The Transgender Question

There is a huge debate happening now in the Pagan community over the inclusion of Transgender women in Dianic Wicca or Dianic Witchcraft.

The primary opponent to for inclusion of Transwomen is Z Budapest and her main point is that Dianic Witchcraft is only for those women who were born women and have the experience of menstruating. Her actual comments were quite confusing:

This struggle has been going since the Women’s Mysteries first appeared. These individuals selfishly never think about the following: if women allow men to be incorporated into Dianic Mysteries,What will women own on their own? Nothing! Again! Transies who attack us only care about themselves.
We women need our own culture, our own resourcing, our own traditions.
You can tell these are men, They don’t care if women loose the Only tradition reclaimed after much research and practice ,the Dianic Tradition. Men simply want in. its their will. How dare us women not let them in and give away the ONLY spiritual home we have!
Men want to worship the Goddess? Why not put in the WORK and create your own trads. The order of ATTIS for example,(dormant since the 4rth century) used to be for trans gendered people, also the castrata, men who castrated themselves to be more like the Goddess.
Why are we the ONLY tradition they want? Go Gardnerian!Go Druid! Go Ecclectic!
Filled with women, and men. They would fit fine.
But if you claim to be one of us, you have to have sometimes in your life a womb, and overies and MOON bleed and not die.
Women are born not made by men on operating tables.

(Bold emphasis mine).

First off, transies is an offensive term, like tranny. Perhaps, were you to argue the points using more respectful language, you might have more of a leg to stand on.

Second, that you would exclude a whole segment of women because you feel they aren’t “true women” is the most disgusting thing I’ve seen in Paganism since the embrace of Gavin and Yvonne Frost and their alleged abuse of children.

I can understand your viewpoint, in that Dianic Wicca is for women only. I get that. I’m not attacking the viewpoint that women need a space of their own. I fully support that.

What I am saying is to exclude a whole segment of women based solely on the fact that they were born with penises smacks of a type of hate that would make Fred Phelps and his ilk proud.

If anything, Z (can I call you Z?), I feel sorry for you. Your mindset is limited, at best, and will only lead to a marginalization of your otherwise decent ideas.

I urge you to take a step back and stop feeling so threatened by what you don’t understand. Maybe if we all did that from time-to-time, we’d all be in a better place.

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About WonderGoon

WonderGoon is seeking enlightenment and questions everything.
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8 Responses to The Transgender Question

  1. Skatha says:

    To be honest, I’m of a mixed mind about this.

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  2. storydad says:

    You are looking at 2 important issues here. I’ll apologize in advance for any insult that my terminolgy may cause, I don’t have much contact anymore with the GLBT community and never really discussed this sort of thing with the ones I did know back in the day.

    First, it is obviously your view that there is no significant difference between someone who was born female and someone who transgendered that way. It appears that “Z” feels differently. I am certainly not in a position to judge the merit of either opionion, but I can say that for magickal purposes, there is no way to divorce yourself from your roots. What that may or may not mean for Dianic practices would be up to the practitioner, however unless you are practicing solo the feelings of others in the group are as important as your own. If the others in the group are uncomfortable with a transgendered individual, then they have every right to exclude them. As “Z” points out, there are other groups that would welcome them, and I’d bet there are even other Dianic groups that would welcome them.

    The second issue is the perception of equality. There are few that can reconcile the removal of inequality without including equal, opposite inequality. Affirmative Action, for instance, that requires that a person of color be hired over a white person with all else being equal is a great example. It is not enough to remove the barriers from the colored person–we must also enable him over his previous ‘oppressors’. Many who follow Dianic paths are strongly feminist– it’s why they sought that path in the first place. In the same way, few of them can accept equality with men, and must further seek advantage, some even argue that ‘it’s their turn’ or somesuch, never realizing or not caring that they seek the same inequality that they rail against, just applied in their own favor.

    In such a case, it’s not surprising that simply having been born physically male would taint a person in thier eyes, and make that person unacceptable in their group. While the transgendered would no doubt find alot of fulfillment in gaining the acceptance of such a group, I doubt it would be fullfilling for anyone involved if the members of that group are coerced into that acceptance, and all involved are better off seeking seperate paths.

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    • WonderGoon says:

      First, it is obviously your view that there is no significant difference between someone who was born female and someone who transgendered that way.”

      Correct. A transwoman is a woman in mind and becomes a woman in body. It’s not too different from a natal born female who grows into womanhood. It just takes longer and there are outside agencies (surgeons, et all) who must be involved in the process.

      In short, I’m looking at it through the lens of gender (brain sex) vs sex (physical sex), if you see the difference.

      It appears that “Z” feels differently. I am certainly not in a position to judge the merit of either opionion, but I can say that for magickal purposes, there is no way to divorce yourself from your roots.”

      Quite right! Which only reinforces the position held throughout the TG community that a person born gendered female (that is, born as a natal male, but self-identifies as female; i.e. a transwoman) is being true to the roots of her identity.

      What that may or may not mean for Dianic practices would be up to the practitioner, however unless you are practicing solo the feelings of others in the group are as important as your own. If the others in the group are uncomfortable with a transgendered individual, then they have every right to exclude them. As “Z” points out, there are other groups that would welcome them, and I’d bet there are even other Dianic groups that would welcome them

      Again, quite right. But to presume to speak for the entire Dianic Movement (if I may call it that) is showing a level a presumption that borders on extreme arrogance.

      Beyond that, however, there is the matter of disrespecting someones identity. Calling a transwoman, especially a post-operative transwoman a man is like calling a natal male who gender identifies as male a woman. Do you see the point here? It’s not so much the exclusion that I am voicing my opposition to, but the utter lack of respect shown by Z. It’s a subtle distinction, but one that is present nonetheless.

      Many who follow Dianic paths are strongly feminist– it’s why they sought that path in the first place. In the same way, few of them can accept equality with men, and must further seek advantage, some even argue that ‘it’s their turn’ or somesuch, never realizing or not caring that they seek the same inequality that they rail against, just applied in their own favor.”

      Then they should hold up transwomen as shining examples of feminist power. These are women who have thrown off the very thing that, in our society, makes them “men;” the penis. If anything, they are returning to their previous feminine form. (We are all female in the womb.)

      Looking at it from that perspective, the transwoman is the ultimate expression of feminist power. At least, that’s one way of looking at the situation.

      In such a case, it’s not surprising that simply having been born physically male would taint a person in thier eyes, and make that person unacceptable in their group. While the transgendered would no doubt find alot of fulfillment in gaining the acceptance of such a group, I doubt it would be fullfilling for anyone involved if the members of that group are coerced into that acceptance, and all involved are better off seeking seperate paths.”

      Perhaps. Or the path in question needs to adapt to the practitioners. No religion, especially a Pagan one, should be so immutable as to not adapt to the adherents. We’ve seen that immutable attitude in other religions (Christianity, for example) when it comes to certain groups of people. It is my hope that Dianic Wicca can be more adaptable and forward thinking than those other paths.

      Thanks for commenting.

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  3. Skatha says:

    While I do try my best not to be exclusive of individuals, the few pre- and post-op transgendered women that I have encountered are of the immediate mind-set that because they are no longer male, I should automatically express interest in a relationship with them. It doesn’t matter to them if I’m already in a relationship or simply not looking. That turns me off from even wanting to be friends because the few I’ve met have given them a bad name in my mind when they ignore any boundaries I’ve put forth in my life. I recognise that not every one of them is like that, but until I meet one who can change my opinion, I will keep them at arm’s length.

    Now, as I am the only blood female in this little discussion, I will point out the most fundamental difference between a woman who is born female and one who is made female: a Moon cycle. Until a man can fully experience the physical and emotional pain of a Moon cycle as a transgendered woman, he/she cannot fully appreciate what it means to be a woman. It’s not just about having breasts and a vagina and girly thoughts. There are physiological aspects of being a woman that science will never be able to reproduce. I would say PMS is a part of it too, but I know a lot of men who suffer from PMS too. 😛

    No, it’s not right to exclude anyone based on differences, but the fact is, we do. We include and exclude based on a lot of differences having nothing to do with gender. As storydad pointed out, we include and exclude based on race. We include and exclude based on physical appearance, intelligence, religion, just about anything that is labeled, we will include or exclude others based on those labels and how we feel about them.

    People tend to join groups because they have something in common with the others in that group. If I join a specific group, I want to know that the others in that group truly understand how I feel about something, not just think that they know how I feel. You send a couple to an Alcholics Anonymous meeting for group therapy if they’ve just lost their child to a terminal illness because no one in that AA group will really understand how that couple feels.

    Rather than trying to force their way into established Dianic covens – which is what it sounds like these transgendered women are doing – why not simply start your own? Allow only other transgendered women to join in so that everyone has something in common. I guess, though, that it’s easier to stir up shit rather than help keep waters calm.

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  4. storydad says:

    You also have the issue of how such individuals view acceptance. Too often, minority groups seem to think that freedom from oppression means they have an inalienable right to be liked by everybody.

    In their quest for personal freedoms, they seek to deny the same freedom to other’s who disagree with them or simply dislike who or what they are. Distasteful as it is, accepting freedom for all means accepting things you don’t like, and that works both ways.

    A racist, gay-bashing, woman-hating ass has as much right to his opionions and way of life as anyone else. It’s just as wrong to force more open minded ideals and behavoirs on him as it is for him to force his views on us. What I find disturbing is when such individuals make it a point to move away from the people they hate, and then a ‘civil rights’ group makes it a point to move in individuals they hate into their neighborhood to prove that they don’t have the right to be that way.

    Which is my point about the Dianic covens that don’t want to accept transgendered women. The issue has very little to do with those being excluded, but about what those doing the excluding want to tolerate. That’s the nature of voluntary communties like religions—it’s up to the members of that community to determine what is and is not acceptable, and those that would join those communities must either accept that, or find another place.

    Is that unfair to the transgendered? Yes it is. However, they are free to make other choices, like finding other groups or starting their own. It’s not a case of something they have little control over, like where to live and do buisness.

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