Thursday, June 23, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside

Just when I thought we were making progress on the inclusion front, once again exclusion hovers on the horizon and rears its head.

An event is coming up for women (lesbians) only and its a sex/erotica show at the Penthouse nightclub. Called Diva's Den it plans on bringing much joy, sexcitement and fun to participants but it appears this time the dyke (lesbian) community instead of excluding Female Transsexuals has decided now to exclude Male Transsexuals.

Many of these FtM (Females to Males) were part of the good old lesbian club until they decided to take testosterone to masculinize their bodies. Many of them lived in Lesbian co-ops, owned lesbian businesses, contributed economically to the building of the lesbian movement but now that they want to be more masculine, parts of the good old lesbian network has decided they no longer fit the criteria of their movement. One assumes because these former butches, dykes or whatever else they once were called or identified as now have joined the god forbid, more masculine component of society. Hence they must be ex-communicated and have been told very publicly by event organizers that they cannot attend the Divas Den celebration.

I'm on the side of FtM's here because I support their freedom of gender expression. This means you shouldn't adopt or confine oneself to a duality of gender roles in order to properly fit into society. For that matter you should not have your rights trampled on either.

And besides, what is wrong with FtM's desiring to make their bodies more congruent with their innermost feelings? Nothing wrong with their desire to present as Gender Neutral Warriors, Masculine Women or Men. Just because they are taking medically prescribed Testosterone shouldn't be construed as a means to deny them fundamental freedoms in our city. I don't think the sky will collapse over this but who knows in this day and age.

Many of these guys or as we used to call them Butches in the good old days have now determined they prefer to take some testosterone to feel better or give themself a lift in life. So what, they are not hurting anyone. Gender has a way of evolving and I think this is a good thing but apparently some good old lesbians don't. They think these FtM's have sold out and forever more must be thought of as Men out to control Women. Therefore, they must be excluded from female only events.

This raises alarm bells because some leaders/members of the lesbian community are once again practicing exclusionary politics. Don't they yet understand that exclusion is wrong, period. Have they not studied history or in their language herstory? Haven't they learned anything from the Kim Nixon case.

Better yet, I don't see the need to have women only spaces or men only spaces or chinese only or native only. If you want your own parties fine just don't start denying others inclusion because of some outdated separatist orthodoxy.

Finally I ask why is it that some gals in the lesbian community continue to practice discrimination? Would you like it if you were excluded from events based on your identity, expression or orientation?

C'mon Girls give it up. Get with it. Its 2005. Leave behind the dogma that everything masculine is bad. Have you forgotten Girls that the feminist movement was built on freedom of choice? Its time to really practice it!

Jamie Lee Hamilton