Female-Only Event Still Not Kicked Out Of Venue
Hart, MI–Three area organizers of a women-only event remain wistful on this Friday morning, nursing a familiar but somewhat distant feeling of Women-Only Event PTSD (WOE-PTSD) — musing about how things were different when they weren’t organizing within the last woman-only venue left in the country.
Conference co-coordinator Amanda Cooper remarked, “By this time last year, I was on my third venue, begging to use their oversized janitorial closet, and asking if attendees could enter through the back.”
Danisha Williams , a survivor of extreme workshop scheduling, added, “Just last year, I had fielded one thousand rape threats and four graphic accounts of how the e-mailer would molest and slay my cat. Only my closest companions even know about this cat,” she laughs. Then silence.
After the chill in the room subsided, Williams softly added, “It always starts out the same. You send an email to the venue contact saying you are going to do something really off the wall and hold a women-only event. They say ‘of course’ and draw up an ironclad contract about cancelling on you. Well, within a week, the venue contact’s children are being escorted by police to school, and all the venue utility companies have cancelled service, and their neighbors won’t look them in the eye anymore.’”
“I asked once if the venue’s windows could withstand the blow of a Molotov cocktail,” says Cooper. “The venue did not understand.”
When asked why venues do not anticipate this kind of response to a women-only event, radical feminist writer and conference contributor Alexa Cohen explains:
“Venue contacts are staffed by well-meaning people who still recall a sliver of time in women’s history where females were a protected and distinct class. Holding these kinds of events did not trigger bomb threats, or all sponsors pulling funding.”
“Things have changed. More people are women now, apparently. Just recently I was invited to a sleep-over called ‘Lesbians with Penises: how to de-cis your bigoted front hole.’ I turned down the invitation and someone mentioned how a lesbian-with-a-penis had been murdered that night because of my non-attendance. The learning curve is steep.”
Cohen : “But it’s not like all historically protected classes are losing ground. Most of the venues I have attempted to reserve hold private events for people who gather around a set of experiences that not all people can logically share.”
“I think it may have more to do with whether or not females are people?” one asks. They all think on it.
Suddenly one of their cellphones rings. “I don’t know this fucking number!” the woman exclaims and they all jerk to a stand, scanning the surrounding area. “The last time this happened it was a gender studies student who was tapping my phone, stalking me, for her capstone called ‘How to catch and kill a TERF’.”
“My last unknown ring was from a formerly convicted rapist who had obtained my number from the local GBTQI Center, after transitioning to a woman and thus an innocent person.”
Another woman adds: “My last unknown number was from someone who said they were going to detonate my phone for using it to organize women. It blew up 5 minutes later.”
They are all backing away slowly now, looking at each other, exchanging familiar glances and nods. A hand gesture is made.
“The meeting place. Tomorrow.”
And like that they are off, each in different directions, making their way to the farthest corners of sight, until they are no longer visible.
Saturday, August 1
Sheila Jeffreys talks lesbians, feminists and revolution.
Sunday, August 2
Terre Spencer on why pronouns really, really matter
Monday August 3
Miep Rowan finds the ladies of the canyon
Ann Foland is a Lesbian Crone
Meghan Murphy reminds us to get personal
Tuesday, August 4
Sheila Jeffreys doesn’t give up
Wednesday, August 5
Bev Jo asks twenty-five questions and The Scallion reports on even more
Thursday, August 6
Samantha Berg smashes porn
Friday, August 7
Vee Esselar declares war
Lierre Keith on the girls and the grasses
Saturday, August 8
Rebecca Whisnant on pornography and humiliation
Sunday, August 9
Vlet Tiptree asks about Teh Menz, and radical feminism welcomes Kaye Murdoch home