During the question period of the panel, I spoke about what it means to deride female sovereignty in the context of the intense anti-feminist backlash we are living through now. Margot Adler had mentioned the shrinkage of feminist spaces, bookstores and Women’s Studies. I talked about how that had affected my work, as women’s history got thrown overboard in the stampede to Gender Studies. It’s not because women’s oppression has been solved! I said that this debate has got to get unstuck off the “essentialism” refrain. As long as the issue keeps getting cast only as biological determinism (and I see people in both camps insisting on this discourse in different ways) other real concerns are not being addressed, even effectively denied or misrepresented. We need to have a deeper conversation about the complexities, the differences and the commonalities, between cis, trans, and those who don’t fit this new gender binary. In the current climate such a dialogue, multilogue actually, seems impossible. May the time come soon when we can do so without it turning into a destructive beatdown….
Coercion and derision is not the way to change someone’s mind, and projecting mistaken assumptions from what one person says or does to entire groups is guaranteed to harden lines. I was well aware that sticking my neck out on this issue would, for many, conflate me completely with what others said or did, regardless of what where I actually stood. It would not matter a whit to them that my events are open to everybody. A lot of things would not matter in the heat of this destructive, vicious argument.
Last weekend, it looked increasingly likely to me that historic lineages of Dianics could get drummed out of Pantheacon, and all in the name of love and justice…Many of the Amazon priestesses were not at the Con this year, such as Leilani Birely, Ruth Barrett, Falcon River, Anniitra Ravenmoon, Letecia Layson, Wendy Griffin. I can’t speak for them or where they might stand. My concern was to uphold their right to space at the Pantheacon.