheaCon or any other public venue. So mote it be!

    • Katie Berger Tremaine

      I think “Naziism” is over-egging the custard just a bit. The comparison still holds even without going that far.

      • Princess of Dork

        Yes, there’s a difference between transgendered people not being allowed to participate in one ritual run by one group of one faith-path in the pagan umbrella and the slaughter of over six million people. Thank you for pointing that out. Transphobia is bad enough on its own; bogging down the issue with false comparisons doesn’t do anyone any good.

    • A.C. Fisher Aldag

      Hahaha, I threatened to have genetic testing on a previous post. We could screen for ethnicity, too. It only costs a mere $200 bucks per person.

      • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

        Lucky for me, I’ve already had that genetic testing done! And I paid a lot less ;)

  • Guest

    Feminist perspective is not one view. There are folks who say people with penises can’t be feminists, at most they can be allies or pro-feminists. Also there’s perspective that places where nobody with a penis are allowed to go are needed for some dealing with trauma and also to avoid the “white knight” behavior that comes from some folks who have or had penises and treat their opinion as more important than those who’ve been identified as female their entire lives. That “white knight” behavior is seen as extension of the patriarchy, etc. and as still keeping the feminine from being validated and heard. Nobody been saying said rules mean bits are public property or that said people should then be mistreated too in the world.
    Where I think all such othering is divisive and counter-productive, along with calling some women “cis”) I recognize there are a lot of feminist perspectives out there, and that I don’t need to hate them. Calling all those holding them bigots, nazis, Fred phelps-like, other hateful stuff and infighting, cursing, and witchwarring them all doesn’t advance the feminist cause for humanity and is stupid

  • Zenmouser

    One of the best commentaries so far is here (h/t Anya Kless @ Fruit of Pain)

    Quote: “I hope we can move away from thinking about things in terms of ‘identity’ and move toward a paradigm based on experience.”
    ~ Telyn Kusalik in “Identity Schmidentity”

    That being said, the impasse is b/c both sides are correct. I hope PantheaCon will not cave to pressure and overcompensate by barring any further WBW rituals. I say that as a UU/GQ who has observed the progression of GQ inclusion even within the LGB community (to include T and Q and allies). Here’s why:

    1. There are two issues: feminine embodiment and feminine ensoulment, which are not mutually exclusive.
    2. Think of the Mysteries as stripes, *blending stripes* of a rainbow.
    3. Given the current assault on women’s bodies (as it has appreciably escalated in recent weeks), think of ZB’s stance as protecting the feminine embodiment space. Yes, some of her words may have been poorly chosen and reflect a level of *experiential learning* that she could stand to take on board. But what I hear in her words is a staunch defense of the feminine embodiment space and I am thankful for that.
    4. Respecting deeply the level of empathy conveyed by T. Thorn Coyle’s silent protest, in recognizing the arbitrariness in areas of blending stripes, the outreach then, for those who saw fit to participate in the vigil would then be, can you envision a figure eight, laid on it’s side, symbol of infinity, recursive in energy flow, which would suggest that such a vigil be dedicated to holding the space for a WBW rite, just as the Mystery raised holds the space for feminine embodiment? Such an energy exchange, a not one in protest, is the next step.
    5. Separate but equal is a strawman argument in this situation, once the understanding in #4 above is acquired. It is not an either/or construction, and by stating so, one has to buy into the very gender binary one claims to be protesting. Think about it.
    6. Blessed Be and More of it for the spontaneous rite in the grand room that gave rise to exchange of POV’s that included the sharing of a familial suicide due to transgender exclusion. Perhaps Pantheacon organizers can see fit to create a Day of Healing when one such rite of sharing of several stories by transgendered member can be scheduled back-to-back with a Dianic WBW rite, with a third, unstructured, debriefing of the experience of holding the space for one another, while various Mysteries create the healing and create a boundary/push back/transform the force(s) which would rend asunder feminine embodiment, feminine ensoulment, and all the interbeingness of both.

    This is just a step in our empathic evolution. We have much to learn from one another, beyond identity. As long as we are still bound by our 3-4 (spacetime)Dimensional bodies, even as we aspire to 5th Dimensional understanding, we must acknowledge there is a reason Amazonian energies exist and that we can celebrate them in a recursive, supportive fashion. Likewise, a parallel truth exists that genetic determination is not an exclusive principle for feminine embodiment, muchless ensoulment, and that not only do we need to create spaces where we embrace on another’s healing process, but we stand in our wholeness when we celebrate the diverse representation of the combined ideas of embodiment and ensoulment, without also including the energy of those who have/would oppress us.

    • Katie Berger Tremaine

      When Z shows the slightest respect for trans women’s bodies, souls or lived experiences, let me know. Otherwise? this is just so much justification for loud, obnoxious bigotry.

  • Christine

    As originally presented a year ago, I do see both sides of the issue here.

    From the Trans side: Trans-women are women and want to be treated equally and be included in women oriented ritual the same as cis-women. Many trans-women join/participate/seek out the Dianic tradition as a way of spiritual intergration with their changing/changed gender.

    From the other side: Many cis-women turn to the Dianic traditions due to past and highly personal issues with men. There are women who have been raped, beaten and mistreated by men who seek out a female-oriented faith path to advance their healing process.

    So it’s very important that cis-women acknowledge that trans-women are sisters too and need our support and guidance and love. It’s also important for trans-women to acknowledge that there are cis-women who have deep emotional and in come cases physical scars from the hands of men – thier former physical gender – and are in need of support and compassion and love. Each group has their own sets of needs that the other can help them with.

    The thing that I found offensive is not that Z. Budapest performed ritual for women only but that she specified “genetic” women only. It’s one thing if the ritual specifies “moon-blood rites” or “skyclad” where specific physical traits and parts would be important for a comfortable, open and/or effective rite. But the use of “genetic” specifcally excluded trans-women who had completed full transition but not cis-women who may, through illiness or whatever, have lost some of their reproductive systems and therefore may not feel the full benefit of rites that say focus on the Uterius. The term “genetic women only” specifically indicates: Trans-women not allowed. There was no apparent reason behind it other than the disinclusion of trans-women. And that’s not cool.

    • Katie Berger Tremaine

      If someone demanded that a space be free of women of color because she was abused by a PoC partner, would that be just as acceptable? Or the same with a fat woman because she was abused by a fat partner, how about then?

      If not – and it shouldn’t be – then excluding trans women because someone was abused by men is just as unfair and just as inhumane.

  • Castus

    Thank you for your coverage of these events, Mr. Pitzl-Waters. Perhaps you could include some ‘pro-Budapest’ viewpoints? Or are there none at all?

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      I’m keeping my eyes open for any and all relevant voices on this issue.

  • Katie Berger Tremaine

    This needs to be tattooed onto foreheads: Trans-bashing supports the Patriarchy.

  • Katie Berger Tremaine

    It’s not “competing in the Oppression Olympics” when you call someone out for acting out of privilege. It’s fighting for your life.

    • Guest

      Here I thought you were just being told not to attend a ritual.
      I have a saying that when someone has to exaggerate a story to make it sound more impressive, they’re lying about something.
      In this case I think the truth was you weren’t welcome at a ritual, not that Z was threatening your life.
      There’s people who really do get attacked and killed from bigotry, so don’t draw attention away from them. :(

      • Katie Berger Tremaine

        Get a name and stop trolling.

        • Castus

          Mr. Tremaine, having different opinions =/= trolling.

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            Does anyone still think trans people are not being discriminated against after reading this sort of grossly inappropriate name calling bullshit?

            I mean seriously. The trans people responding here have chosen to take the high road and respond constructively to tremendously cruel and hurtful behavior centered on deeply personal matters which are actually none of other people’s fucking business in the first place, and this is the kind of shit we get dumped on us in return.

          • Desiree Arceneaux

            Does anyone still think trans people are not being discriminated against after reading this sort of grossly inappropriate name calling bullshit?

            I mean seriously. The trans people responding here have chosen to take the high road and respond constructively to tremendously cruel and hurtful behavior centered on deeply personal matters which are actually none of other people’s fucking business in the first place, and this is the kind of shit we get dumped on us in return.

          • Cigfran

            No, but explicitly addressing a person in a manner calculated to cause the most possible offense is… and is also bigotry.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            I’m guessing that “Castus” – who appears to be a paleoconservative blogger of the Spengler/Evola school if his WordPress blog is any indication – is going to troll until he gets booted from the forum, then write a long entry about how he was oppressed by the Evil Trans Folks and Intolerant Politically Correct Liberals.

    • Castus

      Spare me the drama, Mr./Ms. Tremaine. Refuting comments on a blog is no more fighting for your life then leisurely sipping a milkshake would be. And the phenomena of telling someone that they can’t have opinions on transexuality because they aren’t transexuals and/or they hold differing opinions from your own is, frankly. ridiculous; and just as discriminatory as what you are supposed to be fighting against,

      • Desiree Arceneaux

        Does anyone still think trans people are not being discriminated against after reading this sort of grossly inappropriate name calling bullshit?

        I mean seriously. The trans people responding here have chosen to take the high road and respond constructively to _tremendously_ cruel and hurtful behavior centered on deeply personal matters which are actually none of other people’s fucking business in the first place, and this is the kind of shit we get dumped on us in return.

      • Cigfran

        Typical bully behavior. Push ‘em to the wall and when they squeak, accuse them of being shrill.

      • kenneth

        People like Z can have their own opinions on transexuality, or anything else. Even opinions that the vast majority considers “wrong.” They do not, however, have a right to have their views go unchallenged, and the certainly have no right to anyone’s financial support in the form of convention fees etc. This isn’t a debate about who has what right to believe in anything. It’s about each of us exerting our individual rights to decide what we will and will not share space with or lend our names to. The aggregate of those individual decisions is, adds up to vast unpopularity for Z’s position. It in no way “bans” her from doing anything or believing anything. She could very easily hold her “genetic women” only rituals in her home temple, or for that matter, rent out her own convention space for that purpose.
        To the other matter. Is it patently absurd to liken such things to the Nazis? Well, yes. And no. What Z is doing is not even in the same universe of magnitude as what the Nazis did. Her views and actions pose no real imminent threat to trans-gendered folks. However, they do contribute to the atmosphere which allows hate to flourish.
        The Nazis could not have existed as a significant faction, nor certainly carry out their atrocities unless the soil of the culture had been well conditioned to receive and grow their poisonous seed. The Holocaust was not a distinct phenomenon which unfolded over a couple decade’s time. It was the end product of centuries of much smaller acts of hatred and bigoted ideas. Jews were defined down as humans in a million little sundry ways before they could be put onto rail cars.
        Many of those little acts of hate were, like Z’s, so petty as to seem utterly inconsequential. So Jews couldn’t get hired at this or that university or were refused membership in a particular professional society. So what?, it was thought. They have their own thing. The kindling for that inferno was laid one seemingly insignifcant stick at a time. The Nazis were simply the arsonists who happened to set the match at a time of perfect wind…
        So no, Z is not a Nazi. But she is, whether she intends it or not, one of the people piling the wood, conditioning the soil. She can do that, but we can call her out on it, and refuse to help carry out the miserable task ourselves or contribute to it in any way.

        • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

          Geez Loueez.

          One of the most important factors leading to the Nazi seizure of power was that those who should have prevented it were too busy fighting each other!

      • http://quakerpagan.org/ Cat C-B

        “Mr./Ms. Tremaine” is simply offensive. If all you have to contribute here is disrespect, you should leave.

        Some of us are trying to talk to one another like grownups.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Perhaps Jason should amend Godwin’s Law to include rhetorical comparisons to Fred Phelps.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Perhaps Jason should amend Godwin’s Law to include rhetorical comparisons to Fred Phelps.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

      +1. I disagree strongly with Z’s comments and with Pantheacon’s decision to include her “genetic women only” ritual on their calendar. But until she and a small coterie of her followers stand outside the funeral of a murdered transwoman holding up signs that say GODDESS HATES TRANSIES I am going to refrain from comparing her to the Phelps clan, implying that she had a Charlie Chaplin mustache until her last electrolysis treatment or suggesting that Dianics burn crosses and bomb the houses of transgender activists. What Z has done is quite bad enough on its own without spurious comparisons to others who have done worse.

      • Guest

        Z also did not threaten, stab, behave violently, or fight Katie. If you want to claim you will speak truth to power, speak truth?

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          Seeing as how I never said she did, I’m not sure what your point is. (Come to mention it, I’ve never seen any evidence of anybody “threatening” or “intimidating” Z with anything more than disagreement and silent protest either).

          Now get back under your bridge, Troll.

          • Guest

            I couldn’t edit my comment. I meant in general, not about you in particular. I think you weren’t also comparing Z to a Nazi (and I don’t think that one was Katie)
            You just keep to name-calling as if that helps you. It doesn’t.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

            You think wrong, Mr. Truax. Which is especially impressive, seeing as how the post you responded to stated that I didn’t find it productive to compare her to Fred Phelps, Adolf Hitler, or the KKK.

            Now get back under your bridge, Troll.

          • Katie Berger Tremaine

            Considering I specifically said comparing her to a Nazi is over-egging the custard, I would think so…

        • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

          Here’s some truth, from the keyboard of Castus himself:

          I may catch a lot of flak for this. Then again, I may not. I have the privilege of being one of those little pagan blogs that never get attention except occasionally. I like that. So here goes:

          I am a fascist.

          No, not really. I’m not. Both because I’m honestly not aligned with Classic Fascist ideology, and because it is outlawed by Nova Roman law. I’m a Great Depression style isolationist conservative with National Socialist anti-corporation and blut un boden influences. My preferred government style is neo-Hamiltonian and I occasionally call myself a National, or Volk, Federalist. I am a very strong supporter of Monarchy and the primacy of either the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Protestant churches within those monarchies; depending on the nation in question. I have a passing interest in racial theory although I believe that most of it is complete bullshit; if not all of it. Economically I prefer a State Monopoly on essential goods like transport and electricity accompanied by an old-fashioned Guild-system replacing most of the corporations of today; ensuring handmade quality goods with higher regulation than we see today. I support invading Mexico to disrupt the drug trade and restore the House of Iturbide.

          Kind of a mouthful, eh? So I go by fascist until it gets me into trouble and I spill the more truthful mouthful.

          I can see why you have serious problems with people using words like “fascist” and “Nazi” as insults. In your mind they should only be used as compliments.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

    I am forced to wonder aloud what it was about the recent discussion on Ronald Hutton (link) that merited shutting it down, while this savagely self-destructive verbal melee is being actively encouraged and prolonged? Hmmm. Next time maybe I’ll try calling Hutton a Nazi and screaming about “trolls!!” rather than making rational arguments and citing scholarly sources.

    • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

      You do know that comments auto-shut down after a certain number of days now, right?

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        And here I thought Apuleus and me discussing the nature of argument ad hominem hit your MEGO threshold.

        • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

          And I was enjoying that tangential discussion. It made me think and recheck my own thoughts about types of argument, for which I am thankful to you, Baruch.

      • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

        I guess I missed that memo. Oh well. That’s a shame, really.

    • Guest

      You’re totally right, that discussion was of better caliber than this one. (that actually wasn’t sarcasm, I mean it)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cedar-Cat/100000282706489 Cedar Cat

    Really, folks. It’s all about respecting women’s sacred space. Women who bleed but do not die. The Women’s mysteries. Transgendered “women” is yet the latest technological innovation wanting to deprive women of their sacred space. It’s men wanting in on everything. To control everything. To know what the Mysteries are.

    Re-arranging one’s genitals does not make them into a woman. A woman has XX chromosomes. Males start out as XX and one breaks off a piece. That does not change however much you cut off, or tack on real and artificial bits. And I fully support your right to do that to yourself if you choose! No judgment.

    And I fully support Z Budapest. And, I am shocked at the despicable way she was treated at this event. Intimidation and threats were used here, and disrupted a Women’s Dianic ritual, led by an Elder and a well-respected High Priestess, whose views are well-known on the subject of sacred space for women.

    Z is not discriminating against anyone here, she is supporting her community of Dianic wiccans. And standing up and holding our space. Too bad our pagan brethren have decided to throw us under the bus again. You fear us because you fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the Divine Mother. She’s not out to get you like the Father God, dangling us over hell. She loves all her children. And she needs space with her daughters only. And sometimes she needs her space with her sons only. And sometimes she needs space with sons and daughters together.

    Become wise. And in the words of Bob Newhart, “JUST STOP IT”.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      “Males start out as XX and one breaks off a piece.”

      No. Males start out XY and continue thus. (Others have addressed variations on these patterns.)

      What is indisputable is that the human embryo starts out, for either gender, in female form. Presence of the Y evokes the variances from the female that define the male. (Except when it doesn’t; again, others have addressed this.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

      Transgendered “women” is yet the latest technological innovation wanting to deprive women of their sacred space. It’s men wanting in on everything. To control everything. To know what the Mysteries are.

      Do you seriously believe that a male-bodied person would take hormones, submit to years of electrolysis, have painful and irrevocable genital surgery and put up with horrendous social, physical and sexual abuse just to gain admittance to a Dianic coven or the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival? If so, I’m impressed: that kind of wild-eyed paranoid ideation typically requires a lengthy stimulant binge.

      I support your right to associate with whom you will in your private ceremonies: I support your right to share your Mysteries or withhold them as you see fit. But I also support the right of people to laugh at those who behave in a silly fashion. And, frankly, your theories on genetics and patriarchal infiltrators are more suited to a Saturday Night Live skit than to any kind of serious discussion.

    • Cigfran

      Oh yeah, totally. You’ve got it. Trans women live the way they do just to steal your space. What insight into human nature. What divinely feminine wisdom.

      And people have the gall to call trans people “addicted to victimhood.”

      No one fears you, babe. Really. But you clearly live in a world of paranoiac delusion.

    • Anonymous

      “Really, folks. It’s all about respecting women’s sacred space. Women who bleed but do not die. ”

      I am female, woman, ciswoman, Crone, mother, grandmother, XX — by every definition you care to apply, Cedar Cat, and you do not — repeat, NOT — speak for me. Nor do you speak for my sisters and the elders who have taught me. At most, you speak for yourself and those few self-righteous bigots who claimed a premium chunk of resources at the expense of the other paid attenders at Pantheacon and participated in insulting, dismissing, and demeaning other women — and you are continuing that baneful speech here.

      You do not speak for me. Nor do you speak for the Lady I serve. And your well-respected High Priestess may be losing much of that well-earned respect our of her own fears.

    • Katie Berger Tremaine

      I’ve had more people – especially women – say horrible things about me and to me in the last week than at any point prior. To the point that it feels that being visibly transgender in the Pagan community is nothing but exposing yourself to grotesquely sexualized abuse the like of which nobody should ever have to deal with. From women who are, or claim to be, abuse survivors, no less.

      Imagine how this looks to a 16 year old trans girl looking for a spiritual path of her own…

      • Guest

        Honest question – could a 16 year old woman by any definition who was looking for a spiritual path among Dianics have attended the ritual, or was it just for adults?

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Katie, with respect, I’d say that experience is more about being visibly trans on the Internet than in the Pagan community. Just my $0.02.

    • kenneth

      Your knowledge of science is about on the level of six-day creationists, and the “wisdom” flowing from it ought to be accorded the same respect.

  • Obsidia

    I think that Gus Dizerga’s take on this situation is very illuminating. He speaks of politics and religion and what happens when the 2 of them mix:

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/apagansblog/2012/02/pantheacon-2012-politics-and-the-controversy-over-womens-rituals.html

    I understand both sides of the situation, and I hope that someday, we will all be able to come together without rancor and with love for ourselves and each other. I have learned a lot by following this discussion and I thank the people who simply stated their opinion without including snide and insulting remarks about others. Communication can always be improved and I encourage people to speak about their needs without aggressively attacking others. This is called assertiveness. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

  • http://inkshaman.dreamwidth.org/ InkShaman

    There were other selected group only events going on at PantheaCon, too: in the first few pages of the program i found Ivan Richmond’s “Men’s Mysteries”, clearly marked as Men Only. There’s also Ruth Barrett’s “Walking Our Talk As Dianic Witches”, marked as Women Only, and even one called “Wish Upon A Star”, put together by the folks at KinderSpirit, that requires any adult attending to have a child with them. Now, why aren’t we bitching about and arguing with each other about those? An exclusion is still an exclusion, folks; keeping people out is still keeping people out.

    • Cigfran

      Ask Ivan if he would explicitly have restricted his event to “genetic men.” Or even would have been so churlish as to put it that way at all.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kenazfilan Kenaz Filan

        NeckbeardShaman isn’ t interested in a dialogue. He’s interested in proving that EXCLUSION IS EVIL, aka Geek Social Fallacy #1. To that end, he’s going to scrupulously avoid any counterexamples or explanations and repeat the same tired statements over and over as if they are a mantra which will give him the magical power to triumph over the EVIL EXCLUDERS.

        500 quatloos says that he ignores your question altogether and posts another “EXCLUSION IS BAD BAD BAD!!!” rant within the next 12 hours.

  • LIsh

    It’s no coincidence that Z Budapest’s rhetoric reads like a broadside from the feminist movement of the 1970’s. That is when her generation initially fulminated their life-long animosity toward transwomen, and that is why this is at root a dispute between generations.

    For those interested in the actual source of Z Budapest’s ritual beliefs, check out the decades-long controversy over the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. That is the culture she is attempting to insinuate into the Pagan world:

    http://www.fuah.org/MWMF_press-statement.html

  • Anonymous

    I’m an XXY male – does that mean I can understand?

    “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies.” -Hamlet

  • Anonymous

    2 lemons, crushed and zested
    a handful of raisins
    2 T brewer’s yeast
    .5 kg honey
    1 gallon of water

    Heat the water & honey to 160 degrees. Add lemons. Allow to cool to room temp while yeast is started in 1 cup warm water with a splash of honey. Put lemon/honey water mixture into a 1 gallon carboy. Add yeast and aerate. Toss in a handful of raisins and seal with airlock.

    Allow to ferment for 1 week. Bottle. Drink!

    Sima – Finnish lemonade/mead wonderfulness traditionally drank around Beltane/Walpurgisnacht

    • Guest

      Nice